Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, December 30, 2014 at 12:00 AM
THE NEW YEAR’S EVE BOWL PREVIEWS ARE HERE! …
PLUS NFL COACHING NEWS AFTER A
BUSY “BLACK MONDAY”
They do indeed call it “Black Monday” in the National Football League but it’s really about all those pink slips.
Gone from the NFL’s coaching ranks – at least for now – are the Atlanta Falcons’ Mike Smith, the Chicago Bears’ Marc Trestman and the New York Jets’ Rex Ryan and let’s not forget San Francisco 49ers’ coach Jim Harbaugh who “parted ways” with that NFC West team mere minutes after his team’s Week 17 win against Arizona this past Sunday.
We’d expect Ryan to land another head coaching gig – weeks ago we believed he was a perfect fit in Chicago but not sure we’re getting those sort of vibes these days – while we all know Harbaugh’s headed for Ann Arbor and a multi-million job with his alma mater Michigan.
Here’s a little side note prediction:
Michigan and/or Ohio State will be part of the college playoff mix three or four times in the next handful of years, you’ll see!
Now, here’s quick-hitter forecasts/predictions on whom will next coach these above-mentioned NFL teams:
ATLANTA – After seven years of the Smith Era, look for owner Arthur Branch to opt for a “bigger name” and this is where Ryan fits because this ready-made offense will give ‘em what he never had in New York.
CHICAGO – Get the sense the Bears want a rugged personality to run their sideline show and whomever is the team’s new GM might well snag Seattle DC Dan Quinn.
NEW YORK JETS – After “consultants” Ron Wolf and Charlie Casserley get through confusing Jets’ owner Woody Johnson even more than he’s confused right now, we won’t be shocked if those ESPN reports are true … a new coaching life for Mike Shanahan. Say it ain’t so!
SAN FRANCISCO – If the Niners want to do the right thing, they’ll hire long-time defensive line coach Jim Tomsula and let him smooth out the waters after the Harbaugh departure but something tells us that Arizona DC Todd Bowles could be their man.
COLLEGE BOWL PREVIEWS
Hey, the College Bowls have really heated up and we’re just literally hours away from those two playoff games on New Year’s Day – lots to say about #2 Oregon vs. #3 Florida State and #4 Ohio State vs. #1 Alabama in tomorrow’s jam-packed edition of Jim Sez but first things first and that means the December 31st bowl previews are here:
On Wednesday, it’s …
CHICK-FIL-A BOWL – at Atlanta, GA
#9 OLE MISS (9-3) vs. #6 TCU (11-1) – 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The $64,000 question here is what will be TCU’s mindset after getting “subbed” by the College Football Playoff committee … does Gary Patterson’s team rise up and show the committee folks what they missed out on or will the Fort Worth gang shrivel up and get wasted by a potent SEC team?
Gotta remind you that Ole Miss is the top-ranked defense in terms of points allowed in FBS play while yielding just 13.8 ppg and so TCU slinger Trevone Boykin (3,714 yards passing with 30 TDs and 7 INTs) should not expect to go wild against this stop unit even though TCU did register nearly 47 ppg this season.
No WR Laquon Treadwell (knee) for the 3 1/2-point underdog Rebels here – and so that means Hugh Freeze’s gang needs senior QB Bo Wallace (3,085 yards passing with 22 TDs and 11 INTs) to spread the wealth here.
If Ole Miss is smart it’ll slow down the pace here and hold TCU to less than 70 snaps from scrimmage … got it?
Spread Notes – TCU is an electric 10-2 ATS (against the spread) overall this year but the Horned Frogs have failed to cover their last five consecutive bowl games. Ole Miss is 7-4-1 against the odds this 2014 campaign but did you know the Rebels are 11-3 ATS as underdog sides the past three seasons.
FIESTA BOWL – at Glendale, AZ
#20 BOISE STATE (11-2) vs. #10 ARIZONA (10-3) – 4 p.m. ET, ESPN
For those folks that believed the Boise State magic of years gone by was dead, you was wrong!
The Broncos rebounded from a sub-par 3-2 SU (straight-up) start to win their final eight straight regular-season games and note first-year head coach Bryan Harsin’s team scored 37-or-more points in seven of these final eight games.
Quarterback Grant Headrick (3,387 yards passing with 22 TDs) didn’t get a whole lot of national attention but he was razor-sharp from the mid-way point on and physical RB Jay Ajayi (1,689 yards rushing and 25 scores) is a major handful – check out the Las Vegas line that shows Pac-12 stud Arizona is only a 3-point favorite here and you get the sense that Boise State’s a “live item” here.
Quickie facts on the U of A Wildcats include RB Nick Wilson (1,289 yards rushing and 15 TDs) can be a game-wrecker and remember Arizona’s won both of its bowl games under third-year head coach Rich Rodriguez including that 42-19 beat-down of Boston College in last year’s Independence Bowl.
P.S., the ‘Cats have seven players who’ve caught 23-or-more balls this year and so Boise State may be in a pick-your-poison mode here.
Spread Notes – Arizona’s 5-8 versus the vig this season and note overall the Wildcats are just 22-37-1 ATS since the start of the 2010 season. Boise State is 7-6 odds-wise this season and the Broncos enter this bowl bash at 29-17-1 ATS away since the start of the 2008 season.
ORANGE BOWL – at Miami Gardens, FL
#7 MISS STATE (10-2) vs. #12 GEORGIA TECH (10-3) – 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Big day/night for the Magnolia State as both Ole Miss and Miss State in action and here’s a major opportunity for the M-State Bulldogs to prove they belong somewhere in the top five of the final polls … if once-upon-a-time QB Dak Prescott (2.996 yards passing with 24 TDs) can get off to a quicker start than he did in the ‘Bama game, then Dan Mullen’s 6 ½-point favs could roll here but Georgia Tech’s never an easy out with the triple option attack capable of chewing up yards/clock and keeping the aforementioned Prescott off the field.
Note that Georgia Tech, however, has dropped 5-of-6 bowl games under seventh-year head coach Paul Johnson and the extra prep time usually aids the Yellow Jackets’ opponents – but keep in mind here Miss State has a new defensive coordinator after DC Geoff Collins split for the same gig at Florida.
If you’re looking for a diff-maker on the Miss State side that’s not named Prescott, then check out WR De’Runnya Wilson who had 38 receptions and 7 TDs.
Spread Notes – Miss State is 7-5 against the Las Vegas prices this year and the Bulldogs are 6-10 ATS against non-league foes the past four years. Georgia Tech’s an underrated 9-4 ATS this season and that includes an end-of-season six-game spread winning streak. Note G-Tech’s an ugly 2-7 ATS in bowl games the past nine seasons.
Extra, extra …
Get all the College Football Bowl Games including all the upcoming College Football Playoffs – that’s Oregon vs. Florida State and Alabama vs. Ohio State on New Year’s Day -- plus get all the NFL Wild Card Round games this weekend too when you check with us here at Jim Hurley’s Network.
And, of course, make sure you’re all aboard for the NBA and NCAA Basketball daily/nightly winners all this week/weekend action either online here at www.jimhurley.com or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.
NOTE: Catch our New Year’s Day Bowl Game Previews – we’ll have plenty to say about the playoff games between Alabama vs. Ohio State and Oregon vs. Florida – but there’s Three (3) other games that will get some ink here too