The Cavaliers are bad, Ric Flair is sad and Jerry Jones is mad. I’m glad that we’re in that awesome part of the sports calendar where we get huge college football games and great made-for-TV nonconference college basketball matchups. Enjoy.
The Dayton Flyers are in rebuilding mode — on the court and at UD Arena. It’ll be another year before the product on the floor and the retooled basketball palace are ready for prime time. I think Anthony Grant was the right hire after Archie Miller left for greener pastures (and bank accounts). This is Grant’s 10th season as a head coach. In his first, his VCU squad took out Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, so he can coach.
But the Flyer Faithful must be patient, with their team and the schedule. The biggest name coming to UD Arena in the next two months is Auburn. That team is coached by Bruce Pearl, who unless he starts cooperating with his superiors might not be coaching when the Tigers come to Dayton on Nov. 29.
The U has the nation’s most fair-weather fan base, but as we saw Saturday night, the stars turn out when they know the TV cameras are around. The Miami-Notre Dame football game had the feel of a Lakers-Celtics matchup. For Miami fans – I type that term loosely — going to a game is like going to a club. The pampered people of South Florida are going to show up only if it’s cool.
Browns exec Sashi Brown shouldn’t have to defend himself for the trade that never was for Bengals backup AJ McCarron. Giving up a second- and third-round pick to the Bengals was a ludicrous price to pay for a guy who might’ve won a game or two while keeping the seat warm for the next in a long line of Browns quarterbacks. And keep in mind that those picks would’ve been early in those rounds because of Cleveland’s dismal record.
Nobody pays attention to marathons anymore because the outcomes are predictable: Someone from Kenya will win. That’s why it was a shock to see an American — Shalane Flanagan — win the New York City Marathon. It marked the first time since 1977 that an American woman had won the race. Congrats to Shalene, who is 36 and barely weighs 100 pounds. I hope she celebrated with a thick steak and chocolate shake.
Les Miles says he wants to coach Oregon State, which shows that his desperation level is off the charts. Miles, 63, was fired at LSU for running a Fred Flintstone offense in an Iron Man world. But he’s gotta be better at coaching than he is in the broadcast booth. Brutal. His name got him a TV job; we’ll see if it can do the same for another coaching gig.
Trending up: Tucker Barnhart, Josh Gordon, Teddy Bridgewater. Barnhart has proven to be a more-than-capable fill-in as the Reds starting catcher while Devin Mesoraco checks another injury off his long list. Barnhart won his first Gold Glove after playing in only 121 games this season. He batted a career-best .270 and struck out only 68 times. Unfortunately, Mesoraco has one year left on his big-money contract.
Trending down: Josh Pastner, Matt Kenseth, Jameis Winston. Maybe the pressure of taking over for the legendary Brian Gregory was too much, but Pastner might be in hot water at Georgia Tech. A former friend of Pastner’s spilled the beans about how he provided “extra benefits” to a couple of Pastner’s best players. When the two had a falling out, Pastner’s pal threatened to go public. Another scandal.
Knucklehead of the Week
China is big on discipline and not on human rights. Not the place to get in trouble, whether you’re a citizen or a stupid college basketball player. LiAngelo Ball, a freshman at UCLA, was one of three young Bruins arrested last week for shoplifting sunglasses at a Louis Vuitton store in Hangzhou. The store is located next to the luxury hotel where the team was staying. Ball was left behind to deal with the authorities while his law-abiding teammates ventured to Shanghai to play Georgia Tech. Experts think LiAngelo will get off with a slap on the wrist — unless LaVar Ball starts running his mouth.