Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 12/20/14
The Boston Herald’s Ron Borges hoped for a fun interview with the Browns’ Alex Tanney before this Sunday’s game against the Patriots but instead found him to be another victim of the No Fun League. “So the thought was here’s an upbeat story with a possible Hollywood ending. Two weeks after being signed off the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys, Alex “Trick Shot” Tanney has a chance to start an NFL game because both Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell are recovering from concussions. Had this not turned into a sad story rather than a glad story there would be no need to mention that quarterbacks who start games for the Browns seldom finish them. To avoid writing about how the Browns have lost six of their last seven games plus two quarterbacks a call was made to Cleveland’s public-relations department seeking a few minutes of Tanney’s time. The reply was as surprising as his trick shots. Browns PR director Zak Gilbert reported, “Alex doesn’t want to talk about the video. He doesn’t want to represent himself that way.” He doesn’t want to represent himself what way? As a guy who can make a football do whatever he commands? What’s he want to represent himself as? A week earlier, Tanney told the Cleveland media he “kinda regrets” making it. What’s to regret? That he had some fun with a football?” [Borges/Boston Herald] — Drew Loftis of the New York Post brings a pessimistic view of why Josh Gordon’s fantasy supremacy is about to come to an end. “The Browns wide receiver was downloading a massive fantasy season — even with backup QB Jason Campbell (filling on for injured Brian Hoyer), before Campbell suffered a concussion in Week 12. Brandon Weeden, who was demoted to backup earlier this season, provided a workable patch last week, when he and Gordon linked up for a 261 yards and two TDs. But now Weeden is out with a concussion. If Campbell is unable to return or can’t make it through this week’s battle with the Patriots, then Gordon will have to rely on Caleb Hanie or Alex Tanney to get him the ball. That is a recipe for a system crash. It’s bad enough Gordon could encounter problems with his passing link, he also will have to deal with the technical difficulties of facing a Bill Belichick-coached team, which happens to have shut-down cornerback Aqib Talib likely monitoring Gordon’s every keystroke. Belichick’s teams are good at eliminating the one thing an opposing offense does best, so expect the Pats to focus on putting Gordon into quarantine. Belichick is a virus, and with a fourth- or fifth-string QB possibly at the controls, it will be a hard drive for Gordon to come even remotely close to his production of the past three weeks. You can’t bench Gordon for just anyone, but this collection of data suggests you should access players you otherwise have filed away on the bench behind the star WR. If benching Gordon opens a lineup spot for Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, DeSean Jackson, Larry Fitzgerald or the like, or if you’re flush at RB and get a third solid starter in the Flex position, make the change and press “return.” Gordon normally is a “CAPS LOCK” starter, but with your entire fantasy season in danger of getting wiped clean, your cache at risk of being emptied in the first round of the playoffs, turn those caps off and save Gordon for later.” [Loftis/New York Post] — “After a loss, one would expect angry fans to be out in force, but Ohio State fans have shown uncharacteristic grace. At a time when Buckeye fans usually blow their tops over losses, fans have been acknowledging this Buckeye team’s weaknesses and praising Michigan State’s strengths. Nobody is calling Michigan State a bunch of scrubs. Even the calls for Coach So-and-So to be fired, the universal constant after big losses, are quieter. A few hours after the Big Ten Championship Game, it’s painfully clear that Ohio State has fallen short of the lofty goals for this year. So why is everyone in such good spirits?   Much like the tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, college football has two separate, opposing reasons for existing. The two are contradictory viewpoints, and fans internalize both to some degree. Neither of them is going away. One perspective: college football is designed to promote sportsmanship. The ideal of the student-athlete appeals to innocence and purity. This is the perspective the NCAA and Big Ten like to promote. Another perspective: college football is designed to make people angry. It’s not enough that football is a brutal, hard-hitting sport, it’s a spectator sport as well. If the boys in green maul the boys in scarlet, the crowd demands that the boys in green must be hung by their thumbs. Ohio State showed tremendous focus and effort, which is why so few people are in the thumb hanging camp right now. The 17-0 lead Michigan State acquired at the start of the game felt like a nightmare, but Ohio State showed admirable fight in retaking the lead. Coming against an opponent as fearsome as Michigan State, confirming that Ohio State’s rushing attack was every bit the terror fans thought it was, and any anger has been directed at the coaches rather than the players.” [Jervey/Eleven Warriors] — “For the Ohio State football team and its fans, the regular season came to a disappointing end — to say the least. But the Buckeyes still will be going to a BCS bowl game and have a shot at a top-four finish. This year’s BCS selection day should be void of much drama, because the five BCS games are basically already locked in. Unless we see a massive voter revolt to put Alabama or Michigan State in the national championship game — which won’t happen — the BCS bowls are obvious. Orange Bowl Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Clemson Tigers The Orange Bowl gets the first replacement pick because Florida State will be the No.1 team. The Orange also gets the first at-large choice. Because the Sugar Bowl will take Alabama as the replacement for Auburn, the Orange Bowl essentially gets to pick its matchup. The Orange obviously will take Ohio State, which has the biggest and most dedicated traveling fan base of all the available teams. The Orange also most likely will take Clemson — which also has a fairly large and dedicated fan base — to keep its ACC ties. It is slightly possible that the Orange Bowl will snub the ACC and take Oklahoma, which has the bigger national brand and following. However, Clemson is big enough to hold its own and has a nationally known quarterback in Tahj Boyd. I think the ACC ties pushes the Tigers over the hump.” [Ginsberg/BuckeyeExtra.com]
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