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Which Ohio professional sports team will win a championship first?

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NHL: JUN 28 Columbus Blue Jackets Development Camp Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The first week of Free Agency has passed and we are in full on summer mode. So, we’re trying to have as much fun as possible before we have to dive into the upcoming season which is full of unknowns.

Our goal for the rest of the summer is to post a smattering of articles we don’t typically have the time to put out during the regular season. We will be doing a few round table articles with the staff, soliciting social media for thoughts/memories, and a few other fun articles we have up our sleeves.

First up is an idea we got from the fine folks over at Second City Hockey They proposed a round table article asking which team in Chicago would win the next championship.

Since there are three professional teams in Columbus, 2 major and 1 minor, we decided to extend the options to the entire state of Ohio. We narrowed our choices down to Major League teams in the state as well.

Last championship for each of the Major League teams in Ohio

Cleveland Indians - 1948
Cleveland Cavaliers - 2016
Cleveland Browns - Never - they had league championships before the SuperBowl was a thing. So, I’m not counting those.
Cincinnati Bengals- Never
Cincinnati Reds- 1990
FC Cincinnati - Never. To be fair, they are a brand new team
Columbus Crew SC - 2008
Columbus Blue Jackets - Never

Who do we think will win the next championship?

Will Chase

I’m going to eliminate the Bengals, Reds, and Cavaliers first. While the NBA is probably the one sport that can foster the fastest turnaround of a worst-to-first scenario and vice-versa, I need to see first-year coach John Beilein and the Cavs in action first. Plus, the Cavaliers are going to need some superstars. NFL teams can also have quick turnarounds but when it comes to the Bengals, let’s be real, they haven’t won a playoff game since 1991. The Reds are young and talented but I would consider them a few years away at the very least. The Crew are struggling this year, and last won it all in 2008. The second most recent of teams on the list after the Cavaliers won it all in 2016. I’m excited for the Blue Jackets going forward, with their current core and young guys but they’re not winning the Cup yet. (Maybe they will prove me wrong this year because I said that).

I can’t believe the list has funneled down to two Cleveland teams. The Indians and Browns. I don’t know if the Browns are going to live up to their hype. I finally buy into the fact they could be pretty good but I am curious how the talent and personalities mesh. At least Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. will be good theater. So, it comes down to the Indians. Not long ago they were double-digits out of first place, but have climbed back into things and find themselves (at the time of writing this) 5.5 back of the division lead, and leading the second wild card. It’s baseball, and teams that enter the playoffs can get hot and run away with it. Who knows, but they could do it. It doesn’t hurt having guys like All-Star Francisco Lindor, Trevor Bauer on the mound, Corey Kluber when he returns from injury, and oh yes, Terry Francona as the skipper.

El Palito

It almost has to be the Crew, by default, doesn’t it?
The Cincy teams are light years away.
The Cavs will have to wait for the seco...third coming of the Chosen One.
The CBJ need to fill some holes.
The Browns are the Browns.

Just checked the MLS standings. Scratch that. I thought the Crew were doing a little better.

So I’ll go with the Indians. Solid team. Good players. Will be fighting to make the postseason, but they have a chance. I’d say even over the next 5 years, they’ll be the team with the best shot.

I’m a downtrodden Reds fan...so that’s all the Indians info I have.

MRSwift13

I’d pick the Browns.

Talent, bad division. Coaching is a big mystery.

No one else is really all that close, unless OSU counts

Pale Dragon

Let’s start with the Blue Jackets, since this is a Blue Jackets blog. I am more optimistic than most of my colleagues in that I believe this team can still make the playoffs next season. Even then, it’s a stretch to think they could win a Cup. I think they’re at least 2-3 years away. So which teams in Ohio are closer? The Cavs are farthest away. They’re doing a full rebuild and lack the superstars needed to make a run. We’ll always have 2016. The Crew is in a transitional phase under new management, but at least they’re still here. Cincinnati FC is going through the typical expansion woes.

The Bengals are entering a new era after finally replacing Marvin Lewis. But they won’t win until Mike Brown stops running things. Does anyone think Andy Dalton is a Super Bowl QB? I love how aggressive the Reds were in the offseason and they’re hanging in the NL Central race, but they’re not on the level of the top teams in the East or West, let alone the AL (see below).

That leaves the remaining two Cleveland teams. If you had asked me at this point last year, the Indians would have been the obvious choice and the Browns would have been in last place. But now I fear the Indians’ window has closed. They can still compete in the Central, but they don’t have the resources to keep up with Houston, Boston, and New York. They had no chance against Houston last year then slashed payroll anyway. It’s really frustrating. Maybe they’ll get lucky because of the randomness of the MLB postseason. But I think 2016 was the best chance they had to seal the deal.

So therefore my answer has to be the Browns and despite being a diehard fan I hate this. I am not used to having high expectations for them and I am scared that they will disappoint me. Since acquiring Odell Beckham Jr. many writers have pegged them as dark horse Super Bowl contenders. I still want them to show me they can make the playoffs before I start thinking about Super Bowl runs. My heart has been broken too many times before. This is a team that has been above .500 just once since I graduated college, and I’m now eligible to run for president. Baker Mayfield and Myles Garrett are great. I loved the team’s swagger last year. I still have some questions about the offensive line and the first time head coach.

Bottom line: the next Ohio championship will likely come through Cleveland, but if the Tribe or Browns can’t do it in the next two years then it may be the Jackets’ chance.

Rachel Bules

Hmm, picking your next potential championship team to support from Ohio feels like picking your own poison. In the next 1-3 years I’d go with the Browns, considering their momentum from the latter half of last season plus factors like new standout players and a relatively weaker division. Beyond that, though, I think the Blue Jackets are well on their way to building a team that could win the Stanley Cup. I thought they looked like a team ready to win it all this year based on their performance against Tampa Bay. Once they have a few seasons to rebuild and fill a few gaps, I think they’re Ohio’s best shot.

Ryan Real

I was going to jokingly say the Columbus Destroyers by virtue of playing in a six-team league, but then I saw that they’ve won literally one game as I write this. Considering that, I’ll actually go with the Blue Jackets. I’m bearish on their chances for 2019-20 given the goaltending situation,but I think they could go on a run in a year or two. The core’s there already, and the nice thing about goalies is you really only need one. If anybody pans out in the crease, the young guns make the leap and the defense holds steady, why not? I don’t see either baseball team doing much and I cannot will myself to pick the Browns to win a championship in the next three years.

Elaine

Baker Mayfield and OBJ will lead the Cleveland Browns to victory sooner rather than later. Both guys have bought into the team and are genuinely excited to be in Cleveland. Plus, there is no bigger fan of the Browns than Baker Mayfield. At the 2:51 mark of the video below, you’ll see Mayfield sprinting down the field to celebrate with his teammates. A guy with that much passion for the game and excitement for his teammates can really turn a team around.