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Sports Today: Marvin Lewis’ predictably uninspiring prescription for a Bengals turnaround

Published: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 @ 10:20 AM

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis speaks during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Cincinnati. The Bengals won 24-23. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Staff Writer
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis speaks during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Cincinnati. The Bengals won 24-23. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)(Staff Writer)

Marvin Lewis met with the media in Cincinnati yesterday and confirmed there’s not much reason to be excited about the rest of the Bengals season. 

“We’ve got enough ability to get it done, but we got to go do it,” he said when asked why he believes this team has what it needs to make a run in the second half of the season. 

Well, glad that’s settled! 

But there’s more: 

“They’re going to work. We just need to continue to work smarter, play smarter, and eliminate the errors and the things that occur that we (have to overcome) in the scope of the game. We just need to get on the right track. We have to make things happen.”

That all sounds great — which is why he said it — but what reason is there to believe it really comes true? 

Unfortunately, there’s no more benefit of the doubt with this team or this coach. 

The Bengals have issues, but they also have enough talent to win more games than they lose. 

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I don’t blame Lewis for all of the Bengals’ problems, but I don’t get the impression he knows how to fix many, if any of them

He’s a leader of men, not boys, and it would be nice if they would just go out and do their jobs. Maybe eventually they will, though only if they decide to on their own. 

Seems like they need more than being told, “Be better.”… 

I guess there was a similar tone to Urban Meyer’s Ohio State press conference Monday, too. 

The questions in Columbus really ran the gamut, as they tend to do more after a loss than a win. 

He brushed aside a question about the direction of his program, but he acknowledged a variety of issues added up to being embarrassed at Iowa. 

“I think Iowa played well and we didn’t play very well. Turnovers. Not being able to get off the field on defense caused that game to turn out the way it did.” 

That’s not a bad summation if you’re trying to keep it simple. 

The defense couldn’t get off the field because it didn’t seem to know what it was doing. 

The offense was inconsistent because the coaches still don’t seem to know what their players should be doing. 

How long will that continue? 

RELATED: 5 things Urban Meyer said about the Iowa game

At least with college guys, there’s more mystery and thus more reason to think something might change in the locker room or position group as they gain experience. 

Just look at Iowa — or this week’s opponent, Michigan State. 

The Hawkeyes just played their best game of the season, and so, too, did the Spartans, who knocked off Penn State to give themselves a shot to make another surprising run to the Big Ten East title…. 

In related news, Wayne receiver L’Christian “Blue” Smith made it official Monday: He is going to play basketball for the Warriors this season instead of enroll early at Ohio State... 

In case you missed it, Joey Votto is among the finalists for the National League MVP Award

Now I guess we’ll find out just how dominant the nerds have become in the BBWAA, but they’ve already scored a major victory considering two of the three finalists — Votto and Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins — play for teams that did not make the playoffs. 

Maybe that makes Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt the compromise candidate? He was a step below both Votto and Stanton (not to mention a half-dozen or so other guys) statistically, but his team got a wild card. 

We shall see. 

My vote would go to Stanton, who had eye-popping traditional numbers (59 homers, 132 RBIs) but also had a higher WAR (wins above replacement) than Votto and Goldschmidt whether you go by Fangraphs or Baseball Reference

I still say if we’re calling it “most valuable,” team success matters

“Most outstanding player” of 2017? That’s Votto. 

But, hey, if he wins there’s no reason for any Reds fan to apologize. 

Maybe it would help make up for his getting robbed for Rookie of the Year… 

The drumbeat for some kind of in-state college basketball showcase for Ohio is getting louder. 

Some things just make too much sense not to do, right? 

In this day and age with so much sports on TV and so many games going on at once, you need to give networks something to promote and something for casual fans to be able to grab onto. 

Hardcore fans are in anyway, but this also serves as a reward to them for enduring so many crappy matchups over the years... 

Unqualified Cleveland Browns general manager Sashi Brown held a press conference Monday to talk about all of that team’s issues. 

I didn’t get the impression anyone was too satisfied with the results.

You’ve got to feel good about a situation in which real reporters found the idea someone sabotaged the A.J. McCarron trade credible enough to ask about it in a press conference. 

›› Browns GM says it’s “wholly untrue” he sabotaged AJ McCarron trade

Definitely a sign things are going well. 

But, hey, there’s this: 

Brown also accepted responsibility for not doing a better job in acquiring talent for Jackson.

“It’s my responsibility to deliver a roster here that is talented enough to win week in, week out,” he said. “And we haven’t done that, yet. We have a very aggressive plan as we move forward to bolster this roster in a huge offseason, probably the most important we have coming up.

“We’ll plan to execute on it.”

It’s nice to see the Browns will finally be treating an offseason seriously, although they did sign away one of the Bengals’ best players last winter, so maybe that says something about Cincinnati, too… 

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson had a rough time recovering from jaw injury he received against Cardinals

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 5:10 PM

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had to admit that the shot he took in Week 1o from Arizona Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby set him back for a few days.

There was some controversy after that hit, when Wilson was forced off of the field to be examined for concussion symptoms. He went into the injury tent, and emerged from it instantly to miss only one play.

Wilson was diagnosed with a nearly broken jaw, and had to wear a splint that looked like a mouthguard for some days after the game to reset it. He admitted that the injury was painful and restrictive.

“Really for the first two and a half to three days I couldn’t really eat anything,” Wilson said, via The News Tribune’s Gregg Bell. “Just doing smoothies and all that kind of stuff.”

While Wilson was injured, he posted a video of himself with the splint on accompanied by the hashtags #Brutal, #Jaws, #MyFaceHurts.

My Jaw is hurt and Dr. is making me wear this to fix and realign my disc in my jaw. #Brutal #Jaws #MyFaceHurts

A post shared by Russell Wilson (@dangerusswilson) on

While Wilson tried to have fun with the pain, the Seahawks had some questions to answer about their handling of Wilson once he was sent off of the field. The NFL investigated their handling of the injury, and on Sunday ruled that the Seahawks did indeed violate the league’s concussion protocol, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The NFL has not yet decided on a penalty.


Tennessee SEC Country picks: No one believes in Vols or Vanderbilt

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 5:08 PM

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The close of college football’s regular season is fast approaching, and the reality for Tennessee is there likely won’t be any more opportunities for the Vols.

Tennessee (4-6, 0-6 SEC) is a two-touchdown underdog to LSU (7-3, 4-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday under the lights at Neyland Stadium.

The Vols’ seniors say they are motivated to try to become the first Tennessee football team to win a bowl game four straight seasons. But the Vols would need to pull off an upset this week, and then finish with a home win over Vanderbilt next week to make that happen.

It has been a rough season for Tennessee football leading up to Coach Butch Jones being fired with two games remaining in his fifth season at the helm.

Injuries have plagued the Vols the last two seasons and continue to play a factor entering into the matchup with the Bayou Bengals.

Tennessee has yet to announce if starting offensive tackles Brett Kendrick and Drew Richmond, who have missed the last two games after suffering concussions at Kentucky, will be available for the game.

Here’s a look at how SEC Country’s media team of beat writers Mike Griffith and Blake Morgan, along with special contributor Dustin Dopirak and podcast host Josh Ward, see the action shaking out in the SEC.

SEC football picks

Mercer at Alabama (-51)

Blake’s pick: Alabama 45, Mercer 0

Dustin’s pick: Alabama 77, Mercer 0

Josh’s pick: Alabama 45, Mercer 3

Mike’s pick: Alabama 63, Mercer 3

Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn (-37)

Blake’s pick: Auburn 42, Louisiana-Monroe 3

Dustin’s pick: Auburn 56, Louisiana-Monroe 7

Josh’s pick: Auburn 42, Louisiana-Monroe 10

Mike’s pick: Auburn 50, Louisiana-Monroe 10

Mississippi State (-11) at Arkansas

Blake’s pick: Mississippi State 35, Arkansas 21

Dustin’s pick: Mississippi State 38, Arkansas 17

Josh’s pick: Mississippi Staset 35, Arkansas 27

Mike’s pick: Arkansas 30, Mississippi State 24

Kentucky at Georgia (-22)

Blake’s pick: Georgia 38, Kentucky 21

Dustin’s pick: Georgia 45, Kentucky 17

Josh’s pick: Georgia 31, Kentucky 17

Mike’s pick: Georgia 35, Kentucky 10

Wofford at South Carolina (-28.5)

Blake’s pick: South Carolina 35, Wofford 7

Dustin’s pick: South Carolina 55, Wofford 10

Josh’s pick: South Carolina 35, Wofford 6

Mike’s pick: South Carolina 42, Wofford 10

UAB at Florida (-10.5)

Blake’s pick: Florida 21, UAB 14

Dustin’s pick: Florida 28, UAB 14

Josh’s pick: UAB 28, Florida 24

Mike’s pick: Florida 31, UAB 20

Missouri (-7.5) at Vanderbilt

Blake’s pick: Missouri 42, Vanderbilt 21

Dustin’s pick: Missouri 42, Vanderbilt 21

Josh’s pick: Missouri 36, Vanderbilt 21

Mike’s pick: Missouri 27, Vanderbilt 20

Texas A&M at Ole Miss (-2.5)

Blake’s pick: Texas A&M 35, Ole Miss 32

Dustin’s pick: Texas A&M 35, Ole Miss 27

Josh’s pick: Texas A&M 31, Ole Miss 30

Mike’s pick: Ole Miss 29, Texas A&M 23

LSU (-14) at Tennessee

Blake’s pick: LSU 35, Tennessee 14

“The Vols lose the chance to play and win a fourth straight bowl game when a more talented LSU team comes to town.”

Dustin’s pick: LSU 45, Tennessee 21

“If Missouri can run all over Tennessee’s defense, so can LSU.”

Josh’s pick: LSU 35, Tennessee 17

“Tennessee will give its best effort, but it won’t be enough against a team with far more firepower on both sides of the ball.”

Mike’s pick: LSU 27, Tennessee 13

“LSU is better at the line of scrimmage, and the Tigers are playing with more continuity against a banged-up Vols team.”

Louisville football: Former Georgia coach Jim Donnan thinks Tennessee should hire Bobby Petrino

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 5:07 PM

The college football regular season hasn’t even ended yet, and already the coaching carousel is in full swing.

The most talked-about current openings are at Tennessee and Florida. Friday, ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum and former Georgia football coach Jim Donnan discussed who they believe the Volunteers will hire.

Donnan turned heads by saying the school should make Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino its top choice.

“If I was going to hire the guy at Tennessee tomorrow, I’d go straight up and try to hire Bobby Petrino,” Donnan said.

Petrino’s name has been speculated about in conjunction with the Tennessee opening before, when Oliver Connelly of the Read Optional speculated that Petrino would be a likely candidate to replace fired head coach Butch Jones. Petrino, however, has not alluded to having any interest in the position.

Prior to this season, Petrino signed a new 7-year, $31.7 million contract and said he wanted to finish his career at Louisville,  according to a Louisville Courier-Journal story. However, if Tennessee — or any other school — is interested, it might be able to lure Petrino away from Louisville.

Due to the firing Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich as a result of allegations of a college basketball recruiting scandal,  Petrino’s buyout has been cut from $8 million to $4 million.

Charleston Classic bracket update: Temple advances to final

Published: Thursday, November 16, 2017 @ 5:19 PM

Highlights: Dayton vs. Hofstra

Temple advanced to the championship game of the Charleston Classic, beating Auburn 88-74 on Friday at TD Arena.

UD NOTES: Antetokounmpo plays well in his second game

The Owls (2-0) will play Clemson (2-0) or Hofstra (3-0), who meet in the second semifinal at 9:30 p.m. Friday (ESPNU).

Old Dominion beat Indiana State 62-44 in the consolation bracket Friday. Dayton (1-1) plays Ohio (1-1) at 7 p.m. (ESPNEWS) in the second game of the consolation round.

Dayton will play Old Dominion (3-1) at 3:30 p.m. Sunday (ESPN3) in the fifth-place game if it beats Ohio or Indiana State (1-2) at 1 p.m. (ESPN3) if it loses to Ohio.

RELATED: Five takeaways from Dayton’s loss

Dayton’s 72-69 loss to Hofstra in the first round eliminated the possibility of it playing Auburn, which visits UD Arena on Nov. 29. 

Auburn made 8 of 33 3-pointers (24.2) percent in its loss to Temple. Desean Murray, who scored 11, was the only Auburn player in double figures.