Sunday, August 24, 2003

Page Two power rankings



By Mike Ball
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Thumbs up

1. Barry Bonds. You can hate him - and many do - but you have to appreciate that maybe you're seeing the best ever. NL MVP? Well, the Giants go winless in five games that he left to be with his ailing father. He comes back, and hits two walk-off home runs, against Atlanta no less. And in the middle game, the Braves walked him to get to Edgardo Alfonzo, who hit a game-winner. Condolences for his father's passing Saturday.

2. U.S. gymnastics team. The battered, injury-plagued team won the World Gymnastics Championships last week, prompting legendary coach Bela Karolyi to say: "Our greatest win ever. Yes, there was more attention and attendance in Atlanta. But in our misery? Using kids who weren't even scheduled to compete? I'd call this the greatest ever." We'll take his word for it.

3. Karl Malone and Roger Clemens. Malone was playing for the U.S. Olympic qualifying team before a death in the family, and Clemens says he'd like to pitch for the United States in the Olympics.

4. Shaun Micheel. Seems the surprise winner of the PGA Championship is a huge fan of the rock group KISS. He went and hung out with the band during one of its concerts two days after bagging his title. That ought to break some stuffy golf stereotypes.

5. The U.S. Open. The final slam is going to honor the retiring Pete Sampras, as well as establish a Court of Champions. Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert will head the first class, which includes Bill Tilden, Helen Wills, Rod Laver and Billie Jean King. Plus, two weeks of play.

6. Gary Stevens. The Hall of Fame jockey is broken but unbowed after a harrowing fall at Arlington Park that left him with a collapsed lung and a fractured vertebra and will sideline him for at least a month. "I'm confident I can go out there and do the job I've done in the past," he said. Tough little dudes, those guys.

Thumbs down

1. Baylor. In the wake of the Dave Bliss scandal, the school president says his university is committed to the Big 12 Conference. That, despite the fact the athletics department turned a reported $9.1 million deficit last season. Priorities, anyone?

2. Jeff Gordon. More evidence that the new mainstream NASCAR is getting closer to all the other professional sports. A woman who alleges she had an affair with the NASCAR driver is posing for Playboy, and telling all. Her conclusion: "I'll never get involved with a married man again - or a race car driver."

3. Randy Johnson. The Big Unit was bent out of shape over comments by the Reds' Ryan Freel after he homered off the future Hall of Famer. Maybe if he could get guys like Freel out, he wouldn't have a 4.90 ERA.

4. Golf TV ratings. Despite a down-to-the-wire duel between Shaun Micheel and Chad Campbell, the ratings plummeted more than 40 percent. Seems the PGA finds itself in a Tiger predicament. No Tiger, no viewers.

5. Rick Neuheisel. The deposed Washington coach has taken a job as quarterbacks coach at Rainier Beach High School, because "coaching is coaching." Plus, he needed something to do while his lawyers prepare to sue Washington.

6. The Reds. You can argue that, because they'd already gone so far with the fire sale, they might as well have traded Scott Sullivan. Then again, it doesn't mean you have to like the dismantling.




BENGALS
Titans 23, Bengals 15
Daugherty: Bengals not there yet
Bengals-Titans stats
Bengals Q & A
Notes: Newcomers split time at end

MORE FOOTBALL HEADLINES
Jets' Pennington breaks wrist
Eagles' Staley ends holdout
OSU linemen trim down
K-State handles Golden Bears
2003 College Football Preview

U.C. BEARCATS
Linebackers heart of Bearcat defense

XAVIER
XU could be Paulus' pick

REDS
Reds 3, Astros 1
Larkin on DL once again
Reds Q&A
Notes: Team's roster holes hard to plug
Reds chatter
Down on the farm

MORE BASEBALL HEADLINES
3-time Gold Glove winner Bonds dies
NL: Giants find little joy in big victory
AL: Red Sox slip past slumping Mariners
MLB power ratings

PREP SPORTS
St. Xavier 21, Covington Catholic 16
Anderson 20, Moeller 6
Colerain 42, Boone County 6
La Salle 14, Hamilton 6
Lebanon 38, Harrison 0
Other Saturday football games
Scores, how poll teams fared
Nigerian native enjoys his first taste of American game
Groeschen: High school insider
Ernst: Kentucky insider
Other prep sports results
2003 Prep Football Preview

ENQUIRER PAGE TWO
I feel lucky tonight!
Private resort pushed into Bryant spotlight
Page Two power rankings

TENNIS
Roddick in territory Agassi knows well
5 men's favorites
5 women's favorites
Sampras 'doesn't want to unretire'

MOTOR SPORTS
Busch bumps way to win
Kenseth can't coast to Cup season title
Tagliani wins CART pole

GOLF
Clarke may be on verge of another WGC victory

BASKETBALL
U.S., minus Duncan, tops Virgin Islands

ON THE AIR
Sunday's sports on TV, radio