Friday, June 15th Quick Hitters: Arizona Sports Teams Edition

I haven’t written a Quick Hitters column in month so time to bring it back this time with an Arizona sports-only theme!

-First, let me commend the Diamondbacks for turning things around quickly after it seemed like their season was going in the absolute dumpster. It also helped that Paul Goldschmidt hit .620 last week. Assuming A.J. Pollock comes back and produces at a solid level by the All Star Break, it might be an exciting 2nd half for this squad.

cut

-But if you think I’m picking them to win the division, as of now, well…yes I am. I have a feeling they’ll make a move in July for starting pitching help and potentially another bat. The Dodgers are playing well but I’m still not bullish on their hitting minus Corey Seager, who’s out for the season.

-I’ve said it many times but just to refresh…if the Suns don’t select UofA center DeAndre Ayton in next Thursday’s NBA Draft, I’ll relinquish whatever fandom I have left! To pass on a potential franchise player, a 7-footer with a polished inside and outside game would be a borderline travesty. I’ll literally jump on the bandwagon of any other team in that case. Fortunately I don’t think I’ll have to worry about that.

01-deandre-ayton-suns-press-conference

-I’ll do a full mock lottery next week but for now my top 5 would be:

1. Phoenix: DeAndre Ayton (C, Arizona)
2. Sacramento: Marvin Bagley, III (F, Duke)
3. Atlanta: Luke Doncic (F, Slovenia)
4. Memphis: Mohamed Bamba (C, Texas)
5. Dallas: Jaren Jackson, Jr. (C, Michigan State)

Let me also say how NOT confident I am in ANY of those picks as of now.

-I also plan on predicting that the Suns will trade pick #16 and the Heat’s #1 pick in 2021 to move up into the late lottery to select a PG. Find out whom in this column next week…

-4 years, $32 million for David Johnson, $20 million guaranteed. Who says no, his agent or the Cardinals? One way or another, this contract will get done within 30 days.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals

-If you’re one of those people who thinks Josh Rosen will start Week 1 over Sam Bradford, I have a private island to sell you in the Caribbean! How do you bench a guy, right away, that is making $20 million if he’s healthy? The answer: you don’t!

-What do I want to see from the Arizona Coyotes this offseason? Maybe just bring in a scorer or two whose name I might recognize. Seriously this team is full of so many young, unknown players that it’s hard for me, the casual hockey fan, to get excited about them.

I wrote a column last month predicting the UofA football season. But I failed to mention how I thought ASU would fare. So game-by-game, here goes nothing:
(Home teams underlined)

herm-recruiting

9/1: ASU 33, UTSA 17
9/8: Michigan State 27, ASU 17
9/15: ASU 26, San Diego State 23
9/22: Washington 34, ASU 16
9/29: ASU 41, Oregon State 21
10/6: ASU 38, Colorado 34
10/18: Stanford 30, ASU 17
10/27: USC 30, ASU 20
11/3: ASU 27, Utah 20
11/10: ASU 38, UCLA 27
11/17: Oregon 41, ASU 28
11/24: Arizona 35, ASU 31

There you have it…6-6 with a trip to the Cactus Bowl at Chase Field. Would you be happy with that Sun Devils fans?

-Let me also go on record and predict and NCAA Basketball Tournament appearance for Sean Miller and the Wildcats. Bobby Hurley and his improved ASU team…well, throw them in the First Four again this year.

-And finally, a bit off topic…but here are my projected championship game / matchup predictions in all major sports:

MLB: Houston vs. Chicago Cubs
NFL (2019): Pittsburgh vs. New Orleans
College Football (2019): Alabama vs. Michigan
College Basketball (2019): Duke vs. Gonzaga
NHL (2019): Pittsburgh vs. Nashville
NBA (2019): Golden State vs. Boston

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

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!

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 10.56.15 PM.png

-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.

angry-bruce-arians

Continue reading “Predicting the NFL Playoffs: Will New England win a 6th Super Bowl? (YES)”

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.

ap-carson-wentz-eagles-rams-injury

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

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.

59b4dad530112-image

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

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.

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 9.02.25 PM.png

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

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.

Cardinals Rams Football

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