Cokin’s Corner, Monday 1/16/17

Two thrillers in the NFL on Sunday, as fans and bettors finally got some bang for their bucks in terms of excitement. But regardless of how the games went, I made my mind up as to the Monday subject matter while watching commercials during the Packers-Cowboys game. This has nothing at all to do with sports, but I was fascinated by the dynamics with these two ads and decided I just had to write about them. McDonald's and Burger King each have ad campaigns running for their coffee products. As it happens, the two spots ran in back to back breaks and I could not help but notice a dramatic difference in what the target audiences must be. The McDonald's spot featured young adults in an up-scale office setting, each ordering a coffee mix of some type. Definitely upwardly mobile stuff, slickly produced and impressive. It made me want to try one of their coffee products, so mission accomplished. Next up, the Burger King commercial. Two guys with paper crowns on top of their heads. ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Sunday 1/15/17

I'm in the business of taking notes. I don't mean that just figuratively, I actually do write down notes for future reference while watching games. An example of this habit was on Saturday while New Mexico and Colorado State were battling it out in what turned out to be a pretty lopsided game at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colorado. I was following this game as I had a play on Colorado State, which never really had a chance as the Lobos were in control virtually the entire game. But there were some things worth noting. This was a pretty chippy affair with way too much trash talking and feeling were pretty frayed by the time things finally wound down. Bottom line is that the Rams got humiliated on their home floor by a New Mexico team that was in desperate need of a win. The Lobos sure got the victory in no uncertain terms, but they also made sure the Rams would be geared up for the rematch next month at The Pit. In fact, CSU star Gian Clavell went so far as to strive over to ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Saturday 1/14/17

I've got the usual quick Saturday blog as I take a short break from the digging that needs to be done for today's monster schedule in college basketball. So without further adieu, here's my free play for Saturday. 645 WASHINGTON at 646 STANFORD Take: STANFORD -6 The Cardinal went bad for a while with games missed by the two best guys on the team contributing to the poor performances. They are now back to nearly full strength and off a really good game against Wazzu. Granted, that's not the best barometer as the Cougars are terrible. But I have very little regard for Washington. The Huskies are what the Huskies always are. They play a breakneck pace and defend very poorly. Not that the Cardinal are a powerhouse, but they're a better fundamental team than UW and they have a better resume on the season as well. Not afraid to give some points here and will do so with the Stanford side in this PAC-12 game. More

Cokin’s Corner, Friday 1/13/17

The San Diego Chargers are no more, welcome aboard Los Angeles Chargers. I'm not going to make this lengthy, as everyone has an opinion on this already and whatever I'd be likely to write will have already been said. So I'll just weight in with my two cents. Los Angeles has been home to a pair of NFL franchises in the past. It didn't work out very well, and both the Rams and Raiders eventually left town. I don't think it's going to work out significantly better this time. I see this as a mistake by the Chargers, and feel they should have remained in San Diego and continued to try and solve the stadium dilemma in that city. I'll make one prediction. By 2025, the NFL will be back in San Diego. Whether it's the Chargers, the Jaguars, or maybe even an expansion team, someone will end up once again calling San Diego home. I just can't see the Padres being the only big league franchise in a city with a great population and perfect weather. Friday's slate is very thin. I've ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Thursday 1/12/17

Anybody, anytime, anywhere. That was the battle cry of Pat Hill when he was the head coach of the Fresno State football team. Hill took over the Bulldogs program in the late 1990's and put himself on the map by scheduling up in a big way. The strategy worked for several years as Fresno State got lots of attention and became a solid program. I can't knock the results Hill had for many years with the Bulldogs. But it's still not a system I like to much of an extent. I prefer the Bill Snyder method that he put in place when he took over a perennially horrible Kansas State program. Snyder underscheduled out of conference. His whole deal was to try to pick up four cheap wins and if the Wildcats could just win a couple of league games, they'd be bowlers. It worked like a charm and what was a truly awful football program started winning, the winning made it much easier to recruit quality talent and the rest is history. That brings me to Long Beach State and its basketball ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Wednesday 1/11/17

Another game, another Grayson Allen incident. It's getting to be like clockwork for the Duke guard, who is currently the most scrutinized player in college basketball for all the wrong reasons. Allen returned from his one-game suspension for another tripping incident against Boston College this past Saturday. He couldn't get through the game without another situation developing, this time involving Eagles forward Connar Tava. Opinion seemed divided as to whether this was another intentional trip or accidental. But either way, it was clearly the most discussed play that occurred in the game. Last night at Florida State, Allen collided with a Seminoles assistant while going after a loss ball. I couldn't really tell whether the shove was intentional or just his momentum after swatting the ball back into play. Regardless, Allen was the center of attention again throughout the game, and I think he's now arrived at the point where he's a distraction to the team. I'm not really ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Tuesday 1/10/17

Hats off to Clemson. The Tigers are national champions in college football following a stirring last-minute rally that earned them a 35-31 win over Alabama. I don't think there was anything fluky about this victory. Clemson dug itself an early 14-0 hole, and against a Crimson Tide defense that was the best in the country, that could well have been lights out. The Tigers simply would never go away. Truth is, they ended looking like the better team by the end of the 60 minutes. In a game where there were 66 points scored, one wouldn't think defense for the winners was the key, but I really think it was to some extent. If you're asking me why Clemson won, it was thanks to their defense continuously shutting down Alabama on third down. The Tide was only able to convert two third downs all night and that led to one monster stat that I thought determined what took place in the final quarter. The ability of the Clemson defense to force three and outs was crucial as it allowed ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Monday 1/9/17

So it's 38-13 in garbage time, the Packers are moving to the next round and the Giants can spend as much time at the beach as they like. At this point, I tweeted an observation that I thought Giants coach Ben McAdoo should put the backups in to finish out the game on offense. My reasoning was simple enough. The game was over, and I thought it might be a nice way to reward the guys who've busted their ass all year in practice while freezing said portion of the body off at bitter cold Lambeau Field. Of course, that didn't happen as Eli Manning and the other regulars went back out to turn the football over one more time for no apparent reason. I have never yet heard an even remotely logical argument as to why the NFL is the only sport that insists on keeping the starters in once the issue is completely settled. Doesn't happen in college football. Doesn't happen in the NBA. Doesn't happen in MLB. It does in the NHL, but that's because there really isn't a true bench in hockey ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Sunday 1/8/17

Unbelievable! That's the only way to describe what took place at The Pit in Albuquerque late Saturday night. New Mexico was seemingly on its way to an easy win over Nevada. The Lobos led by 25 with 11:00 remaining in the game. The Wolf Pack knocked a small handful of points off that deficit over the next several minutes. But with less than three minutes remaining, it was still an 88-71 game and what figured to be garbage time down the stretch. That remained the case with New Mexico leading by 14 and possessing the ball at the 1:10 mark. That's when all hell broke loose and one of the most insane rallies of all time took place. The Lobos contributed but what the Wolf Pack did over the final 70 seconds of regulation was insane. Nevada nailed three-pointer after three-pointer, including two NBA distance launches that were banked in. Incredibly, the Wolf Pack found a way to force overtime when Marcus Marshall nailed a bomb with seven ticks remaining and Elijah Brown missed a ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Saturday 1/7/17

My usual abbreviated late Friday night blog, as time well spent for me will be working on the massive Saturday college hoop schedule. My Friday ended up 2-2, with splits in both the colleges and the NBA. I thought I was in good shape for 3-1 until the Warriors decided to call it a night after the third quarter. That final 12 minutes plus the five in overtime were just bizarre. My Saturday card is thin right now. One NFL, one NBA, two college baskets. I've got about 20 leans in the colleges, but decided to go with what I thought were the two best sides. Possible adds during the day, but that's it for now. Today's free play is on one of the Sunday NFL playoff games. GIANTS at PACKERS Take: GIANTS +5 I really don't care much about the history that tells us how dangerous the Giants have been in the wild card role, including wins at Green Bay in their Super Bowl years. Makes for good discussion fodder, but I'm really only interested in right now. The Packers are on ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Friday 1/6/17

It looks as though Minnesota is scoring the ultimate college football rising star to be the new head coach of their program. P.J. Fleck is reportedly about to sign on the dotted line as I'm writing this piece. If this is indeed the case, it's pop the champagne corks for the Golden Gophers. Fleck is a dynamic coach with a great personality and the job he did at Western Michigan was spectacular. From my vantage point, I think Fleck should have waited for something better. But patience isn't always a virtue when those big dollars are being offered, so it's not like I can blame Fleck for making the move to Minneapolis. For more reasons I thought Fleck should have passed on this offer, flip back to my Thursday blog. Sometimes I hate this job. Thursday night was a prime example. I went from a winner on four games to 0-3-1 on that quartet. Two overtimes where the dog goes down, a foul by the team that was leading with one second to play, and an 11-2 wrong way run at the ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Thursday 1/5/17

Don't do it, P.J. Western Michigan head football coach P.J. Fleck is about the hottest coach on the rise candidate in the game right now. Every time a power conference job opens up, Fleck's name is immediately brought up. Sure enough, the controversial firing of Tracy Claeys at Minnesota has spiked rumors that Fleck is the frontrunner to take over the helm of the Gophers. If I'm advising Fleck, I'm telling him in no uncertain terms to pass on this opportunity if it's offered. The reasons are, at least to this observer, crystal clear. First off, it's Minnesota. That's not meant to be insulting, but facts are facts. The Golden Gophers are not on a level playing field with Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin. There's no ceiling at those schools, they're all programs that are going to have national playoffs as a goal going into virtually every season. That's just the way it is. So while Minnesota might be a great destination for a rising coach, it's not where the ... More