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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, August 3, 2016 at 2:24 PM



If you’re looking ahead to Sunday night’s Hall of Fame Game showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts, than keep in mind we’ll see starters for just a brief period of time – if at all, in some cases.

Still, plenty of interesting items to check out such as what wide receivers the Packers will be eying closely as WR Jordy Nelson – injured in a preseason game at Pittsburgh last August and then out for the year with a wrecked knee – won’t play in any of these exhibition games here in 2016 and so keep an eye peeled on guys such as Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis who could be dark horse “fantasy league” type guys this season and difference-makers on third-down plays.

Meanwhile, the Colts say that rookie C Ryan Kelly (Alabama) won’t suit up for this H.O.F. Game with a strained left shoulder – he’s day-to-day after suffering the injury in last Sunday’s practice – and that’s too bad ‘cause Indianapolis really wants to get this offensive line straightened out ASAP. It was a major problem spot a year ago and the Colts are counting on Kelly to be a “glue guy” right from the start.

Here’s a couple of other topics to check out as we begin to near the start of the NFL Preseason …

There’s plenty of new offensive/defensive coordinators in the league where they play for pay as we pointed out in one of our Jim Sez columns last week (see July 27th edition) but we’re particularly interested in what gives in Tennessee where long-time and much-travelled NFL assistant Terry Robiskie will call the shots as offensive coordinator. Will Robiskie call more running plays for mobile second-year QB Marcus Mariota and will this team run more spread offense? Right now we say Mariota could be a star providing Robiskie takes the gloves off this former Heisman Trophy winner.

In Philadelphia, the team’s new defensive coordinator is Jim Schwartz who was the one-time head coach of the Detroit Lions and the one-year-and-done defensive coordinator in Buffalo under blustery Rex Ryan. No doubt Schwartz has his work cut out for ‘em with a unit that last year ranked 30th overall – the Eagles were 29th against the rush (allowed 135 ground yards per game) and 27th in the league against the pass (yielded 267 aerial yards a game) – but with the likes of newly-inked DT Fletcher Cox and a linebacker/secondary corps that surely underachieved last year you could see the Birds toughen up here after allowing 30-plus points in five of their final seven games in 2015.

Folks, Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers want to welcome you to the start of the 2016 Football Season. Okay, so it all actually begins this Sunday with the NFL’s annual Hall of Fame Game between the Packers versus the Colts and then there’s another four weeks of money-making NFL Preseason Games that follow while the College Football campaign swings into gear later this month.

Also, take note that America’s #1 Handicapper continues to bang out lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do is check in either right here at or 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 and get all the Football & Baseball winners … can’t beat that, right?


We plan on digging into all the major-college conference previews in the next couple of weeks as everyone continues to bone up on this upcoming FBS season that actually kicks off Friday, August 26th with three-TD favorite California at Hawaii and then note Thursday, September 1st there will be a slew of games including South Carolina at Vanderbilt and Oregon State at Minnesota before we go full speed ahead with a Labor Day Weekend chock full of great College Football games (see Clemson vs. Auburn, UCLA vs. Texas A&M, LSU vs. Wisconsin from Lambeau Field and USC vs. Alabama in  the Cowboys Classic in Arlington). Good stuff!

Hey, how about checking out a batch of College Football Pointspread Busts the past couple of years?

HAWAII – We mentioned up above the Rainbow Warriors will help kick off this upcoming 2016 College Football season but can this 50th state squad perk up its ATS (against the spread) stats under rookie head coach Nick Rolovich? Hawaii enters this campaign at 8-16-1 ATS the past two years including last year’s season-ending six-game spread losing streak. P.S., Hawaii is 1-10 spreadwise in its last 11 games when allowing 25-plus points.

KANSAS – Can these Jayhawks ever crank out a winning spread season? This Big 12 team is a collective 29-48-1 ATS since the start of the 2009 season and that includes last year’s ugly 2-9-1 spread season. No wonder this program is truly lost … and how about the fact Kansas failed to cover last year as 45-, 33-, 39.5-, and 40-point underdogs!

OREGON STATE – Once upon a time the Beavers were bowl regulars (see six bowls in eight games between the years 2006-thru-2013) but lately they’ve simply been pointspread bums as evidenced by the back-to-back 2-8-1 and 3-9 ATS campaigns the past two years. Can you guys stop anyone out there in Corvallis? This Pac-12 team allowed 52, 52, 54 and 41 points in its final four games a year ago … egads!

TEXAS A&M – Now here’s a team that you likely didn’t think was part of the pointspread bust pack but the Aggies have gone 4-9, 7-4, 4-8, 4-8 and 5-8 ATS the past five seasons for a 24-37 spread log since the start of the 2011 campaign and maybe fifth-year head coach Kevin Sumlin needs to rally an offense that last year scored 25-plus points only twice in its final eight games.

VIRGINIA TECH – The Frank Beamer Era ended the day-after-Christmas with a thrilling 55-52 non-cover win against two-TD underdog Tulsa in the Independence Bowl and the fact of the matter there were lots of non-covers for the Hokies the past five years under Beamer. Virginia Tech heads into this season a cumulative 22-38-2 ATS and lots of reasons why this slippage beginning with shaky special teams – say what! – and less-than-physical defenses. Let’s see if that changes under new boss-man Justin Fuente, late of the Memphis Tigers.

NOTE: More NFL Preseason news plus lots more in the next edition of Jim Sez.

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