Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 10:01 AM
Now that the season's first edition of the BCS Standings have been released, all eyes will be on the teams most likely to make a run to get into that Championship Game -and don't sleep on #6 LSU (at Texas A&M this Saturday) and/or #9 Oklahoma (hosting lowly Kansas this weekend) who could hurdle a few teams in the coming weeks if they play their proverbial cards right!
In fact, we figured here -at the basic mid-way point of this here-and-now College Football Season -that it's a good time to have our own little "debate" (please pardon us, President Obama and Governor Romney!) and so we'll look into our Jim Sez crystal ball and come up with a few teams that may catch fire from this point forward.
Here's our little roll call and note the teams' current BCS rankings are listed below ...
#10 USC (5-1) -Okay, so the Men of Troy have hardly been world-beaters while getting to this halfway point of the year as folks are all too aware that USC's just 1-5 ATS (against the spread) but there are signs that this offensive line is really coming to life and QB Matt Barkley (16 TDs and 6 INTs) could thrive big-time with four of his club's final six games all inside the cozy confines of the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Keep in mind that Lane Kiffin's crew is tough to run on -the Trojans rank a decent 23rd in the land against the rush while yielding 110.7 yards per game -while USC's own ground game is showing improvement with Penn State transfer RB Silas Redd fresh off last Saturday's 26-carry, 155-yard game in that 24-14 non-cover win at Washington.
P.S., Redd's now rushed for more than 150 yards in two of his last three outings and could finally be getting comfy with his new team.
The only road games that lie ahead for SC: At Arizona on Oct. 27th and at city rival UCLA on Nov. 17th.
Hey, you never know but USC may get on a pointspread roll after torching their backers' bankrolls thus far in '12.
#22 BOISE STATE (5-1) -
Let's face it: The B-State Broncos really have been out of the public's eye for this entire season as an opening-week loss at Michigan State basically pushed Chris Petersen's club into media oblivion but if you've been paying close attention than you know Boise State's not only won all five of its games since that loss to Sparty but the Mountain West Conference crew has outscored foes on average 27-14 and the Broncos come into this weekend's Homecoming Game against UNLV off back-to-back spread wins (against Southern Miss and Fresno State) and feelin' a bit frisky.
No doubt those wonderful offensive numbers we've come to see attached to Boise State's name just aren't there these days -the Broncos rank a dismal 84th nationally in total offense with a passing game that ranks 83rd in the land -- but something tells us QB Joe Southwick (9 TDs and 4 INTs) will be trusted a bit more from this point forward and WR Matt Miller (30 receptions) will be targeted more in the coming weeks and don't forget that Boise State may not lose again until maybe that December 1st rivalry game at Nevada.
Right now the Broncos are a solid 4-2 versus the vig but this is a program that posted back-to-back 9-4 ATS campaigns in 2009 and '10 plus they went 7-3-2 against the numbers in 2008.
N.C. STATE (4-2) -Okay, so you won't find any BCS ranking next to the Wolf Pack's name right this minute but do not be surprised if Tom O'Brien's club gets heated up in the second half of this season. The Pack -losers to Tennessee and Miami this year -have plenty of offensive firepower on hand and would expect QB Mike Glennon (1,681 yards passing with 12 TDs and 7 INTs) to step up his production while connecting on a few more "home runs" with his speedy receiving corps that stars WRs Quintin Patton (25 receptions) and Bryan Underwood (7 TDs).
The Wolf Pack -coming off last week's bye -is at Maryland and at North Carolina these next two weeks and no doubt O'Brien and Company need a "signature win" or two this year.
Note that right now the Pack's 2-3-1 spreadwise this season and that mark should be greatly improved with all this offensive ammo.
Hey, N.C. State came into this year with a collective 29-15-1 ATS mark the past four years and so something tells us the immediate future should be bright.
Now, here's the Thursday Night NCAA Football TV Preview ...
#3 OREGON (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) at ARIZONA STATE (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) -- 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Go back to the start of the 2010 season and you'll note that the Oregon Ducks are 21-1 SU (straight-up) against fellow Pac-12 foes -the lone loss was last year's 38-35 setback against USC -and so the $64,000 question is can this new-and-improved version of the Arizona State Sun Devils KO the quack-quack gang here in a prime-time tilt?
Maybe the answer will come in the form of this following question:
Can the nation's 8th-ranked defense "get off the field" enough times here to allow A-State's balanced offense a real shot at scoring 35-plus points ... no matter how you slice it here it figures that the winning side likely needs 35-or-more points to win and so pay special attention to third-down conversions when Oregon has the ball and how many "chunk plays" this Sun Devils offense gets because Todd Graham's crew likely needs a few field-flipping aerial plays to hang with 'em.
Okay, so Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly (1,600 yards passing with 14 TDs and 2 INTs) has been painfully efficient while leading Arizona State to per-game scoring average of 40.5 ppg but here's an Oregon team that is averaging 52.3 ppg and -get this -it often takes the Ducks' offense close to a half before it really gets revved up!
If Chip Kelly's club gets its wake-up call earlier here, than the nation's seventh-ranked offense could be darn near impossible to stop as RBs Kenjon Barner and DeAnthony Thomas specialize in those "chunk" plays as they average 6.3 and 9.2 ypc respectively and how about the fact they have registered 15 rushing scores between 'em?
Note that last year Oregon -a 14-point home betting favorite -won but "pushed" in a 41-27 triumph over Arizona State.
Spread Notes -Oregon's actually covered only two of its first six games this 2012 season but the Ducks are a tasty 9-4-1 vig-wise in Pac-12 games while dating back to late in the 2010 season. On the other hand, Arizona State is 5-1 against the odds so far this season and the Sun Devils are 13-6-1 vig-wise in their last 20 conference games (a sizzling .684 winning rate).
THE NFL THURSDAY NIGHT PREVIEW
SEATTLE (4-2) at SAN FRANCISCO (4-2) -- 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Now that the NFC West is getting lots of love from the know-nothing media -yes, the division is a collective 15-9 SU for a potent .625 winning rate this year -the real question coming into this bash in the Bay Area is who are the real 49ers?
Are they the team that ransacked the Green Bay Packers 30-22 on Opening Day ... or the guys who were taken to the proverbial cleaners in last Sunday's 26-3 loss to the Super Bowl champion New York Giants?
Gotta believe that the short week actually worked in SF's favor here -guys are allegedly champion at the bit to get back on the field after that rotten showing (see three INTs of QB Alex Smith and a 149-yard rushing game by the G-men) while Seattle's 24-23 come-from-behind win against 4 ½-point fav New England featured more late-game magic from ultra-mature rookie QB Russell Wilson (293 yards passing with three TDs) who isn't afraid of the big spotlight at the end of close games ... or haven't you noticed the Seahawks have won three of their four games by 2-, 4- and 1-point margins?
Spread Notes -San Francisco is 4-2 versus the vig thus far in this 2012 season and note the 49ers are 19-7-1 ATS overall since the start of the Jim Harbaugh Era. On the flip side, Seattle enters this game also 4-2 odds-wise this year and the Seahawks are 14-7-1 versus the vig since the start of last season.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the NFL Week 7 winners beginning with this Seahawks-49ers tilt on Thursday Night Football plus there are loads of NCAA & NFL Football and Major-League Baseball League Championship Series winners straight ahead too -- so go ahead and climb aboard right now with America's #1 Handicapper! Check in with us on Game Days either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the winners.
NOTE: Make sure you're with us for tomorrow's Jim Sez as we present our Heisman Trophy Watch list plus there's more College Football News/Notes too!