By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave while watching the Ohio sports world crumble — Ohio State, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Billy Hamilton, University of Dayton and Wright State University. The only thing that saved the week was attending the awesome Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert Saturday afternoon at the Nutter Center.
—All the vitriol and anger spewing from the lungs of Ohio State fans is wasted effort. The reason the Buckeyes are not in the championship playoffs boils down to one thing: Purdue 49, Ohio State 20. Period. Paragraph. End of story.
Of the six teams considered for the four spots, OSU’s dismal day against Purdue was the death knell. It was the worst loss for any of the six contenders. Win that game and there is no discussion. The Buckeyes make it.
And the argument that undefeated Notre Dame isn’t deserving because of a so-called weak schedule is ludicrous. Schedules are made years in advance and it wasn’t Notre Dame’s fault that Southern California, Stanford and Florida State were not good this season. The Irish defeated everybody on its schedule, including Michigan, Northwestern and Virginia Tech, in addition to USC, Stanford and Florida State.
Yes, Ohio State also beat Michigan and Northwestern, but Notre Dame didn’t lose to Purdue.
The only perplexing thing is why the committee ranked two-loss Georgia fifth, ahead of Ohio State. Not that it matters. If you weren’t in the Top Four, it is immaterial.
But I found it amusing that a committee member, talking about Oklahoma grabbing No. 4 said, “We couldn’t ignore a one-loss conference champion.” Isn’t that Ohio State, too? Georgia lost two games and didn’t win its conference championship.
—QUOTE: From Pulitzer Prize-winning writer George Will: “It is said baseball is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona.” (And right now Billy Hamilton feels as if he has fallen into the Grand Canyon.)
—It was shocking to hear that the Cincinnati Reds didn’t offer Billy Hamilton a contract, but not as shocking as it was to Hamilton.
The Reds, fearing that Hamilton might win up to $10 million in arbitration for next year, decided to let him become a free agent. He can sign with anybody, including the Reds. And the Reds are saying it isn’t a stretch that they could re-sign him for lesser money if another team doesn’t sign him.
That isn’t likely. With his speed and defensive skills, somebody will make him an offer. And it would be a mistake to bring him back.
While Hamilton is an outstanding human being, a great teammate and a fan favorite (for the most part), his time in Cincinnati ran its course and it was on slow time despite his fast feet. He just couldn’t grasp the concept of getting on base to utilize his speed. He was a huge offensive liability.
If his career is to continue, he needs a change of venue and scenery. Maybe the jolt of being non-tendered will clue him in on what he needs to do to be an all-around major league player. Maybe another team can squeeze it out of him. But not the Reds.
——QUOTE: From former NBA superstar Michael Jordan: “I never lost a game. I just ran out of time.” (For the University of Dayton basketball team, it was just the opposite the last three games. The games went too long.)
—Clearly, the University of Dayton basketball team is better than most prognosticators believed before the season. Yes, the Flyers are only 4-and-3 and have lost three straight.
After upsetting a solid Butler team, the Flyers lost to three quality opponents: No. 4 Virginia, Oklahoma and No. 25 Mississippi State.
The Flyers were in all three of those games, could have won all three. But defensive lapses down the stretch and shooting cold spells did them dastardly damage.
On Friday night, they have Mississippi State down by 10 in the first half, only to permit the Bulldogs to score the final seven points of the half. And they had a seven-point lead with six minutes to go, but were outscored 20-7 after that.
And they did that was leading scorer and leading rebounder Josh Cunningham in a weakened stated. He didn’t start after missing three straight days of practice with food poisoning. He entered the game early and play considerable minutes, but it was clear he wasn’t himself, although he scored 11 points and snagged six rebounds.
The source of his food poisoning was not revealed although he said he doesn’t use lettuce on his sandwiches. Is there a dietitian in the house?
UD point guard Jalen Crutcher, though, is worth watching. He can shoot the three, penetrate and score with acrobatic twists and turns and dish off for assists (seven against Mississippi State).
Meanwhile, Wright State (4-and-4) lost at Indiana State and perhaps the Raiders need to burn their road uniforms. While the Raiders are 4-and-0 at home in the Nutter Center, they are 0-and-4 away from home. Maybe coach Scott Nagy can convince future road opponents to permit his Raiders to wear the home whites.
In fairness, Wright State has lost to quality opponents and Indiana State is 5-and-1.
—QUOTE: From former NFL defensive back Spider Lockhart: “The only way to stop Jim Brown was to give him a movie contract.” (After watching most of Brown’s films, he would have done better staying with the Cleveland Browns.)
—And the beat goes on for the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns. The downbeat.
The injury-ravaged Bengals took a header again Sunday, losing to the Denver Broncos in Paul Brown Stadium, 24-10. Quarterback Andy Dalton didn’t play and wide receiver A.J. Greene tried to play but was carted off the the field in the first half.
Stand-in quarterback Jeff Driskel was 25 of 38 for 236 yards, but he was sacked four times.
It was a good day for Oklahoma as far as the Sooners making the college playoffs and Oklahoma graduate Joe Mixon running 12 times for 82 yards for the Bengals, it was not a great day for Oklahoma graduate and Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.
While some of his numbers are glossy — 29 of 43 for 397 yards, he threw only one touchdown pass. He threw three interceptions in the first half and put the Browns in a 23-0 halftime hole, a game the Browns lost, 29-14.
The Browns defense held the Houston Texans to two field goals in the second half, but the first half trench was too deep.
—QUOTE: As former NBA player Drew Gooden once said, and it applies to Ohio State, UD, Wright State, Billy Hamilton, the Bengals and the Browns: “I’ve had to overcome a lot of diversity.”