2018 Pac-12 Football Predictions: Washington runs away with the North but the South should be fun

Since Fall camp is right around the corner and with it the best time of the year approaching, it’s time to break down how I believe the Pac-12 conference will shape up in 2018.

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.

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Continue reading “2018 Pac-12 Football Predictions: Washington runs away with the North but the South should be fun”

Five Things I’d Change in Sports (Updated)

NOTE: I wrote this story last year before the articles were posted on 1580TheFanatic.com. I’ve updated a few parts since then…but a year later, I couldn’t agree more with all of these suggestions!

Don’t get me wrong – sports are my world…but they’re far from perfect. A few tweaks here and there might make all the difference. While I’m glad the Suns got the #1 pick (and yes, I’ll eventually pay off my Daily Blender Carl’s Jr. bet based on that), watching their obvious tanking from February onward was mildly disgusting. So what can be done to remedy the situations? Here are some solutions:

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Continue reading “Five Things I’d Change in Sports (Updated)”

Arizona Wildcats Football: Pre-Preseason Game-By-Game Predictions for 2018

I wrote a similar column to this one last year, when I first debuted the blog…and while I was WAY off (Arizona went 7-5, not 5-7), at least I got two things correct…that Rich Rodriguez wouldn’t be the Wildcats’ head football coach come 2018 and that “Arizona football will look a lot different in 2018.” In my wildest dreams, however, I would never have expected Arizona to land a coach with the successful track record that Kevin Sumlin brings to Tucson.

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Rodriguez had his moments of success but in the end his lack of successful recruiting and lack of fan interest was key to his demise. I know there were off-the-field things…but I’ll leave those out of this column.

For those of you who know me personally, I’m most passionate about two sports teams: the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Wildcats football. Some of you may think I’m drinking the Kool-Aid with these predictions…but here’s how I feel about UA’s chances in 2018:

Continue reading “Arizona Wildcats Football: Pre-Preseason Game-By-Game Predictions for 2018”

Predicting 2018’s College GameDay Saturday Locations

My favorite time of the year – college football season is only less than four months away! Seriously…Summer can’t go fast enough this year especially with my (extreme) optimism for my Arizona Wildcats and new coach Kevin Sumlin.

With college football comes the best LIVE television show – ESPN’s College GameDay. I’ve been to the show a handful of times, in Tucson twice (2009 & 2015) as well as before the 2016 National Championship Game in Glendale.

Will GameDay make another appearance in the state of Arizona this season? If so, it certainly won’t be in Tempe!

Here are my best guesses as to where we’ll see Rece Davis, Desmond Howard, Kirk Herbstreit, and of course the legend Lee Corso in 2018:

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Friday, 2/9 Quick Hitters: UofA / ASU Recruiting, Ranking the Pac-12 HCs, Trades Galore, and more!

-Let’s start with the elephant in the room from college football’s National Signing Day…according to 247Sports’ team rankings…ASU is 36th and UofA sits at #58. Am I worried? Not in the least. Last I checked Herm Edwards was hired in early-December which gave him and his staff nearly two months to improve upon Todd Graham’s class. For Kevin Sumlin, it was closer to 2.5 weeks. And in three days, Sumlin signed Arizona’s highest rated recruit, QB Kevin Doyle from Washington D.C.

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-Props to Herm for finishing with a solid class…but if you’d like to bet me that next year Sumlin’s Arizona class will rank significantly above Edwards’ ASU signees, message me on Twitter @eacohen83. In fact I’ll take it a step further, if Sumlin’s 2019 class isn’t in the top-30, I’ll be prepared to eat some MAJOR crow.

-Georgia is going to be really, really, really good these next few years. What Kirby Smart has done in only 2+ short years…almost a National Championship + elite recruiting classes = brilliance. The Bulldogs will be the new Alabama in terms of success for years to come.

-I don’t want to say a lot about Arizona basketball after their garbage performance at home against UCLA on Thursday night. I’m still REALLY upset about it. But the fact is, if you think this team is a Final Four contender (as I previously had), you’re in for some major disappointment. As it stands right now, I’d be more surprised if they made the Final Four than if they lost in the first round…

-For those who have asked, here are my personal rankings of the Pac-12 coaches from worst to first:
12. Jonathan Smith (Oregon State)
11. Mario Cristobal (Oregon)
10. Herm Edwards (ASU)
9. Mike McIntyre (Colorado)
8. Justin Wilcox (Cal)
7. Clay Helton (USC)
6. Mike Leach (Washington State)
5. Kevin Sumlin (Arizona)
4. Kyle Whittingham (Utah)
3. Chris Peterson (Washington)
2. Chip Kelly (UCLA)
1. David Shaw (Stanford)

Wondering where I would’ve ranked Rich Rodriguez? Likely 8th on this list…

-At first I absolutely hated what the Cavaliers did on Thursday before the NBA’s Trade Deadline. By dealing Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and a 2018 first round pick to the Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, it didn’t at first glance appears that the Cavs made their team better. But a subsequent 3-way trade netting them PG George Hill (from Sacramento) and SG Rodney Hood (from Utah) gave Cleveland the firepower and defensive ability they recently have been lacking. Mind you that LeBron’s club is far from a lock to represent the East in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight year (and his eighth straight year dating back to his days with the Heat) but these moves definitely help. Many props to Cleveland GM Koby Altman who wasn’t afraid to press the reset button right before the All-Star Break. Thomas was a disaster next to LBJ and he needed to go. For the Lakers, they were also the biggest winners on deadline day as they’ve freed up enough money to sign two max contract free agents in the coming offseason(s).

-Don’t underestimate the Suns late trade on Thursday afternoon…having acquired Orlando PG and former 10th overall pick Elfrid Payton. While he’s known more for his crazy hair than his game on the court, Phoenix desperately needed a competent ball distributor and Payton brings them just that. While I still strive to see the Suns lose games in bunches to achieve a higher draft pick, the Payton experiment is certainly worth watching as the team plays out the string in 2018.

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-Let’s put it this way about the Suns, it’s hard to be much worse than they were on Wednesday night…3 of 32 from three point range has to be among the most pathetic statistics by any team this season.

-Five years, $137 million for Jimmy Garoppolo, a QB who has started what, eight games in his career? Ridiculous. I understand he’s never lost as a starting QB but it’s a SMALL sample size to say the least. Next week I’ll write a breakdown of NFL starting QBs…but there’s no way I’d have Garoppolo higher than 15th. Some players are about to get P-A-I-D!

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-Like many fans, players, agents, and observers, I’m disgusted by the pathetic lack of movement lately among baseball teams when it comes to marquee free agents. Pitchers and catchers report in a week or so and as of now, Houston is the CLEAR CUT best team in the league. Do something people! If players like Yu Darvish, J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, and Alex Cobb are still unsigned one week from today, something is CLEARLY wrong with the system.

-I really could care less about the Winter Olympics especially considering my favorite sport in the games, hockey, is being played without NHL players. Just looking at the U.S. roster…considering I haven’t heard of 90% of the players, it’s hard to expect them to be medal contenders.

-Starting a new weekly feature here – I’ll name the teams that I think will be in the finals of the six most popular major sports (including college). Based on injuries, transactions, etc… I’ll revise weekly as necessary:
NBA: Golden State vs. Boston
College Basketball: Villanova vs. Michigan State
NHL: Boston vs. Dallas
MLB: Houston vs. Washington
NFL (2019): Pittsburgh vs. New Orleans
College Football (2019): Alabama vs. Michigan

-Finally – I failed to mention in previous blogs that nearly a month ago, one of my favorite sports broadcasters of all-time, Keith Jackson, passed away at the age of 89. To me and many others, Keith was the voice of college football during our childhoods. His smooth yet elegant style of broadcasting with a flair for the dramatic was what set him apart from the run-of-the mill announcers.

And if this video doesn’t give you chills…I don’t know what will…

Rest in peace to one of the all-time greats.

 

Friday, 12/29 Quick Hitters: Reacting to Arizona’s bowl loss, Picking every CFB game this weekend + Best Bets

As discussed in last Friday’s column, I honestly believe that Wednesday night’s Foster Farms Bowl is quite a setback for Arizona’s football program. The reaction in Tucson towards Rich Rodriguez’s team is one of apathy as is…fans have proven that they aren’t going to pay to watch star QB Khalil Tate nor an underachieving program. I feel as though most people in Tucson wait for the bottom to drop out when watching Arizona football…and it did so once again with under two minutes to play on Wednesday night in a 38-35 loss to Purdue.

So what can be done to rectify the problem? In my opinion there are only two realistic solutions:

Foster Farms Bowl Football
Continue reading “Friday, 12/29 Quick Hitters: Reacting to Arizona’s bowl loss, Picking every CFB game this weekend + Best Bets”

Friday, 12/22 Quick Hitters: Looking ahead to the next week of bowl games – what does a win mean for UofA & Rich Rodriguez?

Late Thursday night it was announced that legendary sports broadcaster Dick Enberg passed away at the age of 82. His career was one all sports broadcasters dream of: the voice of 8 Super Bowls, the Olympics, March Madness, tennis championships, Major League Baseball, college football, golf, horse racing and so much more. Unfortunately I also remember him as the play-by-play voice of two of my least favorite sports games of all-time…Super Bowl XXXII (Broncos over Packers) and the Arizona-Illinois Elite 8 matchup in 2005. Truly an elite talent who provided a soundtrack to many memorable moments in so many different sports. Rest in peace to one of the all-time greats…”OH MY” what a loss.

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Continue reading “Friday, 12/22 Quick Hitters: Looking ahead to the next week of bowl games – what does a win mean for UofA & Rich Rodriguez?”