Lookin’ Like A Long Winter

January 19, 2016

After a much milder-than-normal December, and even early January, winter has arrived here. The low temperature yesterday was 6F. Significant snow is expected tomorrow and Friday. Could get close to a foot if we end up on the high-side of estimates.

It’s been rough for winter sports here lately. The Blue Jackets’ woes have been well documented here. They are still the worst team in the league.

The road has been unkind to the basketball teams. The Ohio State men appeared to have the corner turned with a win over Kentucky, part of a streak of 7 wins in-a-row. But road trips continue to be disastrous. Saturday, the Bucks lost by 35 at Maryland. This after big road losses at Indiana and Connecticut earlier. With two conference losses, OSU is tied for fourth in the Big Ten. Indiana and Iowa are 5-0.

The Kentucky men had won 18 straight games over Auburn, a streak that went back to 2000. But after having a decent second-half lead on The Plains Saturday, the Tigers came storming back and won 75-70. After the earlier big loss at LSU, the Cats have 2 conference losses and are tied for fourth in the SEC. Texas A&M is 5-0, coming off a huge rout at Georgia.

Speaking of Auburn, the Kentucky women did manage to avenge their loss at Auburn with a 54-47 home win over the Tigers Sunday. But the Cats were no match for #2-ranked South Carolina even in Memorial Coliseum last week. With two conference losses, UK is in a 4-way tie for third. The Gamecocks are 5-0.

Even the Ohio State women could not avoid an embarrassing road loss in Evanston last week. Maryland, Purdue and OSU are currently tied for first in the Big Ten with 5-1 records.

 

Happy New Year!

January 7, 2016

Happy New Year to all readers. I hope 2016 is your best year ever!

I had a wonderful holiday season. Got to spend a lot of time with my girlfriend’s granddaughter.

Over the holidays, craziness abounded in Columbus. The Jackets lost a bunch of games but also managed victories over Dallas and Washington, the best teams in the West and East respectively. Goaltenders Bobrovsky and McElhinney are both hurt, so Columbus is dependent on minor-league goalies. Ryan Johansen has been traded to Nashville in exchange for defenseman Seth Jones.

SEC play hasn’t been kind to the Kentucky men and women so far. The women beat Duke and finished out the non-conference schedule unbeaten. But the Cats opened up SEC play at Auburn and lost 66-61. I did not get to see the game, but Auburn has not traditionally been an SEC power.

The men beat archrival Louisville, then easily handled Ole Miss in the SEC opener. But Tuesday the Cats went to LSU and lost by 18. UK is not getting much effort out of its players right now.

On the other hand, the Ohio State men are turning things around. The win over Kentucky seemed to be the turning point. After a couple more non-conference wins, the Bucks won their first three conference games over Minnesota, Illinois and Northwestern. A big game against Indiana comes up Sunday on CBS.

The Ohio State women are ranked #5 nationally with wins over Virginia, Michigan State and Maryland. The nationally-televised contest on the Terps home floor was their first ever Big Ten loss since they joined the league. Kelsey Mitchell could be the player of the year.

The stock market has certainly had a horrible start to 2016. I have continued to add stocks to my portfolio on down days. No idea how low we go. But the Fed raising rates and the economy slowing down can be a one-two punch to the financial markets.

 

Happy Holidays To All Readers!

December 20, 2015

I want to take a minute to wish all readers a joyous holiday season! It’s been a warm December here so far, so there is essentially no chance of a White Christmas around these parts. In fact, I suspect some people will be having backyard cookouts :-).

The Blue Jackets are undefeated since my last post (which must not have been too long ago :-) ) after a 7-5 win at Arizona, and last night’s shootout win over Philadelphia in front of the home fans. Joonas Korpisalo has looked pretty good between the pipes, and he finally picked up his first win last night. Sergei Bobrovsky is improving faster than thought, and may be back in the lineup fairly soon.

Ohio State and Kentucky don’t get together very often. I wasn’t expecting much out of the Buckeyes in yesterday’s game in Brooklyn, given the slow start this season. But the Bucks surprised everyone with a 74-67 win. After taking leads of as much as 16 points, the Cats made a furious comeback. But it fell short. The loss is disappointing for UK fans, of course, but the win was a real boost to the young Buckeyes. It will be interesting to see if yesterday’s game was a fluke, or if OSU can now make a run at the Big Ten title.

Wildcats Rolling

December 16, 2015

Between the Kentucky men’s and women’s teams, there is only one blemish on the record. The men visited Pauley Pavilion for the first time, and lost to UCLA 87-77. The Bruins had made an inauspicious start to the season, but they looked like a well-oiled machine in topping the Wildcats. Kentucky routed UCLA last year, and the boys from Westwood got their revenge.

Kentucky freshman Skal Labissiere has been touted as another “one-and-done” player, so good that he will be a high draft pick in the NBA after playing one year in college. So far, he’s fallen short of many people’s expectations. Although talented, he may be a bit too small to be as dominant as once thought.

The Kentucky women remain undefeated. This after a number of players have chosen to leave the team. The Wildcats picked up their fifth win in-a-row over Louisville, 72-54. A big game comes up on the 20th of this month as Duke comes to town.

 

 

Tough Times In Columbus

December 15, 2015

The last weekend of the college football season went pretty well chalk. So, Ohio State will be on the outside looking in at the playoffs. The Bucks will, however, play Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day. It should be a fun matchup. We don’t play the Irish very often, but it is a big rivalry.

I’m looking forward to the college football playoff. But don’t ask me who will win the championship. I have no idea. All four teams bring a lot to the table. Should be a great playoff.

The Ohio State men are 4-5. The Bucks had an embarrassing 20-point loss on national TV Saturday at Connecticut. OSU will try to get back to .500 with a game tomorrow night against Northern Illinois. But NIU is a good MAC team. Then on Saturday, the Buckeyes will take on Kentucky in Brooklyn.

The Ohio State women are 6-3, with the three losses being to powerhouses Connecticut, South Carolina and Notre Dame. Maryland is quite good and will be the team to beat in the Big Ten this year. It will be interesting to see if the Buckeyes or any other conference team can give the Terps a run for their money.

The Blue Jackets have gone 1-6 since my last post. Starting goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky got hurt and will be out three weeks. Joonas Karpisalo was called up from the minors, and had a very good game against Tampa Bay last night in his NHL debut. But he got no goal support in a 2-1 loss.

An Interesting Weekend of College Football

December 1, 2015

College football’s 2015 regular season is winding down, and Thanksgiving weekend brought some of the more interesting games of the year.

For years, Ohio State had been a heavy favorite over a sub-par Michigan team, but had to settle for a close, hard-fought, stressful win. This year under first-year coach Jim Harbaugh, the Wolves put their best team on the field in quite some time. But the result was a 42-13 lopsided win by the Buckeyes. Michigan State’s win over Penn State gave the Spartans the Big Ten East championship. The Big Ten championship game will feature MSU against undefeated Iowa. The winner will certainly get a spot in the 4-team national championship playoff.

There are those who think the Buckeyes have an outside chance of a playoff spot as well. The current rankings will be announced tonight. Alabama and Clemson will almost certainly have to lose in their conference championship games. If Michigan State beats Iowa, there would be no undefeated teams remaining.

Kentucky got our hopes up, taking 21-0 and 24-7 leads on visiting Louisville. But the Cats ended up losing 38-24. So that is two years in-a-row that Kentucky finished 5-7, just one game short of bowl eligibility. Mark Stoops is certainly a good recruiter, but there seem to be other issues holding this program back from turning the corner.

Baylor visited TCU Friday night. Two of the nation’s highest-powered offenses had to contend with heavy rains for most of the game. It ended up being a punting duel, won by TCU in overtime 28-21.

Notre Dame appeared to have beaten Stanford by scoring a touchdown with 30 seconds left. But Stanford kicked a field goal as time expired to pull out the win.

 

 

The Win Streak Is Over

November 23, 2015

The Ohio State football 23-game win streak ended Saturday as the Michigan State Spartans visited Ohio Stadium and left with a 17-14 victory. One could certainly question the Buckeyes’ play calling. The thing that surprised me the most was that OSU didn’t seem to want to throw the football. Michigan State’s defense is good. But they have given up a lot of points in some games this season. On the other hand, Ohio State has not really looked dominant in what had been a fairly weak schedule up till Saturday.

The Bucks could get back into the playoff picture, but the chances of it seem fairly remote. Coming up Saturday is the annual Big Game with Michigan. The Wolverines are better than they’ve been in years under new coach Jim Harbaugh. UM might have the best defense in the Big Ten.

In another embarrassment, the Ohio State men lost at home to Texas-Arlington Friday night, 73-68. But, the Bucks are not the only team to have been upset in an early-season game.

The Blue Jackets picked up a nice shutout win over Nashville Friday night. This was bracketed by losses to Ottawa and San Jose.

Kentucky won a football game for the first time in weeks, knocking off an over-matched Charlotte team. The Cats play Louisville Saturday. A win evens their record at 6-6, and makes UK bowl-eligible for the first time in the Stoops era.

 

Basketball Underway

November 18, 2015

Basketball season got underway Friday.

The Kentucky men had a couple fairly easy home wins, then went to Chicago last night and beat Duke 74-63. The Cats looks to have another good year.

The Kentucky women had no trouble with Rice, then went to the desert and pulled out a 68-64 win at Arizona State. The Cats have a respectable team again this year, although probably not Final Four caliber. We’ll see.

The Ohio State men are quite young and have wins over a couple mid-major opponents.

The Ohio State women have easily had the toughest schedule so far, with their first two games against the #2 and #1 teams in the country. After visiting South Carolina and losing 88-80, the Bucks were no match for Connecticut, losing by 44. A softer schedule is coming up which will give OSU a chance to get some wins and confidence.

As was the case last year, Kentucky football has done a mid-season collapse, with losses to Tennessee, Georgia and Vanderbilt since my last post. So the SEC record was 2-6 just like last year. If the Cats can beat Charlotte and Louisville, they will limp into the bowl picture with a 6-6 record. The offense has not looked good lately, and is not showing signs of improvement.

Ohio State is still undefeated and is ranked third in the college football playoff rankings. But the final two regular season games are against Michigan State and Michigan, two teams that can give the Bucks all they can handle.

The Blue Jackets have gone 6-4 since my last post, which includes their first home win of the season just this past Saturday. A lot more work needs to be done to climb out of the hole Columbus dug for itself in October.

Football Update

October 26, 2015

Kentucky is 4-3 as of this writing. All games this season had been close until Saturday night’s 42-16 loss at Mississippi State. Kentucky gave Florida a good game before losing 14-9. So the long losing streak to the Gators continues. The Cats’ 21-13 win over visiting Missouri was the first defeat of a ranked opponent in quite some time.

Kentucky needs two more wins to be bowl eligible. I still think this team can do better than last year’s 5-7 record. The tackling is better, and the offense seems smoother and more productive. Running backs like Boom Williams can rack up a lot of yards, and the passing game can too.

Ohio State is still undefeated and ranked #1. Some consider the start to the season to have been a bit slow with close games over inferior opponents. It has taken awhile for the quarterback situation to settle out, but the Bucks have looked better in recent weeks. Michigan and Michigan State are the B1G teams that can cause trouble for the Buckeyes.

Finally, a Win

October 26, 2015

There was probably more hype about the Columbus Blue Jackets this season than ever in the history of the franchise. So, it was quite a shock when the season started out with 8 straight losses. Not surprisingly, Todd Richards was fired as coach and replaced with John Tortorella. Torts is an established coach, but had been out of coaching for about a year. Finally, in Denver Saturday night, the Jackets won a game, 4-3 over the Avalanche.

The goaltending has been pretty miserable so far. But all the pieces of the puzzle are there, and Columbus has the potential for some offensive fire power. Obviously, if they can turn the corner soon, the team can contend for a playoff spot as had been expected.


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