OBSERVATIONS: ‘The Sounds of Silence’ in UD Arena

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, exhilirated that the Cleveland Browns get to play on Monday Night Football in a big game against the Baltimore Ravens — the team that is the REAL Cleveland Browns, moved to Baltimore by Art Modell, the grinch who stole football from Cleveland.

—The University of Dayton, with athletic director Neil Sullivan pulling a full-court press and a fast break to find opponents, has played three home games.

That is, if you want to call them home games. It is more like watching pick-up games at the YMCA. In fact, they could play the games at the YMCA

As a member of the media, I have been fortunate t0 attend all three and, frankly, it is not fun, not enjoyable at all.

With COVID-19 ruling all our lives, things just aren’t the same.

UD investerd $70 million to refurbish UD Arena and it is a glistening jewel, a nearly empty glistening jewel.

Fan are limited to 300 and there have been 100 or fewer at the games, mostly family members of the team.

With the Flyer Faithful filling the 13,400-seat Arena, the Red Scare student section under the north basket and the lively and loud pep band, UD Arena is one of the most difficult venues for visiting teams.

Not now. No Flyer Faithful, no Red Scare, no pep band, no home court advantage.

All one hears are squeaking sneakers, coaches shouting at their players and the infernal and shrill whistles of the officials.

And it has shown on the floor. The Flyers have been involved in three close games. They beat Eastern Illinois, 66-63, and Northern Kentucky, 66-60. They lost to SMU on a buzzer-beater, 66-64,

One wonders what it would have been like, especially the SMU game, if there had been a full house of UD backers standing and screaming in the final minute of play.

There is just no energy in the place.

Bob Huggins feels the same pain at West Virginia. Huggins played at WVU and lives in Morgantown, just as Dayton coach Anthony Grant played at UD and lives in Dayton. Both know what it’s like to coach in front of a screaming mob supporting their teams.

Is there value now in having home games?

“What makes the difference if we’re not going to be allowed to have fans?” Huggins said in a piece written by Chuck Landon of the Huntington Herald-Dispatch.

“We miss that. Usually I want to play as many as I can play (at home), so our fans can see us play. But now it doesn’t matter.”

It doesn’t much matter in UD Arena, either. It is necessary but it is total sadness. And it is the same sad tale down the street at Wright State.

—Xavier University whipped in 19 three-point baskets this week against Oklahoma, so is it safe to call them ‘The Three Musketeers?’

—Before it was canceled: Las Vegas had immense faith in Ohio State or ye of little faith in the University of Michigan.

The Buckeyes were favored by 30 points to rub U-M’s noses in the Ohio Stadium turf for The Game That Won’t Be. It is the most points in which a Michigan football team would have been the underdog since they began keeping such things in 1979.

So, OSU coach Ryan Day won’t have the opportunity to slap a hundred on TTUN.

And now that the Buckeyes have been issued a hall pass into The Big Ten championship game, they are 14-point favorites to beat Northwestern. While Northwestern is a good team, the Wildcats won’t come within 25 points of OSU. Justin Fields & Company are on a mission.

—It is a toss-up over whether the best college football story this year is the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers or the Cincinnati Bearcats.

While I love what unbeaten UC is doing, unbeaten Coastal Carolina has quickly surfaced from the sands 0f Myrtle Beach. S.C. and has become the nation’s darlings.

Faced with a COVID-19 cancellation from Liberty University, the Chanticleers invited unbeaten big boy Brigham Young to play. BYU was a 10-point favorite and as CC coach David Bennett said, “Everybody asked me why we were doing this and said we’d get killed.”

FINAL: Coastal Carolina 22, BYU 17. Even if you are a Mormon you have to admire the Chanticleers.

Both CC and UC could finish unbeaten and neither will be invited to the final four CFP for the national championship.

It is why Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham favors an eight-team field.

“First they should add our conference (American Athletic Conference) to the Power Five, make it a Power Six,” he said. “The AAC has proved itself a cut above the other non-Power Five conferences like the Mountain West, Sun Belt, Mid-American Conference, Conference USA. Then they could have the Power Six and two at-large teams in the CFP.”

—Did I see a pig fly over my house? Is that ice forming over hell? Break dancing has been added as an event for the next Olympic Games.

Next? Chinese Checkers, tie-knotting and bubble gum blowing.

—Finally, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and the boys did something right. There will be no designated hitter in the National League for the 2021 season.

Are they unhappy in Cincinnati? Remember former Reds executive Dick Williams saying the team was built for the DH?

Based on early returns, the 2021 Reds now are being de-built. Instead of DH, it is SD, as in salary dumping. Proof will surface if they trade pitcher Sonny Gray.

—QUOTE: From Casey Stengel when he managed the 1962 New York Mets, losers of 120 games: “The only thing worse than a Mets game is a Mets doubleheader.”

—The Thom Brennaman Comeback has begun. He has been hired to broadcast games for the 18-game winter Puerto Rican League.

He is doing games remotely from Cincinnati with his analyst, former major leaguer Ivan DeJesus.

Brennaman, of course, resigned late last season as a Reds TV broadcaster after using a slur on the air during a broadcast. He has worked hard to re-establish himself.

—QUOTE: Provided by Louisville Courier-Journal columnist Tim Sullivan, a former Cincinnati Enquirer columnist: “See Matthew 23:12: Those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

—Former major league catchers Joe Garagiola and Yogi Berra grew up on the same street on ‘The Hill,’ an Italian conclave in St. Louis. Somebody once asked Garagiola about his big league career and he said, “I wasn’t even the best catcher on my block.”

—QUOTE: From comedian Henny Youngman: “I might be drinking too much. My last urine test had an olive in it.”

One thought on “OBSERVATIONS: ‘The Sounds of Silence’ in UD Arena”

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