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Sports Today: Big questions for Bengals, Buckeyes after latest flops

Published: Monday, November 06, 2017 @ 10:04 AM
By: Marcus Hartman

Well, we just finished a long and terrible weekend for football in Ohio — and the Browns didn’t even play! 

I figured the Cincinnati Bengals didn’t have much chance to win in Jacksonville, but their 23-7 loss was still disappointing

On the bright side, I don’t see that being possible again this season because all expectations for success are officially gone. 

This is a lost season for a flawed team that seems to have no direction. I doubt they are going to win as many games as the raw ability on the roster says they should. 

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There seems to be little doubt sometime between now and January, Marvin Lewis will cease being the Bengals’ coach, although it’s also fair to wonder if anyone was coaching them Sunday anyway. 

Jay Morrison pointed out Cincinnati has been badly outplayed after halftime this season, and frankly I’m surprised the point disparity isn’t worse. 

What a coaching change will mean for Andy Dalton is certainly intriguing, too. 

The Bengals ran the fewest plays in a game in franchise history, and Pro Football Weekly pointed out the record broken was set by an offense being run by replacement players. 

Does that mean Dalton is worse than three nobodies? 

He might as well be at this point. 

Of course he’s in a terrible situation with the offensive line, but Dalton’s toothless response continues to leave a lot to be desired considering his status on the team. 

He is doing nothing at this point to resemble a franchise quarterback. 

At least A.J. Green cares. 

Somebody needs to tell the Bengals’ best player not to punch someone wearing a helmet, but that was a pretty impressive takedown move he pulled on Jalen Ramsey. 

Of course, a veteran guy like that needs to keep his cool. There’s no excuse for fighting, and he deserved to be ejected. So did Ramsey, who I’m sure knows as well as anybody a punch is one of the likely responses to pushing someone like that. 

He started it. Green finished it. Now we’ll see what the league thinks about whether or not either of them should play next week. 

The Bengals would certainly miss Green if they had a competent offense. Fortunately, wins and losses don’t matter from here on out anyway… 

If you are still in disbelief Iowa whipped Ohio State so badly Saturday, you’re not alone. 

As much as there is to question about the Buckeyes’ performance, the Hawkeyes played an outstanding game in all three phases. 

I feel comfortable saying Iowa won’t play that well again for about another 50 years. The Hawkeyes might have beaten anybody in the country the way all cylinders were firing from the start. 

RELATED: Iowa shocks Ohio State in Iowa

Ohio State gave them some big boosts, though, beginning with the decision to drop J.T. Barrett back to pass on first down. 

No matter how well he played a week earlier, Barrett is not a drop-back passer. 

Ohio State is supposed to be a run-oriented team. Urban Meyer’s insistence on changing that despite his personnel has practically crippled the program

That is not hyperbole. The misguided offensive approach for the last 2 3/4 seasons has set up the whole team for failure now multiple times since the Buckeyes used a dominant running game and defense to steamroll to the 2014 national championship. 

And, yes, I realize the defense stunk on Saturday, too. 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: 5 takeaways from Week 10

That side of the ball hasn’t been the same for the majority of the Meyer era, either. 

Remember how it was bad for like half of 2012, all of 2013 and even the first part of ’14? 

I know, it’s easy to forget. 

That unit is young and rebuilding for the second year in a row. Some bumps in the road are understandable, although you’d like to think they would be in the past by now. 

Iowa was not the team anybody would have picked to tear them apart the way they did Saturday, but in today’s college football what the Hawkeyes do is unique and not something Ohio State had seen much of. 

Iowa exploited those advantages to the Nth degree, something Meyer teams used to be known for rather than simply out-talenting people, which is generally all they do now. 

What’s the answer in Columbus? 

Lots has changed over the past few years, but the same problems persist. 

The guy in charge obviously still knows how to set up a program. He’s not forgotten his ability to put a good culture in place — even if the Buckeyes weren’t ready mentally on Saturday, the fact is sometimes that just happens with human beings, especially teenagers — but he’s not getting the production he needs from some of those people who work for him. 

Some of that is probably his fault. All of it falls back on him. 

Can he get it fixed?… 

Our local big schools took some lumps in the high school football playoffs, too. 

In Division I, Wayne, Fairmont and Northmont all lost to suburban Columbus schools while top seed Centerville cruised into round two. 

In Division II, Sidney took out Belmont in a high-scoring affair and gets three-time defending state champ La Salle while Trotwood-Madison and Dunbar will square off in Division III… 

Hey, at least basketball provided some positive vibes.

Dayton sold out an exhibition game for the second year in a row, and the Flyers beat Ohio Dominican 79-61 in fans’ first chance to see Anthony Grant’s team against a live opponent. 

That fan turnout is obviously pretty impressive. 

So, too, is Kostas Antetokounmpo’s athletic ability, but that’s not a big surprise. 

It’s hard to draw too much from one game — especially an exhibition against a lower-division opponent — but we know the Flyers are big and athletic. 

They had a positive assist/turnover ratio but shot only 27 percent from three-point range. 

I suspect those will be key stats to watch this season. 

Ohio State took care of business easily, too, with an exhibition win over Wooster in Chris Holtmann’s first game of any sort leading the Buckeyes. 

Four Buckeyes scored in double figures, including Keita Bates-Diop, who had 17 to lead the way. 

A breakout campaign from Diop, a former five-star recruit who has never put it together in Columbus and was hurt last year, could change the profile of this season significantly for Ohio State much like getting four-star recruit Antetokounmpo on the floor after he had to sit out last season might mean big things for the Flyers. 

Maybe winter a surprisingly fun winter can make up for this disappointing fall.