Four Downs – January 8th: National Championship Game Pick, UofA’s coaching search, & NFL Playoff Thoughts

FIRST DOWN – The winner of College Football’s National Championship Game will be…

ALABAMA. Let’s say 31-21 over Georgia.

Nick Saban has never lost to one of his former assistant coaches in his illustrious career…I believe he’s 11-0. Well make it 12-0 as Alabama’s offense cranks it up in the 2nd half against a Georgia team that will have to abandon the run after falling behind early.

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Four Downs – 12/18: What is a catch? + Bye bye Green Bay & Seattle’s on-field train wreck

An all-NFL four pack of topics this week…the last Monday column I’ll write for a while. Starting next week, the column goes to two days a week…usually Tuesdays and Thursdays though that may vary.

FIRST DOWN: The end of the Patriots-Steelers game was…

Amazing…yet awful at the same time. Not only should Pittsburgh have clinched the game just before the two minute mark but a dropped easy interception was missed. Tom Brady managed to lead New England down the field for the touchdown and two-point conversion which gave the Patriots a 3 point lead with just under a minute to play.

But the Steelers weren’t done…JuJu Smith-Schuster caught a simple crossing route that he took 69 yards inside the Pats 10 yard line. On first down and goal, TE Jesse James appeared to catch a touchdown to give Pittsburgh the lead.

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Four Downs – November 20th: Is RichRod back on the hot seat? Seriously…

Only two blogs this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday (none on Friday) so look for a GIANT column previewing the huge football weekend ahead on Wednesday…

FIRST DOWN: If ASU beats UofA, should the Wildcats be looking for a new head coach?

As a diehard University of Arizona football fan / alumnus of the university, I like to keep my eye on the pulse of the program throughout both the good times and bad times. On Sunday morning I was reading the 24/7 Sports UofA message board where I found multiple threads discussing Rich Rodriguez’s job security.

Earlier in the year I made it known that I was in favor of RichRod to move on after the season. And then came the emergence of Khalil Tate. Let it be known now, in light of Oregon’s 48-28 blowout win over the Wildcats on Saturday night, that I don’t feel the same way. Rich Rodriguez deserves another season at the helm of the Wildcats’ football program regardless whether Arizona wins or loses at ASU on Saturday.

I didn’t expect this team to achieve seven wins this season much less beat a ranked Washington State squad by three touchdowns on Homecoming Saturday in late-October. I thought Khalil Tate might be a difference-maker but I didn’t expect him to be a Heisman candidate (though that suggestion is likely finished after Saturday’s game). Through 11 games in 2017, Arizona football has exceeded my expectations.

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Four Downs, 11/13 – November Football Questions…and Answers

For those of you who love the sport of football like I do, November is the absolute best month for entertainment. The contenders are separated from the pretenders and each week is more of a thrill ride than before. While I’m very excited about my Arizona Wildcats college basketball season, talk to me about it after the college football regular season.

This week I’m going to answer four tough football-related questions starting with a local one…

FIRST DOWN: Is ASU’s Todd Graham back on the hot seat after his team’s poor play the last few weeks?

You bet he is. The Sun Devils’ defense was as red hot as the QB play in Tucson during the middle of October…but USC derailed ASU’s high hopes on October 28th. Since then ASU struggled to beat a weak Colorado squad at home before giving up 44 points to an unimpressive UCLA squad on Saturday night.

Just think, 16 days ago ASU was playing for the lead in the Pac-12 South division. Now they’re hanging on by a thread to bowl eligibility having to beat either Oregon State in Corvallis or UofA in Tempe to achieve a .500 record.

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Four Downs – October 30th: UofA crushes, ASU gets crushed, my CFB top-10, & Heisman rankings

After a giant college football weekend in which the national landscape was muddled further, I figured it would be best to dedicate this column solely to CFB talk.

If you’re looking for my thoughts on Week 8 of the NFL and that INCREDIBLE Game 5 of the World Series (never seen anything like it), tune in to Monday’s Daily Blender from 1-3pm on 1580 The Fanatic, 99.3 FM, 95.9FM in the East Valley, at 1580thefanatic.com, or on the app.

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Four Downs – October 16th: The best regular season football weekend in Arizona…EVER?

This was an absolutely incredible football weekend for the Cardinals, Sun Devils, and Wildcats. Offhand I can’t remember a more successful two days for our Arizona teams in recent memory. For me personally, as awesome as UofA’s win was on Saturday, watching my favorite NFL player, Aaron Rodgers go down with a broken collarbone on Sunday and my beloved Cubbies losing two in LA was almost as crushing.

While I’ll do my best to wrap up these last few exhilarating days in this column, I hope you’ll tune in to The Daily Blender, weekdays from 1-3pm (this week 12-3pm) on 1580 The Fanatic. The show starts today (Monday) and I’m looking forward to fun sports talk BY THE FANS, FOR THE FANS with fellow hosts Jeffry O’Brien & Charles Wulf.

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Four Downs – October 9th: The Savior of Arizona Wildcats Football Present and Future?

FIRST DOWN: Khalil Tate – a performance for the ages!

Two weeks ago I wrote that Arizona football was a dying brand under Rich Rodriguez. And when Saturday’s game in Boulder kicked off I thought no differently. Nor did most Arizona football fans.

But when starting QB Brandon Dawkins, who I maintained shouldn’t be playing in the first place, was injured on a flagrant late hit on the opening drive, Arizona’s season immediately changed.

True sophomore Khalil Tate, whose redshirt was burned midway through last season, put on a performance no Arizona football fan will soon forget. More importantly, Arizona won its first Pac-12 road game in nearly two years, 45-42, over Colorado and improved their 2017 record to 3-2.

Tate rushed 14 times for 327 yards and 4 touchdowns…and completed 11 of 12 passes for 142 yards and a TD. The rushing yards were the most in NCAA HISTORY by a quarterback. Think about that for a second…there has never been a performance on the ground better by a college QB. Staggering!

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