Friday, 3/23 Quick Hitters – I was right about March Madness + NFL Free Agency Thoughts

I want you to be honest with me for a second…

Are you excited about watching Kansas State vs. Loyola-Chicago in the South Regional Final on Saturday? Truthfully would you have watched it during the year if it was just a meaningless regular season game. The answer to both questions…is no.

Loyola v Nevada
I appreciate that both teams are unheralded and have been tremendous during the first three games of this year’s tournament. But seeing them and Florida State in the Elite Eight makes me legitimately sick to my stomach.

I guess there’s a reason they call it ‘March Madness’ but as far as I’m concerned, college basketball is one sport where the best teams can’t be measured solely by how they do in the tournament.

So congratulations to those of you who like anarchy in college basketball because you’ve gotten it. I fully expect Duke or Villanova to win the whole thing as in my opinion, they’re the two most talented teams remaining. But as we’ve seen thus far, anything can happen…and considering my straight up predictions of Kentucky, Nevada, Gonzaga, and Texas A&M went a whopping 0-4 on Thursday night, fade my picks at your will.

On Friday I’ll go with Villanova, Purdue, Kansas, and Duke…the four favorites. On Saturday, who the heck knows…Michigan and…Kansas State?

By the way, congrats Wolverines fans on yet another NCAA Championship Game appearance. The road couldn’t be any easier at this point.

-Hey Arizona fans – how do you feel that either Kansas State or Loyola-Chicago are guaranteed to go further this year than the Wildcats have in Sean Miller’s tenure? For those who tell me what a great coach he is, please re-evaluate that statement after reading the above sentence. I like Miller as a recruiter but I’m of the belief that he’s worn out his welcome at UofA. I’m ready for a change…especially in light of the current firestorm surrounding the FBI allegations of paying players.

-Considering I write so many NFL-related predictions columns throughout the year, it’s strange that I haven’t touched on free agency moves just yet.  Here are a few thoughts on the crazy amount of activity we’ve seen in the past few weeks:

  • The Vikings were already close to the Super Bowl without a marquee QB. Kirk Cousins and his fully-guaranteed $86 million deal make them the clear top dogs in the NFC as of this moment.
  • Another NFC North team made an impressive set of moves – the Bears. WRs Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel + TE Trey Burton. Quite possibly a winning team in 2018 if the schedule isn’t too harsh.
  • As for my Packers, I was overjoyed at the Jimmy Graham signing – he’ll be a beast in the Red Zone (10+ TDs if he stays healthy)…pleased with the Mo Wilkerson reclamation project on the defensive line…but devastated at the release of Jordy Nelson (who signed with the Raiders). I want to see GB make a move for a #2 WR ASAP. Also – who is going to stop the pass on defense? After trading Demarious Randall to Cleveland for backup QB DeShone Kizer, the secondary is as thin as can be.
  • Your new fantasy football star for 2018: Jerrick McKinnon of the 49ers. Remember the name folks…he’s no longer a backup and should absolutely thrive in Kyle Shanahan’s dynamic offense.


  • I love what Tennessee has done – bringing in CB Malcolm Butler and RB Dion Lewis in from New England. Though they have a new coach in Mike Vrabel, this team could very much thrive this upcoming season…though the AFC South will be tough.
  • Jacksonville signed Andrew Norwell, the best offensive lineman on the market and Houston greatly upgraded their already stout defense. I wouldn’t be surprised if all three of those AFC South teams are serious playoff contenders.
  • The best move made all offseason was the trade of Indianapolis’ #3 pick to the New York Jets for pick #6 and THREE second round draft choices. Brilliant move by Indy whose roster might be top-to-bottom the worst in the league. The more high draft picks on their roster, the absolute better.
  • And Cardinals fans…let me say this…I don’t mind the QB combination of Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon. They can buy the team another year or two to get their future QB in place. Right now those guys need weapons to throw to…so if your team is going to trade up in the draft, I’d recommend going after Alabama WR Calvin Ridley.


  • If I were to give you a top-5 NFL mock draft, here’s how it would look right now:
    • 1. Cleveland: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
    • 2. NY Giants: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
    • 3. NY Jets: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
    • 4. Cleveland: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
    • 5. Denver: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

-This week’s picks of who will make the finals in what I consider the six most popular sports (new teams from last month in CAPS):

NBA: HOUSTON vs. Cleveland
College Basketball: Villanova vs. MICHIGAN
NHL: Boston vs. Nashville
MLB: Houston vs. Chicago Cubs
NFL (2019): Pittsburgh vs. MINNESOTA
College Football (2019): Alabama vs. Michigan

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


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