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Published: Tuesday, August 08, 2017 @ 10:50 AM
— The Cleveland Browns open the preseason tonight, and fans can watch on WHIO-TV Channel 7 and listen on AM 1290 and News 95.7 WHIO.
Pre-game radio coverage begins at 7 p.m. Kickoff against the New Orleans Saints is scheduled for 8 p.m.
»RELATED: 5 reasons why the NFL preseason rocks
Big Brother, Big Bang Theory, Kevin Can Wait and Zoo will not be seen at their regularly scheduled times. We’ve made sure to schedule these programs so that you don’t miss your favorite shows. Be sure to watch or set your DVR. See a list of schedule changes below:
»Aug. 10: 2:07 a.m. -- Big Brother
»Aug. 10: 3:07 a.m. -- Big Bang Theory
»Aug. 11: 3:07 a.m. -- Zoo
»Aug. 12: 3:07 a.m. -- Kevin Can Wait
The Browns’ preseason games against Tampa Bay (7:30 p.m., Aug. 26) and the Chicago Bears (8 p.m., Aug. 31) will be broadcast on WHIO-TV Ch. 7.
All four preseason games will also be broadcast on AM 1290 and News 95.7 WHIO.
Published: Monday, June 25, 2018 @ 1:13 PM
— The first days of summer and the first days of college football preview magazines: Two great things that go great together.
Phil Steele’s annual is out now with it’s usual array of rankings, stats and predictions to provide hours of diversion for the discerning college football fan who can’t wait for teams to report for preseason camp in late July.
Here are a few takeaways from a first perusal of the 2018 edition:
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Washington and Georgia form the top five of Phil Steele’s preseason top 40.
All of those teams have made the College Football Playoff in the last two seasons, and Steele does not envision any new party-crashers in 2018.
Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State are all in Steele’s preseason top 13, but only one will make the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis.
Michigan and Penn State have less margin for error because both have to play Wisconsin in the regular season while Ohio State and Michigan State do not.
(It won’t come before because they don’t play in the regular season.)
Iowa probably isn’t as good as Wisconsin but has an easier schedule.
The Hawkeyes get PSU, Indiana and Maryland out of the East while Wisconsin plays PSU, Michigan and Michigan State.
The winner of the Sept. 22 matchup between Iowa and Wisconsin in Iowa City will be in the driver’s seat regardless.
In his third season, the heretofore inconsistent Alex Hornibrook should have the easiest job in the Big Ten if not the country.
Wisconsin figures to have a great offensive line and one of the best running backs in the country (Jonathan Taylor).
The Badgers always have reliable tight ends, but the receiving corps (including Springfield’s Danny Davis) should be deeper and more talented than usual.
They have some losses to cover on defense, but the parts on that side of the ball have seemed virtually interchangeable for a few seasons now.
If Hornibrook takes the next step in his development, Wisconsin could be a true national championship contender. If not, the Badgers will probably be just good enough to get their doors blown off by another elite team.
New coach Scott Frost may need some time to get Nebraska up and running in his image, but the Huskers ought to be good enough to beat a good team on the right day in year one.
They get a shot at just about all of them (Michigan State at home, at Michigan, at Wisconsin, at Ohio State, at Iowa) so they will have plenty of opportunities to pull an upset.
That’s half as many as the next-best team, Wisconsin, and it is even more remarkable considering it spans a coaching change and includes a lost season under interim coach Luke Fickell.
In the same span, Michigan has lost 40 conference games.
The Wolverines are eighth in the league in winning percentage since 2008 when Rich Rodriguez replaced Lloyd Carr as head coach.
Ohio State is the favorite to win the Big Ten and make it back to the playoff, but it could be a long and bumpy road.
Aside from starting spots that must be refilled in Columbus, the schedule has potential potholes at Penn State and Michigan State plus visits from Nebraska and Michigan. Purdue and Maryland (both on the road) are on the upswing, too.
Good news for the Buckeyes: Everyone else has an even tougher schedule.
ICYMI: 4-star QB recruit Dwan Mathis drops Michigan State for Ohio State https://t.co/fuyiMbiwLF— daytonsports (@daytonsports) June 25, 2018
Michigan could be pretty good and still lose four or five games. However, I wouldn’t bet on the latter.
Let’s assume Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines take care of PSU and MSU, which probably puts it all on the line again when they head south to Columbus.
In the West, Wisconsin should be pretty good but has virtually no chance of replicating last year’s 13-1 mark because they have to play Penn State and Michigan should be better.
Published: Monday, June 25, 2018 @ 10:10 AM
— I’m pretty sure I stunned a friend last week when I told him I had expected the Reds to be around a .500 team this season.
He’s an Indians fan and a casual one at that, but it still seemed unimaginable this could have been a respectable team now given the way things started, right?
Well, they haven’t lost since, so I guess it’s nice not to seem totally crazy.
>>RELATED: Reds rally to win Sunday, sweep Cubs
One good week does not a season make, but it sure beats the alternative.
Now, why did I think the 2018 Reds would be around a .500 team?
Well, they had shown they could hit, had a handful of starting pitching prospects finish last season strong and made some additions to the bullpen that looked smart.
Of course it was easy to forget all those things as nothing went right during the first month or so of the season.
The starters weren’t good most of the time, the bullpen had a few blowups and worst of all they couldn’t hit.
But they when the regulars are in there — including Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler, who were both hurt in April — and Joey Votto isn’t slumping, the offense is a lot better.
>>PHOTOS: Reds beat Cubs 8-6
Yes, it turns out this team can score as expected even though Adam Duvall and Billy Hamilton still are hitting in the low .200s and having a hard time getting on base.
The bullpen actually is good — better than expected despite one of last year’s stalwarts (Wandy Peralta) struggling.
The rotation is still hit or miss at best, which assures there will be no miracle run to relevance between now and October (or a .500 record, for that matter).
However, the (admittedly modest) goals from the start of the season may be back on the table if they can avoid chasing this winning streak with another winless week.
» PROSPECT WATCH: How the top Reds minor leaguers are doing
And what are those goals?
To sum things up: The 2018 Reds can still make the 2019 Reds look like a team that will be worth following, which is all we ever wanted, wasn’t it?
Of course not all the news from the weekend was good.
Two other Reds notes to start the week:
Top prospect Nick Senzel’s development is halted — again — after he tore a finger ligament.
This is not the end of the world, but it means he won’t be getting his feet wet in the majors this season.
That’s just as well because they don’t have anywhere to put him — yet.
After a second battle with vertigo in less than a year, Senzel had been red hot at Triple-A Louisville, so I would say there is no doubt he’s ready for a call-up when healthy.
There are a few different scenarios for getting him into the lineup.
Not everyone who’s starting now — Schebler, Duvall, Scooter Gennett — is going to be here in 2019, but who goes will determine where Senzel comes up.
In better prospect news, Hunter Greene had another strong start Saturday for the slumping Dayton Dragons.
He pitched into the seventh inning for the first time, though he took the loss because he allowed three runs and that is too many for the Dragons to win right now.
Greene was efficient with no walks and 62 of his 87 pitches were strikes. He relied on the fastball but also used his slider at times as an out pitch. He lowered his ERA to 5.13 and has a 2.37 ERA over his last six starts.
“I feel like every outing I’ve been getting better,” Greene said. “I’ve go to continue to learn and get better for sure and stay healthy and to continue to execute pitches.”
Published: Monday, June 25, 2018 @ 1:20 PM
CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett remains in contention for a starting position on the National League All-Star team, though he faces a bigger voting gap than last week.
The third set of voting results were released Monday, and Gennett ranks third at his position with 1,166,288 votes. The Atlanta Braves’ Ozzie Albies (1,408,469) leads second basemen in votes, and the Chicago Cubs’ Javier Baez (1,186,243) is second.
Gennett, who leads NL second baseman with a .332 average and 51 RBIs, trailed Albies by 171,757 votes last week and now trails by 242,181 votes.
Eugenio Suarez, who is tied for the NL lead with 58 RBIs, remains fourth among third basemen (376,612), well behind the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado (1,706,923).
Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who leads the league in on-base percentage (.433), fell out of the top five.
Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 2:41 AM
Updated: Monday, June 25, 2018 @ 12:44 PM
— Soccer’s international governing body, FIFA, voted last week to play the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
And while the announcement raised much excitement in North American soccer circles, it left questions that won’t be fully answered for years. Here are some of them.
WHICH CITIES WILL HOST MATCHES?
Sixteen North American cities -- at least 10 in the United States -- will be chosen by FIFA in 2020 or 2021 to host matches. Those 16 choices will come from 23 “candidate cities.” FIFA will have negotiating leverage in whittling the number.
The U.S. host cities will be chosen from among these candidates: Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium), Baltimore (M&T Bank Stadium), Boston (Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts), Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), Dallas (AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas), Denver (Broncos Stadium at Mile High), Houston (NRG Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium), Los Angeles (Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, or the new NFL stadium under construction), Miami (Hard Rock Stadium), Nashville (Nissan Stadium), New York (MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey), Orlando, Florida (Camping World Stadium), Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field), San Francisco (Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California), Seattle (CenturyLink Field) and Washington (FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.)
In addition, current plans call for matches to be played in up to three cities in Canada (Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto) and up to three in Mexico (Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey).
"We are blessed with 23 really world-class stadiums -- some iconic, some brand-new cutting-edge and everything in between," U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro said. "I think it will be a very difficult decision to make … when we have to determine the final 16 cities. But it’s a high-class problem.”
Under current plans, 60 matches will be played in the U.S., 10 in Canada and 10 in Mexico.
WHAT IS THE COST OF HOSTING?
It helps that no new stadiums will have to be built in North America for the event, but the costs of security, transportation and other requirements will be considerable in any host city.
“We’ve been told during the bid process it is on the level of (hosting) a Super Bowl,” said Dan Corso, president of the Atlanta Sports Council and chairman of Atlanta’s World Cup committee. “We have not gotten into too much detail on that yet, but we will during this next phase of the process.”