Sunday, January 11, 2004

Page Two power rankings



By Mike Ball
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Thumbs up

1. ESPN Classic. If nothing else came of the Pete Rose saga last week, the cable channel offered a serious Reds flashback: Games 6 and 7 against the Red Sox in the epic 1975 World Series, and a little Blue Moon Odom action from Game 5 of the 1972 World Series.

2. Marvin Lewis. Thanks for saving us from another preseason quarterback battle - we know how well those have gone in the past. (And perhaps the greatest example of change - a ticket price hike with nary a peep from the fans. Amazing.)

3. Figure skating. Could it have been only 10 years ago this week that Nancy Kerrigan got whacked on the leg during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships? Little did anyone know Tonya Harding would turn into one of the world's great two-sport (skating, boxing) athletes.

4. Joe Gibbs. His success as both an NFL head coach (three Super Bowl championships with the Redskins, who just hired him back) and a NASCAR team owner (two titles) is one of the most underrated achievements in sports.

5. Australian Open tune-ups/the PGA Tour opener/testing at Daytona. It's almost spring - 37 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Thumbs down

1. Pete Rose. No, he didn't murder anyone, and, yes, the media is way up on its high horse. But this Rose quote tells you all you need to know about why gambling is so dangerous: "The more I bet, the more I lost. The more I lost, the more I tried to double up to get back what I had already lost. During one three-week stint, I wrote 11 $8,000 checks to my guy in New York. On top of the 88 (thousand dollars), I dropped another six figures to the other guys." Would he fix a game? No one here thinks so. But how's that for being compromised?

2. Nebraska. How could an elite college football program have such a problem getting a head coach, then get one - Bill Callahan - with no ties to its storied past?

3. Baseball veterans. The market correction is going strong. Juan Gonzalez gets $4 million, Robbie Alomar $1 million. That sound you hear? The agents preparing their collusion claim.

4. BCS critics. It has been a week since we crowned co-national champs, and the sky hasn't fallen yet!

5. The New York Knicks. Seemed like a great P.R. move bringing Stephon Marbury home. His home debut was a bit rough, though. The Knicks fell behind 23-2 against Houston, lost 111-79, and Marbury shot 3-for-12 for six points.




PETE ROSE
Co-writer struck out with Rose - at first
Expert doubts Rose is cured
Rose's confession reopens debate about 'Shoeless' Joe

REDS / MLB
Larson likely to earn job at third base
Reds' spring camp won't be quite so crowded
Reds e-mail Q&A
Vlad Guerrero rejects 3-year Mets deal

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Bearcats strangle Blue Demons
Daugherty: Whaley learning hard way
Xavier's title defense begins vs. upstart URI
Wildcats dominate post, Vandy
Azubuike gets more aggressive, more results
Rebounding serves MU well
Cardinals more than weary Bulls can handle
Buckeyes suffer from dismal shooting
Stanford remains unbeaten
NKU stuns top-ranked So. Indiana

NFL PLAYOFFS
Pats kick Titans to the curb
Panthers edge Rams in OT thriller
Offensive prowess puts Colts, Chiefs defense in hot seat
Eagles face strong Packers' offensive line
Green, Coughlin want new successes
'Football family' reveling in its greatest season

PREP SPORTS
Sunderman leads Bobcats past Pandas
Saturday's boys basketball games
Saturday's Kentucky boys basketball games
Saturday's girls basketball games
Saturday's Kentucky girls basketball games
Groeschen: Preps Insider
Ernst: Kentucky preps insider
Prep sports results, schedules

MORE SPORTS HEADLINES
NKU guards finally on same page again
Sports digest
Page Two power rankings
Sports on TV, radio