Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, September 2, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Safe to say everyone's having a blast with the start of this College Football Season - heck, Thursday night's triple-OT win by Minnesota over UNLV was some of the best late-night TV we've seen in a long, long time - but how about the fact the National Football League swings into action this Wednesday with the annual NFL Kickoff Game and there's plenty to say right here/right now:
The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants won/covered on this Opening Night big stage back in the 2008 season following on the heels of that stunning Super Bowl 42 win against the New England Patriots - remember that 16-7 win/cover against the 4 ½-point underdog Washington Redskins? - and now Tom Coughlin's crew looks to hammer out the win against the (for now) 4-point underdog Dallas Cowboys. And just remember last year when the Jints powered their way to an NFC East crown by snagging two late-season (as in December and January) games against the'Boys.
In fact, check out our Jim Sez chart how that reveals just how dominant the G-men have been against the Cowboys in head-to-head showdowns ever since that NFC Divisional Playoff win back in the 2007 season (note all home teams below are in CAPS):
COWBOYS v. GIANTS (Meetings the Last 4+ Years)
|2007 *||Giants||+ 7.5||COWBOYS||Giants 21-17|
|2008||GIANTS||- 8.5||Cowboys||GIANTS 35-14|
|2008||COWBOYS||- 3||Giants||COWBOYS 20-8|
|2009||Giants||+ 3||COWBOYS||Giants 33-31|
|2009||GIANTS||+ 1||Cowboys||GIANTS 31-24|
|2010||Giants||+ 3.5||COWBOYS||Giants 41-35|
|2010||Cowboys||+ 12.5||GIANTS||Cowboys 33-20|
|2011||Giants||+ 4.5||COWBOYS||Giants 37-34|
|2011||GIANTS||- 3||Cowboys||GIANTS 31-14|
= NFC Divisional Playoff Game
Add'em all up, folks, and you see the Giants are 7-2 SU (straightup) and 7-2 ATS (against the spread) against the Cowboys beginning with that epic post-season game that really got the Giants' wheels in motion towards the first of coach Coughlin's two Super Bowl victories.
Will the tide turn come Wednesday night at MetLife Stadium?
Well, Jim Hurley will have that answer for you Game-Day afternoon (see note below) but we thought it would be nice to feed you a little NFL ditty a handful of days before they kick it off for real in the league where they play for pay - much more NFL goodies all week long right here at Jim Sez.
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT - THE SUNDAY SHOWDOWNS
KENTUCKY at #25 LOUISVILLE - 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The ole Battle of the Bluegrass State remains one of the great rivalries in the sport and - in this case - it's the Louisville Cardinals who are the "hot side" and the Kentucky Wildcats who could stagger through the 2012 season. No question that Louisville head coach Charlie Strong has re-energized this program with last year's 7-6 SU season featuring a big win in Lexington (see details below) and now soph QB Teddy Bridgewater looks to improve on his 14-TD, 12-INT season from a year ago but note top target WR Michaelee Harris is gone for the year with a knee injury and somebody else from this sophomore-heavy lineup must step into the fray beginning right here.
How can two-TD dog Kentucky keep this clash close ... or maybe even pull the gigantic upset?
Well, it would help if the Wildcats' passing game awoke.
Last year Kentucky ranked a dismal 114th out of 120 FBS teams in passing offense while averaging just 135.6 ypg and here soph slinger Maxwell Smith will shoulder the burden after playing in just eight games a year ago. Smith - who threw for 819 yards with 4 TDs and 4 INTs in 2011 - will eyeball senior WR La'Rod King who caught 40 balls for the aerial-challenged Wildcats.
Spread Notes - Louisville has banged out 7-5 and than 8-5 ATS campaigns so far under boss-man Strong but note the U of L Cardinals registered a shabby 1-4 spread log as betting favorites a year ago. The Redbirds - a 24-17 winner at 5-point fav Kentucky last September - have failed to cover four of their last five on-the-board season-opening games while dating back to the 2007 season. On the flip side, Kentucky is coming off a 6-6 spread season that included a 4-4 ATS split in games where the'Cats were the underdog side and did you realize that this SEC crew is a rock-solid 13-7 versus the vig overall in non-league affairs since the start of '07?
SMU at BAYLOR - 6:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Network
The "RG3" Era was a major blast in Waco - a Heisman Trophy, 10 wins and a bowl triumph last year for QB Robert Griffin III and mates but that's in the proverbial rear-view mirror now and so Baylor boss Art Briles has turned the keys over to senior Nick Florence who won't surprise anyone here should he throw the ball upwards of 50 times but let's see if Baylor has another Heisman hopeful in WR Terrance Williams who snagged 105 balls for 1,502 yards and 15 TDs last year while getting real cozy with Griffin's strikes.
Meanwhile, don't dare sleep on this 2012 SMU team as former Texas QB Garrett Gilbert figures to have plenty of opportunities to strut his right arm for pass-happy head coach June Jones.
In case you were wondering, the "totals" price on this all-Lone Star State battle sits at 58 points - might that be a tad shy?
Spread Notes - Baylor rolled up an impressive 8-4 ATS mark last year and remember the Bears finished off the 2011 season on a four-game spread winning streak. Note that Baylor banged out a perfect 7-and-oh pointspread mark at home last season and that included covers against the likes of TCU, Oklahoma and Texas. Meanwhile, SMU snapped a six-game pointspread slide a year ago with a 28-6 Compass Bowl win against 4-point fav Pittsburgh and overall the Mustangs are 11-6 ATS as dogs the past three seasons.
NOTE: Catch our Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech Monday night game preview in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez and remember we'll dig deep into NFL Week 1 play all this coming week right here, so don't you dare miss out!