Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 9:18 AM
TAKING A SNEAK PEEK AT SOME OF THIS WEEKEND'S "LOST-IN-THE-SHUFFLE" GAMES ...PLUS OUR THURSDAY NIGHT TV FOOTBALL PREVIEW AS #9 OREGON HOSTS CAL
Go ahead and check out this Saturday's College Football menu: There are three Top 25 head-to-head showdowns on the docket this weekend - that's #3 Oklahoma versus #11 Texas in the annual Red River Rivalry Game along with #1 LSU hosting #17 Florida and #15 Auburn at #10 Arkansas - and be sure that we will preview those blockbuster battles later in the week right here in Jim Sez but let's spend a few moments here on the "lost-in-the-shuffle" games that are on tap for this Saturday, October 8th.
Here's three "lost-in-the-shuffle" games involving just a pair of Associated Press Top 25 teams but well worth your attention ...
#24 TEXAS A&M (2-2) at TEXAS TECH (4-0) - The eyes of Texas may indeed be on that Sooners-Longhorns bash that begins at high noon Eastern time in Dallas but fast forward to 7 p.m. ET and you get this Big 12 showdown from Lubbock and tell us what was your first thought when you saw a two-loss A&M Aggies team favored by 7 or 8 points against the unbeaten T-Tech Red Raiders?
Well, the fact of the matter is Mike Sherman's Aggies have played two rough-and-tumble teams already in Oklahoma State and Arkansas while the Techsters have feasted off the likes of Texas State, New Mexico, Nevada and Kansas - not exactly College Football's version of "Murderer's Row", you know- but consider for a minute that the last time these clubs clashed at Tech back in 2009 the 22-point home favored Red Raiders lost by 22 points in a 52-30 bloodbath. Hmmm.
MISSOURI (2-2) at #20 KANSAS STATE (4-0) - This one comes with a special twist as the Mizzou Tigers had last week off and haven't won since a ho-hum 69-0 triumph over Western Illinois while K-State's really riding along on Cloud 9 following back-to-back emotional upsets over 12 ½-point favorite Miami and 3 ½-point road favorite Baylor.
So you tell us: Will Bill Snyder's born-again team suffer a letdown here after those down-to-the-wire finishes or is this here-and-now Kansas State squad ready to stage one of those vintage 10- or 11-win seasons - the last one of those happened way back in 2003 when Snyder's Wildcats wound up playing (but losing) in that season's Fiesta Bowl.
Ahh, those were the good old days for the folks from the "Little Apple".
WASHINGTON STATE (3-1) at UCLA (2-3) - No, you won't find the Wazzau Cougars in this week's Top 25 and you may not find 'em in next week's Top 25 even should Paul Wulff's club snag the mild upset over the Uclans but how about some love for a team that went 5-32 SU (straight-up) from the start of the 2008 season thru the end of 2010?
The Coogs didn't wake up any real echoes with season-starting wins this year against Idaho State and UNLV - do you see us yawning? - but last week's 31-27 come-from-behind triumph at 3 ½-point fav Colorado really juiced up this once-somber program and now W-State has triple-revenge heading in here to Pasadena. Beware Bruins!
Hey, maybe we just like to say the name Marshall Lobbestael - the Coog quarterback aired a 63-yard touchdown with three-plus minutes remaining last week to beat the CU Buffaloes and he enters this Pac-12 clash with 1,335 yards passing and 13 TDs with only 3 INTs so far in '11.
It's good to have you back, Washington State!
THE THURSDAY NITE TV PREVIEW
CALIFORNIA (3-1) at #8 OREGON (3-1) - 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
One question that's been making the rounds in/around Eugene is what do the Oregon Ducks have to accomplish in order to get back into the conversation regarding this year's BCS Championship Game?
The Ducks - who were there last year but lost to Auburn 22-19 - probably figured they were "toast" following this year's season-opening 40-27 loss against mighty LSU but consider the possibilities that Oregon could "run the table" in the Pac-12 (the Ducks' toughest remaining regular-season game is that showdown at Stanford on November 12th) but if Chip Kelly's crew wins 'em all and then cops the Pac-12's first-ever conference championship game than it's possible they could be the highest-ranked one-loss team in the land - and remember somebody's gotta lose that LSU at Alabama game on November 5th and maybe that gets Oregon back in the proverbial mix ... we'll see.
In this prime-time clash in the great Northwester, look for Oregon RB LaMichael James (averaging a nation's-best 153.3 rushing yards a game) to get the ball in a variety of ways - he'll be placed at wide receiver at times and could get some reverse action in here - but do keep in mind that California ranks 9th nationally in rush defense while yielding a mere 78.3 yards a game.
If the visiting - and 24-point underdog - Cal Golden Bears are gonna hang tough here than lefty QB Zack Maynard must be on target as he was for much of the time in the 31-23 loss at 1-point underdog Washington back on September 24th: Maynard - a transfer from Buffalo - threw for a career-high 349 yards in that game but he was unable to get the Berkeley boys into the end zone, however, with four plays after starting off with a first-and-goal late.
Spread Notes - Oregon has split its first four pointspread verdicts this year but note the Ducks are a solid 18-12 ATS (against the spread) when laying twin-figure prices since the start of the 2006 season. Meanwhile, California is 5-10 vig-wise as underdogs the past six-plus seasons.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will win big-time all week and weekend long as we zoom further into October in College Football plus there's lots of winning straight ahead with NFL Week #5 play plus don't forget the Major-League Baseball Playoffs that roll on all month long (we swept 2-0 Tuesday night!) -- and so please make sure you're all aboard for all the action right through Super Bowl XLVI on February 5th. Hey, it's gonna be a great ride for one and all! Just remember to call our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here online for the NFL, NCAA Football and MLB winners!
NOTE: Lots more in the next edition of Jim Sez including the Heisman Trophy Watch and more!