Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, October 5, 2018 at 12:00 AM
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKEND - WE'RE CHECKIN' OUT THE UNDER-THE-RADAR TEAMS PLAYING BIG GAMES ON THIS FIRST SATURDAY IN OCTOBER ...
OUR NFL WEEK 5 NOTEBOOK: ANOTHER THURSDAY NITE ROAD TEAM BITES THE DUST
Like it or not, this 2018 College Football season ain't just about Alabama and Georgia and Clemson and Ohio State ... there's a batch of what we'll call "under-the-radar" teams out there really making their own marks on the gridiron and so let's spend a few moments detailing what's straight ahead for a few of them on this Saturday:
TULANE (2-3) at CINCINNATI (5-0) - 12 p.m. ET, ESPNU
All hail the Cincy Bearcats who've already covered four of their first five games this year while outscoring their opponents by 26.4 points per game. Heck, we here at the Jim Hurley Network cashed big with the B-Cats back on Sept. 1st when Luke Fickell's club dunked 14.5-point favorite UCLA 26-17 and this Cincinnati defense has sharpened its fangs ever since while holding three of their next four foes to a full touchdown or less. Betcha didn't know Cincy ranks eighth nationally in total defense and ninth nationally in passing defense. Okay, so Cincinnati has yet to climb into the Top 25 poll but a potential Homecoming Game blowout win here against 7-point dog Tulane could earn 'em a spot.
ARIZONA STATE (3-2) at #21 COLORADO (4-0) - 4 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
Okay, so here's an under-the-radar team that does sport a Top 25 ranking: The CU Buffaloes - who wrap up their three-game homestand here against Herm Edwards' new-and-improved crew from the desert - admittedly own what you could call "so-what wins" against Nebraska and UCLA but hard to ignore that Mike MacIntyre's team is chock full of talent including star pass-catcher Laviska Shenault who just so happens to lead the FBS with an average of 145.3 yards per game and this dude is special when running a goal-line version of the Wildcat ... if you really want to know, we think he's one of the best two or three players in the land based solely on his play here in 2018. Memo to the rest of the college gridiron world: Colorado might be headed to a New Year's Day bowl if it can handle a tough road sked.
#13 KENTUCKY (5-0) at TEXAS A&M (3-2) - 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
We saved the best "under-the-radar" team for last, folks: The Kentucky Wildcats are this year's prototypical U-T-R team considering most so-called experts believed they'd finish sixth or seventh in the 7-team SEC East (hey, the 'Cats were just 26-36 straight-up the prior five years, you'll recall) and instead underrated head coach Mark Stoops has 'em sporting the nation's 12th-best defense while RB Benny Snell has 639 yards (a 5.6 yards-per-carry average) with 8 TDs. Now, if the 6-point Wildcats can go into College Station and snag an outright upset here, the immediate forecast is Kentucky jumps into the top 10 and maybe even hoops coach John Calipari starts going to the games.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers keep banging out lots of winners: Get all the College Football, NFL Week 5 and Major-League Baseball playoff winners all weekend long. Call us at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else get the winners right here online - go ahead, get movin'!
THE NFL WEEK 5 REPORT
We know, we know. Last night's rather convincing 38-24 win/cover by the 11-point favorite New England Patriots over the terribly short-handed Indianapolis Colts (talk about an injury list!) marked the fifth consecutive week that a Thursday Night NFL home team won and the fourth time in five weeks that a host team covered the almighty Las Vegas price tag.
In fact, since Philadelphia's kick-off-the-season 18-12 win against 1-point road fav Atlanta, road squads that had to travel on the "short week" and playing a Thursday Nighter are 0-4 SU and 0-3-1 ATS with only the Minnesota Vikings (+ 7 in last week's 38-31 loss at the LA Rams) avoiding the spread loss. Everyone from NFL Commish Roger Goodell down to the water boys knows it's a monstrous disadvantage to play away four days after your previous game and you throw in the air travel, etc. and, well, you get the idea.
The $64,000 question is this: Are the lines "not big enough" when it comes to these Thursday Night tilts? Note that New England went from an opening price of - 10 points to a game-time price of - 11 points but more importantly we've seen the road teams crumble come the fourth quarter in all/most of these games. Surprised? Nah.
Take note that New England QB Tom Brady - who hurled his 500th career TD pass against the Colts (throwing 3 TDs in all) - and Company is at a scintillating 29-12-2 against the odds overall since the start of the 2016 season (a haughty .707 winning percentage).
NOTE: Get our NFL Week 5 Sunday Game Previews in the next Jim Sez.