Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, October 21, 2011 at 9:28 AM
Here's the plain-and-simple lowdown: The top three teams in this week's BCS Standings - that's #1 LSU, #2 Alabama and #3 Oklahoma - are favored by a composite 78.5 points this weekend against the respective likes of Auburn, Tennessee and Texas Tech - and so do you forgive us for bypassing their games in our weekly Jim Sez College Football Previews section here?
Thanks, we thought that you would understand!
Instead, we take this October weekend to check in on three of the country's unbeaten teams that are not getting all the hugs-and-kisses from the national media - isn't it about time we recognized what they're doing in this 2011 season?
So, without further ado let's concentrate our attention here on Clemson (7-0), Kansas State (6-0) and Houston (6-0) - maybe all of the above have a ways to go to get into the conversation regarding this year's BCS Championship Game in New Orleans but here they stand a collective 19-and-oh SU (straight-up) and so let's shower some attention on the Tigers, Cougars and Wildcats right here and right now ... okay?
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SATURDAY PREVIEWS
Now, let's check out some of Saturday's top NCAA Football games with Spread Notes included in the mix (note that all rankings below pertain to the current BCS Standings) ...
NORTH CAROLINA (5-2, 1-2 ACC) at #7 CLEMSON (7-0, 4-0 ACC) - 12 p.m. ET
From a historical standpoint, take note that this year's Clemson Tigers are off to their best start since 2000 when that particular team went 8-0 out of the starting gate (before losing three of its final four games, you'll note). Now, here comes Clemson making a bee-line up the polls and up the BCS Standings and already having won five of its seven games in 2011 by double-digit margins - now do you know why the Tigers are 10.5-point betting favorites for this key Atlantic Coast Conference clash?
No doubt that all eyes here will be on Clemson's freshman WR/KR Sammy Watkins who last week accounted for three touchdowns in the Tigers' rollicking 56-45 win/cover at 9.5-point fav Maryland - remember that Clemson trailed by 18 points at one time - as Watkins registered a pair of TD receptions plus his electrifying 89-yard KO return for a score gave Clemson the lead for good midway through the fourth quarter.
One key here: Can the Clemson defense get a handle on Carolina RB Giovani Bernard who has exceeded the 100-yard rushing mark in each of his last five games?
Spread Notes - Clemson is a snazzy 6-1 ATS (against the spread) so far this season and that means the Tigers are 23-16 vig-wise in the Dabo Swinney Era that began midway through the 2008 season. Meanwhile, North Carolina is just 3-4 against the Las Vegas prices this year but the Tar Heels are a rock-solid 9-5 vig-wise as underdog sides while dating back to late in the 2007 season.
#11 KANSAS STATE (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) at KANSAS (2-4, 0-3 Big 12) - 12 p.m. ET
Go ahead and tell us the last time you remember some college football team winning outright as underdogs four games in a row ... sorry, but we're jogging our memory banks and can't come up with another team.
Yet here's the on-the-rise Kansas State Wildcats heading into this year's edition of the Sunflower Showdown against archrival Kansas having won four in a row while grabbing points in each of the games - a 28-24 hang-on-tight win at 12 ½-point favorite Miami; a 36-35 thriller home win against 3 ½-point fav Baylor; a 24-17 triumph over 4-point road chalk-eater Missouri; and last weekend's 41-34 victory at 3 ½-point favorite Texas Tech.
Okay, so that's four wins by 7-or-fewer points and now here K-State head coach Bill Snyder and Company are laying 11 points here but secure in the knowledge that QB Collin Klein has thrown for 739 yards and 7 TDs and rushed for another 578 yards with 10 TDs - and he finds ways to win each/every week.
Note that Kansas, meanwhile, ranks dead last among the 120 FBS teams while yielding a scary 49 points a game.
Spread Notes - Kansas State has covered five consecutive spread outings since that season-opening 10-7 non-cover win against 26-point pup Eastern Kentucky. Overall, the K-State Wildcats are 14-5 spreadwise in Big 12 play the past two-plus seasons and they are 6-0 ATS as underdogs while dating back to late 2010. On the flip side, Kansas has split its first six spread verdicts this season but note the Jayhawks are an ugly 5-14 ATS in league affairs since the start of the 2009 season.
MARSHALL (3-4, 2-1 C-USA) at #19 HOUSTON (6-0, 2-0 C-USA) - 4:30 p.m. ET
It only seems that Houston quarterback Case Keenum has been playing college football forever - in reality, this is his sixth season of NCAA eligibility after a torn ACL limited him to merely three games in 2010 and so get ready to start hearing about passing/offense records getting broken here and in the coming weeks.
Keenum - who led our Jim Sez Heisman Trophy Watch List for more than a few weeks back in 2009 - needs only 130 yards before he passes one-time Hawaii QB Timmy Chang for the NCAA career total offense record (see 16,910 yards) and soon enough he'll surpass the passing offense mark set by Chang (17,072 yards) as Keenum's behind by only 1,178 yards while heading into this Conference USA clash.
Right now Keenum enters this game with a 71.4 percent accuracy rate this season with 2,309 yards passing and 17 TDs (and only 2 INTs) and better yet the UH Cougars are gunning for their first 7-0 start in 21 years.
P.S., the last time Keenum and the Coogs played Marshall was back in the 2008 season - we told you the guy's been there forever! - and that day he completed 22-of-41 passes for 317 yards with 2 TDs and 2 INTs in a 37-23 loss as 7-point road favorites.
Spread Notes - Houston's covered four of its first six games this season and the Coogs are an electric 9-1-1 versus the vig as twin-figure betting favorites while dating back to early in the 2009 season. Marshall, meanwhile, is 4-2 vig-wise this season (remember the "no-play" in that rain-shortened 34-13 loss at West Virginia in the season opener) but the Thundering Herd's just 3-6 spreadwise away since the start of last year.
Your attention, please: Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be winning big-time this College Football weekend starting with tonight's Big East tilts between Rutgers at Louisville (it's on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET) and #15 West Virginia at Syracuse (it's on espn2 also at 8 p.m. ET) plus there's a load of NFL Week #7 games too along with - of course - the Baseball World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers. Just remember to call our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else go online right here for the NFL, NCAA Football and MLB winners!
NOTE: Get our NFL Week #7 Key Sunday Previews - that's including Atlanta at Detroit -- in tomorrow's jam-packed edition of Jim Sez.