Cleveland Sports Insiders

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The Sunday Drive with winning, losing, dysfunction and Brantley

Michael Brantley (photo: AP)

Michael Brantley (photo: AP)

The Sunday Drive is a bit late today, as all things tend to be in this crazy week leading up to the holidays. It’s also going to be a bit short, as time is running out on the day, and I don’t want to start making this thing a Sunday or Monday Drive.

Here are some really quick thoughts about Cleveland sports, and we’ll get back to a full edition next weekend.

Let’s get driving:

What does being a Browns’ fan entail these days? It’s entirely a Catch-22. The top priority is getting an all-important high draft pick in next year’s draft. Of course, you can’t follow a football team and not root for them to win, right? In a perfect world, the only thing a football fan should be worrying about heading into the final week of the season is either how long to play the starters because the team has already clinched, or how important it is to win to actually clinch.

That’s rarely the case for the Cleveland Browns. Instead, the only thing that matters from year-to-year is how many games the Browns can lose, and because of that, how high up the draft board they can move up.

Talk about dysfunctional.
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Ohio State vs. Michigan ramblings at halftime


Marcus Hall flips the Bird

There really is nothing like Ohio State-Michigan. There are few sporting events that register to me any more prior to the match-up, but this is the one exception. My heart was screaming for a 40-point blowout, but my brain always tells me that the game is going to be a close one.

Here are some thoughts about Ohio State at the half:

  • Let’s call the past few weeks a suspension of disbelief. Ohio State’s defense has played pretty well against some decent offenses. Here’s what I can say about that at this point. Michigan’s offense has been crap this year, but they have talent. You combine that with a defense in Ohio State that isn’t elite, and enter it all into a rivalry like this, then play that game in Ann Arbor…you get what you get. The key with Ohio State at this point will be what they do at halftime to counteract the Michigan game plan, combined what Brady Hoke has in store for the second half.
  • I love Coach Fickell, but you have to wonder if it’s time for him to test his wares at Florida Atlantic. I do think he’s a great coach, and he’s an unquestioned recruiting juggernaut, but this defense, with all the talent that they have, just doesn’t step up in big moments.
  • Carlos Hyde is a top two or three back in the country. While I’m typing this, he’s lying on the ground after hopefully only having the wind knocked out of him, but he has 115 yards on 15 carries in the first half, and my bet is that by the end of this game, he’ll have 30-plus carries, a couple more touchdowns, and close to 300 yards.
  • Special players play at their own speed. Watch Braxton Miller play football. Sure, he can blow past everyone on the field, but that’s not what I’m talking about. He never looks flustered. He never looks rushed. He is always under control. That’s why Ohio State will win this game.
  • Don’t forget, Ohio State’s offense are the best players on this field, and that will showcase itself in the second half. If only they could play defense.
  • Dontre Wilson threw a punch. Here’s the thing. Did you notice that he was surrounded by Michigan players? The refs absolutely blew that by not protecting the freshman from bush league antics by the Wolverine players. I get why he threw the punch. I also get why he was ejected. That was garbage though on the refs. They allowed that to get out of hand.
  • Marcus Bush? No clue what he was thinking. He was surely trying to protect his player, and it got outta hand. Yeah, it shouldn’t have happened, but if I could have climbed through my TV screen and gotten involved in that garbage, I would have. I just hope that I would have thought it through like Hall and flipped the entire state of Michigan off. As I tweeted, hall will never…ever…pay for a beer in Columbus again. Of course, yahoo and ESPN probably just read that, and are preparing a “Free Beer” story about Ohio State.
  • I don’t like Michigan. I don’t like Brady Hoke. I don’t like a quarterback wearing #98, even if it’s in honor of a fellow player. I don’t like the Pig House. I don’t like Ann Arbor. I don’t like Maize. I don’t like Blue. I don’t like any of it. You know what I miss though? I miss the soup drinker and his shoestrings. How’s he doing this year? What was his name again?
  • Ohio State is getting roasted by screen passes and quick passes to the receivers. If they get after Gardner, and they make tackles, they’ll win by multiple scores. It will be interest
  • This is the first time I’ve seen Urban Meyer stressed since Florida. Deep breaths coach…deep breaths. Still going to Blow Out Michigan in the Big House.
  • Think about it: Ohio State couldn’t play any worse defensively, and Michigan couldn’t play any better…and the game is tied. Ohio State is going to win by 21.
  • Ohio State has been living by the big play in the first half, but watch them control the ball in the second half. They already have a five-minute advantage, and it will be 10-plus by the end of the game. Michigan’s defense will be gassed by the fourth quarter, and it’s going to be fun to watch.

See you after the half.

Here’s the fight, enjoy watching the refs allow seven Wolverines surround Wilson, courtesy of, the best in the business (from their Youtube channel):

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I Hate Michigan

I’m supposed to worry about the Michigan Wolverines this week.

I’m supposed to ignore the fact that Ohio State hasn’t lost a game since Coach Urban Meyer took the reigns of two years ago yesterday, and I’m supposed to understand that rivalry games are much more than the obvious.

I’m supposed to fear playing in the Big House, in front of a whole bunch of screaming and whelping Maize and Blue fans, who will be screaming profanities that little kids should never hear.

I’m supposed to be wary.

I’m supposed to be worried about Jinxing things.

But I’m not.

This is Urban Meyer’s team, and they are going to be ready to play.l

Perhaps I’m throwing caution to the wind, or perhaps I just have a brain, but I firmly believe…no…I KNOW…that THE Ohio State Buckeyes are going to roll over Michigan.

A good friend of mine, who just happens to be a Michigan fan told me two years ago that I was going to regret the Meyer signing.

He wasn’t going to be able to commit, the way he did in Florida.

He wasn’t going to stay healthy.

He was going to get outrecruited by the Wolverines

He was going to be half the coach that Brady Hoke would be.

Well, that last comment turned out to be true, but for different reasons.

Urban has gone 23-0 since joining the Bucks. Brady Hoke is 15-9 over that same stretch.

Michigan has had great recruiting classes, but Meyer has beat him out every year.

Ohio State is thriving, with a healthy Meyer, while Michigan is struggling, and Hoke is in trouble.

It’s good to be an Ohio State fan.

Let the beating commence.