Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 9:38 AM
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT:
WE DISSECT THREE (3) MARQUEE MATCHUPS ON TAP SATURDAY PLUS GET YOU #6 HOUSTON'S GAME TONIGHT IN CINCINNATI
NFL NOTEBOOK: DIVISIONAL GAMES TO WATCH
Are you getting the feeling that this could be one of the best College Football weekends of the whole year?
Sure, everyone made a fuss about that "Greatest Kickoff Weekend Ever" two weeks ago - and those early September games didn't disappoint! - but consider the possibilities this Saturday when #1 Alabama is at #19 Ole Miss, #2 Florida State plays at #10 Louisville and #3 Ohio State is at #14 Oklahoma plus there's an array of other top-notch games that we'll preview in tomorrow's Jim Sez.
For now, the country's three top-ranked teams are all road betting favorites but - for argument's sake - let's say the 'Bama Crimson Tide, FSU Seminoles and O-State Buckeyes all lose then we could be waking up next Monday with Jim Harbaugh's Michigan Wolverines sitting there at #1 ... bust out the khaki pants, if that's the case!
The revelry of this whole weekend gets started this evening with ...
#6 HOUSTON (2-0) at CINCINNATI (2-0) - 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Funny how roles can quickly get reversed as the Houston Cougars were the giant-killers in that opening-weekend 33-23 win against two-TD favorite Oklahoma but now QB Greg Ward, Jr. and friends are touchdown-plus betting favorites for this under-the-lights road affair and all eyes will be on the quarterback's cranky shoulder that's been getting round-the-clock treatment lately. Hey, maybe the "real story" here will be Cincy's massive O-line protecting QB Hayden Moore who has already thrown for 510 yards with 5 TDs in season-starting wins against Tennessee-Martin and Purdue.
Spread Notes - Houston is 10-5 ATS (against the spread) under second-year boss Tom Herman and overall the Cougars are a dazzling 17-2-1 versus the vig in all away games since the start of 2013. Note that Cincinnati's 21-16-3 ATS as underdogs since the start of the 2006 campaign.
Jim Hurley and his Handicappers and Bloggers are all revved up for a monster showing this week/weekend as we start off NFL Week 2 play with the AFC East battle between the New York Jets at the Buffalo Bills (see game preview in yesterday's Jim Sez column) plus there's a great Week 2 Sunday card too including Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, Indianapolis at Denver and the Sunday Night game between rivals Green Bay at Minnesota. The college kids are back on the gridiron tonight too as you can see with #6 Houston at Cincinnati and this Saturday's card is chock full of big games. For all the winners - and Baseball too -- just check with us right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 on game-day mornings or afternoon.
On Saturday, it's ...
#1 ALABAMA (2-0) at #19 OLE MISS (1-1) - 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
No need to refresh your memory and tell y'all about the Crimson Tide's double-revenge angle here - what's really key is whether Alabama's freshman QB Jalen Hurts can keep his poise in noisy Oxford and will 'Bama clean up all the penalties that plagued 'em in last weekend's sloppy 38-10 win/cover against Western Kentucky? Ole Miss needs to get its 100th-ranked ground game in gear here or else QB Chad Kelly will be forced to chuck it 50 times.
Spread Notes - Alabama is 65-51-1 spreadwise under 10th-year head coach Nick Saban but did you realize the Tide's failed to cover seven of its last 10 head-to-head matchups versus Ole Miss. Meanwhile, the Rebs are a rock-solid 12-5 ATS as point-grabbers and that includes the season-opening 45-34 meltdown loss to 4.5-point fav Florida State.
#2 FLORIDA STATE (2-0) at #10 LOUISVILLE (2-0) - 12 noon ET, ABC
We're all gonna get a first-hand look at whether this 2016 edition of the U of L Cardinals is "ready for the big stage" because the Las Vegas oddsmakers have given 'em plenty of respect - Florida State's only a 2-point road fav here - but will flashy QB Lamar Jackson have a party against this DB Derwin James-less (knee) defense one week after he threw for 411 yards and rushed for another 199 yards in that 62-28 blowout win over Syracuse or will the 'Noles gang-tackle Jackson and keep Louisville on the outside-looking-in when it comes to elite ACC teams?
Spread Notes - Florida State's a slumbering 10-16 against the odds as betting favorites dating back to late 2013 while the 'Ville is just 10-15 in ACC play the past three-plus seasons.
#3 OHIO STATE (2-0) at #14 OKLAHOMA (1-1) - 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox
Desperation time comes early in this '16 season for Oklahoma and its head coach Bob Stoops: Thanks to that above-mentioned season-opening loss to Houston, there's no wiggle room for the Boomer Sooners if they wish to be part of the College Football Playoffs for a second straight season but here they are as home dogs against a Buckeyes' bunch that brings back just six starters from last year's 12-win team and most "experts" believe this club is better than that one. Okay, so if quarterback J.T. Barrett moves the chains with some key runs - Barrett already has three rushing scores this year -- and the 'Eyes can get in the grill of Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield (567 yards passing with 5 TDs/0 INTs thus far) than the Big 10 roadies could beat "Big Game Bob" here and extinguish OU's title hopes.
Spread Notes - Ohio State's covered its first two games this year versus Bowling Green and Tulsa and overall the 'Eyes are 30-24-1 ATS under 5th-year boss Urban Meyer ... hmm, we thought it might be better than that too! Oklahoma enters this prime-time bash having failed to cover four of its last five games while dating back to late last year and the Sooners are 35-24 ATS as hosts since 2006.
THE NFL WEEK 2 NOTEBOOK
Tonight's New York Jets at Buffalo game is one seven divisional games on the NFL Week 2 docket and here's some quickie spread notes on a couple of Sunday's divisional duels ...
Miami at New England - The Dolphins bagged a Week 1 cover in Seattle but did you know Miami's failed to cover its last four trips into Foxboro? The last time the Fish covered in New England was a 27-24 loss as 7-point underdogs.
Dallas at Washington - Both of these NFC East teams are trying to avoid 0-and-2 starts on the season and if recent history tells us anything it's that the 'Skins are the way to go here as the D.C. gang is 14-6 ATS in its last 20 head-to-head matchups with the Cowboys.
NOTE: Get more NCAA and NFL Week 2 previews all this week right here at Jim Sez.