breaking news

Chrissy Teigen offers to pay McKayla Maroney's possible $100K fine to speak out about team doctor

Sports Today: Cincinnati Bengals last chance to change narratives against Steelers on MNF


After a long weekend of championship football, there is one game yet to go: The Cincinnati Bengals host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. 

We’ll get to that in a minute, but first let’s put a bow on the College Football Playoff stuff. 

RELATED: 4-team playoff living on borrowed time?

As so often happens these days, the committee chairman took a reasonable decision and basically ruined it by explaining how it came about. 

There’s really no discernible difference between Ohio State and Alabama on the field. They’re both good-not-great teams overall. Pretty balanced. Very talented.  

The Buckeyes had more good wins, but they also had more losses (and one was really bad). 

After growing up watching fluke losses knock out numerous national championship contenders who were probably more talented than the team that actually ended up on top of the rankings at the end of the year, I’ve always preferred to look at who a team beat first. That is a larger sample size, and it proves more to me because going undefeated is hard and nobody just dominates their schedule for 12 or 13 weeks. 

That’s why I thought Ohio State had a good chance to get in, but I knew that second loss could be a disqualifier. 

I didn’t think I’d hear the committee chairman say Alabama is just better than Ohio State, though. That is a conclusion that makes no sense to me. 

If they were able to reach it, I have to wonder what we’re really doing here. 

That and the never-ending numbers problem presented by trying to fit five conference winners into four slots makes me think change is now more inevitable than ever. 

When we eventually move to eight teams, it won’t be the always-feared bracket creep. It will be water finding level because four has always been problematic. 

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports laid out an interesting suggestion for overhauling the current system to get to eight teams without even adding games. 

The first weekend of December is no longer reserved for conference championship games. They are the first round of an eight-team playoff, where the higher-seeded team gets to host. The champions of the five major conferences would be granted automatic bids. If you win your league, you are in.

How each conference determines that is up to them. The Big 12 already plays a round robin so the conference title game is useless. The other leagues could base it on league record with various tie breakers. This would wisely lead to the end of the division system which makes neither competitive, nor intellectual, sense. A more balanced scheduling system would improve the entire season. So would knowing that playing (and losing) tough non-conference games won’t kill you (as it did to USC) because you can still win your league.

It’s not perfect, but nothing is... 

Regarding the Cincinnati Bengals playing host to the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight, I want to see this as a big game but I just can’t do it. 

I am not a believer at this point. 

The only reason to think the Bengals can win is sometimes surprising stuff happens in football. 

(Well, and some injuries.) 

I guess that’s what happens after years of dropping the ball in these types of situations — not to mention the Steelers are just better. 

Also they totally punked the Bengals earlier this season, so I’m not really in a hurry to pretend I don’t think that will happen again. 

Maybe they’ll surprise me. 

There are things to like about this Cincinnati team, and most of them are positive potential long-term answers, too. 

Although losing tonight would pretty much cripple the Bengals playoff hopes, I don’t think this will qualify as a lost season overall if they come out of it with some new future stars like Joe Mixon and Carl Lawson to add to a solid core. 

In pro sports especially, you’ve got to look at the big picture. It’s solid for the Bengals, especially if they nail the expected change at head coach and find a real leader to play quarterback next season. 

But, hey, tonight offers one more chance— probably the last of the Marvin Lewis era — to change all those narratives about prime-time games, the Steelers and contending in general. 

Can they get it done?... 

After a heart-breaking loss at Mississippi State on Sunday night, I guess we know for sure the narrative for Dayton basketball this season: The Flyers are officially in a rebuilding year. 

That was always likely given the loss of such a transcendent senior class (not to mention the coaching change), but I thought it was worth holding out hope they could skip some steps and be right there to contend again if some things came together quickly. 

RELATED: Freshman moves into starting lineup

I still like the talent of this team, but it’s going to need to mature and gel in order to get into the top third of the Atlantic 10. 

(They were picked to finish fifth.) 

They still have plenty of time to get things going in the right direction for conference play — everyone starting there 0-0 will really mean something for these Flyers — but there’s no need to worry about an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament now... 

And last but certainly not least: Congratulations are in order for Trotwood-Madison. 

The Rams finished out a 15-0 season with a 27-19 win over Dresden Tri-Valley in the Division III state championship game on Saturday night

That is one impressive program as Jeff Graham has carried on what Maurice Douglass started. 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski found dead; Michigan State players offer prayers
Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski found dead; Michigan State players offer prayers

Auburn-Alabama basketball: Game time, TV channel, how to watch online (January 17, 2018)
Auburn-Alabama basketball: Game time, TV channel, how to watch online (January 17, 2018)

Auburn basketball will visit Alabama on January 17, 2018. Find the game time, TV channel and how to watch online below. Auburn basketball has put together a string of wins that has caught the attention of not only the Southeastern Conference, but the world of college basketball. For the first time since 1999-2000, the Tigers find themselves...
Joe Castiglione’s new job; Oklahoma men’s basketball loses head-scratcher
Joe Castiglione’s new job; Oklahoma men’s basketball loses head-scratcher

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of our Oklahoma DieHards morning roundup, where we take you through all the biggest headlines around Oklahoma...
Texas-Texas Tech basketball: Time, TV channel, watch online
Texas-Texas Tech basketball: Time, TV channel, watch online

The Texas Longhorns are all set to take on the top ten ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders at the Frank Erwin Center. The Red Raiders are 4-1 in conference play and with a win, will tie the Kansas Jayhawks for the number one spot in the Big 12. Texas sits at 2-3, and desperately needs a win to break away from the rest of the conference pack....
Kentucky Wildcats podcast: Recapping UK’s 76-68 loss at South Carolina
Kentucky Wildcats podcast: Recapping UK’s 76-68 loss at South Carolina

Kentucky basketball was outscored 33-11 in the final 11:34 of a 76-68 loss at South Carolina on Tuesday night. The 18th-ranked Wildcats (14-4, 4-2 SEC) went 1 for 11 from the 3-point line, committed 32 fouls and turned the ball over 16 times. The game lacked any semblance of flow as the Cats and Gamecocks combined to attempt 74 free throws...
More Stories