The Buckeyes remain undefeated and the Cavaliers inch closer to their season opener, but the Browns continue to rule the roost.
1. Pat Shurmur, head coach, Cleveland Browns (last week: 2)
While the head coach of the Cleveland Browns has surely had his dips in these here rankings, the temporary nature of any descent has been enamoring. Just one week after being dethroned by his new boss, Shurmur reclaims top billing with his team's most recent loss.
But it wasn't just the four-point defeat at the hands of the hapless Indianapolis Colts, it was the matter by which the coffin was nailed shut; the dropped pass, the timeout, and then the 26-yard punt, all with just six game minutes remaining. While Shurmur claims that he would make the exact same call if given a similar opportunity, it is clear that he did not see the reaction of the team owner who was a few centimeters away from needing Tommy John surgery following his violent and dismissive arm wave to the above-mentioned follies.
It's been reported that Shurmur knows what is expected of him through the duration of the 2012 regular season. It's safe to assume "winning" is a part of said equation.
Quote of the week: "I think we can be an effective team running the football. We just need to do a better job of doing it."
2. Jimmy Haslam III, majority owner, Cleveland Browns (last week: 1)
Interestingly enough, it was the gregarious Haslam who has gone radio silent since the day he was knighted as owner of the Cleveland NFL franchise. Haslam's reaction to the dropped pass in the end zone was the fire that many in Cleveland have long been wanting to witness from their team's owner. Wearing his heart on the sleeve of his fitted dress shirt, I'm sure this will not be the last time that the game cameras are focused on the owner's box. While the reactions may be a little more subdued given what transpired on Sunday, it's obvious that the new man in charge will not stand for sub-par performances.
Fifty-three men and their respective coaches are all being watched.
3. Mike Holmgren, "retiring" team president, Cleveland Browns (last week: 3)
In one of the more bittersweet press conferences, The Big Show gave what will likely be his final address as president of the Cleveland Browns. Speaking largely of unfulfilled dreams and a five-year plan uprooted three years in, Holmgren says that he will be "transitioned" into retirement, all while leaving the door open for the 60-something to return to the sidelines at some point in the near future.
Given the consensus is that the current Browns team is in dire need of an upgrade within the coaching ranks, bringing in a Super Bowl winning coach and not having him, you know, actually coach, only to have him be ousted three years in may in fact be the most Randy Lerner thing that Randy Lerner ever did during his 10 years as owner.
4. Josh Gordon, wide receiver, Cleveland Browns (last week: 7)
Hauling in four touchdowns in three games would normally be enough to be granted city keys, but the dropped touchdown pass - with the Browns down four late in the contest - will be the imagery most recalled by fans as the team possesses a 1-6 record.
The rookie wide receiver has made strides, providing an immense upgrade over the receiving corps of the last several seasons. Additional props are in order for his willingness to take the blame rather than hiding from the media following the loss. Here's hoping that the kid can overcome Sunday's outcome and make up for it against the Whale's Vagina Chargers.
5. Braxton Miller, quarterback, Ohio State Buckeyes (last week: unranked)
We knew he was shifty with cat-like reflexes, but who knew he had as many lives? Seemingly injured in every contest thus far, Miller was taken to the ground only to be taken away by ambulance as his team trailed the Purdue Boliermakers. Accounting for an insane proportion of the Ohio State offense, Urban Meyer continues to ride his sophomore signal-caller like there's no tomorrow. The only issue is that there is in fact a tomorrow, and if the 19-year-old keeps taking these kind of hits, he may not be there to play in it.
In the event that Miller is to miss any time...
6. Kenny Guiton, quarterback, Ohio State Buckeyes (last week: unranked)
Filling in remarkably down the stretch, Guiton turned a heartbreaker into instant jubilation when he took the Buckeyes 61 yards in 47 seconds, moments after throwing an interception, to tie up the contest on a pass to the little-used Chris Fields. If he is forced to take an advance role this week in Happy Valley, Buckeye fans can only hope that the last 47 seconds were more Kenny G than the play that almost cost the team the game.
7. Trent Richardson, running back, Cleveland Browns (last week: 6)
Eight yards on eight carries, potentially being shut down until the team reconvenes from their Bye, and taking in an interview while wearing a Lebron James t-shirt. Not the best week for the rookie running back.
He's only won 40 games in two seasons at the helm of the Wine and Gold, but the team has faith that he's the head coach of the future as they picked up his option for the 2013-14 season. He will have a roster almost wholly different than the one he inherited two summers ago. And while he may not have won a lot of contests, his team has something that many could argue the Browns and Indians do not: Hope.
9. Kyrie Irving, point guard, Cleveland Cavaliers (last week: unranked)
Irving hasn't had the best offseason, has struggled to find his shot during the preseason and, with the opening tip less than a week away, has had to have all four of his wisdom teeth removed. Nevertheless, he's still being counted on to lead this Cavalier team to a better place. Should I mention that he's still only 20 years old?
10. Terry Francona, manager, Cleveland Indians (last week: unranked)
The new Indians skipper went public with his assessment of the team, stating that there are many holes needing to be filled, specifically at first base, left field and at the designated hitter spot. The real question: will his general manager and friend be able to provide the upgrades?
Scott Sargent is a co-founder of WaitingForNextYear, where he writes about all three professional Cleveland teams. He's been voted "Ohio's Best Sports Blogger" for his work at WFNY. Scott will be covering all things Cleveland, providing feature writing and weekly snapshots of what mattered and where we're headed in the world of Cleveland sports.