August Mailbag: My D-Backs ‘hate’, the Territorial Cup rivalry, multiple favorite teams, my dating life, and more!

We haven’t done one of these in a year – so might as well address some things I’ve received via email and Twitter before football season kicks into high gear. If you have questions for future editions, don’t hesitate to email me at ecohen@1580thefanatic.com.

usa-diamondbacks-celebrate-opening-day

You come off as such a hater of the local major sports teams, especially the Diamondbacks…what gives?

As of the time of this writing, the Diamondbacks are in first place in the National League West and I’m happy for their fans. But I’m a Cubs fan through and through…so I’ll never be loyal to Arizona’s MLB team.

To me, Arizona sports fans as a whole are fair-weather…that even includes my fellow UofA fans, who simply boycott football games even if they’re winning! Some D-Backs fans annoy me though because I don’t find them realistic…sure I can be a homer just like anyone…but when my Twitter feed is littered with continuous praise of the acquisitions of two relievers with ERA’s of 3.69 (Jake Diekman) and 3.98 (Brad Ziegler), it just adds fuel to my fire!

To those of you who are loyal and REALISTIC fans, I sincerely apologize for the diatribe above. But to those fans who root for the team when they’re good and turn their backs when they aren’t, you’re exactly why I feel the way I do.

Relating to the other teams in town:

Cardinals: I don’t have anything against them and in fact, I’d like to see a surprise season from what Vegas predicts is one of the worst teams in the NFC. Don’t expect a ton of ‘hate’ from me here throughout the season. I’ll objectively praise and critique on-air and online what I see from the team on the field.

Suns: I used to be a big Suns fan when I was younger but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve soured on the NBA as a whole. I’m intrigued by the offseason additions of DeAndre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, Elie Okobo, Trevor Ariza and more so if I was to choose a favorite team in the NBA, it would for sure be this one.

Coyotes: I used to love going to games in the late-90s, early-2000s when I actually recognized players on the team…Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Teppo Numminen, etc… Since the move to Glendale, attending weeknight games are next to impossible and considering I can’t name more than 5 players on the roster, I just don’t care about them for now. Wake me up when they become relevant in the Western Conference again.

22234_s112614rivalrycolumnphotoillustrationrgbf

Speaking of hating things, do you really dislike anything and everything Arizona State as much as you say and write?

YES! If ASU football went 0-12 every season and/or turned into the Pac-12 equivalent of Kansas football, I wouldn’t complain one bit. While basketball coach Bobby Hurley was one of my favorite players as a kid, his constant gyrations on the sidelines annoy me and make me dislike the basketball team that much more.

As I’ve said before (to much criticism), I believe that UofA-ASU is one of the most HATED rivalries in college athletics, especially football. There’s a natural dislike between Tucson and Phoenix and to be perfectly honest, it’s very uncomfortable for either side’s fans to go in their opponent’s stadium. Though I’ve been to every Territorial Cup football game since 2001, I absolutely detest stepping foot in Sun Devil Stadium wearing anything UofA because some jackass usually starts running their mouth unprovoked.

My favorite example of this was from the 2005 contest. Arizona led 20-5 in Sun Devil Stadium midway through the 3rd quarter. There was a moronic kid talking smack to my friends and I almost resulting in fisticuffs between one of them and him in the first quarter. As soon as the Wildcats took command, he disappeared…for hours. Yet as Terry Richardson returned a punt and ASU successfully executed a 2-point conversion in the fourth quarter to tie the game, guess who returned? The Sun Devils went on to win by a field goal with 6 seconds left and I wanted to literally punch the bandwagoner kid in the face (good thing I’m not a fighter in the least).

I’ve heard stories from my ASU buddies of hostile times in Arizona Stadium and that also disgusts me. Boo people all you want for rooting for the opposite team in your stadium…but don’t unnecessarily antagonize them.

Former ASU and Dallas Cowboys QB Danny White (and notorious UofA hater) once told me that he’d root for the ‘University of Iraq’ over UofA. Well I wouldn’t go that far on the opposite side…but the strong dislike is certainly there in my blood.

miami-texas-cotton-bowl2

Some people like to choose multiple teams to root for in every sport – if you were to rank your top-3 favorites in each of the major sports, who would they be?

Good question. I’ve been outspoken as to fans ranking their favorite teams and truly the answer is this – if I bet on a team, I’ll root for them on a given day. Outside of that, I don’t have a top-3 in any sport. Call it the ‘fantasy football mentality’ of sorts. My parents are University of Miami graduates so that was my college team as a kid…so they’re clearly my #2 in football behind UofA. Outside of that, can’t answer this one.

diksywkx0aahpwt

Last year you put together a list of Sports Watchability Rankings. After seemingly enjoying the World Cup in June/July, does soccer move up your updated list.

Surprisingly, no…in fact soccer slipped behind tennis.
Here are the updated rankings (with rankings from last year in parentheses):

20. MMA (Last year: 20)
19. Boxing (19)
18. WNBA (17)
17. LPGA (16)
16. Women’s College Basketball (18)
15. IndyCar (14)
14. College Hockey (15)
13. College Softball (12)
12. College Baseball (13)
11. Men’s and Women’s Soccer (10)
10. Men’s and Women’s Tennis (11)
9.  NHL (8)
8.  NASCAR (9)
7.  NBA (6)
6.  Horse Racing (7)
5.  PGA Tour (5)
4.  MLB (4)
3.  College Basketball (3)
2.  NFL (2)
1.  College Football (1)

click01-idc-110116-istock

You’ve run your own fantasy football league for 22 years without winning it. Why should I listen to your season-long and weekly advice?

Simple: Do as I say, not as I do.

Is your dating life really as bad as you portray it every weekday on The Daily Blender?

Over the course of time, it’s had its moments. But remember, we’re a comedy radio show so some things are a schtick. That’s all I’ll say for now.

Wildcat Country’s Territorial Cup Predictions

This article was written by Wildcat Country host, ABC15’s Shane Dale.

The Arizona Wildcats (7-4, 5-3 Pac-12) will go for their 50th all-time victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils (6-5, 5-3) when they meet for the 91st time on the gridiron Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium. 

UA will come into Tempe as a slight favorite, but the Wildcats are dealing with some injuries, and the home team has won four straight games in this rivalry.

Who gets the victory Saturday afternoon? Here are our picks. 

625837798-0

Continue reading “Wildcat Country’s Territorial Cup Predictions”

2017 Pac-12 Football Predictions: It’s USC, Washington, and everybody else

In honor of Pac-12 Football Media Days today and tomorrow, it’s time to break down how I believe the conference will shape up in 2017. Below I’ll project each team’s record (overall and in-conference) and give a bold prediction (at least I hope so) for each team.

South Division

1. USC Trojans (11-1, 8-1)
There might be an upset along the way but I’d still give the Trojans a 98% chance to win the South. They’re just too talented and the other five teams have too many questions. A definite National Championship contender especially if they play a semifinal game in the Rose Bowl.
Bold Prediction: QB Sam Darnold is among the Heisman Trophy finalists and gets selected #1 overall by the New York Jets in the 2018 NFL Draft.

sam-darnold

2. UCLA Bruins (7-5, 5-4)
Remember when Josh Rosen was touted as the next great college QB in 2015? After an injury-plagued sophomore season, the talented QB no longer has the hype compared to cross-town rival, Sam Darnold. I expect the Bruins to win enough for a bowl game but otherwise Bruins fans shouldn’t get their 2017 hopes up too high.
Bold Prediction: UCLA will replace Coach Jim Mora this offseason.

Continue reading “2017 Pac-12 Football Predictions: It’s USC, Washington, and everybody else”

Friday, 6/30 Quick Hitters

A round-about of what’s happening in the sports world + some 2nd half of 2017 predictions for you in today’s quick hitters:

-So the latest rumor in NBA circles is that the Suns will meet with free agents Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap this weekend. Griffin is the more flashy name but considering his injury history, I’m all for Phoenix bringing in the steady, yet under-appreciated Millsap instead.

ddhetdixcaeq0vm
A four-year $130,000,000 contract for an injury-prone player like Blake Griffin? No thank you.

-Speaking of wacky NBA moves, Chris Paul to the Rockets? James Harden had an MVP-type season as the point guard so let’s bring in arguably the best ball distributor in the league? I don’t get it at all for Houston. This doesn’t make them closer to beating Golden State…let’s be honest.
Continue reading “Friday, 6/30 Quick Hitters”

Mocking the NBA…Draft (Top 10)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…the best part of the NBA season is the draft. The regular season, with the exception of the occasional notable game is BORING and PREDICTABLE. The playoffs were thoroughly BORING and predictable.

But the offseason thus far is just the opposite. Crazy trades, rumors, and personnel departures have made Thursday’s draft a must watch.

For now here’s what I do know (yes, know not think):

  • Golden State will win the 2017-18 NBA Championship.
  • Boston or likely Cleveland will again face the Warriors in the NBA Finals.
  • Next Summer, LeBron James will leave Cleveland for a destination in Southern Califonia.
  • With David Griffin “resigning” as Cavs GM, LBJ now has an “excuse” to leave the city and blame it again on owner Dan Gilbert.
  • A top-15 player (or two) will be traded during the draft on Thursday night.
  • The Suns CAN’T screw this up.

On to the mock draft top 10 with plenty of projected trades included…

Continue reading “Mocking the NBA…Draft (Top 10)”

My Live Sporting Event Superlatives

If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance that you’ve been to a bunch of sporting events like me.  The other day I was wondering…which ones were the most meaningful, exciting, and most fun?

I have always wanted to put together a similar list but never had the proper platform…until now.

Some of you know that I’m a loyal Arizona Wildcats football season ticket holder…I haven’t missed a UofA home game since 2007. I love college football so much so that my goal is to attend 500 games in my lifetime. Keep reading below and you’ll see how much longer I have to go.

There are still quite a few events and stadiums I have yet to attend…but for now, this is a pretty fun list!
Continue reading “My Live Sporting Event Superlatives”

Friday, 5/12 Quick Hitters

-Someone please tell me how and why the Rockets lost by 39 points at home last night when the Spurs were playing without arguably two of their top 4 players?

-And no, James Harden didn’t quit on his team.  Don’t we all remember previous Mike D’Antoni teams collapsing in the playoffs? (Hint: think Suns – Nash and Amare era).

mikedweb29s-1-web

-They should change the motto for the NBA playoffs to “Where the dramatic DOESN’T happen.”

-Either way, comparing the NBA playoffs overall excitement level to that of the NHL isn’t fair.  The NHL’s playoff product is so, SO much better.

-Oh yeah, GO DUCKS!  Conference Finals Predictions: Ducks in 7, Penguins in 5

Continue reading “Friday, 5/12 Quick Hitters”

Arizona Wildcats Football: Pre-Pre-Season Game-By-Game Predictions

Some quick hitters before I get into my first UofA football breakdown of 2017:

  • Go Ducks tonight! (For what it’s worth, I’m also picking the Penguins to win their Game 7 in Washington).
  • Jake Arrieta, the 2015 Cy Young Winner, has a 5.35 ERA in 7 starts thus far this season.  It’s a contract year for him and I expect that he’ll command a 5 year, $125 million deal or thereabouts.  I advocated on Twitter this offseason that I hoped the Cubs would’ve traded him but to no avail.  If I was a GM, there’s no way I’d give Arrieta anywhere near that kind of money as he hasn’t been that sharp for the last year or so.  I would be shocked if Theo Epstein and company pays Arrieta that kind of monster contract, especially with the young hitters up for new deals in the coming years.  With John Lackey also a free agent in 2017, I’m thinking the Cubs 2018 rotation will look A LOT different than it does today.
  • Here are 5 sleepers to win the unofficial 5th major, THE PLAYERS this weekend:
    Justin Thomas (30-1), Brooks Koepka (36-1), Paul Casey (48-1), Martin Kaymer (68-1), Matt Kuchar (70-1)

    players-tpc-sawgrass
    How many times would it take me to hit the green on TPC Sawgrass’ 17th?  10?  Most intimidating hole in golf.

Now let’s talk about my favorite sport, college football, and the team I’ve seen play 115 times in person (yes I’ve counted), the Arizona Wildcats…

Continue reading “Arizona Wildcats Football: Pre-Pre-Season Game-By-Game Predictions”

Not a good sports weekend…

When I came up with the idea of this blog last Friday, I was hoping to kick it off with great news – i.e. a Cubs sweep of the Yankees and winning money on the Kentucky Derby. Not so much.  Below is a LONG recap of the weekend and what’s going through my head on this second Monday of May.

Cubs-Yankees:  I sat through 18 innings of baseball last night…only to watch my team score in only 2 of them. Give me a break! You’re the World Series champs and you can’t score in 16 of 18 innings…most of them against subpar pitching.  Add on to the fact that I needed the Cubs for a large parlay and it made the night all that much more disgusting.

For 8 innings on Friday, things were cruising.  Then Hector Rondon gave up a 3-run HR to Brett Gardner and the Cubs lost 3-2.  They were dead in the water in the 1st inning on Saturday and no need to further discuss last night’s marathon.  Swept…at home…by the freaking Yankees!

22640207-mmmain

The World Series champs are one game over .500 and are 7-9 at home, having been swept twice.  Last year they went 57-24 at Wrigley Field.  Think about that…they’re on pace to LOSE 46 games or so at Wrigley.  Do something Cubs management – you have most of the pieces to repeat in place…make some changes!  And no – Kyle Schwarber shouldn’t be hitting leadoff either.

I thought a repeat appearance to the World Series was a virtual lock at the start of the season. Right now, it’s looks to be in doubt…at best.  The worst case scenario as I see it isn’t THAT bad though – another NL Central Title.

Ducks-Oilers: The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – where the predictable is unpredictable.  I have never previously rooted for the Ducks except in the movies until I saw this year’s playoff bracket.  Then I saw their potentially easy road to the Finals IF Chicago lost – which happened in 4 games to Nashville.  Anaheim cruised to a first round sweep of Calgary…but honestly they’ve been thoroughly outplayed against Edmonton.

I have futures wagers on them to win this series (+450 when they were down 0-2), the Western Conference (+700), and the Finals (+1400)…so when they lose 7-1 in a potential elimination game, yes I’m seriously annoyed.  The Ducks stunning three goal comeback in the final few minutes on Friday night was amazing and stunning…yet the momentum clearly didn’t carry over as the Oilers scored five times in Sunday’s 1st period.

la-sp-ducks-oilers-20170507

I’m not wasting time writing about the NBA Playoffs because there’s nothing to say.  We know we’re getting a Warriors-Cavs Finals so let’s get on with it already.  The NHL is SO much more exciting and it doesn’t hurt that I stand to win some money if Anaheim succeeds.

I’m thinking with my heart and clearly not my head…but give me Anaheim 3-2 in OT on Wednesday night in what should be a dramatic Game 7.

Continue reading “Not a good sports weekend…”