Sunday, October 12, 2003

Power rankings



By Mike Ball
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Thumbs up

1. The remote control. An important tool on one of the fall's finest sports weekend's. From prep football to college football, the NFL, auto racing, golf, NHL, the NBA preseason, the Women's World Cup. That first wave of leaves has to wait.

2. Peter Warrick and Chad Johnson. The Bengals wide receivers were fined for their "photo shoot" celebration after a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills last week. Shouldn't the NFL have cut them a little slack given how little there has been to celebrate?

3. The baseball playoffs. Reports of the sport's demise apparently have been greatly exaggerated. Great games, historic venues (minus Florida), great TV ratings and, of course, having the Cubs and Red Sox alive doesn't hurt. (The Marlins averaged 16,390 fans a game - 28th worst in baseball - but sold more than 65,000 tickets for all three NLCS games.)

4. NASCAR. The top racing loop continues to see increased ratings, despite going up against college and pro football. One problem: Why does it seem as if the phrases "gas mileage" or "gamble on fuel" appear following every race? It's good for the economy, but racing?

5. Pete Weber. The star of the Professional Bowlers Association is going to tone down his act this season. He no longer will perform his "crotch chop" he used to taunt opponents. It's about time someone got that renegade league under control.

Thumbs down

1. The Kobe Bryant trial. Yikes, this is gonna make the O.J. Simpson trial appear tame.

2. Jan Stephenson. The LPGA veteran said in a magazine interview that Asian players have "taken (the tour) over. Their lack of emotion, their refusal to speak English when they can speak English. They rarely speak." Idiotic. More alarming? She is playing a Champions Tour event this week as a "publicity stunt" to promote senior women's golf.

3. Chris Hanson. The Jaguars' dopey punter should be a first-ballot inductee into the Stupid Injury Hall of Fame. He could be out for the season after injuring himself taking an ax to the tree stump coach Jack Del Rio put in the locker room to promote his "Keep chopping wood" mantra. Hanson previously had been seriously burned in a fondue accident. Seriously.

4. Good 'ol high school athletics. Three Virginia high school girls basketball coaches have sued the father of one of their players for defamation of character.

The father had threatened a suit if the coaches weren't removed because of complaints ranging from on-court strategy to illegal practices. Yeeessh.

5. Bowl Championship Series bashers. It's that time of year - whispers that the BCS won't work out fairly. Look how many games mattered Saturday. That's why it works.




BASEBALL PLAYOFFS
ALCS Game 3: New York 4, Boston 3
NLCS Game 4: Cubs 8, Marlins 3
Popeye takes on Pedro
Cubs, Marlins break NLCS homer record
Playoff notebook

BENGALS / NFL
Palmer's time remains a mystery
Frerotte's on fire, still heads to bench
Curnutte's NFL power rankings

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
UAB 31, UC 14
No. 23 Wisconsin 17, No. 3 Ohio St. 10
Buckeyes fans watch winning streak end
Miami 59, Buffalo 3
QB is making mark in MAC
No. 1 Oklahoma 65, No. 11 Texas 13
No. 2 Miami 22, No. 5 Florida St. 14
Notre Dame 20, No. 15 Pittsburgh 14
Northwestern 37, Indiana 31 (OT)
Roundup of other Top 25 games
Scores, how Top 25 fared
Small colleges: Mt. St. Joe thumps Manchester 28-6
Quarterback corner
ACC expansion: Boston College targeted again
Clarett's attorney: Court should protect tailback

SPORTS IN THE TRISTATE
Daugherty: As good as it gets
The readers speak
Powerful Denison's deep with Cincinnati players
Enquirer Page Two power rankings

PREP SPORTS
Athletes at the mercy of injuries
Pupils await Shields' next move
Covington Catholic 34, South Oldham 12
2nd-round 64 sends Hillsboro's Balser to Div. II title
NewCath captures district championship
Ursuline's Rentschler repeats as champ
Saturday's results

BASKETBALL
Former locals ready to start NBA careers
New looks await as practices open

HOCKEY
Blue Jackets surprise woeful Rangers 5-0

SOCCER
Americans finish on high note

GOLF
Appleby atop Vegas by one

MOTOR SPORTS
Stewart chases down win
Biffle sets mark with Busch win
Tracy remains on pole for Mexico Grand Prix
IRL's finale may be its best

ON THE AIR
Sports on TV, radio