Sports Today: Against all odds, NFL gets something right

Well, at least the NFL hasn’t gotten everything wrong this week. 

The league was correct to overturn George Iloka’s suspension

A few minutes before we found out that news, I suggested to another reporter in the Bengals locker room the appeal probably consisted of the team sending multiple versions of the same hit from any other week of the season that might draw a flag but don’t result in suspensions. 

Marvin Lewis implied that’s pretty much what they did, and apparently it worked. 

The suspension of Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was upheld, although I tend to think it should not have been, either. 

RELATED: The NFL gets dumber by the day

By rule, both hits were penalties. Maybe they allowed the suspension to stand on Smith-Schuster because of the taunting, which should be punished but not that severely. 

Those decisions apparently led Steelers safety Mike Mitchell to go on a bit of a tirade for reporters in Pittsburgh. 

(Warning: Some NSFW language) 

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve always viewed Mitchell as one of the guys who goes over the edge too often. There are hits he has delivered that look more like he was going for the head than the ball. 

There are players who don’t understand there can be a difference, however fine the line might be, and he is one of them. Iloka has flirted with the line, too. 

Nonetheless, Mitchell makes some good points. 

»RELATED: Bengals Weekend Forecast: First look at the Chicago Bears

As I wrote earlier this week, some safety measures are good but we’ve gone overboard. 

Obviously, there’s still a lot of confusion with how punishment is handed down, too. 

Good thing the same afternoon we found out Roger Goodell will still be the commissioner for another five years and the NFLPA is considering adding the disastrous college football targeting rules to the NFL rather than trying reforms that might actually work… 

I certainly feel bad for John Ross. 

It’s not his fault he can’t stay healthy nor that the Bengals drafted him when they should not have. 

I felt at the time the No. 9 pick in the draft would have been better spent on a defensive difference-maker (based on the best players available) or traded to get into position to take an offensive lineman (there were none good enough to draft at that spot). 

They ended up fixing improving the defense with some later picks, but the offensive line is still in terrible shape. 

The clinching problems with drafting Ross, though, was the depth already at that position. 

Assuming he was healthy when they said he was, Ross still had to be better than the other six guys to be active on game days because only so many can be. 

But hopefully this is just a tough opening chapter to a great story for Ross, who really is fast and seems to be a very thoughtful young man who just ended up in a tough situation… 

The Dayton Flyers got back into the win column with a 79-66 decision over Tennessee Tech

The big guys (Josh Cunningham and Kosas Antetokounmpo) both had double-doubles and Darrell Davis had 19 points. 

That’s a pretty good formula for success. 

Jalen Crutcher didn’t do much from a scoring standpoint, but he handed out seven assists (with four turnovers), and coach Anthony Grant got another 14 points apiece from Trey Landers (glue guy growing into a larger role) and Jordan Davis (intriguing freshman). 

What’s not to like?… 

One also has to admire the confidence of Cole Gentry. 

Who is Cole Gentry? 

If Wright State is going to have another 20-win season, he’ll probably be a big part of it. 

The South Dakota State transfer becomes eligible next week, and he has big goals in mind for the Raiders

“The goal is always the same — win the conference. And we definitely have the pieces to do it,” Gentry said. “It’s a matter of execution and game-planning. But we definitely have the guys capable of winning the championship, and that’s what we’re expecting to do.”

After losing top scorer Mark Alstork to a graduate transfer (he’s at Illinois), the Raiders are off to an uninspiring 5-4 start, but the preseason doesn’t matter a whole lot considering the Horizon League is only going to get one team into the NCAA tournament anyway. 

Gentry figures to change how coach Scott Nagy’s team is able to play by the time conference play begins, and it will be interesting to see the results… 

Lastly, congratulations are in order for Kelsey Mitchell. 

The senior from Cincinnati became the all-time leading scorer for Ohio State women’s basketball last night as the Buckeyes trounced Florida 103-77. 

She passed Katie Smith earlier this season and broke Jantel Lavender’s record (2,818) against the Gators, finishing the night with 2,840 points. 

Next up is the Big Ten record of 3,093 set by Rachel Banham of Minnesota two years ago. 

Mitchell still has an outside shot at catching Kelsey Plum, who set the NCAA career mark of 3,527 at Washington last season. 

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