Second Thoughts: Bengals and Browns will wear out their punters (yawn)

Three things I learned on Thanksgiving: 1) My daughter Grace makes tasty pumpkin pie; 2) The Vikings might be for real; 3) My mother-in-law can’t tell the difference between Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

The Battle of Ohio doesn’t rank with The Game or the Iron Bowl on the list of Best Football Rivalries. These days, it’s not even as good as Valley View-Franklin. Tough to get excited about the Browns-Bengals game. To make matters worse, they play two times every season. How ugly will things get today at Paul Brown Stadium? Hard to say, but I’m pretty sure I’d take the “under” if I were a betting man.

A quick check of last week’s NFL games show that the Bengals managed 12 first downs while somehow beating the Broncos in thin air. (Wow, how bad is Denver?) Just one team had fewer first downs than Cincinnati. You guessed it: the Browns, with 11. That’s also the same number of losses with which the winless Browns will head home Sunday night. Bengals 20, Browns 14. Will anyone take a break from their Cyber Monday strategizing to watch?

Question: If Ohio State wore “alternate” jerseys for every game, would the Buckeyes have a traditional jersey? That’s where things are heading as THE OSU looks to push more merchandise and impress spoiled 17-year-old recruits, who reportedly are dazzled by anything that looks different. Is this what it’s come to? It seems like these alternate jerseys are rolled out often for the Michigan game, tradition be damned. At least they played at noon Saturday.

I get it, Buckeyes fans. You don’t like Michigan. But this crossing out of every M in the state is ridiculous. The cuteness has worn off, and Gov. Kasich’s annual proclamation is silly. Same thing with Urban Meyer refusing to say the word “Michigan.” Ohio State-Michigan is a great rivalry game, but things are getting childish here in That State Down South. (Don’t bother with the nasty emails. My Ohio-born wife just smacked me upside the head.)

Grant Benzinger has put together a great career at Wright State. The senior guard is one of the reasons to check out Raiders basketball. And if you go to a game you might see his dad, Todd, and take yourself back to when the Reds were great. WSU concludes its four-team round-robin tournament today at the Nutter Center against Fairfield. I like the concept of bringing four good mid-major teams to one venue to duke it out. Cost efficient and the games are competitive. It’s also good to see them play three straight days instead of taking one day off. These college kids can handle it.

Trending up: Philip Rivers, Mike Brey, Jose Siri. Rivers put down the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day with 434 yards passing and three touchdowns for the Chargers. I’ve always liked Rivers, one of the NFL’s last true gunslingers (not a “game manager”). He’s put up big numbers in his career (10th in career passing yards), but is stuck on a team nobody watches. He’s been an underdog since Day 1, when the Giants drafted him in 2004 and traded him to San Diego because Eli Manning threw a temper tantrum.

Trending down: Georgia Dome, Jim Mora, Nate Peterman. RIP, Georgia Dome. You went way too young. The demise of this downtown Atlanta sports and entertainment venue, which was imploded last week, is proof that the stadium arms race will never end. The dome opened in 1992 — 80 years after the first peanut shells were dropped in Fenway Park. The Georgia Dome was built for $214 million. It was a millennial! Its $1.6 billion replacement, swanky Mercedes-Benz Stadium, has much better video boards.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Prep basketball: Hamilton rallies to sink Middies as streaks continue
Prep basketball: Hamilton rallies to sink Middies as streaks continue

The streaks were extended on both sides. One in a good way, the other not so good. Hamilton High School’s boys basketball team won its fourth straight game Wednesday night, rallying from a 33-26 deficit to hand visiting Middletown its eighth consecutive defeat. Jaylen Robinson scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter for Big Blue, who...
Dayton settles for long-range shots and can’t make enough to beat Hawks
Dayton settles for long-range shots and can’t make enough to beat Hawks

The Dayton Flyers lived by the 3-pointer on Friday and died by it on Wednesday. No one expected Dayton to replicate its 106-79 victory against Virginia Commonwealth when it played at St. Joseph’s, but no one expected a meltdown either. Of course, that’s the way this up-and-down season is going. The Flyers lost 81-65 at Hagan Arena...
OSU’s Holtmann first coach in 95 years to win first 7 Big Ten games
OSU’s Holtmann first coach in 95 years to win first 7 Big Ten games

Chris Holtmann became the first coach in 95 years to win his first seven Big Ten games as No. 22 Ohio State defeated Northwestern 71-65 on Wednesday night. C.J. Jackson had 12 points, eight assists and three steals, Micah Potter scored 13 points off the bench, Jae’Sean Tate added 12 and Keita Bates-Diop had 10 points and eight rebounds for the...
HS Results 1/17: Centerville drops Lebanon, Waynesville beats Oakwood

Boys Basketball Cedarville 63, West Jefferson 53: Colby Cross poured in 29 points, including five three-point baskets, to carry Cedarville in the win. Girls Basketball Centerville 66, Lebanon 62: Emma Stanley scored 18 points, leading four players in double-digit scoring for Centerville. Alexis Straw led Lebanon with 21. Beavercreek 60, Miamisburg...
HS Scores 1/17: Cross leads Cedarville, Hamilton edges Middies

Boys Basketball Tuesday’s Results Belmont 68, Franklyn 51: Hunt (B) 20; Kinder (F) 16. Butler 55, Tecumseh 32: Justice (B) 22. Chaminade Julienne 61, Thurgood Marshall 59 Clark Montessori 67, Cin. Christian 50: Ealy (CM) 24; Reutener (CC) 12. Clinton Massie 59, Valley View 55: Chowning (CM) 20. Dayton Christian 48, Emmanuel Christian 29: Welker...
More Stories