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Hooley's NFL Picks: Be Like Johnny

Dec 14, 2014 -- 9:53am

By Bruce Hooley |



It might not work every week, but you wouldn't have gone broke last week if you picked NFL games solely on lowest unemployment rates in the home cities of each franchise.

That Random Factor yielded a 10-5 record in Week 14, which raises the season's total to 121-69 entering the week we've all been... anticipating/dreading/resigned would eventually arrive.

In homage to Johnny Manziel's first start with the Browns, no other Random Factor would suffice to decide the week's picks than which quarterback is more Johnny-like.

So, whoever reminds us more of John Paul Football -- admitttedly in some liberal interpretations -- gets the nod.

Houston at Indianapolis -- Andrew Luck finished second in the Heisman Trophy standings twice. Johnny won it once. So Andrew Luck wishes he were Johnny. But Ryan Fitzpatrick played at Harvard, where they don't give athletic scholarships, which makes him very un-Johnny-like. Pick: Indianapolis

Green Bay at Buffalo -- Kyle Orton has a neck beard, which disgusts Johnny. Aaron Rodgers dates Olivia Munn, but that's only because she hasn't seen Johnny play yet. Pick: Green Bay

Tampa Bay at Carolina -- Playing in the SEC, believing he's Superman and escaping a serious accident with relatively minor injuries makes Cam Newton very Johnny-like. But Cam won't start, Derek Anderson will. No one will confuse DA, a 6-6 backup from Oregon, for Johnny. Nor will they mistake Josh McCown for Johnny, but McCown was born in Texas, so at least he started out like Johnny. Pick: Tampa

Cincinnati at Cleveland -- Andy Dalton was born in Texas and played college football at TCU, so he's got some Johnny in him. But he can't have that much Johnny in him, because there's no way Johnny goes 0-3 in playoff games or ever has a 2.0 quarterback rating. And besides, Andy Dalton is not the Original. You can't get more Johnny-like than Johnny himself. Pick: Cleveland

Pittsburgh at Atlanta -- Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan both have prototypical NFL quarterback size and big arms. Johnny could hide in one leg of either guy's football pants. Ryan has never made a headline for his after-hours carousing, so he's less Johnny-like than Big Ben, who, like Johnny, has the capacity to keep plays alive and show up on a hotel security tape. Pick: Pittsburgh

Jacksonville at Baltimore -- Joe Flacco may be the least Johnny-like quarterback in the NFL. I know, you think Peyton Manning is, but at least Manning played in the SEC. If Johnny had Blake Bortels' size, Johnny would have been the No. 1 overall pick. But, don't forget, Blake Bortels' girlfriend about fried the Internet when her bikini photos went viral. She's no longer Bortels' girlfriend, and the timing of their break-up suspiciously matches up to the Browns' visit to Jacksonville. Sorry, Blake, you're more like Johnny than Flacco is, but you still ain't Johnny. Pick: Jacksonville

Washington at N.Y. Giants -- Eli Manning has two Super Bowl rings and he played in the SEC, so he's got some Johnny mojo working. But Colt McCoy played at Texas and, don't ever forget, (hit the music), "Some say he's a Ninja...."  Pick: Washington

Miami at New England -- Ryan Tannehill has a smoking hot wife that he impressed by telling her, "Hey, I'm the guy who played ahead of Johnny Manziel when he redshirted at Texas A&M." But Tom Brady has a super model baby mamma and a wife who's also a super model. That makes Brady supremely Johnny-like. Pick: New England

Oakland at Kansas City -- Alex Smith was the No. 1 overall pick and everyone has doubted him since Day One. That makes him very much like Johnny. Derek Carr didn't get drafted until the second round, which almost happened to Johnny. But Carr also got married while in college, which eliminates him from any Johnny comparisons. Pick: Kansas City

Denver at San Diego -- Peyton Manning has the SEC thing going, like Johnny, but Phillip Rivers sat for a long time before he made his first NFL start and a lot of people in the NFL think he's a jerk. Johnny can identify. Pick: San Diego

N.Y. Jets at Tennessee -- Geno Smith and Jake Locker have the two lowest quarterback ratings in the NFL, which should make both of them ashamed to even be mentioned in the same breath with Johnny. So, as not to insult Johnny, let's look to the backups, where Mike Vick's mobility makes him more like Johnny than the statue that is Charlie Whitehurst. Charlie, though, was voted one of Nashville's 25 most beautiful people. That seems pretty Johnny-like. Pick: Tennessee

San Francisco at Seattle -- Colin Kaepernick kisses his biceps when he scores touchdowns, which is similar, but not as cool, as Johnny's money sign. Kaepernick, though, made the money sign for real this summer when he signed a megadeal San Francisco would like to rescind. So, Kaepernick is regressing while Johnny is progressing. Browns fans hope Johnny will become another Russell Wilson, who this week got outed on Twitter for stealing another dude's girlfriend. Seems like Russell is trying to be like Johnny. Pick: Seattle

Minnesota at Detroit -- Teddy Bridgewater is nothing like Johnny, because Teddy panned Cleveland after the Browns threw him over to pick Johnny. Mathew Stafford played in the SEC and likes to party on boats with lots of attractive women wearing mininal clothing. I bet Mathew Stafford has Johnny on speed dial. Pick: Detroit

Dallas at Philadelphia -- Mark Sanchez was all the rage in New York for awhile and even made the pages of GQ, which is very Johnny-like. But Sanchez is a backup who's playing only because Nick Foles is hurt, so Sanchez's Johnny days are over. Tony Romo's Dallas days might be over if Jerry Jones ever gets his hands on Johnny, but Romo did date Jessica Simpson when she fit in her Daisy Dukes. Romo is also a scratch golfer, and Johnny likes to golf. When  Golf Digest found out about that, it put Johnny on the cover. So while Romo is somewhat like Johnny, let's be clear, he isn't Johnny. Pick: Dallas

New Orleans at Chicago -- Drew Brees is often mentioned when people try to predict what Johnny will be. Maybe, but I know this, Johnny would never darken the door of West Lafayette, Ind. Jay Cutler was born in Santa Claus, Ind., a town named after a beloved mythical figure who hangs with elves. Johnny is a beloved mythical figure who's the size of an elf. Cutler is also married to former Hollywood reality TV star Kristin Cavallari, which seems like a blatant Cutler play to impress Johnny. Pick: Chicago


Bruce Hooley hosts "The Bruce Hooley Show" from 5-7 p.m. weekdays on ESPN 850 WKNR. He is the author of, “That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story.”

Email Bruce

Follow Bruce on Twitter @bhoolz



Buckeye fans should be rooting against Alabama star Amari Cooper in the Heisman ceremony

Dec 13, 2014 -- 11:22am

By Bruce Hooley |



Ohio State fans might as well beat the New Year's rush and start rooting against Alabama now.

Tonight, they'll get that chance when Crimson Tide wide receiver Amari Cooper seeks to become the second Alabama player in six seasons to win the Heisman Trophy.

OSU fans do not want that to happen, at least not if recent trends hold.

Alabama, despite its litany of success as a program, never had a Heisman winner until Mark Ingram Jr. won college football's most-coveted trophy in 2009.

Ingram's win precipitated a shift in the success of Heisman winners in their bowl games and, often, in BCS Championship games.

Including Ingram, the last five Heisman winners have won their respective bowl game.

Ohio State fans definitely do not want that trend to continue.

Three of the last five Heisman recipients -- Ingram in 2009, Cam Newton in 2010 and Jameis Winston last season -- have hoisted the Heisman and then the national championship trophy.

Prior to that, a Heisman win was a bowl jinx, with four straight winners losing their next game -- three in the BCS title game.

That fate befell Reggie Bush of USC in 2005, Ohio State's Troy Smith in 2006 and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford in 2008. Florida's Tim Tebow did not play for the national title in his Heisman year of 2007, but the Gators lost in the Citrus Bowl that season to Michigan.

Cooper will likely have a close battle with Wisconsin tailback Melvin Gordon for second place behind Oregon's Marcus Mariota, whose Ducks will oppose Winston and Florida State in the other College Football Playoff semifinal at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

As soon as that game concludes, Ohio State will kick off against Alabama in the New Orleans Super Dome in the fourth career meeting of 'Bama's Nick Saban vs. OSU's Urban Meyer.

Each of the previous three games when Meyer was coaching at Florida, with two of those deciding which team won the SEC Championship and advanced to the 
BCS Championship game.

Meyer and the Gators prevailed in 2008, 31-20, with Tebow leading the victory and a subsequent win over Oklahoma for the national title.

Saban and the Crimson Tide got even with a 32-13 win in 2009 behind Ingram, and then went on to defeat Texas and Colt McCoy for the BCS Crown in the Rose Bowl.

Meyer had his well-publicized health scare in the immediate aftermath of the 2009 loss to Alabama, resigning the next day and then retracting that resignation soon afterward to return to Florida in 2010.

Saban and the Tide had it rolling by then and mauled Florida, 31-6, in their regular-season meeting at Tuscaloosa.

Meyer resigned for real at the end of that season, prompting a column this week in the Birmingham News entitled, "Nick Saban Gets Another Chance to Make Urban Meyer Quit in an Alabama-Ohio State Semifinal."

Clearly, there is no love lost for Meyer in the south, even though he's the coach who started the Southeastern Conference's dominance of the latter years of the BCS and precipitated the Big Ten's fall from national prominance.

Meyer's 2006 Florida squad that dismantled Ohio State in Arizona, 41-14, was the first of seven straight BCS titles for the SEC, which barely missed an eighth last year with Auburn's last-second loss to Florida State.

Now Meyer has a chance to reverse the Big Ten's fortunes against the recognized alpha dog of the nation's unquestioned best football conference.


Bruce Hooley hosts "The Bruce Hooley Show" from 5-7 p.m. weekdays on ESPN 850 WKNR. He is the author of, “That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story.”

Email Bruce

Follow Bruce on Twitter @bhoolz



Buckeyes' trip to College Football Playoff inevitable, given their history

Dec 07, 2014 -- 3:28pm

By Bruce Hooley |



Sometimes, you never see the train until it hits you.

Baylor and TCU know that feeling after being flattened by the Ohio State express.

Sure, the schedules showed Baylor finished its season Saturday with a convincing win over Kansas State, and that TCU finished things off by hammering Iowa State.

But those two Big 12 programs didn't know they were tied to the tracks in the path of an OSU locomotive that rolled Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game and steamed right on into the College Football Playoff.

The Buckeyes' 59-0 win at Lucas Oil Stadium, with plug-and-play quarterback Cardale Jones orchestrating the rout, resulted in a fourth-place finish in the playoff rankings and a Jan. 1 matchup against No. 1 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

No. 2 Oregon will play No. 3 Florida State in the other Playoff semifinal in the Rose Bowl, with the two semifinal winners playing Jan. 12 at Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

TCU, which stood third in the rankings last week, fell in the final poll to to No. 6, where Baylor sat last week.

The Bears, which beat TCU in their head-to-head matchup earlier this year, are the sorry-about-your-luck first team out at No. 5 in the final rankings.

Baylor and TCU can, and will, argue their merits vs. OSU from now until the Buckeyes play Alabama.

If Ohio State loses that game, the I-told-you-so's will echo.

But what happens from this point forward in the playoff will not justify anything the Committee has done.

An OSU loss to Alabama with Jones making his second career start won't be a true measure of whether Ohio State belonged, since it would clearly have had a better shot with injured starter J.T. Barrett.

Likewise, an Ohio State win will mean only that OSU is superior to 'Bama on that night. It will say nothing about Ohio State vs. Baylor or Ohio State vs. TCU.

Wild-card teams win the World Series and Super Bowl so often it's no longer notable, which proves that every tournament is solely about who is the hottest team at the time.

Right now, there appears no hotter team than Ohio State.

But that's not what got the Buckeyes into the playoff.

They got in because their credentials came close enough to Baylor and TCU on the field so that what differentiates OSU off the field couldn't be overlooked.

Ohio State's capacity to garner massive television ratings and travel to bowl sites with sizeable fan bases trumps TCU's and Baylor's inadequacies in those areas by every bit the lopsided margin OSU thumped Wisconsin Saturday night.

If TCU or Baylor were Texas or Oklahoma, Ohio State probably couldn't have overcome a two-touchdown loss at home to Virginia Tech in Week Two.

But that's the beauty and the genius of this Playoff format, and I'm ashamed I didn't see it until now.

This Playoff was never about picking the best four teams based upon their complete body of work during the regular season.

It was about introducing a human element to give college football's power conferences and ESPN the most profitable field of four championship contenders it could fashion, while maintaining the ruse that it would be completely equitable to everyone.

I get it now. The BCS needed fixing because the BCS couldn't be "fixed." The cold, hard numbers of the polls and the computer formulas didn't leave enough wiggle room to get a great TV/fan draw like Ohio State or some other traditional power in if a decimal point in the final BCS rankings fell against them.

Think about it: Did the power conferences ever complain about the BCS when their teams were filling every slot?

Of course, not.

Individual teams complained, like Miami when it defeated Florida State and FSU still went to the title game, but the dissatisfaction with the BCS from the people who created it didn't begin to fester until the Utahs, Boise States, Hawaiis and TCUs of the world started to wedge their way in and flirted with finishing No. 1 or No. 2 in the BCS and playing for the title.

Presto, the need for a new system which would give fans the playoff they wanted, but also give the power conferences a way to exclude interlopers who would mess with their TV ratings and, thus, TV revenues.

It's brilliant.

A largely-anonymous committee with one stooge spokesman issues rankings throughout the last half of the season, making some programs who've never or seldom sniffed the big time think their ship is about to come in.

Playoff organizers realized one thing from the BCS that the rest of us failed to grasp: Every year, the margins between contenders would be so close that a convincing argument could be made for any result.

That way, it never looks like a rigged system.

But it always will be.

Did you notice ESPN trotting out a panel of experts immediately after OSU dispatched Wisconsin to make the case for the Buckeyes over TCU and Baylor.

There was little balance to any of the analysis Saturday night or Sunday morning, right up to and including more college football playoff talk on ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown, again touting OSU's inclusion as a forgone conclusion.

What Committee that works in close association with ESPN -- which paid $5.6 billion to broadcast the playoff for 12 years -- is going to buck the clear implication from the World-Wide Leader as to who it wanted in the Playoff?

Ohio State was always going to win any comparison with TCU and Baylor.

It was never about competing resumes.

It was always about competing reputations.

Next time, we'll be smarter and see it coming.


Bruce Hooley hosts "The Bruce Hooley Show" from 5-7 p.m. weekdays on ESPN 850 WKNR. He is the author of, “That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story.”

Email Bruce

Follow Bruce on Twitter @bhoolz



Hooley's NFL Picks: Unemployment Rates

Dec 06, 2014 -- 10:49pm

By Bruce Hooley |



They say, "into each life, a little rain must fall," even to the Random Factor NFL picks, it seems.

Choosing based on average annual rainfall for NFL cities brought an 8-5 mark last week, which isn't bad, but represents a drop-off from the season's percentage that fell to 111-64.

We'll go with the Bureau of Labor Statistics Unemployment rates for U.S. cities this week.

Just like in the trenches, low man wins, since the lower the unemployment rate, the harder-working the team, right?

Tampa Bay at Detroit -- We don't really need to check the numbers here, do we? Pick: Tampa

N.Y. Jets at Minnesota -- Minneapolis is among the nation's healthiest job markets. New York's unemployment is nearly twice as high, at 5.8%, and getting higher as soon as Rex Ryan gets fired. Pick: Minnesota

St. Louis at Washington -- Of course, Washington's employment numbers are more robust. Government is a thriving industy. Pick: Washington

Baltimore at Miami -- Both cities are above the national average. Baltimore, slightly so. Miami, by a bit more. Dan LeBetard blames LeBron. Pick: Baltimore

Carolina at New Orleans -- Carolina already has one tie this season. Now, it has another. Both Charlotte and New Orleans have 6.2% unemployment rates. So, we'll break it on the lower state rate, which is Louisiana's by one-tenth of one point. Pick: New Orleans

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati -- Don't think of it as rooting for the Steelers. Think of it as applauding the bounce-back of a neighboring economy. Pick: Pittsburgh

N.Y. Giants at Tennessee -- This just goes to show that unemployed Broadway wannabes outnumber aspiring Country and Western recording artists. Pick: Tennessee

Indianapolis at Cleveland -- The Indianapolis numbers are considerably lower, but you knew that, given all the fired coaches and GMs in the Browns' post-expansion history. Pick: Indianapolis

Houston at Jacksonville -- The unemployment numbers in Jacksonville are surprisingly high. Must be where all of Tiger Woods' old swing coaches apply for benefits. Pick: Houston

Kansas City at Arizona -- Arizona's jobless rate is a little lower, but if Drew Stanton keeps throwing incompletions, that might change soon. Pick: Arizona

Buffalo at Denver -- It's all about timing. Had this matchup occurred two weeks ago, and if temporary snow shovelers counted, the pick would be different. Pick: Denver

Seattle at Philadelphia -- Just like the Seahawks, the Seattle economy is starting to hum. Either that, or Eric Wedge exhausted his 99 weeks and dropped off the rolls. Pick: Seattle

San Francisco at Oakland -- The numbers show that things are better on the west side of the bay. But if Jim Harbaugh relocates, we'll have to recalculate. Pick: San Francisco

New England at San Diego -- Surfing must not count as gainful employment. Or, perhaps worshipping Tom Brady does. Pick: New England

Atlanta at Green Bay -- Atlanta's unemployment rate is almost 80% higher. And the way Mike Smith manages his timeouts, it's not going down any time soon. Pick: Green Bay


Bruce Hooley hosts "The Bruce Hooley Show" from 5-7 p.m. weekdays on ESPN 850 WKNR. He is the author of, “That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story.”

Email Bruce

Follow Bruce on Twitter @bhoolz



By The Numbers: Big Ten Championship Game

Dec 06, 2014 -- 8:24am

By Bruce Hooley |



It doesn't seem possible, but Ohio State has won 24 straight Big Ten games and zero Big Ten championships entering an 8 p.m. kickoff for the conference title tonight against Wisconsin.

The explanation, of course, is that OSU wasn't eligible for the inaugural Big Ten Championship game two years ago and lost to Michigan State for the crown last year.

Post-season title games don't count against the Buckeyes' record of consecutive regular-season league wins.

Not all the numbers that pertain to this OSU-Wisconsin matchup are as easily explained:

1 -- Ohio State losses against 11 wins, with the defeat coming September 6 vs. Virginia Tech, 35-21.

2 -- Wisconsin losses against 10 wins, with the defeats coming against LSU (28-24) on Aug. 30 and Northwestern (20-14) on Oct. 4.

9 -- Quarterback sacks Wisconsin has allowed in 12 games.

0 -- Career starts for OSU sophomore Cardale Jones, pressed into duty for J.T. Barrett, who broke his ankle in the win over Michigan.

45 -- Combined touchdowns rushing and passing from Barrett this season, breaking Drew Brees' Big Ten record of 41.

8 -- Games with 150 or more rushing yards by Wisconsin tailback Melvin Gordon.

16 -- Runs of 40 yards or more by Gordon this season, more than every other FBS team but two.

1,182 -- Yards gained by OSU's leading rusher, tailback Ezekiel Elliott.

830 -- Yards gained by Wisconsin backup tailback Corey Clement.

3,090 -- Combined rushing yards for Gordon and Clement.

17 -- Negative-yardage tackles by OSU defensive end Joey Bosa in his last 18 games.

19 -- National ranking of Ohio State's defense, which allows 333.8 yards per-game.

2 -- National ranking of Wisconsin's defense, which allows 260.3 yards per-game, the best in the Big Ten.

73 -- Combined career starts for Wisconsin right guard Kyle Costigan (33) and right tackle Rob Havenstein (40).

137 -- Combined career starts for Wisconsin's offensive line.

18 -- Fewest starts by any member of Wisconsin's offensive line, by center Dan Voltz, who may be limited by a sprained ankle suffered last week.

26 -- Career touchdown receptions for OSU's Devin Smith, one behind Cris Carter for second-place in school history.

20 -- Games in which Smith has caught at least one TD pass in his career.

0 -- Games in which Smith has caught a TD pass that Ohio State has lost.


Bruce Hooley hosts "The Bruce Hooley Show" from 5-7 p.m. weekdays on ESPN 850 WKNR. He is the author of, “That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story.”

Email Bruce

Follow Bruce on Twitter @bhoolz



Buckeyes avoid blowout but still fall to #5 Louisville 64-55

Dec 03, 2014 -- 1:05am

By Bruce Hooley |



Ohio State didn't quite measure up in its first measuring stick game.

Overmatched early, the 13th-ranked Buckeyes turned a blowout into a respectable 64-55 loss at No. 5 Louisville on Tuesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Still, there are serious issues for head coach Thad Matta to contemplate, chiefly the horrendous performance from senior point guard Shannon Scott that earned him a seat on the bench throughout a rally that drew OSU as close as three points in the final minute.

Scott, who entered averaging 10.4 assists and 2.8 turnovers in Ohio State's 5-0 start, had four of his five turnovers in the first half, didn't have an assist and shot 1-for-7.

Louisville's physical, quick defense throttled OSU's offense in the first half and forged a 35-18 lead at the break.

The lead escalated slightly from there before OSU located its pulse and averted disaster in the Big Ten's first loss to the ACC in six games so far between the conferences.

Freshman DeAngelo Russell, the Buckeyes' leading scorer at 18 points per-game, needed 20 shots to get his 17 points and shot 0-for-6 from three-point range.

Louisville's more experienced front line ruled the glass at both ends in the first half, dictating to OSU seniors Amir Williams and Sam Thompson and sophomore Marc Loving.

Loving fouled out with more than 8 minutes left after scoring 11 second-half points to help spare Ohio State an embarrassing blowout.

Russell took over offensively after Loving departed, began driving the lane and eventually drew OSU within 56-53 with 1:12 left.

Louisville, though, tracked an offensive rebound at the other end and Terry Rozier's 3-pointer from the key with 44 seconds remaining ended the suspense.

The intigue only now begins for Matta, however, for he must figure out if Williams' and Scott's strong showings against a collection of overmatched opponents portends trouble for the Big Ten season.

Likewise, Thompson seems a liability on the perimeter offensively, despite his off-season work to sharpen his 3-point skills.

And Anthony Lee, the 6-8 transfer from Temple, is looking more and more like an inconsequential addition, given his zero points and three rebounds in spot duty.

Russell and fellow-freshman Jae'Sean Tate were clearly the bright spots for OSU, not because they played particularly well, but because they fought and exhibited toughness their more experienced teammates lacked.

That's a five-alarm problem for Ohio State in a league where soft gets exposed on a nightly basis, although not against tomato cans like Colgate, High Point, North Carolina A&T and Morehead State -- the next four games on OSU's schedule.


Bruce Hooley hosts "The Bruce Hooley Show" from 5-7 p.m. weekdays on ESPN 850 WKNR. He is the author of, “That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story.”

Email Bruce

Follow Bruce on Twitter @bhoolz



PREVIEW: Ohio State hoops visits No. 5 Louisville

Dec 02, 2014 -- 3:41pm

By Bruce Hooley |



The dessert typically doesn't come before the main course, except in college basketball, where every team seemingly warms up for the meat of its schedule with a collection of cupcakes.

Ohio State's fattening portion of the schedule may not end tonight at No. 5 Louisville, but the quality of opponent certainly escalates from goes-down-easy to this-requires-some-effort in the teams' first meeting in 11 years.

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino predicts the best atmosphere in the KFC Yum Center since the building opened five seasons ago, with most of the home-crowd wrath undoubtedly directed at OSU freshman DeAngelo Russell.

Russell is a Louisville native who played at Montverde Academy in Orlando, Fl., and rejected the Cardinals to play for Ohio State, where he's averaged 18 points per-game during the Buckeyes' 5-0 start.

The other key for Thad Matta's team so far has been senior point guard Shannon Scott, the nation's leader in assists with 10.4 per-game.

Scott has been so efficient running the point for OSU he has more steals (14) than turnovers (11), but his stewardship of the offense will be sorely tested by a Louisville defense that has ranked second in the nation in forcing turnovers the past two years.

The biggest challenge for Ohio State will come inside, where 6-8 Montrezl Harrell is college basketball's most intimidating inside presence.

Louisville has not played since a 45-33 win Wednesday over Cleveland State.

The game is part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.


Bruce Hooley hosts "The Bruce Hooley Show" from 5-7 p.m. weekdays on ESPN 850 WKNR. He is the author of, “That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story.”

Email Bruce

Follow Bruce on Twitter @bhoolz



Hooley's NFL Picks: Average Annual Precipitation

Nov 30, 2014 -- 7:00am

By Bruce Hooley |



Picking games last week based only upon the median household income of the participating states yielded a 10-4 record. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is.

That raises the season's record to 103-59 entering a week in which we'll choose based upon average annual precipitation in the competing cities.

Cleveland at Buffalo -- We're in for a close one at Ralph Wilson Stadium, where the Bills have the edge by a healthy rain or two, 40.5-39.1.

Pick: Buffalo.

San Diego at Baltimore -- When it rains, it pours. But it doesn't do either too much in San Diego.

Pick: Baltimore.

Carolina at Minnesota -- How can Minnesota be the Land of 10,000 Lakes and get only 30.6 inches of precipitation a year? That's barely one hurricane's worth.

Pick: Carolina.

Washington at Indianapolis -- Colt McCoy is 2-0 as a Redskins' starter, so he's bringing a little magic to Lucas Oil Stadium. He should bring a rain dance.

Pick: Indianapolis.

Tennessee at Houston -- I doubt seriously if Ryan Fitzpatrick and Zach Mettenberger can treat us to the 49.8-47.3 final we'd apparently get if we let the weathermen fight this out.

Pick: Houston.

N.Y. Giants at Jacksonville -- Oh, this is all Eli Manning needs, Blake Bortels, making it rain.

Pick: Jacksonville.

Oakland at St. Louis -- The Raiders have more storm clouds over their franchise than anyone in the NFL. But, just like the Raiders, they don't produce.

Pick: St. Louis.

Cincinnati at Tampa Bay -- The Bengals have never won three successive road games in franchise history. So, having won at Houston and New Orleans, you could say

they are walking into a storm without a raincoat.

Pick: Tampa.

New Orleans at Pittsburgh -- We know Drew Brees is capable of putting up big numbers, just like the stifling humidity Louisiana is capable of epic rainfall.

Pick: New Orleans.

Arizona at Atlanta -- Phoenix produces 8.2 inches of rain every year. Tell me again, why don't I live there?

Pick: Arizona.

New England at Green Bay -- They say 10 inches, or so, of snow equals one inch of rain. That's how Green Bay can get buried every winter and still get buried today, precipitationally-speaking.

Pick: New England.

Denver at Kansas City -- Despite the occasional avalanche of snow, it doesn't rain much in Denver. Except, you know, torrents of Peyton Manning touchdown passes.

Pick: Kansas City.

Miami at N.Y. Jets -- It rains more in Miami than in any NFL city. About 3 p.m. every day in the summer, the stuff comes down in buckets. Sorta like Gino Smit interceptions.

Pick: Miami.


Bruce Hooley hosts "The Bruce Hooley Show" from 5-7 p.m. weekdays on ESPN 850 WKNR. He is the author of, “That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story.”

Email Bruce

Follow Bruce on Twitter @bhoolz



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