Dave’s Free Play, Monday 9/30/13

  • September 30, 2013

Very nice Sunday in the NFL for me, with a 4-1 result. The Jets were a big miss, but the Browns, Bills, Lions and what was also the free play on the Chargers all came through. Overall, a solid week on the gridiron and I’ll likely be firing early on a few games this week on the college side.

While you can purchase my weekly and monthly packages right here using the “buy now” feature, a better idea would be to contact me via email at cokin@cox.net, as I’m going to run a special intro offer for the month of October. You’ll save a few bucks off the regular rate, plus I’ll also be including my baseball playoffs as well as the NHL.  Get in touch for all the details.

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Adios, Lane Kiffin. It’s been pretty much all downhill for Kiffin since abruptly leaving Tennessee, and I imagine Vols fans are not shedding any sympathy tears for their former coach. Kiffin inherited some problems that were clearly not his fault at USC. But he also did a poor job coaching this squad. I  had thought he would finish out the season, but after watching the team fall apart against Arizona State on Saturday evening, the firing yesterday wasn’t particularly shocking.

The rumor mill is churning at full speed already as to who’s next for the Trojans. I see Jack Del Rio as the favorite. There’s no question that Jeff Fisher should be on the USC wish list, but unless he ends up on the hot seat with the Rams, I don’t see him as a real possibility. Fisher is making $7 million with St. Louis, and to my knowledge, he’s never even expressed any interest in leaving the pros for a college gig.

Others in the early mix are 49ers OC Greg Roman and Vanderbilt head man James Franklin. But Del Rio looks like the probable target to me. He still has strong ties to his alma mater, he has the head coaching experience and name appeal, and I’m not sure he has any real prospects for a top job in the NFL.

There’s no need for USC to rush to judgement on this hire. It’s a monster gig that comes with pressure, but there’s also a national title potential that doesn’t exist at most schools.  I’d be surprised if a quick decision gets made. But in the end, I will side with the apparent chalk here and will expect Del Rio to be the next head football coach at USC.

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The free play run is now at 16-4 over the last 20 days, and the football roll now stands at 9-1. Here’s a peek at tonight’s AL Play-in game between the Rays and Rangers.

09/30 05:05 PM  MLB   (981) TAMPA BAY RAYS (982) TEXAS RANGERS

Take: (982) TEXAS RANGERS

David Price is a better pitcher than Martin Perez. Joe Maddon is a better game manager than Ron Washington. If you want to end the discussion right there, then it would probably make sense to back the Tampa Bay Rays to get past the Texas Rangers in what amounts to the play-in before the play-in game.

Unfortunately for the Rays, this is not just about the starting pitching or dugout strategy. Once the other keys start to get factored in, I can see plenty of reasons to start looking at the home dog Rangers.

Texas has the better team form right now. They got hot in the final week, while the Rays faltered with Friday and Saturday losses at Toronto, and nearly coughed up a huge lead on Sunday. The Rangers are crushing lefty pitching right now, while Tampa Bay has struggled a bit with southpaws lately. Texas has the much better current form as far as the bullpen is concerned.

Also, for what it’s worth, Price has had all kinds of past trouble with the Rangers in this ballpark. That’s not especially significant to me, but it certainly cannot be looked upon as a positive. On the flip side, while Perez has leveled off some recently and lacks Price’s big game experience, he’s going to be unfamiliar to most of the Rays hitters.

I’m not surprised to see Price and the Rays favored here. The bettors figure to be siding with the bigger star, and that’s the Rays lefty. Personally, I make this game almost dead even. I’m not big on searching for value in a one and done scenario such as this. Value is huge over a full season, but in an isolated spot that’s not as much of a factor to me. Nevertheless, I am always going to prefer getting what I believe is as much bang for the bucks as possible. With that in mind, while it’s definitely not a strong opinion, I will side with the home dog Rangers to survive with the win.