Random Acts of Senseless Sporting - 9/13/10
September 12, 2010 - B.J. Lisko
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
For a half of football, the Cleveland Browns looked sharp. They moved the ball at will against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and were poised to start their season with a victory. Fast forward some three turnovers later and the lead washed away as quick as the passing thunderstorm in southeast Florida.
Clearly, the Browns still have work to do. The Buccaneers and Browns both, are at best second tier NFL squads this year. But coming in it certainly seemed like Cleveland had a bit of an advantage especially since Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman looked paltry at best coming off a preseason injury that gave him limited action. If the Browns are going to surprise anyone this season, they can’t lose winnable contests. Looking at their division, it’s not as if any conference game is going to be a gimmie, and frankly after watching Sunday, it doesn’t look like any of them are.
The Steelers won how the Steelers should win games — with the running game and defense. As long as Dennis Dixon isn’t completely terrible, a.k.a., as long as he manages the game, the Steelers should be fine over the course of Ben Roethlisberger’s absence. They’re probably gonna have a lot of wire-to-wire games, but that’s nothing new to Pittsburgh fans. As long as they come out on the winning side, the Steel City will stay happy.
Ohio State is clearly the best team in the Big Ten, and frankly I don’t see anyone beating them as long as Terelle Pryor remains healthy. They dominated a Miami team that’s probably about another year away from being in the national title hunt, and after seeing Penn State and Wisconsin Saturday, perhaps the only team that poses any threat to the Buckeyes the rest of the way is Iowa, and that all lies on the performance of Hawkeye quarterback Ricky Stanzi. Michigan is 2-0, but again, they’re still a year or so away from being prominent, and really with any loss the Wolverines could fall into disarray given head coach Rich Rodriguez’ situation in Ann Arbor. About the only way Rich-Rod keeps his job is with a win over Ohio State and a decent bowl appearance and victory. Don’t hold your breath.
Virginia Tech is still going to win the ACC even after losing to FCS school James Madison Saturday. The ACC is utterly pathetic. Every ranked team as of Saturday in the conference had suffered at least one loss, and just about every other team arguably should have. Yet another reason that BCS bowl game tie-ins are an atrocity to college football. When a conference gets this weak, and let’s face it, just about every BCS conference except the SEC has had some serious down years in the last decade, they should take away that conference’s tie-in and give a BCS bowl game slot or two to a more deserving team from one of the non-BCS conferences. Big sponsor money will never let that happen. It’s fun to dream.
Speaking of dreaming, Boise State will run the table, but they won’t play for the title. I’m calling it right now — Boise State will play either the winner of the ACC, Big East, or play TCU, again, after the Horned Frogs also run the table, once again proving nothing and making arguing for non-BCS college football teams a moot point. You can’t call Boise or TCU BCS busters unless they actually get a chance against some BCS schools, and not one another. If they play each other again this post-season, I will boycott college football. Someone obliterate the BCS. Please?
The Salem-West Branch football game Friday was one of the most pleasant sights I’ve seen in six years as sports editor — standing room only and a total battle on the field. It’s shaping up to be another special season for the Quakers.
Congratulations to Salem volleyball coach Don Conser on his 600th win. He nabbed No. 601 Saturday. Come on, coach! Only 399 away from 1,000! All joking aside, I think if Conser wanted to do that, he probably could.
... ‘til next time.
E-mail B.J. Lisko at email@example.com