Thursday, November 30, 2006

Just back from the Bengals vs Ravens game. Spent most of my time in the dining area and not the press box because the dining area has all the TV sets. I need to be there to monitor both the Bengals and the Ohio Bobcats in the MAC Championship game.

The Bengals game with the Ravens has a score that appears to suggest a boring game, 13-7 Cincinnati. But as far as defensive games go, this was pretty entertaining. Some observations:

1: Baltimore played far too passively on defense. It did little to disrupt Carson Palmer's rythym. I had the sense the Ravens felt this was a game they really didn't need to win the AFC North division. And if you look at their remaining games, you'll see why. It's a very forgiving schedule.

2: Carson Palmer is over his knee injury. We now have four solid weeks of proof of that. Against a terrific Baltimore defense, he threw well. Yep, the Bengals scored only one touchdown. But Palmer picked apart a very good Ravens secondary.

3: The win did nothing to appreciably help the Bengals playoff chances. They had to win this game to remain in the hunt. But they're still digging themselves out of the hole they were in a month ago. In their final four games, Cincinnati must go 3-1 to have any shot at the post season. And we know two of those games remaining are on the road at Indianapolis and at Denver. The odds are still against this team making the post season. But the Bengals are alive.

As for the MAC Championship game, it was a long night for the Ohio Bobcats. Their top quarterback, Austen Everson left the game early. He's not over his leg problem. And the Bobcats turned the ball over way too many times to expect to win. Central Michigan exploited the Ohio secondary and seems to attack the Bobcats at their strength: linebackers.

Tough loss to be sure. But this team played with a lot of heart. It never seems to give up, which is the greatest compliment you can give a head coach. With five weeks to go before their bowl game, I have no doubt Frank Solich will have the troops ready.

He's only a junior. But Ohio running back, Kalvin McRae has a chance to play on Sundays. He is the real deal.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Just posted on my web site is the latest edition of Bengals Report. The executive editor of that fine publication, Marc Hardin, and I discuss tomorrow night's game with the Ravens. You'll hear comments from T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Carson Palmer. There's some other cool audio over there too. But if you're in a hurry, here's a link to the latest Bengals Report podcast.

Also, just posted on my web site is the latest edition of Broo v Broo. The opinions are flying fast and furious on this week's NFL match-ups, as well as the latest in college football. UC and Ohio get plenty of play this week. You can find it at under the "Podcasts & More" category.

Bengals are getting healthier. It appears Brian Simmons will be able to play Thursday night against the Ravens. The game will be televised on WLWT Channel 5 in Cincinnati. At 7pm, I'll host a 'live' special from Paul Brown Stadium to get you ready for the game.

Major blow to the UC football program today. Seven assistant coaches have left to join Mark Dantonio, immediately. Left behind are only interim head coach Pat Narduzzi and one other assistant, believed to be the strength coach. Narduzzi has informed UC Athletic Director, Mike Thomas, he has until December 6th to decide whether or not he wants Narduzzi as the Bearcats new head coach. If Narduzzi doesn't hear by then, he says he'll join Dantonio's staff too.

Here's the amazing part: UC is not holding the current assistants to their contract, which run through January, 2007. Rather, they've let them go and will allow them to come back to UC for one week prior to whatever bowl game UC is sent to. Can you imagine a Division I school allowing its football team to be coached by coaches from another Division I college? Will Thomas allow these guys who skated on him to use their same officies, when they come back for their one week encore? Unbelievable.

On the other hand, the Ohio Bobcats are in Detroit tonight, getting ready for their MAC Championship showdown with Central Michigan. It's a match up of coaches that seem to be on separate paths. CMU's Brian Kelly is a hot ticket, coming close to getting the head coaches' job at Michigan State, as well as Iowa State. Frank Solich has found a home in Athens, and has played the coaching carousel game. I think this will be a coach's game. Sure the players will ultimately determine who wins and who loses. But Solich's deliberate ball control offense and his attention to detail on defense should be the difference. Don't get me wrong, Central is very good. But as active as the Ohio front seven is, I think it will be difficult for CMU to get its vertical passing game going.

This will more or less be a road game for Ohio, with CMU located right down the road from Ford Field. No problem for the Bobcats. They're road warriors. Ask Kent, Illinois, Northern Illinois and Miami.

First Tri-State High School football team to play for a state championship this weekend, the Ryle Raiders in Kentucky AAAA. Good luck to Bryson Warner's team. We'll have the highlights Thursday night at 11p, on WLWT Channel 5 in Cincinnati

Busy, busy day Thursday.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's official. Ohio University has accepted a bid to the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. This is the perfect place for maximum exposure for the Bobcats.

Think about it. This is Wild Card weekend in the NFL. By the time this game kicks off, on a Sunday evening, all of the NFL games will be over. The GMAC bowl will be the only game on television. It will be the perfect recruiting tool for head coach Frank Solich and his staff. You have no idea how large that is for the Ohio football program.

I watched a satellite feed the Ohio athletic department provided to TV stations all across the country today. Absolute, unabashed joy on the faces of the players, Solich and Ohio Athletic Director, Kirby Hocutt. Incidentally, having a satellite uplink truck puts Ohio light years ahead of the other schools in the MAC. This too, is a great recruiting tool.

If you're a displaced Bobcat, I've just been alerted to a great web site to keep track of the Bobcats. It is:

I just checked it out. is big league. Memo to WinkyN: legendary is how you define it. Maybe you are too!

Rip 'em up, tear 'em up give 'em hell Ohio!

Latest from the Bengals: Levi Jones and Bobbie Williams both officially 'out' for Thursday night. DT John Thornton is 'doubtful' (means one chance in four he plays). Rich Braham, Deltha O'Neal and Tony Stewart, all 'questionable' (which means 50-50).

All Ravens injuries are 'questionable'. Anybody listed as 'questionable' at this point usually plays.

Remember, if you're in Cincinnati, the game will be televised on WLWT Channel 5. At 7pm, we'll have a pre-game special "Ready To Roar". We've got interviews with all the big names and our "live" guest list will include Sam Wyche. Pending are Nick Lachey, who's singing the National Anthem and Bootsy Collins.

Dress warmly!

To anyone who bleeds Ohio University green and white, he is the saviour. Frank Solich has led the Bobcat football program out of the oblivion and into the ranks of respectability. And on Monday, he was rewarded.

Solich has been named the Mid American Conference coach of the year. The Bobcats record is now 9-3, with a chance to hit double digit wins this Thursday night.

A little history lesson. Ohio was once the biggest, baddest little college football program in America. You have to go back to 1960 to appreciate that, when the Bobcats had the best "small college" team in the USA. Today, all Division I programs are on the same level, all play for the same national championship. But back in '60, there was no mid major football team better than Ohio's. In 1968, under Bill Hess, a disciple of Woody Hayes, the Bobcats won the MAC and went to the Tangerine Bowl. The long nightmare began soon after.

In 1973, Ohio went 5-5. I know, I was the color commentator on their radio broadcasts. I remember going to Chicago with the 'Cats when they were 29 point underdogs to a very mediocre Northwestern University team. Ohio beat Northwestern, by four points if I remember correctly and Hess was named the national coach of the week. A large man, Hess was asked if he was disappointed his team didn't carry him off the field after that glorious victory. A self-deprecating man from the start, Hess quipped, "No, I was glad they didn't try to do that. As big as I am, they'd've had to made two trips."

A long, long nightmare began soon after that, plenty of two, three and some one win seasons. In the late 90's, Jim Grobe arrived for a brief moment of sunshine. But after he skated for Wake Forest, the Bobcats found themselves back in the college football abyss.

Until Solich arrived.

I found it ironic that Ohio can go to 10-3 with a win Thursday night against Central Michigan in the MAC Championship game. Nebraska fired Solich after the 2003 season for 'only going 9-3'.
Their loss, our gain.

Way to go Frank. We've been waiting for you....a long time.

I'm trying to figure out why the world of collegiate athletics is so different from the real world. The University of Cincinnati is looking for a new football coach today. Monday, Mark Dantonio skated. He was under contract to the University of Cincinnati for the next three years. But he's at Michgan State today, on the payroll there as the new head football coach.

I don't know what you do for a living, but if you have a contract, chances are if another business comes calling, your boss would tell you, 'sorry, you work for me until your contract is up'. It doesn't work that way in the world of big time college athletics. Routinely, coaches walk on contracts in pursuit of a better deal. But, they leave behind players tbey recruited who are tied to the university that holds their letters of intent. Does that seem a little unfar?

Shouldn't the player be granted his or her free agency, when the coach they agreed to play for decides his contract isn't as binding as theirs? The NCAA doesn't think so.

I have a theory: if one athletic director or university president has the guts to tell another school with more money who comes after their coach 'no', sorry, you can't talk to our guy he's under contract....if only one school will do that....scores of other schools would follow.

Which school will have the guts to say it? Whichever school it is will change the face of collegiate athletics forever....and for good.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thoughts on college football after all the finals are in this Saturday....USC vs OSU in the BCS Championship game. I know that's a lot of letters, but there's no way USC loses to UCLA after beating Notre Dame Saturday night...University of Cincinnati locked up a bowl with their last second win over Connecticut. At 7-5, UC pretty much assured Pitt it won't be going to a bowl. Pitt is 6-6....West Virginia's home loss KO'd the Mountaineers from a BCS bowl....Enjoy playing before Christmas, Morgantown...That loss, coupled with Rutgers win means Rutgers will play in the second Big East BCS bowl game, provided that Rutgers beats WVU this coming Saturday. If Rutgers doesn't, the Big East may get only one of its teams, Louisville, in a BCS game....

You want some NFL teams that have to win Sunday? How about the Jets at home against Houston.? At 5-5. the Jets are out of wiggle room....How about 5-5 Atlanta at home with 6-4 New Orleans? 9-7 might be enough for a wild card in the NFC, but there'll be a lot of 9-7 teams if this schedule plays out like I think it will....How about 6-4 Jacksonville at Buffalo? The Jags will catch a break. The weather is supposed to be decent in Buffalo. But the Jags need four more wins in their final six games to reach 10 wins, the minimum I believe for a wild card in the AFC....How about the 5-5 Bengals at the 3-7 Browns? Same deal as the Jags situation here. The Bengals need to get to ten wins and they have only six games to win five. Two of those remaining six are at Indianapolis and at Denver.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Just added to my web site is the latest "Bengals Report" podcast. Bengals Report executive editor, Marc Hardin, and I preview the Bengals vs Browns game this Sunday in Cleveland. We've got comments from Marvin Lewis, Chad Johnson and Rudi Johnson. You'll find it on the front of my web site, but here's a link just in case you want to listen now.

Check out the rest of for other cool audio.

Just back from Oxford, watching one of the better college football games I've seen this season. Ohio beat Miami (Ohio) 34-24 in a game that meant little in the standings...but of course everything. Miami and Ohio are bitter rivals.

Glorious day to watch a game, full sun and temperatures hovering near 6o, unusual for this area of the country, this time of the year.

Yeager Stadium is one of the truly beautiful venues to watch a college game. So is Peden Stadium, in Athens for that matter.

There really is nothing quite like MAC football. It's offenses are generally varied, no two teams playing alike like you see in some conferences. And today's game featured big plays on both sides of the ball. Ohio's terrific running back, Kalvin McRae rushed for 180 yards and two long touchdowns. Miami's quarterback, Mike Kokal, on a fourth and one, tied the game at 24 with a 36 yard touchdown run. Ohio finally prevailed, despite dipping into the third string for its quarterback. Starter Austen Everson was held out, with a bad ankle. Back up Brad Bower fumbled on the Miami one, through the end zone for a touchback...then left later with an injury.

With the win, Ohio is now 9-3. It's been almost 40 years since it's been this good for the Bobcats. Now it's onto the MAC Championship game next Thursday night in Detroit against Central Michigan. A bowl trip, win or lose, awaits Ohio.

I realize, this may bore some of you. But what the hell, it's my blog isn't it? But if you're from Ohio, or attended either school, you should know the rivalry is strong again. Better days ahead for Miami. Rip 'em up, tear 'em up give 'em hell Ohio.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

As I continue to watch the NFL on this Thanksgiving Day, it's amazing to me how quickly the Buccaneers have fallen off the table. Yep, they last their starting quarterback early in the season and their defense has had its share of injuries. But to go from 11-5 in 2005 to now 3-8 in 2006 is startling.

In all honesty, before Chris Simms' season was ended by a ruptured spleen, the Bucs offense wasn't very good. And before going on IR, one time defensive terror, Simeon Rice had been reduced to a rumor on most Sundays. It may be age catching up with the Bucs. It may be something else.

Remember to get Jon Gruden away from the Raiders and Keyshawn Johnson away from the Jets, it cost the Buccaneers two first round draft picks in each transaction. Losing four first round picks in six years has crippled this franchise. That should be four impact players on the field for the Bucs right now.

The rebuilding job will be massive. Aging players like Rice, Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber will need to be replaced, soon. There is the issue of who plays quarterback next season. Simms will be a restricted free agent and will draw interest. Current starter, Bruce Gradkowski was a sixth round pick and is nothing more than a stop gap for this season. And, the Bucs offensive line has been a cronic problem, pre-dating Gruden.

There is a lot of heavy lifting ahead for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Just published on a clip from the latest Sports Rock. It's our two minute rip through the world of sports we affectionately call "Rock Around The Clock".

Click the the "Podcasts & More" page you'll find on the sidebar menu.

If you live in the greater Cincinnati area, Sports Rock airs after the NFL game on WLWT channel 5.

And, if you log onto, you find an internet version. It's fast and it's opinionated. Check it out!
I'm a traditionalist. I love Thanksgiving dinner at 7pm. I want white meat only and gravy made from the turkey. I don't like traveling for the holidays and, above all else, I don't want to be bothered while watching football on television. Full disclosure, I have to do that for a living. But when the game is on, I want to watch it. I want to see who blocks well, who misses tackles. I want to see if the quarterback can read a defense. I want to watch for the coaching strategies. But here's what I don't want to see anymore.

The Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day. I know, I know, I said I was a traditionalist. And the Lions on Thanksgiving Day pre-dates cranberries and stuffing. But until the Lions get better, until they prove to the football world they know what they're doing, the NFL needs to keep this team off national television on Thanksgiving Day. Watching the Lions is worse than indigestion.

The Lions have been so bad, for so long, it's borderline criminal. They can't draft (see Desmond Howard, Charles Rogers, Joey Harrington, etc.) and they haven't had a whiff of the playoffs since 1999.

When they had Barry Sanders, they used to be fun to watch. You knew the Lions were never going to get close to the Super Bowl, but at least their offense could score some points. And Sanders was always good for a couple of electrifing runs on turkey day.

Now the Lions are one of the NFL's doormats. Perhaps the NFL is aware that a lot of their teams don't want to play on Thanksgiving, have no interest in playing a 'short' week. Maybe the NFL is sensitive to the fact that Lions fans will leave their homes and dinners to watch their team play on a national holiday. But the rest of us deserve better. The Lions against the Dolphins? Time for a nap.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Just added to my web site today is the latest edition of The Broo View podcast. Log onto and download it. I've got some thoughts on the state of the Bengals and you'll hear from some of the players about being 5-5 and their playoff chances.

Also just added today, the latest Bengals Report podcast. Bengals Report executive editor, Marc Hardin and I discuss the Bengals win in New Orleans last Sunday. We've got some comments from the players on this podcast as well.

Check it out at Or, if you'd prefer, click here for a quick download of The Broo View.

Chad Johnson says when he sees Brian Russell this Sunday, he'll say only "sorry". He said it with a laugh today. Russell is the player that knocked Chad senseless when the Bengals played the Browns here in Cincinnati back in September. Johnson was left with a bloodied chin that required stitches.

Chad might say "sorry" for another reason Sunday. The past two games, he's amassed 450-receiving yards, a new NFL record. If Chad torches Russell, the "sorry" will fit.

The Bengals are still banged up. Levi Jones, Rich Braham, Kelley Washington all listed as doubtful for Sunday. Safety Dexter Jackson practiced today. He missed Sunday's game in New Orleans with an achilles heel problem. He's officially listed as questionable, which meands it's "50-50" that he plays.

Carson Palmer, named today the FEDEX player of the week. Well deserved.

More as the evening progresses here in chilly Cincinnati!


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Anyone who doesn't believe, now, that this will be a long, long season for the UC basketball team is in self denial. Tonight, the Bearcats lost 91-90 to a team from the Southern Conference, Wofford.

I'm sorry. If you're a Big East team, you do NOT lose to a Southern Conference team, at home, any time. Period.

Tonight, the Bearcats inside game was so sorry, they only got eight trips to the free throw line. Wofford went 29 times, converted on 23. If you don't have the smarts to challenge a mid-major (stretch) inside on your home court, you don't deserved to win. Period.

Deonta Vaughn turned in a brilliant game. He's only a freshman. But Vaughn dropped in nine three pointers. However, he also committed a foul with five seconds to go that allowed Wofford to take the lead. And worse, Vaughn had the ball for the final shot, needing only a two, and pulled up to take a three. Again, if you don't have the smarts to challenge a mid-major (stretch) inside on your home court, you don't deserve to win. Period. If Vaughn takes it inside, he may have a chance to draw a foul, go to the line and win the game. We'll never know.

UC is 3-1. It has played NOBODY in it's first four games. When the "somebodies" start showing up (e.g. UConn, Syracuse, Georgetown, etc.)it could get real ugly.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Breaking news from the Cincinnati Reds....catcher Jason LaRue is gone. The light hitting catcher who tied up $5.45 million in pay roll has been banished to the Kansas City Royals for a minor league player to be named later. What this does is free up some payroll. The Reds will have to pick up some of LaRue's contract money this season....but should have enough from this deal to fold into free agent signings or re-upping with some of the current talent.

More to come...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

It was a win, but I don't think the Bengals win over the Saints appreciably changes their playoff situation, just yet. The Bengals are still three games behind AFC North leader, Baltimore. Six games remain. Surely, the Bengals cut that to a two game spread, if they beat the Ravens in Cincinnati on November 30th. Making up the other two games may not be so easy.

If Pittsburgh can beat Baltimore this weekend, in Baltimore, that would be a huge help. But in reality, the Bengals best shot at a playoff berth will be a 'wild card'. To get that, Cincinnati will have to steal a win from games at Indianpolis and/or Denver. Because it will take, in my humble estimation, ten wins to nail down a wild card.

More coming....


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Final posting from a busy day in college, Michigan and Ohio State should NOT play against each other in the BCS Championship game...OSU will play either USC or Notre Dame. Next week's game will determine that....81 points combined must have made Woody and Bo laugh hard and shake their heads in disbelief....Troy Smith will win the Heisman...Saturday night, the bubble burst for Rutgers.....they ran into a Cincinnati team playing its best football of the season....UC was forced to start its back up quarterback, Nick Davila, when Dustin Grutza was hurt earlier in the week...Rutgers wasn't going to the BCS Championship game, even if it finished the season unbeaten....this loss may have cost the Scarlet Knights a spot in any other BCS game....UC locked up a bowl bid with the could play in a more significant game with a win at Connecticut next Saturday...the crowed was boisterous at Nippert Stadium.....but only 27,000 for a game like this? And with a lot of fans in the house thanks to some two for one ticket give aways...this was not was the biggest win, arguably in UC was the highest ranked team the UC football team has beaten in school history....I'll repeat again what I have said publicly numerous times: UC is lucky to have Mark Dantonio as its head coach....he'll get overtures in the next six weeks and the school better do everything in its power to keep him....Dantonio is the third lowest paid head coach among all BCS teams.

105,708 the official attendance...largest crowd in Ohio Stadium history...Michigan's blitz has been realively ineffective today...left to single coverage, the OSU wide receivers have been open, a lot....

Huge call, dumb play by Michigan's Shawn Crable....late hit, helmet to helmet hit on Troy Smith...automatic first down and the Buckeyes live on....Oh what a catch by Brian outstanding catch after Smith's adlib...11 plays, 83 yards and a five play scoring drive...42-31...73 points in this game? Are you kidding me?
Great call to start the 4th quarter...Steve Braeston with the end around....the Wolverines set it up in the third quarter with a hand off underneath....good call on replay, Braeston's knee was clearly down before the ball broke the plane...doesn't matter....Hart is in for his third of the day...why would Michigan line up for two...then kick it after the time out...makes no it's a four point lead....and the Wolverines will need a TD to grab the lead....makes no sense....

And another Ohio State turnover, third of the day. OSU center playing with a cast, apparently not a problem in games before this one...but it's been an issue today...

And another third down when Michigan throws, instead of runs....even though they've seemed to have figured out teh OSU run defense.
I can't get over all of these explosive plays....year after year, OSU and Michigan would play this game conservatively, tackling was good, big plays were few....but here we go again, this time it's Antonio Pittman 55 yards....linebackers were picked up on a blitz and the Michigan secondary took a couple of bad angles on tackles....35-24 OSU...

South Carolina played Middle Tennessee today? What was the point of that? What did the Gamecocks prove by beating up on a mid-major (stretch) 52-7?....same deal with Florida and Western Carolina...62-0....somebody please step in and prevent these mid majors (stretch) over scheduling late in the year to pay some bills....somebody has to say 'no'....

3rd and short and you're running on OSU successfully and you throw??? Bo isn't happy....this should be overturned on review....ball hit the ground....but Michigan will be punting....

Ooops...who do you blame for the fumbled was high, but Smith should have had it. Big, big break for Michigan as we go to the 4th quarter
Can you feel the momentum turning in this game? First Michigan opens the second half with a dynamite drive, running around and through the OSU defense....Mike Hart now over 100 yards for the, that big turnover. I sense the Wolverines have made a philosophical adjustment at halftime...they've elected to go back to a power game, feeling their offensive line can control the OSU front four....Michigan settles for three....four point game...

Florida State beats Western Michigan, in Tallahassee, 28-20...Bobby Bowden fired his offensive coordinator this week, who also happens to be his wonder when Bobby will decide to sail into his sunset....Both Miami and Florida State going through down seasons....
Another "wow"....two big pass plays...Smith to Robiskie, then Smith to Ginn and suddenly Ohio State is pulling away....doesn't look like the Wolverines have the horses to keep up with the OSU offense.....Smith's play fake was outstanding.....reminded me of what Boomer Esiason used to do with the OSU, you can do that when you have Antonio Pittman...and Chris Wells....

just saw the Virginia-Miami score...17-7 Virginia...anybody want to guess what date Larry Coker gets 'launched'?.....

Explosive plays...a 'wow' right back at Michigan...back in this game with that outstanding toss to Abraham Arrington...

UK 42-40 over University of Louisiana-Monroe....that's a little embarrassing, don't you think?...not as embarrassing as losing the game, of course..

TE now open for the Buckeyes...three tosses to the TE on this current drive....and a fourth now for a touchdown....lead back up to 14 for the the half

Brady Quinn, Notre Dame quarterback, now with 90 career TD's....
Explosive plays...they are the difference in every game...OSU's Chris Wells, a freshman has just electrified this crowd and game...maybe that near hundred yard game last week against Northwestern was a sign of things to come...50-yards plus and the Buckeyes take the lead for the first time in this game, 14-7...

Rivalry week...Auburn up 14-3 on Alabama...Up until a couple of weeks ago, Auburn had a legitimate shot at the national title....

OSU's defense beginning to get into a rthym now...field position will be a large part of how this game plays out.
14 play drive, touchdown Troy Smith to Roy Hall....Smith and Hall converted three times on third down and one of those was third and 16, when Hall and Smith hooked up for 21 yards. Each team has had the ball once, each team has scored....pretty good start.

Traction on the recently replanted OSU turf seems to be's only been three weeks since this most recent resurfacing

There's another good BCS match up in Ohio tonight...unbeaten Rutgers plays at Cincinnati. UC's defense was ripped apart pretty good by West Virginia last week...Rutgers like to run...22,000 tickets have reportedly been sold for the 7:45pm start...
"The" game is underway. Nice touch with a tribute to Bo Schembechler before the game. Justifiably so, as Bo played for Woody at Miami, Ohio and was an assistant under Woody at, Michigan running well early on OSU....Bo would've loved that....and a running touchdown to open the think anyone is sweating in Columbus?

University of Kentucky is talking contract extention with the under achieving Rich think maybe that should wait until we see how UK does against Louisiana-Monroe today? UK is trailing by a point, in a shootout, third quarter, 34-33....what is UK doing playing a team like Louisiana-Monroe this late in the season....memo to UK, get real with your scheduling....

Friday, November 17, 2006

Couldn't let another minute pass with a thought on the passing of Bo Schembechler. I'm a huge MAC guy and Bo, of course, played his college football at Miami. His head coach was Woody Hayes. And later, Bo would be an assistant on Woody's staff at Ohio State. Then, of course, they had their classic battles when Bo moved onto coach at Michigan.

I was in Bo's presence several times, when I was the play-by-play broadcaster for the Cincinnati Bengals. We always saw the Lions in the pre-season and Bo was involved with their broadcasts. I found the man 'larger than life'.

It occured to me today, as I heard about his passing that there are no 'larger than life' coaches anymore. Bob Knight, for a lot of reasons, Bill Parcells and Joe Paterno come close. Maybe it's because we live in the 300 channel universe and all things sports seem to on TV. Television, particularly live television, has a way of de-mystifying people. In most instances, that's a good thing. In a sports sense, it's probably a good thing too.

But today, I miss that. Bo against Woody. Did it ever get any better than that?
On the eve of "The Big Game", there are a couple of other games I want to deal with. First, is the 'other big game' in college football Saturday. Unbeaten Rutgers invades Nippert Stadium for a 7:45pm match up with the University of Cincinnati. This game may have as many playoff implications as the one in Columbus.

The battle between OSU and Michigan will probably eliminate one team from the BCS Championship game. A win by UC Saturday will surely eliminate Rutgers from any championship game consideration. Rutgers is still a long shot, even with a win in Cincinnati.

But in a sense, this is a much bigger game for UC. It has been on national television twice this season, winning once, losing once.. But the bigger story than the games with Pitt and South Florida has been the pathetic attendance. It was so bad at the South Florida game, that the ESPN director was instructing his camera people to 'shoot tight' to avoid showing the enormous amount of empty seats.

UC football has never been the 'thing to do' in Cincinnati. It's campus is tough to get to, tough to find parking on and not exactly surrounded by the safest neighborhood in Cincinnati. For all of those reasons, the discretionary ticket buyer has avoided UC football.

There's another reason why UC struggles to get fans to Nippert: it's brand of football hasn't exactly been the most exciting variety. Under previous coach, Rick Minter, defense was stressed. Under current coach, Mark Dantonio (one of the truly great people and rising stars in the coaching profession), ball control offense has been the hallmark.

Like it or not, what will attract a crowd to a product that historically has struggled (and it doesn't matter if it's football or food products) is excitement, a 'buzz', a 'got to get there, got to have it' kind of thing. UC football is competing for the entertainment dollar. It has to appeal to the fringe fan, who would just as well spend his or her dollar on a movie as they would go to a football game in Clifton. The way to create that excitement, that buzz, is to field a team that has an offense that can score from anywhere, 'light it up'. Most coaches hate that, because it takes a large amount of control out of their hands. Turnovers become more of a factor, your defense will have to spend more time on the field because you either turn it over of score quickly, and your quarterback needs to he 'on' every game. Coaches hate to give up control of anything, most of all their on field product.

But, if UC were to go down that road, I believe it would begin building a stronger following. Remember, this is still a commuter school. Students and faculty leave the campus in droves Friday evenings and don't return until the following Monday. UC is battling that, too. But, everybody loves a good time, everybody loves a party. Create that atmosphere on the field, and that program will have a chance. It's a leap of faith, philosophically, for Dantonio and his staff. But I believe they have the talent to pull it off.

Now, to the other 'big game'. Unless you've lived through it, unless you've attended Ohio University, suffered with their football team and its string of broken promises, bad coaches and awful records, it's tough to fully appreciate what happened in Athens, Ohio, Thursday night. Last night, Ohio University won the MAC East football. Just stringing those words together would, in most years, be cause for loved ones to have you seek help.

Ohio (they've pretty much dropped the University part and for God sake, don't ever say Ohio U again) dominated Akron, enroute to a 17-7 win. It pushed the Bobcats record this season to 8-3, with a game at rival Miami coming up next Friday. The 'Cats have a spot in the MAC Championship game on November 30 against Central Michigan.

The architect behind all of this is head coach, Frank Solich. Fired by Nebraska in 2004 for having the audacity to only go 9-3 (and a win over Miami next week would give him the same record at OU), Solich has taken a rag tag bunch of left overs from his predecessor, added two of his own recruiting classes and has pulled the Bobcats out of the abyss with an option offense and a defensive strategy straight out of the Big 12. The Bobcats have gone on the road this season and beaten MAC pre-season champion pick Northern Illinois, MAC east division pre-season pick Kent State and pulled off an upset win at Big Ten Illinois. Their only losses were to Bowling Green, at Missouri and at Rutgers. This isn't a Cinderella season in Athens, Ohio. This is Walt Disney opening the entire vault.

The brains behind this operation is Ohio University school President, Dr. Roderick McDavis, who hired Solich and paid him a salary the second highest on campus, only to his. McDavis watched in late 2004 when five MAC football teams marched to bowl games (and minimum $750,000 pay days) and figured hiring a big time coach and finally fixing the football team would accomplish two things. One, if it won, it would bring in money that would help pay for the rest of his athletic program that had often operated in the 'red'. Two, it would get some positive publicity for his school, often confused nationally with Ohio State and worse Miami, Ohio.

Academia, I'm told, scoffed at the idea and bristled when McDavis paid Solich a salary approaching $250,000 a year. Memo to academia: nobody in the chemistry department, or biology lab or in the english department gets in the newspaper or on the nightly TV news unless they find a formula for synthetic gas, develope a cure for the common cold or write modern day Shakespeare. That's a tough one for academia to handle, I know. I love teachers. None of us would be where we are without them. But in colleges, athletics have always been the calling card for a university to sell it's other products. Get 'em in the tent with athletics, then tell them the good news about your academics. McDavis 'got' that.

With Thursday night's win, Ohio (U) will go to a bowl game. Solich will be hailed and probably forgiven for his DUI in Athens last winter. The University can now tell its story to the nation on a higher platform. It's Scripps School of Journalism, its radio-tv department, its business school, it's school of oesteopathic medicine and the rest of what makes Ohio University special will get more of a national spotlight.

It's been a long time coming. It may be only football. But this is why it matters. It is great to be finally out of the hole.

Come on over to my web site: I'll see you there!

Just posted on my web site is the latest Broo v. Broo. Wait until you hear the opinions flying around in this episode. We've got a rundown of week 11 in the NFL and how the BCS is putting the screws to a number of college teams.

AND...just posted, the latest edition of Bengals Report. Bengals Report executive editor, Marc Hardin and I have a preview of the Bengals vs Saints this Sunday in New Orleans.

You've got the links to both shows....but go to the my web site, for some other cool stuff.

More, after some serious sleep


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Stand by for the latest Broo v. Broo, the most opinionated sports show in cyber space. It will be available later tonight on my web site, You can also access it through Itunes. I'll also have a link to it, through this blog, on Friday morning.

Don't expect Sean Casey back in a Cincinnati uniform anytime soon. The ex-Reds first baseman just re-upped today with the Detroit Tigers. It's a one year deal, valued well below the $8 million Casey pulled in last season.

Updates coming later today.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It's up! Just posted on my web site is the latest Broo View. If you want to listen 'on the fly', just click here and it'll take you straight to my latest podcast.

Good stuff on this one. Bengals sounding off on the state of affairs with that team. Colerain HS football coach, Kerry Coombs at his finest. Don't live in the greater Cincinnati area? Listen to this guy. There's a reason why we call him 'The Quintessential High School Football Coach" and if you listen to this latest Broo View, you'll understand why. We've also got UC football coach, Mark Dantonio talking about his team's upcoming game against Rutgers and Bengal Sam Adams speaks out on his newest business venture, owning an Arena Football League team in Cincinnati.

Quick hits from this afternoon...TJ Houshmandzadeh says Marlon McCree left voice mail, apologizing for the cheap shot he laid on TJ Sunday....Jerry Narron got votes today for NL Manager of the out of work manager won it: Joe Girardi, late of the Marlins.....AL award, no brainer, Jim Leyland....Big night for the Miami RedHawks, football at Bowling Green, basketball at Kentucky....they'll go 0-2....

More later

Just added over night is the latest edition of Bengals Report. Head to my web site, and check out the rest of my audio. I've got interviews with current and former Bengals as well as a hot sports opinion podcast Broo v. Broo.

Waiting to hear Marvin Lewis' news conference in a few minutes. It'll be interesting to hear if he any further comments on how he's going to tweak his roster.
Just added over night is the latest edition of Bengals Report. Head to my web site, and check out the rest of my audio. I've got interviews with current and former Bengals as well as a hot sports opinion podcast Broo v. Broo.

Waiting to hear Marvin Lewis' news conference in a few minutes. It'll be interesting to hear if he any further comments on how he's going to tweak his roster.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

New Arena League football team has landed in Cincinnati. The Junkle Kats. Bengals defensive lineman, Sam Adams will be an owner. In fact, I'm told Adams did most of the leg work. Ken Griffey, Jr and Reds team doctor Tim Kremcheck are the other co-owners. Team begins play in March.

It's a step up from the team that's been in the US Bank Arena the past couple of years, the Marshals of the NIFL. They're apparently going to stay in existence and play in Mason. The Jungle Kats will play in the Arena2 league, or A2, which is a step below the Arena League games you saw on Channel 5 last summer. In fact, you won't be seeing any Arena League games on channel 5 anytime soon. NBC punted the contract.

No major news from the Bengals today. The latest Broo View is still in production. I'm hoping for something later tonight. Head to The latest sports headlines are on the front page. Just scroll down.

Updates when warranted.


Monday, November 13, 2006

In the wake of the Bengals meltdown Sunday, Marvin Lewis says there will be some 'player tweaking' between now and next Sunday's game against the Saints. He wouldn't say if it would involve changes to the starting line-up.

Lewis also said Dexter Jackson was just frustrated when he said that certain players on the defensive side of the ball 'quit' in Sunday's second half. Interestingly enough, this is the third week in a row that Lewis has spun a player's post game comments on the following day.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh said Monday that the hit that the Chargers Marlon McCree delivered to his head appeared to be just a football player, nothing more. Still, McCree will probably still draw a fine from the NFL.

The latest Broo View is in production. Check my web site mid day Tuesday.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Disturbing is the only word you can use to describe the Bengals latest loss. Well, OK, I can think of a few other ones....but not for this blog. Losing is one thing. Having 49 points dropped on you is another. But allowing a team you had down, 28-7 at halftime to come back and beat you? That's inexcusable.

Random thoughts on this loss to the Chargers....Chris Henry is playing with fear. For the second week in a row, he failed to go all out to catch a pass. Actually, he did this twice on Sunday. The ball he 'alligator armed' in the end zone cost the Bengals a chance to tie the game. Given all of his off field trouble last winter, and now this, the Bengals have some serious decisions to make about this guy...Safety Dexter Jackson, the former Super Bowl MVP said after the game today certain players 'quit'....Marvin Lewis looked simply bewildered at the game's end....Marlon McCree's cheap shot on TJ Houshmandzadeh will surely draw a heavy fine....TJ said on the locker room radio show that he knows McCree hangs out in LA and that TJ and some of his posse may have to "kick his ass" in the off-season...This was Carson Palmer's best game yet, further proof he was anything but 100 percent to start this season...The Saints rolled up 450 yards of total offense against the Steelers today.....That means next week's game between the Saints and Bengals will probably have a final score of 17-10...It will probably be another shootout....Three games out of first place in the AFC North with seven to go, realistically the Bengals will have to go 5-2 in their final seven to have a shot at the playoffs...Even at 5-2, they'd finish 9-7...road games at New Orleans, Indianapolis an Denver make 5-2 a bit of a reach....


Friday, November 10, 2006

Just posted the latest Bengals Report on Carson, Marvin and Chad Johnson all weigh in on this Sunday important game with the Chargers.

You can also access the latest edition of Bengals Report by clicking here. But if you go to my web'll also get the latest sports headlines, my personal podcast The Broo View and the most opinionated show in cyber space: Broo v. Broo.

Check it out.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Just posted on my web site is the latest edition of Broo v. Broo a highly charged sports opinion show. This week, the Broo Boys discuss which NFL team is the best and which is the worst this season. Also, the Big East Conference comes under some tough scrutiny. Does a Big East team really deserve consideration for a spot in the BCS National Championship game? Download it now!

It appears the Bengals will be without the following players for this Sunday's game with the Chargers: Rich Braham, Kelley Washington, Brian Simmons, Kevin Kaesviharn and Levi Jones.

UC opens the basketball season this Friday night against Howard. Xavier opens Saturday against Coastal Carolina. Both should be glorified scrimmages.

Is it just me, or do you want to fast-forward to a week from this Saturday? OSU-Michigan is on the horizon.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I've just posted the latest edition of Bengals Report . We've got a lot of the Bengals talking about why the team is 4-4 and how to right the ship with the dangerous San Diego Chargers coming to town this weekend.

Join Bengals Report executive editor, Marc Hardin and me as we break it all down.

You can click here to get the latest episode of Bengals Report.

But you can also go to my web site: and check out all the other neat things there.
In my latest edition of "The Broo View" I've got specific reasons why the Bengals are now 4-4 and reeling.

I've got interviews with Rudi Johnson, Carson Palmer and Marvin Lewis about where the Bengals are right now, and how they think they can 'right the ship'.

Click the link below to go straight to my latest podcast THE BROO VIEW


Ready for some hard, in your face sports opinion? You've got to check out Broo v. Broo. You can find that and the latest edition of Bengals Report on my web site. Twice a week, I'm joined by the executive editor of Bengals Report, Marc Hardin. Together, we review last week's game and preview the upcoming Bengals game.

You'll also find some great audio from the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cincinnati Reds

And to visit my web site click this link: