Sunday, September 7, 2003

Page Two power rankings



By Mike Ball
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Thumbs up

1. The Bengals. 3-13, 5-11, 3-13, 3-13, 7-9, 8-8, 7-9, 3-13, 4-12, 4-12, 6-10, 2-14. A new coach, taking control, saying all the right things. A season-opening sellout. Mike Brown, genius.

2. The Bengals. In fairness, things seem to be on the right track, and everyone knows there is nothing better than your NFL team being good. If the Bengals win at the same rate as the dreadful Reds - a 43.2 winning percentage - they'll win seven games. Do we have any takers?

3. Pennant races. The awesome five-game Cubs-Cardinals series ... the Red Sox and Yankees going to war (and Springsteen at Fenway) ... Oh, our kingdom for a return to the heated Dodgers-Reds rivalry! Shove it, Garvey.

4. Maurice Clarett. Here's hoping he challenges the NFL, so players won't have to wait until they are three years out of high school. It will be great. Kids will leave college early, maybe even skip it altogether, and be drafted by NFL teams guessing on potential, afraid to miss the next great talent. They'll be cut, won't have a degree to fall back on, and will get a job at the Quickie Mart. Just like the NBA.

5. NASCAR. Has it held on to its popularity? You bet. The Mountain Dew Southern 500 was the most watched sporting event last weekend, with better ratings than Washington-Ohio State, Yankees-Red Sox and the U.S. Open.

Thumbs down

1. The NFL. Was that season-opening celebration with Aretha Franklin and Britney Spears really necessary? Do we need Rush Limbaugh in the booth? Has it not occurred to the powers that be that as long as there are betting lines - not to mention fantasy leagues - the loop will remain king?

2. College basketball. The off-court troubles have gotten so bad that the National Association of Basketball Coaches has called a mandatory meeting of all its Division I coaches to address unethical conduct. In an unrelated matter, Florida gave coach Billy Donovan a new deal worth $1.7 million. And they wonder why coaches cheat.

3. Dennis Rodman. The former bad boy - or current bad boy - had the police called on him for what is believed to be a record 70th time, allegedly driving his boat under the influence. Impressive.

4. Edwin Moses. One of the country's greatest Olympians - he won gold in the 400-meter hurdles in 1976 and '84, and won 122 consecutive races between 1977-87 - says he'll try to qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympics. By the way, he's 48.

5. The Skins Game. The novelty apparently has worn off for the once-proud Thanksgiving tradition, which has had to invite Annika Sorenstam to replace Tiger Woods in an attempt to rekindle interest.




BENGALS GAME
Broncos 30, Bengals 10
Daugherty column: Still the same old Bengals
Offensive line takes the blame
BENGALS PREVIEW
Lewis brings a new style
Daugherty column: Time for redemption has arrived
Dillon record motivates both Bengals, Broncos
Bengals fans need to chart their way home
Who will have better debut, Lewis or Plummer?
This & that

MORE NFL HEADLINES
The NFL kicks off from the parking lot
Curnutte: Around the NFL
NFL Week One: Best bets
Curnutte's Power Rankings

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
OSU survives serious scare from Aztecs
Geiger dismisses criticism
UK, Lorenzen air it out, top Murray State
Wake Forest stuns No. 14 Wolfpack
Berlin thwarts Gators once again
Sooners hold off Tide's charge
Pickett rebounds against Hoosiers
Fighting Irish 'fortunate'
Boilermakers unable to make crucial plays
Top 25 roundup: Southern Cal fends off BYU
Scores, how Top 25 fared
Small college roundup

REDS
Sunday's Game: Cardinals 9, Reds 0
Saturday's Game: Cardinals 13, Reds 6
Notes: Shoulder problem bothers Graves
Clock starts now for trade evaluations
Reds chatter
Reds Q&A

MORE BASEBALL HEADLINES
MLB power rankings
Notes: Glavine satisfied being a Met
NL games: Giants maintain NL West lead
AL games: Boston tees off on Clemens, Yankees

PREP SPORTS
Roger Bacon weathers Holy Cross bid at upset
Saturday's other games
Football finals stay north
Numbers shouldn't dictate athletes
New focus works for St. Ursula
Prep sports results

KROGER GOLF
Neighbors Morgan, Tewell say Amen
Kroger scores, matchups

U.S. OPEN TENNIS
For Roddick fans, glass is half full
Henin-Hardenne topples Clijsters

MOTOR SPORTS
Newman survives late restarts; captures sixth win

ENQUIRER PAGE TWO HEADLINES
McNick product finds place at UC
That rainy day feelin'
Page Two power rankings

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