Weekend Wrap

Well, its a good thing that Ohio St shut out Illinois to open Big Ten play, as my football teams otherwise had a bad weekend. No shame in East Liverpool losing to state ranked Maple Heights on the road though a closer margin would’ve been preferable. Ditto Bowling Green losing badly to nationally ranked Boise St in a game I personally attended with some old college chums. The Steelers dropping to 1-2 is another matter, though.

First of all, lets give the Bengals credit for keeping the 1st half damage minimal and sticking with things. And it was a perfectly constructed and paced final drive. But this makes two weeks in a row that the Steelers blew a game they should’ve won. Can I ask why the Steelers aren’t blitzing on those Bengals 4th quarter scoring drives? Pittsburgh is an attack defense, not a coverage play it safe bend don’t break defense. Attack Palmer, get a sack, get a turnover, harrass him, don’t let him do what he wants to do. And, if it backfired and they hit a big play, like the Cardinals did in Super Bowl XLIII, at least you’ve left time to respond, like Roethlisberger and Holmes did in Super Bowl XLIII. Don’t sit back and let the Bengals prick you until you bleed to death. Also, it would be nice if the Steelers stop putting Limas Sweed on the field. A wide receiver that cannot catch the ball is useless to me. Mike Wallace lets them be 3 deep at receiver and you’ve got two good pass catching tight ends with Miller and Spaeth. If he catches that easy touchdown ball it ices the game. Instead the Steelers don’t score and are left vulnerable to the Bengals comeback. And, the ironic thing is the Steelers ultimately screwed themselved by successfully defending that two point conversion that left their lead at 20-15. If its 20-17 the Bengals settle for the tying field goal when facing 4th & 10 at the 15 with 30 seconds left. Maybe the Steelers get a big kick return and win in regulation, or they have a 50-50 chance in overtime. But such is the luck of the draw sometimes. Now they are 1-2 and two games behind Baltimore in the standings. Which they are still okay if they can arrest this trend of lousy 4th quarters and win some games. They are at home with another stern test facing the Chargers on Sunday Night Football. If they can manage a win there maybe the Ravens lose at New England and they are back within one game of Baltimore and Cincinnati (assuming the Bengals beat Cleveland). At any rate, still have both games with the Ravens remaining and if they can manage to end up 11-5 or 10-6 that usually at least gets you a wildcard. But their play early in the year is not giving me strong positive vibes.

As for Bowling Green’s loss to Boise, the Broncos are clearly the better team. They only really tried in the 2nd quarter and that was all they needed to blow the doors off Doyt Perry Stadium. No shame in the loss and it was nice to see what a sellout crowd looks like in that stadium. The Falcons had a somewhat disappointing 1-3 non-conference showing, but it was against a strong schedule and they still have as good a shot as any at winning the MAC East. Need to get some wins starting this Saturday at home against Ohio. Still, I am concerned 4 games in about our red zone execution, and I am also concerned that Tyler Sheehan is if anything regressing in his quarterback play. Presumably though most of the defenses he sees the next 2 months won’t be as good as Boise so I will remain optimistic for now.

I didn’t see the Ohio St game as I was busy hanging out in a parking lot outside Doyt Perry, but that was the 2nd straight shutout for the Buckeyes defense which is obviously a promising sign. They have several games ahead that figure to be harder than Toledo and Illinois. Hopefully they take care of business and have an undefeated October heading into the last 3 games of the season at Penn St, hosting Iowa, and at Michigan.

I didn’t see the Potter game either in person, but I gather it was close for awhile before Maple Heights opened it up. At 2-3 the Potters are still on track for finishing somewhere in the 5-5 range which would be definite progress over the past few seasons. It doesn’t get much easier this coming Friday night heading down Rt. 7 to take on OVAC perennial power Martins Ferry.

Tiger Woods won the FedEx Cup. I hope no one is shocked by that development.

The big sports story this coming week will be the 4 game series between the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers settling the AL Central title and the right to challenge the Yankees in the ALDS. Detroit enters the final week with a 2 game lead. Obviously, this gives them a real advantage entering this series. If the Tigers can win 3 games of the 4 they will clinch the division and can use this weekend to rest and set the rotation. Splitting the series means Detroit is 2 up with 3 to go and could clinch over the weekend as quickly as Friday night. Even Minnesota winning 3 of 4 simply means the two teams are flat tied entering the final 3 games of their seasons. Of course, if the Twins sweep the 4 then they grab the 2 game lead with 3 games to go. About the only other story right now is the NL wildcard race, where the Braves have pulled within 2.5 games (2 in the loss column) of Colorado.

***UPDATE*** A quick check of mlb.mlb.com reveals that the Twins v Tigers game has been postponed because of a rainy evening in SE Michigan. According to the Tigers website they will play a day/night doubleheader tomorrow at 12:05pm and 7:05pm to get back on schedule. Presumably people that held tickets for tonight’s game would now hold tickets for the day game tomorrow.

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