It feels like early September instead of early August weather-wise.
I'm certain all those guys slaving away in shoulder pads right now are happy about that. Two-a-day practices are miserable enough as is; two-a-days in 90-degree heat are whole different level of miserable.
Speaking of miserable, my inner fan has been wading through the last few football seasons like a man dealing with multiple root canals.
Still, it was a bit of a shock to me to see him wearing an Indians hat …
Journalist Michael: You? More interested in baseball than football in early August? What is this, the late 1990s?
Fan Mike: Knock it off. The Tribe's probably closer to the playoffs now than the Browns or Crew will be this season.
JM: Have you succumbed to the notion that the Browns aren't going to make any headway for the rest of the decade?
FM: No, I have not. I just realize that the Indians are in legitimate playoff contention this summer, while the Browns are in year one of reboot number … what is it? Five or six now?
JM: Six, if you go by the number of head coaches. Not exactly bowled over by Rob Chudzinski, either?
FM: Chud may or may not be the right man as head coach, but I'm willing to give him a chance. I am more impressed by Norv Turner and Ray Horton.
JM: Ah, so you're going with the theory that Turner can turn Brandon Weeden into a solid NFL quarterback?
FM: Laugh all you want, but Turner's track record is way better as an offensive coordinator than as a head coach. As for Horton, he sounds like he wants to blitz on every down, which is the only way you can really play defense in the NFL these days.
JM: I agree, but I also think defense increasingly is irrelevant in the NFL. The teams that win are the ones that put up video-game like numbers on offense. Until Weeden proves he can do that, it's no dice for the Browns.
FM: So you're predicting another season of 5-11?
JM: Sadly, yes. I just can't see any way from the Browns to avoid their fifth straight year of double-digit losses. Maybe they'll make progress, but the schedule is just too strong.
FM: I detest having to live in a world where the Ravens are the defending Super Bowl champions.
JM: So what's you prediction for the season?
FM: How about those Buckeyes?
FM: Call me one if you like, but my sanity this fall dictates me to watch all the football I can on Fridays and Saturdays and then go exercise on Sunday.
JM: You're using logic? Since when?
FM: Since a possible Ohio State vs. Alabama showdown in the BCS title game could finally break the SEC's stranglehold on college football.
FM: But what about Friday nights this fall?
JM: It's a tough thing to ponder. Just about all the RPC playoff teams from last year suffered major graduation losses, including Aurora. I don't think any of our squads come into the season thinking they're locks for the state final four.
FM: Does that mean you think Aurora and Tallmadge will actually miss the playoffs this year?
JM: I didn't say that. I learned long ago never to bet against any team coached by Bob Mihalik or Joe Vassalotti.
FM: So, who's the best team in your area?
JM: I've got a feeling that Nordonia is really going to go to the next level this year. It took Jeff Fox a grand total of one year to revive the program. When the Knights have good coaching, they tend to move into the upper echelon of the state.
FM: What about the best player in the area?
JM: Remember what I said about graduation losses at Aurora? They didn't lose the biggest part of their offense. Senior quarterback George Bollas might have to do it alone this year, but he's good enough to do it.
FM: He'll be running the ball a bunch, considering Aurora likes to pass about as often as the University of Wisconsin?
JM: Exactly. His future is already set too as he's committed to Kent State to play quarterback.
FM: A big, run-oriented quarterback playing at Kent State? You know what that means, don't you?
FM: Expect him to be returning kickoffs in the NFL in about six years.