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Sports Today: Stars not aligning for a Bengals bounce back against Bears

Published: Friday, December 08, 2017 @ 9:51 AM

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 29: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks to pass in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Paul Brown Stadium on August 29, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 29: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks to pass in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Paul Brown Stadium on August 29, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

It’s been some week in Bengaldom, eh? 

Everyone seems to be having a hard time turning the page from the Bengals’ 23-20 loss to the Steelers on Monday night. 

›› Iloka backs Steelers’ Mitchell, defends JuJu hit on Burfict

If you weren’t aware, Cincinnati hosts the Chicago Bears on Sunday

Although the erstwhile Monsters of the Midway are just 3-9, it’s pretty easy to see them winning this weekend. 

RELATED: 5 things Bears coach John Fox said about the Bengals

While the mental state of the Bengals has to be in question considering how they lost Monday night, they’re definitely in bad shape physically. 

Seven starters, including five on defense and running back Joe Mixon, missed practice Thursday. 

Backup defensive backs Darqueze Dennard (who obviously plays a lot) and Brandon Wilson were out, too. 

From a styles-make-fights standpoint, this matchup favors the Bears, too. 

Both teams stink on offense, but the Bears can run the ball and the Bengals’ run defense is below average. 

Chicago also has a good pass rush, so if the visitors get an early lead it could be bad news for the Bengals. 

While both defenses have played above average this season, the Bears have forced more turnovers. 

Score: Bears 20, Bengals 10. 

 

The Cleveland Browns play host to the Green Bay Packers in a game some are saying could qualify as a trap for the visitors, who are still in the playoff race and might get Aaron Rodgers back next week. 

Of course, there’s more interest off the field (as usual) in Cleveland thanks to the firing of executive vice president Sashi Brown yesterday

The experiment of turning over the football operations to people who don’t have much in way of a football background was judged a failure after less than two seasons, and for now Hue Jackson will remain the team’s coach. 

Cleveland already found a new general manager, too, in John Dorsey, who helped put together a Chiefs team that looked good in the first half of the season but not lately. 

Keeping Jackson is certainly interesting given his record (1-27). He’s a great football mind, and it would seem they are acknowledging he’s been coaching with one arm tied behind his back. 

Wonder how this will turn out… 

Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant said at the beginning of the week there was no common thread in the foul trouble his team has had to play through early this season — other than it generally involved the big guys. 

After Dayton’s win over Tennessee State, Kostas Antetokounmpo admitted he’d been doing some “risky” things that have gotten him in trouble at times, though. 

He avoided that against the Tigers and turned in a double-double, giving another hint at his vast potential when he can stay on the floor. 

As for avoiding foul trouble, he credited his brother, Giannis: 

“He said when I get my first foul I gotta lay low. I got to play as hard as I can, but as clean as I can. He said, ‘Don’t get those fouls back to back to back.’”

If only everyone had an NBA superstar to go to for counsel, right? 

At any rate, I continue to be very intrigued by the potential of this team. 

After four great years marked mostly by guys who can probably fairly be judged overachievers, this is a team with a lot of raw ability. 

How far away are they from realizing it? 

I’d say the future is bright — whenever it gets here… 

Area graduates are spread out all over the country playing basketball this winter, including a half dozen in the Big Ten. 

The guy getting the most headlines is easily Vincent Edwards, a senior at Purdue. He scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds last night as the 21st-ranked Boilermakers crushed Valparaiso 80-50. 

The Middletown High School product has scored in double figures in all 11 games so far this season. 

Meanwhile, Wayne graduate Ahmad Wagner had two points in five minutes last night for Iowa as the Hawkeyes lost to Iowa State, and former high school teammate D’Mitrik Trice had three points in 30 minutes for Wisconsin as the Badgers lost to Temple on Wednesday night. 

Mark Alstork (Thurgood Marshall/Wright State) had three points in Illinois’ win over Austin Peay on Wednesday night… 

Ohio State football returns to the practice field Friday afternoon to begin work on their meaningless Cotton Bowl matchup with USC. 

The Buckeyes recruiting class grew last night with a verbal commitment from Matthew Baldwin, a three-star prospect from Lake Travis High in Austin, Texas. 

This is raised questions about the status of Emory Jones, a long-time Ohio State commit who has continued playing the recruiting game by visiting Alabama and Auburn. 

Jones is a four-star prospect who apparently still has a spot in OSU’s class -- if he wants it. 

Booger McFarland on Hugh Freeze rumors: ‘Nick Saban understands that his stamp of approval is basically like God now in the coaching industry’

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 12:15 PM

Booger McFarland has weighed in on the reports that former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze met with Alabama coach Nick Saban about a possible position on the Crimson Tide’s staff.

On Monday night, reports surfaced that Freeze was in Tuscaloosa to speak with Saban, who’s trying to fill the Crimson Tide’s vacant offensive coordinator role. CBS Sports’ Barrett Sallee reported that Freeze could try to land an offensive analyst role rather than become Alabama’s offensive coordinator after the Buffalo Bills hired away Brian Daboll on Sunday.

On Tuesday, McFarland appeared on The Paul Finebaum Show and gave his take on the Freeze rumors. The ESPN analyst spoke about how Saban’s approval could rehab Freeze’s image after the former Rebels coach resigned in July.

“Nick Saban understands that his stamp of approval is basically like God now in the coaching industry,” McFarland told Finebaum. “And if you come work for him, you’re almost guaranteed that whoever works for him is going to get a job somewhere else, especially if Nick Saban signs off on you. He did it for Lane Kiffin. He’s done it for other coaches. Steve Sarkisian moved on even though he was there for only a minute. So if Hugh wants a job as an analyst, and he can learn something and also bring something … I really don’t care one way or another. I think it would be good for Hugh. I think Hugh has been through enough.”

McFarland is right. Saban hiring Freeze would go a long way toward helping the former Ole Miss coach repair his image, after numerous examples of off-field trouble in Oxford during his stint there.

McFarland added that he’s all for giving someone a second chance. For Freeze, a job on Saban’s staff would qualify as such. Will it happen? It remains to be seen. But working at Alabama could be the best possible outcome for Freeze at this point.

WATCH: 5-year-old dancer steals the show at Cavs-Warriors’ game

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 4:46 PM

From the Facebook page of the NBA.
From the Facebook page of the NBA.

The halftime show of Monday night’s game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors featured a dancing 5-year-old whose moves amazed thousands of NBA fans around the world. 

With the Cavaliers’ Scream Team in the background, young Tavaris Jones danced to the song “Rolex” by Ayo and Teo, according to media reports. 

The video has gone viral as nearly 50,000 people have watched in on YouTube alone. 

NFL mock draft 2018: First-round projections, top players, 2018 NFL Draft order (01/16/2018)

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 2:30 AM

NFL Draft 2018 is almost here with NFL Playoffs having conference championship games. Find 2018 NFL mock drafts below.

Much of the narrative around the 2018 NFL Draft is focused at quarterback. Mock drafts from Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports both have quarterbacks littering the top 10.

Here is a collection of 2018 NFL mock drafts from around the internet, plus Land of 10’s own projection.

NFL mock draft 2018: First-round projections, top players

Land of 10 predictions

1 Cleveland Browns Sam Darnold USC QB
2 New York Giants Connor Williams Texas OT
3 Indianapolis Colts Saquon Barkley Penn State RB
4 Cleveland Browns Mike McGlinchey Notre Dame G
5 Denver Broncos Baker Mayfield Oklahoma QB
6 New York Jets Josh Rosen UCLA QB
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quenton Nelson Notre Dame G
8 Chicago Bears Bradley Chubb NC State DL
9 San Francisco 49ers Derwin James Florida State DB
10 Oakland Raiders Minkah Fitzpatrick Alabama DB
11 Miami Dolphins Roquan Smith Georgia LB
12 Cincinnati Bengals Orlando Brown Oklahoma OL
13 Washington Redskins Courtland Sutton SMU WR
14 Green Bay Packers Joshua Jackson Iowa DB
15 Arizona Cardinals Mason Rudolph Oklahoma State QB
16 Baltimore Ravens Denzel Ward Ohio State DB
17 Los Angeles Chargers Calvin Ridley Alabama WR
18 Seattle Seahawks James Washington Oklahoma State WR
19 Dallas Cowboys Christian Kirk Texas A&M WR
20 Detroit Lions Ogbonnia Okoronkwo Oklahoma LB
21 Buffalo Bills Josh Allen Wyoming QB
22 Buffalo Bills Arden Key LSU DL
23 Los Angeles Rams Rashaan Evans Alabama LB
24 Carolina Panthers Maurice Hurst Michigan DL
25 Tennessee Titans Sam Hubbard Ohio State DL
26 Jacksonville Jaguars Marcus Davenport UTSA DL
27 Atlanta Falcons Vita Vea Washington DL
28 New Orleans Saints Harold Landry Boston College LB
29 Pittsburgh Steelers Malik Jefferson Texas LB
30 Philadelphia Eagles Tremaine Edwards Virginia Tech LB
31 Minnesota Vikings Billy Price Ohio State OL
32 New England Patriots Derrius Guice LSU RB

NFL mock draft 2018: Top players, projection for first round

CBS Sports projection

1 Cleveland Browns Sam Darnold USC QB
2 New York Giants Josh Rosen UCLA QB
3 Indianapolis Colts Minkah Fitzpatrick Alabama DB
4 Cleveland Browns (from Texans) Saquon Barkley Penn State RB
5 Denver Broncos Baker Mayfield Oklahoma QB
6 New York Jets Connor Williams Texas OT
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bradley Chubb NC State DE
8 Chicago Bears Courtland Sutton SMU WR
9 San Francisco 49ers Quenton Nelson Notre Dame G
10 Oakland Raiders Roquan Smith Georgia LB
11 Miami Dolphins Derwin James Florida State S
12 Cincinnati Bengals Orlando Brown Oklahoma OT
13 Washington Redskins Josh Allen Wyoming QB
14 Green Bay Packers Calvin Ridley Alabama WR
15 Arizona Cardinals Lamar Jackson Louisville QB
16 Baltimore Ravens Derrius Guice LSU RB
17 Los Angeles Chargers Vita Vea Washington DT
18 Seattle Seahawks Marcus Davenport UTSA DL
19 Dallas Cowboys James Washington Oklahoma State WR
20 Detroit Lions Maurice Hurst Michigan DT
21 Buffalo Bills Mason Rudolph Oklahoma State QB
22 Buffalo Bills (from Chiefs) Harrison Phillips Stanford DL
23 Los Angeles Rams Joshua Jackson Iowa CB
24 Carolina Panthers Anthony Miller Memphis WR
25 Tennessee Titans Taven Bryan Florida DT
26 Atlanta Falcons Da’Ron Payne Alabama DT
27 New Orleans Saints Tremaine Edwards Virginia Tech LB
28 Pittsburgh Steelers Malik Jefferson Texas LB
29 Jacksonville Jaguars Mark Andrews Oklahoma TE
30 Philadelphia Eagles Denzel Ward Ohio State CB
31 New England Patriots Ogbonnia Okoronkwo Oklahoma LB
32 Minnesota Vikings Chukwuma Okorafor Western Michigan OT

NFL mock draft 2018: First-round projections for 2018 NFL Draft

Sports Illustrated’s NFL executive-vetted projection

1 Sam Darnold USC QB
2 Saquon Barkley Penn State RB
3 Josh Rosen UCLA QB
4 Bradley Chubb NC State DE
5 Minkah Fitzpatrick Alabama CB
6 Quenton Nelson Notre Dame G
7 Mike McGlinchey Notre Dame OT
8 Connor Williams Texas OT
9 Denzel Ward Ohio State CB
10 Josh Allen Wyoming QB
11 Derwin James Florida State S
12 Da’Ron Payne Alabama DT
13 Courtland Sutton SMU WR
14 Harold Landry Boston College DE
15 Roquan Smith Georgia LB
16 Calvin Ridley Alabama WR
17 Christian Wilkins Clemson DT
18 Tarvarus McFadden Florida State CB
19 Orlando Brown Oklahoma OT
20 Clelin Ferrell Clemson DE/LB
21 Austin Bryant Clemson DE/LB
22 Christian Kirk Texas A&M WR
23 Sam Hubbard Ohio State DE/LB
24 Arden Key LSU DE
25 Chukwuma Okorafor Western Michigan OT
26 Dre’Mont Jones Ohio State DT
27 Baker Mayfield Oklahoma QB
28 Derrius Guice LSU RB
29 Isaiah Oliver Colorado CB
30 Rashaan Evans Alabama LB
31 Damien Harris Alabama RB
32 James Washington Oklahoma State WR

2018 NFL Draft: First round order

Pick Nos. 1 through 20 are set now that the regular season is finished.

1. Cleveland Browns

2. New York Giants

3. Indianapolis Colts

4. Cleveland Browns

5. Denver Broncos

6. New York Jets

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

8. Chicago Bears

9. San Francisco 49ers OR Oakland Raiders (coin flip)

11. Miami Dolphins

12. Cincinnati Bengals

13. Washington Redskins

14. Green Bay Packers

15. Arizona Cardinals

16. Baltimore Ravens

17. Los Angeles Chargers

18. Seattle Seahawks

19. Dallas Cowboys

20. Detroit Lions

21. Buffalo Bills

22. Buffalo Bills (from Chiefs)

23. Los Angeles Rams

24. Carolina Panthers

25. Tennessee Titans

26. Atlanta Falcons

27. New Orleans Saints

28. Pittsburgh Steelers

29.

30.

31.

32.

TCU football could play 12 games in-state during 2018 season

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 12:04 PM

The Horned Frogs had to put up with a significant amount of challenging road trips in 2017.

That won’t be so much the case this fall.

TCU will be taking the field at Amon G. Carter Stadium in six of its 12 regular season games for the 2018 season, in addition to a neutral-site game vs. Ohio State at nearby AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Sept. 15.

And yet, those aren’t the only games TCU will play within the confines of the Lone Star State.

Three of TCU’s five road trips — SMU, Baylor and Texas — come in-state. That puts TCU in the state of Texas for 10 of its 12 regular-season games. It’s by far the highest number of in-state games of any Power 5 schedule for the 2018 season, beating Baylor and Texas Tech (9).

And even that number can grow.

With the Big 12 Championship Game, several Big 12-affiliated bowl games and Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic — which is set to be a playoff game — all taking place in Texas, the Horned Frogs could take the field in Texas up to 12 times in a single season.

It also gives TCU the potential to play three games in Arlington before the season ends.

So if you live in Texas, don’t worry. You’ll have more than your fair share of opportunities to see the Horned Frogs play in person this fall.