Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 12:09 PM
COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S OPENING WEEKEND IS A WHILE AWAY, BUT WE’RE CHECKIN’ OUT THE TOP TILTS …
THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAMERS TAKE A BOW IN COOPERSTOWN THIS SUNDAY
By Jim Hurley:
Okay, so we know that you’ve circled your handy-dandy desk calender to show what’s on tap the first big weekend of this upcoming 2014 NCAA Football Season but here today in this weekend edition of Jim Sez we’ll zip ‘round the land to blabber about the top five games on the docket for Thursday, Aug. 28th through Monday, Sept. 1st … here goes:
THURSDAY, AUGUST 28 …
TEXAS A&M at SOUTH CAROLINA – No Johnny Manziel here to steal all the headlines and no DE Jadeveon Clowney too but this Aggies versus Gamecocks bash should be a bruiser in always-raucous Columbia. The Gamecocks begin Year 10 of the Steve Spurrier Era with yet another slam-your-mouth defense starring senior defensive tackle J.T. Surratt.
If the Gamecocks can slow down an Aggies attack that likely will count on frosh QB Kyle Allen to provide the rocket power, than it could be a real springboard game for Spurrier’s crew that stars WR Shaq Roland who averaged a nifty 18.5 yards per catch and scored five touchdowns a year ago.
Take note that South Carolina hosts Georgia two weeks from here and two SEC wins against ranked foes will go a long way in hurdling the ‘Cocks up the charts.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 29 …
BYU vs. UCONN – Here’s an ESPN tilt with some real intersectional feel as visiting BYU flies more than halfway across the land to play a Connecticut team that has Stony Brook and then Boise State all ivading the Nutmeg State in the season’s first three weeks of play.
The Huskies’ new head coach Bob Diaco – the former Notre Dame defensive coordinator – has worked hard to firm up a stop unit that brings back five players from a team that finished just 3-9 SU (straightup) last season.
On the flip side, BYU storms into Storrs with QB Taysom Hill ready/willing/able to zip in some strikes but it’s Cougars’ RB Jamaal Williams (1,233 yards rushing last season) who’s the prized gem of this BYU attack that scored 35-plus points in six different games in 2013.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 30
UCLA at VIRGINIA – Lots to like about this band of UCLA Bruins following on the heels of last season’s 10-3 SU season (and 9-4 against the spread too).
Jim L. Mora’s club is favored to get into this year’s Pac-12 Championship Game and to lead the way watch for RB/LB star Myles Jack who figures on plenty of double-duty work this year and remember he averaged seven yards a carry7 and scored seven touchdowns as a backup running back late last season.
If there’s something to cling onto with this Virginia squad – one that very much is playing for Mike London’s coaching life after last year’s shaky 2-10 SU campaign – it’s the presence of senior TB Kevin Parks who must be a 25-carry type guy for a Cavaliers team that simply threw way too many interceptions a year ago as QB David Watford – who may or may not win the competition this summer – aired 15 picks last year.
ARKANSAS at AUBURN – Not every year that the SEC plays a dynamite game in the season-opening weekend but here goes from War Eagle land as the visiting Arkansas Razorbacks may not be rated all that highly but Bret Bielema’s club could be looking for an upset special behind super soph RB Alex Collins who led the way a year ago with 1,026 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
No need to overhype this Auburn side that came up just three points short in that wild BCS Championship Game against Florida State. The Seminoles’ 34-31 win was a bummer for the ‘Burn but it showed how much grit that Gus Malzahn-coached club sported and now QB Nick Marshall and the rest of the Tigers will look to hammer out another big conference win with this quick-hitting, spread-option offense. Hey, keep a close eye on top-flight WRs Sammie Coates (902 receiving yards and 7 TDs) and “miracle-catch” guy Riccardo Louis who nabbed that 73-yard catch-and-run score that beat Georgia … remember?
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 …
MIAMI at LOUISVILLE – The annual ESPN Labor Day evening bash is a barnburner from the Bluegrass State where visiting Miami has some instant revenge at work. You’ll recall the U of M Hurricanes flubbed badly in a 36-9 loss against Louisville in last year’s Russell Athletic Bowl.
No QB Teddy Bridgewater to inflict any pain and suffering on this year’s cast of ‘Canes but Bobby Petrino’s club does boast an All-America type receiver in DeVante Parker for sports 1,800 receiving yards and some 28 touchdowns in his three years with the red-and-white.
Miami, meanwhile, never was the same last year after RB Duke Johnson suffered his broken ankle but all reports are that Johnson’s 100 percent after sitting out spring drills and if there’s a defender on the Miami side you wish to follow closely than try MLB Denzel Perryman who’s gonna do everything in his power to put the ‘Canes back on the defensive map after they ranked 89th in total defense among all FBS team a year ago.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are banging outs lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do is check in either right here online via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for the weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners.
Plus, the Football Season is right around the corner with the NFL Hall of Fame Game set for Sunday, August 3rd as the New York Giants battle the Buffalo Bills. It’s all part of the summertime action – can’t wait! Make sure you sign up today for the whole NFL Preseason … it’s always a major money-making time of the year for the Jim Hurley Network!
THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME WEEKEND
It’s been a long, long time since the Baseball Hall of Fame inducted some a star-studded cast and so let’s a salute to the six gentlemen who are Cooperstown-bound this weekend and a quickie comment about each one of ‘em:
Tom Glavine, LHP – His 305 career wins amaze when you consider he never did throw in the 90s but five-time 20-game winner was ultra-clutch and his Game 6 against Cleveland in the 1995 World Series remains one of the great single Fall Classic outings.
Greg Maddux, RHP – How about the fact that the four-year Cy Young reign he authored, Maddux was a composite 75-29 with a 1.98 ERA plus he finished with 18 Gold Gloves? The single-best pitcher of his era but – in truth – never a great post-season hurler.
Frank Thomas, 1B/DH – The best righthanded hitter in the 1990's, Thomas finished with 2,468 hits and 521 home runs and note his .419 on-base percentage was 20th all-time when he retired following the 2008 campaign.
In terms of the managers,
Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa all rightfully get their places into the Hall of Fame Museum this weekend but this is how we see ‘em while tossing out all the numbers:
Torre was the perfect fit for the mid-1990s New York Yankees but even with four titles in a five-year span the Bombers should have won more in the 2000s and didn’t (lost World Series in 2001 to Arizona and 2003 to Florida;
Cox won a championship in 1995 with a great Braves team but – as everyone well knows – this team should have won more with Maddux, Glavine and John Smoltz starring and so the Cox career may be Hall of Fame in nature but a tad short of illustrious;
Finally, LaRussa will get all the plaudits regarding his various innovations and lefty-righty bullpen moves but prior to his second title in St. Loo in 2011, we thought he should have had multiple championships as well (won it all in Oakland in 1989 and in St. Louis is 2006).
Single best career from any of these six? Has to Maddux at the top of the pack, no questions asked.
Note: More NFL News & Notes coming in the next edition of Jim Sez!