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Sports Today: Something Reds fans can take from Houston’s World Series victory

Published: Thursday, November 02, 2017 @ 9:54 AM

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 17:  Adam Duvall #23 of the Cincinnati Reds scores on a double by Eugenio Suarez in the eleventh inning as Jason Castro #15 of the Houston Astros is late with the tag  at Minute Maid Park on June 17, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 17: Adam Duvall #23 of the Cincinnati Reds scores on a double by Eugenio Suarez in the eleventh inning as Jason Castro #15 of the Houston Astros is late with the tag at Minute Maid Park on June 17, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)(Bob Levey/Getty Images)

I’m sure we’ll have time to dig deeper into this later, but off the cuff there’s a fact about the Houston Astros’ 2017 World Series run we could spin either way when it comes to the Cincinnati Reds.

The Astros beat the two teams with the highest payrolls in baseball to claim their first championship

So… does that signal to the Reds it can be done, or is it a reminder of how the deck is stacked against them? 

I guess it could be both if that doesn’t break any sort of internet laws. 

At any rate, the Astros are in a much larger television market than the Reds but were right under the league average in payroll with a roster I believe was largely homegrown. 

RELATED: Cincinnati native joining Reds front office

For what it’s worth, the last time the Reds made the postseason they were spending about the same kind of money relatively speaking and had a mostly homegrown team, too. 

The 2015 World Series Champion Royals were also a small-market team while last year’s Cubs were let’s say a hybrid model. Chicago tore their big-league club down to the foundation and endured five terrible seasons while building it back up through the draft, but some high-priced additions pushed it over the top last year. 

What was your takeaway from this great World Series? 

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Interesting day in Cincinnati as A.J. McCarron dealt with the fallout from the Bengals’ failed attempt to trade him to Cleveland. 

I’d say the former Alabama quarterback handled this as well as possible. 

It’s hard to come across genuine in this situation, but McCarron managed to walk the line between ambition and selflessness, as he did when Andy Dalton was under fire early in the season. 

READ MORE: McCarron speaks for first time after failed trade

I think the consensus is the only loser in this situation was the Bengals, who obviously value McCarron but also view him as expendable. 

Will they ever be able to get this type of compensation for McCarron now? 

The Browns look foolish and inept, both unable to carry out league business while appearing to give up on the quarterback (DeShone Kizer) they chose in the second round last spring. 

McCarron has to wait another season to get a starting opportunity, but at least it won’t be with the Browns…. 

As for the game on Sunday, this is one of the games I would have penciled in as a win before the season but that now is definitely a tossup.  

The Jaguars are first in the league in rushing and last in stopping the run. 

Jacksonville also leads the league in scoring defense and passing defense (yards).  

They are third in the NFL in turnover margin while the Bengals are 30th.  

RELATED: 5 things Doug Marrone said about facing Cincinnati this week

If you’re keeping score at home, the Bengals can’t run the ball and their run defense is sub-par, but their secondary is good. 

Jacksonville’s quarterback generally is not regarded as worthy of being a starter in the NFL, but Blake Bortles’ QB rating so far this season is just a tad worse than Dalton’s. 

Noticing a trend here?… 

These are happier times in Columbus as Ohio State is still basking in the win over Penn State. 

There was plenty of Iowa talk in the capital city Wednesday, too.  

The Hawkeyes aren’t having a great season, but like Nebraska their brand brings a certain amount of built-in respect. 

RELATED: Thoughts on the Buckeyes’ playoff plight

Urban Meyer says the key to avoiding a letdown is leadership, and he believes he’s got plenty of that this season. 

I would say that was on display in the workmanlike way Ohio State blew out everyone in the weeks leading up to Penn State and again in how the Buckeyes stayed engaged when the bad stuff was piling up early against the Nittany Lions. 

The continuing evolution of the offense was also a topic of conversation Wednesday night as J.T. Barrett and Kevin Wilson admitted Penn State managed to outwit them at times defensively, but the Buckeyes powered through it. 

By that I mean Barrett got his reads confused a few times (in case you were wondering if they threw too many screens that seemed DOA), but Wilson was OK with it because some mistakes are to be expected when playing at a fast pace. 

I suppose they figure speeding the defense up pays dividends overall as the game plays out… 

College basketball season is one day closer, and the release of the preseason Associated Press poll gives us something else to talk about. 

I’m surprised Dayton was included in anyone’s ballot, though filling those things out really becomes more of a crapshoot as you go farther down the line. 

Anthony Grant’s first Flyers team has a lot of potential, but the floor might be pretty low, too. 

RELATED: Dayton receives vote in top 25 poll

Last year with a much more veteran team, Dayton started the season just outside the top 25 at No. 26. 

I guess it never hurts to get respect from outsiders when you’re trying to make that climb up the ladder. 

Tennessee WR Jauan Jennings goes on epic rant against Vols coaching staff in Instagram video

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 6:17 PM

The mood around the Tennessee football program is possibly at an all-time low right now as the Volunteers prepare for its final game of the season against Vanderbilt.

One player that is upset with the current coaching staff is wide receiver Jauan Jennings, who has been preparing for a comeback against the Commodores after suffering an injury in the opening game against Georgia Tech this season.

Per Mike Bratton, Jennings aired his grievances on his Instagram feed:

(Warning: some language NSFW.)

According to a SEC Country source, this is the first that Jennings returning against Vanderbilt has been mentioned, and during previous games since injury, he has not been on the sidelines with the team, including last week when he decided to sit in the stands during the Volunteers loss to LSU.

West Virginia announces uniform combination vs. Oklahoma

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 6:15 PM

West Virginia football unveiled its uniform combination for its final game of the regular season on Saturday.

The Mountaineers wrap their conference slate with a road trip to Oklahoma, and they’ll break out white jerseys, white pants and matte blue helmets.

The Mountaineers are coming off a 28-14 loss to Texas on Saturday, Nov. 18, dropping them to a 7-4 record this season. West Virginia is out of contention for a spot in the Big 12 championship game, but it can spoil No. 4-ranked Oklahoma’s chances at a College Football Playoff berth with an upset win.

The Mountaineers will be without starting quarterback Will Grier. Although, the Sooners will also be without starting quarterback and Heisman Trophy frontrunner Baker Mayfield for at least the Sooners’ first offensive series.

Kickoff is set for 2:45 p.m. CT in Norman, Oklahoma. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Beanie Wells dispenses words of wisdom for Ohio State ahead of Michigan game

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 6:14 PM

Former Ohio State running back Beanie Wells has no shortage of experience with the Buckeyes’ rivalry against Michigan, having played for the team from 2006-2008. On Tuesday, Wells dispensed some words of wisdom for the Buckeyes  with “The Game” set for this weekend.

“The history. The dream. The game. What’s this week mean to you, fellas? All the coaches and players that gave blood, sweat and tears to be apart of this amazing rivalry,” Wells said in a Twitter video. “They say the good become great when no one’s watching. But the great became legends when the whole word is watching.

Wells never mentions Michigan by name in the video, instead referring to the Wolverines as “the team up north.”

Check out the full video tweeted by Ohio State here:

Wells had his most successful season at Ohio State as a sophomore in 2007, when he rushed for 1,609 yards and 15 touchdowns on 274 carries.

The running back’s performance against Michigan that season helped propel the Buckeyes to the national championship. On Nov. 18, 2007, he scored both touchdowns in Ohio State’s 14-3 win over the Wolverines. The Buckeyes lost in the BCS Championship to LSU, 38-24, on Jan. 7, 2008.

Wells went on to play four seasons in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals, before retiring after the 2012 season.

Indiana-Arkansas State basketball: Score, live updates (11/22/2017)

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 6:14 PM

Indiana basketball plays Arkansas State on Wednesday, November 22, 2017. Find score, live updates and stats below.

Indiana, who is not ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll, has gotten off to a 2-2 start. The Hoosiers’ wins have come against Howard Bison and South Florida, while their losses have come against Indiana State and of No. 20 Seton Hall (then No. 22).

Indiana-Arkansas State basketball: Score, live updates

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Indiana-Arkansas State basketball: Time, game information

Indiana basketball plays Arkansas State at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017.

Time: 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 22.

Location: Bloomington Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.

TV channel:  Big Ten Network

Indiana-Arkansas State basketball: Watch online

The Indiana-Arkansas State basketball game can be watched online through  Big Ten Network TV (BTN TV).

Indiana-Arkansas State basketball: Preview

In the first and only regular season meeting between Indiana and Arkansas State this season, both teams enter with identical overall records. Both the Hoosiers and the Red Wolves enter play on Wednesday with a record of 2-2. Indiana has gone 2-1 at home, while Arkansas State has gone 0-2 on the road.

Indiana is coming off a 70-53 over South Florida on Sunday at Bloomington Assembly Hall. In that victory, senior guard Robert Johnson led the way with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting, 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc, and added 3 assists and 4 rebounds. Junior forward Juwan Morgan contributed with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and sophomore forward De’Ron Davis pitched in 12 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.

In 4 games overall, Johnson is averaging 13.5 points per game and Davis is averaging 11.8 points per game. Freshman guard Aljami Durham has contributed 10.3 points per game.

Arkansas State was also victorious their last time out, defeating Howard Bison, 92-78, at home. Junior guard Ty Cockfield tallied 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting, 3-of-4 shooting from deep, and grabbed 7 rebounds while dishing out 3 assists. Senior guard Rashad Lindsey added 17 points and senior forward Tamas Bruce scored 14 points.

Overall for the Red Wolves, three players are currently averaging double-digit points per game. After 4 games, Cockfield is averaging 18.3 points per game, while senior guard Deven Simms and Bruce are averaging 15 points per game and 12.5 points per game, respectively.
Indiana head coach Archie Miller and Arkansas State coach Mike Balado will both be coaching in their fifth game with their respective teams.
After this game, Indiana will host Eastern Michigan on Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET at Bloomington Assembly Hall, while Arkansas State will continue its road trip and take on South Florida on Friday at noon ET at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.