Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 12/28/14

  • December 28, 2014

It’s the final day of NFL regular season action. That means time to say goodbye to a handful of head coaches who will be either shown the door, or who will simply walk away.

Jim Harbaugh is reportedly done with the 49ers, and the fact the team fell apart after entering the season with high expectations, means few tears will be shed by team management. My opinion from the first inkling that Harbaugh’s time with the 49ers was running out was that he would end up at Michigan, and that’s now looking like it could be close to a done deal.

Rex Ryan has apparently started cleaning out his office at Jets headquarters. Marc Trestman is now a favorite to get canned in Chicago. I think Tom Coughlin will finish up his highly successful tenure with the Giants today (and I expect a big effort from his team, by the way). The loser of the Panthers/Falcons battle might be gone, with Atlanta’s Mike Smith almost certainly in a win or else scenario. I would not rule out Lovie Smith getting the axe in Tampa Bay, in spite of being there for only one horrendous season.

So Monday should be an action packed day as far as the NFL coaching carousel goes. But there’s a major rift taking place at a university that could be about to completely blow up.

Keep your eyes on what’s taking place at Utah. Athletic department sources are trying to downplay it, but I’ve heard from two very solid contacts that head coach Kyle Whittingham and A.D. Chris Hill have reached the point of no return. This is not sudden. Whittingham was apparently very unhappy with a lack of extensions and dollars for assistants prior to this season even starting, and the situation has intensified.

If Whittingham is on his way out of Utah, two conclusions can be immediately made. One is that Chris Hill has no clue about how lucky he is to have a coach as talented as Whittingham. The other is that a big job that’s perhaps not open right now will open very suddenly. I believe Whittingham is one of the best head coaches in the game and he’d be a red hot commodity if available.

In any event, the issue at Utah is one to definitely watch!


A bit of a heater taking place right now, with the Friday sweep followed up with a 5-1 Saturday. That included a 3-0 bowl roll and this is now turning into a very nice post-season, although I’m still gnashing my teeth over that Western Kentucky disaster earlier this week.

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Portland hit a late three to get the outright win in its Saturday WCC duel with San Diego as yesterday’s free play. I already posted an NFL comp earlier this week, so I’ll try another college basketball game today.

12/28 12:00 PM   CBB   (821) BOWLING GREEN  at  (822) SOUTH FLORIDA

Take: (821) BOWLING GREEN +1.5

Conference play is here, and that makes the majority of the non-conference wrap up games unplayable for me. It’s just too tough to get a read on these games for the most part. But if I think I’ve got a real incentive on one side in a particular matchup, I’m more than willing to give it a shot.

Bowling Green has a date with South Florida today. The Falcons should have no trouble recalling last season’s meeting with the Bulls. Bowling Green got pretty well nailed on its home court in a 75-61 defeat. I’m sure they’d like to return the favor here.

South Florida is in transition. They have a highly regarded new coach in Orlando Antigua, but what they don’t have yet is a highly regarded roster. Antigua is going to turn this program around. He’s going to recruit well and I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t succeed with the Bulls. But that’s down the road.

For the time being, South Florida remains a study of mediocrity. They also continue to be an awful home team against the number. The Bulls are a woeful 7-22 ATS in their last 29 lined home games. It’s not difficult to see why, as in addition to not having lots of talent, they also don’t have lots of fans. Watch a game at the Sun Dome and the lack of energy is obvious. With the students still on break, it figures to be a mighty quiet building here.

Bowling Green is no great shakes, but first-year head coach Chris Jans has to be pleased with what he’s received from his players thus far. Aside from a terrible game last week against Ferris State, the Falcons have surpassed early expectations.

With the road team off its worst performance of the season and also in possession of a revenge motive, I expect a win from Bowling Green today. I’ll be looking to back the Falcons as a small dog in this one.