Cokin’s Corner, Sunday 10/29/17

  • October 29, 2017

I’ve been handicapping sports for several decades. That said, there’s rarely a day that goes by when I don’t second guess myself for something I did or didn’t do. That’s the nature of this beast. It’s like golf in a way. No matter how well you might play in any particular round, there’s inevitably going to be something you’ll feel you should have done better. Perfection will always be an impossible dream.

Here’s a good example of what I mean. One of Saturday’s games was a CUSA clash between UAB and Southern Mississippi. The Blazers have returned to college football with somewhat surprising results. UAB had managed to win four of its seven games heading into yesterday’s action. The road results have been a bit sketchy but it’s also worth noting two of their losses were by a combined four points.

Southern Mississippi arrived back home with three straight wins to get to 5-2, as the Golden Eagles continue their resurgence under well regarded head coach Jay Hopson. The Eagles were also off a spectacular comeback OT win at Louisiana Tech. Southern Miss erased an 11-point deficit in the final three minutes against the Bulldogs and it seemed like it should be all systems go for this game with UAB.

But in fact, it was also a real possibility that Southern Miss might be flat as the proverbial pancake heading back to Hattiesburg fat and happy. And that’s exactly what took place as the unheralded Blazers spoiled the ¬†party with a resounding 30-12 victory.

You can also make a similar case that Fresno State was a bit full of itself after two spectacular wins against New Mexico and San Diego State. The Bulldogs were huge chalk against a reeling UNLV entry that was also missing its starting quarterback. If you watched the proceedings, it was evident early on that Fresno State was not ready to play a tough game against the Rebels. They were sloppy from the outset, there was almost no energy on the sidelines, and the Bulldogs ended up getting bit.

Full disclosure, while I recognized what might happen in each of these games, I pulled the trigger on neither. I’ll give myself a pass on the Fresno game as I thought there was a legit chance UNLV might wave the white flag off the second half disasters vs. Air Force and Utah State. But not getting involved on a Southern Miss fade was a flat out blunder.

The idea is to live and learn, and hopefully I did so on Saturday.

Not much of a day for me on Saturday. 4-5-1 on the college gridiron, net loss of about one unit. There were a couple of bad beats to be sure, but the push was fortunate and I think I did a lousy job overall. I’m confident I’ll bounce right back with a strong college slate next week, but I’ve got to prove that rather than just say it in print.

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The free play on New Mexico State looked good for most of the game. But a superior Arkansas State entry got hot when it counted, posted three scores in about five minutes and ended up winning comfortably. Nice try by the Aztecs but they simply aren’t good enough to beat Arkansas State and I was on the wrong side. The NFL comp was posted yesterday. Here’s a side I’m looking at on Sunday in the NBA.



Orlando is looking like an improved entry in the early going. Standout wins in blowouts over Cleveland and San Antonio have fueled optimism that the Magic are a team on the rise.

I won’t argue with that assessment. But this is also a young team that might be prone to letdowns off wins vs. high level teams. Actually, that’s already happened in the early going on one occasion and I suspect it could take place here as well.

Charlotte has a chance to be an okay team, although I can’t say I’m overly impressed with their break out of the starting gate. One well respected site that does an excellent job with its projections has already lowered their total wins forecast for Charlotte by 2.5 games from where it was prior to the start of the campaign.

Nevertheless, I would look at the home side here. If the Magic play at the level they did vs. the Cavaliers and Spurs, I would assume I’ll be in trouble. But given the less intensity displayed after the win vs. the Cavs, I would not be surprised at all to see something similar today as the Magic hit the road. That means I’m leaning Hornets minus the points in today’s hookup.