Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 6:55 PM
THE JIM SEZ MID-WEEK REPORT: THERE’S PLENTY OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL CHATTER AS WE TALK UP
THE EARLY BOWL GAMES (THAT’S DECEMBER 21st-THRU-26th) …
PLUS WE WEIGH IN ON THE HEISMAN TROPHY “GUEST LIST” FOR NYC THIS WEEKEND
By Jim Hurley
Want some numbers tossed in your general direction when it comes to this here-and-now College Football season?
According to our facts/figures, NCAA Betting Favorites will enter Saturday’s annual Army-Navy game with a 355-336-6 ATS (against the spread) mark and that’s good for a .514 winning rate … about the norm, if you ask us.
If you happen to be wondering how this year’s BCS Championship Game combatants fared spreadwise, then note that #1 Florida State will enter that title tilt on January 6th in Pasadena at 11-2 versus the vig while #2 Auburn is also 11-2 ATS and so that means these teams are 22-4 spreadwise or plus $1,760 if you base everything on a $100 per-play rate.
Hot stuff, indeed!
Meanwhile, there’s 35 College Bowl Games on the docket this holiday season and in our Jim Sez column today and in coming days we’ll bring you quick-hitter bowl comments plus there will be in-depth Previews/Forecasts of all 35 bowl bashes once we get a little bit closer to all of the games … got it?
We’ll get you some goodies on the College Bowl Games that will be played from December 21 thru December 26 (that’s 8 bowls in all, folks) in just a moment but first this key reminder:
Note: Don’t get left out in the cold – win all week and cash in big with both Football and Basketball when you check with us here at Jim Hurley’s Network either here online at www.jimhurley.com or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-888-777-4155.
Sign up for our NCAA Bowl Winners now and get the discount rate from America’s #1 Handicapper!
COLLEGE BOWLS –
Here’s a look at those 8 big bowl games from Saturday, Dec. 21st thru Thursday, Dec. 26th:
SATURDAY, DEC. 21 –
NEW MEXICO BOWL – at Albuquerque, NM
COLORADO STATE (7-6) vs. WASHINGTON STATE (6-6) – 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
Three cheers for Colorado State boss-man Jim McElwain, who has taken lessons learned at Alabama and made this Rams bunch a “tough out” (they’re 9-4 ATS this year) and now the $64,000 question is can C-State hold up against Washington State QB Connor Halliday (4,187 yards passing with 28 TDs), who could chuck it 75 times here … really!
LAS VEGAS BOWL – at Las Vegas, NV
#20 FRESNO STATE (11-1) vs. #25 USC (9-4) – 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Gotta admit that it’s rare to get a matchup of top 25 teams in a pre-January bowl bash, but that’s the case here in “Sin City” where USC’s third head coach of the year (that’s acting boss Clay Helton) tries to finish off this turbulent season with a “W”, but all eyes are on Fresno State slinger Derek Carr, who threw for 4,866 yards and 48 TDs for the country’s third-ranked passing attack while leading the Bulldogs to a Mountain West Conference crown. Is this six-point price tag favoring the Men of Troy too “tall”? Hmmm.
FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL – at Boise, ID
BUFFALO (8-4) vs. SAN DIEGO STATE (7-5) – 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
It’s a blue turf battle here between two evenly-matched teams that both have flown under the proverbial radar for much of this 2013 season, but make sure you check out Buffalo LB Khalil Mack – a Butkus Award finalist -- who will be making a bee-line to the San Diego State backfield here early and often. The SDSU Aztecs, meanwhile, won’t be shy about throwing the ball to WRs Ezell Ruffin (1,061 yards receiving on 63 grabs) and sidekick Colin Lockett (49 receptions and 5 TDs).
NEW ORLEANS BOWL – at New Orleans, LA
UL-LAFAYETTE (8-4) at TULANE (7-5) – 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Now here’s a bowl game with extra spice as these Louisiana neighbors battle it out in the Superdome – and if they don’t get close to a sellout here than shame on all these Cajuns! Note that UL-Lafayette is playing in this game for a third consecutive year and the Ragin’ Cajuns are gunning for a “hat trick” after beating San Diego State 32-30 as 6-point dogs two years ago and besting East Carolina 43-34 as 6 ½-point favs last year. Remember Joe’s son Nick Montana is the Tulane quarterback.
MONDAY DEC. 23 –
BEEF O’BRADY’S BOWL – at St. Petersburg, FL
OHIO (7-5) vs. EAST CAROLINA (9-3) – 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
There are a lot of Frank Solich-haters out there in football-land but keep this under your hat: The Ohio Bobcats are playing in their fifth consecutive post-season bowl game this year and that’s saying something for a program that was a combined 6-17 SU (straight-up) in the two years prior to Solich’s arrival back in 2005. On the flip side, East Carolina averages 331 passing yards a game and QB Shane Carden (3,866 yards passing with 32 TDs) may be the best quarterback you haven’t heard about this year – hey, the ECU Buccos are a near two-TD betting favorite for this holiday bash in the “Trop”.
TUESDAY, DEC. 24 –
HAWAII BOWL – at Honolulu, HI
OREGON STATE (6-6) vs. BOISE STATE (8-4) – 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Go ahead and wrap those last-second gifts and check out this neat Christmas Eve game from the 50th state where Oregon State looks to salvage a once very-promising season – remember the Beavers were 6-1 SU after beating California in mid-October -- while Boise State begins the post-Chris Petersen Era as he heads off to Washington. If Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks (120 catches for 1,670 yards with 15 TDs this season) explodes for a bevy of “chunk plays” here than the Pac-12 guys should get the loot.
THURSDAY, DEC. 26 –
LITTLE CAESAR’S PIZZA BOWL – at Detroit. MI
PITTSBURGH (6-6) vs. BOWLING GREEN (10-3) – 6 p.m. ET, ESPN
Here’s one of those rare bowl games where the mid-major team is the betting favorite over the BCS team but – then again – does anyone really know what they’re gonna get from the Pitt Panthers who failed to cover their final three regular-season games? And did you know Bowling Green held seven different foes to seven points or less this year and thoroughly befuddled Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game? One kooky stat here is that Pittsburgh’s scored a grand total of 69 points in its past five bowl games dating back to 2008 … not very productive in the post-season, eh?
POINSETTIA BOWL – at San Diego, CA
UTAH STATE (8-5) vs. #23 NORTHERN ILLINOIS (12-1) – 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Good contrast here as that potent Northern Illinois offense starring the aforementioned QB Lynch (1,881 yards rushing with 22 scores and 2,676 yards passing with 23 TDs) bucks heads with a Utah State defense that’s held seven opponents to 17 points or less this year (including six foes held to 12 points or less). Too bad that – more than likely – Utah State will be down to its third-string quarterback as backup-turned-starter Darrell Garretson has some head issues after getting dinged in last weekend’s MWC Championship Game.
THE HEISMAN TROPHY GUEST LIST
Let’s face it:
There isn’t a whole lot of intrigue as to who is gonna win this year’s Heisman Trophy:
Florida State’s redshirt freshman QB Jameis Winston will be clutching the famed bronzed statue in midtown Manhattan sometime around 8:55 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday night, but it was sure nice of the Heisman Trophy folks to invite five other lads to the ceremony and note that the six finalists marks the most invited to NYC since 1994.
Still, Winston – who we will laud later this week in a "Jim Sez" column that devotes more space to the Heisman Trophy – will win this award in a virtual landslide and that’s kind of funny since he really wasn’t in the lead in anyone’s straw polls until sometime in early-to-mid November.
Some of the names we had at or near the top of the Heisman Trophy race back in October when we first started to assess the race included Clemson QB Tajh Boyd and Oregon QB Marcus Mariota... and neither of these dudes even received an invite to this award ceremony!
We’ll toot our own horn and tell you we had Winston at #2 in our first Heisman Trophy Watch List back on October 16th and then elevated the Seminoles’ mega-star to the top rung one week later and kept ‘em there save for one week when we – dare we say – messed up and put Mariota back on top on November 6th.
Otherwise, Winston was always in the lead here with the Jim Hurley Network folks, and only his now-dismissed off-the-field legal problems threatened his candidacy.
Hey, we’ll come up with firm forecasts in a day or two but right now we expect the Heisman Trophy order of finish to look like this:
1 – Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
2 – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
3 – Jordan Lynch, QB Northern Illinois
4 – Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
5 – A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
6 – Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
NOTE: Get NFL News & Notes in the next Jim Sez including the NFL Week 16 Thursday Night Football Preview between the San Diego Chargers at the Denver Broncos.