Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, August 29, 2014 at 1:00 PM
THE 2014 COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON KICKS OFF FOR REAL WITH #21 TEXAS A&M SLUGGING #9 SOUTH CAROLINA 52-28…
WE TAKE A LOOK AT KEY GAMES FRIDAY, INCLUDING BYU/UCONN AND UNLV/ARIZONA
PLUS SATURDAY’S KEY GAME PREVIEWS INCLUDING #1 FLORIDA STATE IN ACTION ALONG WITH TOP 25 SHOWDOWNS BETWEEN #13 LSU VS. #14 WISCONSIN AND #16 CLEMSON AT #12 GEORGIA
We’re sure after watching all the late-night highlight sports last evening you didn’t need us—or anyone else for that matter—to spring a “Johnny Who?” on you right after the 21st-ranked Texas A&M Aggies battered the ninth-ranked (and 10-point favorite) South Carolina Gamecocks 52-28.
But it was current Cleveland Browns second-string QB Johnny Manziel who dropped a “Kenny Football” on the media mass following the Brownies 33-13 win against Chicago in last night’s NFL Preseason Week 4 affair.
Yup, "Kenny" is Kenny Hill, who has not only vaulted himself into the earliest-of-early stages of this year’s Heisman Trophy running, but given folks reason to believe that the A&M Aggies might be a power in the mighty SEC that wasn’t on everyone’s “hit list” despite the snazzy #21 ranking to start the season.
Hill threw for 511 yards to break Manziel’s single-game passing record at the school while completing an eye-popping 44-of-60 pass attempts with three touchdowns and he let a few folks out there in college football-land know that Kevin Sumlin should be on that “short list” of great college coaches.
Consider that in Sumlin’s brief two-plus year stay in Aggie-land, his teams now have beaten the likes of two-TD favorite Alabama back in 2012, walloped Oklahoma 41-13 in that year’s Cotton Bowl, bested four bowl teams in 2013 and now walked into Williams-Brice Stadium and shut up 80,250 people (give or take) while smashing South Carolina’s College Football Playoff hopes even before they could get started.
Now, if we see Hill “pitching” a candy bar or a bag of chips anytime soon, we’ll know he learned too much from Mr. Manziel!
The College Football 2014 campaign is off and runnin’ and it immediately swings into high gear with a full week/weekend card scheduled right through Labor Day evening.
Folks, you definitely want to be in the winner’s circle for all the big opening-week tilts with the college games as the beat goes on with tonight’s action as BYU plays at UConn and then Saturday there are 25 on-the-board games featuring the Clemson-Georgia hoedown plus defending national champ Florida State battles Oklahoma State in the Cowboys Classic. On Sunday, it’s Utah State at Tennessee and SMU at Baylor and then it all wraps up Monday Night with an ACC bash between Miami at Louisville!
And don’t forget the NFL 2014 season gets going on Thursday Night with the much-anticipated bash between the Green Bay Packers at the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks followed by a whopper NFL Week 1 card featuring Cincinnati at Baltimore, San Francisco at Dallas, the Sunday Night Game between Indianapolis at Denver and then the Monday Night Football twin-bill: The New York Giants at Detroit followed by San Diego at Arizona!
Take note that Jim Hurley—America’s #1 Handicapper—also continues to bang out lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do to win in the NFL, NCAA Football and MLB is to check in either right here online at www.vegassportsmasters.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-888-777-4155 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for all the weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners… can’t beat that, right?
Get in on the fun-and-profits today as the Jim Hurley Network is headed to a monster Football Season… so what are you waiting for?
COLLEGE FOOTBALL—FRIDAY’S KEY PREVIEWS
BYU at CONNECTICUT—7 p.m. ET, ESPN
There’s been some talk that the BYU Cougars could be “spoilers” in this newfangled College Football Playoff (CFB) system and no doubt Bronco Mendenhall’s club is a heavy-duty favorite to tuck away its first win of the year here in Storrs (the Coogs are 16-point betting favorites at last check).
IF BYU is gonna cover this bloated price tag then the tandem of QB Taysom Hill (2,938 yards passing and 1,344 yards rushing last year) and physical RB Jamaal Williams (1,233 yards rushing and 7 TDs a year ago) must be stat-sheet stuffers from the proverbial get-go.
It’s the head coaching debut for UConn’s boyish-looking Bob Diaco—not exactly the way you probably want to begin things, right?
Spread Notes —Did you know that last year the BYU Coogs failed to cover six of their seven away games? The lone spread road win was a 31-14 triumph at 5½-poinjt favorite Utah State but keep in mind BYU has notched spread wins in six of its last nine games whenever laying a twin-figure price. UConn, meanwhile, is 4-10-2 ATS (against the spread) as underdogs since the start of the 2011 season.
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COLORADO STATE vs. COLORADO (at Denver)—9 p.m. ET, Fox 1
This is an always-heated intrastate rivalry that tends to be close—note that Colorado has won seven of the last 10 games in this series but three of those Buffaloes wins were by just three points.
If CSU is gonna snag this mild upset here—and thus gain revenge for last season’s 41-27 loss—than senior QB Garrett Grayson (3,696 yards passing with 23 TDs last year) must be sharp and keep the heat on a Colorado defense that last year ranked a deadly 115h nationally in points allowed (38.3 ppg).
Spread Notes —Colorado and Colorado State have split their last 10 head-to-head spread decisions but the CU Buffaloes have covered three of the last four showdowns. Overall, Colorado is 8-18 ATS away the past four years while Colorado State’s 2-5 versus the vig in on-the-board season openers the past seven years.
UNLV at ARIZONA—10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The good folks in the desert—a/k/a Las Vegas—has the host U of A Wildcats favored by 24 points here and interesting to note the Pac-12 team won 58-13 last year at two-TD dog UNLV, so what might the score be here?
The ‘Cats say redshirt freshman Anu Solomon won a four-way battle for the starting quarterback spot—now third-year head coach Rich Rodriguez needs the passing stats to perk up one year after ‘Zona ranked 100th nationally with just 193.5 aerial yards per game.
Spread Notes —Arizona is a rotten 17-29-1 ATS dating back to the start of the 2010 season and that includes an 9-18-1 spread mark as point-laying sides. On the flip side, UNLV is 14-9-1 ATS overall the past two years.
SATURDAY’S KEY PREVIEWS
#16 CLEMSON at #12 GEORGIA—5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
In case you were wondering, the Georgia Bulldogs enter this 2014 campaign at 18-to-1 to “win it all” while the Clemson Tigers are a 75-to-1 shot—but both teams firmly believe a win here could catapult their respective squads to a monster season, and TD-plus betting fav Georgia has plenty to prove after going a sour 7-15 SU (straight-up) against ranked teams the past five years.
If Georgia head coach Mark Richt has his way, then Heisman Trophy-hopeful RB Todd Gurley (989 yards rushing in just 10 games a year ago) must high-step his way ‘round a Clemson defense that surrendered 35, 31 and 31 points in three of its final four games a year ago when the Tigers roared to an 11-2 SU season. Keep Gurley’s longest runs here to 10 or 15 yards and Clemson will have a shot late.
The Atlantic Coast Conference crew needs new QB Cole Stoudt to pick up where Tahj Boyd left off—but don’t count on Clemson “having its way” as much as it did in last year’s season-opening 38-35 win against the Dawgs. An X-factor for the Tigers in this tilt is punter Bradley Pinion who could be a field-position whiz here.
Spread Notes —Georgia finished just 3-8-1 ATS (against the spread) overall last year and that included the season-opening 38-35 loss to 1½-point underdog Clemson. The ACC Tigers are 9-3 versus the vig away the past two years and note Clemson’s 19-10 ATS as point-grabbing sides since the start of the 2005 season.
#13 LSU vs. #14 WISCONSIN (at Reliant Stadium/Houston)—9 p.m. ET, ESPN
In a perfect setup, these two “Power 5” teams would tuck an easy win under their belts against the likes of some non-conference patsy but instead the LSU Tigers and Wisconsin Badgers will collide at the home of the NFL’s Houston Texans and there is really is no room for error:
The Big 10 boys make no secret of their desire to “pound the rock”, but we want to know whether Heisman Trophy-hopeful RB Melvin Gordon (1,609 rushing yards last year) will tire out after 30-plus totes, while the $64,000 question on LSU’s side is who exactly will be running the show at crunch time… soph Anthony Jennings or freshman Brandon Harris?
If the Tigers lean on super-frosh RB Leonard Fournette, than nobody will blame ‘em, but what happens when this highly regarded RB gets stuck right there at the line of scrimmage?
The oddsmakers have LSU favored by 5½ points (it opened at four points) but keep in mind Wisky’s won 16 consecutive openers straight-up.
Spread Notes —The LSU Tigers are a meek 3-7-1 ATS away the past two years and note the Bayou Bengals are just 51-54-8 ATS in the Les Miles Era that dates back to ’05. On the flip side, Wisconsin is a decent 8-5-1 spreadwise as pups the past five years but the Badgers have failed to cover their on-the-board opener in five of the last six seasons.
#1 FLORIDA STATE vs. OKLAHOMA STATE (at Cowboys Stadium/Arlington)—8 p.m. ET, ABC
Repeat after us: the Florida State Seminoles will repeat as national champions this year providing Heisman Trophy QB Jameis Winston finds a true No. 1 target right from the start of this ’14 season, and WR Rashad Greene (76 catches for 1,128 yards and 9 TDs last year) is the easy choice, but Oklahoma State figures to blanket Greene at every turn and so let’s see here if Winston turns and runs more or counts on sure-handed TE Nick O’Leary to be his security blanket.
The ‘Noles are up to a 19-point betting fav at press time and that means Okie State’s only real hope of covering this price tag is having Florida State score less than 35 points… so Cowboys RB Desmond Roland (811 yards rushing last year) must chew clock/yards and hope FSU’s physical and fast defense doesn’t wear him down.
Spread Notes —Florida State cranked out a 10-3 ATS mark en route to last year’s national championship season, and did you realize the Seminoles are a respectable 20-14 vig-wise as double-digit betting favorites under fifth-year head coach Jimbo Fisher? Meanwhile, Oklahoma State’s 33-17 ATS overall the past four years (a sizzling .660 winning rate) and the Cowboys are a collective 61-44-3 spreadwise under 10th-year head coach Mike Gundy.
#2 ALABAMA vs. WEST VIRGINIA (at Georgia Dome/Atlanta)—3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Let the record state that the ‘Bama Crimson Tide have played in three of the last five BCS Championship Games (winning ‘em all, we might add) and those Nick Saban-led squads didn’t exactly have Joe Namath at quarterback, and so all this hullaballoo regarding who gets more time here under center—novices Jake Coker or Blake Sims—has been getting far too much “pub” in the days leading up to this SEC vs. Big 12 clash in Atlanta.
What’s really gonna be important in terms of whether or not Alabama covers the hefty-sized 26½-point spread here is can West Virginia’s offense starring QB Clint Trickett (7 TDs and 7 INTs last year) move the ball against a Tide defense playing without LB Trey DePriest, who has been suspended for a “minor violation”… if the WVU Mountaineers score more than 14 points here than it’s a moral victory of sorts.
Spread Notes —Alabama is 50-37-1 ATS overall in the Saban Era that started back in 2007 (that’s a .575 winning rate) and note the Crimson Tide’s 16-12 ATS versus non-SEC foes during this time span. West Virginia enters this season-opening bash in Atlanta with a solid 17-10 spread log as point-takers dating back to the start of the 2005 season. The ‘Neers, however, have failed to cover seven of their last 11 away games.
NOTE: There’s more weekend NCAA Football Previews—that’s Sunday showdowns between Utah State at Tennessee and SMU at #10 Baylor—in tomorrow’s jam-packed edition of Jim Sez, so don’t miss out… and we’ll preview the Monday Night game between Miami at Louisville in our Monday morning edition of Jim Sez!