Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's Wednesday

As Johnny Taylor once sang..."I can see clearly now..." Thank you Dr. Rick Abrahamson for my new eyes!

Couple of days before Christmas so I thought I'd dust off one of my all time favorites. And this version was a classic from the old Dean Martin show.

I asked this question on 700 WLW last Sunday morning. 40 years from now, what will be considered Christmas classics from this decade? I think the answer to that question is, nothing.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Good Monday Morning!

Wondering today just how low the Bengals will be seeded in the upcoming playoffs. It went from best case scenario of #2 at 4p Sunday to worst case scenario of #4 today. No bye week and maybe the Broncos or Ravens in round one. Too early to determine who it'll be. Look at all those 7-7 teams in the AFC right now.

The Bengals are struggling. Their offense is stagnant, both in production and creativity. They can’t score points. To beat the Chargers today, they’ll have to score a lot of points, a lot more than the 17 or so they’ve been averaging over the course of the last two months.

And then, you mix in the death of Chris Henry this week. I don’t know whether or not you follow Ochocino on twitter. I do. He’s been a mess since Henry was injured in that truck accident on Wednesday and his subsequent death Thursday. It’s genuine, real grief.

Carson Palmer, who rarely shows his emotions, was shaken Thursday when he met the media. Palmer didn’t take questions, just made a 45 second statement. Palmer took a real interest in Henry this past off season. He truly believed that Henry was a life and a career that was salvageable. They worked out together this past spring at Palmers home in Southern California. They had a real bond.

Dealing with the death of a friend and channel grief is no small trick. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. You want to move on with your life, but not soon and not until the myriad of emotions have been dealt with, understood. The Bengals are far from that today.

The news of Henry’s accident came after the team had left practice on Wednesday. It was a series of cell calls and text messages that delivered that news. Then Thursday, Henry’s death was delivered to the team at 10am. Friday, the team boarded a flight to the west coast, where the team has historically played poorly.

Still ahead is Henry’s funeral on Tuesday in New Orleans. The cocoon of football, the focus on one of the most important games of the season will tough for this team to wrap itself around. Everywhere it goes this weekend, it’s reminded of Henry, right down to the sticker the Bengals players wore on their helmets Sunday.

Some thought that Henry’s death at an early age was inevitable. You’re reading and hearing a lot about that from national writers and broadcasters this weekend. Full disclosure, I thought the guy was a train wreck who only recently got his cars back on the track. I was happy for him, for that. But I wasn’t ready to canonize him lot a like of people around here have been doing this week. Henry was flawed, like a lot of us. He made some bad mistakes, like a lot of us. He cost himself some serious money by his bad choices. But like all of us, he was human. And sometimes, that what human being do. The ‘light bulb’ goes on for all of us at a different time in our lives. Maybe it went on for you at 17 or 18. For others, it’s in their 30’s. Some of us never have that moment, that ‘light bulb goes on’ moment when we finally ‘get it’. I think Henry had his ‘light bulb’ moment in the summer of 2008, when the Bengals cut him loose and no other NFL team wanted him. I think he finally figured out that the one thing he could do better than anything else had been taken from him, by his own doing.

Say what you want about Mike Brown, and most of us have. The guy probably saved Chris Henry’s life, extended for a year and a half by taking him back in August of 2008. Without football, a lost soul like Henry would have been long gone before now. Brown realized that, when most of us, me included, thought he was playing a fools game. But Brown helped Henry find his ‘light bulb moment’. It was in Brown’s DNA to do that. His father did the same thing with Stanley Wilson. Until last week, Henry appeared to be Stanley Wilson 180, someone who finally got it.

I don’t know what happened in those final few minutes of Chris Henry’s life. And you don’t’ either. I don’t’ know if his fiancĂ©e was at fault, or it Henry was to blame for his own death. And you don’t either.

But I know this: nobody should die at the age of 26. And because Chris Henry his team mates mourn.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Good Morning!

Here's what you gotta ask yourself, if you're University of Cincinnati Athletic Director, Mike Thomas: do you really want Brian Kelly coaching your team in teh Sugar Bowl IF he takes the head coach's job at Notre Dame. I have a one word answer.


Think about it. If Kelly is leaving for his dream job, why keep him from it any longer than necessary? If it's fervent wish to coach the Irish, give Kelly your blessing and send him on his way. Thank him for making UC football relevant again and move on. Do you really want Kelly and a part of his soon to be in South Bend staff hanging around UC, a school they'll be in competition with for future players (a lot from the Greater Cincinnati area) on the recruiting trail?

Years ago, when then Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Lindy Infante signed a future deal to coach in the upstart USFL, Bengals owner Paul Brown booted him from the Spinney Field premises. Brown simply said, "I don't want a fox in my hen house", knowing that the USFL had been poaching away a lot of NFL players.

I'm not saying Kelly is disingenous. I'm not saying he'd do anything unethical. But letting him coach a team he's decided he's better than is simply bad business.

Do you think it's been bad for UC fans, having to endure Bob Griese, Kirk Herbstreit and the myriad of faceless play by play guy speculating on Kelly's future as the Bearcats marched to a perfect season? Well imagine what the Fox Sports Sugar Bowl coverage would be like, when everytime Kelly's face is flashed on the screen, the talk immediately turns to what he'll be doing at Notre Dame.

It would be a four hour commerical for the Irish at the Bearcats expense. Sorry, if I'm Mike Thomas, that's not the show I'm looking for.

The question then becomes, who coaches if Kelly leaves? Do you hire a head coach within the next ten days and charge him with getting a team he's completely unfamiliar with ready for the biggest football game in school history? Doesn't seem like a good idea.

Do you take someone from Kelly's current staff, name them interim head coach with the promise of full consideration for the job permanently when the Sugar Bowl is over? Maybe. But what kind of deal is that for the coach? Unless Thomas works out a deal with Notre Dame that the interim coach can join Kelly's staff at Notre Dame should he not get the gig here in Cincinnati, that option makes sense for no one. Besides, we all remember how it went for Pat Narduzzi, when Dantonio split. He wound up at Michigan State, after his dignity and resume took a 'hit'.

If you're Mike Thomas, as you shop for your next head coach, these are things you have to be thinking of. There is no good answer. Except for this one: you can't let Kelly coach the Bearcats in the Sugar Bowl IF he's leaving for Notre Dame.

You stand to lose more than a game if you let that happen.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

It's a Fantastic Friday...

Check out my new Broo View Podcast with my guest, former Red Eddie Milner. It's on the front page of If you're in a hurry, you can listen to it here.

Also, the latest Bengals Report Podcast is up and ready for your downloading pleasure. That's also on

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Tuesday!

Charlie Weiss, coaching Zombie had his last appearance as a head coach Saturday night. Great game to watch. Sorry Charlie, hate to see you go. Here’s a version of the home game.

Internet reports percolating since late last week about who the next head coach would be Actually, there’s been plenty of speculation about who the next head coach would be all the way back to last season. Here’s the latest: there’s a plane apparently on the way to Norman, Oklahoma today with the Notre Dame athletic director on board, hauling a brief case full of wadded money to entice the head Sooner to jump to South Bend.

The fact that the Notre Dame athletic director was denying it as late as last night (as well as Stoops)? Just a mere detail.

And of course, there’s the Brian Kelly rumors that have a zombie like life themselves. Bob Griese fanned those flames Friday on ABC, who gave us either the scoop of the season or another indication that he’s in serious ned of a hearing test.

If it’s Kelly going to South Bend, so be it. It’s not like they’re going to stop playing football in Clifton if he goes. By the way, my gut feeling all along on this is that Kelly isn’t going to Notre Dame. And if UC fans really want to worry about their coach going anywhere, it should be to a team like Florida, Oklahoma or anyplace where a national title can be won instantly. If you think you can win a national title instantly or at any point in the next four years at Notre Dame, you haven’t been paying attention.

But if Kelly wants it, and they want him, he should go for it. And every UC fan everywhere should send Kelly a letter thanking him for what he’s done.
And if he leaves, here’s what I would do if I was UC athletic director, Mike Thomas. You’re going to laugh. You’re going to say I’m crazy. You’re going to call me naive. It’s OK, not like it hasn’t happened before.

If I’m Mike Thomas, my first phone call is to Urban Meyer. You’re laughing, I can hear you. Hang on a second. I know that’s out there. I know the chances of getting Urban Meyer to think about leaving there for here is something like one in a million. But why not take the shot? If you’re Thomas, here’s what you say. You say, Urban, you’re a Cincinnati boy. If I’m not mistaken you went to our school right? A lot of your family still lives here, right? Your up here for some of the holidays, you’ve stopped by to watch Brian Kelly coach in practice, am I right here Urban? Urban, I hear you snickering. It’s OK, don’t blame you. But who’s your quarterback next season? If I’m not mistaken his name isn’t Tim Tebow. You’re probably going to win another national title this year. You’re probably going to get by Alabama. Texas? You’ve got a month to get ready for Colt McCoy, you’ll figure something out. You’re probably going to win another national title this year. What’s that make? Three in the last four years? What else have you got to prove down there?

If I’m Thomas I say, yeah I heard your making decent coin down there. Read all about that six year, 24-million dollar deal you signed back in August. Highest paid coach in the SEC, if I’m not mistaken. I also see your buyout remained just a half million dollars. Sounds to me like you’re a man who wants to keep his options open. Urban, you still there? You haven’t hung up on me, have you? Good.

Let me tell you what we can do here, besides bring you home. First, you can build off what we’ve already got. Great athletic facility, cozy stadium, fan base that hasn’t been this energized since Huggins had that Final 4 team.
Brian Kelly? Great coach, great motivator. Guy also gives a great speech. Yeah, we wanted to keep him. But think about what you can do. You got the pipeline to Florida. You got Ohio. You got that other school in Columbus on the run. You got a new school president here who’s sports crazy, loves football, wants a national title himself. Best of all, you don’t have your own legacy you have to trump every season.

Look, Urban, I can’t pay you four mil a year. I could go two, maybe two and a half. Bring any assistant coach you want with you. I’ll send the jet. Heck, I bet if you want your own jet, we got someone up here who’ll get you one. We’ll even throw in Kerry Coombs. You heard of him, right? He’s in more living rooms than Jay Leno.

So what do you say Urban? You wanna come home. You want to continue to build this thing? You want a chance to write a new legacy? What do you want? Just tell me, you got it.

Urban…Urban? Hello? Urban, you there?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Good Monday Morning!

I watched the Notre Dame-Connecticut game Saturday. The Notre Dame defense is pathetically bad. Bad angles to tackles, bad tackling, poor pass coverage. It’s amazing, really, how awful that team is defensively. The Irish lost. They got a life line at the end of regulation when the Uconn kicker missed a very makeable field goal. But you know it was just a matter of time.

But what struck me more than the game itself, is how NBC laid out the sad saga of Charlie Weiss.. I think it was late fourth quarter when they ran a piece of tape…sound btie we call it in the biz, of Weiss on the day he was named the Notre Dame head coach. He said the reason why he was standing there, that day, was because the team went 6-5 that season. And if they were looking to go 6-5, he was the wrong man for the job.

Notre Dame of course, is now 6-5 with a game to play. There’s always bad news for UC fans when Notre Dame loses, but here’s a piece of good news. If the Bearcats don’t beat Pitt and don’t get to play in the Sugar Bowl or some other BCS bowl, the Gator Bowl just came into the picture. I don’t care how well Notre Dame fans travel, would you want a 10-1 UC team or a possible (but improbale) 7-6 Notre Dame team representing the Big East in Jacksonville?

But that’s a story for another day.

I don’t know whether or not Brian Kelly is on Notre Dame’s radar. There are reports this week he’s not the first choice, that he’s not on their short list. Reportedly, the Irish will make a full scale charge at Urban Meyer or Bob Stoops. As much as we like Kelly, Meyer and Stoops are bigger names. And the only thing Notre Dame likes more than firing a head football coach is hiring one with a big name.

But what any coach who’s approached by Notre Dame needs to do is this: play the tape from the news conference introducing Weiss on that December day in 2005. And then, play the tape of him crying his eyes out after Uconn beat Notre Dame in overtime Saturday. Or the tape of his post game news conference Saturday night.

Then make sure you get as much money as you can going in….and even more going out. You’ll need it, because you won’t have your dignity when you depart from Touchdown Jesus. Like Weiss in 2005, the new coach will come in roaring. Like Weiss today, the next coach will leave sounding like a squeaking gerbil, ground to a ‘nub’. Notre Dame’s problems go far deeper than a head coach. It is a bad football paradigm. Buyer beware. Wake up the echoes? Better to let ‘em sleep.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hope you've had a chance to listen to my latest Broo View Podcast. My guest is Jerry Palm from We analyze the BCS from the University of Cincinnati point of view. You can hear it by heading to The podcast is on the front page. But here's a link, if you're in a hurry.
Hope you're having a Fantastic Friday....

Our pal Mike Florio from has a new video that analyzes the 7-2 Cincinnati Bengals.

Florio doesn't miss on much. Sounds like a pretty good analysis to me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Good Monday Morning!

Whoooooo Deyyyyy!

Now help me out here, Bill Belichick is a genius because......????

Travel time to Pittsburgh by car: 5 hours
Tickets to get into Sunday's game: $75.00/per
Look on Roethlisberger's face at the 0:00: Priceless

Actually, before anyone gets too carried away this morning, remember 2005. I think we'll see these guys again later this season. Just a hunch.

Charlie Weiss is dead man walking. You watch any Notre Dame game these days, that’s what you see. He’s a man who knows his fate and his fate won’t be pleasant. Maybe in a week, two, a month tops, Notre Dame will call a news conference and announce that Weiss is out, or has left to pursue other interests or wants to spend more time with his family. You know the wording. It all means the same. Charlie, here’s your hat and a version of the home game, thanks for playing.

You can say Weiss came off as an oaf. You can say that he’s just another piece of spoiled fruit from the coaching tree of Bill Belichick. You may be right. You’d also be right if you said he never had a chance. Coaches at Notre Dame never have a chance.

If Notre Dame fires Charlie Weiss, and correct me if I’m wrong, doesn’t the man have a contract through 2015, or the next six seasons after this one, at four million dollars a year? If my Ohio University math serves me correctly, that would mean Notre Dame will owe Weiss about $24 million dollars just to take a hike. Here’s a question for the Catholic church this morning, or the Notre Dame boosters who supposedly put money in the collection basket each Sunday: Isn’t there a better, more charitable way to spend $24 million than telling an under achieving football coach to walk?

We’re being honest here, aren’t we? I’m sure the school can’t cough up that cash, even with tuition and room and board at over $51 thousand for undergradutates every year. I would think the school would want to spend that kind of money on some more important things, like say, paying their professors better or cutting Mom and Dad a break on future tuition checks. What do you think, Reverend John Jenkins, school president, not a bad idea?

And if these faceless Notre Dane boosters,, whomever they are, really do have $24 million to spend on getting rid of a coach, did you learn nothing while you matriculated at that school about service to others? $24 million dollars can pay a lot of salaries for jobs that are disappearing. It’ can build parks for kids to play in, schools that are safe to learn in. While you’re working on throwing a bad football coach onto the street, how about helping some people living on the street find homes?

Look, I don’t care whether or not Charlie Weiss coaches another down of football. Notre Dame isn’t my school. I could care less if that team goes 12-0 or 0-12. But I also don’t care a lot for hypocracy. And there’s a lot of it rolling out of South Bend lately.

Let’s see, the last football coach to leave Notre Dame with an ounce of dignity was…who? Ara Parseghian? And that was when? 1974? Dan Devine lasted six year, won over 75-percent of his games but a lot of these same boosters ran him off because he wasn’t Ara….then came the parade: Faust, Holtz, Davie, Willingham and now Weiss, unless you include George O’Leary and his resume from fiction.

If you’re scoring at home, Notre Dame has had four football coaches in the last 16 seasons, not including O’Leary for about ten minutes and some poor sole named Kent Baer, who had to sweep up for a game after Willingham was bounced.. Weiss, Willingham and Davie all have about the same record.

Notre Dame football is struggling for a lot of reasons. Too many of its boosters are living in the 1950’s and not enough of the top college players today want to live in South Bend. Notre Dame used to be one of the only schools to have its games on TV. Now, just about every Division I football team has every one of it’s games on TV. To its credit, Notre Dame won’t admit student athletes who don’t meet its stringent academic requirements. But every Saturday, it seems, it’s playing against schools without the same kind of academic standards, against athletes that are simply better than theirs.

You can say all of that is the coach’s fault. But if you’re scrambling around trying to get $24 million to pay a coach to go away, what does that say about you?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just posted to the front page of my web site is the latest episode of Bengals Report Podcast. This time,'s Marc Hardin and I preview this Sunday's Bengals vs Steelers game.

Also, the latest Broo View Podcast is up and posted. I'm joined in this latest episode by best selling author John Feinstein. Our topic, the folly that is the BCS. You can find that on But, here's a quick link, if you're in a hurry.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Big shows this Sunday, both on 700 WLW and WLWT Channel 5.

Sunday morning on 700 WLW, my guests included national best selling writer, John Feinstein. We'll discuss the BCS, in light of an article John just wrote for the Washington Post. Jarrett Bell from USA Today will join me, as well to discuss the Bengals vs Ravnes game and other things around the NFL. And from the, Aaron Wilson will check. Among Aaron's many jobs is covering the Ravens. We're on from 9am-11:30am. If you don't live in the Midwest, you can always listen on-line, at

Sunday night on WLWT, or there abouts depending on how long Sunday Night Football runs, we'll be join by 700 WLW's Lance McAllister and former Cincinnati Bengal, Eric Thomas. Maybe a surprise of two along the way.

I've just posted my latest Broo View Podcast to the front page of my web site, My guest in this current episode is the national college football writer, Jay Christensen. He's got some interesting thoughts on the BCS and the UC Bearcats.

The latest Bengals Report Podcast is also on's Marc Hardin and I break down the first seven games of this season.

Some random thoughts on this random Friday...

I think Ohio State loses at Penn State this Saturday, but comes back to hand Iowa its first loss of the season a week from now.....

The official line on the UC-Connecticut game is UC minus 17. That's about right. I don't care how many close games UConn has played this season. They haven't seen any offense like the one UC will toss at them Saturday night...

Florida coach, Urban Meyer should know better. His top defensive player is caught on tape trying to gouge the eyes out of an opponent and Meyer only suspends the kid for one half of one game. That's a great message to the rest of your team, and the sporting world, where your priorities are. I don't know if it was Brandon Spikes idea to suspend himself for a full game, but it's a good idea. Maybe it was a way for Meyer to save face. But somebody that Meyer answers to need to sit him down and have a long talk about priorities....

There are a lot of bad teams this season in the NFL. I can't remember a year when we've had this many bad teams. Browns, Bucs, Titans, Seahawks, Bills, Jags, Chiefs, Raiders. Which team is the worst? It's tough to pick against the Browns, a team that's both bad AND dysfunction. But that Tampa team is plain awful....

The 2009 World Series drew great TV ratings and it was fun to watch. But by the seventh inning of game six, I began to get depressed. The Reds will never, under current structure, be as good as either the Yankees or Phils. If the threshold of competing is the $100 million per year payroll, small market teams like the Reds are doomed. You can build your farm system and win with your own players. But eventually, those players, if they're good, will cost too much to keep. So they're dealt, or allowed to walk, to the big market teams furthering the disparity.

You can always follow the blueprint of the Twins and Rays. But you'll only capture 'lightning in a bottle' every so often. The Twins have been to the playoffs five times in this decade, a very successful number. But they haven't won a World Series in 19 years.

I heard Buster Olney, an ESPN "insider" say this week that the situation for small market teams will get even worse in 37 days, when arbitration eligble players must be tendered offers. Olney predicts, rather than offering arbitration, a lot of small market teams will simply let their players walk.

Best new show on television is "Flash Forward". It's shot well, good character development and a story line that's both creative and frightening. And it's written very well. Good writing trumps everything else in the world of entertainment.

And I'm done writing for now. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Good Monday Morning!

There’s a prejudiced out there about the Big East. Which is funny, because the sports media is always accused of having an East Coast prejudice. Tune into any of the ESPN shows, radio or TV, and you get a lot of Yankees, Red Sox, Giants, Patriots. I’ll give you a good reason why: a lot of the talking heads on ESPN and the over the air networks are from the East Coast, or have lived in New York so long, they’ve developed an New Yorker’s view of America. You even seen one of those maps, a New Yorker’s view of the USA? Seven-eighths of it is consumed by New York, New Jersey and Connecticut….the rest of the country is squeezed into the final one-eighth of the map. Funny, but in a lot of ways true.

Here’s why a lot of the national media isn’t taking the Big East seriously: it has only eight teams that play football. It has a ninth team that plays football, but won’t play a Big East schedule and has its own television network. It’s a conference where it’s biggest stars play basketball and it’s celebrity coaches wear Armani and work winters. Except Huggins and that monstrosity of mustard he likes to dust off every now and again.

Dave Gavitt and Mike Tranghese after him, were magicians. They were the smart guys, the first commissioners. They took a lot of smoke and mirrors and a little bit of carnival barker and created an aura for the Big East. Georgetown’s basketball team and Virginia Tech’s football team didn’t hurt the cause either. Tranghese elbowed his way into the same room as the big boys, the suits who run the Big 10, Big 12 the SEC. He almost single handidly helped the Big East survive the major poaching the ACC did to his conference five or six years ago. It was good work. But it wasn’t enough. The Big East isn’t the Big 12. It’s just a step or two ahead of the Mountain West and Conference USA.

And that’s why today, after winning eight straight, with the most charismatic coach this side of Lou Holtz and skill players Urban Meyer would kill for, the Bearcats struggle for national love. Brian Kelly likes to say his Bearcats need to prove what’s going on right now isn’t a one year deal.

That tradition will take care of a lot of what the “Cats are battling right now. But this is a guy who knows the score.

In a month, there’s a very good chance the UC football team will be standing on the turf of Heinz Field in Pittsburgh with a Big East trophy, a perfect season and a resume with enough glitter to rightfully claim a spot in the BCS Championship game. There’s an even better chance it won’t get within a thousand miles of Pasadena. It’s not the team. It’s the conference.

Cincinnati could be at the epicenter of the BCS implosion. Because, if UC finishes the season as the only, or one of two undefeated teams from a BCS Conference and DOESN’T go to the title game, than what’s the point of belonging to a BCS Conference. You play in a certified BCS conference, you run the table and it still isn’t good enough? The system implodes.

And what does that say about the Big East?

So today, I’ve got a little homework lesson for the new Big East Conference Commissioner.: John Marinotto. It won’t help the Bearcats this season. But it might get his conference mentioned in the same breath as the “big boys”

Here’s the homework lesson: expand. Today, tomorrow, by next April. As soon as possible. And poach. Take teams from another conference and have no conscience about it. This is no game for the timid and your conference’s future as a BCS member is at stake. Don’t wait for the warning shots. Be preemptive.

Here’s two teams I’d look at today, right now. Kentucky. You’re laughing. Stop. As long as LSU, Alabama and Florida are in the SEC, Kentucky has about as much chance of winning an SEC football championship as you have commanding a spaceship to Saturn. Don’t think UK would be interested? Is the SEC a better basketball conference than the Big East? Not anymore. Don’t think John Calipari wouldn’t love coaching in that conference again? He may not say it publicly, wouldn’t be politically correct. But he’d love to.

Does UK have a better shot at winning a football conference championship in the Big East than the SEC? You already know the answer to that question.

Better chance of going to the NCAA Tournament in the Big East than the SEC if it doesn’t win the championship? Would UK be available? Maybe not today. But why not lay the ground work.

My other school to target: Memphis. It got left at the post when Louisville and UC jumped ship from Conference USA. But Memphis, continued to field competitive and sometimes, championship caliber basketball teams. The Memphis football program isn’t championship ready. But remember, recruiting big time talent to a Big East football team is a heckuva lot easier than it is recruiting talent to a Conference USA team. Kentucky and Memphis gets the Big East to ten. Two five team divisions and a playoff game and then, you’re on a more level playing field with the other BCS conferences and, most important, in the eyes of the people who vote for your teams in the polls.

Will it happen? It has to. It’s survival. It may not be UK and Memphis. It may be someone else. But if UC is standing on the turf at Heinz Field on December 5th, unbeaten, Big East championship trophy held high and on December 6th the final BCS poll has a one loss team ahead of them? Ballgame….for the BCS, for the Big East.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Just posted to the front page of my web site is the latest Broo View Podcast. My guest in this episode is's Alex Marvez, the national NFL writer. And you'll hear comments from several of the Cincinnati Bengals. Here's a quick link.

And the latest episode of Bengals Report is ready for you to download. Marc Hardin and I review the Bengals big win over the Bears. Here's a quick link.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just posted on the front page of my web site, is the latest episode of Bengals Report Podcast. This time,'s Marc Hardin and I break down the Bengals big win over the Chicago Bears. Check it out!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Random thoughts for a random Tuesday...

Forget about what the BCS poll says this week, the UC Bearcats will finish higher than 8th. The poll, historically, is volatile. Teams the Bearcats have beaten will beat other teams and enhance UC standing. Teams in front of the Bearcats will lose and fall. If UC beats West Virginia and Pitt, the 'Cats will be fine...

If you're wondering about the BCS title game here's what you have to root for: someone in the Big 12 to beat Texas. In the SEC, Florida or Alabama may finish unbeaten. But not both. They'll meet in the SEC title game, most probably. The BCS won't have a rematch in its title game. That means the SEC winner, if unbeaten is in. But, what if the Big 12 produces no unbeaten teams and UC runs the table. Would the BCS take a one loss Big 12 team over an unbeaten Big East team? If it does I predict the BCS implodes. And don't worry about TCU or Boise State. If UC runs the table, it will finish ahead of those non BCS conference schools...

Unless I'm wrong....

Yanks in six. They won't touch Cliff Lee, but they'll hit Cole Hamels....

By the way, the only thing you need to know about how bad the Cleveland Indians are is game one of the World Series. Former Indians starting pitchers Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia will most likely face each other. The Indians should have ponied up the dough to keep one, or the other....

The Reds will win 80 games next year. I don't see them being competitive in 2010, too many suspect bats in the "everyday 8" and no Edinson Volquez. Set the alarm for 2011.....

I get the fact that Sarasota wouldn't pay ball with the Reds and the team had to look for other venues. But I lived and worked in Florida for seven years. You mean to tell me there wasn't another town in that state that wouldn't have made a competitive offer to keep the team in Florida? Really?

So now they go out to Arizona, where it may make short term economic sense. But long term, I don't see how this is a winning proposition. How does that move help you sell tickets for the regular season? The 1p exhibition start times in Arizona will be 4p start times in Cincinnati. That means the highlights won't make it onto the early evening newscasts. The 7p start times begin at 10p Cincinnati time. That means not only will the highlights not get on the 11p newscast, the game results won't be in the next morning's paper. And this doesn't even take into account how many Cincinnati based Reds fans will have the money to fly to Arizona to see the team, like they did when the Reds trained in Sarasota. Spring break trips by college students? As Tony Soprano would say "Feg-gedda-boud-it"....

I don't see any Ohio Division I HS football team in this area of the state beating Moeller. Me thinks the Crusaders will be playin in the frigid air on December 5th in Canton....

Can Cedric Benson play EVERY game against the Bears? How come he didn't run that way against the Texans? Just wondering...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This is why Brian Kelly is one of the best football coaches in the country. He doesn’t worry a whole lot about what he doesn’t have. He just takes what he has to work with and wins.

A lot of coaches like to say they don’t spend a lot of time worrying about who’s hurt, who’s holding out, who’s ineligible. About 95 percent of them are lying when they say that. You bet coaches break a sweat in the middle of the night when they know they’re going into a game without a key player. I love it when coaches say, we’re not going to talk about who’s not here, we’re going to talk about who IS here. Then, of course, he wanders back to his strategy room and groans about to whatever assistant coach, secretary or owner will listen to him.

I’m sure Kelly moans about the same thing in private. And I’m pretty sure at some point in his dealings with the media, somewhere, he’s uttered the same line about who’s he not worrying about. But I know this: with the system he runs, Kelly can plug just about any quarterback with a modicum of talent and win. That’s why he’s one of the best football coaches in America.

Like yesterday. He know on the flight home from South Florida he wasn’t going to have Tony Pike. On the day Pike had his arm surgery, which was Tuesday of this week I believe, Kelly was floating the ruse that Pike might play against Louisville. If his game was to make Louisville coach, Steve Kragthorpe stop and think about it, only for a minute, maybe it was good strategy. But Kelly knew all along that you had a better shot at quarterbacking his team against Louisville than Tony Pike did. Yet he didn’t just find a way to replace the most important player on his team. He found a way to drop a keg of nails on the Cardinals heads.

Good coaches do that. They always have an end game. When I worked in Tulsa, Oklahoma years ago, we had four major college football teams in my station’s coverage area. In Norman, there was Barry Switzer and the Sooners. Switzer was larger than life, knew it, played it and won by running the ball a lot. If his quarterback threw the ball 20 times a season, it was a bad season. At Oklahoma State, Jimmy Johnson was coaching the Cowboys. He was from Switzer’s coaching tree, had an upstart and talented coaching staff. He could never beat Oklahoma. But Jimmy Jump Up, as Switzer used to call him breathed new life into what was the doormat of the then Big Eight.

At Tulsa, there was John Cooper. This is long before Cooper landed at Ohio State, long before the ‘boys in downtown Columbus’ picked him apart for sport. Cooper pieced together some nice teams. Had a running back by the name of Ricky Watts, who went onto some success in the NFL.

But the smartest of the bunch may have been another coach who ran a big time program within the scope of our television signal. It was Lou Holtz, the head hog in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Holtz had landed there, after flaming out in less than one season coaching the New York Jets. By 1977, he had the Razorbacks roaring again and in the January first, 1978 Orange Bowl against the Oklahoma Sooners. Arkansas was a big, big underdog. More than 18 poins, as I recall. And to make matters worse, Holtz had suspended his star running back, Ben Cowins.

Now the 1977 Razorbacks were no slouch. They came into the game number six in the country. But with Cowins, and three other starters for that matter, suspended, Holtz had to find a way to handle the Sooners blistering offense and score some points of his own. He found a way, in giving the football to a running back who wasn’t a household name, even in his own household. His name was Roland Sales. Sales had run up a modest 399 yards all season. His best game was 71 yards. But Holtz knew Sales slashing style would be the perfect way to not only attack Oklahoma’s defense, it would control the clock and keep the Sooners offense off the field. Sales rushed 23-times that night for 205 yards. Arkansas beat Oklahoma, 31-6. I was there. And I saw Holtz find a way to get his team a win.

This is what Brian Kelly does. This is why he’s one of the hottest coach in America. This is why in a month or so, his name will be bandied about like tennis ball when better paying jobs come open at bigger schools. Ben Mauk gets hurt, there’s always Dustin Grutza. Mauk is denied another year of eligibility, there’s Tony Pike. Pike hurts his arm, here comes Zach Collaros who tosses the ball 17 times Saturday against Louisville and completes 15 passes.

Maybe it’s Kelly’s system, maybe its over recruiting at key positions, maybe it’s luck. Maybe it’s all of that. Roland Sales hasn’t been mentioned in any sportscast anywhere in 25 years. But he was all I could think about Saturday watching Collaros do his thing. Kelly looks nothing like Lou Holtz. Kelly coaches nothing like Lou Holtz did. Kelly’s teams throw so many passes, the control tower at CVG diverts jets. Holtz would rather dine on nuclear waste than throw a pass. But they both have a lot in common. Let’s hope that stops before the conversation turns to Notre Dame.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Couple of things that are just published to One is the latest Broo View Podcast. My guest in this episode is author Jason Cole, who's new book "Ocho Cinco" is all about Chad.

Also on the front page of my web site is the latest Bengals Report Podcast. Marc Hardin of and I review the loss to the Houston Texans and preview this Sunday's game against the Bears. I'll give you a quick link to it here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If UC head football coach, Brian Kelly is doing what I think he's doing, we're watching a giant game of 'cat and mouse'. Kelly said Tuesday that quarterback Tony Pike may play this Saturday against Louisville. That was quite a statement, as Pike was just shaking off the wooziness of anesthesia. The senior QB had early morning surgery Tuesday to reattached a plate on his left forearm, initially put there after Pike broke his arm last season. The plate came loose after Pike took a hit in the Bearcats win over South Florida last Thursday night.

Kelly says Pike could be back at practice Thursday. Unless he went to a tent revival after surgery, I don't see how Pike can. But Kelly is floating this, I think, to keep the 'Ville on its toes. When you don't know whom you have to prepare for, it tends to chew up a lot of practice time.

UC is a prohibitive favorite, something like 17 points this week. The Bearcats are playing at home. And their back-up QB, Zach Collaros was terrific in relief of the injured Pike in Tampa last week. It makes no sense to play Pike this week. But for Kelly to say that this early in the week would be making Louisville's job easier. So we get 'cat and mouse' for awhile.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Random thoughts to begin the new week...

After spending three and a half hours on 700 WLW after the Bengals lost to the Texans Sunday, I was surprised to hear so many fans ready to jump off the Bengals Bandwagon. I don't get that. If you're really a fan, how can you turn on your team so quickly after what it did the past four weeks. Refresh my memory: weren't the last four games before Sunday's some of the most exciting football we've seen around here in years? This team is 4-2. It's tied for the AFC North lead (technically, it owns the lead because of its win over the Steelers) and it's defense had played well in every game this season up until Sunday.

The loss to the Texans was tough on three fronts. The Bengals lost Antwan Odom for the season. It lost the game. And the Bengals lost to a team that might be in the playoff mix, which now holds the tie-breaker over the Bengals.

But turn tail on a Bengals team that had this town buzzing like it was 2005 all over again? After only one loss? Really? Come on.

Baltimore's offense has arrived just as its defense has departed. That's a lot of points that team is giving up....

My great fear about the Steelers is that they might've already had their once a season swoon....

Mark Sanchez is looking like a rookie quarterback with each passing Sunday. What a crime to waste that kind of Sunday Jets RB Thomas Jones had.....

If Jim Zorn can stay employed, there's no reason why all of us can't. By the way, the new assistant coach the Redskins hired two weeks ago and who'll now call the plays in DC is Sherm Lewis, father of former WLWT sportscaster, Kip Lewis.....

Jerry Palm of projects the UC Bearcats to play in the Sugar Bowl, January 1st against Alabama. First BCS poll of the year has UC 5th, ahead of Southern Cal, Iowa and you know how up in you know where...

Until and if the Bengals can fix their tight end situation, doesn't it make sense to play an extra offensive lineman instead of Daniel Coates. I mean, you're not going to throw the ball to Coates anymore, are you? So why not put an extra lineman in for protection?

Even the most ardent Miami RedHawks fan has to be wondering, which coach wins first this season, Mike Haywood or Charlie Coles?

By the way, watch out now, my Ohio Bobcats are 5-2 and could run the table in the MAC East....

Very, very happy for former Bengals quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, who engineered an overtime win for the Bills against the Jets, Sunday. There wasn't a better guy in that Bengals locker room last season....

It sure did look to me like the Titans quit on Sunday.....

If I'm Reds "AAA" pitching coach, Ted Power, I'm done with the Reds organization. Power was the in house favorite to replace Dick Pole as the major league pitching coach. Instead, the team hired former Mariners and Diamondbacks coach, Bryan Price. I don't know a lot about him, but I do know Power managed to salvage the career of Homer Bailey and that alone should have merited the promotion. Bailey was on a rocket ride to oblivion earlier this year, until Power finally got through to him. Power isn't Walt Jocketty's guy. And in the end, that's probably what cost him the job. And that's a shame......

I don't know if either of them have enough steam to make it to the top of the BCS heap, but watch out for Iowa and Miami, Florida......

If you're Brian Kelly and you know you're going to need Tony Pike to beat the big three in your conference (UConn, Pitt and WVU) would you risk playing Pike in the next two weeks against Louisville and at Syracuse? Not me. I think Zach Collaros or Chazz Anderson will do just fine against those two teams.....

The Denver balloon boy was a hoax? You gotta be kidding me....

By the way, Michael Lombardi from the and the NFL Network joined me on 700 WLW Sunday. I asked him if he thought what Brian Kelly is doing at UC, his offensive philosophy, would work in the NFL. In other words, could Kelly take his act to the pros. Lombardi, the former de facto GM of the Raiders told me he thought it, and Kelly, would work just fine in the NFL. But Lombardi said a lot of NFL team would shy away from hiring Kelly because he has no experience coaching in that league, specfically as an assistant coach.

By the way, even with Saturday loss to Southern Cal, I don't think Notre Dame is about to fire Charlie Weiss....not that what I say will make him rest any easier...

The Broo View, our weekly NFL breakdown, is tonight at 6:15p on WLWT Channel 5....

Now get out there and make some money.....

Friday, October 16, 2009

Just wanted to let you know I'm talking sports this Saturday on 700 WLW in Cincinnati. Among my guests will be Jason Cole, author of the new book Ocho Cinco, as well as former Notre Dame All American, Bob Crable and former Ohio State quarterback, Art Schlichter. I'm on from 3p-6p.

Then, on Sunday, I'm on from 9am-11:30am, with guests Mike Florio from and Michael Lombardi from
Just posted to the front page of my web site is the latest Bengals Report Podcast. Marc Hardin of and I look back on that stirring win over the Baltimore Ravens and preview this Sunday's match up with the Houston Texans.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Good Monday Morning!

4-1! The next person who tells you he or she predicted that you can say YOU LIE!

We know this. They’re making plays at critical points in ballgames. For most of the last 20-or so years, when it came time to make a play, the Bengals withered. Now, we see the fourth down conversions that kept winning drives alive against the Steelers and Browns. Coaches will tell you, Marvin has said this, that most games come down to about five to seven plays. Execute properly, you win. Execute poorly, you loses. For most of the last 20-or so years, the Bengals have selected door number two. Not so this season.

We know this: when healthy, Carson Palmer is an elite quarterback. He hasn’t’ achieved the status of either of the Manning brothers or Ben Roethlisberger. Those guys have Super Bowl rings. But he’s playing a lot like he played in 2005. Two things have helped Palmer: the Bengals have a running game and they aren’t losing track of it during ballgames. Remember how we groaned on a weekly basis the past few years when Bob Bratkowski would fall in love with throwing the ball around and not letting Benson, or Rudi Johnson or Kenny Watson or whomever grind it out? Remember how we said that in the AFC North, you have to run the ball to win late in the season and you only do that by establishing the ground game in September and October? As the French like to say voila.

We know this: the Bengals secondary is good, very close to very good. You want to know the real reason why Odom got all of those sacks and why the Bengals numbers in quarterback hurries and hits are up this season? It’s because cornerbacks Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph are playing better. And because of that, safeties Roy Williams and Chris Crocker and Chinedum Ndukwe can come up in run support. Gush over the front seven if you want.

You won’t get any argument from me. But it’s the secondary that’s making it happen.

We know this: Kevin Huber may be the best Bengals punter since Lee Johnson. He may be the best since Dave Green (kids wake your Dad up and ask him who that is). Huber only has four NFL games on his resume. But he’s doing exactly what he did at UC: getting the Bengals out of trouble and into decent field position.

To be honest, there is a lot of stuff that isn’t right. St. Louis and his snaps would be the most glaring. Too often, Palmer has to hurry throws because of the offensive line, still a work in progress. Too often, receivers are running the wrong routes, or Palmer is throwing to invisible men. Too often, we get those infuriating penalties, like false starts and illegal blocks on the return team. The Bengals were supposed to have an elite class of tight ends this season. Two of them got hurt and the guy they drafted from Missouri can’t get on the field.

But 4-1 is 4-1.

The real problem in our town, with as bad as both the Bengals and Reds have been lately, is that when we see a ray of sunshine, we’re dousing ourselves in sun tan oil. We’re not there yet. You don’t emerge from 20-years of dark skies overnight. But we’re getting there.

So my unsolicited advice to you today is this: stop wondering how many wins it will take to make the playoffs. Stop looking three and four games down the road. Take some time to savor the moment. This team is 4-1. It won its biggest game of the season so far today. It is exactly at the same point it was in 2006. That season went south. Maybe this season won’t. That’s why you take it, one game at a time.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Just posted to the front page of my web site is the latest edition of Bengals Report Podcast. In this episode, Marc Hardin, the executive editor of, and I preview the upcoming Bengals vs Ravens game this Sunday afternoon in Baltimore.

I've got Ross Tucker, from and SiriusXM radio on my Sunday Morning Sports Talk show on 70o WLW. Also, Joe Reedy, the Bengals beat writer from the Cincinnati Enquirer and Jerry Sandusky, the voice of the Baltimore Ravens stop by. Hope you will too. I'm on from 9am-11:30am ET and you can listen on line at

Nothing to base this on, but I think the University of Kentucky pulls off the upset Saturday at South Carolina.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Good Monday Morning!

3-1, really? Who had the Bengals 3-1 after 4 games. Let me see a show of hands. YOU LIE! I wouldn't hold out too much hope for this Sunday at Baltimore. But then again, I said the same thing about last week's game against the Steelers.

The network affiliated television stations in Wisconsin can all go 'dark' Monday night. Every pair of eyeballs in that state will be tuned into ESPN and the Packers vs Vikings game. Brett Favre rules, even in abstentia.

So let me get this straight, Buckeye fan, your team just slipped behind the UC Bearcats in the latest AP poll? You're #9 and UC is #8 and you both won this past weekend? Hmmm, and you still think OSU would beat the Bearcats by 30 in a head to head match up? I had one Buckeye fan tell me that today on 700 WLW.

You and I may be geeked over this team being 5-0, but we may be in the minority. In fact, I think we are. UC remained unbeaten Saturday, went to Oxford and thumped Miami. Miami threw everything it had at UC. This was the RedHawks Super Bowl. UC didn’t bring its ‘A’ game, but beat Miami 37-13. Bearcats had the ball all of 19 minutes. And Tony Pike managed to throw 42 yards and Jacob Ramsey rushed for over 100.

The toughest games for UC lie ahead, starting with the Bearcats game at South Florida one week from this Thursday night. There’s a lot of football to play. But let’s say the Bearcats run the table. Let’s say they win ‘em all and are standing, the night of December 5th, on the field in Pittsburgh as the undefeated, undisputed champs of the Big East Conference. Should they be the only undefeated BCS team in the country, or one of two undefeated teams, should UC then be allowed to play in the the BCS Championship game.

Well, you’re saying, Ken, that’s a no brainer. Yeah, to you and me it’s a no brainer. But apparently there are brains at work far greater than ours.

Because on a scale of one to ten, UC’s national respect level is about a minus two. In a national radio interview this week, ESPN talking head and former Notre Dame coach, Bob Dave predicted that if UC finishes unbeaten and there's a one loss team in either the SEC or the Big 12, that team would go to the national championship game and not UC. It doesn't matter, Davie said, if the Bearcats are the only unbeaten team standing by mid December.

And if that happens, I am here to tall you today that the BCS is dead. If UC runs the table and is the only unbeaten BCS team or one of two unbeaten teams and does NOT get a berth in the championship game, the BCS implodes. It’s real and it will happen. Here’s why.

The Big East is the weakest of all the BCS Conferences. It has the fewest amount of teams and there is no conference post season playoff. But the Big East IS a BCS conference. We’re not talking about Boise State or BYU here. And we’re not talking about the situation they had a few years back when Auburn got left at the post and Oklahoma and Southern Cal played for the national title. All three of those teams were unbeaten and Auburn was the odd man out. The issue here, and addressed by Davie, is what IF UC is one of two, or the only unbeaten team at the end of the regular season. He says he doesn’t think UC will be selected. Now understand this: you can say Bob Davie is just another guy yapping about college football on ESPN. And you’d be right. His claim to fame appears to be he once coached, and not well, at Notre Dame. But Davie, one would think talks to a lot of people in college football. And it may very well be, his thoughts are the prevailing thoughts about UC and the Big East on the inside of college football. I don’t think he would make the analysis he did this week without some thought and some research to back it up.

As I said, there’s a lot of football left to be played. There are no guarantees that UC will finish this season unbeaten. No guarantees that the Bearcats will win the Big East. But if both of those things happen and UC isn’t invited to the BCS championship game, then the current system of deciding a national champion implodes.

It’s kinda like politics. It’s not the other side that gets you. You often get taken down by the guy you’re staring at, in the mirror.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Just published to the front page of my web site is the latest Bengals Report podcast. Marc Hardin and I breakdown the Bengals big win over the Steelers. If you're in a hurry, you can download the Bengals Report podcast here. But check out my web site when you have a chance.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hey, it's Thursday already!

What Bronson Arroyo has done with the Cincinnati Reds this season is nothing short of amazing. Think about this, the Reds will probably win 80-games this season, at most. Arroyo won his 15th game of the season Wednesday night. And his earned run average dropped to a sparkling 3.84. Remember, this is on a ballclub that has been out of a pennant race since June 1st. Now, you can argue that Arroyo pitched without the pressure of a pennant race (and you'd be right). But the other side of that discussion has to be this: he won a lot of these games with AAAA talent behind him.

I firmly believe that, to have any kind of a competitive chance next season, the Reds will have to trade either Arroyo, Aaron Harang or Francisco Cordero. They consume far too much salary (approximately $37 million of a projected payroll of less than $70 million) and the Reds need to shed some of that to make budget and to hopefully attract better talent at short stop and in the outfield. But Arroyo should be the last option when trade time comes.

Harang is damaged goods. There is a strong line of thinking he hasn't been the same since Dusty Baker foolishly used him in relief, during a marathon game in San Diego last season. This was just a few days after a start and Harang make his next scheduled start three days after his relief appearance. Add to that another sub par year in 2009 and an appendectomy that KO'd him from pitching past late August and you can see why, at $12.5 million for 2010, Harang would be tough to deal.

Cordero will be the odd man out. But his $14 million price tag for 2010 will greatly limit his list of potential suitors. Best guess here, is that the Yankees (with an aging Mariano Rivera) and the Phillies (with Brad Lidge masquerading as Eric Milton) may be the most likely destinations for Cordero.

Arroyo? After the kind of season he had this year, how could you think of him as anything but the "ace" of the pitching staff? Volquez gone until late 2010, Cueto struggling to pitch deep into ballgames, Harang's appendectomy, Bailey's inconsistency, meet the new 'ace.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I heard Tony Dungy on a national radio show this week. And he was talking about how insignificant the Time of Possession stat is. Dungy’s rationale is that it doesn’t matter how long you have the football, it’s what you do with it once you get it. And if you were watching the UC-Fresno State game on Saturday, you saw exactly what Dungy was talking about. Fresno crushed the ‘Cats in time of possession. UC had the ball a grand total of 16-minutes and 18-seconds. But UC won the game, 28-20. So Dungy’s theory has some validation. But you can only play this kind of game once in a great while. All I could think of, after Tony Pike hit Marty Gilyard with the TD pass that made the score 28-17, was how short a time the UC defense had to catch its breath.

Games like the one the Bearcats played Saturday grind a defense down. Now, it turns out, Fresno State’s offense ran out of gas late in this game as well. The interception by Carey was big. And Fresno running back, Ryan Mitchell, just about unstoppable in the first three quarters looked ‘winded’ in the final minutes of that game. But when West Virginia, South Florida and Pitt pop up n the schedule in the next few months, UC won’t be able to play this kind of game. Its defense will need to take the ball away more than it did Saturday. It will need to get off the field on third down better than it did Saturday. Allowing Fresno State to convert third down on 12-of-20 tries won’t cut it against teams that are coming up.

But along the way to great seasons, good teams have games like the Bearcats did Saturday. UC fans don’t like this memory, but Ohio State had this kind of game at Paul Brown Stadium in 2002. In 2006, the year the Florida Gators won the national title, they played not go great on the road but won at Vanderbilt by six, the came home the next week and beat South Carolina only by one. So it happens. You don’t play all that well, but you find a way to win. UC did exactly that Saturday.
Hey, it's Tuesday. Go do something about it....

All three Bengals games so far this season have come down to the final drive of the game. So far, two wins, one loss. They could easily be 3-0 and just as easily be 0-3. It shows just how few plays are the difference in most NFL games and how close most of these teams are.

Even the cynic in the crowd would admit to the possibility of the Bengals going 5-2 in their first seven games. Who's out there that could stop them? Houston? Really? Da Bears? You think? The Browns? Get real. Only the Ravens look like a team that could handle the Bengals at this point. I know, I know, this team has done nothing, even in the last three weeks, to earn our long term trust back. But a month ago, nobody would have predicted how this season would have started. If you say you did, YOU LIE!

South Florida look good in its upset win at Florida State Saturday. This is the biggest opponent (and best) that UC will play so far this year. After dispatching Miami (which the 'Cats should be able to do without problem this Saturday) they'll have ten days to get ready for South Florida. It's a Thursday night game in Tampa. Give Brian Kelly ten days to get ready for any team and he could come up with a legitimate way to stop Florida IMHO.

South Florida has Jim Tressey as its defensive coordinator. He's there, after his philosophical fall out with Kelly after the Bearcats Orange Bowl loss this past January. He knows the Bearcats offense inside out. But Tressey isn't playing in the game, just coordinating the Bulls defense.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's Friday!

Random thoughts on a random Friday.....

I've just finished engaging one of the OSU football loyalists at My mission was to state a case for the University of Cincinnati football team and how it would fare in a game against the Buckeyes. You can read the debate here. I think I held my own......

UC by 16, incidentally, against Fresno State Saturday. Illinois plays the Buckeyes a lot tighter...

Paul Brown Stadium will be awash in Black and Gold Sunday. My guess is 60% of the stadium will show up in Steelers colors. It's not a testamonial to the Steelers far reaching appeal (even here in Cincinnati) but more to Bengals ticket holders selling tickets for this particular game. They gave up hope long ago and used the money they got from selling tickets to this game to pay for the entire season.....

The Ravens are the best team in the AFC. Defense has always been there for the Ravens. But now, with Flacco coming into his own and the Ravens ability to run the ball effectively, this is the AFC's best team....

Best team in the NFC? New Orleans, just edging out the Giants. But the Giants are very, very good.....

You down six and you have the length of the field to navigate for the game winning touchdown. Who do you want quarterbacking your team? Brady? Peyton? Eli? Brees? Palmer? Brady's done it a lot. But Peyton has done it better. Peyton, for me....

I'm happy the Reds are playing well. But you have to understand, there's a large difference between winning when you're out of the pennant chase and without pressure and winning with the daily pressure of a pennant race. We've seen these late season heroics from Reds teams in the past and they've fooled us, cajoled us into believing that it's a sure sign the next season will be better. I'm sorry. I'm not buying this latest swell...

The Reds need a left fielder AND a right fielder next season. Jay Bruce can't hit a breaking ball and struggles with left handed pitching. At least for next season, he's looking like a platoon player.

If the Reds payroll is really going to be less in 2010 than what it was this year, I don't see them having the money to re-sign Jonny Gomes...

If the Miami RedHawks don't beat Kent State Saturday (a very real possibility) they won't win for at least another two weeks. Next up is a home game in Oxford against UC then off to the Chicago area to play Northwestern.....

So let me get this straight. Plaxico Burress shoots himself in the leg and gets two years in prison. Donte Stallworth kills a guy with his car and gets 30 days in the slammer? Really?

UC gave Mick Cronin an additional two years on his contract that now takes Cronin to 2014 at UC. Good deal, for both parties. Cronin inherited a mess and his team is just digging out of it. UC doesn't need to be shopping for a new head basketball coach anytime soon. One or two more bad losses by Notre Dame, and UC athletic director, Mike Thomas could be shopping for a new head football coach.

You heard it here first: UC will play for the Big East title on the night of December 5th (I predict ABC makes UC at Pitt it's primetime game that night) and the Bearcats will be undefeated going into the game....which means they may be playing for a spot in the BCS Championship game. Yep, I've devoured the Kool Aid....

I'm talking sports Sunday from 9am-Noon on 700 WLW. Among my guests, Don Banks from Sports Illustrated....

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I don't know if you subscribe to the web site It's a site totally dedicated to Ohio State University sports. But if you do, you can catch an on line debate I'm having with one of their writers about which team is the better team in Ohio: the Buckeyes or the UC Bearcats. I'm, of course, taking up the cause of the Bearcats. It's an interesting give and take and I'm told it will be posted sometime Thursday afternoon.

The Bengals Antwan Odom was named AFC defensive player of the week Wednesday. This was more of a slam dunk than anything Kareem dropped in his NBA career. Odom had five sacks in last Sunday's game against Green Bay. You could have done a better job blocking Odom than the Packers' offensive line.

Ochocinco said today he's planning a "Spanish" celebration, should he score this Sunday against the Steelers. Perhaps Charo will be paying a visit to Paul Brown Stadium.

The Reds have scored 30 runs in their last three ballgames. Back in June 30 runs would have been about 12 games worth of scoring. All this is great. But has anyone noticed it's happening against the Pirates? If I'm not mistaken, the Pirates have season ticket holders that have a higher on base percentage than some of their players. I remain constant in my criticism of this Reds franchise: they make bad decisions at critical times. Examples? Signing Corey Patterson in 2008 for $3.5 million when no other MLB team would even look at him. Signing Willy Tavares to a two year, $6.8 million deal or paying $10 million to put a scoreboard in left field this winter (remember the ballpark was just six years old when that happened) rather than spending $10 million to acquire better baseball players.

And they wonder why most of their fans are coming to GABP disguised as empty seats these days.
Happy Wednesday!

Just posted to my web site is an interview I conducted with NBC Sports and Sports Illustrated columnist, Peter King. We discuss the NFL season in general and the Cincinnati Bengals in particular. It's easy to find. It's on the front page

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's Tuesday!

And to get things rolling, I've got the latest Broo View Podcast loaded and ready to go. You can find it on the front page of my web site My guest this time is the author of the book "Game Six", just out this week. It's the story of the greatest World Series game ever played, Reds vs Red Sox 1975.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Good Monday Morning!

OK, show of hands: who thought it was deja vu all over again (sorry Yogi) when the Packers recovered that on-sides kick? You, not rasing your hands YOU LIE!

Two very basic things won that game Sunday for your Cincinnati Bengals. 1: the ability to run the football on offense. 2: the defensive secondary's outstanding play.

The Bengals rush blocking was terrific. 141 yards on the day for Cedric Benson, 149 rushing yards total. That controlled the clock, kept the Packers offense on the sideline and broke the will of a very proud Packers defense

The play of the secondary, particularly corners Leon Hall and Jonathan Joeseph allowed the safeties to cheat up and play run defense. It was a big reason why Ryan Grant was ineffective most of the afternoon and a big reason why the Bengals Front 7 was so dominant.

It was only one game, but it sure makes this coming Sunday's game against the Steelers all the more interesting doesn't it?

Random thoughts, bouncing around in my head like a stray ping pong ball....

Did anyone else think it might've been a better deal if the Steelers had beaten the Bears Sunday? I can't envision Pittsburgh losing two straight. But, you never know.....

The Steelers offensive line is atrocious. Antwan Odom may have ten sacks this coming Sunday....

Best team in the game right now is the Giants. They got into a track meet with the Cowboys Sunday night and won. Good offensive line again for the Giants this season....

Is Rex Ryan, the new Jets coach expecting? Dude is one good prime rib dinner away from a coronary....

Isn't it amazing that Rick Minter, who is the longest tenured UC head football coach at least in the last 50-years had three current NFL head coaches as assistant coaches on his staffs? John Harbaugh (Ravens) Mike Tomlin (Steelers) and Ryan (Jets) all spent time assisting Minter when he was head coach of the UC Bearcats....

Are you taking note of a shift in power in the NFL through two weeks? The 49ers are 2-0, the Jets are 2-0 and the Ravens are 2-0....

UC is now 14th in the country, according to the latest AP Rankings. That's one notch below Ohio State and just two behind Southern Cal. The Bearcats should be 5-0 when they begin Big East conference play. Could they run the table? Health will be a mitigating factor. But now that South Florida has lost its starting quarterback, the only stumbling blocks may be at Pitt and a home game against West Virginia...stay tuned...

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's Friday!

The first Bengals Report podcast of 2009 is ready for you to download. You can find int on the front page of my web site Mark Hardin and I break down the Bengals tough opening game loss to the Broncos.

Here's who I like this Sunday. I like the 'Skins to beat the Rams. That's my lock. I'll take the Giants over the Cowboys. You're saying, Ken, in the Big D? New stadium? Yeah. I think the Giants are the best team in the NFC. I like the Packers over the Bengals. Sorry. It's a Lambeau and the Bengals haven't won a regular season game there in team history. Their only regular season wins on the road against the Pack have come at Milwaukee.

Here's who I like Saturday. I like UC. I couldn't care less about Oregon State's 26 game home winning streak over non Pac-10 teams. The folks out in Corvallis haven't seen an offense like UC runs in forever. UC comes home 3-0 to play Fresno State next Saturday.

I like Florida over Tennessee, big. Lane Kiffin, welcome to the SEC. Your mouth is going to get a lot of points scored on your team.

I'm on the radio a lot this weekend. 3-6:30p on 700 WLW Saturday, when my guests will include Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports. We'll be talking about boxing (Mayweather vs Marquez Saturday night) and UFC 103 (Rich Franklin fights Saturday night too). Authur Mark Frost will join me to talk about his new book "Game Six". It's the story behind the greatest World Series game ever played, 1975 Reds and Red Sox.

Sunday, I'm on from 9am-11:30am on WLW, when my guests include Peter King from NBC Sports and Sports Illustrated and George Wendt, "Norm" from Cheers. Then, I'll be back on 700 WLW and 1530 Homer after the Bengals-Packers game to take your phone calls.

And after all that, I'll be talking to you on Sports Rock, on WLWT Channel 5 after Sunday Night Football. Our guest hosts will be "Wildman" Walker and former Bengal Eric Thomas. We'll break down the Bengals-Packers game, with reaction from that Bengals locker room after the game.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So why is Brian Kelly taking his team halfway around the world, again, this weekend to play a football game? Simple answer: the Big 10 is ducking him. Kelly says he wants as many out of conference games for his Bearcats against BCS teams. And the Big 10 has been more than reluctant to schedule Kelly in "home and home" series. The Buckeyes, the Boilermakers, the Wolverines would be more than happy to have UC come to their places to play. But return the trip to Nippert Stadium and it's 35,000 seats or a game at Paul Brown Stadium? As Tony Soprano would say, "Feggadaboudit".

No Big 10 school (or any legit contender from the Big 12 or SEC) would ever dare come to Cincinnati, where Kelly's offense would run them off the field and risk losing a game and incur the wrath of their fans. But Oregon State, the Bearcats opponent this week, is willing to do it because the Beavers are in the same boat at the 'Cats. They too are searching for quality BCS opponents to play.

Kelly said today he doesn't think his team will have a tough time adjusting the the time change. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:45pm Cincinnati time, roughly 45 minutes earlier than the 'Cats start time last week against Southeast Missouri State.

OK, so I've have about 48 hours to digest and break down that final play that Denver pulled off to beat the Bengals. Here's my take: the Bengals were simply out of position. You had three Bengals, two of which were safeties, converging on Broncos receiver, Brandon Marshall, the intended target. That's OK. What wasn't OK was that there was no Bengal playing 'centerfield'. There was no Bengals safety playing deep.

Here's what had to be done: a safety needed to be stationed at the Bengals 38 yard line. Because history told us that that was the furthest point from where the Denver place kicker could have successfully kicked a field goal. And in a 7-6 game, at that time, it would have been the difference.

Instead, the only other safety on the field, Chinedum Ndukwe was moving toward the pass from Kyle Orton, roughly on the Broncos 40 yard line even though three of his teammates are there to defend.

We all know by now that the ball was tipped by Bengals cornerback, Leon Hall (and if he didn't touch it, the ball would've sailed out of bounds) and into the arms of Brandon Stokely who took it to the house for the game winning touchdown.

At issue is field presence. The Bengals simply didn't have it Sunday and the Broncos stole a win away from them.

Now, the schedule has the Bengals off to Green Bay this Sunday, then home to play the Steelers, then at Cleveland and at Baltimore. There is a real possibility this team begins the season at
1-4. At that point, we can all start talking about UC and Xavier basketball.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Just posted on my web site, is the lastest Broo View Podcast. My guest this week is NFL senior writer, John Czarnecki, from John isn't so keen on the Bengals making the playoffs. You can find the podcast on the front page.


senior NFL writer, Pete Prisco from will be one of my guests this Sunday morning on 700 WLW. Pete is picking the Bengals to make the playoffs in his pre-season predictions.

Also joining me Sunday morning is Peter King from NBC Sports and Sports Illustrated. Peter cut his teeth at the Enquirer all those years ago.

Joe Posnanski will be another guest. Joe has a book just out on the 1975 Cincinnati Reds. I've read it. It is terrific. Joe does something so tricky so well in this book: he takes a subject matter and characters that are well known and gives both a fresh take. If you're a baseball fan, you'll love it.

If you don't live in the greater Cincinnati area, you can listen on line at

Tonight on WLWT channel 5 at 6p we'll have the latest on the Cincinnati Bengals. You'll hear from Carson, Marvin and others.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Good Monday Morning! And happy Labor Day!

Part of being a fan, is blind faith. When you’re a fan, you blindly believe your team always has a chance. You believe on Opening Day the Reds are going to contend, no matter what logic may dictate to you. The second Sunday in September, you slap on your number 9 or 85 Bengals jersey and blindly believe the Bengals are going to contend. You just know it.

We have a lot of people here in the Tri-State who blindly follow the Reds and the Bengals. Not so much that they run out and buy tickets, of course. Losing will do that to a franchise. But in their hearts, in their words, fans around here want to believe.

I will give you two reasons today why you should believe in your Cincinnati Reds: Jay Bruce can’t possibly be as bad as he was before he got hurt in July. And there’s a lot of talent bubbling just below the major league level.
The best days for your Cincinnati Reds lie ahead, which isn’t saying much since the Reds have made the playoffs a grand total of twice since 1979.

But be very careful what you buy into. For example: The Reds recent winning streak continued last night, with a 3-1 win in Atlanta. Bronson Arroyo look good on Friday night. Kip Wells pitched decent baseball Saturday night. This is great. Except the Reds are doing something they’ve mastered over the last 14 seasons: they’re winning when the heat is off. They’re out of the pennant race, playing with zero pressure. There is a stark contrast from what they’re doing to what’s going on with the Dodgers and Rockies, or the wild card battle in the American League between the Rangers and Red Sox. We’ve seen this before, haven’t we? The Reds have padded their resume by playing well, when there’s nothing to play for.

Ask yourself this, before you get all geeked about what they’ve done in the past week or so. When and if this team actually makes it to the playoffs again, do you really believe the “Everyday 8” will be populated by players like Laynce Nix, Paul Janish and Craig Tatum? That’s not a knock on those guys. But like of lot of the “Everyday 8’s” we’ve seen around here in recent years, they’re back of the roster players, bench guys at best. You can get an occasional start from players like that, maybe a hot bat or two off the bench. But what contending team right now would have them in their starting line-up. In a word: none.

Look, I love it when the Reds win. I’ve told people in their late teens and 20’s, who have no reccolection of this team being any good, that Cincinnati is a different town when the Reds are winning. Downtown has a buzz. The stands are full most nights. There’s baseball chatter all over, even among some people who don’t know if a baseball is blown up or strung together.

But, in light of this lastest winning streak with no pressure from a playoff chase, let’s not lose sight of one thing: This team needs a lot of work and a lot of re-tooling before next Spring if it hopes to contend. Believe in hope. Just don’t believe in false hope.

Anyone running around town today, giddy over the way the Bengals looked in their pre-season finale against the Colts needs to have their medication adjusted. The only thing that Thursday night told us was this: a bunch of guys the Bengals hope never get on the playing field beat a bunch of guys the Colts hope never get on the playing field. Plain, simple, end of story.
Here’s all you have to ask yourself: did you see Carson Palmer play? No.
I think Peyton Manning is still sitting on the bench.

So here you go. This is what you’ve got to be real about, one week before games start to count. The Bengals offense goes as far as the line holds up. Anymore, Carson Palmer has all the agility of a refrigerator. If the line can’t give him time to throw, if he has to leave the pocket consistently, bad things will happen. Remember, a lot of these guys blocking were in the same group that allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick to become fertilizer last Fall. I like Andrew Whitworth. I’d love Andrew Whitworth at guard, not the position he’s playing. And don’t kid yourself; the reason why Whitworth is playing left tackle is because the Bengals knew on draft day Andre Smith wasn’t going to be in camp on time. There was no way they were going into camp this year, waiting for Smith to show up to play left tackle. Remember, Smith was a left tackle in college. He almost immediately became a right tackle here, because the Bengals knew in April he’d be tough to sign. They tried to tell us, a tackle is a tackle, that a player who’s played left tackle could easily move over to play right tackle. Repeat after me: not true. To accept this is to minimize the role of a left tackle. They are not interchangeable parts. Andre Smith is a left tackle.

Football truism here: the three most important positions on the offensive side of the ball, in this order, are quarterback, left tackle and wide receiver. Running backs you can find anywhere. There’s always a Cedric Benson floating out there in mid-season. There’s always a Bernard Scott available in the late rounds of a draft. Good interior lineman, by and large, are not that difficult to find. Quarterback, left tackle, wide receiver are not interchangeable parts. Once you get by Whitworth and Bobbie Williams you have nothing but questions along that offensive line.

And one thing about Andre Smith: what did the Bengals expect when they finally signed him? Weight has always been an issue with this dude. He showed up a week ago today and was as big as a Marriott. Personal discipline has been and issue with this guy, at least as far back as the end of his last season at Alabama. Improper dealings with an agent cost him a chance to play in Alabama’s bowl game. Then, there was the issue of leving the Combine early and changing agents like socks.

The minute the Bengals found out they’d be picking after the Jets, who were going to take Mark Sanchez from day one, and before the Raiders, who are as stupid with money as friends of Bernie Madoff, the minute all of that happened, the Bengals knew they were in for a long negotiation process with Smith. So riddle me this: why didn’t the Bengal dispatch someone from their training staff to wherever Smith was this summer and watch him? Make sure that he was eating right and practicing in as close to camp conditions as possible? Did any of the smart guys at Paul Brown Stadium think that might be a good idea? Problems with NFL rules, figure out a way to get around them. But no, none of that happens and Smith arrives weighing a robust 364. I keep hearing comparisons to Willie Anderson. I keep seeing Freddie Childress when I look at him.

All of that makes me wonder about the Bengals this year. Palmer’s healthy and that’s a plus. Ochocinco appears to be channeling Floyd Mayweather in his physique and workout regime. And that’s good. I like that they’ve re-enforced their front seven on defense.

But in the AFC, you’re going to need eleven wins to get into the playoffs. And getting into the playoffs is the only thing that matters. Eleven wins didn’t get the Patriots in last year. But I thi

Baltimore’s better, the Steelers are the defending Super Bowl champs and other than Detroit, those games against the NFC North could be brutal.

So as we sit here today, I’m hear to tell you I believe your Cincinnati Bengals will be better this season (you’re saying Ken, how could they be any worse than they were last season? These are the Bengals, we should not be asking that kind of rhetorical question). But I don’t see eleven wins on this schedule.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

It's Thursday. Go out and celebrate.

With one episode to go in the Bengals' Hard Knocks series, I'll rate the show a hit. For the average fan, it's painting a realistic portrait of what this team is really all about. Marvin Lewis is tough again, changing his demeanor back to what it was when he got herein 2003. The front office values winning at the bank more than winning on the field. It's revealing that, once and for all to the average fan. And the players are coming off basically as who they really are.

Ochocinco has stolen the show. We could've figured that ot the minute the series was announced. But we've also seen some clips that have been truly enlightening.

For example, in segment four, aired Wednesday night, Mike Zimmer talking to Tank Johnson about his perceived negative attitude offered a glimpse of what Tank is now with his third team in the last three years.

Carson Palmers blunt assesment of an offensive tackle that caused his brother Jordan to take a sack and fumble gave us, in one sentence, more candidness than the elder Palmer has displayed in the last year.

And when Mike Brown told his latest millionaire, the balloonish Andre Smith, that he was 'out of shape' I about fell on the floor laughing.

In truth, the show has done its best to depict the Bengals as a struggling, but legit, NFL franchise. We know about the struggles. But since we live with it every day, we also know the Bengals are far from a legit NFL franchise. But it's been fun to watch.

Speaking of Smith, despite what the NFL network reported two nights ago (that he'd only be sidelined 7-10 days with his stress fracture), I'm hearing it will be more like the next month. And don't rule out a longer stay on the sidelines. Stress fractures are tricky things, particularly in over sized athletes. The NBA Houston Rockets can fill you in about Yao Ming. The Portland Trailblazers can do the same with Greg Odom. And being a 364 pound man (Smith's reporting weight) will complicate things for the Bengals 1st round pick.

More troubling is his weight. He reminds me of the Bengals 2nd round pick in 1989, a rather robust guard out of Arkansas named Freddie Childress. Freddie was described on draft day as a strong, nasty blocker. But he ate himself out of the NFL. Unless someone from the Bengals is constantly monitoring Smith, he could be headed down the same road Fat Freddie traveled.

I may be wrong, but I may be right.

Carson Palmer isn't playing Thursday night in the exhibition finale against the Colts, nor should he. It would be irresponsible for Marvin Lewis to risk his 'franchise' in such a meaningless game. The only argument against Palmer sitting is that he's only had a few game snaps in this pre-season. But after watching the Broncos last Sunday night, I'm not sure you couldn't quarterback the Bengals to a win over Denver on opening day.

I'm glad the Reds are hot. But what does it mean? Nothing. This is still a AAA ballclub that is in NO, repeat NO danger of competing next season. And if the economy continues to stink, don't look for Bob Castellini to spend a nickel more than the $72 million he spent this year on salary. In fact, it will probably be a lot less.

Monday, August 31, 2009

More later in the day on Tuesday but a programming note. Sunday night at 11:35 on WLWT's Sports Rock, we're going to televise a Tommy John surgery, direct from the operating room. It's fascinating stuff. Maybe not for the hyper squeamish, but fascinating.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Good Monday Morning!

Andre Smith signed with the Bengals Sunday, finally, agreeing to a deal he could have signed over a month ago. There are no winners in this negotiation.

Smith did himself no favors by holding out. The money is roughly what the Bengals made in their initial offer. And while Smith's agent tried to spin it by saying it was a four year deal, while most rookie contracts are six year offerings (thus, supposedly freeing the player to jump into the free agent pool two years earlier) the reality is the Bengals hold an option after the first four years are complete that would effectively make this a six year contract and then it would be for substantially less money than what the player picked immediately after Smith received, even less than what the player picked in Smith's spot in 2008 got.

The agent did himself no favors. Alvin Keels came off as a bit of a clown in his "Hard Knocks" appearances. And if he thinks any other agent or prospective 2010 client won't be able to see through what he got from the Bengals, he's kidding himself. Mr. Keels, you just got Bengal-ized.

The Bengals were losers here too. On two levels, they lost this battle. On the field, the wasted a training camp by not having a key member of Carson Palmer's protection unit. There is no way Smith will be able to make up the ground he lost. It's a crash course now to get him in some sort of game ready state by the season opener, now less than two weeks away. In the court of public opinion, the Bengals lost as well. They solidified their reputation of 'winning at the bank means more than winning on the field'.

This was nobody's finest hour.

In my business, we search for answers and information. It drives us. Some of the time the people you need answers and information from do little to help you. It’s not in their best interest. Some of the time, you find the information you’re looking for by simply asking the right questions. And sometimes, you ask and seek and you still can’t find what you’re looking for, even answers to some basic questions.

There are some basic questions about our two professional teams that need answering. And today, we don’t have them. That’s bad for the Bengals, who’ve got two weeks to come up with answers. Two weeks from right now, we’ll be hours from a game that actually matters. It’s not so bad for the Reds. They’ve got more than seven months to figure things out.

Some here are some questions about both.

Is the Bengals offensive line as bad as its looked?
Is the Reds 5 game winning streak a sign that this team can compete next season?
Is the Bengals running attack, 4.3 yards per carry in three games for real?
Has the light bulb finally gone ‘on’ for Chris Henry?

Four questions that no one has an answer for. So unlike fans in Boston, New York or even Dallas, you and I are left to guess.

The offensive line? What have you see through three of these exhibition games that would lead you to believe that Carson Palmer would be in one piece by Halloween? The party line from the locker room is “the line is coming together’/ But then, what we see are six sacks allowed to a Rams team that’s only going to the playoffs if it buys tickets. Did the starting front five allow all six sacks? No. But who didn’t see this coming? Isn’t this the reason why the Bengals drafted the ever expanding Andre Smith? And let me ask you this: did you see Hard Knocks this week? Did you see the little skit some of his eventual team mates put on, mocking Smith? Do you think maybe there might be some deep seeded animosity there? Smith was holding out for one payday that might be larger than what a lot of those guys may make in their NFL lifetimes. And while they sweat through a training camp, he was at home eating ribs and God knows what else. Did anyone in that Bengals front office ‘not’ see this coming? Did they not know that when they drafted him, he’d had a quarterback taken immediately before him and the mercurial Oakland Raiders selecting immediately after?

Eleven sacks allowed in three games. The Patriots defense should be pretty good this season. But the Rams and Saints?

Has the light bulb finally gone off for Chris Henry? I’m watching this guy. He’s got speed. And I don’t want to diminish anything he’s done so far in these exhibition games. 13-catches 217 yards and three touchdowns. But let’s be careful here. All three of his TD receptions have come against the other guys’ second stringers. Two of the three TD receptions appear to have been on the same kind of play. Henry runs a fade route well. But one trick ponies rarely make it big in the NFL. Can he make a catch over the middle? Is he willing to do that? Why is Marvin Lewis saying that Henry isn’t doing the other things a receiver needs to do?

We know how Henry handles failure. Not well. Will he handle success any differently? So is the light bulb on? It appears to be. I hope. But this is a guy who’s one good nocturnal mishap away from adios.

Is the Bengals running attack, 4.3 yards per carry for real? Bernard Scott averaged five yards a carry against the Saints. But he didn’t get into the game until after the Saints starting front seven was pulled from the game.
Against the Saints starters, they Bengals rushed nine times for 30 yards.

Against the Patriots, the Bengals rolled up 173 yards of rushing offense. Very impressive. They averaged just under 3.3 yards per carry.

Against the Rams, it was 144 yards on the ground, averaging 4.4 per carry.
Again, very impressive. Five fumbles lost? Not so impresive

But on balance so far, the Bengals running attack has been good.

Next up: is the Reds recent five game wining streak a sign that the team can compete next season? No. It’s a sign from God that you have to wake up and look at history.

How many years have we been in this exact spot? Here’s the script. We should know it by heart. Reds go to spring training with a collection of players that other teams have given up on or ‘projects’ coming back from one malady or another. Hype rolls out of spring training about how this pitcher has found his stuff again, or how this outfielder was just caught up in a numbers crunch on his last time, or how he’s completely back from whatever surgery pieced his body back together. Or Zeus zapped the guy with a lightning bolt or some other nonsense. Team breaks camp, starts out hot and looks like a contender…finally. And by Memorial Day, everybody is talking about the Bengals.

Then, along about mid August, when you can’t tell who’s playing for the Reds even with a scorecard, the team rips off a string of wins. It all sounds and looks great. Until you realize, it’s all happening with absolutely no pressure on the team, because it’s not a contender.

Look, good baseball is good baseball. But there’s a stark difference between playing well when you’re in the middle of a pennant race, as opposed to playing out a season. This year, like just about every year since 1995, the Reds are just playing out a season. When the heats not on, how do you really know how well a team can perform.

Remember a couple of years ago, you got so giddy over a pitcher named Tom Shearn. Nice guy, great story, lived in a trailer behind the centerfield fence at the ballpark in Louisville. Got hot in the second half of another lost season and everyone was talking him up. Where’s Shearn today?

Repeat after me: a team not in a pennant race does not have the same pressures and scrutiny that a team fighting for a pennant has. So no, I’m not encouraged about next season, given this recent winning streak. Nice, but the Reds have a multitude of sins to address before next opening day.

Here’s what they need to do in no particular order: they need to unload payroll to they can add better players. Arroyo, Harang or Cordero have to go. They need to take the cash they save there and go buy a left fielder, or second baseman or catcher that can protect Joey Votto, Brandon Phillps and Jay Bruce.

If they could bring the old scoreboard back and get a refund on the $10 million they spent on the new scoreboard….and spend the money on players, that would be good.

They need to continue developing talent in the minors. They need to stop changing general managers. They need to take a serious look at the quality of coaching that’s going on at the major league level. Too many base running gaffes this season, too many errors, too many times the team has failed in the game of fundamentals.