Thursday, October 31, 2019

Palmieri hat trick not enough, Devils lose 7-6 in OT.

Normally, you would think five goals would win you a game.
Normally, you would think adding a sixth goal with seconds to play would win you a game.
Instead, it only earned the New Jersey Devils one point in a 7-6 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Rock.

Kyle Palmieri scored the third of his three goals of the evening with only eight seconds remaining in the game to force overtime before Tampa Bay's Tyler Johnson would beat Cory Schneider less than ninety seconds into overtime to end the evening.
Devils goals to Kyle Palmieri (4 Power Play, 5, 6), Jesper Bratt (2, 3), and Sami Vatanen (3) in the defeat.
The Devils will end this homestand against Philadelphia on Friday night before starting a five-game road trip in Raleigh against Carolina before the four-game road swing in Western Canada.

Hell Raisers

1) Cory Schneider was bad.
Bad might be a nice way of putting it.
Oscar the Grouch keeps more garbage out of his can than Cory Schneider keeps out of his net.
Schneider's play this year combined with two more years on his contract at six million each year, the Devils will have to eventually ( If they aren't already) consider buying him out before next season.
He's been that bad.

2) Now it wasn't ALL on Schneider, P.K. Subban screened Schneider on one goal, which is unfortunate since Subban plays for the Devils and it was Subban who didn't clear the crease and allowed Brayden Point to score from the inside.
Add to that the bad luck breaking of his stick on a slap shot attempt and resulting Lightning race down the ice to score with Subban without a stick and you had a pretty bad night for the highest-paid Devil.

3) And speaking of a bad night, how about Mr.Taylor Hall, who continued his goal drought with a performance that lacked zip to be kind.
Hall, he of one goal in October and looking for a big contract after the season, did have a secondary assist on Kyle Palmieri's second of his three goals, but Hall's play hasn't lived up to his resume' this season,
I was talking about Hall during the game and I gave him too much credit this season before looking up the actual numbers this season.
And what happens as I write this- Taylor Hall rips the fans for booing the power play when "we went one of three".
Being that I had seen a Baker Mayfield walk out of a press conference because he didn't like a question or its questioner earlier today, Hall was the second player to whine about something that they didn't like and in both cases it comes down to this- talented players that aren't playing well and are frustrated because they aren't, lash out due to that frustration.
I understand that but take care of business and these things go away.

4) Now for some news, three goals from Kyle Palmieri.
Three goals on six shots and plus Palmieri played with a bit more swagger than he had played with earlier in the season.
Palmieri seemed to be the bully on the ice all evening and when you look at his career, his goals often come in bunches and hopefully, this will be the start of a solid run for the veteran winger

5) Jesper Bratt returned from a scratch against Arizona to score two goals.
Bratt, like Palmieri, seemed to have opportunities throughout the game and adding two of those should keep him in the lineup for a bit.
I suppose the scratch for Bratt was to prove a point and hope to see Bratt's play step up, while others that are scratched more often, I have no idea what they are thinking.
For example, Nikita Gusev was scratched for this game and perhaps that's another "message", while Jesper Boqvist is scratched again and I'm just unable to figure out what the point is.

6) On the surface, the Devils have to feel good about getting a point in a game against one of the top teams in hockey, but I'm not.
The Devils had five days to prepare, had the game at home and Tampa Bay's starting their backup goalie in the seemingly 63-year-old and generally weak Curtis McElhinney.
All the ingredients were there for a victory and the Devils have a two-goal lead in the final period, only to blow another multiple-goal lead to barely escape with a point.
There are ways to be pleased with a loss and ways to be disappointed- this was a very disappointing loss.

7) The Devils need to win Friday against Philadelphia.
It's the last home game for twelve days and ends a six-game homestand worth a possible twelve points.
Right now they have earned a possible five of ten points and perhaps seven of twelve isn't anything to
puff your chest out over, but it's a ton better than five of twelve.
Lose that game with the dreaded Western Canada road trip ahead and if you think this has been ugly, imagine how that is going to look.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Forgotten Superstars: Speed Buggy


As the opening theme and the resulting assembly of the cartoon vehicle known as Speed Buggy continued in 1973-74 on a Saturday morning on CBS, there was a decent chance that I was in front of the TV watching.
I'm also sure that a better than average chance that my brother (a little over a year old) was somewhere around me, not really caring about Speed Buggy, but there wasn't much else for me to do, let alone for someone of his age to do, so he was likely around the television because that is where I was!

Speed Buggy was a cartoon that basically took the two Hanna-Barbera cartoon hits from the previous few seasons, Scooby Doo (1969) and Josie and the Pussycats (1970), changed things up a hair with the premise (replacing the traveling van or rock band with a racing car), kept what worked (a wacky non-human interacting with teenagers.) and spun it into a "new" cartoon.
After all, if you sat down and watched all three of those cartoons, it would not be difficult to find the common thread in writing and the shows themselves and if you weren't familiar with them going into this 90 minute binge (I'd be hard-pressed to find someone unfamiliar with Scooby-Doo.), I'd bet that they would either like or dislike all three.
Speed Buggy was a talking car with three traveling teenagers (I've never understood how no one ever questioned why so many of these 70s shows had teenagers traveling around the country/world without any type of supervision) on a racing circuit where they raced for championships and yet still had time to defeat various villains on their way to victory despite being deviated from their course on every episode ( I also have never understood why there was no one around from the circuit to disqualify them for not following the correct course.).
Famous voice actor Mel Blanc voiced Speed Buggy, and "Debbie" of the three teenagers was voiced by Arlene Golonka, who was a character actress that had achieved her biggest fame, a few years before as Ken Berry's love interest on "Mayberry RFD", which was a favorite show of Battlin' Bob's.
Speed Buggy can still be seen on Cartoon Network and Boomerang every so often and Speed Buggy made a few guest appearances on cartoons later in the 70s such as Scooby-Doo and Laff-a-lympics as part of the"Scooby Doobies" team.

So, I'm sure you may be wondering why a cartoon that lasted one season (although Speed Buggy episodes were shown for several years following ) and for a total of sixteen episodes (Speed Buggy was seen often on Saturday, they were the same sixteen episodes) has its own post?
Well, I was skimming through the internet and saw the above picture of the very first lunchbox that I owned as I entered first grade in 1974.
Lunchboxes were a very big deal in 1970s elementary school culture and the one thing that made preparing for school shopping tolerable was selecting your lunchbox for the year.
One thing that I could give my mother credit for in these situations was that each year, we (my brother later in the decade as well) would be allowed to pick a new lunchbox.
This was not a small perk, as many kids would use the same box for years, especially considering how many corners that were cut on clothes, shoes, etc.
My mom started to get the hint a little bit about how rough these things could be on kids by the time I hit the upper schools, but in elementary school, lunchbox equality was about all that I had going for me.

Little did I know and in hindsight, why did Hanna-Barbera make this decision and that as I was selecting Speed Buggy as my lunchbox of choice that another Speed Buggy cartoon (other than a guest appearance) would never see the light of day.
Why would you release lunchboxes etc. of a program that you had already decided to cancel?
Merchandise wise, I have a hard time believing that Speed Buggy was going to be a big seller without new episodes on Saturday mornings, so it still doesn't make sense all these years later.
Memorabilia based on Speed Buggy was small, other than the lunchbox, a basic board game, a short comic book run and I think a few years later, the four characters might have been part of a Hanna-Barbera Slurpee cup series at Seven-Eleven, but that's about it from the seventies.
There was a small Matchbook-style car made in 1998 that I think is in the attic with a lot of my stuff that I bought before we moved and I think it's still in the packaging.

It's funny how a picture of something brings long-dead memories back to you.
A school bus, the kid you sat beside because he had a Speed Buggy box too even though you had never met, the times you used it and the time that it was moved aside for other lunchboxes and later to the point of no lunchbox at all.
And sometimes even the person that you used to watch cartoons beside you in a far different place and time comes to mind as well.
I'm sure that Speed Buggy box is still at my parents' house, just about everything from childhood that I didn't bring here still is, I wonder how what kind of shape it's in after 45 years?
1974 and 45 years is a long time to a metal lunchbox after all!
Perhaps I'll drag it out one day and see if it still has any memories left to jump out when I open that lid!

Thanks for reading some memories of a short-lived cartoon and a little kid that watched it on Saturdays in front of the old school floor model television!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Browns trade Genard Avery to Eagles

Early in yesterday's loss to the Patriots, Cleveland Browns play by play voice Jim Donovan was very excited to speak the name Genard Avery as he pressured Tom Brady  as Brady dropped back to throw (Avery's name does not appear in the box score for defensive statistics) and referred to the Memphis pass rusher as the "forgotten man".

Avery may have been the forgotten man after being mentioned prominently as either an outside linebacker or part of the team's pass-rushing package at defensive end and yesterday was the first game since their loss to the Rams (the only other game) that Avery had been active.

Apparently, the Browns were willing to forget about Avery for good as they sent him to Philadelphia in return for a 2021 fourth-round draft pick.
Genard Avery wasn't forgotten as a rookie in 2018 when he was selected in the fifth round from Memphis, finished with 30 solo tackles and four and a half sacks and looked to be part of the Browns future.
However, that was under then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' system and when Williams didn't receive the head coaching job that wound up going to Freddie Kitchens and moved to the same job with the New York Jets with former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks hired as the new defensive coordinator, Avery apparently wasn't a good fit for Wilks' defense and as noted, Avery was seldom active.

Suddenly, the kudos that so many (including me) were tossing John Dorsey's way for his 2018 draft have been silenced as it doesn't look nearly as strong now as it did just twelve months ago.
The second of their two second-rounders has become a star in Nick Chubb, but Austin Corbett is already gone and now Genard Avery in the fifth has been traded as well.
Baker Mayfield doesn't look like a bust, but he clearly is behind one quarterback (Baltimore's Lamar Jackson) right now in his draft class and he's still in the plenty to prove class with New York's Sam Darnold and Buffalo's Josh Allen.
The Browns other first-rounder in Denzel Ward has proven to have all the skills needed to be a top corner except being able to stay on the field and third-rounder Chad Thomas is at least playing this season but hasn't been more than a rotational player, while their two receivers Antonio Callaway (4th) and Damion Ratley (6th) have been best remembered for dropping passes rather than catching them.
What looked to be a draft to remember is showing the beginnings of being a draft from the Farmer, Banner, Mangini, Brown, Holm... Oh never mind you get it.
We aren't there yet, but you are seeing a few signs.

Genard Avery could have success with the Eagles and he wasn't noted as a problem with the Browns in the locker room, so looking at the trade by the merits, John Dorsey traded a player that he invested a fifth-round pick and added a fourth after getting a good year from the player.
Even if you have to wait two years for the return, that's not bad value, but what I'm thinking is this- the trade deadline is tomorrow at 4;00 PM and suddenly the Washington Redskins have let it be known that their Pro Bowl left tackle holdup Trent Williams is suddenly available after weeks of saying that he was not on the block.
Could it be that John Dorsey is leery of trading a first-round pick for the second round in a row after trading the 2019 top pick to the Giants for Odell Beckham and is accumulating lower picks to add to perhaps a second-rounder to make it worth the Redskins while?
It's an interesting thought and perhaps the Redskins are motivated to make a move to accommodate Williams before he sits out an entire season and loses value from sitting out an entire season, but considering Williams age (31), timing after sitting out all season and needing to sign him to a new contract, I'm afraid trading a first-rounder in an attempt to save a possible lost season would be a desperate overpay.
It will be very interesting to see if the Browns make any moves tomorrow and if so, what type?
Will they go after a Trent Williams to salvage this season and continue to bulk up on veterans?
Or could they go in the opposite direction, a direction that few have given thought to- Could they trade someone that you wouldn't think and add draft picks to continue to a rebuild that they may have attempted too much too soon and now realize that more is needed to have a firm foundation?
We will see soon.

Boxing Challenge: Taylor holds off Prograis, wins WBSS

The best fight of the weekend was also the most important as the junior welterweight division of the World Boxing Super Series concluded with an excellent fight as Josh Taylor added the WBA title to his own IBF championship with a majority decision victory over Regis Prograis in London.
Taylor dominated the middle rounds, survived a badly damaged right eye and a late run by Prograis, who won the final two rounds on my card to make it close, but not enough to catch Taylor, who I scored the winner by a 115-113 score (7-5 in rounds.).
Entering the fight, Prograis was thought to be the bigger puncher, but in the ring, Taylor seemed to be the far larger and more physical fighter and was able to score with both hands effectively landing hooks that pushed Prograis around the ring.
Hopefully some time next year, Taylor's two titles can be unified with the two (WBC and WBO) owned by Jose Ramirez for one champion, although as soon as that's accomplished the Suleman gang at the WBC will declare the winner their "franchise champion" as they did Vasyl Lomachenko recently and took some of the gas away from a Lomachenko vs the winner of December's IBF title fight between Richard Commey and Teofimo Lopez event that would have resulted in a four title champion.
Ramirez will fight mandatory contender Viktor Postol (Postol has a decision loss to Taylor.) in February, so perhaps in the spring or summer, Taylor-Ramirez can be signed.

The undercard saw Dereck Chisora predictably knock out David Price in the fourth round of their heavyweight co-feature.
The third round saw a give and take with both fighters being stunned in the round, but Chisora landed two big rights and then an uppercut to drop Price, who courageously rose but his corner threw in the towel.
Price landed his share and even wobbled Chisora a time or two, but in the end Price's chin just doesn't hold up at a top 20 level and at 36 years of age, someone that cares about Price should step in and suggest that the time has come to step away.

Lee Selby nipped Ricky Burns via unanimous decision in a close but less than thrilling fight.
I figured this would be the case when it was signed and it might have exceeded my expectations a bit.
Selby was the winner on my card 116-112, but the former IBF featherweight champion is going to be outmatched against most top ten lightweights as the aging Burns gave Selby all he wanted and at this stage of his career, the former champion isn't a top ten fighter.

DAZN's other fight was a pretty good scrap on Thursday night as Elwin Soto won a close unanimous decision over Edward Heno of the Philippines to retain his WBO junior flyweight title.
Heno scored a flash knockdown in the third round for the only knockdown of the fight and held a lead after nine rounds before Soto won the final three rounds on my card for a 114-113 win.
A rematch might not be a bad idea.

ESPN plus featured an old-fashioned grudge match entering the fight for the WBO featherweight title that was vacated by Oscar Valdez.
Shakur Stevenson is dating the sister of Joet Gonzalez with the sister estranged from the family and the pre-fight buildup, the pair exchanged plenty of venom that crossed the line of the usual boxing hype.
In the ring, the fight's action might have peaked at the press conferences and the weigh-in as Stevenson put on a performance that may have tabbed him as a future star, but winning in such a dominating fashion in a mundane fight over Gonzalez makes me wonder what the future for Stevenson is.
Stevenson's a terrific boxer and has the ability to outbox almost everyone that he faces, but he didn't turn up the heat against Gonzalez and was content to take his decision and his title home rather than try to finish Gonzalez to put on the type of outing that makes you need to see more of him in the ring.
I had Gonzalez winning only one round with Stevenson winning 119-109 on my scorecard.
The fight that I would love to see is unlikely to happen with Stevenson taking on WBC and PBC promoted Gary Russell in a unification bout that would be huge in the D.C. area with Stevenson fighting out of Alexandria Virginia and Russell living in Capitol Heights Maryland.
A Stevenson-Russell fight would do well at the new MGM casino in the area or even the Verizon Center in Washington, but if the promoters cannot get Errol Spence vs Terence Crawford accomplished, the smaller potatoes of Stevenson-Russell is even less likely,

Bantamweight Joshua Greer won an unpopular unanimous decision over Antonio Nieves in the other main card battle.
Greer was knocked down in the tenth by what could have been a punch behind the head but was ruled a knockdown.
The crowd wasn't thrilled with the scorecards, but I thought they were correct in the close victory as I had Greer a 95-94 winner (6-4 in rounds minus the knockdown).
I'm not sure Greer beats any of the bantamweight champions (The winner of Nonito Donaire-Naoya Inoue will own the WBA and IBF titles, WBC Nordine Ouabaali and WBO Zolani Tete are the current champions), but with Greer being rated 2nd by the IBF and 3rd by the WBO, he could get his chance to try in 2020.

Showtime's three-fight card looked weak on paper but was better than expected.
The first fight, a heavyweight bout between late replacement Frank Sanchez against Jack Mulowayi.
Sanchez replaced Efe Ajagba, dominated by winning every round in a boring fight that wasn't included in the boxing challenge and was better suited for Showtime's ShoBox series instead of their main outlet.

The co-feature stole the night as junior welterweight Robert Easter bested Adrian Granados in a tough fight that was almost ruined by poor judging with Easter's unanimous decision coming via scoring that seemed to have the scorecards filled out in advance.
Easter 's taller style seemed to fir the attacking style of Granados, but Easter stood and engaged Granados and gave the fans an enjoyable fight to watch.
I had Easter ahead 97-93, but I could see Granados being closer on the cards if you are the type of judge that likes aggressive fighters that lands a large volume of punches.
One judge had the fight like I did at 97-93 and another's 98-92 seemed a bit wide, but tolerable, but the 100-90 score for Easter was a pathetic joke as Granados easily won between two and three rounds and maybe even four.
Easter's debut at junior welterweight in an entertaining bout took some of the dreck off of his previous fight, a too bad to be described draw with Rances Barthelemy and Granados showed his effectiveness at 140 after being knocked out for the first time in his career at welterweight by Danny Garcia.
Both fighters came out of this one looking better than when they entered, but I'm not sure either have a road to a title in the division with two champions holding two titles apiece and neither are promoted by PBC in Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez.

The main event had junior middleweight contender Erickson Lubin against late replacement Nathaniel Gallimore and Lubin, he of the big punch and questionable chin, went the distance and looked good in winning a unanimous decision over Gallimore.
I had Lubin a 99-91 victor and even though he didn't stop Gallimore or even knock him to the floor for a spectacular showing, Lubin might have gotten more out of a solid ten rounds than he would have of an early-round knockout.
Lubin looks likely to be headed towards the winner of the WBC title rematch between Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo, which should Charlo win his title back would be a rematch for Charlo and Lubin.
Their first ended in a first-round, one-punch knockout by Charlo.

In the boxing challenge, I added twelve points to Ramon Malpica's ten with the difference in points being Shakur Stevenson winning via decision and a bonus point for picking the round of Dereck Chisora's KO of David Price.
My lead stands at 261-225

Browns season slipping away in New England

On some occasions, there can be issues when you select a picture for a game recap, not just for the Browns but for any of the teams that we cover here in finding an image that is "just right" in reflecting what you are covering.
And then there are times that you find an image that just clicks and you don't have to look any further for what you need.

The image of a distraught Nick Chubb just walking up the sideline as the Browns and Patriots scramble for the football that Chubb had lost control of is the image of the Cleveland Browns 2019 season for now and it could be the image that describes the entire season when we look back.
The score for the Browns 27-13 loss in New England wasn't descriptive of the actual game as the Browns weren't that close to victory, yet the Patriots never showed complete domination of Cleveland as they have been able to do all season except for a 16-10 win over Buffalo.
I'll explain more shortly, but this game showed what the Browns could be and how far away they actually are from being a solid football team.

Nick Chubb rushed for 131 yards with two fumbles and Baker Mayfield hit Demetrius Harris with a 21-yard pass for the Browns only touchdown.
The now 2-5 Browns will travel to Denver next Sunday for a late afternoon tilt with the 2-6 Broncos.

Brownie Bits

1) I know the two first-half Nick Chubb fumbles put the Browns in a hole that they could never dig out of, but the fact still is that Nick Chubb rushed for over 100 yards against possibly the best defense in the league.
When you look at that alone and as hard as it is to do so, you have to feel good about the quality of running back that Nick Chubb is.

2)  The second fumble after a forty-four yard run isn't really excusable, it is simply a nice play made by a hustling Jonathan Jones and those plays happen more than you would suspect mainly because the runner doesn't have the "feel" of a defender around him and when he is caught the element of surprise comes into play.
It is not excusable, but it does happen,

3) Now, the first fumble by Chubb was excusable, as he was falling to the ground, the foot of Joel Bitonio kicked the ball out of his hand and Donta Hightower grabbed the tumbling football to take on for the touchdown.
You never wish to have these things happen, but they do and they are flukish.
I'm not worried about fumbling as a major issue with Nick Chubb.

4) Onto things that I am worried about and start at the top with the head coach Freddie Kitchens, who starting to look more and more like someone that could be best described by the "Peter Principle".
The Peter Principle is based on a management principle that people get promoted via success at their previous job until they reach a point of incompetence because the skills that enable success at one job do not always carry over to another.
Kitchens' use of  his challenges were poor because you rarely win the challenges that he questioned (the camera is never going to catch who really had the football at the bottom of a pile of players) and they could have used one on a Julian Edelman catch that might have been a fumble later in the game.
And a well-coached team doesn't commit thirteen more penalties either!

5) However, those pale in comparison to what dribbled out late in the game via two different sideline reporters.
The Browns have a fourth down and eleven deep in their own territory, Kitchens cannot decide whether he wants to go for it or not and finally the punting team is on the field.
Kitchens changes his mind and tells a lineman to go out and deliberately commit a false start and lose five yards but enables him to put the offense back into the game to try for the first down without losing a timeout.
Now with a fourth and sixteen play on deck, Mayfield gets sacked and New England takes over the football.
Once that cat left the bag and word of that decision spread, thoughts of the competence level of Freddie Kitchens were going to plummet and immediately rumors of his job security began to float.
I cannot imagine Kitchens getting fired now because of the message that would send (again) about the Browns organization, but I wouldn't rule anything out.

5) The Browns are 2-5 and I suspected all along when you looked at the schedule that could be a possibility, still, the Browns five losses are to two undefeated teams, both on the road (New England and San Francisco) one team at 6-2 (Seattle), a team that reached the Super Bowl last year and is 5-3 (Los Angeles Rams) and a 4-4 team (Tennessee).
Only the lopsided home loss to the Titans stands out as a game that you could argue was a bad defeat and that was more to due to the size of the loss with losing a home game, so 2-5 might have been a worst-case scenario, but they lost a game that you would think they would have won (Tennessee) and won one that was a likely loss (at Baltimore) so that's a wash.

6) Things are what they are and the long-awaited schedule weakening begins. but the Browns are backed into a corner and it looks to me that anything less than winning eight of their final nine games isn't going to get the job done.
The Browns travel to Denver (2-6) and even though the Broncos have their own chaos going on, Denver is still a tough place to play, Buffalo (5-2) may have been the anti-Browns having a light early schedule before a tough late slate, then playing Pittsburgh (2-4, but should be 3-4 after Miami tonight) twice in three weeks with winless Miami in between, two games with the winless Bengals in the final month,the 3-4-1 Cardinals in Arizona and the Baltimore rematch with the 5-2 division leaders.
Nine games, five home, four road, none of the road games with a team with a winning record, five games in the division- this can get done.

7) Now why it can't.
Baltimore is a full three games ahead for the division lead.
The second wild card right now belongs to Houston- two and a half games ahead of the Browns. and there are five more teams (Jaguars, Texans, Raiders, Chargers and assuming that they beat winless Miami- Steelers.) that the Browns would need to pass to get to Houston.
A difficult road to travel.

8) This team doesn't get the ball in the hands of their most explosive player.
Odell Beckham has one touchdown in seven games and really only two big plays.
Whether that is Baker Mayfield's seeming inability to hit receivers over twenty yards, Freddie Kitchens playcalling or an offensive line that doesn't give Beckham a chance to get downfield, the stats don't lie.
The Browns brought him in to help create an exciting wide-open offense and they aren't allowing Beckham to do what he does best.

9) Baker Mayfield still isn't very good.
By the numbers, he looked OK against the Patriots 20 of 31 for 193, but while five sacks certainly aren't all his fault, he still has his cut of the blame for them and his body language looks more like the Mayfield that showed up for the month just before Hue Jackson and Todd Haley were fired than the guy that played well enough to have enough stroke to get his guy hired as head coach.
Mayfield has been inaccurate downfield with passes often high that hang his receivers in the air as open season for defensive backs and the passes that are so inaccurate in passing downfield are more reminiscent of Seneca Wallace than a top overall draft selection.
Mayfield's shovel pass or softball flip to the gut of New England's Lawrence Guy was just awful and I'm not sure whether Mayfield is just lousy with that type of pass ( Don't laugh, some players really struggle with that.) or he didn't switch off a play that New England looked to have read, or his heart wasn't in the pass, but no matter what the result was terrible.
The fact that Mayfield's play is getting such a pass from many Browns fans shows just how badly Browns are hungering for anything resembling good play.
Perhaps Mayfield picks things up against the lesser competition coming up and we forget about this, but we are nearing a half-season that has seen him play well one time.

10) The Browns defense played well and I can't blame very much of the loss at their feet.
The Patriots scored only two touchdowns against them as their defense scored one on the Donta' Hightower ramble to run.
Olivier Vernon finished with six solo tackles and a sack and looked like the guy that John Dorsey thought he had acquired from the Giants and Sheldon Richardson had his best game as a Brown.
Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams allowed their share against the Patriots, but both, especially Williams, were targeted and all things considered weren't burned consistently.

11) Special teams were solid with Denzel Ward blocking a Mike Nugent field goal try and Austin Seibert connecting on both of his field goals on such a dreary evening.
Seibert still has plenty to prove, but seven games in, Seibert and Jamie Gillan are giving a positive return on the investment that the Browns put into them as their kicking tandem as rookies.
12) Wrapping up, I'm just not sure if the schedules softening turns the season around.
I can see that happening and I can also see the wheels going off and losing some of these games to teams that the Browns should defeat.
They lost to the Titans badly and that could happen against others that aren't Miami or Cincinnati.
Hoping for the best, but I wouldn't be surprised if this expected run of victories doesn't happen either.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Chased out of town- Buckeyes crush Badgers 38-7

This Saturday was supposed to be the day where someone stepped up to test the Ohio State Buckeyes.
It turned out that the test would come from the weather and a downpour throughout the game kept the game close for two quarters and more, as the Wisconsin Badgers played the Buckeyes close before being blown away by a wave of offense in another lopsided win for Ohio State.
The 38-7 victory might have seen the possibility of a defensive player making his move for at least a chance for making a trip to the Heisman ceremony as Chase Young trampled the Wisconsin offense as he finished with five tackles for loss and four sacks.
J.K Dobbins rushed for two touchdowns, and Justin Fields rushed for one and threw for two others, both to Chris Olave to lead the offense for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State improved to 8-0 (5-0 Big Ten) and will have next week off before hosting 3-5 Maryland in two weeks.

Olentangy Offerings

1) Chase Young is an unstoppable force and despite the bias towards defensive players that only play defense (The only defensive winner, Charles Woodson received votes for playing offense, averaging eight yards a catch and caught one touchdown.), might wind up bullying his way to the front of the line even with those obstacles.
A four sack performance with a forced fumble as well as running over offensive linemen on national television can catapult a player into contention.

2) Chase Young is the best player in this country whether he wins the Heisman award or not.
I'd imagine that he is just about a lock for the Outland and before 2016 the Lombardi awards for the best lineman in the nation.
I'd also think that he'll be the best player available in the 2020 Draft, but like Nick Bosa in the 2019 draft, some team will reach for a quarterback and leave the best player for someone else.
Half the battle of building a winning team at any level is taking advantage of the mistakes that other teams make and there will be someone there that will be happy to have Chase Young fall into their lap.

3) The hype before this game was about the running back matchup between J.K. Dobbins and Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor and who was the superior back.
Taylor was mentioned as a top Heisman contender entering the game, while Dobbins shared support with Justin Fields ( Fields, Dobbins, and now Chase Young could cost one of them the Heisman by dividing the Buckeye votes) for Ohio State's candidate.
Well, the debate might be over after this game as each player received twenty carries,
Dobbins rushed for 163 yards and two scores, while Taylor ran for 52 yards for an average of 2.4 yards.
Dobbins might have won the Doak Walker award yesterday in Columbus.

4) With those 163 yards, J.K. Dobbins hit two more milestones- Dobbins passed the thousand-yard mark for the season, which placed Dobbins with Archie Griffin as the only Buckeyes with three one thousand yard seasons and the only one to accomplish the feat as a freshman, sophomore and junior.
Dobbins also moved past Tim Spencer into the fourth slot on the all-time rushing list and is under 200 yards behind Eddie George for the third spot.
With the Buckeyes next two games against weak sisters Maryland and Rutgers, the question is this, barring injury, does Dobbins pass George in one game or two?

5) Justin Fields ran for a touchdown but took a shot crossing the goal line that saw him make a trip to the medical tent but returned to the game.
Fields reported some back pain, but about the only thing that I can criticize Ryan Day for this season is that he leaves Fields in way too long.
This game was 38-7 in the fourth quarter and Fields is still in a lopsided game with some discomfort.
Ohio State has no one close to Fields in talent or even style behind him and an injury could turn this season upside down.
I'd hate to see someone (and it only takes one) frustrated from being blown out and take a cheap shot on Fields that knocks him out of the lineup,

6) Ohio State played very cautiously in the rain in the first quarter and kept the ball on the ground.
Safe football isn't always fun to watch football, but the weather played to Wisconsin's strengths and I can see playing close to the vest football.
Wisconsin's best chance to win was run the ball, keep the Buckeyes offense off the field, and try to force turnovers and the rain could have helped the Badgers in those areas.

7) It was that caution that kept this game close, only one touchdown scored in the first half on a Justin Fields to Chris Olave strike and a 10-0 game at the half is certainly no slaughter.
And what might be forgotten in this win was that Wisconsin scored first in the second half on a short drive after a bad punt by Drue Christman to cut the lead to 10-7.
It looked like the test that Ohio State had not passed yet was about to be given.
If that was the test and there will be others, Ohio State passed with flying colors as the Buckeyes marched down the field, scored a touchdown to immediately swing momentum and that score would be the first of four touchdowns in a row in the second half.

8) I watched most of this game on mute or low volume for two reasons.
First of all, two hours in, I was watching the World Boxing Super Series from London on the live stream, but the main one, which I'm sure you can guess, was Gus Johnson on the call.
The reason that I mention this is that when you watch a game without sound, you notice things and what I noticed for much of the first half was the broadcast kept watching a Badger coach on the sideline and it was rarely head coach Paul Chryst, it was former Brown and Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonard.
Leonard was on the broadcast often in the first half, not so often in the second half when Ohio State was moving up and down the field.

9) The Wisconsin score was set up by what was called a blocked punt, but to me the replay was inconclusive.
I thought the 13-yard punt by Drue Christman was missed by a charging Alex Smith, but Smith's rush and near-miss disrupted the mechanics of Christman enough that he caught very little of the football.
In any event, the Badgers had their best field position of the game at the Ohio State 30 yard line and would take only three plays to score.

10) I thought that the pass from Wisconsin's Jack Coan to A.J. Taylor, for the Badgers only touchdown, was about as good or as lucky as you could get as the pass was delivered exactly where it had to be to avoid Shaun Wade and Jeffrey Okudah (I think it was Okudah from my notes), both in good coverage.
What was fortunate for the Badgers was that the ball didn't go over Taylor, just a little bit longer and the pass would have been considered to be intended for another Badger receiver.
Had that been the case, the play may not have stood as he clearly grabbed a Buckeye defender before the ball arrived,
Still, no complaints on the play because the ball didn't carry far enough to get that call.

11) K.J. Hill didn't have the big game that Chris Olave did, with only one catch for eleven yards, but that catch moved Hill over 2,000 yards receiving for his OSU career.
Hill is the ninth Buckeye to reach that level.

12) I know the Buckeyes trolled the Badgers a bit with their playing of "Jump Around" and although I didn't think it was as bad as Illinois blaring it after their game-winning field goal on the last play of the game, but I still wouldn't have done it.
It was kind of funny, but I can understand why Badger fans would have been annoyed.
I like that the fans at Camp Randall do that, and I think it's a pretty cool tradition,.
Even though the Buckeyes won't play Wisconsin again until 2022 (unless in the Big Ten title game) and won't visit Camp Randall until 2023, that's the type of thing that won't be forgotten- ask Baker Mayfield.

13) Now the word will be that Penn State will be the test and a suddenly resurgent Michigan after blowing away Notre Dame will be crowing a bit as well.
We'll see about that and I don't take either team lightly at all.
Maryland is the next team on the schedule, and I don't think Ohio State has forgotten about last year's game where Maryland took the Buckeyes to overtime and almost won, if not for a stop on a two-point conversion.
Plus that game is a recruiting asset for recruits in the Washington area, where they plucked Chase Young from, so Ryan Day will have the team ready.
Rutgers should be a squash match, but you still have to play the game and that will bring forward Penn State and Michigan.
Win both those games and this truly may be a special squad.

Back later with the weekend in boxing.

Friday, October 25, 2019


The PPM is back with a football weekend will see Ohio State tested for the first time and the Browns back from their off week.

Last Week: 8-6
Overall: 71-30

Ohio State over Wisconsin 31-17
Texas Tech over Kansas 36-29
SMU over Houston 38-23
LSU over Auburn 35-27
Western Michigan over Bowling Green 30-20
Middle Tennessee State over Florida International 27-26
Georgia Southern over New Mexico State 28-14

Game of the Week
Notre Dame over Michigan 27-17

Patriots over Browns 28-17
Saints over Cardinals 34-24

Game of the Week
Packers over Chiefs 30-27

I tell ya' Herbie

I tell ya' Herbie returns with various thoughts from the college football landscape with a touch of bemusement this week.

I tell ya' Herbie:
                          Illinois defeating Wisconsin last Saturday on a walk-off field goal was one of those stunners that both teams have a point to discuss.
Starting with Illinois, where the interesting question to ponder is about the future of Lovie Smith.
Smith looked to be on the road to nowhere after the Illini were defeated at home by Eastern Michigan, but could Smith have turned things around after stunning the sixth-ranked and undefeated Badgers?
It depends if Smith can get to six wins and a small bowl bid, I think Smith may have earned himself another year.
Illinois is 3-4 and will need to sweep their three games against lower-level teams, this week against 2-5 Purdue in West Lafayette, next week against 1-6 Rutgers at home and their finale against rival 1-5 Northwestern also at home.
Sweep those and they get their six wins regardless of their two tougher games, both on the road vs Iowa and Michigan State.
If they don't and this week on the road against a similarly talented team in Purdue will be difficult to win after the big victory over Wisconsin, the upset could be simply the highlight of yet another disappointing Illini coaching era.

I tell ya' Herbie:
                          As for the Badgers, I was disappointed in their loss as it would have been a much bigger game to the media against Ohio State had they entered the game undefeated, but I'm not sure it's any less of a big game with the loss.
Put Ohio State aside and look at the Illinois game as a fluke because it was.
Why on Earth did Paul Chryst with arguably the top runner in the nation in Jonathan Taylor, stop using him?
Illinois scores with just under six minutes to go and cuts the Wisconsin lead to two points.
Wisconsin has a first and ten with under four minutes to go and the clock running at their own forty after a first down.
Chryst calls a run play to the fullback (-1 yard) and a screen pass to the same fullback (6 yards) before a pass on third and five was intercepted near midfield and allowed Illinois the chance to win the game.
That decision might have been the difference between winning and losing and if it's close in Columbus on Saturday and it could be that Paul Chryst will have to decide to run with the horse or attempt to win with their weakness with the game in the balance.

I tell ya' Herbie:
                          Tonight as I was checking my Twitter timeline, John McAdam (who has a terrific wrestling podcast ) mentioned a game this weekend that struck my interest because part of what I love about college football is that every week the pairings range from every portion of the spectrum.
Take the battle of New England universities in what might be the worst two teams to play each other this season for an example.
1-6 Connecticut travels to 1-6 Massachusetts in a game that is so bad as I review it that my only question is how did they each win a game?
UMass hasn't given up fewer than 29 points all season and that was in their only win (37-29 over 0-7 Akron)!
If you remove the Akron game, UMass has allowed 44,45,48 (to Rutgers for the Scarlet Knights only win) 52,58 and 69 points to their opponents and their closest loss was a 25 point loss to I-AA Southern Illinois at home!
As for UConn, their one win was a three-point win at home over I-AA Wagner (Don't get too excited yet, Wagner is 1-6 and the week after the three-point loss at UConn, the Seahawks lost by ten at home to Division II East Stroudsburg) and they were competitive in their second game in losing by eight at Illinois, but it's been downhill since with losses of 35, 35, 26 and 42 points before playing Houston close at home last week in a 24-17 loss.
UMass has a marginal excuse with a first-year head coach in Walt Bell, but UConn continues to trudge through Randy Edsall- the sequel, as Edsall, he of the ridiculous contract where he gets bonuses for scoring first in a game (Seriously you need to read this) among others and has a career record of 29 games UNDER .500, continues to get more mileage out of an 8-5 season nine years ago than any coach should, makes his way toward crushing the heart of a third program (UConn twice and Maryland).
What I really don't understand is this- In an era that almost every game has television or is hooked up with an internet/streaming service of some kind, no one is showing this game!
This is exactly the type of game that I would watch unless one of my teams would be playing at the same time!

I tell ya' Herbie:
                          One of the most ridiculous overreactions that I've seen occurred in Statesboro Georgia and the Sun Belt came between visiting Coastal Carolina and the homestanding Georgia Southern Eagles.
We enter the fourth quarter and "Mo Bamba" hits the loudspeakers.
Almost every team in the country has some type of song to fire up the fan base etc moving into the final period, so Georgia Southern isn't unique there and their players began to jump around to the music.
Coastal Carolina began to dance back and although it didn't seem that it was good-hearted and the Chanticleers were trying to show that they weren't intimidated, it wasn't a nasty situation either as neither team was close to the other and nothing physical was threatened.
Yet, here comes the officials to make something out of nothing and threw a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct on every player on the field.
That ridiculous decision caused three players that had been penalized earlier in the game to be ejected due to the rule that if a player is penalized for a personal foul/unsportsmanlike conduct twice in a game they are ejected.
Once again, officials getting involved where they are unneeded,
Georgia Southern went on to win the game 30-27 in three overtimes.

Top Five
1) LSU
2) Ohio State
3) Alabama
4) Oklahoma
5) Clemson
Just Missed: Penn State

Group of Five
1) SMU
2) Cincinnati
3) Appalachian State
4) Boise State
5) Memphis
Just Missed: San Diego State

Heisman Watch
1) Joe Burrow LSU
2) Jonathan Taylor Wisconsin
3) Tua Tagovailoa Alabama
4) Jalen Hurts Oklahoma
5) Justin Fields Ohio State
Just Missed: J.K. Dobbins Ohio State

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Boxing Challenge

The boxing challenge returns with a big weekend across three platforms and a world title matchup on a rare Thursday night.

We start on Thursday with (these fights are often shown on your local sports network as well) and the WBO light flyweight title is the prize as Elwin Soto defends against Edward Heno.
Soto came from far behind on the cards to stun Angel Acosta (who fights in the co-feature) with a somewhat controversial final-round knockout to win the championship in a surprise to most, including Golden Boy promotions, who had been grooming Acosta to headline smaller cards and co-feature better ones on DAZN.
Little is known about Soto's opponent, Edward Heno, other than Heno is undefeated from the Philippines and has never fought in the United States.

Saturday brings all three platforms with fights that vary from elite level to world title level and top ten levels across the televerse.
The biggest one comes from London brought to you by DAZN as the long-delayed World Boxing Super Series begins their three tournament finals with a terrific fight that will unify the junior welterweight division with WBA champion Regis Prograis of New Orleans battling the IBF champion in Scotland's Josh Taylor.
Similar to last week's Beterviev-Gvozdyk fight, this is as close to a fight that can go either way as you'll find.
Prograis is the bigger puncher, Taylor the more talented boxer, although both are more than capable of boxing or punching.
Prograis ripped through Kiryl Relikh in rounds in his semi-final to win the WBA title, while Taylor decisioned Ivan Baranchyk, dropping him twice to win the IBF belt in his side of the bracket.
This really could go either way and keep in mind that it is Taylor's home country if this winds up going to the cards.
The winner will hold two championships and hopefully will be able to fight the possessor of the other two titles, Jose Ramirez, who holds the WBC and WBO versions of the 140-pound championship.

On the London undercard, two all-British battles that may be "loser moves on" are featured and are compelling viewing.
Heavyweight Dereck Chisora faces David Price in what has the possibility of being a firefight and has an excellent chance of a spectacular knockout.
Chisora, who does very well against a certain level of boxer, but loses against the upper level of the division will test his power against Price, the one time highly regarded prospect that hasn't shown the ability to take a punch against top twenty opponents
Price is on a three-fight winning streak against decent competition, but Chisora will be another step in class and Price has never succeeded against that level in his career.
I favor Chisora, but Price's problem has been taking punches, not delivering them, so I think he has a chance to pull the upset.

In other bout, lightweights Ricky Burns and Lee Selby face-off in a must-win fight for both.
Selby defeated fringe contender Omar Douglas in his first fight at lightweight after losing his IBF featherweight title to Josh Warrington last year, while Burns has held titles in three divisions, yet at 36 still doesn't have a career-defining win.
Selby is the younger fighter, yet is the smaller fighter, so while I think Selby has more in the gas tank than Burns, perhaps Burns can use his size and comfort at the weight to hold off Selby.

ESPN+ has a very interesting main event from Reno, Nevada as two undefeated and untested prospects with plenty of bad blood are matched against each other for the WBO featherweight title vacated by Oscar Valdez.
Former Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson of Top Rank will take on Golden Boy's Joet Gonzalez for that title and this one seems to be more than for just a title.
Stevenson and Gonzalez have each lobbed their share of social media insults at the other with an issue over Stevenson dating Gonzalez's sister and whatever entailed from that.
Style-wise, neither are exactly aggressive fighters usually, so if this is going to be entertaining, someone is going to have to change things up a bit.

The co-feature is a bantamweight bout between Joshua Greer and Antonio Nieves.
Greer is coming off a majority decision win over Nikolai Potapov, who owns a split decision win over Nieves.
Nieves is the fighter that faced the "Monster" Naoya Inoue in Inoue's American debut in 2017 and lasted six rounds with Inoue. so he can take a shot.

Showtime's card from Reading Pennsylvania, has slowly crumbled around itself with several changes and finally what started out to be a solid card wound up not being all that interesting.
Erickson Lubin attempts to continue to re-establish himself in the junior middleweight division against replacement Nathaniel Gallimore.
Gallimore is replacing Terrell Gausha, who replaced Dennis Hogan against Lubin, who has knocked out three in a row since being demolished in one round against then-WBC champion Jermell Charlo.
Gallimore has lost two of his last three, but both against good opposition including a majority decision loss in 2018 to Julian Williams, who since grabbed the WBA and IBF titles in the division.

Former IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter makes his second attempt at 140 pounds against trialhorse Adrian Granados.
Granados returns to junior welterweight after being battered by Danny Garcia in a welterweight bout.
If Granados has anything left, he could give Easter a rough time as this is his best weight.
As for Easter, who lost his title to Mikey Garcia in 2018, his fight earlier this year with Rances Barthelemy that ended in a draw was one of the worst fights that I have seen in years!

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 249-215.

WBO Junior Flyweight Title. 12 Rds
Elwin Soto vs Edward Heno
Both: Soto Unanimous Decision

Unification WBA-IBF Junior Welterweight Titles/World Boxing Super Series Final. 12 Rds
Regis Prograis vs Josh Taylor
R.L: Prograis KO 6
TRS; Prograis Unanimous Decision

Heavyweights.12 Rds
Dereck Chisora vs David Price
R.L: Chisora KO 9
TRS: Chisora KO 4

Lightweights. 12 Rds
Lee Selby vs Ricky Burns
Both: Selby Unanimous Decision

Vacant WBO Featherweight Title. 12 Rds
Shakur Stevenson vs Joet Gonzalez
R.L: Stevenson KO 9
TRS: Stevenson Unanimous Decision

Bantamweights. 10 Rds
Joshua Greer vs Antonio Nieves
Both: Greer Unanimous Decision

Junior Middleweights. 12 Rds
Erickson Lubin vs Nathaniel Gallimore
R.L: Lubin KO 4
TRS: Lubin KO 8

Junior Welterweights 12 Rds
Robert Easter vs Adrian Granados
Both; Easter Unanimous Decision

Cleaning out the inbox: Passings

There have been a few recent passings of note, although thank goodness not as many as in some past editions of the passings series.

Goodbye to Alexei Leonov at the age of 85.
Leonov was the first person ever to spacewalk, which basically means the first human to leave their vehicle in space, in 1965 representing the then-Soviet Union.

Leonov barely survived his walk in space and forced himself to take several risks with his suit and re-entry into the capsule, either of which could have cost Leonov his life.
Leonov was also thought to be the most likely Soviet to be the first to land on the moon, had failures in the USSR's rocket program not occurred to keep them from performing the task.
Leonov was also the commander of the Soyuz half of the first joint mission in space which saw the Soyuz dock with an Apollo capsule (the rocket and capsule were unused from the canceled final two Apollo missions) in space and work together for two days in various experiments.

Another interesting note on Leonov came in 1969, yet little was known about the incident for years as Leonov and three other Cosmonauts, including Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, rode in a limousine with Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev on their way to a public event in Moscow and an assassin attempted to shoot Brezhnev.
The assassin got fourteen shots off (with two pistols) and the driver of the vehicle was killed, although Brezhnev and the Cosmonauts were not seriously injured.

Goodbye to Willie Brown at the age of 78.
Brown was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984 in the first year of his eligibility after spending sixteen seasons in the AFL and NFL, most of those with the Oakland Raiders after being obtained from the Denver Broncos.
Brown was named to the All-AFL team six times and would make the Pro Bowl in each of the Raiders' first four seasons after the merger, along with a selection to the all-time AFL team after 1969 as the first cornerback to use bump and run coverage with success.
Brown is famous to many for his pick-six in the Raiders' 1977 (1976 season) Super Bowl win over the Vikings, where NFL Films caught Brown running directly at their end zone cameraman and creating one of their most memorable clips.
Younger viewers might remember Brown better in recent years as the Raiders representative at the NFL Draft, announcing the Raider picks and reminding all the viewers that Mother's Day is coming soon and to remember their mom.

Goodbye to Patrick Day at the age of 27.
Day was a fringe contender in the junior middleweight division that was knocked out in the tenth and final round on the undercard of the Oleksandr Usyk-Chazz Witherspoon fight on October 12.
Conwell was ahead in the fight, but the fight was more than competitive and when Conwell slammed a three-punch combination on Day, Day fell backward and his head hit the mat with a thud, I had a bad feeling that Day was seriously injured.
Day had seriously tested another highly touted prospect in his fight before Conwell in Carlos Adames in losing a close decision and was the toughest opponent that the 2016 Olympian Conwell had faced in his pro career.
An alternate for the 2012 Olympic team, Day finished his pro career with a record of 17-4-1 and held a few minor titles.

Goodbye to Lou Palmer at the age of 83.
Palmer, who was one of the early faces of ESPN, worked for the network for a year before the first satellite feed bounced back to Bristol and then was an on-air talent until 1985.
Palmer also was part of start-up projects with WFAN in New York as they became the biggest sports talk radio station in the nation and also with the beginning of the Golf Channel before they were purchased by the NBC networks.
Palmer played minor league baseball under his real name of Lou Puma in the New York Giants and Chicago White Sox systems for parts of two seasons in 1957 and 1958.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Forgotten Superstars: Billy Cannon

We return to the Forgotten Superstars universe to reflect on a player that reached the highest of highest and hit a low depth before paying his debt and redeeming himself with good works.

The 1959 Heisman Trophy winner, Billy Cannon of LSU was more than the average Heisman winner and one could argue that Cannon's charisma was a double-edged sword on and off the field.
Cannon was a star on the 1957 Tigers, but the bigger star was future NFL Hall of Famer Jim Taylor and Cannon was a player that thrived with Taylor drawing the attention of defensive gameplans but was not the focus of those plans with Cannon playing halfback next to Taylor along with defensive back, punter and returning kicks as what scouts would call today a "Swiss Army Knife" of a player.

Cannon would then lead the Tigers to their first national championship in 1958 as Cannon took over for the graduated Jim Taylor as the top weapon for LSU.
Cannon was moved to full-time offense and led the SEC in rushing and touchdowns as he was named the SEC player of the year.
Cannon would finish third in the 1958 Heisman race behind Army's Pete Dawkins and Iowa's Randy Duncan before scoring all seven points in LSU's Sugar Bowl win over Clemson by throwing a touchdown pass and kicking the extra point.

The Tigers didn't defend their national title in 1959, but Cannon gave their fans the play that defined their program on Halloween Night against Ole Miss.
At that time, it was the Rebels, who were the Tigers' top rival, not Alabama as the Tide were a rebuilding former power in their second season under Bear Bryant.
The undefeated pair (LSU #1, Ole Miss #3) moved into late in the game with the Rebels holding a 3-0 lead when Cannon grabbed an Ole Miss punt, broke seven tackles and raced 89 yards for the winning touchdown in a play that is still seen today on television and is replayed before every Tiger game inside Tiger Stadium to this day.
What is often forgotten about that game is Ole Miss driving to the Tigers one yard with 18 seconds to go and Cannon (with help from Warren Rabb) wrapping up a Rebel runner on fourth down to end the game.
The Heisman race was over and despite LSU losing to Tennessee the following week by one point and a Sugar Bowl rematch loss to Ole Miss, it was Cannon winning by a landslide over Penn State quarterback Richie Lucas for the 1959 award.

As Cannon prepared for that Sugar Bowl, he signed a contract with the Los Angeles Rams for the 1960 season, but immediately following the Sugar Bowl, Cannon signed another deal with the Houston Oilers of the brand-new American Football League, which had yet to play a game, under the goalposts ( I did say immediately after the game) for much more money (each deal gave a $10.000 signing bonus, but the Rams total over three years was $30,000 compared to the Oilers three year total was $100,000 plus a new Cadillac) than the established NFL offered.
Even in 1959, the answer to such issues would be in litigation and that's where it ended up with the judge allowing Cannon to take the larger deal with the Oilers and allow Cannon to make history as the first $100,000 football player.

Cannon was one of a handful of players to be part of the entire run of the American Football League (1960-69) with his biggest years with the Oilers as he led the team in rushing in 1960 and the league in the same category in 1961 as the Oilers won the first two AFL titles with Cannon winning the AFL title game MVP in both seasons.

Cannon suffered a back injury that he played through in the 1962 season, would miss most of the 1963 season due to his back problems and would ask for a trade, which he would receive as he was sent to Oakland.
Cannon put together a solid 1964 after playing the year at fullback, but was moved to tight end in 1965 and caught only seven passes in an offense that used the tight end almost always as an extra blocker on the offensive line.
Under new coach John Rauch, Cannon was rejuvenated as he was allowed to run pass patterns downfield as a deep threat.
Cannon would only catch 14 passes, but the catches were for a total of 436 yards and averaged 31 yards per reception and things would only get better in 1967 as Cannon caught 32 passes for over 600 yards and ten touchdowns for the AFL champion Raiders.
Cannon's numbers dipped in 1968 (23, 360 and 6 TD's) and further in 1969 ( 21, 262 and 2 scores), so it wasn't a surprise that he was released in training camp of 1970 after the Raiders had spent their first-round draft pick on a tight end in Raymond Chester.
Cannon was talked into playing for the Kansas City Chiefs by head coach Hank Stram and would play six games, catching two touchdowns, before an injury ended his season and career.

Cannon had studied in the off-season to become a dentist and opened a successful practice in Baton Rouge, but despite his success and fame in the area, Cannon fell into deep financial holes, due to gambling losses and bad investments and made a poor decision.
Cannon became involved with a counterfeiting ring that printed over six million dollars in 1983 and was sentenced to a five-year term and would serve two and a half years of that sentence.
Upon release, Cannon would become the dentist at the Louisiana State Penitentiary as an occasional fill-in and through his work, Cannon would first become the full-time dentist and eventually the head of the entire medical system.
Cannon's problems weren't all his own, his son, Billy Jr, was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the 1984 draft, but only eight games into his rookie season Billy Jr suffered a career-ending neck injury.

Billy Cannon's post-prison life was one that saw him working with prisoners, still beloved by the
LSU fans and was rewarded with a statue for the Tigers only Heisman winner that was unveiled in September 2018, four months after Cannon passed away at the age of 80.

We welcome Billy Cannon into the Forgotten Superstars universe as the latest entry and for those of you fans of the rockabilly style of music, Jay Chevalier with his song titled "Billy Cannon".

Monday, October 21, 2019

Cleaning out the inbox: Non-Sports Version

The inbox continues to be refined and trimmed as we move to the non-sports version.

I mentioned in a recent inbox cleaning that I was watching the Mary Tyler Moore show again after Cherie and Rachel bought it for me as part of my birthday presents on DVD.
Entertainment Weekly writes of the story behind the famous hat toss which ended the montage at the start of the show.
The montages would change from season to season, but the hat toss would always end each one throughout the end of the show.

Undark writes of the danger of feral hogs threatening biodiversity across the country.
Feral hogs will eat almost anything which takes away food from other animals, but they also will eat other animals and their foraging style of being a living roto-tiller destroys plants that the hogs aren't interested in, but other animals need to live.
The article also mentions the ecological disaster in the Channel Islands in California where 150 years ago, pigs were used as farm animals with some escaping.
Pigs don't take very long to become feral and there would eventually number over 5,000 hogs with the hogs indirectly endangering the island fox, a small cat-sized creature only found on these islands.
While the hogs didn't eat the foxes, the hogs would become easy prey for the golden eagle, which eats land animals, unlike the golden eagle's natural predator the bald eagle, which was almost wiped out by the chemical DDT.
As a result, bald eagles weren't eating the golden eagle, which became established on the island by being able to feed on hogs and the island fox.
When the hogs were all eliminated from the island, wildlife managers were able to return bald eagles to the island (since DDT is now banned) and they began to naturally control the golden eagle, which led to some captive-bred foxes to be returned to the island and begin the process of re-populating there.
I find it so interesting how one minor addition or subtraction to an environment can change it so completely.

Ryan sent me this link to a YouTube-hosted short documentary on the video game Burger Time.
Burger Time dates all the way back to the early 80s  and I'm willing to wager if you are in the 45-60-year-old range that you have at least heard of it, if not played it.
I owned the game on the first video game system that I owned in the 80s, Intellivision and I had bought it for one of the systems when Ryan was little (I think Nintendo, but could have been Sega Genesis).
Lots of good times playing that game with Ryan and even dating back to living at home.

CNN writes of a recent discovery of a baby sea turtle that died after being washed onto shore in Florida.
Beings die all the time, what's so special about this one?
Well, this one died with 104 pieces of plastic in its stomach that caused its death.
Imagine a turtle that small and that young to have that amount of plastic in its stomach that quickly?
This world has so many environmental problems and so few answers or so few interested in what it takes to solve those problems that I'm truly saddened in the inability to deal with doing Something.
Take a look at that crap and tell me that feels right to you.
We may disagree on what to do and how much it costs etc, but I can't imagine anyone saying that they are ok with that in general.

Hannah Buehler of Buffalo's WBKW brings us the word of a new product called the Barnacle is replacing the old-school "Boot" as a device to place on cars that are illegally parked in western New York.
The Barnacle looks like a large foldout case that is attached to a vehicle by two large suction cups that are held to the window by two industrial strength suction cups that applies with a thousand pounds of pressure and takes away the driver's vision away that the vehicle cannot be legally driven.
You then call or reach the company online to receive directions on how to remove it and where to return the Barnacle to a dropbox.
It seems like a good way to eliminate tow trucks and help the drivers that parked illegally get on the way faster.

We wrap with a sports story that isn't all sports as the Athletic writes about the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner of Nile Kinnick of Iowa, who was killed in World War II and was regarded almost universally from people that knew Kinnick to be headed for a future in politics as a governor, senator, and even president.
The Nile Kinnick story is more than just a sports story, it's one that shows that a great life doesn't have to be a long one.

Back tomorrow with more football, if I have time and what could be a forgotten superstars segment.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Hughes scores first goal in 1-0 win!

The New Jersey Devils received one goal from their future franchise player and perhaps their goaltender of the future made that one goal held up as the Devils began that thing known as a winning streak with a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks at the Rock.

Jack Hughes (1 power play) took a Taylor Hall pass in the first period and zipped it by Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko for the only goal of the game and more importantly the first of Hughes's career.
Mackenzie Blackwood finished with 25 saves in earning the shutout for the Devils.
The Devils now have six days off before their next game at home against the Arizona Coyotes.

Hell Raisers

1) You had to feel good for Jack Hughes to score his first career goal with lots of family and friends in attendance and his brother Quinn, who happens to play for the Canucks.
Hughes had a few near-misses on the season, but expectations are always high for top overall picks and you can't blame Hughes for pressing a bit.
Still, you can see just how good Hughes can be and how the Devils can build on his shoulders.

2) Ordinarily, the biggest news of the day would have been the Devils signing of their other top overall pick of recent years to a long-term contract, if not for the win and its circumstances.
The Devils signed Nico Hischier, the first overall pick in 2017, to a seven-year contract worth over fifty million.
Hischier would have become a restricted free agent at the end of this season, but the signing not only locked Hischier up for more than just his restricted years and at what could prove to be a reasonable cost.
Hischier is currently out of the lineup with bruised ribs that are not thought to be serious.

3) Mackenzie Blackwood was very good in net with several saves that saved the Devils bacon.
I'm not sure why Blackwood has been criticized so much for a young goalie that doesn't have a great defense in front of him, but I suppose that's part of a losing fan base.

4) Andy Greene returned from injury to the lineup.
Greene played over 21 minutes in his return, 3rd among the six defensemen.

5) I really liked the fire from Mirco Mueller, who jumped in and exchanged a few swings with the Canucks Brandon Sutter.
It wasn't much of a fight, but both players were given five for fighting.
It was the Devils' first fighting major of the season and it doesn't seem like the pace will pick up soon, but kudos for Mueller for jumping in and helping a teammate.

6) The NHL schedule makes zero sense.
The Devils played four games in a week, take six days off before playing Arizona and then take another five days off.
After that, the team plays seven games in ten days.
Who makes this stuff up????

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Boxing Challenge: Beterbiev hammers the Nail

I had high hopes for the light heavyweight unification matchup between WBC king Oleksandr Gvozdyk and IBF standard-bearer Artur Betebiev and even though it wasn't a war similar to the Golovkin-Dereyvanchenko fight, it had plenty of exchanges and more than its share of action.

In the end, it was the overwhelming strength and thudding power of Beterbiev that ground down "the Nail" and stopped him in the tenth round as referee Gary Rosato waved the fight off after the final of three knockdowns in the round.
The fight was still close on the scorecards as two of the judges had Gvozdyk ahead, one by three points and the other by a point, with the other scoring Beterbiev ahead by one point.
I had Beterbiev ahead by three points (6-3 in rounds), but almost every round except the ninth could have been given to either fighter and I wouldn't take issue with any scorecard.

Beterbiev rocked Gvozdyk several times throughout the fight, but Gvozdyk had his share of moments as well, as Gvozdyk had excellent rounds in the sixth and eighth.
The eighth was Gvozdyk's final push as he seemed to be giving ground to the persistent pressure of Beterbiev and near the end of the ninth, Beterbiev landed a big right that seemed to puncture whatever remained of Gvozdyk's will and as Gvozdyk came out of his corner, he resembled a fighter that knew he didn't have enough to hold off Beterbiev.
Gvozdyk gamely tried, but his legs were gone and three knockdowns caused by several crushing right hands ended the fight.

For Beterbiev, the next time out isn't one that will be thrilling any fans as he fights his IBF mandatory against undefeated and unknown Meng Fanglong of China.
Fanglong won an eliminator against Germany's Adam Deines via unanimous decision to earn the title shot, but Deines hadn't defeated anyone of note either and Deines knocked Fanglong down in their fight, so it's unlikely that the former Olympian would be able to handle the power of Beterbiev.
Bob Arum said that fight would likely be held in China in January to move that obligation out of the way for what is hoped to be another unification fight with WBA champion Dmitry Bivol to give the winner three of the four titles in the spring or summer.
Bivol is a promotional free agent, so if Bivol wants that fight, he'll be able to make it.
The WBO title will be the hardest title to win as champion Sergey Kovalev is required to fight a rematch with Canelo Alvarez, should he defeat him in their fight in two weeks and should Canelo win that fight, he would be extremely (You can even capitalize if you like) unlikely to face Beterbiev.

I've been on the Beterbiev bandwagon for five years after a blazing start to his career, but he was hampered by promotional issues ( mainly that his promoter Yvon Michel, who was associated with PBC, and Al Haymon didn't want their guy Adonis Stevenson to have to defend his title against Beterbiev, so they put Beterbiev on ice) until finally getting clear to move to Top Rank.
Beterbiev might be the biggest puncher in the game, only Deontay Wilder gives him a run for the money for that title, and his punishing, grinding style demands that you make a choice- stand and fight and take your chances with his power, try to box and pray you are durable enough to last twelve rounds of pain as you are pursued.

For Gvozdyk, his career isn't over after one loss and there are plenty of top fighters in the division with Top Rank for Gvozdyk to return to the top as he could fight Gilberto Ramirez, Eleider Alvarez, Jesse Hart, or even Sergei Kovalev, depending on the result of Kovalev's fight with Canelo Alvarez.
The biggest question will be can Gvozdyk recover from a loss that saw him beaten, time will tell if it has broken him.

The co-feature saw Kudratillo Abdukakhorov win a unanimous decision over Luis Collazo after the fight was stopped with under a minute remaining in the tenth round after heads collided and caused a huge cut over the left eye of Collazo, who was seriously dazed by the impact.
It wasn't a great bout, but I had Abdukakhorov the clear winner 98-92 in what will officially be a technical decision.
Abdukakhorov entered the bout as the mandatory contender for WBC/IBF champion Errol Spence for the IBF and risked that status in fighting the veteran Collazo, which he should be applauded for gambling the title fight so they can stay sharp and give himself the best chance to win that fight.
Not enough fighters do that and when they finally have the opportunity to fight for the championship, they haven't given themselves the best chance to win it.

In the boxing challenge, I outscored Ramon Malpica five to two, with the difference earning three points from the Artur Beterbiev victory to push my lead to 249-215.

Ohio State continues to roll- Crushes Northwestern 52-3

The Ohio State train kept rolling in Evanston, Illinois as the Buckeyes crushed Northwestern 52-3 as the Buckeyes scored 24 points in the second period to cruise to a win.

Justin Fields threw four touchdowns, two of those to Chris Olave and J.K Dobbins ran for 121 yards including a 68-yard score.
Master Teague added a 73 yard run for a touchdown in garbage time for Ohio State, who moved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the Big Ten with the victory.

Ohio State should finally receive a test next week against fellow unbeaten Wisconsin, who also has crushed all opposition without response.
Next week's game in the Horseshoe should be a good one.

Olentangy Offerings

1) Northwestern had often given the Buckeyes all they wanted through the years under Pat Fitzgerald, but it was clear from the first possession that this Wildcat team wasn't doing that.
Ohio State marched down the field and scored a touchdown to start the game and after the teams exchanged punts, Northwestern made their only sustained drive of the night and moved to the Buckeye fifteen-yard line.
On fourth down and three, Northwestern had a choice and took the three points.
It would be their only points of the game, but it essentially ended the game- If you want to beat this Buckeye team, you better be ready to throw caution to the wind and gamble on every scoring situation.
Touchdowns and lots of them are going to be the way of beating them because there won't be defensive struggles.

2) My high point was the 55-yard thump by Blake Haubeil at the end of the first half to place an exclamation point on a 24 point second quarter.
It made little impact on the result, but the fact that if the Buckeyes ever need a long field goal, Haubeil has established that at least he has the leg for it.

3) J.K. Dobbins continues to pass players on the all-time rushing list with his 121 yards against Northwestern moving him two rungs up the ladder.
Dobbins passed Braxton Miller and Beanie Wells and enters the top five runners at Ohio State.
Dobbins needs 151 yards to pass Tim Spencer for 4th and 365 yards to move by Eddie George for 3rd.
I would imagine that 151 yards against the tough Badger defense next week would be a tough go, but with Rutgers and Maryland after the Badgers, I would be surprised if Dobbins isn't sitting in third before the final two games against Penn State and Michigan.

4) That Wisconsin game might have Heisman ramifications as three candidates are playing in the game.
Ohio State's Dobbins and Justin Fields combined with Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor are the Big Ten's top hopes and even though all three will have a rough time winning the Heisman, a huge game could vault one into contention.
In any event, whoever has the better game between Taylor and Dobbins is likely to be the favorite for the Doak Walker award for the nation's top running back.

5) Is it just me or is Ryan Field little more than a larger high school field?
Between the long grass and the setting, the place really comes across as a facility not befitting the Big Ten and has to be the worst in the conference.
I suppose this is coming to mind because of the ridiculous idea of Major League Baseball to revamp the minor leagues, which I'll write about on another day, but still not a great place to visit.

6) The Ohio State defense held Northwestern to under 200 yards in offense and kept their string of keeping offenses under 300 yards intact at seven or every game that they have.
Wisconsin will likely break that string and if they don't, then the Buckeyes have had a terrific game against the Badgers.

7) The play of the game was Justin Fields dodging Wildcat pass rushers, stumbling around the field, but managing to keep himself upright before finding K.J. Hill for a first down on a third and fifteen.
Fields may not have the speed of a Braxton Miller, but Fields is the type of athlete that combines size and speed that Ohio State hasn't seen at quarterback since Terrelle Pryor and I like Fields arm better than Pryor.

8) With the victory, Ohio State officially avoids the upset road loss to a Western division team that bit them the last two seasons.
Northwestern is the final road game against the West and even though Wisconsin visits the Buckeyes, I would not call that an upset and if so only a mild one since the game is in Columbus.

Finishing a little early on this one as I need to work on the Beterbiev-Gvozdyk unification tilt, which was as good as I had hoped for!

Editor's Note: What the hell was with Northwestern's uniforms?
They don't have gold in their colors at all, so I'm guessing this was an attempted psych out attempt since black and gold are the colors of both Purdue and Iowa for their past upsets.
Looked really bad to me.