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COLUMN: Covering the spread

Opinion, insight into the world of sports

September 26, 2012
B.J. LISKO - Salem News Sports Editor (bjlisko@salemnews.net) , Salem News

The only thing more surprising than the botched Monday night call in the Seattle-Green Bay game was the fact it didn't happen to the Browns.

Packers fans, you now know our pain. Well, not exactly.

You'll probably win 11 of your last 13 and make a serious playoff run. The Browns might be lucky to make it through 13 more games without spiking themselves, and the immediate future doesn't look any better.

I say this every year and even debated whether or not to say it again this time around. There is no hope for Cleveland this year, next year, and likely the year after that unless Pittsburgh and Baltimore get so old defensively they can't function enough to take the field - even then the Browns would be double digit underdogs.

But the Steelers and Ravens and even the Bengals at this point aren't like the Browns. They replace, re-align, rebuild. We just reek. Another new owner about to flip over the entire team and staff? Awesome. 2-14 here we come.

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The United States Ryder Cup team hasn't exactly set the world on fire itself in recent competitions although they did win the last time they played on American soil in 2008. Despite the fact every player has a losing Ryder Cup record on the squad aside from the rookies of course, this year the Americans are at least putting on more of a united front than year's past. The European team always seems far more motivated and much more together in its quest to win the Cup. While American squads have had such stellar leaders like Hal Sutton, who had the genius idea to pair Phil and Tiger, the European teams consistently have captains with Ryder Cup savvy. Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and now Jose Maria Olazabel all seem a lot stronger willed and fiery than say a Corey Pavin or Davis Love III. In Europe, the idea of the team isn't lost on the game of golf like it is in the states. I'm sure plenty of American players care just as much, especially that it's essentially a home tournament for them. But guys like Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald live for this. Add the No. 1 player in the world in Rory McIlroy and I've still gotta give the edge to the Euros. Tiger has been better but still isn't quite all there yet. Phil has been inconsistent since way earlier this year, and the rest of the squad while certainly more than capable of winning golf tournaments, just seems to lack the killer instinct it takes to win. Hopefully the Chicago crowd will energize the group and the United States can win back the Cup.

'til next time ...

bjlisko@salemnews.net

 
 

 

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