Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, September 1, 2016 at 12:42 PM
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON IS HERE - AND THERE'S PREVIEWS, PREDICTIONS & MORE ...
THE NFL REPORT: WHAT THE VIKES SHOULD DO WITH QB BRIDGEWATER DOWN AND OUT FOR '16
Don't know if you agree with some of the TV talking heads on ESPN, Fox, etc. that have been saying it's quite likely that a two-loss team could find its way into this year's four-team College Football Playoff setup ... yes, we know what these folks believe and that's this could be an uber-competitive season in which even some powerhouse teams lose twice and still have a CFP shot.
But hold your horses!
The fact of the matter is this College Football Kickoff weekend from here through Labor Day evening may be the most important single weekend this season ... just imagine if some combination of the likes of #1 Alabama, #2 Clemson, #3 Oklahoma, #4 Florida State, #5 LSU and/or #10 Notre Dame lose - hey, they are all playing high-profile opponents, as you know! - and that would mean virtually no "wiggle room" for any of the teams named above the rest of the way.
Note that the entire Associated Press Top 25 is in action this holiday weekend and we'll touch on some key previews shortly but let's roll out some fearless predictions when it comes to SU (straight-up) and ATS (against the spread) goodies:
- We see the likes of Alabama, Ohio State and Tennessee all being "overpriced" for much of this 2016 season (especially early on) meaning that all of their preseason hype adds up to laying more points than should be. Fearless forecast is that this combo - the Crimson Tide, Buckeyes and Volunteers - will wind up with a losing pointspread record this year ...
- It's usually been sound handicapping methodology to expect bounce-back season from teams/coaches that underachieved the year before and so keep a close eye (as we will!) on the likes of Georgia Tech, Arizona State and Auburn. The Jim Sez gut feel right now is that this trio of teams will bang out a slew of spread winners (and we'll keep you updated along the way) ...
- Finally, everyone loves to kick off the College Football season with Heisman Trophy predictions and we believe someone out there is gonna roar past folks such as Clemson QB Deshaun Watson, Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey and LSU back Leonard Fournette - all of whom we expect will enjoy solid seasons - but we'll grab Florida State RB Dalvin Cook to snag this year's bronze statue when all's said and done. So there!
Jim Hurley is ready for yet another slam-bang Football Season straight ahead and we want you to come along for the ride! In fact, the College Football 2016 campaign truly swings into high gear with a full week/weekend card beginning tonight and going right through Labor Day evening next Monday. Check in right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. ET for the weeknight selections, after 11 a.m. ET for all the weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners. Or better yet, go ahead and sign up for the whole 2016 Football Season today at our discounted prices and bang home loads of winners!
COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKEND PREVIEWS
Here's some goodies to sink your teeth into and there's more previews in tomorrow's Jim Sez too!
On Friday night, it's ...
KANSAS STATE at #8 STANFORD - 9 p.m. ET, Fox 1
The Cardinal - Pac-12 champs in three of the past four years - would like this to be aforementioned RB McCaffrey's "coming-out party" for this 2016 season but there will be plenty of eyes on new QB Ryan Burns (a redshirt junior) too. Still, it's McCaffrey's stage after he busted Barry Sanders' 27-year-old NCAA all-purpose yardage record last year by rushing/passing/receiving/returning his way to a whopping 3,864 yards.
Spread Notes - Stanford is 42-24-1 ATS under sixth-year head coach David Shaw and that includes a snazzy 6-2 ATS mark last year when in the role of double-digit betting favorite.
On Saturday afternoon, it's ...
#3 OKLAHOMA vs. #15 HOUSTON (at NRG Stadium in Houston) -- noon ET, ABC
The price tag's been soaring up in this tilt as the OU Sooners opened as a 10-point betting fav and it's climbed to 11.5 or even 12 points in some wagering locals - and lots of folks are betting that Bob Stoops' crew gets back to the playoffs after last year's ugly 37-17 semifinal round loss to Clemson. Hey, if this Oklahoma defense can't get a grip on Houston QB Greg Ward, Jr. (2,828 yards passing with 1,108 yards rushing last year) than this could be a whole lot closer than the "experts" think, eh?
Spread Notes - Oklahoma cashed 8-of-12 plays as chalk sides last year while Houston is a nifty 25-11-1 ATS overall the past three years.
#5 LSU vs. WISCONSIN (at Lambeau Field) - 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Thought you might like to know that the LSU Tigers - despite all the grief head coach Les Miles seemingly gets - are an electric 11-6-1 versus the vig as betting favorites since the start of the 2014 season and for the Bayou Bengals to cover this haughty 10-point price at the home of the Green Bay Packers, both RB Fournette (1,953 yards rushing with 2 TDs last year) and under-the-microscope QB Brandon Harris must not turn the ball over in red zone situations. No doubt another story line here is that new LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda served as Wisky's DC the past three years - is that as big an advantage as we might think?
Spread Notes - Truth is LSU is just 7-14-1 ATS away the past four years while the Badgers are a solid 8-5 spreadwise whenever playing non-Big 10 foes the past three years.
THE NFL REPORT
Maybe Minnesota Vikings' QB Teddy Bridgewater isn't the first slinger you think about when ranking your NFL top 10 passers but the fact of the matter is this NFC North crew really couldn't afford to lose him to a season-ending (career-ending?) knee injury - and the Vikes can't afford to leave the upcoming 2016 campaign to the likes of backups Shaun Hill nor Joel Stave even if some folks have "come to their defense" and let everyone know they're capable quarterbacks.
No, the Vikings have to shake the tree of NFL quarterbacks and hope/pray someone good falls into their lap in time for this season that promised to be a good one - heck, just last week we were busy telling friends we saw Super Bowl 51 pitting Minnesota vs. Cincinnati and now we're looking to re-think that one (how about a Carolina vs. Cincinnati S-Bowl instead, okay?).
Best guess-estimate is that the Vikes will wind up with one of the following by the time Week 1 rolls around with a season-opening road tilt in Tennessee:
Denver's soon-to-be cut Mark Sanchez, Jacksonville's Chad Henne, former Vike/current San Fran backup Christian Ponder or Kansas City's Nick Foles could be the Minny signal-caller before you know it - we know none of the above excites you - or Minnesota could take its chances with, hmmm, San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick who would be packing a lot of baggage to the Twin Cities.
Instead, we say Minny should package some premium draft picks and send 'em to Tampa Bay for 6-foot-7 Mike Glennon ... and then live with the '16 results.
NOTE: Get more College Football Game Previews plus lots more in the next edition of Jim Sez.