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Joe Nelson - Blogs

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BETWEEN THE LINES - AUG. 20

By Joe Nelson
Posted 08/21/2012 at 04:10 PM

The NFL preseason continues to be a somewhat foolish exercise as the injuries pile up and many stadiums look half empty. The main preseason storylines also generally prove to be fairly ridiculous once the regular season kicks off. So far the Jets have taken the spotlight with an ugly start to the preseason but last year teams like Cincinnati, Buffalo, San Francisco, and Atlanta all looked terrible in the preseason only to start the regular season strong. Miami and St. Louis both looked very promising in the 2011 preseason only to have disastrous regular seasons. At this point the Colts, Seahawks, and Browns have the best point differentials in the preseason, and it will be a pretty big surprise if any of those three teams even contends for a playoff spot this year. Along with the Jets, the Packers and Bears are at the bottom of the point differential rankings through two weeks but no one should be writing off those two teams in the strong NFC North.

 

College football will start next week just fine without the use of preseason games and far less practice time so the thought that without the preseason we’d be lining up a sloppy opening couple of weeks is certainly flawed. The one thing that is exciting in the preseason is seeing the rookie quarterbacks in action as we all know there is no foolproof formula for what makes a great NFL QB and draft position often can be deemed meaningless after a few seasons. It also easy to appreciate the efforts of some of the deep reserve players that likely will be headed to practice squads or very brief NFL careers as scoring a touchdown or making a big play in a NFL preseason game will be a worthy highlight to reflect on.

 

While the lockout was the big story last season there will be another lockout grabbing headlines this season with the replacement officials in use so far in the preseason. It would be one thing if the NFL grabbed officials from the Big Ten and SEC to do games but since those referees are all committed and under contract for the 2012 season they are digging deep with many lower division college officials, former officials from now defunct leagues, and yes, even former Lingerie League officials. There could be some potential changes in the game play with the replacement officials that could certainly impact scoring trends. So far it seems the new officials are a little more hesitant to call pass interference, which may not necessarily be a bad thing.

 

Our preseason Annual is out, if you did not receive a copy let us know, we may have a few extras available to send off. Our Over/Under Win totals picks are featured in the Annual, picks that are now 49-21-1 over the last twelve years for 70 percent winners. While the numbers have certainly bounced around a bit since we had to publish and print the Annual the picks we have listed are ‘OVER’ for the Falcons, Rams, and Bills, and “UNDER’ for the Panthers, Cardinals, and Broncos.

 

College win totals are less commonly available but a couple that we would consider playing would be ‘OVER’ for Boise State (9.5), Clemson (8.5), Oklahoma State (7.5), and UCLA (6), ‘UNDER’ on South Carolina (9), TCU (8.5), Virginia Tech (9.5), Washington (8). Overall the SEC should as usual be the top conference but it will be tough for any team to emerge undefeated as the top contenders all have pretty challenging slates. The ACC could have a bounce back year after a few down seasons and produce a few teams in the national conversation for a change. Best of Luck, on to this week’s slate…

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