Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 10:52 AM
NETWORK HITS HARD AND GETS THE CASH ON THURSDAY NIGHT AS THE VIKINGS (+2½) DEFEAT THE REDSKINS, 34-27, PLUS THEY GO WELL OVER THE NUMBER (49½) TO GRAB THE TOTAL! IN COLLEGE, STANFORD (+10½) GETS THE OUTRIGHT UPSET OVER OREGON, 26-20!
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKEND REPORT –STANFORD SOCKS IT TO #3 OREGON 26-20 WHILE #6 BAYLOR WALLOPS OKLAHOMA 41-12 …THERE’S MORE PREVIEWS/FORECASTS AHEAD INCLUDING #13 LSU AT #1 ALABAMA, VIRGINIA TECH AT #11 MIAMI AND NEBRASKA-MICHIGAN …AND HERE’S A LOOK AT THE WORST POINTSPREAD SIDES IN AMERICA …
PLUS, THE 2013-14 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SEASON’S HERE AND EVERYONE’S WONDERING WHETHER KENTUCKY OR LOUISVILLE WILL WIN IT ALL (AND WE SAY NO TO BOTH)!
By Jim Hurley
Is Stanford “soft” … are you kidding us or what?
After a crazy week in the NFL where Miami Dolphins/one-time Stanford O-lineman Jonathan Martin has been grabbing all/most of the sports headlines for this alleged hazing/bullying, there’s been all sorts of talk that Martin – and most Stanford players – are simply not tough.
We can’t speak for Mr. Martin right now, but as far as the current cast at “The Farm” the jury is in … and the verdict says the 8-1 Cardinal may be the toughest team in the land following Thursday night’s 26-20 win against 10-point road favorite Oregon.
If you watched the ESPN tilt, then you know this was a major-league pounding for about 55 minutes – Stanford led 26-0 until all heck broke loose and the Cardinal actually had to recover an onside kick to hold off the Ducks at the end – but on a night where Stanford RB Tyler Gaffney rushed the ball a school-record 45 times for 157 yards and the Card defense totally confounded/hounded Oregon QB Marcus Mariota (boy, did he just drop in the Heisman Trophy standings!), the word “soft” and Stanford simply didn’t belong in the same sentence.
Not now and maybe not ever.
In the meantime, the other big winner on the college scene Thursday night was the Baylor Bears, who took a while before the engines got revved up before kicking the tar out of the Oklahoma Sooners 41-12 as QB Bryce Petty accounted for five TDs – that’s three passing and two rushing – and the only negative comment we’ll make here regarding the Waco guys is that some of their cheap shots are uncalled for – just go ahead and play the game the right way, Baylor!
The 8-0 Bears held Oklahoma to 4-of-17 on third-down plays, and how about the fact Baylor didn’t commit a single turnover despite getting off some 80 offensive snaps – now if Art Briles’ name doesn’t keep popping up for National Coach of the Year, there ought to be a federal investigation!
The big picture now looks like this:
Florida State firmed up its spot at #2 behind top-ranked Alabama and #4 Ohio State crept in a little closer, too, but check out the Baylor sked that includes games with Texas Tech and Texas and we’ll suggest that an unbeaten Bears team at regular-season end might catapult its way to a spot in the BCS Championship Game with a little break here or there.
Jim Hurley's 100% Numbers Play
In Saturday’s top NCAA Football games, it’s …
#13 LSU (7-2, 3-2 SEC) at #1 ALABAMA (8-0, 5-0 SEC) – 8 p.m. ET, CBS
From the some-things-never-change department comes this notice:
The Alabama Crimson Tide is the #1 team in the land, and even the latest Nick Saban-to-Texas rumors aren’t about to derail the team’s focus for this annual rivalry tilt.
However, if ‘Bama does slip up here – and do keep in mind the Tide’s a healthy 12 ½-point betting favorite at last check – it likely won’t have the safety net provided for them the past two years when November losses to LSU (in 2011) and Texas A&M (last year) still didn’t kayo Alabama from the BCS Championship Game (and you wanted just one reason why it’s time to finally junk this whole BCS system!).
Once again it’s the Alabama defense taking center stage at this point of the season – the Tide’s allowed just 26 points in all the past six games and only someone named QB Johnny Manziel was able to put up in excess of 10 points in a game against Alabama this year (see Tide 49, A&M Aggies 42 way back on Sept. 14th when that SEC tilt had a Game-of-the-Year hint).
Note that Alabama is allowing a nation’s-best 250 yards per game, and you can be sure ‘Bama has noticed that LSU slinger Zach Mettenberger has taken a step or two back in recent SEC games. Mettenberger will enter this prime-time affair in Tuscaloosa with 2,492 yards passing and 19 TDs/7 INTs this season, but unless Tigers’ hard-charging RB Jeremy Hill (922 rushing yards and a sick 7.2 ypg average) can generate big up-the-gut plays, the Tide defense will tee off on Mettenberger.
One final X-factor at play for the home team here:
QB A.J. McCarron – whose 28-yard screen pass TD to T.J. Yeldon won it for Alabama with only 51 seconds remaining in last year’s 21-17 win at Baton Rouge – simply doesn’t get rattled as evidenced by his play in 2011 and ’12, and that come-from-behind action earlier this year at College Station – but perhaps LSU’s improving defensive backs can smother McCarron’s top targets here and make him tuck it and run a few times. Note that would be to LSU’s benefit, for sure.
Spread Notes – Top-ranked Alabama enters this prime-time clash riding a three-game ATS (against the spread) winning streak that includes covers against Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee but did you know the Crimson Tide’s an electric 16-7 spreadwise in SEC affairs dating back to the start of 2011? On the flip side, LSU is a dead-even but vig-losing 4-4-1 ATS so far this season and the Bayou Bengals are 8-8-2 ATS as underdog sides since the start of the 2006 season.
VIRGINIA TECH (6-3, 3-2 ACC) at #11 MIAMI (7-1, 3-1 ACC) – 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
First, the Miami Hurricanes lost a game – then they lost their best player.
Last week’s 41-14 punch-in-the-nose loss at three-TD favorite Florida State not only kayoed “The U” from the ranks of the unbeaten, but star RB Duke Johnson (broken right ankle) was lost for the year, and so Miami’s mental psyche will get a major challenge here from an ornery Virginia Tech team that’s lost back-to-back ACC games the past two weeks versus Duke and Boston College (that’s a 13- and a 4-point underdog, respectively).
Frank Beamer’s V-Tech crew has won three of its last four head-to-head showdowns against Miami these past four seasons – the ‘Canes were 30-12 winners at home last year as 1 ½-point underdogs – but it’s no secret that veteran QB Logan Thomas has regressed in recent weeks as the Hokies’ signal-caller has more INTs (12) than TDs (11), so expect the Techsters to go back to basics here and try to wear down Miami with a ground game that likely attempts 40-plus totes with Thomas still a big part of the mix when it comes to the ground game.
Check out the ACC standings and you’ll see that Virginia Tech has the Coastal Division destiny in its own hands – they already beat Georgia Tech 17-10 back on Sept. 26th – so despite this little swoon the Hokies could exit South Beach in second place in the division but holding all the tie-breakers.
Spread Notes – Miami is just 4-4 against the odds so far this year, but the Hurricanes do sport a snazzy 20-10 ATS overall mark dating back to the start of 2011. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, is an ugly 3-5-1 against the odds this season and 8-14 ATS in ACC action the past two-plus seasons.
#19 UCLA (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) at ARIZONA (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) – 10 p.m. ET, ESPN
No doubt everyone’s been paying strict attention to the Pac-12 North, but who’s gonna rise up and snag the Pac-12 South crown?
Both UCLA and Arizona enter the weekend a full game back of Arizona State (4-1 in conference play) but keep in mind the Sun Devils close out regular-season play with back-to-back tilts at UCLA and then home to ‘Zona.
In this clash in Tucson, the host Wildcats won’t be pulling any surprises:
Superstar RB Ka’Deem Carey (1,072 yards rushing and 10 TDs) leads the FBS with his 153.1 ypg average, and he should be kept as busy as he was a week ago when Carey’s 32 carries for 152 yards spearheaded a 33-28 non-cover win at California. Note that the Bruins have brought some re-enforcements to this game as LB Eric Kendricks will play – Kendricks leads this Bruins' team with 65 tackles, and you can count on some head-banger, short-yardage plays to decide this one out West.
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley (1,998 yards passing with 16 TDs and 8 INTs) is hoping he can snap a four-game Bruins’ losing streak at Arizona.
Spread Notes – Arizona has notched pointspread wins in its last five consecutive home games against UCLA, but the U of A Wildcats are a shoddy 11-21 vig-wise in conference games the past two-plus seasons. Note that UCLA covered its first five games in a row this year, but enters this Pac-12 shindig on a three-game ATS losing skid … egads!
NEBRASKA (6-2, 3-1 Big 10) at MICHIGAN (6-2, 2-2 Big 10) – 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Strange but true that we’re into November, and neither the Nebraska Cornhuskers nor the Michigan Wolverines are nationally ranked – and these days you clearly get the sense that neither Big 10 school is overjoyed with the work of the head coaches.
Okay, so it’s basically a foregone conclusion that Big Red will axe the anger-prone Bo Pelini at year’s end unless he can someone steer his team into the Big 10 Championship Game and win it, while Michigan’s Jekyll-and-Hyde season of winning at home and losing (and sometimes badly) on the road has Brady Hoke hearing whispers regarding his future.
Hard to believe Michigan will allow ole #98 – that’s QB Devin Gardner – to take some a vicious pounding here one week after Michigan State sacked ‘em seven times and really pounded him into the turf while Nebraska (ranked 86th nationally in passing offense) was a miracle-play winner last week against Northwestern, but who’s gonna start at quarterback here … the oft-injured Taylor Martinez, Tommy Armstrong or strong-armed Ron Kellogg, who aired that game-winning bomb with no time left against Northwestern last Saturday?
Spread Notes – Strange but true, the Michigan Wolverines are 4-1 ATS at home this year and 0-3 vig-wise away, and note when these teams collided in Lincoln last year, the maize-and-blue were battered 23-9 as one-point road dogs. Nebraska’s heading into this bash with a 9-11-1 ATS log in Big 10 conference games the past two-plus seasons.
My handicappers and bloggers will have all the weekend winners and you can get NCAA Football, NFL Week 10 play and all the NBA/NCAA Basketball action when you check with us here at Jim Hurley’s Network at 1-800-323-4453 or right here online at www.jimhurley.com.
Hey, don’t forget there’s a College Football action on tap this evening as #20 Louisville is at UConn (8:30 p.m. ET, espn2) along with Air Force at New Mexico (that’s 9 p.m. ET on ESPNU) along with the Opening Night of the College Basketball Season and we’ll have all the winners when you check in with us after 1 p.m. ET today. Got it?
COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S WORST SPREAD TEAMS
Okay, so last week at this time we presented our Jim Sez readers with the best pointspread sides in College Football and so now let’s get an update on the nation’s worst pointspread sides while entering play this weekend:
|New Mex. St.||2-6-0||.250|
|Mid. Tenn. St.||3-6-0||.333|
THE COLLEGE HOOPS SEASON IS HERE!!!
Is this year’s College Basketball championship trophy gonna reside in Louisville … or Lexington.
The Bluegrass State’s owned the last two hoops title with John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats snagging the 2011 title, and Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals stashing away last year’s crown and the 2013-14 season begins with the teams ranked #1 and #3, respectively, to start the year – that’s mighty Michigan State in between ‘em at #2 – but we’re here to tell you that a couple of teams from the other so-called power conferences should be watched carefully, and that’s #8 Oklahoma State of Big 12 fame, and co-#8 Syracuse, who’s playing its ball in the ACC these days.
There’s a healthy dose of games to get us all started tonight – how about that tripleheader in Dallas with Oklahoma vs. Alabama, TCU vs. SMU and Colorado vs. #25 Baylor – while it’s St. John’s vs. Wisconsin (in Sioux Falls, SD) and Maryland vs. UConn at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn?
Wow – now that’s an opening-day/night menu any college hoops junkie would love … right?
Okay, so let’s get into the forecasting business and give you our national championship matchup …
How ‘bout Michigan State vs. Oklahoma State with neither Kentucky/Louisville even getting into the title night mix!
NOTE: There’s NFL Week 10 Previews/Forecasts in tomorrow’s Jim Sez including the Philadelphia Eagles at the Green Bay Packers, the Denver Broncos at the San Diego Chargers and the Sunday Night game between the Dallas Cowboys at the New Orleans Saints … so don’t dare miss out!