The Browns Can Bite Me

This pack of gum aptly summarizes how I feel about the Cleveland Browns franchise right now.

The Browns D forces turnovers, scores a touchdown, and has the Browns in the lead with the fourth quarter winding down.  But the Browns’ offense — which, if anything, is even more pathetically inept than last year — can’t move the ball after running plays that would get first downs even if they worked, the defense has to go back on the field, Philadelphia engineers a long drive, a Browns player drops a sure interception that would have ended the game, and the Eagles score.  When the Browns have their chance for a two-minute drive, their rookie quarterback Brandon Weedon, who has played abysmally the entire game, promptly throws a pick directly to an Eagles player.  So, the Browns lose their home opener . . . again . . . and again . . . and again.

It’s the Browns, and it never changes.  Time to break out the Bite Me gum!

Like Federal, Like State

We tend to talk a lot about the federal debt — and for good reason! — but there are reasons for concern on the state level, too.

A recent report on the amount of debt at the level is very sobering.  The report looked at regular debt, the 2013 fiscal year budget gap, outstanding unemployment trust fund loans, unfunded benefit liabilities, and unfunded pension liabilities, and showed that for all of the proud words of the governors who spoke at the Republican and Democratic conventions, many states are drowning in debt.  California is in the worst shape, with a stunning $617 billion in debt, followed by New York ($300 billion), Texas ($287 billion), Illinois ($271 billion) and New Jersey ($258 billion).  Ohio, unfortunately, stands sixth with $239 billion in debt.  The state in the best shape is Vermont, with only $5.8 billion in debt — less than 1/100th of the amount owed by California.

In all, states are laboring under a crushing $4 trillion in debt.  It’s just another reminder that the flood of red ink is found across our country — and that it’s high time we start doing something about it.

Avoiding An Upset And Revealing A Reality

Ohio State beat Central Florida in a game that was closer than its 31-16 score might indicate.  It’s a game that tells you something about Ohio State, but also something about college football generally.

The Buckeyes clearly need work on offense and defense.  Under new coach Urban Meyer, the offense is trying to become multi-dimensional.  Braxton Miller has improved his passing technique and his accuracy — although his decision-making could use more maturity — and the receiving corps is better.  The offense still seems one-dimensional, however, because it revolves so much around Miller’s arm and legs.  He was the leading rusher, by far, carrying the ball 27 times.  I don’t think that’s sustainable.  With the injury to Carlos Hyde the lack of experienced depth in the backfield became painfully apparent.  The offensive line didn’t have a great game, either.  There were too many penalties, and Ohio State isn’t going to win many games in which it has three turnovers.  Defensively, the Buckeyes still give up too many big plays for my taste, and the team has struggled, so far at least, to put consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback.  In short, there is improvement to be made on both sides of the ball.

It’s also important to realize, however, is that there are a lot of good college football teams out there.  Central Florida is one of them.  Yesterday, many teams had closer-than-expected games with schools that aren’t traditional powers, and eighth-ranked Arkansas lost to Louisiana-Monroe.  High schools are producing many talented athletes who are willing to go to smaller schools to play Division 1 football right away, rather than riding the bench at the bottom of the depth chart at a traditional powerhouse.  Ohio State avoided an upset yesterday; many other top 25 teams didn’t.  In this new parity-oriented world of college football, that’s an accomplishment.