Four teams. Four quarters.
First Quarter: Shurmur acts a fool
I'll be the first to admit that Pat Shurmur's second year as a head coach has been much improved; five games in and there hasn't been one loss via quick-snap and zero hand-offs to tight end Alex Smith, a great step in the right direction. As the losses pile up on the field, however, Shurmur's apparent line in the sand against an entire army of Cleveland media, all whom have been here longer than him, is a complete mishandling of the off-field situation.
The interrupting, the off-camera emails and phone calls, and the petulant condescension will remove any and all benefit of doubt which could be cast upon him as a second-year boss. It is gravely apparent that Bill Belichick's tenure in Cleveland could have led to very, very good things despite some losing seasons early on. With Shurmur, if he keeps up these antics as his team continues to regress in the win column, we may never know what the 47-year-old can accomplish with what is presently the second-youngest roster in the NFL.
Second Quarter: Welcome home, Terry
Terry Francona's introductory press conference was everything Paul Dolan, Mark Shapiro, and Chris Antonetti could have hoped for. There nostalgic aspect of it all creates instant goodwill. The team's new manager referred to every member of the media by name, discussed the somewhat misinterpreted beliefs surrounding payroll, and exclaimed -- multiple times -- his desire to develop, and win with, young talent.
"We're going to compete right away," Francona assured.
If Sandy Alomar Jr. stays on as bench coach, the Indians could not have wished for a better scenario with regard to their managerial ranks. On April 8, 2013, the New York Yankees -- currently in the 2012 postseason -- will come to town for what will undoubtedly be a high-profile series. Can the Indians capitalize? If not, all goodwill amassed on Monday afternoon will disappear and the green seats at Progressive Field will remain largely uninhabited.
Third Quarter: THAT'S more like it, Buckeyes
With the clock winding down and the game undoubtedly in hand, Urban Meyer's Ohio State Buckeyes had the ball in Nebraska territory where they could comfortably take a knee and go home winners in their second consecutive conference contest. Apparently not comfortable with a mere 56 points, Meyer opted to give the ball to running back Carlos Hyde for what would be his fourth touchdown of the evening, capping off a game where the Scarlet and Grey produced 371 yards on the ground.
A statement game to say the least, the path to a 12-0 record for a still-flawed team is becoming more conceivable by the week.
Braxton Miller continues to be the most dangerous player on the field each time the Buckeyes put on the pads, his instincts becoming more sharp with each additional snap. Sure, the passing yards left a lot to be desired, but this isn't the Big 12, kids.
Fourth Quarter: Hey, look! Basketball!
Two (not quite) games in and the Cavaliers are being led by...wait for it...Luke Walton and Samardo Samuels. The Deadhead son-of-a-legend was largely credited with leading his team to victory in the annual Wine and Gold scrimmage; the slimmed down Jamaican big man led the Cavaliers in minutes and scoring.
In just three weeks, the continually evolving Cavaliers will take to Quicken Loans Arena for the 2012-13 regular season opener. It will mark the first time that a healthy Kyrie Irving will be flanked by a healthy Anderson Varejao as well as Dion Waiters, the team's get-to-the-rim-at-will lottery selection. There's already talks of playoffs, but with the breaks fully pumped, this team possesses the biggest chance of making something happen in Cleveland within the next 12 months.
What they do with said chance remains to be seen.