Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 12:00 AM
HEY, FOLKS, HERE’S THE LATEST SCOOP
ON THIS WEEK’S PENULTIMATE COLLEGE
FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS …
OUR JIM SEZ HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST …
QUICK-HITTER COMMENTS ON THREE OF THE
WEEKEND’S CONFERENCE TITLE GAMES
(WITH MORE TO COME TOMORROW!)
Let’s just say the song remains the same … the season’s next-to-last College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings were released last night and there was zero change among the top four teams with #1 Clemson, #2 Alabama, #3 Oklahoma and #4 Iowa all staying put following last weekend’s road wins and now you do have to wonder what kind of “chaos” could happen prior to Sunday’s final rankings.
Again, if Clemson loses the ACC Championship Game to #10 North Carolina, is that gonna kayo the Tigers from the playoffs (and maybe even elevate the UNC Tar Heels to one of the top four spots)? Heck, we’ve been asking that question for weeks and the committee folks really have not given us an answer and maybe that’s ‘cause it doesn’t like to “look ahead”.
We know #5 Michigan State will get a playoff berth if/when it beats aforementioned Iowa in the Big 10 Championship Game but does anyone out there really feel that #6 Ohio State can slip into the field? We don’t unless 17.5-point fav ‘Bama loses to Florida in the SEC Championship Game.
Then maybe, just maybe, the defending champion Buckeyes will have a proverbial leg to stand on here but we still wouldn’t take ‘em.
Still, consider the formula we suggested last year and that’s anyone that doesn’t play in its conference championship game doesn’t deserve a playoff berth … it’s as simple as that and so that would eliminate the likes of Ohio State and #9 Florida State (not to mention a two-loss Notre Dame team that’s #8 in the CFP rankings right now) from stealing a playoff bid.
Hey, ESPN studio analyst Joey Galloway kidded that last night’s show was “boring” and he rooted for chaos – unless Alabama somehow bumbles to a loss in Atlanta, just can’t see any change of the status quo.
Jim Sez 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 1-800-323-4453. Get all the College Football Conference Championship Games this Friday/Saturday plus the NFL Week 13 action and great NBA/NCAA Basketball action … pile up those profits all holiday season long!
THE JIM SEZ HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST
We’re back with the latest Installment of the 2015 Heisman Trophy Watch List where we offer up our top five weekly contenders for college football’s most coveted individual award. Here’s how things look with a reminder that the 81st Annual Heisman Trophy Presentation is set for Saturday, Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
DERRICK HENRY, RB, ALABAMA – Sure looking like a two-man race for the shiny trophy with this star-studded junior back sporting the edge (third straight week we’ve put ‘em on top of our Heisman Trophy Watch List). Henry zooms into Saturday’s SEC Championship Game versus 17.5-point underdog Florida having rushed for 1,797 yards (a gaudy 6.1 yards a pop) with 22 touchdowns following on the heels of last weekend’s 46-carry, 271-yard performance in the Iron Bowl win/cover against Auburn.
DESHAUN WATSON, QB, CLEMSON – It’s the third consecutive week we’ve listed this Tigers’ sophomore stud among our top three Heisman Trophy candidates but he could snatch this award with a big showing against North Carolina in Saturday’s ACC Championship Game and a less-stout showing from ‘Bama star RB Henry. Last week Watson threw for 279 yards and one score and rushed for 114 yards and 3 TDs in the hard-fought 37-32 non-cover win at South Carolina. Add ‘em up and Watson’s numbers this year are stupendous with 3,223 yards passing and 27 TDs along with 756 rushing yards and 9 ground scores.
CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY, RB, STANFORD – The do-everything soph star of the Cardinal enjoyed only modest success in last weekend’s 38-36 non-cover win against Notre Dame (yes, a Jim Hurley Network Winner!) with 94 rushing yards and another three catches for 19 yards: The up-to-date stats feature 1,640 yards rushing with 7 TDs (a 5.7 ypc average) and 37 receptions for 435 yards and 3 TDs. Next up is the Pac-12 Championship Game against USC – an absolutely monster game there could have McCaffrey in the hunt but he’s probably got too much ground to make up on the leaders.
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT, RB, OHIO STATE – Okay, so all is forgiven as “Zeke” is back in our Heisman Watch after a one-week absence/punishment for mouthing off following O-State’s loss to Michigan State. Last weekend Elliott cranked out 214 yards rushing on 30 carries – was that enough for ‘ya? – and so he’ll enter the bowls with 1,672 rushing yards and 19 TDs and that keeps the Buckeyes’ junior star right in the mix for an invitation to midtown Manhattan.
COREY COLEMAN, WR, BAYLOR – The rest of the civilized world may have forgotten about this junior playmaker but we decided to keep ‘em in our top five thanks to his 67 receptions for 1,314 yards and 20 TDs. Last week’s foul weather in Fort Worth stifled plenty of offensive stars, so don’t punish Coleman who’s had to operate with three different slingers this year. Give the dude an invite!
CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND
Folks, there are eight – count ‘em, eight – College Football Conference Championship Games on tap this December weekend and we’re gonna take a few moments to examine the first four on the sked with a reminder we’ll hit on the other four in tomorrow’s Jim Sez. Got it?
On Friday, it’s … MID-AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
At Ford Field – Detroit, MI
NORTHERN ILLINOIS (8-4, 6-2) vs. BOWLING GREEN (9-3, 7-1) – 8 p.m. ET, espn2
Third consecutive season we’ve had this exact matchup in the MAC title tilt with the teams splitting the past two years but now Bowling Green’s a healthy 11-point betting favorite for this indoors clash and sporting the nation’s third-best passing attack (387 ypg) with triggerman QB Matt Johnson (4,465 yards passing with 41 TDs and 6 INTs) the leader of this high-scoring attack.
Can Northern Illinois’ backup-turned-starting QB Ryan Graham (subbing for the injured Drew Hare) keep his cool and make all the right red-zone plays? Stay tuned.
pread Notes – Bowling Green is 9-3 ATS (against the spread) this year and that includes a tidy 6-2 spread log in Mid-American Conference games. On the flip side, Northern Illinois is 8-3-1 against the juice overall but the Huskies are just 1-3-1 spreadwise in the five MAC title games the past five years.
On Saturday, it’s … CONFERENCE USA CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
At Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium – Bowling Green, KY
SOUTHERN MISS (9-3, 7-1) at WESTERN KENTUCKY (10-2, 8-0) – 12 p.m. ET, espn2
The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers scored 35-or-more points in 10 games this year and QB Brandon Doughty – who only seems as if he’s been there forever – threw for an eye-popping 4,184 yards with 42 TDs and just 6 INTs but note the Las Vegas price tag has been coming down the past 48 hours … WKU opened as an 8.5-point fav and it’s dipped to a solid 7-point choice and so you wonder if some of the magic dust that Southern Miss third-year head coach Todd Monken is gonna be spread around here. Hey, the USM Golden Eagles held six foes to 14 points or less and veteran QB Nick Mullens (3,964 passing yards with 35 TDs and 9 INTs) can hit his moving targets … just ask Casey Martin and Mike Thomas who’ve combined for 128 receptions and 18 scores. Southern Miss was an 0-12 team in 2012 – it could be a twin-digit win side after this C-USA bash.
Spread Stats – Western Kentucky’s 5-4-2 against the odds this year and the Hilltoppers are 9-12-1 ATS in league games since the start of 2013. Southern Miss is an overpowering 10-2 spreadwise this season and the Golden Eagles have covered four-of-five games as dogs.
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
TDECU Stadium -- at Houston, TX
TEMPLE (10-2, 7-1) at HOUSTON (11-1, 7-1) – 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
No doubt that the Temple Owls were college football’s “flavor of the month” through the season’s first several weeks following a 7-and-oh start but Matt Ruhle’s club lost its balance a bit with the loss to Notre Dame and that humbling 44-23 loss at USF … maybe Philly’s finest (ranked #22 in the latest CFP rankings) will put its best foot forward here with its top 20 defense and quarterback P.J. Walker while #19 Houston – a 31-10 winner over Temple in a 2014 regular-season game – needs that dual-threat game of QB Greg Ward Jr. to energize a team that’s scored 33-or-more points in all but one game this year. Note that Ward (2,502 yards passing with 16 TDs along with 893 rushing yards and 17 TDs) is more dangerous when getting out of the pocket, so expect some Temple defensive schemes to keep ‘em hemmed in here.
Spread Notes – Houston is 14-8-1 ATS overall since early in the 2014 season while Temple is an electric 9-3 versus the vig overall this year and a heady 15-6 ATS as underdog sides the past three years.
NOTE: There’s more NCAA Football and NFL Week 13 news/notes/preview in the next edition of Jim Sez!
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