Dave’s Free Play, Monday 8/26/13

  • August 26, 2013

Here we go? College football gets rolling in just a few days, and I’ve already made three plays from this week’s slate, with more to come.

There are loads of available resources for those making their own decisions as to what they should play. Starting point is to try and zero in on as many individual team insiders as you can. That includes bloggers in addition to the standard coverage you can receive from newspaper websites that cover specific schools. You’ll have to separate the wheat from the chaff as far as what’s relevant and what’s not on this count. But if you’re looking to analyze beyond statistics and trends, which I personally believe to be mandatory in college football, there’s no more important preparation step in terms of being ready to leap at the start of the season.

My college and NFL plays are available, and subscribers get exactly what I’m on myself. I also don’t wait till game day to send these out. Those on with me have already received the three I’m on so far, and we’re going to have all three at what will likely be better numbers than will be available on game day. That’s obviously of huge importance over the long haul. If you’re interested in what I’m offering, drop me a line at cokin@cox.net.

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Let’s continue with the pre-season follows and fades with today’s focus on the American Athletic Conference, otherwise known as the AAC or Big East Leftovers. It’s a 10-team loop for now, but probably won’t stay that way for long as at least three schools in this conference will be looking for a more upper class neighborhood to call home down the road.

Play On: South Florida doesn’t fit the profile of a team that’s supposed to improve. Some key performers have moved on, and that’s from a team that was only 3-9 in 2o12. But I really like the change at the top here. Willie Taggart did a great job at Western Kentucky and I consider him a major upgrade over Skip Holtz. Taggart appears to have put together a top quality staff as well. I like this team to be much more sound fundamentally, and with an enhanced attitude, don’t be surprised to see USF go bowling this season. I’ll be looking for spots to take the Bulls plus the points until the numbers adjust.

Play Against: I am still baffled as to why Connecticut went with Paul Pasqualoni as the replacement for Randy Edsall when the latter left for Maryland. The results to me have been entirely predictable as the Huskies, following four straight winning seasons with bowl bids, are now off back to back 5-7 campaigns. The half full glass Huskies fans might be encouraged by the fact this team was right there in several games last season, and weren’t far away from being 9-3. But I’m not at all enamored with this squad. The offense can’t be any worse, I suppose, and I like their secondary. But there are also lots of holes and I’m of the belief the Huskies will frequently be outcoached. A bad early start for a coach on the hot seat is a real possibility, and if that happens, things could get really ugly in Storrs.

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08/26 06:40 PM  MLB   (957) SAN DIEGO PADRES (958) ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Take: (957) SAN DIEGO PADRES

The more I see of Tyson Ross, the more I’m impressed with the Padres righty. Ross has really turned the corner this summer, and he has been one of the best pitchers in the game for the past several weeks.

The key for Ross has been dramatically improved command. He has mastered his slider, and in tandem with his heat, Ross now has a couple of really strong offerings. It’s also readily apparent that Ross has arrived mentally. He now has the look of a quality starter. In other words, I don’t think this is a short term fluke.

Interestingly, it might have been his most recent start that convinced me Ross is for real. He didn’t have his best stuff last Tuesday against the Pirates. The fact that he was able to still put together a quality start is a very good indicator. The ability to hang in and give the team a chance to win even when not in the groove is what separates the high end guys from the next level.

Ross should have a good chance to tame a Diamondbacks lineup off a very long series at Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Brandon McCarthy is struggling for the Snakes. He’s obviously not facing a powerhouse offense here, but the Friars did manage to rally for a nice marathon win of their own on Sunday, and that bodes well for them here.

This is also ran vs. contender, as it’s too soon to rule out the Diamondbacks as a wild card possibility. Yet the betting line is pretty cheap here, which might make the home team appealing to the masses. I prefer to ride the wave with Ross, so I’ll side with the Padres to grab the series opener this evening.