Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, October 15, 2015 at 2:27 PM
NCAA FOOTBALL PREVIEWS GALORE!!!
THERE'S THURSDAY/FRIDAY/SATURDAY ACTION INCLUDING IN-DEPTH HANDICAPPING LOOKS AT #7 MICHIGAN STATE AT #12 MICHIGAN, #8 FLORIDA AT #6 LSU AND #10 ALABAMA AT #9 TEXAS A&M ...PLUS NFL WEEK 6 QUICK HITTERS
The College Football gods have bestowed upon us a grand gridiron weekend - hey, there's ranked teams playing straight through from this evening well into Saturday night and we've got plenty of commentary in today's jam-packed edition of Jim Sez. Might this be a weekend where there's major reshuffling inside the top 10? We shall see.
So, let's get this football party started but first a key message to all our great Jim Hurley Network clients/customers: Jim's top-notch Handicappers and Bloggers have everything all scoped out and you can get the NFL Week 6 Side & Totals winners beginning with tonight's game between the Atlanta Falcons at the New Orleans Saints plus all the College Football and Major-League Baseball Playoff Winners when you check with us here at the aforementioned Jim Hurley's Network at our toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453 or right here online. Just keep rollin' in the green all week/weekend long -- make this an October to remember!
Tonight, it's ...
#18 UCLA (4-1, 1-1) at #15 STANFORD (4-1, 3-0) - 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
It's Football 101 in this Pac-12 duel at "The Farm" tonight as everyone's wondering whether or not this banged-up Bruins team can stop the run: Note that UCLA yielded 353 ground yards versus Arizona and then 192 yards rushing to Arizona State the last two games and there are now four UCLA defensive starters out for the year with injuries and so the ground-and-pound Cardinal starring RB Christian McCaffrey could have a veritable field day here.
Note that Stanford opened as a 4-point betting favorite for this prime-time clash and it quickly shot up to minus 6.5 points (and Stanford's covered three-of-four games this year as chalk sides) and gotta think the only way the Uclans can cover here is if frosh QB Josh Rosen sports a "clean" stat sheet and throws for close to 300 yards.
Head-to-Head Spread Note - Since the start of 2009, Stanford's covered six-of-seven meetings versus the Uclans.
On Friday, it's ...
#24 HOUSTON (5-0, 2-0) at TULANE (2-3, 1-1) - 9 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Not often that we hand out some Jim Sez "pub" to teams in the oft-forgotten American Athletic Conference but the scorching-hot Houston Cougars are gettin' lots of love and lots of respect too. The Coogs - who opened as a 16.5-point betting fav for this under-the-lights clash - are now a 19-point favorite and it could top three full TDs at any moment. Watch for do-everything QB Greg Ward who has rushed for nearly 120 yards per game and sports an 8-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio while throwing for 1,301 yards for an offense averaging 46.4 points a game.
Head-to-Head Spread Note -- Houston's 7-1-1 vig-wise in its last nine hoedowns against lowly Tulane.
On Saturday, it's ...
#17 IOWA (6-0, 2-0) at #20 NORTHWESTERN (5-1, 1-1) - 12 p.m. ET, ABC
You tell us ... is this gonna be a truly magical season for the Iowa Hawkeyes or is the rip cord about to be pulled? The 'Eyes could be the best of the Big 10 West but injuries are piling up - top pass rusher Drew Ott (knee) is the latest to go down - and gotta believe coach Kirk Ferentz's strategy here is to feed workhorse RB Jordan Canzeri 30-plus times and hope he can solve a N'western stop unit that allows just 131.3 ground yards per game.
Hey, this Las Vegas line has bounced around from Iowa minus 1 point to pick 'em and now Iowa's favored by a deuce ... hmmm. The big question is can Northwestern show some pop in the passing game after getting blanked last week at Michigan.
Head-to-Head Spread Note - Northwestern's covered three of the last four meetings with Iowa in Evanston dating back to 2005.
#7 MICHIGAN STATE (6-0, 2-0) at #12 MICHIGAN (5-1, 2-0) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Break out the "M" long T-shirt and the khakis ... Jim Harbaugh's game-day wardrobe may get mocked a bit outside the great state of Michigan but nobody on the Spartans is laughing. The visitors - who unbelievably have failed to cover all six of their SU (straight-up) wins this year - enter this titanic tilt an 8-point dog even though Sparty is ranked higher in the polls and was considered national championship caliber when this 2015 started but it's the maize-and-blue that's getting all the hype behind Harbaugh and it's Michigan defense that takes center stage after pitching three straight shutouts (versus BYU, Maryland and then last weekend against Northwestern).
How 'bout a stop unit that ranks 2nd in the country against the pass (115.5 ypg) and 3rd in the land versus the rush (65.8 ypg)?
Note that Michigan State QB Connor Cook - who doesn't really appear on anyone's Heisman Trophy Watch List these days - does sport a 12-to-2 TD-to-INT ratio this year while throwing for 1,334 yards but he better learn to chuck-and-duck against this hard-charging "M" pass rush.
Head-to-Head Spread Note - Michigan State's covered the last seven consecutive games in this very heated rivalry including wins by 24 and 23 points the past two seasons.
#10 ALABAMA (5-1, 2-1) at #9 TEXAS A&M (5-0, 2-0) - 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
How about the fact that the mighty SEC West has four teams in this week's top 13 spots in the Associated Press poll ... that's strong stuff! Two of those elite SEC West squads renew their young-but-growing rivalry here in College Station where the visiting Crimson Tide's been declared a 4.5-point betting favorite ... and did you know 'Bama has failed to cover five of its last six outings when placed in the chalk role while dating back to the end of last year?
No question that Texas A&M - looking to go 6-0 SU to start a season for the first time in 20 years - needs star QB Brad Allen (see 169.0 passer rating to rank among the best in the country) to light up the Tide with some long balls to WR Christian Kirk (32 receptions and averaging 16.2 ypc with 4 TDs) but our Jim Sez sources tell us Nick Saban's team will bring plenty of blitzes and make Allen flick quick passes that will highlight just how well the Tide defense can tackle in open spaces.
Head-to-Head Spread Note - The A&M Aggies have covered two of the last three games in this still-burgeoning rivalry including that memorable 29-24 upset win as two-TD underdogs back in 2012.
#8 FLORIDA (6-0, 4-0) at #6 LSU (5-0, 3-0) - 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
As expected, the Las Vegas price tag on this game has gone up, up and way ever since it was announced that Florida QB Will Grier was suspended for violating the NCAA's policy on PEDs (yes, another guy who claimed he took an over-the-counter supplement with "something in it") as LSU went from a 6-point home favorite to a 9.5-point choice and so the spotlight flashes back on QB Treon Harris who himself was suspended for the Tennessee game three weeks ago.
Still, this game is gonna be won or lost based on the play of Heisman Trophy frontrunner RB Leonard Fournette. The LSU sophomore - who has rushed for 1,022 yards (that's 8.6 ypc) with 12 TDs - is getting that superstar treatment with enemy defenses "stacking the box" and so you might see the Tigers lining up Fournette in the slot and at WR at times where he might be able to catch-and-go against one-on-one coverages.
Winner of this one could shoot into the top five as playoff talk begins to heat up.
Head-to-Head Spread Note - Since 2009, LSU is a tidy 4-1-1 ATS in its six showdowns against Florida.
NFL WEEK 6 QUICK HITTERS
Lots of NFL Week 6 game previews come your way in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez but here's some observations regarding a few NFL Week 6 matchups:
Denver (5-0) at Cleveland (2-3) - The Broncos are a nifty 6-3-1 vig-wise in their last 10 road games dating back to early in the 2014 season but no DE'LB DeMarco Ware (back strain) here.
Washington (2-3) at New York Jets (3-1) - The J-E-T-S find themselves as the betting favorites for the fourth time this year ... did you know NYJ was favored only five times all of last year (1-4 ATS)?
Carolina (4-0) at Seattle (2-3) -- The Seahawks are 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven overall games dating back to last year's playoffs and yet head coach Pete Carroll still is 55-35-3 spreadwise in his five-plus year career in Seattle.
On Sunday Night, it's ...
New England (4-0) at Indianapolis (3-2) - Say this about the Patriots: They whack around non-divisional foes pretty good as evidenced by the club's 11-4-1 ATS mark min non-AFC East games the past year-plus.