Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, October 15, 2011 at 11:12 AM
Okay, so we know that there's a long, long way to go in terms of College Football's Conference play this year - many schools have played just two or three league games as of this mid-October Jim Sez column -- but it's duly noted here that there are currently four Pac-12 teams with spotless conference records and we're highlighting three of'em (that's #7 Stanford, #9 Oregon and #18 Arizona State) in today's space.
The Pac-12 has not had a national championship team since the 2004 edition of the USC Trojans - who can forget that rollicking 55-19 triumph over shell-shocked Oklahoma in that's year's Orange Bowl game? - and the league out west has watched the Southeastern Conference gobble up the last five consecutive BCS National Championships including last year when then Pac-10 member Oregon fell to Auburn 22-19.
Is this the year the Pac-12 gets back into the BCS Championship Game - and than wins it?
No doubt that Stanford has the best shot but keep in mind that Oregon is the highest-ranked one-loss team in the land - the 40-27 season-opening setback versus LSU was damaging but might not have kayoed the Ducks from the scene just yet.
Hey, if Oregon runs the table - and that would include beating Stanford in Palo Alto on November 12th - than the Fighting Ducks also might have a fighting chance to stay in the national title hunt. You never know!
Remember: There's a long way to go before determining all the conference champions but here's a weekend where the Pac-12 serves notice that it should not be forgotten.
Now hear this...Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers started off this College Football weekend with a big play on San Diego State (+7) over Air Force in their 41-27 upset. The winning continues with Saturday's Golden Game, and there's a load of NFL Week #6 games too along with the aforementioned MLB Playoffs including the NLCS series that goes to a Game #5 tonight between the Milwaukee Brewers at the St. Louis Cardinals. It's gonna be a slam-bang profitable month ahead for America's #1 Handicapper and a really great ride right through Super Bowl XLVI in early February. 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!
COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S 2011 POINTSPREAD BREAKDOWN CHART
Now, here's a little look at how College Betting Favorites have fared on a week-by-week basis this 2011 season:
Week # FAVS VS SPREAD
#1 19-19-0 (2 no plays)
#3 24-23-0 (1 Pick'Em)
#4 22-24-0 (1 Pick'Em)
#5 16-35-1 (1 Pick'Em)
Total 137-142-1 (3 Pick'Ems and 2 No Plays)
Note: College Football Betting Favorites are winning at a .491 rate thus far this 2011 campaign. As you can see, last week marked - for all intents and purposes - the first really profitable weekend for College Football Betting Favorites who won a clean $1,000 based on $100 per-play wagers. Hey, it was about time, right?
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SATURDAY PREVIEWS
Now, let's check out Saturday's top NCAA Football games with Spread Notes included in the mix ...
#1 LSU (6-0-3, 3-0 SEC) at TENNESSEE (3-2, 0-2 SEC) - 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Say this for the LSU Tigers - they're having a whole lotta fun along the way to what very well could be the program's third national championship since 2003.
In last weekend's never-was-close 41-11 triumph over two-TD underdog Florida there were the Bengals scoring on a "jump pass" that eerily resembled what was thrown against them by Florida QB Tim Tebow a few years back. Hope you caught the grin on LSU head coach Les Miles' face after that scoring flip!
Now, LSU's legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate CB Tyrann Mathieu and his mates will bring out their best on defense - a stop unit that's yielding a mere 9.6 points a game ever since that season-opening win against Oregon - against a Tennessee team that's banking on QB Tyler Bray (14 TDs and only 2 INTs) to pull off the humongous upset but do keep in mind Volunteers' WR Justin Hunter (knee) is gone for the year.
Spread Notes - The top-ranked LSU Tigers are 0-2-2 ATS (against the spread) in head-to-head showdowns against Tennessee dating back to the 2005 season. However, the Bayou Bengals have covered all three of their away games thus far this year (versus Oregon in Arlington and at Miss State and at West Virginia). Note that Tennessee is a collective 9-7-1 vig-wise in the Derek Dooley Era that kicked off last season. The Vols are 4-8-1 spreadwise as underdogs since the start of the 2009 season.
#18 ARIZONA STATE (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) at #9 OREGON (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) - 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
Folks, you have to go back seven years ago to find the last time an Arizona State squad beat Oregon - but did you realize the OU Ducks have won the last six consecutive showdowns against the Sun Devils all by double-digits magins?
Now, Oregon is listed as a 14 ½-point betting favorite for this clash in Eugene even though mega-star RB LaMichael James (852 yards rushing with 8 TDs and a sizzling 9.0 yards-per-carry average) is not expected to play after suffering a dislocated elbow in last Thursday's 43-15 win/cover against California. Think the Ducks might have some weaponry in reserve?
Quarterback Darron Thomas (1,040 yards passing with 15 TDs and 191 yards rushing) remains one of the land's best pass/run options and here his goal is to deceive State LB Vontaz Burfict and get him to "bite up" when in play-action fake mode - don't be shocked if Oregon hits a couple of 50-plus yarders through the air waves here.
Spread Notes - Oregon has notched pointspread wins in four of its last five games when laying twin-figure prices and did you know the Ducks are 5-1 ATS in their last six head-to-head showdowns with Arizona State? On the flip side, the ASU Sun Devils are 7-2-1 versus the vig in their last 10 games when placed in the underdog role.
#11 MICHIGAN (6-0, 2-0 Big 10) at #23 MICHIGAN STATE (4-1, 1-0 Big 10) - 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
There's been a change in culture among the here-and-now Michigan Wolverines: Simply put, they've gone back to being winners after three hellish seasons under Rich Rodriguez (see 15-22 straight-up mark from 2008-thru-2010) and now a win here in East Lansing could have'em on the way to an 8-and-oh start heading into November - the Wolves will host Purdue next week and we've already marked that one down as a "W"!
Now, QB Denard Robinson is counting on getting his "Michigan men" to snap the current three-game losing skid to "Sparty" and note last week the do-it-all signal-caller threw for 337 yards and two scores and rushed for another 117 yards and two TDs in a 42-24 comeback win at 7 ½-point pup Northwestern.
Is there more magic for Robinson here ... or will State (a/k/a Michigan's little brother) have the last laugh here?
Spread Notes - Michigan is 4-1 ATS so far this season (plus the "no-play" against Western Michigan in the opener) but the Wolverines are a rotten 4-12 spreadwise away dating back to the start of the 2008 campaign. Meanwhile, Michigan State's covered six of its last nine Big 10 games since the start of last year and that includes the 34-17 triumph at 4 ½-point fav Michigan a year ago in Ann Arbor.
#7 STANFORD (5-0, 3-0 Pac-12) at WASHINGTON STATE (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12) - 7:30 p.m. ET, Versus
Everyone's talking about what NFL team will be fortunate enough to draft Stanford QB Andrew Luck come NEXT April - but can the kid finish out his glorious college career first?
Luck is the trigger-man for the nation's seventh-best scoring team (46.2 points per game) and his glittering stats - including a 73.1 completion rate and 14 TDs with 2 INTs - would catch anyone's eye but how about some love for the Cardinal offensive line as this unit's not allowed Luck to be sacked in his last three consecutive games!
Spread Notes - Stanford's covered all five of its games so far this '11 season and note the Cardinal was a double-digit betting fav in all five games. Plus, note Stanford is a rollicking 20-10 against the odds in all conference games the past three-plus seasons. Washington State, meanwhile, has covered four of its first five games this season and the Coogs are 11-5 ATS overall since the start of the 2010 campaign.
NOTE: Get our NFL Week #6 Key Sunday Previews - that's including San Francisco at Detroit -- in tomorrow's jam-packed edition of Jim Sez.