Welcome to Sunday Scorecard, appearing a day later (due to a scheduling change), but we can make up for it by "falling back" when Daylight Savings Time ends next weekend.
The scorecard will begin to fill up when the Packers play the Browns this afternoon in Cleveland, but here are some notes from the margins for you to enjoy in the meantime.
The basics: Kickoff today is noon for the game between the Packers (3-2) and the Browns (1-5). Here are the nuts and bolts:
- The game will be broadcast -- basically to Wisconsin and Ohio -- by FOX, with Ron Pitts and John Lynch handling the announcing.
- Packers coach Mike McCarthy has a 31-24 regular-season record entering this game (1-1 in playoffs) and Browns coach Eric Mangini is 24-31 (0-1 playoffs) in his three years with the Jets and a quarter-season with Cleveland.
- Amazingly, the teams have played just 16 times, with the Packers holding a 9-7 advantage.
- The Packers are favored by 8 1/2 points.
Fearless forecast: Temperatures will be in the low to mid-50s under sunny skies, but things could get ugly quickly for the Browns. Cleveland's defense is ranked 31st (next to last) in offense in the NFL and the defense is dead last. Making matters worse, the team was hit by a flu bug this week with about a dozen players on the injury report as a result. The Packers, who will be without newly acquired Mark Tauscher and probably Ahman Green as well as starting offensive linemen Chad Clifton and Jason Spitz, should roll easily in this game. Look for McCarthy to try to get Ryan Grant and the running game going. See if A.J. Hawk makes an impact. (He's been in the headlines for underachieving). The Browns will look for fire in the form of Josh Cribbs, who is a speedy kick returner and works as a quarterback in the "wildcat" offense.
A tough road: The Bucks open their regular season this week and almost certain to be overshadowed by Halloween parties, the start of the World Series and, oh year, talk of Brett Favre's return to Lambeau Field.
The most shocking thing about the Bucks' final exhibition game Friday night at the Bradley Center was the crowd. The annual MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer) game used to be a destination event in town. It created its own "buzz" and built anticipation for the regular-season opener.
Friday night, there were oceans of empty seats and very little in the way of "buzz."
Of course, it was an exhibition game. The economy is rough. In many ways, though, the Bucks' business situation may be more dire than most fans realize.
On the court, the Bucks are tabbed to win anywhere from 25 to 45 games. If they reach the upper end of that range, a playoff berth could be the reward. The question is whether that will be enough.
The Bucks, in many ways, are like the Brewers of 1990s. Years of losing has numbed the masses and wrangled most of the hope from the start of a new season.
There is, however, one major difference. The Brewers had Miller Park rising on the horizon, which created a sense of anticipation and hope. The Bucks don't have that. They're doing whatever they can to get people interested, but the only win fans back -- short of opening a new arena -- is to win. A one-and-done playoff run isn't going to do it. They're going to need a run of sustained success. And that's not going to be easy.
If you're one of the diehards who is hanging around, congratulations. If you've given up, remember what happened to the PGA Tour in Milwaukee and what could happen to racing at the Milwaukee Mile.
If you take things for granted, they can be gone.
Point of attack: Neither rookie Brandon Jennings nor veteran Luke Ridnour looked like a starter on Friday night.
"Their guards just dominated us," coach Scott Skiles said. "They were physical with us. Our point guards had a hard time getting it up the floor and into position for our offense."
Skiles will have to pick a starter for the season opener Friday night in Philadelphia. Jennings, who was started the final three exhibition games, made 2 of 9 shots and had six points, six assists, three turnovers and a handful of defensive breakdowns.
"This was not a great night for Brandon," Skiles said, flatly. "He looked like a rookie out there. But, that's why you play these games, so he can get a further understanding of what it takes to excel at this level."
Welcome back, CV: Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva (@cv31 on Twitter) enjoyed his return to Milwaukee with dinner at Cubanitas and eight points and six rebounds in 25 minutes of play.
"It was good being back here," he said. "I'm definitely looking forward to Oct. 31, it's a date that's circled on my calender. This is the second time we have beat the Bucks this season and it will be tough to be them a third time. We're going to have to keep playing the way we have been playing."
Villanueva said he's been fitting in with his new teammates. "Guys are complementing each other very well," he said. We have a lot of offensive weapons on this team. Guys are coming together. A lot of people aren't talking about us, but we're going to be a team that makes some noise."
Larry King Lounge: A friend in Manhattan went out for a drink the other night and saw David Letterman and ESPN's Steve Phillips at a corner table. OK, we made that up. But, the two have plenty in common.... The best thing the Worldwide Leader can say about Phillips' plight is that it has made people forget about the Erin Andrews' peephole video.... Speaking of ESPN, former football analyst Sean Salisbury is suing the sports blog Deadspin and its parent, Gawker, for defamation. Deadspin reported heavily on an incident in which Salisbury is alleged to have forwarded a cellphone picture of his penis.... Reporter Karen Crouse of the New York Times attended the game and is working on a feature about Brandon Jennings.... Pistons center Kwame Brown, who did not play on Friday, gave his shoes to a young fan near the visitor's bench. It was a nice gesture, but there was still time left on the game clock. Had Brown been called upon to defend an inbounds pass, he'd have had to to it in stocking feet.... The Bucks welcomed 10-year-old guitar prodigy Tallan "T-Man" Latz to the game. Latz performed with Streetlife.... Homestead athletic director Charlie Gross didn't fill out the paperwork to allow the Highlanders football team to host games in the state playoffs. It probably won't derail the squad, which is one of the best in the state, but if it does Gross will feel worse than he does already.... Hats off to the Admirals for recognizing local police and fire heroes -- and Mayor Barrett -- at their home opener Saturday night.... Former UW quarterback Brooks Bollinger has led Orlando to a 3-0 start in the UFL. Too bad nobody cares about the UFL.... Redskins fans have videotaped enterprising vendors selling beer in the men's room during games. One one had, you think it's a pretty good business idea. On the other... ick.
Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at OnMilwaukee.com. Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.