Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 8:00 PM
Gobble, gobble! The Thanksgiving Weekend rolls on with a batch of goodies on the gridiron and here we'll get you Friday's Key College TV tilts, so let's get it going ... note the numbers that precede team names below reflect the current BCS Standings
#14 NEBRASKA (9-2, 6-1 Big 10) at IOWA (4-7, 2-5 Big 10) -12 p.m. ET, ABC
Let's see if the born-again Nebraska Cornhuskers can wrap up a berth in next month's Big 10 Championship Game as Bo Pelini's crew rolls into this one on a four-game SU (straight-up) and four-game ATS (against the spread) winning streak and QB Taylor Martinez is -some say, finally -in a groove.
Martinez threw for 308 yards and two TDs in last weekend's 38-14 win/cover against overmatched Minnesota and now he faces a slumping Iowa squad that's dropped its last five games in a row while yielding nearly 483 yards a game during this swoon. Folks say Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz -who's actually signed to a contract till the year 2020 -is "safe" but if red-hot Big Red covers this rather bloated 14 ½-point price than they may take inventory again.
Spread Note -Nebraska has covered just one-of-four road games this year (see 28-24 triumph at one-point fav Michigan State back on Nov. 3rd).
#7 LSU (9-2, 5-2 SEC) at ARKANSAS (4-7, 2-5 SEC) -2:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Hey, forget all that talk about LSU getting back into the SEC Championship Game -do you really think Alabama is gonna lose to 31 ½-point underdog Auburn on Saturday in Tuscaloosa? -and so instead concentrate here on the fact the Bayou Bengals could position themselves in another marquee January bowl game with a win and one area of concern here is the LSU pass defense that surrendered 316 yards in last week's hairy 41-35 non-cover win against 19-point dog Ole Miss.
If not for that 89-yard fourth-quarter punt return for a score by LSU's Odell Beckham, than Les Miles' club might have that glazed-over look in their eyes here.
No doubt Arkansas' 2012 season was shot to heck right away with four September losses but here QB Tyler Wilson -who needs just 88 yards to become the school's all-time leading passer -must get the ball out quickly as he's been sacked 10 times in the last four games and he must not challenge the athletic LSU corners too often. Got it, kid?
Spread Note -LSU is just 4-6 versus the vig as betting favorites this year after having compiled a nifty 8-2 ATS mark as the chalk a year ago.
ARIZONA STATE (6-5, 4-4 Pac-12) at #24 ARIZONA (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12) -10 p.m. ET, ESPN
Maybe first-year bosses Todd Graham (Arizona State) and Rich Rodriguez (Arizona) are new to this Cactus State rivalry game but they sure know the bad blood that exists and it only gets a bit juicier now that the U of A Wildcats have entered the BCS Top 25 ... yes, we were a bit surprised by that too!
Arizona has won four of its last five games this year while averaging better than 45 points a game during the "W's" and here the country's 15th-best ground game will look to unleash RB Ka'Deem Carey (1,585 yards rushing and averaging a haughty 144.1 yards-per-game with 19 TDs) against an Arizona State defense that surrenders a whopping 161 yards a game via the ground route.
On the flip side, Arizona State's QB Taylor Kelly (25 TDs and 9 INTs) can get on hot streaks and take note he completed 20-of-23 passes for 246 yards with 4 TDs and 0 INTs last week in that rollicking 46-7 win against Washington State.
First team to 40 points wins?
Spread Note -Arizona and Arizona State have split their last 10 pointspread verdicts but note the U of A Wildcats are just 7-11 ATS at home the past two-plus seasons while the ASU Sun Devils are a dismal 0-4 vig-wise as underdog sides this season.
THE HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST
It's truly getting down to nitty-gritty time for this year's Heisman Trophy race. Here's how we see the top five candidates heading into this holiday weekend:
COLLIN KLEIN, QB, KANSAS STATE -Sorry, but we're not knocking off this do-it-all player from atop the Heisman Trophy perch even though his previously unbeaten K-State Wildcats were whipsawed 52-24 last weekend by 12-point home pup Baylor.
Klein and Company are idle this weekend before a season finale home game against Texas on Dec. 1st and the 6-foot-5, 225-pounder will enter that Big 12 game with 2,306 yards passing, 14 TDs and 6 INTs to go along with his 787 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns.
Hey, a bad game -and a loss -in that one could sink Klein in his Heisman race. Stay tuned
MANTI TE'O, LB, NOTRE DAME -The top player on the top team in the land stays put at #2 in our Jim Sez Heisman Trophy race one week after he helped blank Wake Forest 38-0 in a "statement game" for the ND Fighting Irish.
Te'o now heads into Saturday's monster game at USC with 98 total tackles (half of 'em are solo stops) to go along with 6 interceptions and a pair of fumble recovers.
Folks, those are just stats as anyone who's watched this Notre Dame team knows Te'o has been the heart-and-soul leader of this somewhat no-name team and if he has a monster game against the Men of Troy this weekend, he could be our numero uno
JOHNNY MANZIEL, QB, TEXAS A&M -It's been a pretty popular notion to put "Johnny Football" on top of the here-and-now Heisman Trophy lists but we say hold on for a moment:
It's true that Manziel's freshman stats are incredible with 3,047 passing yards with 21 TDs and 7 INTs along with a stellar 67.7 completion rate (that's 241 completions in some 356 attempts) and he did take the starring role in that shockeroo win at Alabama back on Nov. 10th but consider that the A&M Aggies have lost to Florida and LSU and only scored a grand total of 36 points in those affairs -what, Manziel gets a "pass" for those showings?
Third place is where this 6-foot-1, 200-pound energetic bunny belongs though he could get another boost to his late-blooming campaign with a big tilt this Saturday against rag-tag Missouri.
MARQISE LEE, WR, USC -There's some national sentiment to leave this speedy soph off the Heisman Trophy Watch Lists simply based on the fact preseason #1 USC has been such a bust with four losses heading into the aforementioned game this Saturday night against Notre Dame but how does one ignore the fact Lee has 107 catches for 1,605 yards (a 15.0 yards-per-catch average) with 14 TDs?
BRAXTON MILLER, QB, OHIO STATE -The Buckeyes may not be eligible for the Big 10 title or for a post-season bowl game this year but this spiffy sophomore remains eligible to appear in NYC for next month's Heisman Trophy ceremony and he'll get an invite providing he doesn't flop in Saturday's key tilt against archrival Michigan. So far, Miller's numbers include 1,850 yards passing with 14 TDs and just 6 INTs along with 1,214 yards rushing (a dazzling 5.9 ypc average) and 13 ground scores and it sure helps his cause that the 11-and-oh 'Eyes are one of only two FBS unbeatens at this moment.
Finally, we just presented you with the NFL Pointspread Standings in yesterday's Jim Sez column -and how about the following pointspread marks for these handful-plus of College Football teams?
- Ball State is 9-2 against the odds this year entering Friday's game against Miami-Ohio;
- Clemson is 8-3 against the juice going into its game against South Carolina;
- Florida Atlantic is also 8-3 ATS while going into its Dec. 1st home game against UL-Lafayette;
- Fresno State is 10-1 spreadwise so far while going into Saturday's home game against Air Force;
- Kansas State's 9-2 against the vig so far this 2012 campaign;
- Ditto for Kent State who hosts Ohio on Friday;
- Miami is an electric 8-3 spreadwise going into Saturday's game at Duke;
- Northern Illinois is 8-3 ATS going into Friday's game at Eastern Michigan;
- Northwestern is a rollicking 10-1 spreadwise this season with the rivalry game against Illinois on deck Saturday;
- Ole Miss is a rather surprising 8-3 ATS going into its Egg Bowl game against Miss State;
- Penn State -believe it or not -is 8-3 against the Las Vegas prices this year;
- San Jose State has piled up a 9-2 spread mark while heading into Saturday's game against Louisiana Tech;
- Utah State is 11-0 ATS and shoots for a perfect spread regular season with Saturday's home game against 39-point underdog Idaho;
- And, lastly, Western Kentucky is 8-3 against the odds this year with a home game against North Texas on tap Saturday
NOTE: Catch our College Football Saturday Key Previews in the next edition of Jim Sez and stay tuned also for our NFL Week 12 Sunday Game Previews!