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Published: Friday, 12/13/2002

Browns' Green suddenly golden

Grandstand-ing:

  • Voters on NFL.com have named Cleveland running back William Green the league's top rookie performer for the second time in three weeks. Hard to believe after nine weeks in which he would have been voted the NFL's top rookie bust.

    Green rushed for a total of 171 yards during the season's first nine games. Then came the Browns' bye week, and in the four games since he has gained 453 yards and averaged 4.4 yards per carry.

    “As a line, we haven't done anything different to get him the yards,” right tackle Ryan Tucker told the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. “We have kept doing the same things over and over. He's growing. He's starting to see how we're blocking.”

    Green's recent run of success will be tested Sunday by Indianapolis' fourth-rated defense. Among recent Cleveland foes, only Carolina could claim a defense ranked among the top half of the NFL teams.

    “It was just a matter of getting back out there and not making the same mistakes twice,” Green said of his play since the bye week. “That and a lot of studying.”

  • Boston College was not particularly happy with a vote of Big East athletic directors that sent Virginia Tech to the San Francisco Bowl and the Eagles to Detroit as Toledo's opponent in the Motor City Bowl.

    Location was one factor, of course, but the playing date of Dec.26 in Detroit vs. New Year's Eve in 'Frisco seems to be the biggest problem. The school's exam schedule will leave the team with limited preparation time for the Motor City Bowl, and BC is justifiably concerned about selling out its allotment of tickets for a game in Detroit on the day after Christmas.

    Still, when asked if his team had been saddled with a bad bowl, BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo exercised political correctness, saying: “After the BCS, if you're not in the BCS, there is no such thing as a bad bowl.”

  • Dallas (19-3) and Sacramento (18-6) are the West's best NBA teams out of the starting gate, but is anybody really willing to administer last rites to the three-time champion Lakers? Much of the early-season going has been predicated on injuries and scheduling, and the Lakers may have fired a warning shot last week with a comeback win over Dallas.

    “We all think we're capable of winning a championship,” said Indiana coach Isiah Thomas, whose team is one of several emerging as powers in the East. “But with Shaq healthy it changes things for everybody else.”

  • Reader Steve Braunfels presents a dissenting view on yesterday's Pete Rose column, writing via e-mail: “As far as Rose not betting against his team, keep in mind his gambler associates said he'd juggle the rotations to have his best chance to win the games he bet on. He'd `sacrifice' games to win ones he'd bet on. They said he won lots of money on baseball because he knew the game and could influence his chances. He was losing his shirt on the horses and other sports. It may sound compassionate to bring him back, but you'll kill a fragile game.”

  • The Swami believes in three things. Avoid black cats, don't walk under ladders, and never rely on mystical powers on Friday the 13th. Oh, yeah, there's a fourth thing. The Swami firmly believes in getting a paycheck, so we'll ignore the calendar and fire up the old crystal ball for another round of prodigious pigskin picks.

    NFL:

    Indianapolis 24, Cleveland 20: Lady Luck calls in sick when Browns are at home.

    Tampa Bay 23, Detroit 16: Bucs' defense too much for Stewart, Harrington.

    Jacksonville 17, Cincinnati 14: This is bad luck vs. just plain bad.

    Miami 28, Oakland 24: Ricky Williams outruns Rich Gannon's arm.

    Buffalo 20, San Diego 17: Bills hoping for menu of rain, sleet, ice, snow.

    Pittsburgh 13, Carolina 9: Steelers can't fall to two straight patsies at home.

    Philadelphia 17, Washington 10: Against all odds, Iggles are on a roll.

    Denver 41, Kansas City 34: Playoff bids on the line for both teams.

    San Francisco 31, Green Bay 28: Both teams have clinched division titles.

    Tennessee 20, New England 14: Titans' defense rises to the challenge.

    Last week: 9-1. Season: 78-62

    Final college: 108-43



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