Sunday, December 7, 2003

Page Two power rankings

By Mike Ball
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Thumbs up

1. The Bengals. Imagine, you have to put off the trip to the mall today because there is a must-see TV game with first place on the line. (That said, thumbs down to Bengals fans who have decided that this season will be a failure if they miss the playoffs.)

2. The Orlando Magic. What an effort. They held Tim Duncan to 47 points Friday en route to their impressive 18-game losing streak, the bulk of which has come against the dreadful Eastern Conference.

3. College hoops. Teams now load up on non-conference schedules, knowing it will help come NCAA Tournament time. UK played UCLA with Michigan State, Indiana, Louisville, North Carolina and Notre Dame to come. Michigan State has played Kansas and Oklahoma with Duke, UK, Syracuse and UCLA to come.

4. Streaks. 1) Arkansas had sold out every home basketball game the past 26 years before it ended by some 300 seats this season. 2). The Russell, Iowa, boys basketball team ended a 106-game losing streak that covered six seasons.

5. Army-Navy. Bad game, great tradition.

Thumbs down

1. The Reds. It's not that Dave Miley didn't deserve the job. He does. But why is there such a bad feeling about how it all came down? A one-year contract? Are the Reds really waiting for Pete Rose? Do they honestly think we'll put out good money for a mediocre product because Rose would be the manager?

2. Baseball, non-Reds division. The Yankees march toward a $200 million payroll. The Red Sox are throwing around cash, too. Barry Bonds testifies about performance-enhancing drugs. Every time the game gets on a roll . . .

3. The Southeastern Conference. Here it is in 2003 and the loop already has its first black head coach (Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State). Of course, the rest of the NCAA had only five minority coaches in 117 D-I schools.

4. CART. The open-wheel racing loop postponed its season opener and is on the brink of filing Chapter 11.

5. Kim Clijsters. The Belgian tennis star won't compete for her country in the Athens Olympics because her country wears adidas and her sponsor is Fila.

Boyle routs Highlands
Lots of talent returns for Highlands in '04
New season, new goals for victorious Oak Hills
Deer Park romps way to a 2-0 start
Winton Woods, CHCA run away with easy victories
Groeschen: High school insider
Ernst: Ky. high school insider
Prep sports results, schedules

Winning changes everything
Daugherty: Winners get the spoils
Bengal believers don stripes again
Bengals-Ravens: The edge
What would a Bengals win mean?
Couch preparing for football away from Cleveland
It's rare for Bay teams to miss playoffs
Curnutte's NFL power rankings

Will real players please stand up for Miley in '04?
Sources say A-Rod, Red Sox set to meet

K-State rocks No. 1 Oklahoma
Bowl games schedule
Miami RedHawks extend coach's contract
Mount Union wins 54th straight
Ground game comes up big as Navy knocks Army to 0-13

Defense rescues UK's offense
Big men remain questions for XU
Women: Xavier 72, Central Michigan 35
Women: UC 62, Dayton 40
Miami's offense is absent in defeat
Kansas not No. 1 for long
Lewin's last-minute basket sends NKU to win

A vision for Cleveland
MSJ's Patterson a blessing for Grace
Page Two power rankings
Sports digest

Sports on TV, radio