Originally posted on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 11/29/11

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“And somewhere in there, buried beneath the loss and the throngs of Maize ‘n Blue swarming the field and the sheer exhaustion that accompanies the end of a three-month drama, there was one undeniable murmur of progress: Almost overnight, freshman Braxton Miller has grown from a wide-eyed athlete into a real, live Big Ten quarterback. That was apparent on Saturday. Barely 48 hours later, Urban Meyer is Ohio State’s new head coach, and Miller is the engine of a new offense that will give him every opportunity to turn the murmur into a roar.

It was impossible to watch Miller in Ann Arbor and not marvel at both how far he’s come since September, and how far he can go under the man who molded Tim Tebow and Alex Smith into prolific first-round draft picks. Meyer won a national championship with Chris Leak, for heaven’s sake, with Troy Smith on the opposite sideline. None of them — even Tebow, a massively hyped but relatively little-used role player as an 18-year-old rhinoceros — were quite as good, quite as early, as Miller at the same point on their career trajectory.” [Hinton/Dr. Saturday]

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“Cleveland football’s glacial slog toward respectability is nothing if not fragile. This team lives on such a rickety ledge each game that one or two mistakes are enough to send the whole works crashing to the floor like a precariously placed Ming vase. The Browns can occasionally get away with a few gaffes to beat a team like Seattle or Jacksonville. Against a talented, upcoming team like the Bengals, however, those blunders magnify a root truth of competitive sports: Bad teams always find a way to lose.” [Doug/Cleveland Sports Torture]

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On the list of this week’s least valuable players- “Ryan Pontbriand, Long Snapper, Cleveland Browns. He wasn’t one of the winners, but Ryan Pontbriand was mentioned in the LVPs two weeks ago. I’m sure the Cleveland Browns are aware of this, but when your long snapper’s getting that much ink, it’s probably a sign that your season isn’t going real well. On the drive before the Bengals kicked their game-winning field goal, the Browns lined up for one of their own. Pontbriand rolled the snap. Two weeks ago, it wasn’t his fault, but this one was. He knows it.” [MJD/Shutdown Corner]

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“If Kyrie Irving eventually becomes what most people think he will be, he might end up on the Cavaliers for a long time. This new CBA allows for teams to select one “Designated Player”, who can be signed to a five-year extension after year three. A deal that can allow the Cavaliers to offer Kyrie a 7.5% annual raise during each of those five seasons, as compared to a max number of only 4.5% allowed to be offered by teams competing for his services. ” [Bowers/Stepien Rules]

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Um, I thought we were trying to fix this kind of thing- “When the NBA couldn’t get a full ban on sign-and-trades, it left his Lakers in position to pull off a coup they’re dreaming of, which would make signing LeBron James pale by comparison. If Dwight Howard and Chris Paul wind up on the market — a safe assumption as far as I’m concerned — the Lakers could offer Andrew Bynum for Dwight and Pau Gasol for CP3, or vice versa.

Nothing says that they will be enough to land either player, but it should put the Lakers in the running for both. (Oh, and Dwight likes the Lakers. Asked which All-Star he would most like to play with last season, he answered “Kobe Bryant.”) [Sheridan Hoops]

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