Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Good Wednesday Morning!

We'll get to the burning topics in sports as the day progresses (like whether or not Xavier fans should be worried now that the Memphis AD apparently has his sights set on Sean Miller).

But to begin things, a little science lesson sent to me by my nephew in New Jersey. It's all about ozone deplection, a topic I admit I've spent about 45 seconds considering in my lifetime. But I'm beginning to think about it a little more after watching this video. The good looking blond haired lad who appears about 90 seconds into the video is young Tyler. Enjoy, and thanks for letting me indulge.
OK, so John Calipari is the new head basketball coach at UK. Not a bad hire. But if you're a UK fan let me ask you this: why didn't you AD hire him two years ago? What made Coach Cal so attractive now? Is it because he got to the Final 4 (championship game) last season and was on the verge of signing the nation's top recruiting class this spring at Memphis? Were you scared off two years ago, because Calipari has this habit of signing 'one and done players'. And maybe that's not the way you want your basketball program to navigate?

Do you ever think Mitch Barnhart will come clean about any of this?

Calipari is a 'basketball character'. And his rivalry with Rick Pitino will make the Commonwealth one of the nation's hot basketball territories again. It's all good theatre again in Kentucky.

Who follows Calipari in Memphis? His close friendship with Xavier's Sean Miller has espn.com thinking that Memphis AD RC Johnson may be making a trip to Victory Parkway soon.

Meantime, over at cbsports.com, our buddy Gregg Doyel has this take on Calipari's move.

Opening day is this Monday. (Yikes, rain and 55*????). To fire you up, Freekbass will be in studio this Sunday night on Sports Rock on Channel 5 at 11:35pm. Enjoy this!

You get the feeling he's a Reds fan?
Good Morning!

Just posted, my latest Broo View Podcast. It's on the front page of my web site: www.kenbroo.com. But, if you're in a hurry, you can download it by clicking here.

Also, I've posted an interview with Jonathan Mayo from mlb.com. He's at the Reds' spring training headquarters in Sarasota, Florida and has an update on what's happening down there. That's also on the front page of www.kenbroo.com.

More coming later....

Monday, March 30, 2009

This is so funny, I about fell off my bar stool when I first saw this.

Knight is the central figure. But Pitino on drums is hysterical.
Good Monday Morning!

How tough can it be? How difficult is it being a college basketball coach? You do three things, basically. You recruit, you develop strategy, practice and you coach games. That’s it. You show up for a coach’s show once a week at a local bar or restaurant during the season, make nice with alums and donors, and you go home. That’s it. End of story.

So if it’s that simple, why couldn’t Billy Gillispie figure it out at Kentucky?
He doesn’t appear to be a dope. He won more than he lost. He recruited McDonalds All Americans, he developed strategy that worked more often than not. And he’s out of work.

I listened to that news conference Friday, the one the Kentucky athletic director and the school president presided over. If I’m not mistaken, the reasons they gave for Gillispie getting canned were that he was a social mutant who couldn’t sign his name. Couldn’t, or wouldn’t glad hand with the big dollar Kentucky donors and refused to sign his contract. Now I’ll admit, in this day and age, when someone is dangling the kind of money in front of you like Gillispie had dangled in front of him, you take it and run. If all it means is signing your name, you John Hancock it and call it a day. Six million to go away? Mine, take it, see you at the ranch. Gillispie apparently will get far less than six mil, simply because he didn’t sign his name.

Gillispie apparently mistreated some people in the media. Now we’re going to start worrying about the media? Do you know where the majority of people in this country place the media on the totem pole of respect? Just behind mass murderers and slightly ahead of politicians. Or lawyers. I interviewed Gillispie a couple of times. I found him to be cold and shifty He wouldn’t look me in the eye. He went 40-27 at UK. If he went 60-7, you know what? He could’ve stolen my wallet, he’d still be on the job. It’s all about winning. The rest of this stuff only surfaces when you don’t win enough games. 40-out of 67 at a place like Kentucky isn’t enough games.

Look, I’m not defending Gillispie. I could care less who coaches that team. Get paid the same if it’s Billy Gillispie coaching or Dizzy Gillispie. All I want to know is how tough can it be to coach Division One basketball. There are something like 360 ‘D-One’ teams, but only about 90 that count. If you’ve got a good big man, a guard who can distribute and a guard who can shoot, you’re going to win a lot of games in most conferences. You mean to tell me there aren’t 270-good to great basketball players in this country? If there aren’t you can’t fill in the blanks with players from Europe of China? Really?

90-teams, three good players, that’s 270-total. And a guy like Billy Gillispie coaching at UK can’t figure out how to make that happen?

And all of this talk about his lack of social skills. If you’re the head basketball coach at Kentucky, ,why wouldn’t you want to parlay that into free dinner and golf? All you have to do is tell a couple of stories, they don’t even have to be true, sign a few autographs pose for a few pictures and go home. It’s not tough. It’s not assembly line, fast food cook, door to door salesman tough.

It’s amazing that Mitch Barnhart, the Kentucky athletic director, couldn’t figure out that Gillispie had none of these skills long before he tried to hire him. Does Barnhart not have friends or informants he can trust? If it’s not that tough to be a basketball coach, how much tougher is it to be an athletic director?

This is the University Of Kentucky basketball. You got to get it right. But trust me, when you’re that big, with that much tradition, it’s not that hard to find the right guy. And it’s not that hard for the right guy to succeed. Billy Gillispie blew it. But he had an accomplice. Mitch Barnhart blew it too. And so did the UK school president. He should have fired Barnhart on Friday, too.

Two things you need to know about my sports coverage tonight on WLWT Channel 5. We'll be in the Bengals locker room today to get the latest from the team, which re-gathers for the start of voluntary workouts. And we'll check in with the Miami RedHawks hockey team, just back from qualifying for the Frozen Four.

Later today on my web site: www.kenbroo.com, I'm posting an interview I did Sunday morning on 700 WLW with mlb.com's Jonathan Mayo about the status of the Cincinnati Reds, one week from the start of the season. And Tuesday midday, look for the latest Broo View Podcast on www.kenbroo.com. My guest, NFL player-agent, Jack Bechta. Among other things, he has the inside story as to why the Bengals let all purpose offensive lineman, Eric Steinbach leave for Cleveland a couple of springs ago.

Good Luck! Get through it. The toughest part of the week is Monday. I'll see you tonight at p and 11p on WLWT Channel 5.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Billy Gillispie is out. Xavier is out. Alvin Mitchell and Mike Williams are out. Been a riotous 24 hours, hasn't it?

Who didn't see Gillispie going? His AD and school president have been more silent than Marcel Marceau on this situation. Gillispie apparently didnt play the glad hand game well enough and his players didn't like being yelled at. Oh, and losing to Gardner Webb and VMI at Rupp didn't help either. But riddle me this: how can a state struggling for money as much as Kentucky is, scrape up $6 million to make Gillispie go away? If donors raised that kind of cash, isn't the school president, or the people he answers to, responsible enough to say 'look, let's use this money for bricks and morter, or to lower tuition costs, not pay off a basketball coach.' This entire deal is wrong from word one.

Kentucky may have made a bad hire. And cutting your losses into something like that isn't the worst thing to do. But shouldn't the people who hired Gillispie, Barnhart and Todd, but held accountable here too? $6 million to pay a coach to leave town? In this economy? In that state?

I wouldn't look for Sean Miller to leave Xavier for that gig. Neither does Andy Katz, at espn.com.

My pal Gregg Doyel over at cbssports.com has it nailed about the kind of coach Kentucky should hire.

Xavier lost to Pitt for one very big reason: it couldn't buy a basket in the second half of that ballgame. You can't start a half going 0-10 from the field and expect to win. Sure, BJ Raymond and Derrick Brown delivered points. But where was the rest of the Xavier scoring? Some of those guys in Xavier white disappeared like David Copperfield in the final 20 minutes. Still, Xavier had a chance to win. It was up two with under a minute to play. The Levance Fields three point shot was crazy good. But, the bigger play was the steal that Dejuan Blair and Fields pulled off with 34 seconds left. Down one, Xavier had a chance to take the lead. But you must protect the basketball. And, at that moment, Xavier didn't.

Too bad. I think they would've given Villanova a good game Sunday.

Mick Cronin, our guest this Sunday night on Sports Rock, was busy cleaning house today. Gone are Alvin Mitchell and Mike Williams. Mitchell has been a problem for Cronin the past two seasons. He's been in and out of Cronin's dog house, suspended, frequently. Honestly, no loss there. Mitchell, in my opinion, had limited skills. As for Williams, his case was a matter of bad luck. He missed two full seasons, one here and one at Texas before transfering. His case for a 6th season of eligibility was flimsy at best. For Cronin, it's probably best to move on. His first three seasons have produced little. He needs to have a big fourth season to stick around. I'd look for a Junior College player or two to jump start this team.

My Sunday morning radio show is taking shape. Jonathan Mayo from mlb.com will join me at 9:35am EDT to talk Reds baseball. We'll hear from Ryan Fagan from The Sporting News about baseball and the Reds at Noon. NFL player agent Jack Bechta will join me at 10am. The Enquirer's Dustin Dow and bengals.com Geoff Hobson will stop by to chat too. My show airs from 9am-12:30p EDT. You can listen online at 700wlw.com.

Have a great weekend. Check out my web site: www.kenbroo.com. Brand new Broo View Podcast will be posted Friday overnight and ready Saturday morning.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Good Monday Morning

Xavier wins and plays on. Next up, a Sweet 16 meeting against Pittsburgh in Boston. Xavier will clearly have its hands full with Pitts inside game. But the Panthers have to be wary of the way the Xavier guards are playing. Dante Jackson, and to a lesser extent, Terrell Holloway have figured it out, just in time.

If I could have one thing on my NCAA Tournament team, it would be a good, solid point guard. Give me a guy to run the offense, you can have everything else. Centers, power forward, shooting guards, take them. Give me the guy who can set everything up.

You don’t think a good point guard is important? Ask Kentucky why it’s in the NIT. Although I like Michael Porter’s toughness. Talk to Mick Cronin.

It’s why Sean Miller has been all over Dante Jackson like a rash this season. Miller knows, he played the game. A good point guard takes care of the ball, finds the open man, makes the impossible pass, gets the ball inside. Distributes, as the coaches like to say.

Think of the great point guards in college basketball history. Gary Payton, Oregon State. Great defense great set up man, an All American.

Bobby Hurley. Where would Duke have been in 1992 without Bobby Hurley? The guy averaged over eight assists a game that season. Best player in the tournament in 1993.

Or Jason Kidd. You needed a pass to the open man? You don’t want anybody tossing it except Kidd. May have been the best passer in college basketball history.

Chirs Paul, Andre Miller, even Stephon Marbury…yeah that Stephon Marbury was a great point guard for one season at Georgia Tech.

So as I’m watching these games since Thursday, it’s no surprise that most of the teams that’ve won games have had great point guard play.

Did you watch the Sienna upset of Ohio State. I know it was one of those 8-9 games, but to me it was an upset. Did you watch Ronald Moore. Forget the three point heroics. Did you see how Moore passed the ball, worked the game? Controlled the Sienna offense. Six assists. Ronald Moore is tenth in the nation, sixth in the Tournament in assist to turnover ratio. And you know what? He’s been that good since his freshman season.

You don’t think a major difference in that game Friday night was how well Moore played and how lacking Ohio State is at the point?

Did you watch Cleveland State dismantle big bad Wake Forest? Did you watch point guard Cedric Jackson? This is the same kid who transferred out of St. John’s because he wasn’t getting enough playing time. That should tell you how bad St. John’s is and will be for awhile. Cedric Jackson against Wake Forest: 19 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. His ally-oop set ups were downright astounding.

You know why everyone who bleeds Carolina blue was holding their collective breath this week? Ty Law. Actually Ty Law’s big toe. As Law goes, so goes Carolina. He played through it Saturday. After missing three games with jammed toe, Law was back. 23 total points, 21 in the second half in the Heels win over LSU.

Put Ty Law on the UC team (after Mick Cronin falls off his couch in delirium) and the Bearcats are in the Tournament. Deonta Vaughn doesn’t have to bring the ball up court, just has to get open for shots. Yancy Gates gets the ball quicker, in better position and gets better shots. It’s that simple and that tough. Because, every coach in America is out looking for a guy who can play the point. Cashmere Wright? Let’s hope.

Look, I like big men. Coaches always say…and they’re right, you can’t coach size. But you also can’t get as much out of your big guy, if he can’t get the ball. Does Christian Laettner average over 21-a game in 1992 if Bobby Hurley isn’t averaging almost eight assists a night…and over 13 points. Sorry UK fan.

This year’s Tournament, like every other one in the history of the NCAA is about guards. You got a good one, you got a chance. You got two good ones, you’re playing past this weekend. But if you’ve got a good, solid point guard, who sees the court, knows the game, finds the open man, runs the offense….distributes? You’ll be playing a lot longer than that.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

You can find my latest Broo View Podcast on the front page of my web site: www.kenbroo.com
But, if you're in a hurry, you can download it here.
Just posted, my latest Broo View Podcast. This episode features an interview with Jerry Jones, not the Cowboys owner, the author and publisher of the NFL Draft Guide, "The Drugstore List". The topic: possible Bengals strategies in the upcoming draft.

16 NCAA Tournament games in the books. So a few observations. The only upset was Western Kentucky over Illinois. Butler put a scare in LSU and American simply ran out of gas or it would've sent Villanova packing. Other than that, only Memphis really had to sweat.

I hate 1 vs 16 games. Just hate them. They're always routs and neither team, nor the tournament really gets any thing out of them. I have a solution. What if the NCAA took the last 4 teams booted from the field of 64 and on the Tuesday before the Tournament begins, have the #16 seeds play the final four teams that were left out of the tourney? Two things would happen, I believe. One: a #16 seed might actually win a game in the tourney. Two: if one of the last four win these play-in games, it would make for a more compelling opening round game.

For example, Notre Dame didn't make the field. But, if the Irish were one of the last four 'out', they would get to play Morehead State with the winner going onto face a #1 seed in the first round of the Tournament. Would you rather see Morehead vs Louisville in the opening round? Or Louisville vs Notre Dame?

Here's another thought: give the automatic conference bid to the regular season champ. Use the conference tournament games to let the rest of those conferences build their tournament resume. Chance are, in the bigger conferences, the same teams would qualify. But in one or two bid conferences, the chances of the best teams getting left out of the NCAA Tournament are greater than, say, the ACC or Big East.

Sports Rock this Sunday night on WLWT in Cincinnati will feature an in studio interview with UC's versatile Connor Barwin, who ran a 4.47 40 yard dash in the pro workout day Thursday. Barwin, in some mock drafts, is a low first, high second round pick.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Have you seen this? Funniest thing I've seen in college basketball this season.

Apparently, the kid was OK

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My latest Broo View Podcast is now ready for downloading. You can find it on the front page of my web site: www.kenbroo.com. But, if you're in a hurry, you can find it here. My guest this week, Mike Florio, from profootballtalk.com
One of my favorite web destinations is Tim Dierkes' mlbtraderumors.com. He's analyzing the off season moves of every team this spring. Here's Tim's analysis of the Reds. It speaks to what I've been screaming about since they failed to replace the offense Adam Dunn took with him when he left.

77 wins in 2009? Do you think that would be progress? I wouldn't think so, either.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Good Monday Morning!

Xavier a #4 seed? Good, better than I thought. Figured on a #5. Getting shipped out to Boise? Bad. Only a smattering of Xavier fans will make that trip. And if they're going to, they better start leaving today.

Portland State isn't great, but good enough to give Xavier some problems. The second round match up could be intriguing, particulary if Florida State prevails over Wisconsin. Sean Miller should watch the FSU-North Carolina game from the ACC Tournament. He'll get an eyeful.

No NIT for UC? Surprised a bit. I figured UC would get in, given its total body of work. But I guess that committee took a long hard look at UC over the last seven games this season. Which wasn't very good

I think the flame under Mick Cronin just got even hotter. He has to make the NCAA Tournament next season. If you're on the job 4 seasons and can't get in, there's something wrong. The first season he was at UC can be written off to the horrid way his AD and school President handled the Huggins-Kennedy affair. But after that, he's on his own.

Stay with me on this one. This has nothing to do with the way Bronson Arroyo pitched Saturday. Four innings, four hits, three earned runs and a home run allowed. Late spring start, maybe a little dead arm, it happens. Arroyo will be fine. But, with what team this season?

If you’re Walt Jocketty and you’ve seen Homer Bailey and Micah Owings throw this spring, aren’t you thinking about a way to get each of them in the starting rotation? Do you really want to banish one of them to Triple-A, or the bullpen? If I’m Jocketty, neither of those are good options for Bailey or Owings.

And if you’re Bob Castellini, any you’ve seen your personal wealth take a dive like a buzzard pouncing on road kill, and you know your revenue stream for your team will be another victim of the economy, aren’t you looking for ways to cut over head?

To me, Bronson Arroyo would be a prime candidate for a late spring training trade. Why not? It’s happened to him before. How do you think he got here?

Arroyo is due to make $20.5 million over the next two seasons. If the Reds don’t pick up his $11 million dollar option in 2011, they have to pay him $2 million to leave. That’s at least $23.5 million they owe Arroyo before his current contract is up. I don’t know where you come from. But where I’m from, $23.5 million is a lot of money.

So who could could Bronson Arroyo? It would have to be a contending team in a large market, right? The Yankees? They’ve always got dough. They’ve got CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett. Arroyo isn’t as good as those two, but better than the third and fourth starters the Yankees have, Phil Hughes and Chien Ming Wang. How ‘bout Arroyo to the Yankees for Xavier Nady? 300 hitter, good power, can play left field?

You know who needs pitching? The Dodgers. Their everyday 8 is pretty good: Manny, Russell Martin, the catcher, Casey Blake at third. You might have a tough time getting outfielder Matt Kemp for Arroyo. But what about Adam Ethier, a big left handed bat? Don’t think the Dodgers would like

Arroyo in their rotation? Chad Billingsley is their ace. But after him? It’s a shaky group.

Look, I like Arroyo. I’d like him even more if he’d throw some wins early in the season this year. That didn’t happen in ’08. I’d like him even more if he’d cut down on the number of pitches it takes to get out of innings. I like him as a guy. Great interview.

But if the goal is to get young and the young arms are ready to go, why not see what you can get for him? Harang, Volquoz, Cueto, Owings & Bailey. With Ethier or Nady in left field and the rest of the “Everyday 8” the Reds have? That’d slap old “Pot Roast” to attention up in Chicago, wouldn’t it?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Whoops. Didn't see that coming. Temple beats Xavier. My bold prediction some 39 hours away from Selection Sunday: Xavier a #5 seed and heading west, to Boise. Losing to Temple cost them a #4 and a spot in Dayton. We'll seee

Anyone else notice that Micah Owings tossed another four innings of shutout ball tonight in Ft. Myers, Florida? Why will he beat out an equally impressive Homer Bailey for the 5th starters' spot in the Reds pitching rotation? Two reasons. One, his bat. Two, he's Walt Jocketty's guy. Jocketty made Owings the centerpiece in the Adam Dunn trade last summer.

Is anyone else thinking that the Reds could could trade Bronson Arroyo this spring and go with a rotation of Harang, Volquoz, Cueto, Owings and Bailey?

Just posted, the latest Broo View Podcast. It's on the front page of my web site: www.kenbroo.com. But, if you're in a hurry, you can listen or download it here. The hot topic is the 45 worst contracts in MLB. Tiim Dierkes from mlbtraderumors.com is my guest. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Good Morning....

At least it is where I call home. How much basketball are you watching this week. And are you pacing yourself, so you don't get entirely burned out (is that even possible?) before the NCAA Tournament begins next week?

How many games does UK coach, Billy Gillispie have to win to save his job. Answer, zero. The win over Ole Miss kept the wolves at bay for 24 hours. Beating LSU is another thing, even though Xavier beat the Tigers on the LSU home floor this season. Gillispie has eight years remaining on his contract. I'm guessing he's finally signed the thing. It was still unsigned before this season. Eight years of salary to pay off, just to have a basketball coach go away, is something that just about every school and it's eager alumni will find hard to do in this economy. If Gillispie can avoid losing to bottom feeding teams next season and keep the Rupp Arena losses to a minimum (he's lost ten at Rupp in just two seasons), the heat will be off.

But I'm thinking a perfect first round NIT match-up will be UK against the University of Cincinnati at US Bank Arena, on the banks of the Ohio River. Rupp is unavailable, because of the Kentucky high school playoffs. Memorial Coliseum would work. But why not play in Cincinnati, where UK would still have the home court advantage? Just askin'....

If Xavier is a #4 seed, which I believe is best case scenario and gets shipped out (which I believe is a real scenario), the Muskies will have a tough time getting past the first weekend. 4-13 matchups are dicey. And if you win that game, you're up against the winner of the 5-12 game.

Mick Cronin says if his Bearcats can't get an NIT bid, that's it, season over. Cronin, who took his team to the inaugural CBI classic last year, says he and his AD, Mike Thomas, agree that anything but the NIT is a waste of time. Good. The CBI and another post season tournament are around this season, meaning more than 100 Division I schools will get to play in a post season. To what end? The Bearcats went to the CBI last year with a 13-18 record. Who wants to see that?

I think is 40-60 UC winds up with an NIT bid. Winning record? Yes. Losing six of its last seven? Not good for UC.

Got to admit it, I'm beginning to believe the Reds are building a very strong franchise. And that's not just at the major league level. mlb.com has this story on the top ten prospects in the the Reds minor league system. Gives you hope.

I'm talking sports again, as usual, on Sunday morning. I'm on from 9am-12:30p on 700 WLW in Cincinnati. Listen online at 700wlw.com. Among my guests, Mike Florio from profootballtalk.com and Damon Durante from betus.com. Mike's got the inside scoop from the NFL. Damon has the lowdown on who'll bet how much on the NCAA Tournament next week.

And if you're in the greater Cincinnati area, Sunday night at 11:35p on WLWT Channel 5, our guests on Sports Rock will be former UC player, Alex Mecham, former Xavier player and current radio broadcaster, Byron Larkin and former triple crown winning jockey, Steve Cauthen.

Lot of 'formers'. But then again, aren't we all at something or other?

Have a great weekend and sign up for my 'tweets' at twitter.com

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Just posted on my web site, the latest Broo View Podcast. I've got an in depth interview with Scott Miller from cbssports.com. We discuss the Reds and other things going on in Major League Baseball. It's at www.kenbroo.com. But, if you're in a hurry, you can download it here.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Good stuff again from our pal Mike Florio, at profootballtalk.com and the huge mess that's brewing with the NFL's players' union and how it may impact the game.

Florio stirs up the pot. But he knows his stuff.

Meantime, Charles Barkley is now a free man, again. He's been released from that jail tent he was sent to, for a DUI conviction. Must be a lenient sheriff out there in Arizona. He left Charles hold a news conference, even though he was there for only a couple of nights.

To more mundane matters, the fight for the Reds' fifth starters spot in the pitching rotation is getting very interesting. Michah Owings was terrific again on Sunday. Homer Bailey was terrific again on Saturday. The tie breaker could be Owings hitting ability. But ponder this: if both continue to show this kind of stuff, should the Reds entertain offers for Bronson Arroyo...or just outright shop him? Would the Red Sox consider taking him back. Would the Yankees think about a swap of Arroyo for, say, outfielder Nick Swisher or Xavier Nady? And wouldn't that solidify the Reds outfield, while reducing cost?

It's still early in the spring. And pitchers are facing watered down batting orders because of the World Baseball Classic. But I'm just askin...you know?
Good afternoon!

Brand new Broo View Podcast is posted and ready to download on my web site: www.kenbroo.com. Among the tidbits in this episode is an interview with draftinsiders.com founder and editor, Frank Coyle. The topic, of course, is the upcoming NFL draft and how the Bengals need to draft linemen. Some comments from Marvin, Laevrneus Coles and Cedric Benson are also in this current episode. In a hurry? You can download it here.

More coming later today...promise

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I think I'm starting to see something I haven't seen in awhile. I watched the Bengals news conference today, the one where they trotted out wide receiver Laveranues Coles. I heard all the stuff you usually hear at these things. He's happy to be here, wants to mentor the younger Bengals wide receivers, says Carson Palmer will be fantastic to play with. But here's something else I heard and saw.

Marvin Lewis, circa 2003.

Lewis came in here breathing fire and spitting gasoline. He shook up a franchise that at disintegrated into the worst in the NFL and maybe all of professional sports.

The Bengals had become the moral equivalent of Soviet Union agriculture. Full disclosure, the terrifically talented George Will used that line 20 years ago to describe the Chicago Cubs. I always wanted to use it. Thanks George.

When Lewis arrived, things changed in a hurry. In 2003, the Bengals went 8-8, which would have been cause for a parade around Fountain Square in most seasons. Within three years, the Bengals were a legitimate contender and a playoff team.

Then, the artist formally known as Chad Johnson had his celebrated halftime meltdown in the Bengals playoff game in January, 2006 and the rest is a matter of history, and police blotter.

Worse, Marvin Lewis seemed to go 'soft'. He' d certainly lost his bite. And when Mike Brown tossed him totally under the bus last summer by bringing back Cincinnati's favorite clown, Chris Henry, Marvin was toothless.

But here's what I saw today: the Marvin of 2003. I have nothing to base this on, other than what's always been a keen eye for body language. But Lewis looks like his old self. He talked about how Coles can take the wide receiver corp to a new height. Wednesday, in welcoming back running back Cedric Benson, he talked about retooling the offense. He had a flash in his eyes that was there in 2003-2005, until he became Dead Coach Walking.

Maybe it's not so dramatic as I think. Lewis' greatest weakness as an NFL head coach, I believe, is his inability to deal with the media without coming off condescending. That in itself is amazing, considering that two of the head coaches he's worked under, Brian Billick and Bill Cowher, were excellent in dealing with some of the fools who work in my business. Marvin's problem is that he seems to think we're all fools. Maybe we are, at different times, but so too can be an NFL head coach.

But I think I saw something today that's leading me to believe that owner, or knuckle head players, or media be damned. I think I saw a coach who has seized control again. I'll admit it was subtle; a couple of looks, voice inflection, a quiet confidence. But they were the things I saw six years ago when he was first hired.

I could be wrong. But I think I'm right. Welcome back Marvin. Where the hell have you been?

Can you feel the heat building under UK's Billy Gillispie? No? The read this from foxsports.com and get back to me.

Look, I had a lot of trouble this off season with all of the 'blue skies, unicorns and rainbows' BS about the Reds and how competitive they were going to be in 2009. The team lost 100 RBI when it traded away Adam Dunn and were going to have us believe that a career minor leaguer (Chris Dickerson) was a viable option for left field. After eight losing seasons in the last nine and no playoffs since 1995, it was flat out Reds propaganda. But...

I've got to admit when I've seen what the Reds pitching has been like so far this spring, I AM impressed. And Dickerson, Lance Nix and Jonny Gomes have all had their moments. It's a long way from now until April 6th. But I'm not as cynical about the Reds as I was, even two weeks ago.

Maybe I'm getting soft.

See you tonight at 11p or tomorrow night at 6p on WLWT Channel 5. Or both.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bad enough Syracuse throttled UC last Saturday (which UC followed up by losing at lowly South Florida tonight)....but look how concerned the Orange's Paul Harris was about his team beating the Bearcats.

Wonder if his coach, the immortal Jim Boeheim or the school's AD told Harris to keep the showboating to a minimum until he gets to "The Association"?
Well, so much for my impassioned plea to keep TJ. We all know the details by now. But here's some day after reaction.

One of the best Bengals web sites is cincyjungle.com. Here's Jason Kirkandall's take on what the Bengals could have done differently in the the TJ saga.

Meantime, over at espn.com, they have the nuts and bolts of TJ's saga.

And according to the Chicago Tribune, they're celebrating in the Windy City, as the Vikings lost out on the TJ Sweepstakes.

Personally, I think the Bengals misplayed this. What they're left with, at the wide receiver spot, is guy who wants out (Ocho Cinco), a guy who shouldn't even be on the roster (Chris Henry), a guy who was drafted in the second round last year and couldn't get on the field (Jerome Simpson), a guy who fumbles the ball a lot (Glenn Holt) and a guy they got in the third round last year who has shown some promise but only played at receiver the final couple of games (Andre Caldwell).

Am I smelling Michael Crabtree with that #6 overall pick? Or if Cedric Benson departs, Beanie Wells? God forbid.

Look, let me say this again: nothing, absolutely nothing happens at any level of football UNLESS YOU PROTECT YOUR QUARTERBACK!


This is what I'm hearing a lot of so called Bengal experts say: Andrew Whitworth moves to left tackle, Anthony Collins moves to right tackle, Nate Livings moves to left guard. This isn't musical chairs. Oh, and by the way, you still need a center. Meantime, we've seen nothing that would lead us to believe that Collins and Whitworth at tackles is a viable option. Don't give me "Collins played well against the Steelers and James Harrison, et al...." The Steelers toyed with the Bengals that night. I was there. Pittsburgh didn't bring its 'A' game. 16 game schedule, completely different story.

I've got more on this whole deal in my latest Broo View Podcast, episode 192. My guest is cbssports.com's Pete Prisco. It's on the front page of my web site: www.kenbroo.com. If you're on the fly, you can download it here.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I’ve been thinking about this, a lot, the past couple of days. Maybe it’s because as a kid, one of my best subjects was math. Hated math but was good at it. And after all, math is nothing more than problem solving.

I think I’ve got a way for the Bengals to solve a lot of their problems. And as I worked the math, I don’t think it’s going to take much. Certainly not as much as it took the Bengals to dig themselves a hole and bury themselves under 18-years of joke punchlines. The free agent feeding frenzy is upon us. I think your Cincinnati Bengals can start down the road to recovery by signing one player. Just one.

In business terms, since 1990, the Bengals have been a box office sensation and an artistic failure. It’s Broadway backward. They stink, you continue to buy tickets. In a real business, they’d have been out of business a long time ago.

We see a lot of business failing right now, for a lot of reasons. It may seem to the people who own those businesses that i a laundry list of circumstances have done them in. But really it isn’t, and it’s not a laundry list of things that’ve done in the Bengals. It’s two or three bad decisions or cataclysmic events that doom anything. Those usually lead to the laundry list.

So what’s done in the Bengals and who’s this player that can start making things better? Think about this. Three things have torpedoed this team since that glorious Super Bowl season of 1988.

One, lack of championship talent. The Bengals have had a lot of serviceable players in the last 20 years, a sprinkling of some truly outstanding players, and a lot of spare parts. They’ve had players who were long on unfulfilled promise. They’ve had guys that turned out to be flat out busts. I’d put Carson Palmer in the unfulfilled bin. I’d put Akili Smith in the file marked busts.

The Bengals have whiffed, badly, in free agency. Sam Adams ate his way to NFL unemployment. Kendrick Allen, Michael Myers, Ed Hartwell, you know the rest of that sad tune. The Bengals have whiffed in the draft.

David Pollack? Bad luck. Odell Thurman and Chris Henry in the next two rounds of that same draft? Just dumb. We won’t even get into Chris Perry.

Bad scouting, or lack of sufficient scouting, (the Bengals front office is so small it’s hard to tell which it is) and coaches who are forced to become scouts after the season ends can be blamed for a lot of that.

The outstanding players, like Takeo Spikes, Corey Dillon, Lorenzo Neal, they got on the first bus out of here, the minute they could. They didn’t come here with bad attitudes. Bad attitudes are acquired, you’re not born with ‘em.

Here’s the second thing that’s set the good ship Bengals adrift without a rudder: lack of locker room leadership. You ever notice what happens in Bengaldom when a player tries to become the voice of the team? Willie Anderson might be able to fill you in on that, Brian Simmons too. And if you want to get old school, find Boomer. These are smart guys, who came from winning collegiate programs. They know what it takes to win and they weren’t shy about sharing it. This guy I have in mind has great leadership skills. Yeah, he’s got a mouth and he’s not afraid of letting it run a bit. But he speaks the truth. And if you begin your rebuilding process with him, you’re going to win again. Guarantee it.

And now, to complete the mythical trifecta of losing, the third thing that has submarined this team: character. You think everyone around the NFL has forgotten that garbage that went on here three years ago? Really? You think the howling has stopped from Mike Brown giving Chris Henry his fifth chance, tossing his coach under the blocking sled along the way? Get real. All of those arrests and suspensions still stick with this team. They will, until the team starts winning again and can write other headlines. This guy I got in mind who they should pick up, he can go a long way in ending this national perception of the Bengals and our town. He’s a model citizen.

He’s all three: talent, leadership and character.

And if Brown is as smart as I know he is, he gets on the phone, today, this minute and he tells this guy he knows he’s all of that. He tells him he knows his franchise has got trouble, on the field, off and in this economy at the ticket window. He tells him he should have made this phone call a long time ago, last year, maybe the year before. Because he knows this guy and he knows that there aren’t a whole lot like him in professional football.

It’s an easy call to make.

The Bengals have played football in Cincinnati since 1968. But they haven’t been much of a team in the last 20 years. They’ve got a chance to finally get it right. Palmer is apparently healthy again. If they play it right, the draft can go a long way to fixing their offensive line problems.

But it starts with the guy I'm talking about, TJ. Houshmandzadeh It’s not too late. Make the call Mike. Do the right thing.