Tuesday, September 28, 2021

I tell Ya' Herbie

     Part of me trying to get back to normal will be the return of I tell ya Herbie, which I did last season as a weekly column with a few notes from the college football world.

I didn't watch closely Ohio State's 59-7 pasting of Akron last week which is why I didn't do a review.

I tell ya Herbie:   I didn't see the surprise return to prominence of the Arkansas Razorbacks this season.

With wins over Texas and Texas A&M, Arkansas seems to be building a winner under Sam Pittman, who had his hiring questioned by just about everyone before the 2020 season.

Pittman has been a tireless recruiter and a tip that the Hogs could be improved this season could have come when looking at the results of 2020 with Arkansas losing three of their seven losses by a combined seven points.

Arkansas will be heavy underdogs at Georgia this Saturday but even with a defeat, Arkansas seems to be headed in the right direction.

I Tell Ya' Herbie:    Conference realignment is always a fun topic for me to think about and discuss and I haven't written anything about the SEC gaining Texas and Oklahoma or the Big 12 responding with a raid of the AAC in adding Cincinnati, Central Florida, and Houston along with independent Brigham Young.

The SEC hasn't decided whether to shuffle their divisions a bit when the Longhorns and Sooners arrive or to go to a "pod" system, where you play the same three teams every year and the schedule changes from year to year by playing different pods to fill out the schedule remainder.

I'm not a fan of the pod system, because sooner or later you will have more than two teams that qualify for the conference title game, and chaos and unfairness ensues.

So assuming the divisional format is kept the easy fix is to move Alabama and Auburn to the East Division and add Texas and Oklahoma to the West division but in order to do that (and keep Alabama and Auburn together), one team would have to go to the West from the East.

My pick for that would be Missouri, which would add neighboring Arkansas and former Big 8/12 fellow member Oklahoma as regulars on their schedule.

That's the best fit.

I Tell Ya Herbie:  As for the Big 12, I've heard different rumors for their move from ten to twelve teams which have mentioned a return to divisional play or using a mini-pod system that would see teams play the same six teams every year and the other five would rotate in and out off a schedule.

My guess for divisional play would likely see things break down in this manner:

Division One: Cincinnati, West Virginia, Central Florida, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State.

Division Two: Oklahoma State, Baylor, Houston, TCU, Texas Tech, Brigham Young,

But there are rumors that the Big 12 may not stop at the four schools that they have added and could add two or even four more schools within the next year in an attempt to shore up the conference before the next round of conference checkers.

I will mention a few possibilities in the next edition of "Herbie"

I Tell Ya' Herbie;  This is a year that may be looked back at as an aberration.

Powerhouses such as Clemson, Ohio State, and even Oklahoma, although the Sooners are still unbeaten, are struggling while other schools are surprising with their starts such as Wake Forest, Michigan State, and Arkansas.

One reason that this could be happening is that powerhouse teams lost players to the NFL as usual but the middle-of-the-pack teams has been able to improve this season with players gaining an extra year of eligibility due to the Covid crisis.

It'll be interesting to see if things level back to normal next season.

I Tell Ya' Herbie: Here is our inaugural Top Ten, which is based on who you beat and how you are playing not on reputation.

1: Alabama 
2: Georgia
3: Oregon
4: Iowa
5: Penn State
6: Cincinnati
7: Oklahoma State
8: Oklahoma
9: Ole Miss
10: Florida   

Monday, September 27, 2021

Browns blow by Bears 26-6

   The Cleveland Browns held the Chicago Bears to 118 yards of total offense and pulled away with a dominant fourth quarter to defeat the Bears 26-6 in Cleveland.

Myles Garrett finished with a team-record four and a half sacks to lead a pass rush that sacked Chicago's rookie quarterback Justin Fields nine times.

Baker Mayfield threw a touchdown and for 246 yards with both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt finishing with over eighty rushing yards for the game.

The now 2-1 Browns will travel to Minnesota next week for the Kevin Stefanski Bowl against the Vikings.

Brownie Bits

1) The big story was the suddenly awakened pass rush that dumped Justin Fields nine times and just missed against the somewhat elusive Fields several others.

Myles Garrett's four and a half sacks set a new team record and his opposite end Jadeveon Clowney added two more sacks.

Considering the Browns issues with the rush in the first two games, this is a huge positive going forward.

2) The Chicago offensive line is terrible and as bad as they were in protecting Justin Fields, they weren't any better in their attempts to run the football as David Montgomery ran for 34 carries on ten carries, numbers that seem worse when you consider sixteen of those yards came on one carry.

3) The Browns offensive line wasn't spectacular in protecting Baker Mayfield, who was sacked five times in the win.

Khalil Mack reached Mayfield twice in the game and Mack missed most of the first half with a sprained foot and the Browns might have given the Bears a few more sacks had a healthy Mack played the entire game.

4) I know the offensive line is beaten up a bit right now and they still opened up huge holes in the running game but the five sacks are concerning and something to wonder about when the opposition improves.

5) Baker Mayfield did receive plenty of pressure from the Bear defense and he did manage to avoid an interception but in this game, I saw many of his passes go high.

Mayfield completed 19 of 31 for the game so he was still effective but this has always been a concern of mine with Mayfield's accuracy and I'll keeping an eye on this as the season moves on.

6) Odell Beckham's return to the field was not spectacular but solid with five catches for seventy-seven yards on nine targets.

Mayfield and Beckham's chemistry has been discussed often since Beckham's arrival in Cleveland but i didn't see many signs of that on Sunday.

7) Kevin Stefanski decided to go for it on fourth down on the first two possessions of the game and failed both times.

One was on a busted play and a bad snap foiled the other but I like the aggressiveness if not the execution.

8) Chase McLaughlin's win over Cody Parkey for the Browns placekicking job has begun to pay dividends.

The Browns thought that in picking McLaughlin they were selecting the kicker with longer range and with that range would add scoring chances that Parkey would not be able to take advantage of.

McLaughlin's four field goals included two of over fifty yards with one coming from 57 yards.

9) Kareem Hunt is clearly the backup to Nick Chubb but on almost any other team Hunt would be their ground game superstar.

Hunt averaged eight yards a carry on his ten totes and Hunt runs with a nastiness that reminds one of runners from a different era.

10) This game was the coming-out party for Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah as JOK began to see more snaps and finished with four solo tackles, half a sack, and another tackle for loss.

I have a feeling that the production has only just started for the versatile rookie from Notre Dame.

11) The Browns are 2-1.

They should be Chicago and Houston aren't very good teams and with both of those games at home, those wins should have been reliably figured in the win column before the season.

Now the season really begins with road games at Minnesota and the Los Angeles Chargers that cannot be counted on for relatively easy wins, it'll be interesting to see how the Browns react after the loss in Kansas City.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Boxing Challenge: Usyk Dethrones Joshua

     The boxing world lost arguably its biggest fight when Anthony Joshua was upset in his native London by unanimous decision to Oleksandr Usyk and lost his WBA, IBF, and WBO championships to the former cruiserweight champion.

The defeat ended hopes of a Joshua-Tyson Fury fight that would have unified all four heavyweight titles next spring and makes fans wonder where the division is going after Fury fights Deontay Wilder next month.

I wrote in my preview of the fight that I almost picked Usyk and had he looked a bit more impressive in his two heavyweight wins, I would have done so.

I thought that should Usyk defeat Joshua, he would do so in similar ways as Michael Spinks had surprised the larger Larry Holmes- keep the larger man off balance with lunges on the inside, getting out before he can be hit and when he is on the outside, stay far enough outside that he isn't hit there.

Usyk did all of these well and smoothly but the bigger surprise was that Usyk was the more powerful puncher of the two as he stunned Joshua several times during the bout and badly hurt Joshua with under a minute to go in the final round, driving a dazed Joshua into the ropes and if there would have been another minute to go in the fight. I think Usyk might have put Joshua away.

Usyk swept the final five rounds of the fight on my card to win 117-111 (9-3) and two of the official cards were close to mine at 117-112 and 116-112 with the other card for Usyk at 115-113 which I thought was a little closer than it was, but there were three close rounds on my card (I gave two of three to Usyk) so that isn't a crazy scorecard.

Joshua is expected to activate his rematch clause for next spring, the WBC is expected to mandate that next month's Dillian Whyte-Otto Wallin winner will immediately face the Fury-Wilder winner so a unified championship isn't happening before next fall and the real fly in the ointment to all of this could happen if Wilder would defeat Fury as I doubt Al Haymon puts Wilder in with Usyk at all.

Remember for all the vast power that Deontay Wilder possesses, he isn't a large heavyweight and he's closer in size to Usyk than he is Fury, so with Usyk's boxing ability I don't see a path for a Usyk-Wilder fight should Wilder win.

Give credit to a history-making effort by Oleksandr Usyk and credit to Anthony Joshua who could have folded his tent in the late rounds when he suffered an eye socket injury and caused his eye to swell almost shut and instead fought through to finish the fight.

On the undercard, Lawrence Okolie retained his WBO cruiserweight title with a third-round knockout of unknown Dilan Prasovic.

Okolie scored a late knockdown in the second round and quickly finished off Prasovic with a body shot early in the third.

I'd like to Okolie against IBF champion Mairis Bredis next to establish the winner as the best cruiserweight in the world.

Callum Smith crushed Lenin Castillo with one right hand that scared anyone that saw it as Castillo twitched badly while on the canvas.

Castillo was reported fine after a hospital trip and the win by Smith was very impressive as Castillo had never been stopped before and had lasted the full twelve rounds against WBA champion Dmitry Bivol.

For Smith, it could see Bivol in his future as Bivol's championship is the only one of the four not controlled by Top Rank and Bivol has worked with Smith's promoter Matchroom in the past.

In Madrid. the comeback of former middleweight champion Sergio Martinez continued with a unanimous decision over veteran Briton Brian Rose.

I scored Martinez a 97-93 winner and Martinez survived a rough second round where Rose had Martinez in a good deal of trouble.

I'm not really sure if I'm ready to state that Martinez is ready for a title shot, but even at 46 he's still capable of competing against anyone other than the elite and just under the elite of the division.

In the boxing challenge, I outscored Ramon Malpica five to four with the difference being a bonus point scored by me for calling the round of the Lawrence Okolie knockout win.

I lead the challenge 130-114.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Boxing Challenge

    The boxing weekend revolves around Europe with the heavyweight champion defending his three titles, a cruiserweight title on the undercard, the former unified super middleweight champion making his return to the ring after his initial defeat, and the continual comeback of who was once the top middleweight in the world- all in Europe on Saturday.

The top fight of the weekend pits the holder of three of the four major heavyweight titles against the only fighter to hold all four of the cruiserweight titles at the same time as Anthony Joshua defends against his WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk in a battle of 2012 Olympic gold medal winners (Joshua Super Heavyweight and Usyk Heavyweight) in London.

Joshua had planned to face Tyson Fury in a fight that would have resulted in all four titles being unified before the fight was kiboshed by an arbitrator's decision to force Fury into a contractual obligation for a third fight with Deontay Wilder, so fighting his mandatory contender in Usyk will allow Joshua to move to a Fury (should both men win their fights) fight without needing to worry about any organizational obligations.  

Usyk has very impressive speed and skills and Joshua will always have the sector of being knocked out by Andy Ruiz and knocked down by other opponents, most notably Wladimir Klitschko but Usyk hasn't dazzled anyone in his two heavyweight wins over Chazz Witherspoon and Dereck Chisora.

The most likely result is the naturally bigger man breaking down the more naturally talented smaller man but I cannot get the Michael Spinks upset of Larry Holmes out of my thoughts.

Spinks, especially in their first fight as I thought Holmes won the rematch with Spinks officially winning, was able to avoid the jab, use enough awkward movement on the inside, and land a few punches and get away without getting hammered against Holmes and I can see Usyk having success with a similar strategy.

There are a few differences though.

Usyk is a little more of a classic boxer than Michael Spinks was and for all of the greatness of Larry Holmes, Holmes didn't possess the one-shot power of Anthony Joshua.

If there is a road to victory for Oleksandr Usyk, that is the most likely travel map.

Lawrence Okolie defends his WBO cruiserweight title for the first time against Dilan Prasovic as the co-feature from London.

Okolie impressively won the WBO title with a sixth-round knockout of Krzysztof Glowacki in his last fight and other than IBF champion Mairis Breidis is the best cruiserweight in the world.

It's not often that I can say this but I know nothing about Prasovic other than he is undefeated and is from Montenegro, not exactly known for developing boxing champions.

Callum Smith returns to the ring for the first time since his defeat to Canelo Alvarez last December and will be moving up to light heavyweight.

Smith suffered his first defeat against Alvarez and didn't really have a lot of options at 168 pounds, so moving up to 175 pounds might not have been a choice for the Briton as much as a forced decision.

Smith takes on veteran Lenin Castillo, who has lost both of his fights against top opponents in losing a decision to WBA champion Dmitry Bivol and another to Marcus Browne, who is the number one contender in the WBC rankings.

Castillo lost convincingly to both but did knock down Browne in his defeat, so should Smith be able to stop Castillo in his division debut, it would be a nice feather in his cap.

The other fight in the challenge will not be televised in America as former WBA and WBC middleweight Sergio Martinez continues his unlikely comeback against Brian Rose.

Martinez will fight for the first time since defeating Jussi Koivula by ninth-round stoppage last December and while Koivula's name was known for his loss to Conor Benn before losing to Martinez, Saturday's opponent is also recalled for a lopsided loss in Brian Rose, who was dominated in a 2014 challenge to then-WBO junior middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade, losing every round before being finished off in seven.

Martinez is 46 years old and I'm not really sure what the end game is for Martinez as he wasn't interested in fighting Gennady Golovkin in his prime, can't see him against Jermall Charlo or Demetrius Andrade and I don't see any seniors tour opponents that make sense either.

Still, give Martinez credit for his comeback as he isn't fighting MMA fighters or celebrities.

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 125-110.

WBA, IBF, and WBO Heavyweight Titles.12 Rds 
Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk
R.L: Joshua KO 10
TRS: Joshua Unanimous Decision

WBO Cruiserweight Title 12 Rds
Lawrence Okolie vs Dilan Prasovic
R.L: Okolie KO 4
TRS: Okolie KO 3

Light Heavyweights. 10 Rds
Callum Smith vs Lenin Castillo
Both: Smith Unanimous Decision

Middleweights.10 Rds
Sergio Martinez vs Brian Rose
R.L: Martinez KO 5
TRS: Martinez KO 8 

Friday, September 24, 2021


  Another big week in football and the PPM!

Last Week: 10-5
Overall: 29-14

Ohio State over Akron 52-17
Boise State over Utah State 27-21
Minnesota over Bowling Green 37-14
Texas over Texas Tech 45-35
Middle Tennessee State over Charlotte 20-19
Clemson over N.C. State 28-14
Louisiana over Georgia Southern 30-17
Houston over Navy 27-17
Washington over California 26-21
LSU over Mississippi State 37-28

Games of the Week
Wisconsin over Notre Dame 24-20
Texas A&M over Arkansas 30-27

Browns over Bears 28-14
Patriots over Saints 17-15

Game of the Week
Buccaneers over Rams 37-33

Thursday, September 23, 2021

George Foreman vs the Toronto Five

   Boxing has always had time for a good sideshow and the current Jake Paul roadshow is far from the first ridiculous event to hit the ring,

Recently, I wrote about Paul and mentioned a few of boxing's goofy events, and my nephew, Jeff, asked if I would write about one event with an athlete in his prime that participated in a farce.

In April 1975, George Foreman hadn't fought since his October 1974 upset loss of his title to Muhammad Ali, and while today that wouldn't be considered to be a big deal, at that time it was a little unusual and with rumors flying about a change to the psyche of Foreman after his surprising knockout loss, promoter Don King came up with the idea of Foreman defeating five guys in one night to rebuild Foreman himself and in the eyes of the fans for a potential Ali rematch.

Understandably, the opponents weren't going to be top ten caliber but considering the issues of Foreman's stamina the argument was going to be made by Foreman that five guys scheduled for three rounds would be the same as going a full fifteen rounds.

So in Toronto, Wide World of Sports televised Foreman's "comeback" with Howard Cosell and Muhammad Ali calling this farce with a surprisingly mute Don King sitting beside Ali as the circus played out.

Foreman's first opponent in veteran Alonzo Johnson, who had two claims to fame- he was one of the main sparring partners for Muhammad Ali and in Ali's eighth pro fight Johnson had taken Ali the ten-round distance.

That noted, Johnson was never more than a journeyman and hadn't fought in years before being installed as the opening challenger.

The first thing that I think of when seeing Johnson is the resemblance to the nearsighted boxer in the early 80s film "Tough Enough" starring a young Dennis Quaid and the second thing is that Johnson fights similar to the character as well.

Foreman fights the first round on his toes in an absolutely awful Ali impersonation as he boxes Johnson from range rather than walking down the older and out of his league opponent.

That's about the only way that Johnson could get out of the first round against George Foreman-If Foreman fought in the least aggressive way possible.

Foreman must have realized this in the corner as he quickly charged out and finished Johnson in the second with his trademark powerful looping shots.

The next opponent was even more anonymous than the rest in Jerry Judge and Judge delivered the most interesting match against Foreman.

Foreman comes out much more aggressively against Judge and drops the much smaller Judge to a knee with an uppercut and give Judge credit for getting up and trying to continue but the fun has just begun as Foreman walks in to finish Judge, Judge launches a desperate right hand that not only lands bur stuns Foreman, who clinches for a few seconds.

Judge survives the round and the two fighters jaw at each other after the round with Foreman playing full wrestling heel talks to Ali and the crowd between rounds.

One would think that Foreman would start the round strongly to finish Judge off but instead decides to dance around the ring with his legs flailing looking more like Pee Wee Herman dancing to "Tequila" rather than Ali.

Finally, Foreman drops Judge, the referee waves off the fight, and shortly thereafter Foreman and Judge share the obligatory post-fight responses with all seeming well for the next fighter to give Big George a try- BUT NO (this works really well with Cosell being at ringside and I can use a Cosell phrase), as the fighters exchange words and then begin to exchange punches as if the fight has resumed!

Judge then takes Foreman to the mat as if he was Dan Gable and would receive two points for the takedown before the fighters are finally separated.

Foreman then goes to the ropes and raises both arms in the manner of Clubber Lang in the opening montage of Rocky III as Ali taunts Foreman and the crowd boos along with throwing trash into the ring.

Next up is smallish Terry Daniels, who in today's game would have been a cruiserweight but had name recognition for a title challenge of then-champion Joe Frazier in 1972.

The problem with Daniels was that since that fourth-round knockout loss to Frazier, he had won just six of nineteen bouts and was simply too frail to hold up against the booming punches of Foreman and Foreman dropped Daniels in the first round but ran out of time to finish him.

Foreman landed some heavy shots in the second, driving Daniels around the ring but as Daniels offers a flurry against Foreman, Foreman waves to the referee to end the fight-AND THE REFEREE LISTENS  TO HIM!

Daniels follows Foreman to his corner and as with Jerry Judge, Foreman begins exchanging punches with Daniels, eventually knocking him to his knees with an uppercut as the corners for both men begin pushing and shoving each other.

By this time, Cosell is in full "above it all" mode using every synonym that one can think of for farce with Ali publicizing an appearance later that night as he continues to belittle Foreman.

The fourth fighter to take his chances is veteran trialhorse Charlie Polite, who would finish his career with twenty MORE losses than wins, and would fight on for a few years after this with his most notable fight coming against a young Gerry Cooney, who would stop Polite in four rounds.

However, Polite had fought a young George Foreman five years before in Foreman's hometown of Houston and lasted into the early part of the fourth round before being stopped, so Polite had some first-hand knowledge of Big George.

Polite's knowledge of Foreman came in handy as he was the first opponent to last the three rounds as Polite used various survival tactics with laying on the ropes (as Ali constantly instructed), tying Foreman up in close, and using movement to hear the final bell and although Foreman did knock Polite down in the final round, Polite wasn't in serious danger of being knocked out.

These fights weren't being scored as they were technically exhibitions, so Foreman wasn't declared the winner but the crowd continued to boo and jeer Foreman, who continued to joust with Ali after the fight but at least Foreman didn't punch Polite after the fight ended so progress with this fiasco had been made.

The final fight of the evening was thought to be quasi-interesting as former fringe contender Boone Kirkman was scheduled to be in the cleanup spot for the evening.

Kirkman had been undefeated in November 1970 before a battle of unbeaten heavyweights against George Foreman at Madison Square Garden saw Foreman knock Kirkman down three times in less than two rounds in what was Foreman's biggest career win to that date and perhaps his most notable win before his title victory over Joe Frazier, although an argument could be made that his win over Gregorio Peralta might deserve that honor.

Kirkman was being considered for a possible rematch with Foreman after a 1973 win over former WBA champion Jimmy Ellis before being upset by Al "Blue" Lewis in a tuneup fight in 1974.

Kirkman lost his next two fights by late-round TKO to contenders Ken Norton ( seven rounds) and Ron Lyle (eight rounds) so he was facing Foreman on a three-fight losing streak.

Foreman knocked Kirkman down in the first round and cut him over his left eye but as Charlie Polite did, Kirkman made it through the three rounds.

Ali missed the end of the evening as he had to make his plane to his event and missed a tired Foreman complain about the tactics of the five attempted to emulate Ali's winning strategy in Zaire.

Boxing is dealing with the various circuses with the Paul brothers, legends fighting in their 40s and 50s in glorified sparring sessions, and other athletes trying to be fighters, so its effects on the game can be mixed but don't believe that boxing has always been above the fray of the carnival circuit- events such as this and Muhammad Ali vs Antonio Inoki ( held a year after this) prove that not to be the case.

As for George Foreman, Foreman's Toronto tryst was his only ring appearance in 1975 but he would rebound with two huge wins over top contenders Ron Lyle ( in the 1976 Fight of the Year) and Joe Frazier (winning their rematch) and two other wins over fringe contenders Scott LeDoux and Dino Denis before a shocking upset loss in 1977 to Jimmy Young.

The Young loss would send Foreman into a ten-year retirement until 1987 when Foreman emerged to begin the trail back to the heavyweight championship but the real road to redemption began with a frustrated Foreman attempting to flex his muscles against five overmatched heavyweights as he vainly tried to regain his mojo for a rematch that never arrived.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Browns notch first win over Texans 31-21

    The Cleveland Browns pulled away in the second half to win their home opener over the Houston Texans 31-21.

Baker Mayfield completed 19 of 21 passes with a touchdown, Nick Chubb scored a touchdown with 95 yards rushing, and rookie Demetric Felton caught Mayfield's touchdown pass to lead the team with 51 yards receiving.

The Browns improved to 1-1 with the victory and will host the 1-1  Chicago Bears next Sunday.

Brownie Bits

1) The Browns didn't look completely smooth in their win but there were a few very bright spots in the win.

The main thing is the win over a team that you expect to defeat.

2) Baker Mayfield left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury that immediately made you wonder how seriously he was injured,

Mayfield gutted his way through the game and give him full credit for toughness as well as his leadership.

3) Mayfield injured the shoulder on a tackle on his only interception but the interception wasn't on Mayfield in my opinion.

Anthony Schwartz cut off his route and enabled Houston's Justin Reid to snare the pass.

4) Baker Mayfield's accuracy was excellent with 19 of 21 passes and Kevin Stefanski helped a bit in that area after the shoulder injury by leaning on the running game and passes that got the ball out quickly to avoid Mayfield taking hits that could be avoided.

5) As for that running game. Nick Chubb's 95 yards came on only eleven carries and his late touchdown put the game in the Cleveland win column.

6) Chubb's 26-yard score almost seemed like he was on the field by himself running down the field.

The offensive line blew off the ball and the play was extremely well blocked.

7) The biggest loss was wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who left the game on the Browns first possession and did not return to what has been reported as a sprained MCL.

Landry is listed as week to week and even if Odell Beckham is able to return to the field against the Bears, I look for the Browns to use the tight ends even more in Landry's absence- especially Harrison Bryant.

Just a hunch.

8) Sixth-round draft pick Demetric Felton was thought to be a possible steal when he was selected as one of those "Swiss Army Knife" weapons as a running back and receiver.

Felton beat out special teams ace Khadarel Hodge, who was well-liked by the coaching staff, for a roster spot and he showed against Houston just what he can add to an offense when he grabbed a screen pass from Baker Mayfield and turned it into a 33-yard touchdown pass when he avoided being tackled three times.

Felton reminds me a bit of Darren Sproles, who filled a similar role for a few different teams in the league for over a decade.

If Felton can approach that standard, the Browns are going to be quite happy.

9) My favorite draft pick of the Browns 2020 draft was safety Grant Delpit in the second round but a torn Achilles tendon in training camp kept Delpit from making his debut until the game against the Texans.
Delpit proved to be worth the wait as the safety finished with five tackles, a late sack that caused a fumble, and almost added an interception.

Delpit is going to make a larger and larger impact as this season moves on.

10) The downside was that Delput's sack/fumble was the only one of the day for the Browns pass rush.

Hopefully against a rookie in Justin Fields, the Browns can step that up this Sunday against the Bears.

Ohio State knocks off Tulsa 41-20

    The Ohio State Buckeye was expected to take out their anger from their loss to Oregon on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in Columbus.

Instead, the problems with the Buckeyes became more visible as Tulsa hung close until the fourth quarter when Ohio State finally busted open the game for the 41-20 victory.

TreVeyon Henderson rushed for an Ohio State freshman record 277 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Ohio State offense.

Ohio State improves to 2-1 on the season (1-0 Big Ten) and will host Akron next week at the Horseshoe.

Olentangy Offerings

1) TreVeyon Henderson's 277 rushing yards set the record for an Ohio State freshman breaking the record set by Archie Griffin against North Carolina in 1972.

Henderson was the offensive bright spot of the game for Ohio State and it's a good thing because at times they didn't have much else going for them.

2) Tim Brando and Spencer Tillman commentated the game for FS1 and I loved Brando's comparison of Henderson to that of Duane Thomas.

When you watch Henderson run, there is a certain amount of glide for Henderson and an ability to change gears that are seldom seen.

I wrote about Duane Thomas in 2016 as part of the Forgotten Superstars series.

3) C.J. Stroud threw for 185 yards with one touchdown and one interception and it seemed like Ryan Day was very protective of Stroud with his playcalling.

After the game, Stroud commented on a "sore arm", which I have to say is concerning from a freshman quarterback that did throw a lot against Oregon but has played in only three games.

4) I was surprised with how many people were just killing C.J. Stroud during the game.

The Buckeye nation has been awfully hard on the redshirt freshman and although he does seem to need some mechanical work on his throws as many of his passes are far too high.

Stroud's a young quarterback that isn't really a running threat, it will take time.

5) Considering all of that, I do wish that we would have seen Kyle McCord at least a little during these three games.

I understand the Oregon loss and the wins over Minnesota and Tulsa were not of the type that is usually expected against the competition of that ilk but McCord should be getting a few snaps in the event of an injury to Stroud.

6) Kerry Coombs was exiled to the press box with Matt Barnes moving to the sidelines.

I saw some improvement in a few areas but Tulsa often seemed to have receivers wide open that immediately made me think of blown coverages or players running to the ball rather than staying at home and taking care of their assignment.

7) Chris Olave was held without a catch for the first time since 2018 and only Garrett Wilson finished with more than 33 yards receiving.

8) I did really like the play of the freshmen corners in Denzel Burke and Cameron Martinez.

The two corners are already the standouts in the secondary and Martinez grabbed an interception for a Pick Six in the waning moments of the game.

By the end of the year, Burke and Martinez could be the stars of a defense in desperate need of them.

9) Tulsa QB Davos Brim finished with 428 yards passing and two scores, so this defensive problem isn't going to be solved overnight.

I did see a few signs of progress but I cannot say that I have no concerns.

Penn State looked very good in defeating Auburn, both Michigan and Michigan State have performed better than expected thus far and Ohio State may be fortunate to not play Iowa or Wisconsin in the regular season.

Unless significant progress is made, this could be (and emphasis on could) a 9-3 or dare I say it 8-4 season, which should be a one-season aberration.

10) Normally, I would brush aside Rutgers and Maryland (the two games following Akron) but Greg Schiano seems to have improved Rutgers to be at least decent and Maryland could have the receiving corps to give the Buckeyes issues.

This is one of those seasons that other than Akron, I won't be taking any team for granted.

Friday, September 17, 2021


    Another weekend of football as Taylor spikes home another big slate of games in the PPM!

Last Week: 9-6 
Overall: 19-9

Ohio State over Tulsa 48-28
Texas Tech over Florida International 43-30
Boise State over Oklahoma State 38-36
Houston over Grambling 45-17
Texas San-Antonio over Middle Tennessee State 31-23
Bowling Green over Murray State 30-29
Arkansas State over Washington 24-21
N.C. State over Furman 28-16
LSU over Central Michigan 50-17
Arkansas over Georgia Southern 45-20

Games of the Week
Auburn over Penn State 28-24
Alabama over Florida 38-21

Browns over Texas 38-21
Saints over Panthers 31-24

Game of the Week
Chiefs over Ravens 36-30

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Upset- Ohio State drowned by Oregon 35-28

    The Oregon Ducks stomped into Columbus bullied the Ohio State Buckeyes at the line of scrimmage and made the defensive stand every time that the game was on the line as Oregon surprised the third-ranked Buckeyes 35-28 at Ohio Stadium.

Ohio State never led and only was tied once (at 7-7) but never tossed in the towel and had two fourth-quarter chances to tie the game at 35 but were unable to do so.

C.J.Stroud threw for 484 yards and three touchdowns but his one interception ended the final scoring threat.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba caught two scoring passes with Garrett Wilson grabbing the other score with both players and Chris Olave all finishing with over one hundred receiving yards.

Ohio State falls to 1-1 (1-0 Big Ten) and will hope to get better with softer touches on the next two Saturdays at home against Tulsa and Akron.

Olentangy Offerings

1) The two people that Buckeye fans and media are talking about questioning their status are quarterback C.J. Stroud and defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs.

One of them deserves to be questioned, the other I am not so sure...

2) I don't understand the shouts to replace C.J.Stroud.

Stroud is playing his second game and none of the backups have more experience than Stroud and in the case of touted Quinn Ewers, have barely spent any time on campus let alone run the offense.

I get it, despite the almost 500 yards passing, Stroud did have his freshman moments and that's completely expected.

Why anyone would think that Stroud wouldn't have rough spots is poor thinking, especially considering the situation with covid but especially after not getting any playing time last season.

Are there things to be corrected for Stroud? Absolutely and his interception that ended Ohio State's last chance wasn't a good one, but good quarterbacks learn and improve as they develop.

C.J.Stroud isn't a worry of mine at this time.

3) The other concern that is receiving the most brickbats from Ohio State followers?

Defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs and on this one, I can understand their concerns.

Coombs has proven to be an excellent recruiter and top-notch secondary coach but could be over his head as a defensive coordinator.

When a coordinator has had success with a system, it can be difficult to move away from it but in college football, the game can evolve very quickly and what was once solid can become stale very quickly.

Ohio State never moved away from their base defense and struggled to make adjustments to what Oregon was running on offense and even though the players didn't make enough plays, it is the job of Coombs to help them succeed.

To this date, he has not.

4) One couldn't complain about the performances of the wideouts with Jaxon Smith-Njigba as the breakout star.

Smith-Njigba has been the talk of the summer camp and his performance against Oregon shows that talk was correct.

5) Oregon dominated the line of scrimmage in a similar manner as Minnesota had the previous week but the Ducks did this without the need to use extra offensive linemen.

Now, the next two opponents could line up the Great Wall of China and not run the football but now that someone can do that of decent talent, I'm thinking that this could be a problem.

6) Ohio State received even more bad news when safety Josh Proctor suffered a leg injury in the game that will keep him out for the remainder of the 2021 season.

Proctor was arguably the Buckeyes' best player in the secondary and his loss makes a questionable back seven even worse.

7) Oregon kept Ohio State off-balance with their play calling and much of that may have been due to offensive coordinator Joe Morehead.

Morehead was the offensive coordinator at Penn State in the few years that the OSU-PSU games were close recently and it was the Buckeye defensive scheme (basically) that was used then and now.

Morehead's familiarity against the OSU defense was a key factor in this upset win for Oregon.

8) The noted three receivers above one hundred yards in a game was the first time that he occurred in Ohio State History.

9) This loss could very well be the start of adjustments that needed to be made in the program and a needed jolt to shake things up a bit.

There are parallels to the loss to Virginia Tech in 2014 with a freshman quarterback, unproven defense, etc.


10) There may more parallels to 2018 when the Buckeyes used more of a pocket passer (Dwayne Haskins), scored points by the bundle, used a lousy defense to allow points by the bundle, played a lot of fun games to watch, and wasn't really a national title contender.

If I had to say right now, this feels like more 2018 than 2014, unless the heralded class of freshmen could somehow force their way into the defensive lineup and play up to expectations.

Sorry that this is up so late but I ran out of time and yet still wanted to get this posted for posterity.

Browns lose opener to Chiefs 33-29

   The Cleveland Browns needed to play nearly a perfect game to defeat the defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs and they did- for close to three full quarters.

And with ten minutes to go, the Browns appeared to be on the precipice of a next-level victory that would announce  Cleveland's joining the elite of the AFC, only to self-destruct and drop the decision to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium 33-29.

Baker Mayfield threw for 321 yards with the game-ending interception while Nick Chubb rushed for 83 yards with two touchdowns on the ground to lead Cleveland.

The Browns start their season 0-1 and will host Houston in their home opener next Sunday.

Brownie Bits

1) This one hurts because this game was there to be won, not because I expected the Browns to win.

Remember this is the two-time defending AFC champions playing in their home, arguably the most difficult stadium to visit in pro football and what I was hoping for was for the Browns to give another good performance to build on.

That was more than given but to come so close and give the game away? That always makes the loss harder to take.

2) The Browns seemingly had control of the game until two fourth-quarter plays that made the difference in the game and they were the type of breakdowns that the Browns have made for years.

There has been plenty of progress made under Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski but those two plays are the type of things that plagued the losing days in Cleveland.

3) Jamie Gillan's dropped punt that led to the Chiefs' score that gave them the lead, looked to me that he was a bit panicked.

What I mean by that was that I thought he still had time to get the punt off as the Chiefs were only pressuring him with a nominal rush being applied by Kansas City.

4) The Browns also continued their late collapse on the seventy-five yard touchdown that Tyreek Hill caught over off-season signee John Johnson.

Johnson had no help on the coverage against and it's hard to blame him too much for not being able to cover Hill but that play was painful to watch as the Browns should never have put Johnson in a position to have to make that play in coverage against a player like Hill,

5) As for Tyreek Hill, Hill continues to be a Brown's thorn as Hill finished the game with 11 catches (out of 15 attempts sent his way) for 197 yards and a touchdown.

Tyreek Hill kills lots of teams but the Cleveland Browns are going to have to find someone capable of at least slowing him down if these teams play in the playoffs or next season because he is clearly a man among boys when these two teams play.

6) The loss of Ronnie Harrison after a scuffle with Chiefs coach Greg Lewis on the sidelines.

Lewis did initiate contact with Harrison and Harrison did go back at Lewis but neither hurt the other and an argument could be made for the incident being the fault of Lewis but the Browns lost a starting safety and the Chiefs didn't even lose a coach on the sidelines- Far from an even trade.

7) The Browns showed signs of the beginnings of trying to develop their own weapon like Tyreek Hill in speedy third-round pick Anthony Schwartz.

Schwartz finished with three catches, including a 44-yard pass that could have been a score had the ball been able to be caught in stride by Schwartz.

It's a process but Schwartz may develop into a dangerous weapon for the Browns.

8) I foresaw problems as soon as I saw tackle Jedrick Wills on a cart  (Wills is day to day currently from an injured ankle) and saw that the replacement was going to be Chris Hubbard.

Hubbard was decent enough last season as a rotational guard but he was awful as a tackle in 2018 and 2019 and having to block the best pass rusher for the Chiefs in Chris Jones was an immediate worry.

Jones whipped Hubbard consistently during the second half and sacked Baker Mayfield twice.

9) I really liked Kevin Stefanski's going for the two-point conversion after the Browns first possession touchdown after a Kansas City penalty moved the ball from the two to the one for the attempt.

Kareem Hunt leaped over the pile for the two-pointer, but the aggressiveness in attempting to set the tone of the game should be applauded even if the attempt had failed.

10 ) And then there was Baker Mayfield. who put up nice numbers until his interception on the final drive.

Mayfield's ankle was grabbed at the last minute by another ghost from the Browns past, safety Daniel Sorensen and it did cause the pass to flutter to Chiefs cornerback Mike Hughes.

However, Mayfield once again failed to show the ability to bring his team from behind in the waning moments.

Jason Lloyd of The Athletic reports that Mayfield has had twelve chances to win games in the final four minutes when the Browns were trailing by a touchdown or less and has a record of 3-9 with none of the three wins against playoff teams.

Lloyd's point about Mayfield and his contract extension at the end of the season connecting the extension to winning games.

"You want 38 million a year? Go win this game".

11) There are two differences between these teams- Cleveland doesn't have a threat that can go 80 yards with every touch of the ball like Tyreek Hill and they don't have a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes.

The Browns are working on the Hill-alike with Anthony Schwartz and perhaps Odell Beckham depending on his return from his knee injury.

Baker Mayfield is good, not great and I'm not sure if Mayfield can ever bridge that gap between himself and the elite level where Mahomes resides.

The road to the Super Bowl moves through Kansas City and I'm not sure if it comes down to Baker Mayfield vs Patrick Mahomes to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs that the Browns can win that matchup.

12) It will be a long 17 game season and the Browns will have opportunities to be great.

Let's not allow a road loss to the bully of the conference in the opener to allow worries to spiral out of control.

Sunday, September 12, 2021


 Editors Note:This was completed earlier this week and not posted .
In order to keep the standings complete, I am posting now.
As you can see, I was loyal to the original post!.

I'm not feeling especially well right now (not because of the Ohio State loss) so my review of the Ohio State loss may be delayed until Monday.

   The PPM is back with its first full weekend of football with the start of the NFL season on Thursday night...

Last Week; 8-3 
Overall: 10-3

Ohio State over Oregon 42-24
Boise State over UTEP 45-17
Texas Tech over Stephen F.Austin 40-24
Virginia Tech over Middle Tennessee State 29-21
Georgia Southern over Florida Atlantic 30-27
South Alabama over Bowling Green 29-21
Houston over Rice 33-21
N.C. State over Mississippi State 38-36
Michigan over Washington 24-14
LSU over McNeese State 45-17

Games of the Week
Iowa over Iowa State 30-26
Utah over BYU 27-24

Chiefs over Browns 34-28
Packers over Saints 31-21

Game of the Week
Bills over Steelers 27-20

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Boxing Challenge: Valdez slips by Conceicao

    Oscar Valdez had a difficult time leading up to his fight with amateur rival Robson Conceicao dealing with a failed test for PED but he nearly had a more difficult time inside the ring with the former Olympic gold medalist before controlling the second half of the match to win a unanimous decision and retain his WBC junior lightweight title.

Conceicao built an early lead on the scorecards but gradually reduced his punch output as Valdez began to step the pace to close the gap in the fight.

Conceicao may only have himself to blame after the final few rounds were spent in mobile mode and a dubious point deduction by referee Tony Zaino for a rabbit punch that was clearly more of a tap in the middle of a Valdez clutch took away any chance of a victory.

The point didn't matter on the official cards with Valdez winning 115-112 on two cards (7-5 and the point lost) and a ridiculous 117-110 ( 9-3 and the point deduction) but it did on mine as Valdez won 114-113 on my scorecard.

Many are wondering about the failed test and the regression from Valdez's best career win in his last fight against Miguel Berchelt.

I don't think either is the case completely, although the hysteria over the failed test surely didn't help Valdez any, as the problem seemed to be a talented foe that is familiar with Valdez had a style that wasn't quite as easy to look impressive against as the straight forward Berchelt.

All things considered, this wasn't an overly impressive outing for Oscar Valdez but he escaped with the title on an evening that it could have been easy to lose.

The co-feature saw a stunner as heavily hyped lightweight prospect Gabriel Flores was dominated in losing a unanimous decision to Luis Alberto Lopez.

Not only was Flores beaten by Lopez, he took a beating and I wouldn't have uttered a peep in complaint had the fight been stopped at any time in the final three rounds with Flores's father attempting to stop the fight with seconds remaining but was unable to get the attention of the referee to end things early.

Flores took a beating that some prospects never recover from and it will be interesting to see how it affects Flores in the future.

At the bare minimum, Flores is going to have to be carefully matched over the next year in order to rebuild his confidence. and the awkward Lopez will likely receive some extra opportunities after a surprising performance.

The opener saw an action-packed three-round plus before Junto Nakatani kept his WBO flyweight title when the doctor stopped the fight due to a broken and badly bleeding nose from challenge Angel Acosta.

Nakatani appeared to have broken Acosta's nose in the first round and despite the best efforts of Acosta to battle through the pain, Nakatani controlled the fight.

In the boxing challenge, I outscored Ramon Malpica 3-2 and moved my lead to 125-110.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Boxing Challenge

    The boxing weekend is dominated by Top Rank's Friday night card from Tucson Arizona on ESPN+ with a main event that has become more important from out of the ring than what might be expected in the ring.

Oscar Valdez after his career-defining knockout of Miguel Berchelt was scheduled to make the first defense of the WBC junior lightweight title that he won from Berchelt against Robson Conceicao.

Conceicao had won a gold medal in the 2016 Olympics and had defeated Valdez in the finals of the Pan American games to give Conceicao the gold and leaving Valdez with a disappointing silver but despite a 16-0 record as a pro, Conceicao had yet to face a world-class fighter and without the amateur resume, this would be considered a squash match.

The fight was considered a disappointment when announced, as after Valdez's smashing victory over Berchelt, most fans were hoping for a Valdez showdown with either WBO champion Jamel Herring or talented former WBO featherweight beltholder Shakur Stevenson but when the WBO ordered Herring-Stevenson next, Valdez didn't have any exciting options that would be easy to make.

But the story took a turn as Valdez tested positive for a trace amount of Phentermine and with that drug on the list of prohibited drugs for VADA  (Voluntary Anti Doping Agency), Valdez could have been stripped of the title.

However, VADA only tests and reports results, it is not an organization with the power to make decisions and the Valdez camp appealed that Phentermine is not an "In competition drug, which would be a failed test only if the drug was found in testing from 11:59 pm on the night before the fight and the day of the fight".

With many opinions on each side stating that either Valdez should be stripped of the title or that the amount of a drug that is not performance-enhancing used weeks before the fight shouldn't be a major deal, the WBC decided to allow Valdez to keep the title with some sanctions on any positive future tests for Valdez.

Here's my take- Full disclosure- I've taken Phentermine.

It's not a competitive advantage in my opinion, but it is used as a weight-loss drug and that is likely why (if it was deliberate) Valdez may have been using it- to help him make weight.

That would make a lot of sense since Valdez is coming off the biggest win of his career and he wouldn't be the first boxer to celebrate that win too long and have problems making weight in his next affair.

The problem here is that the people doing the tests and the administrators that make the decisions on suspensions aren't the same people.

Boxing needs to make decisions on what is an actual violation when it could be considered one, and how long should a suspension be for a violation- AND make it a policy that applies across the board in every state.

Of course, there are many problems in boxing that could be solved with policies that apply to all but it wouldn't be boxing if it was simple.

The co-feature pits lightweight prospect Gabriel Flores against veteran Luis Lopez.

Flores defeated former world title challenger Jayson Velez in his last outing and the veteran Lopez appears to be prepared to be another veteran trialhorse for Flores to get past.

The other challenge fight might be the best fight on the card as WBO flyweight champion Junto Nakatani defends his title for the first time against former WBO junior flyweight champion Angel Acosta.

Nakatani is an exciting fighter that punches well and makes entertaining fights while Acosta was once thought of as a future star in the sport as he made three title defenses and was on his way to a fourth before being stopped in the last round by Elwin Soto in June 2019 in a fight that he was ahead on all three scorecards.

This one could be a shootout that could come down to the better beard.

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 122-108.

WBC Junior Lightweight Title. 12 Rds 
Oscar Valdez vs Robson Conceicao
R.L: Valdez KO 8
TRS: Valdez KO 10

Lightweights 10 Rds
Gabriel Flores vs Luis Lopez
Both: Flores Unanimous Decision

WBO Flyweight Title 12 Rds
Junto Nakatani vs Angel Acosta
R.L: Nakatani Unanimous Decision
TRS: Nakatani KO 9

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Cleaning out the Inbox: Passings

     We continue to whittle down the number of tributes in the inbox as the passing never stop in our world.

Goodbye to Rod Gilbert at the age of 80.

Ryan sent word of the passing of the man known as "Mr.Ranger", who remains the Rangers' all-time leader in goals and points over forty years after his retirement.

Gilbert's 400 goals and over 1,000 points are going to be very difficult records to break with the modern era of free agency and players not spending their careers with one team.

Gilbert was elected to the hockey hall of fame in 1982 and was the first player in Rangers history to have his number retired.

Goodbye to Ed Asner at the age of 91.

The long-time actor is best known for his role as "Lou Grant", a role that he played in two series with different styles.

Asner played Grant for laughs on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and then after that series decided to end its run, Asner took Grant in a dramatic direction in a show named after his character.

Asner holds the male record for most Emmy Awards ever won with five of them for Lou Grant, winning awards with the character in both shows.

Asner has also done extensive voice work over the years in several animated programs with my favorite being as the grizzled newspaper editor "J.Jonah Jameson" in the SpiderMan series in the nineties.   

In recent years, Asner had been cast in guest supporting roles in Netflix's "Dead to Me" (I have read great things about this show although I have never seen it) and of course in "Cobra Kai" as Johnny Lawrence's stepfather.

The passing of Ed Asner shortly after the passing of Gavin McLeod leaves only Betty White and John Amos as living members of the MTM show that were regular cast members at one time during the series run.

Goodbye to Keith McCants at the age of 53.

McCants was thought to be the top overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft but between rumors of being paid by an agent while playing for Alabama, a drop in production in 1989 after an excellent 1988, and signs of knee problems, McCants fell to fourth to Tampa Bay with the Buccaneers selecting the linebacker over future Hall of Famer Junior Seau.

McCants was moved to defensive end after his rookie season and never became more than a rotational player in stops at New England, Houston, and Arizona after Tampa Bay released him after the 1993 season.

Goodbye to Sam Cunningham at the age of 71.

Cunningham, the older brother of Randall Cunningham, spent ten seasons with the New England Patriots and rushed for over 1,000 yards in 1977.

Cunningham was a standout at USC and is the player that is often given credit for Alabama ending their recruiting of white players only when in his first game as a Trojan against Bama, Cunningham ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns and convinced Alabama fans that integrating their football program was needed quickly.

Cunningham, known as "Bam", scored four touchdowns in his final game as a Trojan in the 1973 Rose Bowl in USC's win over Ohio State before being selected by New England in the first round of the 1973 draft.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Boxing Challenge: Warrington-Lara clash early

     The rematch between featherweights Josh Warrington and Mauricio Lara ended just as the fight was beginning to heat up as the duo cracked their heads against the other in the second round with Lara emerging with a huge gash over his left eye.

When the ringside physician checked Lara's eye in the corner between rounds, the fight was stopped and ruled a no contest.

It was a disappointing ending as Warrington had fought very well in winning round one but Lara had managed to fight far better in the second and the fight seemed to be setting up to be a pretty good one.

Lara's cut is pretty severe and I'd be surprised to see him back in the ring by the end of the year and Eddie Hearn stated that he would like to keep Warrington active with a fight in December before bringing these two back for the third fight in February or March.

The co-feature saw undefeated welterweight Conor Benn dominate a surprisingly meek Adrian Granados in winning an easy unanimous decision over ten rounds.

Granados has been known for his toughness and eagerness to engage in losses to Adrien Broner and Shawn Porter among others but in this loss to Benn Granados looked more like Gullermo Rigondeaux than Rocky Balboa.

After a safety first effort like this, the attributes that that promoters and television liked from Granados may not be around anymore and he may see his offers for fights reduced.

As for Benn, he won every round on my card (and one judge) and he tried to make a more exciting fight in what was the best opponent of his to date.

Still, I still wonder how he will hold up against a strong opponent that fires back.

In the boxing challenge, Ramon Malpica and I each scored two points for Conor Benn's win to move the season total to 122-108. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Boxing Challenge

    The boxing challenge this week will have two Matchroom/DAZN fights and a fight that has already taken place but I didn't have time to post the picks before the fight had taken place.

On Thursday afternoon (EST time) from Japan, Kazuto Ioka defeated Francisco Rodrguez via a unanimous decision to retain his WBO junior bantamweight championship

Rodriguez was the mandatory contender for Ioka and formerly held the minimumweight championship and gave Ioka all that he wanted in a fight that all three judges scored 116-112 for the champion.

I saw it a little closer for Ioka at 115-113, who made his third successful title defense and his second mandatory in a row against a champion moving up in weight (his last defense was against Kosei Tanaka).

I gave Rodriguez three of the first four rounds and it appeared that Rodriguez was on his way to an upset, but Ioka took over thereafter, and although Rodriguez was competitive Ioka was the clear winner.

Ioka would be a good fit against other fighters at the top of the division, but with the WBA and WBC titles tied up with the Juan Francisco Estrada-Roman Gonzalez third fight and the winner mandated to face the winner of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai-Carlos Cuadras match, Ioka's best option could be a unification with the remaining champion in IBF boss Jerwin Ancajas, who lacks other options as well.

As for Rodriguez, he fought very well and I wouldn't be surprised to see him in another title fight in the future.

Ramon Malpica and I each scored two points for the Ioka victory to change the total to 120-106

The two fights for the boxing challenge are both from Matchroom/DAZN with a main event that is a rematch of a candidate for upset of the year for 2021.

Josh Warrington had vacated his IBF featherweight title rather than face Kid Galahad in a rematch that few wanted to see in hopes of meeting then-WBA minor champion Xu Can (Can would be upset in his next fight by Leigh Wood) but took his scheduled title defense against unheralded Mauricio Lara as a stay-busy bout and went ahead without a title to defend.

Lara knocked Warrington down in the fourth round, delivered a dreadful beating ,and then finished him off with a one punch KO in the ninth round.

Warrington exercised his right to a rematcb and it looks like he is betting his career on reversing the result but he has a problem.

Warrington needs to come forward and wear down his opponent down but to do that against Lara means that Warrington is going to go towards the superior puncher.

This seems like an awful matchup in styles for Warrington and unless Warrington can literally force Lara to fight off his back foot and not allow him to use his power, this looks to be a very difficult fight again for Warrington.

The co-feature is a postponed fight from a month ago with Conor Benn moving towards to the top ten against division gatekeeper Adrian Granados in a welterweight pairing.

Benn, the son of former super middleweight champion Nigel Benn, defeated his best opponent in his last fight with a first round knockout of veteran Samuel Vargas.

Granados is just 1-2-1 in his last four fights but has fought many top ten opponents in his career.

It's unknown how much Granados has left at this stage of a career that has seen him take plenty of punishment but he should still be an interesting test for Benn, who hasn't really been in with an opponent that may be able to take his offense.

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 120-106

Featherweights. 12 Rds
Josh Warrington vs Mauricio Lara
R.L: Lara KO 8
TRS: Lara KO 6

Welterweights 10 Rds
Conor Benn vs Adrian Granados
Both: Benn Unanimous Decision 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Ohio State opens 2011 with Minnesota win 45-31

    Redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud threw for four touchdowns, two to Chris Olave, as Ohio State pulled away from the Minnesota Golden Gophers for a 45-31 opening week victory in Minneapolis.

Mayan Williams rushed for 125 yards on only nine carries and scored a touchdown on a seventy-one-yard run, while Chris Olavc finished with over one hundred yards receiving.

Haskell Garrett grabbed a Tanner Morgan fumble and ran 32 yards for a third-quarter score to give Ohio State a ten-point lead that they would never lose.

Ohio State moves to 1-0 overall as well as in the Big Ten and will face their sternest non-conference test next Saturday against the visiting Oregon Ducks.

Olentangy Offerings

1: C.J. Stroud struggled in the first half but was much improved in the second half when he threw all four of his touchdown passes.

Stroud looked much more confident in the pocket and the shortest of his four scoring passes was 38 yards, although the score to Treveyon Henderson was a short grab and go that Henderson turned into a score.

2: Full credit to the offensive line that gave Stroud plenty of time to throw.

The offensive line didn't allow a sack and opened holes for a running game that finished with 201 yards on only 26 rushing attempts.

3: There will things to clean up such as Dallas Gant's roughing the passer penalty that negated a Josh Proctor interception that resulted in a drive continuing with a Gopher touchdown.

4: Mayan Williams started the game off with a 71-yard touchdown gallop and finished the game with 125 yards on nine carries.

I don't have any concerns about the running game because...

5: As good as Williams was, he likely won't be the starter for a lot longer as Treveyon Henderson is the real deal.

Henderson carried the ball twice, one rush for ten yards and the other for five, but the speed and acceleration that he showed on his reception for a touchdown was unreal.

Normal humans don't move like that- Henderson is very special.

6: Give Minnesota credit for a solid game plan that took some time for the Buckeyes to adjust to.

Minnesota was lining up seven offensive linemen in an attempt to push OSU off the line and allow their best weapon in Mohamed Ibrahim to control the clock.

Ibrahim left in the second half with an injury but finished with 163 yards and two touchdowns on thirty carries.

7: The talk of the off-season was the OSU wide receiving talent and yet only five Buckeyes caught passes and two (Treveyon Henderson and Jeremy Ruckert) aren't wideouts.

I wonder if there are enough footballs to go around for all these players?

8: The deal breaker was the strip of Tanner Morgan by Zach Harrison and rumble to the end zone by Haskell Garrett.

It only increased the lead to ten but after that play, you never felt the Gophers had what it takes to pull this one out.

9: Zach Harrison is a player waiting to bust out and I think he's sitting on a huge season.

Harrison has all the athletic ability to dominate offensive lines but hasn't done so yet.

I think he'll do so this season because if he does, he'll be a first-rounder in the 2022 draft.

10) Minnesota took their best shot and did some good things against the Ohio State defense.

Next week against a more explosive offense in Oregon should be an extreme test for Ohio State.

However, you plan on scoring at least 50 points if you want to beat this team- the offense is going to be that good.

Thursday, September 2, 2021


   After an abbreviated two picks in week "zero", we move onto an early week with a strong slate of Thursday games that include a few of the teams in the PPM.

One team from each conference is part of the PPM with two games of the week for college, with one game of the week for the NFL.

Last Week: 2-0


Ohio State 36 Minnesota 21 
Boise State 30 Central Florida 28
Tennessee 35 Bowling Green 17
N.C.State 34 South Florida 10
Middle Tennessee State 30 Monmouth 17
Georgia Southern 40 Gardner Webb 17
Texas Tech 34 Houston 24
LSU 34 UCLA 21
Washington 35 Montana 16

Games of the Week
Georgia 26 Clemson 21
Iowa 28 Indiana 24

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Cleaning out the inbox

    The inbox has been bulging with so much to take care of, so hopefully, we are making strides in getting close to normal as football season nears its start.

I've written before about why team handball hasn't become bigger in the United States (2012 with the pictured Pernille Larsen dominating the game I watched) and while the topic of team handball usually comes out around Olympic time, I do enjoy watching the occasional game from Europe when the Olympic Channel carries them on occasion.

Yahoo writes of why the sport isn't bigger here, why the assumption of American dominance should the best athletes begin to play, might be not quite as accurate as we think, and how the system that makes small European countries perform very well isn't all that different than the system that creates athletes in other sports in the USA.

The Smithsonian Magazine writes of a recent NOAA expedition to the Atlantic Ocean in the north and their remote-controlled robot on the ocean floor discovered this picture of a real-life Spongebob Squarepants and his friend Patrick Star.

The occurrence was unusual because sponges in the deep sea are usually orange or white to blend in better in the environment rather than Spongebob's yellow coloring.

It was also unusual as starfish are known to eat sponges as part of their carnivore diet.

The Toronto Star writes of the long-term future of the CFL's Toronto Argonauts.

The article discussed the Argonauts' options for the future and the problems of a league often struggling to make ends meet that missed an entire season.

The CFL is big business in the prairie provinces (Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Edmonton, and Calgary) and struggling its three biggest cities (Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver) but is unusual as in the area of potential revenue sharing as it would be their smaller markets subsidizing larger ones which is the opposite of the problems in Major League Baseball.

MSN writes of a problem in lakes and ponds as people toss unwanted goldfish into those bodies of water.

Without predators, the non-mative fish are beginning to take over these areas and bulk up in sizes as big as a football!

The Goldfish certainly qualifies as an invasive species as it can eliminate native fish, mess with the quality of the water (as anyone that has ever cleaned an aquarium can tell you), live to be 25 years of age, and live in water that has frozen over!

SkyatNight Magazine brings us an article on the work being done of restoring many pictures of the Earth and Moon that were taken during the Apollo program.

It's amazing the amount of material from the Apollo program that is in the public domain, yet few seem to know about and even fewer are accessing to use or restore.

We wrap with Vice's article on the eccentric Bradley Koda, the owner/operator of Best Electronics, who appears to have the largest number of remaining parts for Atari computer/video game consoles dating back to the 80s.

These parts are pretty much what is available to fix Atari machines for their devotees so part of looking for obscure things will be dealing with the person that possesses these items and the fact that they hold all the power in the transaction.

The article deals with the Atari crash and the rare parts but also of the perils of dealing with Koda and how you can easily find yourself on his list of undesirables- a list that seems impossible to be removed from.