OBSERVATIONS: Blowback from Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, saddened by defeats to Ohio State, the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Benglas. At least the Dayton Flyers won on the basketball court, but even that one was not a no-doubter.

—IS CLARETT CLEAR?: Ryan Day is 56-7 as Ohio State football coach, 39-0 against every Big Ten team not nicknamed the Wolverines.

And that’s the rub. His three Big Ten losses are all to Michigan, including 30-24 this year and for that Buckeye Nation wants Day’s head atop a yard marker and his whistle tightened full bore around his neck.
Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett was adept at reversing his field and he is equally adept at reversing his field on social media.

Before this year’s Michigan game, Clarett posted on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter):

“Ryan Day gone get the victory today. I think him, the team and coaches tired of hearing about it. Got to get the monkey off his back.”

After the game he changed course and wrote ungrammatically, “Ryan Day. . .Love you bro but gotta go. This is why you’re paid millions. Cant (sic) get paid 9’ms and lose 3 straight (to Michigan).”

This is a guy who was suspended after one year at OSU and then had more run-ins with the police than he did with linebackers.

—QUOTE: From legendary Ohio State coach Woody Hayes: “When you’re winning, you don’t need any friends. When you’re losing you don’t have any friends anyway.” (Ryan Day is accepting all friend requests.)

—THIRTY-SIX AND COUNTING: When Dorian Thompson-Robinson started his first NFL game, he was the 36th different quarterback to start for the Cleveland Browns since the team entered the league in 1999 as an expansion franchise.

We would name them all, but some are hiding in the Witness Protection Program.

Numbert 37 is likely for Cleveland’s next game. With what transpired on the field Sunday in Cleveland’s 29-12 loss at Denver, look for former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco to make his Browns’ coming-out party.

—QUOTE: From Hall of Fame coach Don Shula: “Sure, luck means a lot in football. Not having a good quarterback is bad luck.” (The quarterbacks with the most luck were Andrew Luck and Sid Luckman.)

—CRY ME A RIVER: Pittsburgh
Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson probably is smiling this week instead of looking to pick a fight with a teammate. He was targeted seven times and made four catches for 50 yards during Pittsburgh’s 16-10 win over the Bengals.

A week ago during a 13-10 loss to the Browns, he caught only two passes. During the game, he was in coach Mike Tomlin’s grill late in the game, complaining about being nothing on the field but a loose trinket.

When the game was over he was still moaning as he walked up the ramp to the lockerroom. Once in the lockerrom, defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick basically told him to shut his yap. They nearly came to blow before T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward stepped in to quell the uprising.

Johnson helped the Steelers to amass 416 total yards against the Bengals, the first time in 59 games the Steelers covered more than 400 yards.

And the Pittsburgh defense held the Bengals, minus quarterback Joe Burrow, to 222 yards, only 25 rushing. It was the first game all season the 7-4 Steelers had more total yardage than the opposition.

—A COWBOY OR A COACH?: It was Waylon Jennings who sang, ‘Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.’

That’s true. Let them grow up to be college football coaches. . .unless your name is Ryan Day and you have to play TTUN.

It was big news when Texas A&M paid Jumbo Fisher $77 milllion to ride off into the sunset. Well, add two more to the list.

Indiana fired Tom Allen and paid him $20.5 milllion to go away. And Houston paid Dana Holgorsen $14.8 million to make himself invisible.

Where do we sign up? If you get fired, nobody can call you a quitter.

—QUOTE: From college basketball TV analyst Dick Vitale: “It was tough getting fired by the Detroit Pistons. I really didn’t know where I was going until ESPN called. I said, ‘ESPN? Never heard of it. Sounds like a disease.’” (To many of us it is a disease.

—TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN: So why was YSU coach Jerrod Calhoun smiling when he left UD Arena to board the team bus? He had a $90,000 check in his pocket, the money UD paid YSU to make the 3 1/2 hour bus ride.

For $90,000, he might have made the 86-hour walk from Youngstown to Dayton.

Or as comedian Steve Wright says, “Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.”

—BOB AND BOB: I thought I had heard all of catcher/comedian Bob Uecker’s quips, but as so often happens, I was wrong.

While with the St. Louis Cardinals, Uecker was catching Bob Gibson when manager Johnny Keane ordered him to go to the mound to chat with the always surly Gibson.

“What in the hell are you doing out here,” Gibson said to Uecker.

“I’m just on my way to center field to talk to Curt Flood,” said Uecker.

—MR. UTILITY MAN: Outfielder Travis Jankowski is the epitome of a journeman major leaguer, bouncing from San Diego to Cincinnati (16 games in 2020) to Philadelphia to New York (Mets) to Texas.

He played 107 games last season for the World Series champion Texas Rangers, his most games in a season.

He only played 73 games for the 2022 Mets, but manager Buck Showalter said of the 32-year-old fourth outfielder, “He’s my favorite player.”

That’s quite the compliment for an extra player who should wear a utility belt to home plate. But he now will own a World Series ring. . .and another team next season. He’s a free agent.

—OVERTIME OGRES: As a maven of minutiae, I came across this meaningless (but interesting to me) factoid:

The last 14 times the Florida State basketball team has played overtime games, the Seminoles have won all 14, an NCAA record.

—QUOTE: From former North Carolina coach Dean Smith: “If you make every game a life and death proposition, you’re going to have problems. For one thing, you’ll be dead a lot.” (And playing a lot of overtime games speeds up that process.)

—SAVE YOUR MONEY: If you are a bettor, it is best to stay away from picking the favorite and giving the points for State Rivalry football games.

Examples abounded over the weekend:

^^^Alabama was a 13 1/2-point favorite over Auburn and won by three, 27-24.

^^^Washington was a 14 1/2-point favorite over Washington State and won by three, 24-21.

^^^Georgia was a 24 1/2-point favorite over Georgia Tech and won by eight, 31-23.

^^^Tennessee was a 27 1/2-point favorite over Vanderbilt and won by 24, 48-24.

^^^Purdue was a 6 1/2-point favorite over Indiana and won by four, 35-31.

^^^Louisville was a 7 1/2-point favorite over Kentucky and lost by seven, 38-31.

^^^Illinois was a 5 1/2-point favorite over Northwestern and lost by two, 45-43.

So, do you catch the drift here?

—QUOTE: From a habitual gambler. “I hope I break even. I need the money.”

—WRIGHT IS RIGHT: Another one-liner from my favorite comedian, Steven Wright: “I intend to live forever. So far, so good.” (Yep, and me, too, Mr. Deadpan.)

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