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 NFL Playoffs: Will New England win a 6th Super Bowl? (YES)

Happy New Year to all! What a fun weekend of football it was despite the fact that my Monday bowl game predictions went a whopping 0-5 straight up (but fortunately we won’t discuss those in this column)! Let’s hope that’s not an omen for things to come regarding my picks in 2018.

Before I predict both the NFL playoffs, I wanted to offer some brief thoughts on the coaching departure of Bruce Arians from the Cardinals.

Having gone 49-30-1 in the regular season as Cardinals coach, considering at times he was working with significantly inferior QB play, is very impressive. Arians’ one playoff win in three tries was a thriller against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in early 2016 though Arizona couldn’t get past the Panthers the following week in the NFC Championship Game.

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Monday Musings – December 11th: Are the Eagles toast without Wentz? And is ASU basketball top-5 worthy?

Well folks, the answer to both questions to lead off this column is unfortunately yes.

-If Eagles QB Carson Wentz sustained a torn-ACL as feared late-Sunday, Philadelphia’s chances at winning the NFC are all but over. Sorry Eagles fans, while I’m somewhat of a Nick Foles believer (considering he’s a fellow Arizona Wildcat), he’s not going to be able to win your team a big game in January. Sorry, just not happening. The Eagles defense, as we saw on Sunday vs. the Rams is good, but far from elite. To win the NFC, the Eagles will have to rely on running the ball 65% of the time. Good luck if and when they get behind.

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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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Friday, 11/10 Quick Hitters: Reacting to Cards-Seahawks, CFB Thoughts + Best Bets

A few observations from (my first time in) the press box at University of Phoenix Stadium during Thursday night’s Seahawks 22-16 win over the Cardinals:

-Seattle, if they find a running back AND stay(ed) fairly injury fee, would be dangerous in the postseason. Their defense is nasty and can you ever really bet against Russell Wilson in a big game? The guy is the ultimate gamer. And until proven otherwise, I don’t trust Philadelphia in a big game.

-Speaking of injuries, it looks like CB Richard Sherman is out for the season with a ruptured achilles tendon…so I might want to take back the ‘Seattle would be a tough out in the playoffs part.’ The Seahawks are way too thin at cornerback and this is a massive blow.

-The Cards offensive line is a train wreck of epic proportions and losing arguably their best healthy lineman, D.J. Humphries to a knee injury doesn’t help things much.

-After watching Adrian Peterson’s 21 carry for 29 yard performance (like I predicted – under 50 yards rushing), it’s obvious that the Cardinals need the dynamic David Johnson back sooner than later.

-And it’s also obvious, as I stated in the preseason, that Blaine Gabbert should be starting over Drew Stanton.

-I don’t care if I’m in the minority but Seattle’s color rush uniforms from Thursday night are my favorite in the league.

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Monday Musings – 10/23: The Cardinals stink but at least ASU & UofA have hope…

I’m scrapping the Four Downs format for this week as there’s just TOO much randomness to discuss in the world of sports. It’s a Quick Hitters-type of column…but I’ll call it Monday Musings.

Remember, if this column isn’t enough of me, check out The Daily Blender, weekdays from 1-3pm on 1580AM, 99.3FM, online at 1580thefanatic.com, or via the 1580 The Fanatic app!

-What an astonishingly pathetic effort by the Cardinals on Sunday…but…I’ve got good news for all of you Arizona Cardinals’ fans. After the 33-0 loss in London to the Rams, it’s apparent that your team will be bad enough to finish among the top-10 worst records in the league. Worse record = higher draft pick = better chance to select a franchise QB.

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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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