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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 5:28 PM

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By Jim Hurley

Let’s face facts…

With the first edition of this year’s BCS Standings set to come out on Monday, there’s growing “pressure” for the top teams in the land to win – and win by a significant margin.

Perhaps you’ve noted how some of the best teams in the country appear (at least to us) to be laying more points than they should be.

In short, should #1 Alabama really be a four-TD betting favorite for its home game against SEC rival Arkansas or does that Las Vegas price tag appear a bit “tall”?

Should #4 Ohio State really be a 17-point betting favorite for this Saturday’s home game against Big 10 rival Iowa?

Okay, so these are just a couple of examples and maybe we’re being a bit subjective ‘cause we would be “cool” if Alabama was a 21- or 22-point fav here and if we were making the odds than Ohio State would have opened as no more than a 12- or 13-point betting favorite.

Guess what we’re trying to say is that there becomes a major risk laying more than you should have to for the likes of the nation’s elite now that they’re all trying to win by a zillion points – you have been forewarned!

In fact, if you take a quickie gander at what’s straight ahead in this weekend’s busy NCAA Football schedule – and for the time being you chuck out the monster matchup between #5 Florida State at #3 Clemson -- then you will note that the top eight teams in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 are laying on average a whopping 19.4 points per game.

Let’s just say we don’t expect each and every one of ‘em to smother their respective opponents by 20-plus points … okay?

Hey, one such top 10 team that kicks off the week’s action are the born-again #10 Miami Hurricanes.

We’ll get to their Thursday Night prime-time preview/forecast in just a moment here in today’s Jim Sez column but first this little ditty:

The ‘Canes have covered 12 of their last 14 overall games while dating back to early last season and so here’s a game-by-game look at how Al Golden’s club has “cashed out” (note all home teams in CAPS below).

In order since last September, it’s …


Miami + 14 GEORGIA TECH 42-36
MIAMI - 2 N.C. State 44-37
Notre Dame -15.5 Miami 41-3
North Carolina - 7.5 MIAMI 18-14
Florida State - 21 MIAMI 33-20
MIAMI - 1.5 Virginia Tech 30-12
VIRGINIA - 2 Miami 41-40
MIAMI - 6.5 South Florida 40-9
Miami - 6 DUKE 52-45


MIAMI - 30 Fla. Atlantic 34-6


MIAMI - 60 Savannah St.


Miami - 18 South Florida 49-21
MIAMI - 5.5 Georgia Tech 45-30

On Thursday Night, it’s …

#10 MIAMI (5-0, 1-0 ACC) at NORTH CAROLINA (1-4, 0-2 ACC) – 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN

Maybe it’s fitting that an ACC game gets the upcoming weekend off to a full-blown start – after all, the aforementioned Florida State at Clemson battle is getting all the ink this week but might the U of M Hurricanes be operating under the proverbial radar screen these days?

Maybe the best thing you can say about the here-and-now ‘Canes is that you have not been hearing all talk about sanctions and probations and payouts – it’s been a football-centric season so far for a Miami team that’s enjoying its first top 10 ranking in four years.

If “The U” is gonna stay in that rarified air of the top 10 then RB Duke Johnson – who ranks fourth in FBS play with 190.8 all-purpose yards per game – must be a major factor here against a Tar Heels team that ranks a rancid 97th nationally against the rush (yielding 197.2 ypg).

Johnson can also do major damage as a return specialist and so if the Heels kick the ball in his general direction here, we’ll be reaming out under-fire head coach Larry Fedora in our Friday edition of Jim Sez!

Let’s also see how Miami slinger Stephen Morris fares here: Note that in last year’s above-mentioned 18-14 loss-but-cover against North Carolina, Morris was intercepted twice and completed just 12-of-26 passes before eventually leaving with an ankle injury.

One key for the home-dog Heels here:

Veteran QB Bryn Renner (ankle) is expected to start after having his consecutive starts streak snapped at 29 games in UNC’s 27-17 loss to Virginia Tech back on Oct. 5th but will Renner have room to operate against a Miami team that’s collected 18 sacks already this season?

Spread Notes – Miami has covered its last three consecutive head-to-head matchups against North Carolina including a 30-24 win as 1 ½-point underdogs at Chapel Hill two years ago. On the flip side, the UNC Tar Heels have failed to cover four of their first five pointspread verdicts this season and they’re a crummy 1-7 versus the vig when placed in the pup role while dating back to the start of the 2011 season. Yikes!

Note that in tomorrow’s edition of Jim Sez we’ll provide Previews/Forecasts for a batch of games including Friday Night’s UCF at #8 Louisville matchup along with Saturday tilts between #22 Florida at #14 Missouri, #24 Auburn at #7 LSU and – of course -- #5 Florida State at #3 Clemson … so don’t miss out!

Extra, extra …

My handicappers and bloggers have everything all scoped out and you can get the NFL Week 7 Side & Totals winners beginning with Thursday Night’s game between the Seattle Seahawks at the Arizona Cardinals when you check with us here at Jim Hurley’s Network and then keep rollin’ in the green all week/weekend long with all the NCAA Football, the NFL and the on-going MLB Playoffs.

Check with us on game days either here online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 – make this an October to remember!


We’re back with the second installment of the 2013 Heisman Trophy Watch List where we offer up our top five contenders for college football’s most coveted individual award … now here’s how we see things shaping up while heading into this October weekend:

1 – TAJH BOYD, QB, CLEMSON – No doubt that last weekend’s 24-14 non-cover win against 24-point dog Boston College wasn’t the brightest hour in this senior’s career yet he still threw for 334 yards with 1 TD and 0 INTs and so he’ll enter this weekend’s marquee matchup with Florida State with the following season stat line: 1,783 yards passing with 15 TDs and 2 INTs to go along with another 187 yards rushing with 5 TDs. The gap has narrowed between Boyd and his fellow Heisman Trophy contenders but he’s still on top thanks in large part to that fancy 6-and-oh record.

2 – JAMEIS WINSTON, QB, FLORIDA STATE – Let’s just say that this redshirt frosh is breathing down Boyd’s neck at this very moment and so more likely than not the QB winner of Saturday’s FSU vs. Clemson game will take the Heisman Trophy lead. Last week Florida State (5-0) drew a bye but remember Winston was superb with 393 yards passing, 5 TDs and 0 INTs in a resounding 63-0 win against 17 ½-point pup Maryland back on Oct. 5th. Winston’s up-to-date stats include 1,441 yards passing with 17 TDs and 2 INTs along with another 135 yards rushing and many in-the-know coaches believe he’s as tough to take down in the pocket as current Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger.

3 – JOHNNY MANZIEL, QB, TEXAS A&M – Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner added to his lore last weekend as he bounced back from an early-game knee injury to complete 31-of-35 passes for 346 yards in a thrilling 41-38 non-cover win at Ole Miss. True, Manziel didn’t throw a single TD in that SEC road win – his current stats include 1,835 yards passing with 14 TDs and 5 INTs along with 438 yards rushing (a 6.5 ypc average) -- but here are the #7 Aggies sittin’ pretty at 5-1 and “Johnny Football” very much is in the conversation for yet another bronzed statue.

4 – MARCUS MARIOTA, QB, OREGON – Sorry, but we’re not about ready to argue with folks who have this Ducks’ mega-star atop their current Heisman Trophy list (see ESPN) because the kid’s numbers are truly outrageous as he’s thrown for 1,724 yards with 17 TDs and 0 INTs along with 426 yards rushing and 8 TDs. Still, we have this notion that a “system quarterback” should not trump these other guys right now and so we’ll keep this Pac-12 guy back in our Heisman Trophy Top 5 pack … at least for now. Mariota – who last week accounted for 4 TDs (three passing; one rushing) with 366 passing yards and 88 ground yards in a 45-24 road win at 12 ½-point dog Washington – will have some challenges coming up soon with games against UCLA (Oct. 26th) and at Stanford (Nov. 7th).

5 – SEAN MANNION, QB, OREGON STATE – No reason at all to change a soul in our Heisman Trophy Top 5 as we’ll keep out this junior triggerman who last week completed 34-of-51 passes for 493 yards with 4 TDs and 1 INT in a 52-24 win against 2 ½-point pup Washington State. Mannion has lifted the Beavers to five consecutive wins since that humbling loss to Eastern Washington back on August 31st. The season stats to this point show Mannion has thrown for 2,511 yards with 25 TDs and 3 INTs and note he’s now thrown for 56 career scoring strikes.

NOTE: Catch all our NFL Week 7 coverage in the coming editions of Jim Sez as tomorrow we’ll preview the Thursday Night Game between Seattle at Arizona.


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