Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, August 22, 2016 at 10:49 AM
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL AP TOP 25 IS OUT - AND WE HAPPILY WEIGH IN ON ALL THE TEAMS ...
NFL PRESEASON REPORT: KEY NEWS/NOTES FROM THIS WEEKEND'S GAMES
So, is it a blessing or a curse to be named the #1 team in the season-opening Associated Press Top 25 poll?
Well, recent history tells us that since the 1999 season, only two teams that started the year off at #1 finished as national champions - see the 1999 Florida State Seminoles and the 2004 USC Trojans ... okay, so there's your "blessing" or "curse" answer, eh?
No shocker that the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide sits atop the heap to begin matters this year with last year's title runner-up - the Clemson Tigers - right there at #2 with Oklahoma (a playoff participant a year ago) there at #3.
Hey, we don't mean to "go negative" but let's just say there are flaws with each/every team in this AP Top 25 and our one-liners here in today's Jim Sez will get across the point that nobody's perfect (and maybe nobody, indeed, will be perfect at year's end even though somebody's gonna wear the crown)!.
Here's the AP Top 25 (with first place votes in parentheses) and pertinent comments:
1. ALABAMA (33) - One of these days the quarterback situation isn't gonna work out just right for Nick Saban's crew.
2. CLEMSON (16) - Everything went just right for last year's team and it still didn't cop the national title.
3. OKLAHOMA (4) - When push comes to shove, this Sooners' defense comes up short
4. FLORIDA STATE (5) - Let's just say RB Dalvin Cook needs a 2,000-yard season just to get the 'Noles into the playoffs.
5. LSU (1) - Heat's on head coach Les Miles but when can you trust 'em at crunch time? Never
6. OHIO STATE (1) - Maybe the Buckeyes will wish they had QB depth this year.
7. MICHIGAN (1) - At least one or two of the road games at Michigan State, Iowa and Ohio State will seal the Wolves' fate
8. STANFORD - Don't you just know teams will be salivating to stop Heisman hopeful RB Christian McCaffrey.
9. TENNESSEE - Folks, if we hear one more "expert" claim the Vols are the "team to beat" in the SEC East, we're gonna gag on our corn dog!
10. NOTRE DAME - Need we say anything after the weekend the Irish just had off the field. Bad boys, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
11. OLE MISS - Something tells us QB Chad Kelly is gonna get his lunch eaten a few times this year
12. MICHIGAN STATE - Might be the weakest Sparty edition in years, really.
13. TCU - The post-QB Trevone Boykin Era won't be pretty
14. WASHINGTON - Might be the Pac-12 toughest sked and Huskies could actually lose all five of its road games.
15. HOUSTON - Everyone was giddy after winning the Peach Bowl but Oklahoma might dunk the Coogs' title hopes right out of the starting gate
16. UCLA - Count on the Bruins' kicking game being a major deficiency in '16.
17. IOWA - Last year's magical season goes pooof this time around
18. GEORGIA - The Kirby Smart Era will have plenty of bumps in Year One.
19. LOUISVILLE - Hope the Cards stick with one quarterback (see Lamar Jackson) after that silly revolving door a year ago
20. USC - The Troy Boys could use less drama this time around and better tackling (allowed 25.7 ppg last year).
21. OKLAHOMA STATE - Solid team, solid coach but when is Okie State ever really a national title contender
22. NORTH CAROLINA - Heels could have losing season if they don't handle those early away games.
23. BAYLOR - Major mess for new coach/good guy Jim Grobe. Good luck
24. OREGON - The Ducks surrendered nearly 38 ppg last year and new DC Brady Hoke ain't no Einstein.
25. FLORIDA - Can we see some offensive imagination this year?
As you well know, the College Football 2016 campaign swings into high gear on Friday, August 26th when California battles Hawaii in Sydney, Australia and then there's a full week/weekend card scheduled for Thursday, September 1st and going right through Labor Day. Folks, you definitely want to be in the winner's circle for all the big opening-week tilts such as #2 Clemson versus Auburn, #5 LSU versus Wisconsin, #3 Oklahoma vs. #15 Houston and #1 Alabama vs. #20 Houston - all of these games are on Sept. 3rd and there's plenty of exciting tilts before and after that key football Saturday.
And remember the NFL Preseason Week 3 card rolls on this Thursday-thru-Sunday with national TV tilts such as Atlanta at Miami (Thursday on NBC), Cleveland at Tampa Bay (Friday on CBS) and that Sunday tripleheader (Fox twin-bill and Cincinnati at Jacksonville at night on NBC). Take note that Jim Hurley -- America's #1 Handicapper - also continues to bang out lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do to win in the NFL Preseason, NCAA Football and MLB is to check in either right here online 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 ... can't beat that, right?
NFL PRESEASON NOTES
Here's some of the key News/Notes from the NFL Preseason games played last Friday/Saturday ... remember we'll begin our NFL Preseason Week 3 coverage in the next edition of Jim Sez:
It looks like the Denver Broncos are growing closer to making Trevor Siemian their starting quarterback - and it's not as if he's "won" the job.
Siemian (10-of-14 passing for 75 yards) aired a pick six in Denver's ugly 31-24 home loss against 6.5-point underdog San Francisco last Saturday night but Mark Sanchez (10-of-17 passing for 120 yards) was worse with a pair of lost fumbles - and there's no way the Broncos are gonna start first-round draftee QB Paxton Lynch just yet in the Week 1 tilt against Carolina. Hmmm, could team head honcho John Elway be kicking himself for not getting Brock Osweiler signed or perhaps not inking some other veteran free-agent slinger? ...
Arizona is supposed to be a legit Super Bowl contender this year but last Friday's 19-3 loss at 2-point home dog San Diego was a definite downer - and it's not as if everyone's favorite fantasy league player RB David Johnson (five yards rushing on three carries) was anything to write home about. Okay, so it was a "meaningless" preseason game but the Redbirds have registered just one touchdown through two weeks of summertime play and that slightly overrated receiving corps has not done much either ...
Finally, note that we will enter NFL Preseason Week 3 play with NFL Betting Favorites at 10-20-0 ATS (against the spread) with two Pick 'Ems while "Overs" are 16-15-1 ATS for you totals players. For what it's worth, last year after two weeks (plus a Hall of Fame Game) of Preseason action the Betting Favs were 20-12-0 spreadwise with one Pick 'Em while "Overs" stood at 16-17-0 vig-wise ... just sayin'!.