Friday, 11/17 Quick Hitters: On CFB Scheduling, Khalil Tate, Weekend Thoughts + Best Bets

Thank you, Pac-12 – instead of making your schools and fans wait until mid-January for next year’s football schedules, you released them earlier than normal on Thursday.

In glancing at UofA and ASU’s schedules, I’ll make two early predictions:

1. If Khalil Tate stays healthy throughout, Arizona wins a minimum of 9 games and the South Division title next season.

2. ASU finishes no lower than 3rd in the division and wins at least 8 games in 2018.

Am I overly optimistic or dead on? Leave me your feedback in the comments below.

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If you missed my Wednesday football predictions, click here.

-Hey college football…in my opinion you’re the best sport we have…your games are the most exciting and your regular season clearly means the most compared to any other major sport. But something needs to be done regarding balancing the schedule. This week’s games absolutely reek of awfulness on paper. With the exception of maybe LSU-Tennessee, which wasn’t a bad matchup before the season on paper, the rest of the conference basically scheduled layups before rivalry week. That has to stop. Week 12 should be among the most exciting CFB weeks around, not the worst, by far, of the season.

-If you’re a UofA fan, a fan of Khalil Tate’s, or just a college football fan in general – read this USA Today article from George Schroeder on Arizona’s QB. This should be mandatory reading for all UofA students with Zona Zoo passes. There better not be empty seats in the student section come September of 2018.

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-I’m truly not sure what to make of Arizona-Oregon this weekend. I believe the Wildcats are the better team but at the moment, it’s hard to see either defense stopping the other team’s offense.

-It’s fairly safe to say that if UofA beats Oregon and ASU on the road, Khalil Tate will have a front row seat in New York to the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

-It’s also safe to say that I’ll take the UNDER on Arizona playing 7 games on Pac-12 Network next season. This channel is a joke with poor management and worse distribution (no DIRECTV). It’s a shame that the Wildcats’ last two games, with a budding star QB, are showcased on this disastrous platform.

-If ASU doesn’t absolutely blow the doors off of Oregon State on Saturday, something is seriously wrong with Todd Graham’s team. The only reason the Beavers scored 28 on Saturday is that Arizona’s defense ultimately gave up when the score was beyond comeback range. The Sun Devils should be looking to make a statement heading into Territorial Cup week.

-Don’t be surprised if large underdogs, UCLA and California, keep things closer than expected against rivals USC and Stanford respectively. Neither ‘dog will pull the upset but I predict that both games will be competitive heading into the final quarter of play.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Southern California

-Wisconsin just has to lose one of these weeks, right? Michigan’s defense should keep the Badgers rushing attack in check…but can the Wolverines score enough points against a rugged Badgers unit? I’ll say so. Michigan will most certainly be a 2018 Final Four contender (in football) considering they’re as young and talented as just about any team in the sport.

-Early, early, early (and likely incorrect) predictions for some big open and soon-to-be open head coaching jobs:
Florida: Dan Mullen (former Florida OC; current Mississippi State head coach)
Tennessee: Mike Leach (Washington State)
Nebraska: Scott Frost (former QB; now Central Florida HC)
UCLA: Chip Kelly (former Oregon coach)
Oregon State: Jim Mora (current UCLA coach)
Arkansas: Brent Venables (Clemson defensive coordinator)
Ole Miss: Chad Morris (SMU HC)

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On to best bets where I’ve struggled of late to say the least…still hanging around .500 in both CFB and the NFL though.

College Football Week 12 Best Bets
Last Week: 1-4
Overall: 30-29-1
Texas / West Virginia over 53.5 total points
Virginia +19 at Miami FL
Utah State -11 vs. Hawaii
UConn +21.5 at Boston College
Wake Forest -2 vs. NC State

NFL Week 11 Best Bets
Last Week: 2-3
Overall: 24-25-1
Dolphins pick’em vs. Buccaneeers
Jaguars -7.5 at Browns
Vikings / Rams Under 46.5 total points
Saints / Redskins Over 51 total points
Seahawks / Falcons Over 44.5 total points

-Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is making the right decision by starting Blaine Gabbert in Houston. Drew Stanton offers ZERO upside and it’s time to see what the former Jaguars and 49ers QB, who shined in the preseason, can do with his team’s season hanging in the balance. My advice: handoff to Adrian Peterson early and often against a depleted Texans defense.

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-Take a guess…entering Week 11, do you know who leads the league in receiving targets? It’s Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (he’s also 2nd in receiving yards and 5th in receptions)…who despite being shadowed by star Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, should remain the focal point of Houston’s offense this week.

-If you know of anyone who’s still undefeated in survivor picks (one winner per week), please let me know. And if so, many many MANY props to that person.

-As the Steelers proved on Thursday night, they are going to be really, really tough to beat at home come for the rest of the season. Only the Jaguars, on an odd week, had their number. Ben Roethlisberger and company could very well be the team to beat in the AFC…though my pick is still New England.

-Week 11’s fantasy football portion of the column:

PPR HERO (an underrated player who will finish in the top-10 at his position this week): 
Season Record: 3-7
Week 10: Orleans Darkwa (RB, Giants) (LOSS)
Week 11: DeVante Parker (WR, Dolphins)
PPR ZERO (a top-15 player who will finish outside of the top-20 at his position this week): 
Season Record: 8-2
Week 10: Brandin Cooks (WR, Patriots) (WIN)
Week 11: Matthew Stafford (QB, Lions)
KICK IT TO WIN IT (A likely waiver wire kicker who will end up in the top-10):
Season Record: 3-7
Week 10: Josh Lambo (Jaguars) (LOSS)
Week 11: Brandon McManus (Broncos)
PUNT OF THE WEEK (the team I think will punt most frequently therefore upgrading the other team’s fantasy defense…aka turning them into a top-10 fantasy D for the week):
Season Record: 9-1
Week 10: Cleveland Browns (vs. Detroit Lions) (WIN)
Week 11: New York Giants (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)


To read previous entries of my blog, click here. Also make sure to follow me on Twitter @eacohen83.


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