Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, September 7, 2012 at 6:42 PM
It goes without saying that everybody likes to get off to a fast start.
And so far this 2012 NCAA Football Season the likes of #1 Alabama and #9 West Virginia are among the folks who charged out of this year's starting gate with wins/pointspread covers that had 'em the talk of the gridiron nation.
Still, we wanted to take a few moments here to discover who the really fast starters were a year ago in terms of pointsread wins right out of the chute and here's our College Football findings:
Arkansas State roared out of the 2011 starting gate with four consecutive season-opening covers and - despite the fact the Red Wolves surrendered 50 first-half points last weekend in Oregon - they already have a spread "W" tucked under their belts to start off this season;
Florida banged out four straight spread wins to begin the Will Muschamp Era a year ago but scratch this year's Gators off the "fast starters" list already after the SEC team failed to cover the 4-touchdown price last Saturday against gritty Bowling Green in that 27-14 win;
Georgia Tech stormed out of the chute last season with four consecutive spread wins and Paul Johnson's gang already has a pointspread win this year thanks to last Monday's 20-17 loss-but-cover at 7 ½-point favorite Virginia Tech - a big-time winner here for Jim Hurley!
Rutgers began the 2011 season on a five-game spread winning streak that included upset wins against Syracuse and Pittsburgh but the Kyle Flood Era started with a spread loss at 19 ½-point home dog Tulane last Saturday night in a 24-12 Scarlet Knights' triumph;
Stanford was a rollicking 7-and-oh right out of the starting gate a year ago - the Cardinal actually was 8-0-1 ATS (against the spread) before failing to cover versus Oregon last November - but already this year's Stanford squad stubbed its spread toe in its 20-17 non-cover home win against 26 ½-point pup San Jose State last Friday night in Palo Alto;
And Temple rolled to a season-starting four-game ATS winning streak last year and so far, so good for this year's Owls who blasted city rival Villanova 41-10 last Friday night as 17 ½-point betting favorites.
Let's keep a close eye on who will be this year's "fast starters" and we'll update the list in the coming weeks, alright?
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL KEY SATURDAY PREVIEWS
#7 GEORGIA (1-0) at MISSOURI (1-0) - 7:45 p.m. ET, espn2
Lots of juice for this matchup as the Mizzou Tigers make their first-ever appearance as a member of the Southeastern Conference (the game in Columbia sold out a long time ago!) but the $64,000 question here is will the home folks be able to handle this Georgia speed - especially freshman RB Todd Gurley who scored three touchdowns and rushed for 100 yards on just eight carries against Buffalo?
Look for Georgia boss-man Todd Richt to turn Gurley loose here but if the Bulldogs are gonna win their road opener this season than underrated WR Tavarres King (6 catches for 117 yards and a TD last week) must get open for savvy vet QB Aaron Murray.
Spread Notes - Georgia failed to cover the bloated 38-point price in last weekend's 45-23 triumph over Buffalo but the Dawgs last year did cover 7-of-10 games when placed in the favorite's role. Missouri, meanwhile, is hoping to fare better spreadwise in the SEC after going 14-20 ATS when facing Big 12 foes the past four years.
#16 NEBRASKA (1-0) at UCLA (1-0) - 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox
Want the good news or the bad news first, Big Red Nation?
The here-and-now Nebraska Cornhuskers - who inched up one spot in this week's Associated Press Top 25 poll following last weekend's 49-20 win/cover against three-TD dog Southern Miss - are buoyed by the fact QB Taylor Martinez threw for a career-best 354 yards with five scoring strikes a week ago but star RB Rex Burkhead (1,357 yards rushing and 13 TDs last year) missed the final three quarters of that opening-week win with a sprained ligament in his left knee and it's dicey as to whether or not Burkhead gets the green light here in Tinseltown.
As for the home dog UCLA Bruins, they began the Jim L. Mora Era with a resounding 49-24 victory at 16 ½-point dog Rice last Thursday night as RB Johnathan Franklin voomed his way to a 214-yard, three-TD game but whether or not the Pac-12 team can spring the upset here might well depend on the Bruins' rather wobbly kicking game - note that the Uclans had three PATs blocked a week ago ... really!
Spread Notes - Nebraska is a solid 16-9 versus the vig away since the start of the 2008 campaign and note the 'Huskers have covered five of their last six games when installed as betting favorites. UCLA enters this prime-time game with a crummy 10-19 ATS mark as an underdog since the start of the 2009 season.
WASHINGTON (1-0) at #3 LSU (1-0) - 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
No doubt the Las Vegas oddsmakers don't necessarily believe this tilt in the Bayou will be close - the LSU Tigers are 23 ½-point betting favs at this very moment - but while the Bengals are expected to improve to 29-0 SU (straight-up) in non-conference games under eighth-year head coach Les Miles, there is some concern as to how this O-line will better protect new QB Zach Mettenberger (19-of-26 for 192 yards passing and one TD last week) who took a couple of major pops from the North Texas defense including one blind-side hit that made all the late-night cable highlight shows.
P.S., much is being made this week of the fact LSU's stout defensive line didn't register a single sack last Saturday but that should change here against a battered and banged-up Washington offensive line and so keep close eyes on Tigers defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo.
One note here on the Pac-12 guys from Seattle: QB Keith Price - who threw 33 scoring strikes last year - aired just one TD pass in last week's 21-12 non-cover win against 16 ½-point underdog San Diego State.
Spread Notes - Since the start of last year, LSU has covered six-of-nine games when placed in the role of double-digit betting favorites and that includes a spread "L" last week in that 41-14 triumph over 42-point pup North Texas. On the flip side, Washington's just 10-14 vig-wise away since the start of the 2008 season.
NOTE: Catch our NFL Week 1 Sunday Key Previews in the next Jim Sez.