Friday, 2/23 Quick Hitters – On Allonzo Trier’s suspension, Sean Miller’s future, and more

Late-Thursday afternoon Arizona star guard Allonzo Trier was ruled ineligible by the NCAA as a miniscule amount of the banned substance Ostarine once again appeared in a test. His attorney believes that since the substance hadn’t appeared since early-2017, it was the result of Trier taking the test when not properly hydrated. Either way, let’s break the implications of this down for Wildcats fans:

-First of all, this is complete BS. But welcome to the world of the NCAA and its rampant corruption / unfairness.

-Arizona has lodged an appeal and is challenging the ruling. Based on the usual slowness of the NCAA’s actions, it’s not looking good for Trier to return anytime soon. In fact it’s quite possible that last Thursday night’s win in Tempe might have been Allonzo’s final game in a Wildcats’ uniform. (But if this all gets sorted out on Friday as Sean Miller suggested on Thursday night, ignore the next few bullet points).

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Continue reading “Friday, 2/23 Quick Hitters – On Allonzo Trier’s suspension, Sean Miller’s future, and more”

Cohen’s Corner Bracketology – 2/21/18

Seeing guys like Joe Lunardi from ESPN constantly spout off during games about this and that which can effect a college basketball team’s NCAA Tournament seed always annoyed me. I figured…how hard could it really be to analyze some stats, make a few projections, and forecast the future?

And after taking nearly four hours to put together the following of how I PROJECT the field to look when announced on Sunday, March 12th, let me say that Bracketology is REALLY HARD.

Take a look below and I’ll share some additional thoughts towards the end:

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Friday, 2/16 Quick Hitters: On UofA-ASU, Ayton’s dominance, Fitz returns, and picking the Daytona 500!

I’ve never been more happy to be wrong. I predicted a 10 point ASU victory over Arizona in Thursday’s college basketball matchup from Tempe. UofA’s 77-70 win was just the opposite and hallelujah!

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-First of all, Thursday night’s crowd at Wells Fargo Arena was arguably the loudest in the stadium’s history. Props to ASU fans for filling the joint. And bringing notable announcer Michael Buffer to announce ASU’s starting lineup before his signature “LET’S GET READY TO RUMMMMBLLLLEEEE” line was pretty darn cool.

Continue reading “Friday, 2/16 Quick Hitters: On UofA-ASU, Ayton’s dominance, Fitz returns, and picking the Daytona 500!”

Predicting the 2018 NFL Opening Day Starting QBs

The 2018 NFL offseason will be better than most. So much money to be given out and so many interesting teams with significant cap room. But which ones will splurge for a QB? In this blog, I’ll look at which teams are set and which teams need to press the reset button at the position. Whether you agree or disagree with my predictions…either way it will be an exciting next three months of activity!

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Friday, 2/9 Quick Hitters: UofA / ASU Recruiting, Ranking the Pac-12 HCs, Trades Galore, and more!

-Let’s start with the elephant in the room from college football’s National Signing Day…according to 247Sports’ team rankings…ASU is 36th and UofA sits at #58. Am I worried? Not in the least. Last I checked Herm Edwards was hired in early-December which gave him and his staff nearly two months to improve upon Todd Graham’s class. For Kevin Sumlin, it was closer to 2.5 weeks. And in three days, Sumlin signed Arizona’s highest rated recruit, QB Kevin Doyle from Washington D.C.

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-Props to Herm for finishing with a solid class…but if you’d like to bet me that next year Sumlin’s Arizona class will rank significantly above Edwards’ ASU signees, message me on Twitter @eacohen83. In fact I’ll take it a step further, if Sumlin’s 2019 class isn’t in the top-30, I’ll be prepared to eat some MAJOR crow.

-Georgia is going to be really, really, really good these next few years. What Kirby Smart has done in only 2+ short years…almost a National Championship + elite recruiting classes = brilliance. The Bulldogs will be the new Alabama in terms of success for years to come.

-I don’t want to say a lot about Arizona basketball after their garbage performance at home against UCLA on Thursday night. I’m still REALLY upset about it. But the fact is, if you think this team is a Final Four contender (as I previously had), you’re in for some major disappointment. As it stands right now, I’d be more surprised if they made the Final Four than if they lost in the first round…

-For those who have asked, here are my personal rankings of the Pac-12 coaches from worst to first:
12. Jonathan Smith (Oregon State)
11. Mario Cristobal (Oregon)
10. Herm Edwards (ASU)
9. Mike McIntyre (Colorado)
8. Justin Wilcox (Cal)
7. Clay Helton (USC)
6. Mike Leach (Washington State)
5. Kevin Sumlin (Arizona)
4. Kyle Whittingham (Utah)
3. Chris Peterson (Washington)
2. Chip Kelly (UCLA)
1. David Shaw (Stanford)

Wondering where I would’ve ranked Rich Rodriguez? Likely 8th on this list…

-At first I absolutely hated what the Cavaliers did on Thursday before the NBA’s Trade Deadline. By dealing Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and a 2018 first round pick to the Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, it didn’t at first glance appears that the Cavs made their team better. But a subsequent 3-way trade netting them PG George Hill (from Sacramento) and SG Rodney Hood (from Utah) gave Cleveland the firepower and defensive ability they recently have been lacking. Mind you that LeBron’s club is far from a lock to represent the East in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight year (and his eighth straight year dating back to his days with the Heat) but these moves definitely help. Many props to Cleveland GM Koby Altman who wasn’t afraid to press the reset button right before the All-Star Break. Thomas was a disaster next to LBJ and he needed to go. For the Lakers, they were also the biggest winners on deadline day as they’ve freed up enough money to sign two max contract free agents in the coming offseason(s).

-Don’t underestimate the Suns late trade on Thursday afternoon…having acquired Orlando PG and former 10th overall pick Elfrid Payton. While he’s known more for his crazy hair than his game on the court, Phoenix desperately needed a competent ball distributor and Payton brings them just that. While I still strive to see the Suns lose games in bunches to achieve a higher draft pick, the Payton experiment is certainly worth watching as the team plays out the string in 2018.

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-Let’s put it this way about the Suns, it’s hard to be much worse than they were on Wednesday night…3 of 32 from three point range has to be among the most pathetic statistics by any team this season.

-Five years, $137 million for Jimmy Garoppolo, a QB who has started what, eight games in his career? Ridiculous. I understand he’s never lost as a starting QB but it’s a SMALL sample size to say the least. Next week I’ll write a breakdown of NFL starting QBs…but there’s no way I’d have Garoppolo higher than 15th. Some players are about to get P-A-I-D!

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-Like many fans, players, agents, and observers, I’m disgusted by the pathetic lack of movement lately among baseball teams when it comes to marquee free agents. Pitchers and catchers report in a week or so and as of now, Houston is the CLEAR CUT best team in the league. Do something people! If players like Yu Darvish, J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, and Alex Cobb are still unsigned one week from today, something is CLEARLY wrong with the system.

-I really could care less about the Winter Olympics especially considering my favorite sport in the games, hockey, is being played without NHL players. Just looking at the U.S. roster…considering I haven’t heard of 90% of the players, it’s hard to expect them to be medal contenders.

-Starting a new weekly feature here – I’ll name the teams that I think will be in the finals of the six most popular major sports (including college). Based on injuries, transactions, etc… I’ll revise weekly as necessary:
NBA: Golden State vs. Boston
College Basketball: Villanova vs. Michigan State
NHL: Boston vs. Dallas
MLB: Houston vs. Washington
NFL (2019): Pittsburgh vs. New Orleans
College Football (2019): Alabama vs. Michigan

-Finally – I failed to mention in previous blogs that nearly a month ago, one of my favorite sports broadcasters of all-time, Keith Jackson, passed away at the age of 89. To me and many others, Keith was the voice of college football during our childhoods. His smooth yet elegant style of broadcasting with a flair for the dramatic was what set him apart from the run-of-the mill announcers.

And if this video doesn’t give you chills…I don’t know what will…

Rest in peace to one of the all-time greats.

 

Three Post-Super Bowl Thoughts + Predicting the NFL’s 2018-19 Playoff Teams

Is it wrong to admit that I believe Super Bowl LII was the most entertaining in my lifetime? Off the top of my head it was one of the most compelling games from start-to-finish that I can remember. Here are three leftover (and probably somewhat crazy) thoughts from the day after the game:

1. Doug Pederson coached circles around Bill Belichick.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Philadelphia deserved to win this game. On offense, the Eagles’ play-calling was superior from beginning to end. I figured that Belichick, a defensive genius and the best-NFL coach I might ever see in my lifetime, would find a way to slow down Nick Foles, especially with two weeks of prep time. Didn’t happen. In fact Foles arguably played just as well as he did against the Vikings two weeks ago in the NFC Championship Game. I’m a firm believer that defense wins championships – however in this case, coaching and game-planning were significant factors in Philadelphia’s first ever Super Bowl championship. Pederson, in only two seasons as an NFL head coach, now belongs among the current NFL coaching greats.

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My Super Bowl Pick, Top Prop Bets to Play + Phoenix Open Predictions

Only one blog entry scheduled for this crazy Super Bowl and Phoenix Open week…and it’s a detailed one! Here is my official pick for Super Bowl LII and my Phoenix Open predictions…

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Super Bowl Pick
Regular Season: 171-85 SU (66.8%), 141-114-1 ATS (55.3%)
Playoffs: 5-5 SU, 4-6 ATS

Continue reading “My Super Bowl Pick, Top Prop Bets to Play + Phoenix Open Predictions”