Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Year Later: Ohio Professional Sports

When we first started this blog, Boomer and I did a piece on each of the pro sport franchises and if we thought there was a realistic chance the team could win a championship by the year 2015.  It is now, as you all know, 2013 and 2012 came up empty handed.  Here are the updates:

Columbus Crew

After winning it all in 2008, the team gradually has gotten worse.  In 2012, the team finished 6th in the East and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2007.  Ironically, the year after they last failed to make the postseason is the year they won it all.  This is now four more sentences than I hoped to ever write about MLS on this blog.
2013 Prediction - Playoff Qualifier (full disclaimer, I have no idea what I'm talking about)

Columbus Blue Jackets

Well the team certainly blew up the roster and front office!  No more Rick Nash, Scott Arniel, Scott Howson and, unfortunately, no more All Star Game.  With new President of Hockey Ops John Davidson at the helm, the roster will continually change over the next couple seasons as the new GM looks to finally put a winning product on the ice.  After finishing dead last a season ago, 2015 might be the next available year to just make the playoffs and possibly host a real All Star Game!
2013 Prediction - Top 3 pick in the draft along with two other first round picks to rebuild this franchise.

Cincinnati Bengals

With basically the same roster as the year before, the Bengals again made the playoffs but lost in first round to the Houston Texans (AGAIN!).  The team, again, had another strong defensive year.  Andy Dalton and AJ Green led the way but are the only offense to speak of.  They need more help from the 2nd and 3rd receiver slots as well as a legitimate running game and not the Law Firm.  It's fun to be in the conversation, but that's where they will stay until more big time playmakers are added.
2013 Prediction - A legit chance to win the division with the Browns, a soon-to-be-depleted Ravens squad, and an aging, overrated Steelers to comete against.  Give me a playoff win this upcoming season.

Cincinnati Reds

After a bounce back year in 2012, the Reds had high hopes after taking a 2-0 series lead on the Giants in the Divisional round.  A San Francisco Giants World Series title later, the Reds are again left scratching their heads.  They re-loaded this year but will Dusty Baker finally lead this team to a championship?  The 2013 Reds are the closest team on this list to winning a championship NOW.
2013 Prediction - Full Disclosure here as well:  I'd really like to see this team in the NLCS at the MINIMUM.  No more excuses.  Get it done.  

Cleveland Indians

There were high hopes following the 2011 season.  Unfortunately at the halfway point of 2012, the front office made not a single move and the team crashed and burned in the second half.  A new coach and a new line up for 2013 is in place.  Francona along with Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Mark Reynolds, Drew Stubbs and others hope to wreak havoc in the AL Central.  We believe the team will be much more competitive but how will the starting pitching hold up after a horrendous campaign last summer??
2013 Prediction - This team on paper is at least as good as the 2011 team that finished near .500.  Having said that, I'm not sure it's good enough but the second wild card spot is something to shoot for.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Record wise, the Cavs still stink.  However, compared to last year at this time there is hope.  Kyrie Irving has gone from really good rookie to bona fide super star with his first all star appearance.  Together with Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller, the Cavs core looks rather strong moving forward.  If they can put a competent bench together and get a couple more legit starters, the team will be very competitive come the 2013 regular season.  And if Lebron comes back in 2014, WATCH OUT!
2013 Prediction - This is probably the hardest team to gauge moving forward without knowing the pieces they will add/subtract this offseason.  I look for them to snag the 7th-8th seed next year.

Cleveland Browns

Another Ohio franchise with more front office and roster turnover in hopes of turning it around.  The Browns even got a new owner!  Jimmy Haslam, Joe Banner and Rob Chudzinski are the new guys in town hoping to lead the Browns back to whatever kind of glory senior citizens remember in this town.  Will second year QB Brandon Weeden be their guy?  Will Ray Horton be the man to bring the best out of a budding defensive unit?  The Browns are the one Ohio franchise seemingly locked in the perpetual purgatory of losing.
2013 Prediction - Since the 2007 season where they finished 10-6, the Browns have averaged just over 4.5 wins each season.  Before that, the last winning season was 2002 where they finished 9-7 and made the playoffs.  Get back to 8-8 and we'll talk.