Hall Of Fame Game Preview - Possible College Undefeateds

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FOOTBALL IS BACK!!! HERE'S OUR HALL OF FAME GAME PREVIEW

CARDINALS-SAINTS COLLIDE IN CANTON SUNDAY NITE...PLUS THREE NFL TEAMS THAT REALLY WANT TO WIN THIS PRESEASON

By Jim Hurley:

Lots to get to in this edition of Jim Sez and so let's make it like any other "Football Friday" in our past with a game preview as we welcome back the National Football League with this here-and-now 2012 Preseason:

On Sunday Nite, it's ...ARIZONA vs. NEW ORLEANS (at Canton, OH) - 8 p.m. ET, NFL Network

The 2012 preseason begins in Fawcett Stadium with the N'Orleans Saints in the building ... but will this NFL season end with the Saints in their own building come Super Bowl 47?

Yes, the Super Bowl's in The Big Easy this season and the bounty-gagged Saints would love to "stick it" to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he unleashed some heavy-handed suspensions on this NFC South club including - of course - the season-long suspension of head coach Sean Payton and ditto for LB Jonathan Vilma.

So, while the NFL Network broadcast no doubt will spend mucho time on the Saints and this whole "Bounty Gate" deal we'll choose to take a few moments here to preview what New Orleans has in store for this preseason opener:

Newly-inked QB Drew Brees - no fan of Goodell, as you've likely heard in recent days - figures to get one offensive series here and maybe a second for interim head coach Joe Vitt's squad but let's keep an early eye on the placekicking battle on this team as one-time Super Bowl star Garrett Hartley is attempting to fend off left-footed vet John Kasay. Note that Hartley missed all of last year with a hip injury while Kasay was solid (see 28-of-34 FG makes) as the replacement and there's a feeling Hartley must show positive stuff early in these preseason games or he could lose the job.

Also, keep an eye peeled on DE Cameron Jordan who could be a big-time player for this Vilma-less defense. Jordan might also slide inside at times here and play some defensive tackle but even in a quarter's worth of action he could make his presence felt against this Arizona O-line.

Naturally, we've talked much this past week here in Jim Sez columns regarding the Arizona Cardinals quarterback battle between Kevin Kolb - the starter for this prime-time affair - and John Skelton and remember we pointed out that this duo combined to throw for 20 TDs and 22 INTs a year ago and no doubt the slinger that stays away from making the big-time INT this preseason has the better shot at landing the numero uno job.

Kolb and Skelton may be getting all the attention but let's watch for RB Ryan Williams who may get a couple of snaps here after missing all of last year as a rookie with a knee injury. Williams has turned heads this summer in camp with some dazzling runs/cuts.

P.S., here's some free advice to the Saints: Don't punt the ball near Arizona Pro Bowl return specialist Patrick Peterson because he knows everyone's watching this Hall of Fame clash!

Spread Notes - Arizona cranked out a winning pointspread mark last year with its 8-8-1 ATS (against the spread) log that featured upset wins against 13-point favorite Philadelphia, 2 ½-point fav St. Louis, 4-point favorite Dallas and 3 ½-point chalk-eater San Francisco as the Cardinals went a decent 6-4 spreadwise as pups. On the flip side, New Orleans registered a rollicking 12-4 versus the vig as betting favorites last year but note the saints finished up just 3-4 ATS as away chalk and a perfect 9-andpoh spreadwise as home favorites.

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are gearing up for a big-time NFL Preseason run all summer long and we'll get you started with the Side & Totals Winners of this Sunday's Hall of Fame Game in Canton between the Saints versus the Cardinals. Folks, it promises to be a very lucrative summer time of pigskin fun for Jim and his clients and so don't miss out on all the profits beginning this weekend.

Sign up today and get all the discount rates from America's #1 Handicapper! Make sure to check in with us on game days either right here online or else at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the NFL Preseason Winners plus get all the daily and nightly Major-League Baseball winners too, where we are 26-11 i the last 3 weeks. Come in for our Season Of A Century Football program, and get the Preseason and the resat of the baseball season FREE!

NFL PRESEASON REPORT

HERE'S THREE TEAMS THAT REALLY WANT TO STACK UP THE "W's" THIS SUMMER

Want to know the first step in handicapping NFL Preseason Games?

Find out who really wants to win 'em!

Okay, so it may not be so cut-and-dry but the fact of the matter is each/every NFL Preseason there are certain teams - normally based on how they under-performed the year before - that really take these summertime tilts seriously plus there are always other factors that play into this "want-to-win" theory such as quarterback battles (both for starters and for the second-string job too), a team's maturity level and/or a head coach that is looking to revive his career.

Toss 'em into the mix and you'll normally find a recipe for NFL teams that place importance on these "exhibitions" that may or may not go the way of the dinosaur sometime in the next 4 or 5 years.

This is not a be-all and end-all vote for these teams that they will cover the Las Vegas prices all summer long here in 2012 but we here at Jim Sez claim these three NFL teams deserve your attention:

BUFFALO - Was any NFL team hit worse with the injury bug than last year's Bills? The AFC East team had nearly 20 players kayoed for major chunks of time en route to last year's 6-10 SU (straight-up) season and now this summer there are some spirited battles for playing time and so that makes Buffalo a "team to watch" this preseason. Look for third-year head coach Chan Gailey's gang to emphasize winning this summer as it looks to wash away the taste of last year when this AFC East crew started out 3-0 and 4-1 SU in regular-season action before fading off the NFL radar screen with that aforementioned 6-10 SU mark. The addition of DE Mario Williams figures to emotionally jump-start this defense and you likely will see first- and second-stringers going longer than usual this summer with many former starters looking to regain their legs after missing so much time on injured reserve a year ago.

CHICAGO - The Bears didn't make it to the NFC playoff party last year despite a mid-season five-game SU winning streak and 7-3 SU start. So, word is out that 9th-year head coach Lovie Smith will be all business in the preseason affairs and that means veteran PK Robbie Gould will get plenty of action (right now the Bears don't even have a backup kicker in camp!) and there will be some heated competition on defense both along the D-line and in the Chitown secondary and so Smith could be going longer than usual with first- and second-string players. The fact that last year's Bears lost five of their final six regular-season games - the lone win was that meaningless 17-13 triumph at Minnesota in Week 17 play - has folks in the front office reaching for the panic button and so a summer filled with wins could calm down Second City fears.

MIAMI - Let's just say there doesn't figure to be a long "honeymoon" for the likes of Dolphins' first-year head coach Joe Philbin or his rookie QB Ryan Tannehill as both are expected to hit the ground running this preseason and that also goes for new offensive coordinator Mike Sherman who coached up Tannehill in his college days at Texas A&M. The Fish - who have been to just one playoff game in the past 10 years (see 27-9 home loss to Baltimore back in 2008) - followed up their back-to-back 7-9 SU seasons with a 6-10 SU stinker campaign a year ago and that included five double-digit losses (with four of them occurring in the first five games!) but owner Steve Ross believes this club right here and right now has playoff-caliber material and has been quoted as such and so getting a winning feel 'round camp is critical for this AFC East team.

NOTE: Our NFL Training Camp coverage rolls on in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez plus there's College Football and Major-League Baseball all the time too!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL ROUNDUP

SO WHO MIGHT BE PERFECT IN 2012? HERE'S FOUR TEAMS THAT ALL COULD GO UNBEATEN THIS YEAR (THAT'S USC, ALABAMA, LSU AND FLORIDA STATE)

By Jim Hurley:

Hey, the way things finally shook out in the 2011 College Football Season, the phrase "nobody's perfect" certainly applied:

Among the 120 FBS teams out there from coast-to-coast there wasn't a single team that finished unbeaten as BCS title-winner Alabama went 12-1 overall while the likes of Houston (13-1), LSU (13-1), Boise State (12-1) and Oklahoma State (12-1) all shined brightly but couldn't avoid stubbing their respective toes during their single-loss seasons.

Are there teams - or maybe just one team - that can shoot for the stars this year and look to finish without a blemish?

Ahh, wouldn't we all like to know right about now?

In today's College Football edition of Jim Sez - yes, we're now less than four weeks away from the opening night (August 30th) - here's a quartet of teams that would like to believe that they could be unbeaten at the close of this 2012 season.

Here's the potential "perfect" role call the way we see it here in the first weekend of August:

USC - Now that the various preseason top 25 polls have started to pop up here and there you're likely gonna be seeing the same four or five teams sitting at or near the top but most in-the-know folks believe the Southern Cal Trojans will be there on top of those polls come mid-January.

The Troy Boys are loaded - and just got richer with the addition of former Penn State RB Silas Redd (he could be a 1,500-yard rusher if given enough carries by pass-happy head coach Lane Kiffin) - with Heisman Trophy QB Matt Barkley (3,528 yards passing with 39 TDs and 7 INTs last year) ready/willing/able to utilize his many weapons but is there a fly in the ointment with this USC schedule?

Note that the Pac-12 team must play a September 15th road game at Stanford off a non-league road game at Syracuse and will either the game at UCLA (November 17th) or the regular-season ending tilt against Notre Dame (Nov. 24th) provide stumbling block material?

One scenario we could see: The Trojans run the table with a 12-and-oh regular season but get beat by either Oregon or Washington in the conference title game. Hmmm.

ALABAMA - To paraphrase South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier, last year's champs didn't even win the SEC but still won the national championship, so maybe it is tougher to win this league than it is to cop a national crown!

No doubt the Crimson Tide found a path to last year's BCS Championship Game "through the back door" but sixth-year head coach Nick Saban is hinting that won't be necessary this year with yet another super-loaded 'Bama bunch on hand in Tuscaloosa. There's no question that the always well-schooled Alabama defense will be great (duh!) but it's ultra-confident quarterback AJ McCarron (2,634 yards passing with 16 TDs and 5 INTs) who holds the key as attacking fellow SEC West defenses on third-down plays likely will make the difference between another BCS Championship Game appearance or a nice New Year's Day bowl game in the state of Florida.

The sked?

No doubt the season-opening road game at Michigan jumps right out at you but it again all likely comes down to the road game at LSU on the night of Nov. 3rd. Win that one and Saban's squad has a real chance to be perfect for the second time in four years (see 14-and-oh back in 2009).

LSU - The 2012 preseason coaches poll was just released the other day (see below) and these Bayou Bengals were ranked #1 despite the fact they'll be led by a new quarterback (although that might be a good thing considering the mess left by last year's tandem).

The Les Miles-led Tigers have their usual abundance of team speed - especially on defense - and the usual stable full of quality running backs but what figures to make-or-break a potential perfect season (besides that aforementioned early November clash against archrival Alabama) is a schedule that pits the Bengals against hosts Auburn (Sept. 22nd), Florida (Oct. 6th) and Arkansas (Nov. 23rd) as the odds of winnin' all three of these tough SEC road games remains on the short side.

If expected quarterback starter Zach Mettenberger - an inexperienced 6-foot-5 junior from the state of Georgia - winds up showing great maturity and poise at the position, than maybe LSU will be able to topple all these tough road foes - a big "if" indeed!

FLORIDA STATE - It's hard to believe we're coming up on Year Three of the Jimbo Fisher Era in Tallahassee but it's true and now this yeller/screamer coach has some Bobby Bowden-like season expectations to live up to following on the heels of 10-4 and 9-4 campaigns.

As you can see from the coaches poll below, the Seminoles find themselves ranked #7 overall while heading into this 2012 season and note there's really only one ACC road game on this schedule that should be a major pain (see Nov. 8th at Virginia Tech) - otherwise the 'Noles should be able to handle the likes of N.C. State, Miami and Maryland in their own respective backyards.

A Florida State defense that last year held its final eight foes to below 20 points in each game is getting a lot of "love" from media folks but just how well FSU handles Clemson WR/KR Sammy Watkins in that Sept. 22nd duel at home probably contains the answer as to whether or not the Seminoles have a shot at perfection this year or not.

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are gearing up for a big-time NFL Preseason run all summer long and we'll get you started with the Side & Totals Winners of this Sunday's Hall of Fame Game in Canton between the Saints versus the Cardinals. Folks, it promises to be a very lucrative summer time of pigskin fun for Jim and his clients and so don't miss out on all the profits beginning this weekend.

Sign up today and get all the discount rates from America's #1 Handicapper! Make sure to check in with us on game days either right here online or else at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the NFL Preseason Winners plus get all the daily and nightly Major-League Baseball winners too, where we are 26-11 i the last 3 weeks. Come in for our Season Of A Century Football program, and get the Preseason and the resat of the baseball season FREE!

THE USA TODAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL COACHES POLL

Here's the recently-release USA Today Coaches Poll that we referenced earlier in this Jim Sez College Football column. Note that half of the top 10 come from the mighty SEC (that's #1 LSU, #2 Alabama, #6 Georgia, #9 South Carolina and #10 Arkansas) while we claim the real dark horses to watch in terms of this year's national title chase include #14 Clemson and #20 Virginia Tech ... you've now been forewarned!

1. LSU
2. ALABAMA
3. USC
4. OKLAHOMA
5. OREGON
6. GEORGIA
7. FLORIDA STATE
8. MICHIGAN
9. SOUTH CAROLINA
10. ARKANSAS
11. WEST VIRGINIA
12. WISCONSIN
13. MICHIGAN STATE
14. CLEMSON
15. TEXAS
16. NEBRASKA
17. TCU
18. STANFORD
19. OKLAHOMA STATE
20. VIRGINIA TECH
21. KANSAS STATE
22. BOISE STATE
23. FLORIDA
24. NOTRE DAME
25. AUBURN

NOTE: Our NFL Training Camp coverage rolls on in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez plus there's College Football and Major-League Baseball all the time too!

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