McDonald's Nuggets: Hot takes, predictions and more
Rivals.com analyst Dan McDonald prepares you for the weekend with a five-pack of nuggets. Hot takes, predictions, recruiting notes and more can be found in the first edition of his weekly column.
HOT TAKE: UCLA JOB ISN'T ALL THAT
If I was a college head coach with good stability in a power conference right now, I wouldn’t touch the UCLA job which is open after the dismissal of Steve Alford a week and a half ago. I just don’t think that job is all it is cracked up to be for a number of reasons. For a program that has had all the past success that the Bruins have had, how the heck do they not charter flights for road games? That’s a joke. Ben Howland got fired right after winning the Pac-12 regular season title. It just seems to me the expectations are out of control there, and I’d have a hard time leaving a comfortable job for all that comes with the UCLA job.
PREDICTION TIME: UVA MAKES THE FINAL FOUR
I’m doubling down on this. I said it in one of our Rivals Roundtable’s a while back, but I think this is the year where Virginia and Tony Bennett finally reach the Final Four. The Cavaliers have been one of the most dominant college basketball programs over the past five years. In the ACC landscape, they are right there with Duke and North Carolina, despite not recruiting at the same level as those programs. A late game meltdown against Syracuse cost them two years ago and last year they became the first 1-seed to lose in the first round. Those heartbreaks are going to fuel a big run for Virginia this year, and quite possibly to a national title.
RECRUITING NOTE: CHECKING IN ON ANT MAN
I went to see Anthony Edwards, the No. 3 prospect in the 2019 Rivals150, on Tuesday night. He was dominant as usual, and provided plenty of “wow” moments to get fans out of their seats. The school that has generated the most buzz all along with Edwards has been Florida State, and a lot of that came from Edwards himself early in the process. Over the past month or so, it seems the momentum has shifted towards Tom Crean’s Georgia Bulldogs. Edwards used his first and only official visit so far to see Georgia. I recently switched my FutureCast pick from Florida State to Georgia based on a lot of the information I’m getting. I don’t think we’re terribly far away from a decision here, but I do think Crean and his staff will have to sweat out at least one or two more official visits -- the other finalists are Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina -- before a decision is made.
This week I'm going off topic to take a look at the NFL. I say take the Colts (+5). They’ve been playing playoff games for weeks now, and could get an outright win here. Take the Cowboys (+7) and maybe sprinkle some on the money line. That Cowboys defense is salty. I like the Chargers (+4) and again maybe throw some on the money line. Chargers just have better players than the Patriots. Take the points again with the Eagles (+8) for the same reason as the Colts. Eagles have been in playoff mode for a month now and will keep this within a touchdown.
HOTTY TODDY, OLE MISS IS THE TEAM OF THE WEEK
This is an easy call for me. Ole Miss has started off 2-0 in the SEC under new coach Kermit Davis. What happened the last time the Rebels started off 2-0 in the SEC? They won the SEC Tournament in 2013. Now I’m not saying I think Ole Miss will replicate that success this year, but Wednesday night’s win over Auburn was really impressive. More than just what the team looks like on the court, it appears the fan base has been energized by the success. With a quality recruiting class in place too, the future certainly looks bright in Oxford.