Boise State-Virginia Tech
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OUR JIM SEZ LABOR DAY EDITION:
HEY, THIS IS A WORKING HOLIDAY FOR
#3 BOISE STATE AND #10 VIRGINIA TECH
AS THEY CLASH NEAR THE CAPITAL
IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S TOP OPENING-WEEK MATCHUP
PLUS WE REVIEW THE MAJOR GAMES OF
INTEREST FROM THIS PAST WEEKEND ...
NFL NEWS& NOTES:
WE ROLL OUT THE OVER/UNDER WINS TOTALS
FOR ALL 32 TEAMS WITH QUICK-HITTER COMMENTS ON 'EM ALL
Once upon a time, the names Boise State and Virginia Tech didn't exactly roll off your tongue when talking about the best College Football teams in the land -- but this ain't your grandpa's gridiron world any more!
When #3 Boise State and #10 Virginia Tech collide this evening in Landover -- we told you the last time that this was a case of saving the best for last on a fun holiday weekend agenda -- it will be a monumental affair that could either sink the B-State Broncos' national championship hopes or make sure they're 'in the conversation' all season long.
No doubt that much of the chatter regarding this prime-time showdown has revolved around Boise State -- a program that's now been to eight consecutive post-season bowl games (winning half of them) -- but how about some love for the Gobblers?
The Virginia Tech program has been a part of six January bowl games since the 1999 season ended with a Sugar Bowl loss to Florida State that served as the national championship game that year.
Remember Michael Vick?
Perhaps you've been following the Las Vegas line moves for this clash:
Boise State opened way back when as a 2 1/2-point betting favorite and climbed to a full field goal fav but in recent days (especially the past 24 hours or so) the 'action' has been mostly pro-Virginia Tech as this one was a pick 'em game at last look and it sure has the feel of an absolute toss-up if you ask us -- not-so-neutral field here or not!
Lots more to say about this TV tilt and plenty more NCAA Football and NFL straight ahead but now hear this:
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BOISE STATE VS. VIRGINIA TECH:
THE GAME PREVIEW
#3 BOISE STATE vs. #10 VIRGINIA TECH (at Landover) -- 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Lights, cameras, action ... indeed!
The top holiday showdown game is finally here and most novice analysts have broken this game down to the simplest form:
Boise State's high-wire offense -- the numero uno scoring offense in the country last year while averaging 42.2 points per game -- against Virginia Tech's normally rock-hard defense (one that ranked ninth nationally a year ago while yielding just 15.6 ppg).
But in the words of ESPN's great Lee Corso ... Not so fast, my friend!
Okay, so Boise State last year scored 45-or-more points in eight games and do bring back Heisman Trophy candidate QB Kellen Moore one year after the now-junior lefty aired 39 TDs and just 3 INTs but Chris Petersen's club can play some 'D' too as the Western Athletic Conference club surrendered just 17.1 ppg a year ago and bring back a whopping total of nine players to this year's stop unit.
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech doesn't mind getting attention for playing hard-as-nails defense and loves taking bows for all its wonderful special teams play but Frank Beamer's bunch wants folks to sit up and take notice of a ground attack that last year ranked 14th nationally (208 yards a game) and didn't even have RB Darren Evans for the whole year after he blew out his knee in 2009 summer practice. Evans had set VT's freshman rushing record with 1,265 yards but that was shattered last season by slippery RB Ryan Williams who wound up rushing for 1,655 yards and 21 TDs and the biggest question here might be can B-State stop either/both of these dudes once they get going.
Throw into the mix the fact that the Techsters feel ultra-confident these days in QB Tyrod Taylor (2,311 yards passing and 370 rushing yards in his first full season as a starter) and maybe the analysts are 'missing the boat' here:
Will it be Tech's offense that makes the most noise here ... or perhaps Boise State's annually underrated defense shines when this one is put to bed? Note that Virginia Tech brings back three targets that combined for 92 receptions a year ago -- that's WRs Jarrett Boykin, Danny Coale and Dyrell Roberts -- while Boise State star wide-outs Austin Pettis and Titus Young last year combined for 142 catches and 24 scores and we didn't even yet mention do-it-all RB Jeremy Avery who rushed for 1,151 yards and 6 TDs.
The facts are these: The loser of this game is almost certainly out of the mix for a national title in 2010 (folks, we never say never anymore!) while the winner will be the talk of the week before everyone heads into Saturday's batch of monster matchup games.
Tee it up already -- the Kickoff Near the Capital oughta be a blast!
Spread Notes -- Boise State has registered a .500-or-better pointspread mark every year since 2000 and the Broncos are a tasty 16-7-2 ATS (against the spread) overall the past two seasons. Note that Boise State's 7-2 versus the vig when playing non-conference foes since the start of 2008 and the Broncos are an electric 9-3-1 ATS away during this time span. On the flip side, Virginia Tech is an ugly 5-12-1 spreadwise when facing non-league opponents since the start of the 2006 season and the Hokies have failed to cover their last three consecutive on-the-board openers. Here's a positive spread stat for the ACC gang: V-Tech is a spiffy 28-12-1 against the odds when playing away from Blacksburg the past six years.
|The Jim Hurley Network is tuned into the winner of tonight's Clash of the Titans! Plus the afternoon matinee up the road in Baltimore when Navy meets Maryland. Click here to win both!|
COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S OPENING-WEEKEND ROUNDUP
Now, here's some quick-hitter comments on the key NCAA Football Saturday/Sunday games played:
Much was being made over the fact that a batch of non-BCS teams -- see TCU, Utah, BYU and Fresno State -- all cranked out opening-weekend wins against so-called power conference teams but let's not go over the top here as TCU was favored by 13 points over Oregon State, Utah was a 3 1/2-point fav versus Pittsburgh, BYU was a mere 2-point home pup against Washington and Fresno State was a 2 1/2-point favorite against Cincinnati.
Don't get us wrong, non-BCS guys/gals: All of the above wins were solid stuff even if TCU needed a bum shotgun snap by Oregon State to help ice away that win in Arlington but how can anything be a bigger first-week story than Jacksonville State's wild 49-48 double-OT win against 29-point favorite Ole Miss?
The Rebels owned a resounding 31-10 halftime lead in that game and yet Houston Nutt's club spit the bit -- and can someone please tell us how the SEC crew didn't force a single turnover this whole game?...
When the LSU Tigers finally held off a gritty/short-handed North Carolina club 30-24 inside the Georgia Dome last Saturday night, ABC play-by-play man Brent Musburger called it the 'great escape' but the truth is almost any other big-time college quarterback would have beaten Les Miles' Bayou Bengals in those closing seconds. Carolina's veteran QB T.J. Yates wanted a pass interference call in the end zone on his final chuck but he threw two weak passes late -- yes, we know Yates completed 28-of-46 passes for 412 yards with 3 TDs and no picks but he didn't zing the ball in there when it mattered most and thus the upset that should have happened did not.
The $64,000 question with Miles is how can he sleep this week after getting his club to score 30 points in the first half and then having his offense sleepwalk after intermission -- four lost fumbles including one late could have been real killers for an LSU team that seems to always play to the level of its competition. Even if its competition has lost a bunch of players to NCAA suspensions! ...
Finally, which FBS team handled the pressure the best last weekend?
We'll say it was the Michigan Wolverines who were being verbally kicked from pillar-to-post in the days leading up to their opener against Connecticut but instead of laying a big-time egg in the new-and-improved 'Big House', the maize-and-blue guys pinned back their ears and got serious in a business-like 30-10 win against the overrated Huskies.
No question that Michigan QB Denard Robinson -- who accounted for 383 offensive yards and a pair of touchdowns -- was a star here but how about a round of applause for a Michigan defense that allowed UConn to convert on just 4-of-15 third-down plays and held Husky QB Zach Frazer to less than 50 percent completions (see 18-of-37 for 205 yards).
THE 2010 NFL OVER/UNDER WINS TOTALS
You asked for it and you got it. It's our annual Jim Sez look at the NFL Over/Under Wins Totals for this year ... enjoy!
Note that all figures below are based on $100 per-play odds:
|The Cards wish retired QB Kurt Warner would ditch the Dancing With the Stars bit and play ball instead|
|Atlanta||9.5 over/under 115||We'll see how much the Falcons love to play on the road when they encounter three straight away games in Dec.|
|Nobody looked better in the preseason than did these Ravens but will QB Joe Flacco take that next step?|
|There's been plenty of sentiment that says the 2010 Bills will be the NFL's worst team ... hmmm|
|Did you realize that the Panthers haven't won a playoff game since 2005? It's post-season or bust for Mr. Fox|
|If the Bears' offensive line doesn't keep QB Jay Cutler in an upright mode than everyone's going down in Chitown|
|The Bengals play three of their first four games away but maybe the T.O. and Ochocinco tandem like it that way|
|Cleveland||5.5 over/under 110||The Browns won their final four regular-season games in 2009 and now we'll see if that winning culture returns|
|Put it this way: If the Cowboys want to win a lot, than they better produce in the red zone (see preseason woes)|
|The odds are the Broncos will have a QB controversy sometime before Thanksgiving Day|
|Do the math and you'll see the Lions have won just two games total the past two years ... ugh|
|It sure seems as if the Pack are the 'flavor of the month' in the NFC but can this team make a big 'D' stand?|
|The Texans have lost six in a row to divisional rival Indy and may have to finally beat 'em to cash here|
|In case you were wondering, the last time the Colts didn't win 10-or-more games was back in 2001|
|NFL handicappers know the Jags are 9-23 ATS the past two years and so tough to have confidence in 'em here|
|The Chiefs have won a grand total of 10 games the past three years and still have no downfield threat|
|Might their late-season sked save the 2010 Dolphins and their 'over' players? Take a peek at the final six games|
|If QB Brett Favre stays in one piece than this Las Vegas price tag actually might be considered cheap|
|The Pats were all business in the preseason but lack of quality depth may be a problem come December|
|Don't look now but Saints could easily start off 2010 season at 7-and-oh (go ahead and check the sked)|
|To think that last year's Jints started off 5-0 and still didn't register a winning record ... but it's true!|
|The NFL's biggest big-mouths have won 10-or-more regular-season games just once in the past five years|
|Somebody out there likes the silver-and-black 'cause they were just 6 over 125 two weeks ago ... just saying|
|Now that the Eagles will be QB Donovan McNabb-free, we'll see if they can have a winning record|
|Interestingly, the Steelers over/under win total didn't climb after QB Ben Roethlisberger had his suspension cut|
|Tell us right now that top draft pick QB Sam Bradford won't get hurt and we'll tell you the Rams could win 6 or 7|
|Knee-jerk reaction is to say the Chargers don't lose an AFC West game but who says anything is a lock?|
|The Niners copped 5-of-6 from NFC West rivals last year and similar showing year could mean cha-ching|
|Not everyone's sure Pete Carroll is gonna turn the tide as the Seahawks had win price at 7 last week|
|The Bucs were an easy 'under' last year while going 3-13 -- and that included a late-year win against N'Orleans|
|The word is out in/around Music City that this club is set for a smashing start -- Titans were 0-6 out of gate in '09|
|Why does something tell us 'Skins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth won't be around for end of '10 campaign?|
NOTE: Next up get our Mid-Week Edition of Jim Sez that will include -- among other items -- an NFL Kickoff Opener Preview between the Minnesota Vikings at the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints along with College Football Thursday/Friday Previews that will include Auburn at Mississippi State (Thursday) and West Virginia at Marshall (Friday) ... plus lots, lots more
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