Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 9:56 AM
There are still three full weeks of NCAA Football left before the BCS bozos go to work on deciding who will play in this year's national championship game and that led us to a bit of day-dreaming, if you will:
What's the best matchup we can get on the evening of January 6, 2014? Is it ...
Alabama vs. Florida State?
Alabama vs. Baylor?
Alabama vs. Ohio State?
Florida State vs. Baylor?
Florida State vs. Ohio State?
Or Baylor vs. Ohio State?
Hmmm ... you could make the case that each of the potential (and likely) BCS Championship Game matchups are pretty juicy but it would be fun stuff to see how the high-octane Baylor Bears perform on the big stage in Pasadena, so we'll "secretly" be rooting for the guys from Waco just because all of the above have won at least one national championship in recent years.
Nobody's saying that the likes of #5 Oregon or #6 Auburn have been removed from the national title discussions, but it sure seems 95-percent-or-more certain that two of the current top four teams in the here-and-now BCS Standings will be squaring off on that first Monday Night in January.
Hey, let's have some more bowl-related fun for a moment here in today's Jim Sez before we get to a couple of quickie football-on-a-school-night previews and then our latest Heisman Trophy Watch List:
As they like to say in the trade, if the season ended today ... here's how we would match up the five "big bowls":
ROSE BOWL - Ohio State vs. Baylor
FIESTA BOWL - Northern Illinois vs. Oregon
SUGAR BOWL - Auburn vs. Stanford
ORANGE BOWL - UCF vs. Clemson
BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME - Alabama vs. Florida State
So, what do ‘ya think?
Ladies and gents ...
My handicappers and bloggers will bang out a slew of winners this week/weekend in NCAA Football, NFL Week 12, NBA and NCAA Hoops and that includes Thursday Night's NFL Week 12 bash between the New Orleans Saints at the Atlanta Falcons when you check with us here at Jim Hurley's Network. Check with us on game days either here online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Don't miss out!
In tonight's NCAA Football action, it's ...
#16 NORTHERN ILLINOIS (10-0, 6-0 MAC) at TOLEDO (7-3, 5-1 MAC) - 8 p.m. ET, espn2
Holy Toledo ... Is this where the powerful Northern Illinois Huskies finally meet their match in Mid-American Conference play?
Take note that NIU is a mere 2 ½-point road favorite for this prime-time clash that could clinch the MAC West for Rod Carey's club and the Huskies do enter this one riding a 24-game SU (straight-up) winning streak in conference play and QB Jordan Lynch (see our Heisman Trophy Watch List below) comes off one of his better performances of the year with 345 passing yards and two TDs to go along with his 123 yards rushing with two TDs.
If Lynch can power this attack that's averaging 44.6 ppg to another monster night then even the suddenly-hot Toledo Rockets - fresh off 55- and 51-point outings in their past two games - probably can't keep pace.
Hey, all eyes may be on Lynch here but pay attention here should Toledo RB David Fluellen (1,067 yards rushing and 10 TDs) be healthy enough to go after missing the last two games with a leg injury.
Spread Notes - Northern Illinois is 31-16-2 ATS (against the spread) overall since the start of the 2010 season while Toledo is 7-3 ATS this season and also 7-3 spreadwise in its last 10 games when in the underdog role.
On Thursday Night, it's ...
RUTGERS (5-4, 2-3 AAC) at #18 UCF (8-1, 5-0 AAC) -- 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
It's only a tad ironic that in a year when the UCF Knights have bullied their way to 31-, 38- and 45-point wins that there are rumors circulating that there are more bullying accusations surrounding the Rutgers sports programs ... this time it's the football team that last week played dead in a 52-17 home loss to Cincinnati and now you do have to wonder if second-year head coach Kyle Flood already has one foot out the door.
Still, the real story here is UCF as George O'Leary's crew chases down a possible unbeaten season inside the brand-new American Athletic Conference and, boy, did things get scary last weekend in a 39-36 win at 18-point dog Temple as WR J.J. Worton made a Catch-of-the-Year type play with his one-handed, diving end-zone grab with 1:06 left and then UCF won it with no time on the clock as PK Shawn Moffitt banged home a 23-yard field goal.
Gotta believe things will be a bit easier here but let's see how the Rutgers defense deals with UCF slinger Blake Bortles who has thrown for 19 TDs with 5 INTs - and he's definitely one of the country's top 10 quarterbacks whether he gets the national "pub" or not!
Spread Notes - UCF is a solid 6-3 versus the Las Vegas prices this year but overall the Knights are just 8-8 ATS as twin-figure favorites while dating back to the start of the 2011 season. Conversely, Rutgers slides into this clash on a three-game spread losing streak but the Jersey team is a decent 10-6 ATS away the past two-plus seasons.
THE JIM SEZ HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST
We're back with the latest Installment of the 2013 Heisman Trophy Watch List where we offer up our top five weekly contenders for college football's most coveted individual award. Now here's how we see things shaping up as we get set to head into another big-time gridiron week/weekend:
1 -- JAMEIS WINSTON, QB, FLORIDA STATE - Has there ever been a more accurate young slinger in the college game? Maybe not as last week this redshirt freshman completed 19-of-21 passes for 277 yards with two TDs in a 59-3 win against Syracuse and so chill on these season-long stats that now include 2,938 yards passing with 28 TDs and 7 INTs to go along with three rushing scores. Does Winston play beyond the mid-way point of the second quarter against 58 ½-point dog Idaho this weekend? Probably not!
2 - BRYCE PETTY, QB, BAYLOR - Sorry, Johnny Football, but your bye last weekend cost you here in our Jim Sez Heisman Trophy Watch List as this fast-rising junior has catapulted all the way up to second place following last weekend's 63-34 comeback win against Texas Tech. Petty aired three scoring strikes and ran for two more for the 9-0 Bears and now he'll enter Saturday's nationally-televised tilt at Oklahoma State with this incredible stat line: 2,992 yards passing with 24 TDs and 1 INT plus don't forget his 10 rushing TDs.
3 - JOHNNY MANZIEL, QB, TEXAS A&M - No question that last year's Heisman Trophy winner could chalk up major trophy points this weekend with a standout showing (and a win) at LSU and note Manziel will enter that SEC bash having thrown for 3,313 yards and 31 TDs this year and he's rushed/scrambled for 611 yards and 8 TDs. One negative? He's thrown 11 picks.
4 - MARCUS MARIOTA, QB, OREGON - Our once-upon-a-time leader in the Jim Sez Heisman Watch List stays put at #4 right now following a 288-yard, 3-TD passing performance in a 44-21 non-cover win against four-TD dog Utah. Mariota will go to Arizona this weekend with 2,819 passing yards, 25 TDs and still 0 INTs but keep in mind he's rushed for negative yards in each of his last two games but has 477 rushing yards and 9 TDs via the ground this season.
5 - JORDAN LYNCH, QB, NORTHERN ILLINOIS - The 10-and-oh Huskies get that national stage this evening with the espn2 game at Toledo and just to wrap things up when it comes to the do-it-all Lynch note that he's thrown for 2,216 yards with 21 TDs and 5 INTs this year plus he's accounted for 1,273 rushing yards and 14 TDs. Sounds Heisman-y to you, eh?NOTE: Lots of NFL Week 12 goodies in tomorrow's Jim Sez including the Thursday Night Game preview - that's the Saints at the Falcons - and there's plenty more!