Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, August 28, 2015 at 1:51 PM
JIM SEZ NFL PRESEASON WEEK 3
OUR QUICK-HITTER WHAT-TO-WATCH COMMENTS FOR A HANDFUL OF SATURDAY'S GAMES ...
PLUS MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL CONFERENCE PREVIEWS AS WE EXAMINE THE PAC-12, THE AAC AND THE SUN BELT TOO
By Jim Hurley:
It's "go time" - don't 'ya think? After all, the NFL Preseason Week 3 games are here - the week where starters log heavy minutes and coaches often times play for keeps - plus note the 2015 College Football Season now is literally right around the corner with 10 on-the-board games slated for Thursday night and another handful of games on tap next Friday even before we ever get to a jam-packed Labor Day weekend of gridiron action.
Jim Hurley is ready for a slam-bang football season ahead! The College Football 2014 campaign swings into high gear with a full week/weekend card scheduled for Thursday, September 3rd and going right through Labor Day. You want to be in the winner's circle for all the big opening-week tilts with the college games beginning with South Carolina versus North Carolina (in Charlotte) next Thursday at 6 p.m. ET along with other key holiday weekend games such as Washington at #23 Boise State next Friday, along with #15 Arizona State versus Texas A&M (from Houston) and #20 Wisconsin versus #3 Alabama (from Arlington) next Saturday.
And the NFL Preseason Week 3 rolls on this weekend with national TV tilts such as Detroit at Jacksonville tonight, Seattle at San Diego tomorrow night and Arizona at Oakland on Sunday night. Make sure you're with Jim Hurley -- America's #1 Handicapper - for all the NFL, NCAA Football and Major-League Baseball winners. Check in right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. ET for the weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners. Go ahead and get with the Jim Hurley Network -- and join in on all the fun-and-profits right now!
NFL PRESEASON WEEK 3 -
Here's a batch of quick-hitter previews for Saturday's key NFL Preseason Week 3 games:
PITTSBURGH (1-2) at BUFFALO (1-1) - 4 p.m. ET
The Steelers need to re-jigger the offensive line after C Maurkice Pouncey (left ankle) was hurt last weekend against Green Bay and don't expect QB Ben Roethlisberger to be forced to stand in for more than 15-or-so plays here with severe O-line problems mounting. On the flip side, the Bills want to see which one of their quarterbacks - E.J. Manuel, Matt Cassel or Tyrod Taylor - is most capable of stretching the field with long balls.
NEW YORK JETS (1-1) at NEW YORK GIANTS (1-1) - 7 p.m. ET
Funny comment in one of the New York City tabloids this week that without one-time Jets/current Bills head coach Rex Ryan the whole lead-up to this "Snoopy Bowl" has been rather quiet ... unless you've been listening to Giants head coach Tom Coughlin moan about the injury-riddled mess that is his team's secondary to say nothing of a rather banged-up wide receiving corps. No WR Victor Cruz (calf) again here for the G-men, folks.
MINNESOTA (3-0) at DALLAS (0-2) - 7 p.m. ET
How about the fact the Vikings are gunning for a 5-and-oh preseason this summer with second-year QB Teddy Bridgewater (10-of-14 passing for 89 yards with one TD in last weekend's 20-12 win/cover against Oakland) really starting to "get it" but before you believe everything is fine-and-dandy with Mike Zimmer's crew you better watch PK Blair Walsh who was all over the place last weekend when he misfired on three field goals and one PAT. Hey, the Cowboys may not be ready to push any panic button but they've scored just 13 points in all in preseason-opening losses at San Diego and at San Francisco - and RB Darren McFadden's been a wreck this summer with hamstring woes and a three-carry/four-yard rushing total a week ago. Ugh!
CLEVELAND (0-2) at TAMPA BAY (1-1) - 7 p.m. ET
And you thought the Browns had QB issues in the past? Now, #1 QB Josh McCown has right ring finger problems and backup Johnny Manziel (elbow) is being kept on ice and so your guess is as good as ours as to whom Cleveland will turn to come opening day at the New York Jets.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay has been greatly encouraged by how born-again RB Doug Martin has been running the ball this summer - six carries for 59 yards last Monday night in the easy 25-11 win against sleepwalking Cincinnati - and the Bucs would like to see similar bursts here so that rookie QB Jameis Winston (see 90 yards passing against the Bengals) won't be shouldering all of this franchise load come opening day.
PHILADELPHIA (2-0) at GREEN BAY (1-1) - 8 p.m. ET
Everyone's gonna be keeping a close eye on Packers' WR Davante Adams to see if he's the "answer" following the season-ending knee injury suffered by WR Jordy Nelson - but don't expect QB Aaron Rodgers and his backups to split their gut trying to win here (note the Las Vegas smart guys/gals had Green Bay as a three-point betting favorite to start the week but now the Eagles are the 3-point betting favs). True, Philly's scored 76 points so far in wins against Indianapolis and Baltimore and did you know the overlooked Eagles defense picked off Ravens' QB Joe Flacco twice last weekend? Nope, Mr. Rodgers is going to play sparingly here (maybe just one series).
SEATTLE (0-2) at SAN DIEGO (2-0) - 8 p.m. ET, CBS
Prime-time action here on your flat-screen TVs and our Jim Hurley Network sources say the two-time defending NFC champion Seahawks are getting more than a little worried about the current holdout of S Kam Chancellor and an inferior offensive line - let's see if Seattle QB Russell Wilson plays just a quarter or so here.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEWS
The College Football Season kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 3rd and every day between now and then we'll bring you our Conference-by-Conference Previews in quick-hitter form. We continue here today with the Pac-12, American Athletic Conference and the Sun Belt:
Let's see ...The 2014 Heisman Trophy winner is gone from #7 Oregon; #8 USC's head coach seemingly cannot behave himself in public; and #13 UCLA and #15 Arizona State each are out to prove that this is "their year" after wrapping up solid 2014 campaigns with bowl wins.
It's gonna be a fun-filled season in the Pac-12 even if former Oregon QB Marcus Mariota - the landslide Heisman Trophy winner from a year ago - is tossing balls in the NFL but be sure the Ducks are not the only team in this league looking for new leadership at the position. Oregon's counting on transfer Vernon Adams to steer the ship back to a playoff berth while aforementioned UCLA is counting on a name from the past - (Jerry) Neuheisel - to get the Bruins back into the January bowl wars.
Maybe the most important player in this year's Pac-12 will be USC slinger Cody Kessler (3,826 yards passing and 39 TD) who avoids sacks/interceptions with the best of 'em and will be in that Heisman Trophy race from start to finish.
One other quarterback to watch is Cal's Jared Goff (3,973 yards passing) who gets UCLA, USC and Oregon in succession in late October/early November.
The still-fledgling American Athletic Conference has been brought up to 12 teams with the addition of Navy - so the AAC can play a conference championship game and right now conventional wisdom says we should expect a title game tilt between Cincinnati versus Memphis/Houston. P.S., could the UC Bearcats be a threat to play in a January bowl game?
Cincinnati QB Gunner Kiel was a once-upon-a-time Golden Domer at Notre Dame while S Zach Edwards (121 tackles last year) is a legit star on "D" but Memphis could upset the applecart if QB Paxton Lynch connects often with favorite targets Mose Frazier and Tevin Jones while Houston has a new head coach in former Ohio State key assistant Tom Herman - still don't know why Tony Levine was canned - and note the Coogs are home to both Cincy and Memphis.
It's amazing that Louisiana (the New Orleans Bowl) and Arkansas State (the GoDaddy Bowl) have gone to the same bowls for the past four consecutive seasons - but now both will get major challenges for those venues as league newcomer Appalachian State and Georgia Southern - are major threats to win the Sun Belt crown this season.
Maybe the single most-important player in this year's Sun Belt Conference is Texas State QB Tyler Jones (22 TDs and a 65 percent passer last year) - could he lead Dennis Franchione's team to a big bowl after the Bobcats were snubbed for a bowl following last year's 7-5 campaign?
NOTE: Lots more NFL and NCAA Football in tomorrow's weekend edition of Jim Sez.