Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 74

On the New Header
Courtesy of the Hubble Gallery, which continues to amazes me, this image of  of a red supergiant star in the constellation Monocerotis. We are truly blessed to be part of such a grand creation. Take this tour through Monocerotis courtesy of Hubble.

On Dancing with the Stars
Sarah Palin’s effect on my political world is one thing, but now the Palin Effect has crossed into my entertainment world. Could I be ready to boycott Dancing with the Stars?

On Political Polls
Although many political polls were correct this past Tuesday, the majority missed the Nevada senatorial race by a long short. With most polls showing Sharron Angle to win, Harry Reid wins by 7 percent. Not surprisingly, independents decided that race by going 2-1 in favor of Senator Reid. Although I’m not a Harry Reid fan, but I am happy that Sharron Angle did not win.

On Tuesday’s Fallout
Given the predictable nature of Tuesday’s election results, I appreciate these columns by David Brooks, Ruth Marcus, David Broder, and Kathleen Parker.

On from Contract to Pledge
Since Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) road the Contract with America wave into Washington, it is fitting that he is now leading the GOP’s latest venture – A Pledge to America. Although points exist that any public official should aspire, political rhetoric also exists. See this FactCheck report.

On the Sports Shorts
At the start of the season, I doubt if anyone would have predicted the struggles of the Cowboys, Vikings, Bengals, 49’ers, and Broncos. Individually yes, but not collectively.

Congratulations SF Giants and your fans. You earned it fair and square. Well done!

Cincinnati mourns the passing of legendary Reds manager Sparky Anderson. Sparky was a classic and loved in Cincinnati. Many Reds fans never forgave GM Dick Wagner for firing Sparky and trading Tony Perez. Many thanks Sparky, and rest in peace. Here’s a must-read article about the Main Spark from today’s Cincinnati Enquirer.

After two consecutive great seasons, the University of Cincinnati Bearcats football team has hit hard times. As many were raving about then-coach Brian Kelly’s brilliance, it was obvious to me that his scheme was great with former coach Mark Dantonio’s recruits. Coach Kelly is now at Notre Dame, thus leaving the current coach with an incomplete cupboard. Hmmm – I guess Coach Kelly wasn’t that good of a recruiter.

On Future Posts
I’m looking forward to stepping away from politics a bit.

Have a safe weekend!

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 71

On a Joyous Time
In a world and times with so many negative events and attitudes, the rescue of the Chilean miners shines a bright light on humanity as one of hope and dignity – not one of reality shows, tabloids, political ads, and talk show dogma. Blessings to all involved.

On a Philly Fanatic
The Philadelphia Enquirer Frank Fitzpatrick authored this unkind article about Cincinnati. The comments were the best part, so thanks to the many good Philadelphians who took offense at his article and stood up for us. Good luck Phillies.

On Two College Football Thoughts
Besides last weekend’s Reds playoff game, I also attended the oldest rivalry west of the Alleghenies … one of the oldest college football rivalries at one of the oldest stadiums  … the UC Bearcats hosting the nearby Redhawks at UC’s Nippert Stadium. Bearcat running back Isaiah Pead amassed 197 yards in 10 carries by halftime. Before dismissing Pead’s effort against a MAC school, let us not forget his 21/169 stats against Oklahoma.

Speaking of MAC schools, I earned by undergrad degree at Bowling Green, thus I am a proud Falcon. I know times on the sports front have been difficult of late, but last year’s football time had an interesting stat as they played three teams with a large “M” on the helmet. Who were the opponents? The answer is later in this post.

On the Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals limp into their bye week with a lower than expected 2-3 record. While some find the struggles with the offense I mystery, I offer these thoughts. The offense lacks an identity. Most of the time it behaves as a team that thinks it can run or pass at will. It also behaves as a pass-first offense, then run. Hence, the problem because it does best when running is the top priority. Oh well – guess this is why I am a fan, thus not an NFL coach.

On the Upcoming Elections
With the midterm election season on the home stretch, it is a perfect time to catch countless examples the self-centered, clueless nature of today’s political culture. On the plus side, their ads, comments, and behaviors provide good examples of teaching young people about how not to be. Then again, that requires someone looking politics without a filter, or at least a limited filter.

I continue to maintain that the independents are the most pragmatic voting group and the ones who consistently decide election winners. Many, many times on this blog I have stated that independents vote parties out, and not parties in – something that the winners do not get. It happened in 2006 and 2008, and will likely happen in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Here’s a good Wall Street Journal article.

Cincinnatians are receiving some good political news! Reports are that the Democratic Party is withdrawing money for campaign television commercials in a local Congressional race. Amen to goodbye to pathetic ads – well, at least half of them.

On an Ohio Hamburger
I recently learned that USA Today listed a Cincinnati establishment for having the best hamburger in Ohio. Figuring this probably done by some sort of voting (and not actual tasting), I need to step forward on this one. Granted, Zip’s Café has a loyal following – but there is also a strong band of Zip’s dissidents, of which I am one. Best in Ohio? Not even close – not even best in the Cincinnati.

Answer to the college football question: In 2009 Bowling Green played Missouri, Marshall, and Miami – all with a large M on the side of their helmet.

Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.

On Random Cincy Sports Thoughts

On the Reds
The Reds are in the pennant race! The Reds are in the pennant race! No matter if they make the playoffs or not, the Reds are currently in the mix.

  • Although they don’t have a hammer at the top of the rotation, the starting staff is deep.
  • Although middle relief is improving, Francisco Cordero continues to create restlessness.
  • In my preseason thoughts, I mentioned the importance of productive hitters from the right side. They have done well, but can Jonny Gomes come close to his first half numbers?
  • Although only a few Reds occupied the DL during the first half, second half injuries are starting the happen.
  • Most of the offense has been from infielders, thus why Orlando Cabrera’s injury is significant.
  • OF continues to struggle at the plate. Will Jim Edmonds be able to help? Well, at least he’ll make more contact. Health is his key question, so is he worth 1-2 starts per week?
  • On the other hand, the Reds are one of the better defensive teams and now improve defensively with SS Paul Janish.
  • No problem from this fan that the Reds stood pat at the trade deadline.
  • Joey Votto is one heck of a player.
  • By thought, and I hope I’m wrong, I see the Reds falling short of the playoffs. But, stranger things have happened, thus that’s why they play the games.

On the Bengals
The Bengals’ passing game last year was poor, and no question, Bengal brass addressed the issue, including signing TO. For sure, he has created a buzz – but only time will tell what the results will be. Since the team has the potential to exceed the expectation than any Barnum & Bailey Circus could ever imagine, I hope the Brown family considers hiring Sarah Palin.

On a visit to Bengals training camp we learned that Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari’s favorite teams are the Steelers and Bengals. I wonder if he’s also a Red Sox and Yankees fan. Sure he is.

Congratulations to Dick Lebeau on his induction into the NFL Hall of Fame. This was long overdue, as Canton Crazy Cuts noted on October 20, 2008. This is a great read.

On UC
College football season is around the corner. I’m still a Cincinnati Bearcats season ticket holder, thus look forward to David’s Oklahoma Sooners coming to town. Nevertheless, I fret over the distinct possibility of coming out of the gate with a losing record. The first five games include away games at Fresno and NC State, plus the Sooners at home.

Again this year I will analyze the out of conference schedules of the BCS teams. I’m looking forward to the numbers because on first glance, this doesn’t look pretty.

On to College Basketball

Now with the college football now over, basketball takes the spotlight for the next few months. Although one thing the two have in common is  both polls are both are full of bias and favoritism, at least college basketball ends the season crowning a legitimate national champion – none of this mythical B(C)S.

Here in Cincinnati, the years when Bob Huggins coached the Bearcats were wonderful. Although I recognize that Huggs is no longer here and Coach Cronin’s teams are improving, this moment below is still one of my favorites.

Because the audio is so lousy on this clip, let me set the stage. ESPN was in town to broadcast the first practice of the season known as Midnight Madness. Robin Roberts was in the booth and Dick Vitale on the floor introducing Cory Clouse – a UC student shooting for a one year scholarship of tuition, room, and board … and the ever-animated Vitale offers to thrown in free books. Enjoy!

On Upcoming BSC Bowl Slots

Bowl-pairing announcements will occur later today. As document through past posts, I’m not a BCS supporter – but it is what it is. Just thought I’d take a bit of time to predict how I see the pairings for the biggest, most lucrative games.

Before that, cheers to my Cincinnati Bearcats for another successful season. Personally, I thought Pitt posed match-up problems. However, after being down by 21, the team showed their fighting spirit and resilience. No matter what happens in their bowl game, next year, or the current coaching situation, it’s been a great year – thus thanks for the memories as they are something that critics, skeptics, and elitists can’t take away!

Below is my predictions how I think the bowl pairings will be …. not necessarily how I think they should be.

BCS Championship Game – Alabama vs. Texas

Rose Bowl – Ohio State vs. Oregon

Sugar Bowl – Cincinnati vs. Florida

Fiesta Bowl – Boise vs. TCU

Orange Bowl – Georgia Tech vs. Iowa

On Final Week College Football Tidbits

On the BCS Series
Sure the BCS Championship committee is licking their chops for Texas vs. Alabama/Florida. Think they will lose sleep if Nebraska beats Texas this weekend? Would they be stuck selecting a team they really don’t want to pick? Would a Nebraska win bump a worthy non-BCS conference school? What if Cincinnati loses to Pitt? What UC be out of the big BCS bowls? Whoa! What if both Nebraska and Pitt win? Bottom line – It’s more about the dollars instead of determining a champion.

On the Notre Dame Job
Coaching the Fighting Irish is one of the most prestigious jobs in the game. Here are a few interesting facts to keep in mind:

  • ND has one of the highest graduation rates in the country; thus academically marginal play elsewhere.
  • ND seldom redshirts players.
  • The last three ND coaches fired had an overall winning record.
  • Coaching ND is pressure packed, but lucrative.

On Brian Kelly
The national media has made it seem that UC football wasn’t on the map until he arrived. Wow – what a misconception! Sure he has taken the Bearcats to the next level, but the program was already moving forward.

Last season the defense had 10 seniors – many of in the NFL. By the way, Brian Kelly didn’t recruit any of them – nor did he recruit any of this year’s seniors. As a matter of fact, his first recruiting class would be juniors without a redshirt – thus most likely sophomores. And how many of his recruits are currently impact players?

There’s no question he can win with Mark Dantonio’s recruits – but the unanswered question is can he win with his own recruits? Time will only tell if he stays at UC – thus why I think he’s bound for South Bend.

On the Bama Bonehead
There’s no doubt in my mind that Alabama is one of the better teams in the country. But the fact they played a nonD1 so late in the season is an insult to the game – simply down-right pathetic!

On Cincinnati Sports as of Now

The Cincinnati sports scene has been a hodge-podge of ups and downs. The past 20 years have primarily been a downer for our two main professional teams: the Bengals and the Reds. So the fact that the Reds finished strong and the Bengals are off to a good start does help. On the other hand, our memories aren’t short – so many fans are skeptics.

UC Bearcat football is currently on a roll and has captured the hearts of many in the city. Although Ohio State fans exist, Cincinnati is not a Buckeye hotbed. Although the Bearcats are currently getting high accolades, Coach Brian Kelly admits that the Buckeyes are want his team strives to be – and adds that UC is not there yet.

Fans in this area love college basketball. Sure UC and Xavier lead the way, but UK Wildcats are just down the road to they get their share of coverage – but since I hope they lose every game, I’ve already given them too much space here.

UC basketball during the Huggins era was great; then suddenly, it was gone. The team was essentially dismantled and the struggles ever since are well known. On the plus side, they seem to be turning the corner so fans are starting to get some positive vibes.

Meanwhile, a mere 3 miles away on the Xavier campus, Musketeer basketball has been unbelievably successful through various coaching changes. They are simply a hallmark of consistency and another good season is expected this year. Although hardcore UC and XU fans don’t root for the other, many fans have a have a preference, yet pull for the other in all games but one.

Bottom line – it’s all about being in the wait-and-see mode. After all, by the end of November we’ll feel totally different.