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July 24, 2016

Hang On! Footballs On The way

by Larry Leek

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For all football fans, going from the offseason to the preseason can seem like an eternity. That all will finally come to an end soon when the NFL  kicks off the preseason as it does every year with it’s annual Hall Of Fame Game on Sunday August 7th  (just 14-Days from today) when The Green Bay Packers will take on the  Indianapolis Colts (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET).

The following Saturday August 13th will feature the Dallas Cowboys at the  Los Angeles Rams (ESPN, 8 p.m.) in a game marking the return of the Rams in Los Angeles after moving back from St. Louis after last season.

Los-Angeles-Rams-LogoEven though preseason is meaningless as far as the post season is concerned when the records are reset at the beginning of the regular season, its still football and for most fans by the time preseason rolls around the hunger for football has grown so that football in any form or fashion makes it too hard to resist.

College football on the other hand is set to begin on Friday night, August 26th (ESPN, 10:00 PM, ET), when the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors  play at the California Golden Bears .

The following Saturday Sept. 3rd marks a full slate of college games with the NFL kicking off the regular season the following day on Sunday Sept. 4th  and from there it’s OFF to the races.

This Is Whats On My Sports Mind about this subject:

First I must apologize for our being away for such a long period. It is of course this old Sports Mind’s fault.

Once I returned home after 3.5 years working out of town for my firm my hours exploded demanding most of my time, I spent countless hours traveling to and from the project (5-hrs a day, 1,500 miles + a week), plus hours on the project (10 or more most days) made it impossible to find enough time to write articles.

Now that I’m back home plus not having to drive so much everyday, hopefully I can get back to writing more often and what better time than just In Time for the season kickoffs (Ric Flair WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!).

Now back to football:

My Sports Mind hopes MY Cowboys and South Carolina Gamecocks are able to turn things around this year. South Carolina has a new head coach in Will Muschamp (Florida, Auburn) who was hired by the university after former head coach Steve Spurrier abruptly retired last October after the Gamecocks loss to LSU and dropping to 0-4 in the SEC.

For now I’ll leave you with my favorites to win it all on both levels just for kicks. Instead of this Sports Mind giving you my predictions for division/conference winners lets get to the nitty gritty shall we?

For the NFL with the Denver Broncos  losing Peyton Manning to retirement its not likely that the team will repeat at least to this Sports Mind. I feel the Broncos are much further out of the picture even with the #1 defense in the NFL last year. I cannot see them challenging with QB, Mark Sanchez at the helm and rookie QB, Paxton Lynch,  whom I happen to like very much is simply not ready just yet.

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Former Bronco QB, Peyton Manning

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Denver Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez

Looking down the list of NFL teams you have to wonder how much QB, Tom Brady’s four game suspension will effect the New England Patriots out the gate with QB, Jimmy Garoppolo subbing for Brady in his absence. IF the Patriots can manage to win all four then I would have to give the edge to the Patriots to win it all BUT if they finish below .500 during that stretch then it could be tough for them.

Even though the Carolina Panthers  were near perfect during the regular season finishing 15-1-0 during the regular season and making it to the Super Bowl, it all came unglued against the Broncos Super Defense. This Sports Mind cannot see the Panthers repeating last years accomplishment, I do believe they have a good chance of making it back to the SB and who knows the results could be different, even though I’m not picking them to do so.

If you scroll down the list of teams you can see for your self there is NO clear cut favorite this coming season so for now I’ll go along with MY Dallas Cowboys  to win their 9th Super Bowl and first since the 90’s. If rookie RB, Ezekiel Elliott can take loads of pressure off QB, Tony Romo and IF Romo can stay healthy they may just have a chance.

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Cowboys RB, Ezekiel Elliott

The ONLY issue and big question mark to this Sports Mind is with the boys defense. They have multiple starting players suspended which includes both starting DE’s DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory and LB, Rolando McClain being three of those that are suspended. This Sports Mind of course realizes that the Cowboys face an uphill battle making it to the Super Bowl this season and after last years 4-12-0 debacle they obviously are a long shot, but looking down the list I can’t see any team that stands out so why not?

Over in the NCAA Division I you always have to look at how many players teams lost to graduation because it can adversely effect a teams chances the following year. The defending champs the Alabama Crimson Tide  were no different as they lost a ton of starters most of whom advanced to the next level.

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Clemson QB, DeShaun Watson

The team they defeated for the title, the Clemson Tigers  however, did not including this years Heisman front runner QB, DeShaun Watson and for that reason FOR NOW, I’d have to give the Tigers the edge to win it ALL. BUT as a lifetime Gamecocks fan this Sports Mind hopes that changes ;).

So Whats On Your Sports Mind about this Subject?

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