Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 10:22 AM
NFL WEEK 6 BEGINS WITH THE BEARS HOLDING OFF THE WINLESS G-MEN 27-21 …
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK-ENDING MENU –THERE’S MORE PREVIEWS/FORECASTS INCLUDING
#17 FLORIDA AT #10 LSU & #2 OREGON AT #16 WASHINGTON PLUS OUR FIRST HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST TOO!
By Jim Hurley
Don’t fret it, New York Giants fans … you still have to lose your next three in a row to tie the 1976 team that began the year 0-9.
Still, last night’s 27-21 loss-but-cover at 8 ½-point favorite Chicago had the usual storylines for Tom Coughlin’s ship-wrecked team as QB Eli Manning tossed three more interceptions (and another “pick six”) and the once-ferocious pass rush didn’t register a single sack of Bears slinger Jay Cutler.
Here’s a prediction: The Giants’ locker room will become a place for finger-pointing and – believe it or not (and just two years removed from winning a second Super Bowl) -- we now could see the aforementioned Coughlin getting kicked to the curb.
Oh, it’s getting ugly near Route 3, alright.
NCAA FOOTBALL PREVIEWS/FORECASTS
Here’s some of what we’ll be tracking on Saturday with the college kids …
#2 OREGON (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) at #16 WASHINGTON (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) – 4 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
The Oregon Ducks have plenty of reason to keep piling up lopsided scores as they want to stay put at #2 when the first BCS Standings come out (okay, they actually have a shot at being #1 if Alabama doesn’t rub out its next couple of foes) and so that’s one reason why Mark Helfrich’s crew has gone from being a 10 ½-point betting favorite to 14 points the past few days.
No doubt Oregon QB Marcus Mariota (see our Heisman Trophy Watch List below) has been brilliant – last week he accounted for seven touchdowns in a 57-16 win/cover at Colorado but it remains to be seen whether RB De’Anthony Thomas – who was seen on campus wearing a walking boot this past week – will play here and the Ducks had their own little behind-closed-doors problem when TE Colt Lyerla quit the team after a series of problems with the coaching staff.
#5 STANFORD (5-0, 3-0 Pac-12) at UTAH (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12) – 6 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
Maybe it’s high time we all soaked up the following stat:
The Stanford Cardinal are a collective 40-5 SU (straight-up) -- that’s a sizzling .889 winning percentage -- since the start of the 2010 season and they sure appear headed for a fourth consecutive BCS bowl game, but the question here at the mid-way point is which one?
If David Shaw’s squad wants to stay on the straight-and-narrow path to a berth in the Pac-12 Championship Game and perhaps – dare we say – a spot in this year’s BCS Championship Game then winnin’ road games here, at Oregon State (Oct. 26) and at USC (Nov. 16th) is essential and here look for the Cards to emphasize forcing turnovers.
Note that Stanford has forced just seven enemy miscues this year (only these Utah Utes are worse with six forced turnovers inside the Pac-12).
However, Utah leads the Pac-12 with 18 quarterback sacks and so here’s a “heads-up” to Stanford slinger Kevin Hogan (932 yards passing with 11 TDs and 4 INTs), who may have to be mobile here … or else.
#17 FLORIDA (4-1, 3-0 SEC) at #10 LSU (5-1, 2-1 SEC) – 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Now it’s time to see if a great defense can stop a great offense – but who knew these SEC teams would evolve through the years so that the “great defense” belongs to the Florida Gators and the “great offense” belongs to the LSU Tigers?
If LSU slinger Zach Mettenberger (15 TD passes and just 2 INTs) – who’s helped the Bengals average a whopping 45.5 ppg with the veteran hand of first-year offensive coordinator Cam Cameron – can get enough players “out in space” here, then the TD-underdog Gators might not stand a chance but we believe the real key is Tigers RB Jeremy Hill, who is averaging 119 yards a game after missing the opener. Hill must smash-mouth his way to some big gainers and he’ll face some eight-men-in-the-box looks here.
Keep Hill under the century mark and Will Muschamp’s crew could snag its third consecutive pointspread win this year – Florida’s yielding just 217 total yards a game and that ranks ‘em second nationally in that key category.
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#18 MICHIGAN (5-0, 1-0 Big 10) at PENN STATE (3-2, 0-1 Big 10) – 5 p.m. ET, ESPN
Everyone knows the Michigan Wolverines own the country’s longest home winning streak – the maize-and-blue guys grabbed a 42-13 win/cover against Minnesota in “The Big House” last weekend, but the Wolverines are just 6-7 SU and 5-7-1 ATS (against the spread) under third-year boss Brady Hoke when packing their bags … hmmm.
If Michigan does not allow QB Devin Gardner a little more freedom to free-lance here, then it’s advantage Penn State, plus the $64,000 question is whether or not the Wolves’ short-handed defense – DL Ondre Pipkins suffered a torn ACL last Saturday and is gone for the year – can handle the Penn State tag-team combo of QB Christian Hackenberg-to-WR Allen Robinson as that tandem combined for 12 pass completions in last week’s disappointing 44-24 loss at Indiana.
Want a real X factor here?
Penn State’s meat-and-potatoes RB Zach Zwinak (team-leading 369 yards rushing and 8 TDs) could expose the Michigan front seven on traps/draws and watch him operate when the Nittanies are coming out in the shotgun formation.
Now hear this …
My handicappers and bloggers have everything all scoped out and you can get all the NCAA Football and NFL Week 6 Winners when you check with us here at Jim Hurley’s Network at the toll-free # of 1-888-777-4155 or right here online at www.vegassportsmasters.com.
Check with us on game days and remember we have MLB Playoff winners with both the NLCS (the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. the St. Louis Cardinals begins tonight) and the Detroit Tigers versus the Boston Red Sox ALCS is slated to start Saturday.
THE JIM SEZ HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST
It’s our first installment of the 2013 Heisman Trophy Watch List where we offer up our top five contenders for college football’s most coveted individual award … here’s how we see things shaping up while heading into this October weekend:
1 – TAJH BOYD, QB, CLEMSON – The senior slinger’s been brilliant right from the start of this ’13 season with 1,449 yards passing, 14 TDs and 2 INTs to go along with his modest 154 rushing yards for the 5-and-oh Tigers. It’s a nice lead right now for Boyd but far from insurmountable.
2 – JAMEIS WINSTON, QB, FLORIDA STATE – Last year we had a freshman Heisman winner for the first time ever and now this redshirt frosh is putting up a huge argument that he’s already the best player in the land. Winston’s stats – 1,441 yards passing with 17 TDs and 2 INTs along with another 135 yards rushing -- has powered the Seminoles to a 5-0 start. Maybe that Boyd vs. Winston duel on Oct. 19th will indeed “settle” who exactly will be late-season leader for this bronzed trophy.
3 – JOHNNY MANZIEL, QB, TEXAS A&M – Fact of the matter is last year’s Heisman winner hasn’t done much wrong as his stats are strikingly similar to both Boyd and Winston: “Johnny Football” has thrown for 1,489 yards with 14 TDs and 4 INTs (and 314 rushing yards) this year for the 4-1 Aggies.
4 – MARCUS MARIOTA, QB, OREGON – Call him the trigger-man of this “Duck Dynasty” that’s 5-0 while heading into the aforementioned tilt in Seattle. Mariota’s thrown for 1,358 yards with 14 TDs and 0 INTs (he’s added 338 rushing yards with 7 ground TDs) and he’s yet to play a fourth quarter yet.
5 – SEAN MANNION, QB, OREGON STATE – The under-the-radar Beavers have won four in a row following that painful loss to Eastern Washington back on August 31st. This veteran quarterback sports a delicious 21 TD-to-2 INT ratio with 2,018 passing yards.
NOTE: There’s more NFL Week 6 Previews/Forecasts and all sorts of goodies in tomorrow’s edition of Jim Sez.