Roadrunners in the NFL: 2018 NFL Preseason Update & Schedule

UPDATE (8/7): The hits just keep on coming. Ashaad Mabry was released by the Panthers earlier today. The schedule has been updated accordingly.

The NFL’s preseason is officially underway after last Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game, and this year we will see a record seven former UTSA athletes taking the field.

UTSA’s longest-tenured NFL’er Teddy Williams was set to start the season with the New York Giants, but today asked for his release from the team for personal reasons, but still hopes to play at some point this season.

In another bit of bad news, we may not get to see first-rounder Marcus Davenport right away, as he has been sitting out of practice with an undisclosed injury since last Monday. We have to assume this isn’t too severe, since he hasn’t been placed on Injured Reserve, but the Saints haven’t given any timetable for his return as of yet.

ROADRUNNERS IN THE NFL

  • Marcus Davenport – DE – New Orleans Saints
  • Ashaad Mabry – DT – Carolina Panthers
  • Jordan Moore – S – Denver Broncos
  • David Morgan – TE – Minnesota Vikings
  • Brian Price – DT – Dallas Cowboys
  • Dalton Sturm – QB – Dallas Cowboys
  • Jarveon Williams – RB – Cincinnati Bengals

COMPLETE SCHEDULE (all times Eastern)

PRESEASON WEEK 1 (AUG. 9-13)
Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018
Bears at Bengals – 7:00pm
Panthers at Bills – 7:00pm
Saints at Jaguars – 7:00pm
Cowboys at 49ers – 10:00pm (NFL Network)

Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018
Vikings at Broncos – 9:05pm (NFL Network)


PRESEASON WEEK 2 (AUG. 16-20)
Friday, Aug. 17, 2018
Dolphins at Panthers – 7:30pm
Cardinals at Saints – 8:00pm

Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018
Jaguars at Vikings – 1:00pm (NFL Network)
Bengals at Cowboys – 7:00pm (NFL Network)
Bears at Broncos – 9:05pm


PRESEASON WEEK 3 (AUG. 23-26)
Friday, Aug. 24, 2018
Broncos at Redskins – 7:30pm
Patriots at Panthers – 7:30pm
Seahawks at Vikings – 8:00pm

Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018
Saints at Chargers – 8:00pm – (CBS)

Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018
Bengals at Bills – 4:00pm – (FOX)
Cardinals at Cowboys – 8:00pm – (NBC)


PRESEASON WEEK 4 (AUG. 30-31)
Thursday, Aug. 30
Colts at Bengals – 7:00pm
Panthers at Steelers – 7:30pm
Cowboys at Texans – 8:00pm
Rams at Saints – 8:00pm
Vikings at Titans – 8:00pm
Broncos at Cardinals – 10:00pm (NFL Network)

Where will UTSA bowl? – 2017 edition

UTSA is finally bowl eligible after a 9-7 win over Marshall on Saturday thanks to the leg of soon-to-be Freshman All-American kicker Jared Sackett.

With an unprecedented number of bowl eligible teams coming out of Conference USA this year (9 teams guaranteed, 10 if Louisiana Tech beats UTSA this weekend), it makes the bowl picture quite a bit murkier than in previous years.

Here are all the bowls that may end up taking C-USA teams this year, and what I believe UTSA’s chances are of ending up in any of them.

Conference USA Primary Tie-ins

R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL

Saturday, December 16, 12:00 p.m.
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
C-USA vs. Sun Belt #1

The first FBS bowl game of the 2017 season takes place in New Orleans, and will likely take a C-USA West team. They could go with in-state Louisiana Tech (if they are eligible), or #TheReturn of UAB, or give Coach Wilson a chance to bring his Roadrunners to his hometown.

UTSA’s chances: 15%

GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL

Saturday, December 16, 3:30 p.m.
University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
C-USA vs. Mountain West #2-5

Although New Mexico will typically go to a C-USA West team, the conference will generally try to avoid back-to-back bowls for the same team, so I doubt we’ll be heading to Albuquerque for a second straight year.

UTSA’s chances: 5%

BOCA RATON BOWL

Tuesday, December 19, 6:00 p.m.
FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Florida
C-USA vs. American

There’s been some debate around C-USA about whether FAU would want to play in their home stadium, or if the bowl would even want them, forgoing hotel revenue for some of their biggest sponsors in favor of ticket revenue from the home fans. Either way, it should be one of the C-USA East schools in Boca this year.

It will be interesting to see if the American gives up their spot for the Boca Raton Bowl, considering they have seven bowl tie-ins, with only six bowl-eligible teams (one of which will be heading to a New Years Six bowl). Boca provides the lowest payout of all their bowls, other than perhaps Frisco which is in its first year, so I could easily see them giving it up this year.

UTSA’s chances: 1%

BAD BOY MOWERS GASPARILLA BOWL

Thursday, December 21, 7:00 p.m.
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
C-USA vs. American

Everything that was said about the Boca Raton Bowl above applies here as well. An in-state matchup between FAU and USF has been predicted by multiple outlets for this one. And again, I don’t see them sending a C-USA West team to a Florida bowl.

UTSA’s chances: 1%

BAHAMAS BOWL

Friday, December 22, 11:30 a.m.
Thomas Robinson Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
C-USA vs. MAC

The only bowl played outside of the country, the Bahamas Bowl will typically pick up a team that isn’t a good fit geographically for any of the other available bowls.

With a handful of Texas bowl games that will likely be looking for at-large teams (see next section below), I don’t see UTSA ending up in the Bahamas Bowl.

UTSA’s chances: 3%

LOCKHEED MARTIN ARMED FORCES BOWL

Saturday, December 23, 2:30 p.m.
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
C-USA vs. Army

Army is the only team in the nation that has already locked up their bowl game, heading to the Armed Forces Bowl against a C-USA foe.

North Texas has already played Army three times in the past two seasons, including last year’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, so yet another rematch seems unlikely. UTSA would then be the next logical choice, as the only other Texas team available.

UTSA’s chances: 50%

 

Potential At-Large Games

AUTONATION CURE BOWL

Saturday, December 16, 1:30 p.m.
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
American vs. Sun Belt #4

With the American short on bowl eligible teams, some outlets have them giving up their spot in the Cure Bowl, which could potentially be picked up by a C-USA team.

However, based on recent payout data, there are two or three bowls that I would think the American would give up before the Cure Bowl. Even if we do end up seeing a C-USA team there, it will likely be from the East.

UTSA’s chances: <1%

FRISCO BOWL

Wednesday, December 20, 7:00 p.m.
Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas
American vs. At-large

The inaugural Frisco Bowl wasn’t able to secure a conference tie-in opposite the American, so it will go to an at-large (likely G5) team. Add to that the fact that the American may give up their spot, and we could see two at-large teams here.

It will be slim pickings for the Frisco Bowl, and UTSA would have to be near the top of the list if the Roadrunners haven’t already been selected by another bowl.

UTSA’s chances: 15%

BIRMINGHAM BOWL

Saturday, December 23, 11:00 a.m.
Legion Field, Birmingham, Alabama
SEC #9 vs. American

With potentially three teams playing in New Years Six bowls, the SEC will be a few teams short this year, and the Birmingham Bowl is second on the chopping block (behind the Independence Bowl).

The Birmingham Bowl may try to snag one of the extra Pac-12 teams, or they may want the feel-good story of the hometown UAB Blazers. I don’t see them going with any other C-USA teams here, but if UAB gets selected elsewhere then they may not have another choice.

UTSA’s chances: <1%

ZAXBY’S HEART OF DALLAS BOWL

Tuesday, December 26, 12:30 p.m.
Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, Texas
Big Ten vs. Big 12 #7

Conference USA gave the Heart of Dallas Bowl to the Big Ten in exchange for the Armed Forces Bowl this year (you think ESPN wants any P5 v G5 matchups?), but it’s shaping up that neither the Big Ten nor Big 12 will be able to provide teams for this game, so C-USA will likely end up here anyway.

North Texas seems like the obvious choice here, being the local team and C-USA West winner, but if there’s a better matchup elsewhere (the Independence Bowl, perhaps), then we could see them going with UTSA.

UTSA’s chances: 5%

QUICK LANE BOWL

Tuesday, December 26, 4:15 p.m.
Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
Big Ten vs. ACC #9

Another game that likely won’t be filled by either of its Power Five conferences, the Quick Lane Bowl should grab one of the extra MAC teams, and may go with a Marshall or Western Kentucky if they’re available, but probably not a C-USA West team.

UTSA’s chances: <1%

WALK-ON’S INDEPENDENCE BOWL

Wednesday, December 27, 12:30 p.m.
Independence Stadium, Shreveport, Louisiana
ACC #8 vs. SEC #10

Conference USA has a secondary agreement with the Independence Bowl, which is nearly guaranteed to be needed to replace the SEC, and perhaps the ACC as well.

The Independence Bowl would likely go with Louisiana Tech if they are available, or North Texas if the Mean Green like the matchup better than any of C-USA’s primary bowls. Southern Miss and UAB could also be in the conversation, so I doubt UTSA gets the invite to Shreveport.

UTSA’s chances: 3%

 

UTSA’s potential bowl game chances

50% – Armed Forces Bowl
15% – New Orleans Bowl
15% – Frisco Bowl
5% – New Mexico Bowl
5% – Heart of Dallas Bowl
3% – Bahamas Bowl
3% – Independence Bowl
1% – Boca Raton Bowl
1% – Gasparilla Bowl
<1% – Cure Bowl
<1% – Birmingham Bowl
<1% – Quick Lane Bowl
<1% – not invited to a bowl

 

*Don’t forget to pre-order your bowl tickets now to show these bowls how well we will travel and help our chances of getting selected.

 

Will UTSA schedule a 12th game this year?

Earlier this week, Florida State and Louisiana-Monroe announced that they would be playing on December 2, a weekend typically reserved for conference championships and Sun Belt finales, finally rescheduling their matchup from September 9 that was postponed due to Hurricane Irma.

With Florida State staring down a 5-6 record if they can take care of Delaware State and Florida, scheduling this game became paramount to retaining their streak of 35 consecutive bowl games.

In addition to FSU and ULM, we’ve seen Indiana replace their canceled game against FIU with an FCS opponent (Charleston Southern), made possible by the fact that they didn’t already have an FCS game scheduled and that Charleston Southern also had a cancellation due to the hurricane.

There’s also a tentatively scheduled game between FIU and UMass, who both had games canceled due to Hurricane Irma, to be played on December 2 as long as FIU is not in the Conference USA Championship game.

So where does that leave UTSA after losing their opening game against Houston due to Hurricane Harvey? Is there anyone left for us to play? Is there anything to gain by playing a 12th game? Anything to lose? Here’s a look at some of our options.

GEORGIA TECH

Much like Florida State, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets may need a 12th game if they want to earn bowl eligibility, after having their game at UCF canceled on September 16. Currently at 4-4, and with tough games against ranked Virginia Tech and Georgia remaining, they’ll likely have to win their games over Duke and a hypothetical 12th opponent if they want to make a bowl.

This is where UTSA comes in. The Roadrunners are one of only a handful of teams who still haven’t made up their canceled game, and who won’t be contenders for a conference championship on December 2, like Miami and UCF.

There’s been a push from Georgia Tech fans to make this game happen, and it just makes a ton of sense. The most likely scenario would have Georgia Tech paying UTSA for a one-off game at Bobby Dodd, but other possibilities could include leveraging this for a 1-for-1 or 2-for-1 deal with the Yellow Jackets coming to the Alamodome, either this year or in the future.

Either way, both schools should have had plans in place for a potential conference championship game on December 2, either home or away, so the logistics shouldn’t be as complicated as finding an open date during the regular season.

If anything is working against UTSA, it’s the fact that we still don’t have an Athletic Director. That’s what makes me think a one-off game is most likely, with the current administration avoiding any long-term decisions until we get a new AD in place.

FLORIDA

Another team that is apparently in search of a 12th game is Florida, who had their game against Northern Colorado canceled on September 9. If they can find two wins in their next three games (@ South Carolina, vs UAB, @ Florida State), then they will be 5-6 and looking for that sixth win for bowl eligibility.

The Gators are reportedly trying to reschedule their game against Northern Colorado for December 2, but if that doesn’t work out then there aren’t a whole lot of other options available, and they may be reaching out to UTSA with an offer for a one-off payday for a trip to The Swamp.

NORTHERN COLORADO & SOUTH CAROLINA STATE

If Florida doesn’t get Northern Colorado to come to them, then why not have them come to San Antonio instead? This may be the most pragmatic use of our 12th game. UTSA gets a sixth home game, and the ticket sales that come with it, and some added insurance to our bowl chances.

If the Roadrunners lose their next three games, they’ll be 5-6, likely missing out on a bowl game unless the NCAA grants a waiver for teams affected by hurricanes to be selected above 5-7 teams this year.  But we could take our fate into our own hands with a sixth win, even if it’s against an FCS opponent. That’s because, by rule, a 6-6 team with two FCS wins will be selected ahead of teams with most other exemptions (Hawaii Rule, FBS reclassification) and 5-7 teams.

There weren’t as many FCS teams affected by the hurricanes as FBS, so there aren’t many other teams available, but it appears another option would be South Carolina State, who had their September 9 game against Charleston Southern canceled.

Some might question whether we deserve a bowl in this hypothetical scenario where we close out the year with four straight conference losses, but you have to take the bowl game, and all the money and extra practice time that comes with it, when you can get it.

GEORGIA STATE & ARKANSAS STATE

The only other teams with 11-game schedules, and who won’t be playing in conference championship games, are Georgia State, Arkansas State, and Houston. With the Sun Belt scheduling regular season games on December 2, and both Georgia State and Arkansas State likely reaching 6 wins anyways, a makeup game with either of them is off the table.

HOUSTON

So what about Houston? You know, the team that put us in this situation in the first place? They already have six wins, so they don’t need this game, per se, but they will be free on championship weekend, and they reportedly offered this makeup date to UTSA before the game was officially canceled.

This could be an opportunity to make up our game and perhaps donate some of the proceeds to hurricane relief efforts. A win-win, no?

 

Ultimately, it seems like we’ll have a few options for a 12th game on December 2, and at this point, I would almost be more surprised if we don’t schedule a game than if we do. This could be a great opportunity for either a payday and a trip to a well-known P5 program, or a sixth home game and some extra bowl insurance.

Hopefully, even in the absence of an AD, President Eighmy and the rest of the athletics department can make one of these scenarios a reality for the Roadrunners.

 

NFL Preseason Preview: Jarveon Williams – Cincinnati Bengals

Jarveon Williams left UTSA as the program’s all-time leading rusher and a key piece of the Roadrunners’ offense on the way to the team’s first bowl game.

Williams was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals on April 29, joining Jordan Moore as UTSA’s only undrafted free agent signings this offseason.

JARVEON WILLIAMS

  • Team: Cincinnati Bengals
  • Position: Running Back
  • Experience: Rookie (Undrafted)

 

Williams has been injured for the bulk of training camp, and was finally cleared to practice last week. According to UPI, he did not participate in OTAs or rookie mini-camp either.

CINCINNATI BENGALS RUNNING BACK DEPTH

  • Jeremy Hill, 3 years experience
  • Giovani Bernard, 4 years experience
  • Joe Mixon, Rookie (Drafted, Round 2)
  • Cedric Peerman, 7 years experience (NFI)
  • Tra Carson, 1 year practice squad experience
  • Jarveon Williams, Rookie (Undrafted)
  • Stanley “Boom” Williams, Rookie (Undrafted)

 

It will be extremely tough for Williams to break through the Bengals’ depth chart to earn a spot on the 53-man roster, with the Bengals likely only keeping four running backs.

2nd-round pick Joe Mixon and returnees Hill and Bernard are locked in for the top three spots, while Cedric Peerman should be selected for his special teams abilities as long as he can return from injury prior to the September 2nd roster cuts.

Cincinnati will likely sign one running back to their practice squad as well, so Jarveon will be competing for that final spot with practice squad returnee Tra Carson and fellow undrafted free agent Boom Williams.

Odds to make 53-man roster: 1%

Odds to make practice squad: 10%

 

You can watch Williams in the Bengals’ four preseason matchups, including a nationally-televised game against the Washington Redskins in Week 3, which will air on FOX.

CINCINNATI BENGALS PRESEASON SCHEDULE

(all times Central)

Friday, Aug. 11
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals, 6:30 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Saturday, Aug. 12, 12:00 a.m. Midnight

Saturday, Aug. 19
Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals, 6 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Monday, Aug. 21, 9:00 a.m.

Sunday, Aug. 27
Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Redskins, 3:30 p.m. (FOX)
– NFL Network re-air: Monday, Aug. 28, 3:00 a.m.

Thursday, Aug. 31
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts, 6 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Saturday, Sep. 2, 6:30 a.m.

 

NFL Preseason Preview: David Morgan – Minnesota Vikings

David Morgan entered the NFL last season as UTSA’s first ever draft pick and ended the year with 12 games and 63 offensive snaps under his belt.

Along the way, he received praise from his coaching staff and media alike. So much so that the Vikings were willing to let incumbent blocking tight end Rhett Ellison move on to the New York Giants during the offseason.

DAVID MORGAN

  • Team: Minnesota Vikings
  • Position: Tight End
  • Experience: 1 year

MINNESOTA VIKINGS TIGHT END DEPTH

  • Kyle Rudolph, 6 years experience
  • David Morgan, 1 year experience
  • Bucky Hodges, Rookie (Drafted, Round 6)
  • Kyle Carter, 1 year practice squad experience
  • Nick Truesdell, Rookie (3 years in AFL)
  • Josiah Price, Rookie

 

7th-year man Kyle Rudolph will retain his spot as the #1 tight end heading into the season, and Morgan is the obvious choice to replace Ellison as the first-choice blocking tight end, earning snaps alongside Rudolph in two-TE sets.

Ellison saw action on about 18 offensive snaps and 12 special teams snaps per game while getting targeted in the passing game a total of 14 times in 15 games. We can expect to see similar numbers from Morgan this year.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the depth chart below Rudolph and Morgan, with four guys who are all primarily pass-catching tight ends competing for one or two spots on the 53-man roster.

Odds to make 53-man roster: 100%

 

After kicking off their preseason with a visit to Buffalo tonight, the Vikings will head to Seattle and then return to face the 49ers in back-to-back nationally televised games before hosting the Dolphins in their preseason finale.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS PRESEASON SCHEDULE

(all times Central)

Thursday, Aug. 10
Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills, 6 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Friday, Aug. 11, 3:00 a.m.

Friday, Aug. 18
Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks, 9 p.m. (NFL Network)

Sunday, Aug. 26
San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings, 7 p.m. (NBC)

Thursday, Aug. 31
Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings, 7 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Friday, Sep. 1, 9:00 a.m.