Sunday, October 19, 2003

Power Rankings



By Mike Ball
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Thumbs up

1. Aaron Boone, Scott Williamson and Jack McKeon. Look familiar? Boone's Series-clinching homer will live forever and erased any memories of the so-so results he gave the Yankees. Williamson's overpowering stuff in the playoffs (2-0, three saves, 14 strikeouts in eight innings) no doubt will come to mind when the Reds are auditioning closers. And Jack Mac? Hey, none of us could have figured that.

2. Curses, foiled again. The TV ratings, Internet hits, and radio talk-show traffic all went through the roof thanks to the presence of the Cubs and Red Sox. The Bambino, the goat, the classic ballparks, the second-guessing of the managers, Don Zimmer attacking Pedro Martinez. Playoff baseball is still as good as it gets.

3. The Bengals. It's time for optimism in this corner after years of skepticism (although no matter what happens in the future, the records for the past 12 years will appear in the annual media guide.) It's go time. Four home games in the next five. Dallas, Carolina and Seattle lead divisions. It can happen. One note: Bengal opponents for the 1-4 start had an 11-14 overall record. The next five - Baltimore, Seattle, Arizona, Houston and Kansas City - are 16-11.

4. Minor-league hockey. Somehow, in Cincinnati, we're entering our seventh season with two teams. Amazing.

5. Andre Agassi. A wife, two kids, still great to watch. And his Andre Agassi Foundation, which aids underprivileged children, had a star-studded dinner Oct. 4 that raised $12.6 million.

6. Anna Kournikova. Tennis' loss is cable television's gain. Says she's giving up tennis early next year to turn to acting. "I'd love to appear in something like Sex and the City or Friends," she said.

Thumbs down

1. The Reds (see above). Not to mention that the search for a new general manager seems to be getting poor reviews from the baseball community, and the candidates. "What's next?" one of the finalist said, "The swimsuit competition?" Awesome.

2. Todd Berry. The Army coach got the ax in midseason with a 5-35 record. It's never good when you're failing miserably and your boss is a lieutenant general!

3. Robert Reynolds/Jim Tressel. The Ohio State linebacker's assault on Wisconsin quarterback Jim Sorgi - he drove his fingers into his throat - was ridiculous. A one-game suspension?

4. LeBron James a bricklayer. The instant superstar made only 15 of his first 53 shots for the Cavaliers this preseason. No matter, his new sneaker did debut at a cool $150 per.

5. College basketball coaches. It has become so bad they had to adopt a code of ethics this week. What about recruiting?

6. Jake Plummer. The Broncos quarterback is out for at least several weeks after breaking his foot getting off the couch. Sounds more like an injury suffered by one of his overweight fantasy-league owners.




BENGALS-RAVENS PREVIEW
Battle of the backs today
Who has the Edge?

OTHER NFL REPORTS
NFL Insider: Vick's recovery slower than expected
NFL Rankings 1-32
Smith chasing elusive record

WORLD SERIES: MARLINS 3, YANKEES 2
Surprising Marlins strike first
Box score and runs
Pierre gives Yankees fits
Yankees look sluggish
Soriano's slump slows down Yanks
Boone carries over Reds' late-inning magic
McKeon cites '97 as his best work
Yankees spare no extravagance

OTHER BASEBALL
Rose talks hitting, not reinstatement

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
DAUGHERTY: Whaley wants to make up for his past
Hicks' dunks dazzle at opening practice
XU's Myles improves conditioning

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Ohio State 19, Iowa 10
OSU Notebook: Carter's hands now a safe place
Miami 49, Ball State 3
Kentucky 35, Ohio U 14
Small College Football Roundup

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
St. X stuns Ohio No. 1 St. Ignatius
Moeller knocks off No. 8 St. Edward
Other area games
Call An Audible | Predict next week's winners

OTHER HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
MND repeats as state golf champ
Badin captures state doubles crown
Cross country powers dominate district
Volleyball, soccer highlights
GROESCHEN: 3-point line change a very real possibility
Saturday's Results

LOCAL SPORTS
Power Rankings
College Update: Soccer gives Burch vast new world
Sports on TV-Radio