By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave while awaiting a dinner delivery from Door Dash, the best innovation since the drive-thru at Wendy’s.
—The University of Dayton still refuses to meet Wright State University in basketball, not on its court, not on WSU’s court, not on a neutral court, not in a back alley.
And there might be a good reason this year. Every year CBS Sports rates the Division I basketball teams in each state, sort of their State of the Basketball Union.
And this may come as a stunner to some, especially those occupying those cushy seats in UD Arena. Wright State was rated No. 4 in Ohio. UD was rated No. 8. Say what?
Cincinnati, Xavier and Ohio State are the top three. Then comes Wright State, Toledo, Miami, Kent State and Dayton. Below the Flyers are Ohio U., Akron, Bowling Green, Cleveland State and Youngstown State.
—Willie McCovey, the fearsome Gentle Giant of the San Francisco Giants, passed away this week at age 80.
Nobody had more respect for the awesome power of McCovey than former Cincinnati Reds manager Sparky Anderson. He refused to let McCovey beat him.
Before games, Anderson would walk past the Giants dugout and when he spotted McCovey he would hold up four fingers, indicating four balls and a walk. During McCovey’s career, Sparky ordered McCovey intentionally walked 37 times.
“I’d be sitting in our dugout, and he’d walk by putting four fingers up, telling me he was going to walk me,” said McCovey. “Sparky, he didn’t want to pitch to me.
—Miami of Ohio quarterback Gus Ragland, a senior from Cincinnati, is a fun guy to watch as he throws around the football — 15 touchdown passes this year and 2,082 yards.
The RedHawks, though, are not much fun to watch on defense. Four times this season they have scored 28 or more points and lost — 35-28 to Marshall, 40-39 to Western Michigan, 31-30 to Army in double overtime and 51-42 to Buffalo.
That’s understandable. There is no ‘D’ in Miami and no ‘D’ in RedHawks.
—One of the worst NFL performances of the year was enacted on TV Thursday night, a dismal night by coach Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders.
They were playing their despised cross bay rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, and lost 34-3 and the Raiders couldn’t do much worse on God’s green grass.
And rookie quarterback Nick Mullens was making his NFL debut for The Niners. Mullens is from Southern Mississippi University, the same school that produced Brett Favre. And Mullens wears the same No. 4 Favre wore. Mullens’ coming-out party was 16 for 22, 262 yards and three touchdowns.
The 49ers were 1-and-7 at the time and Oakland is now 1-and-7, their only win a 45-42 shootout over the Cleveland Browns, and the Browns led, 42-28 early in the fourth quarter.
Wonder if Gruden wishes he could return to the comforts of the broadcast booth, like next week?
—My favorite road restaurants: St. Elmo’s Steakhouse (Indianapolis), Charley Gitto’s (St. Louis), The Saloon (Chicago, but defunct), Pappasito’s (Houston), Scoma’s-Sausalito (San Francisco), The Buckhorn (Denver), Legal Seafood (Boston), Bookbinder’s (Philadelphia), Cucina Urbana (San Diego), The Broken Egg (Siesta Key), Pacific Dining Car (Los Angeles), Primanti Brothers (Pittsburgh), Tavern on the Green (New York City).
—My favorite Dayton-area restaurants:
The Oakwood Club (steak), Mamma DiSalvo’s (Italian), La Fiesta (Mexican), Buckhorn Tavern (ribs), Company 7 (barbecue), Firehouse (subs), Marion’s (pizza), Bullwinkle’s (burgers), Bonefish Grille (seafood), Shen’s (Chinese), Coldwater Cafe (fine dining), Mom’s-Franklin (breakfast), Basil’s (libations), El Meson (eclectic).
—So J.R. Smith wants out of Cleveland? Cavaliers fans would have purchased him a first class ticket to Anchorage after his bonehead play last year ended the Cavs’ season.
If they accommodated every athlete who currently wants out of Cleveland they could fill a 747. The only stable franchise is the Cleveland Indians and it wasn’t long before most guys wearing Indians uniforms wanted out of town until Terry Francona stabilized things.
And remember when Bill Belichick coached the Browns from 1991 until he was fired, yes, fired by the Browns in 1995? Anybody remember when Belichick was head coach of the New York Jets. . .for one day? He was named head coach of the Jets in early 2000 and resigned one day later to take the job with the New England Patriots.
—I’ve often wonder if it was a demented comedian who came up with the name Uranus for a planet making the poor heavenly body the laughingstock of the astronomy world. Actually, the Romans named Uranus, their Greek god of the sky.
—How many out there know where the University of Central Florida is located, other than to say, “Central Florida?” It is in Orlando and no Mickey Mouse jokes about the football program.
What’s the team nickname? It is Knights and the Knights beat Temple Thursday night, 52-40, go to 8-and-0 this year and extend their winning streak to 21 straight.
UCF, through no fault of its own, has played nobody because it plays in the American Athletic Conference, but is ranked No. 9 in the country, one slot ahead of Ohio State.
Laughable? Well, with OSU’s defense, a game between the two might end up 63-62. The Knights have a Heisman Trophy quarterback candidate named McKenzie Milton, who is sometimes mistakenly referred to as Milton McKenzie because he has a last name for a first name and a first name for a last name.
UCF’s sternest test comes November 17 when it faces the University of Cincinnati in Orlando and the Bearcats (7-1) are legit. The Bearcats beat UCLA in Los Angeles. UC’s only loss was a crusher, a 24-17 overtime loss at Temple.
—Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to find a ride to Taco Bell to get my free Doritos Locos Taco, thanks to Mookie Betts stealing second base in Game 1 of the World Series. It is amazing that under the current baseball metrics that anybody even tried to steal a base. Of course, the Dodgers couldn’t get on base, let alone steal one.