Baseball Playoffs, Weeknight College Previews, and Heisman Report

Network Hits 2 of 3 to start the MLB Playoffs!
Reds/Philles (Under 7) 4-0 WON!
Yankees (-145) Twins 6-4 WON!
Rays (-130) Rangers 1-5 lost

UCF (-12.5) crushes UAB 42-7

THE JIM SEZ MID-WEEK UPDATE: WE GET YOU THURSDAY'S NEBRASKA-KANSAS STATE PRIME-TIME PREVIEW PLUS IT'S OUR FIRST HEISMAN TROPHY REPORT OF THE YEAR ...

THE BASEBALL POST-SEASON IS HERE - GET THE WIN-IT-ALL ODDS AND QUICK-HITTER COMMENTS ON ALL EIGHT PLAYOFF TEAMS

By Jim Hurley:

Let's just go ahead and call this our "busy time":

The NFL is in full swing and - as the ESPN broadcasters wisely stated the other night - you can't even say who best teams in the league are right now as last year's Super Bowl squads New Orleans and Indianapolis both appear highly vulnerable.

There's College Football close to entering its mid-season stage (already!) and there's no doubt who is the best team in the land right now 'cause the Alabama Crimson Tide has been the best team for the past two years.

And now here comes the 2010 Major-League Baseball Playoffs on full-speed-ahead mode and we've got a few things to say about what to watch in today's Jim Sez.

So, no time to waste - let's get you our full plate of goodies but first this important reminder:

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you the NCAA Football, NFL and all Major-League Baseball Playoff Winners when you either call us at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else when you simply log online right here online. Here's an important note: The check-in times are after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday afternoon Baseball Games; then anytime after 1 p.m. ET Monday thru Friday for all the NFL, NCAA Football and MLB weeknight games; and then anytime after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays. Extra, Extra: The MLB Playoffs begin today and we'll have all the action - go ahead and win a bunch of greenbacks with America's #1 Handicapper!


COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME PREVIEWS:
THE THURSDAY/FRIDAY NITE ACTION

On Thursday, it's ...#7 NEBRASKA (4-0) at KANSAS STATE (4-0) - 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
You tell us: Are these the "glory days" back again for the Nebraska Cornhuskers?

No doubt that Big Red is back on the map of football elite teams and the 'Huskers head into this prime-time clash with not only the opportunity to stay perfect through the first five games of this here-and-now season but a win would give Nebraska a 78-15-2 SU (straightup) record in head-to-head games with rival Kansas State.

If Nebraska is gonna win - and cover this haughty 12-point price - than QB Taylor Martinez (averaging 124 rushing yards per game) must steer clear of recent mistakes as he lost a fumble and threw a pair of INTs in a sloppy win against South Dakota State back on Sept. 25th.  Martinez can be a feast-or-famine type - sorry but he doesn't quite belong on any Heisman Trophy lists just yet - but he does bring an explosive nature to the position not seen since the Eric Crouch days and here we'll see if RB Roy Helu, Jr. (7.1 yards-per-carry average with 305 yards and 4 TDs) can be the perfect complement.

If Kansas State wants to spring this Big 12 upset, than RB Daniel Thomas (628 yards rushing with a 6.0 ypc average and 6 scores) must get his mitts on the ball 25-plus times and must score at least three touchdowns for Bill Snyder's crew.

First team to 30 wins? Stay tuned.

Spread Notes - Nebraska is a sizzling 10-3 ATS (against the spread) away since the start of the 2008 campaign and that includes a resounding 56-28 win/cover at 6-point underdog Kansas State two years ago. However, the 'Huskers are a money-torching 3-8 versus the vig as betting favorites since midway of the 2009 season. On the flip side, the K-State Wildcats have covered seven of their last nine conference games since the start of last year.
  
    
On Friday, it's ...CONNECTICUT (3-2) at RUTGERS (2-2) - 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
There have been lots of folks asking whether or not the Big East Conference has an arrow pointed up or down - well, let's just say these two teams haven't exactly been world-beaters this 2010 season.

Okay, so the UConn Huskies have tacked together back-to-back home wins/covers against Buffalo and Vanderbilt (right, not exactly a "who's who in the sport) but a 20-point loss at Michigan to start the year and a 14-point loss at 5 ½-point pup Temple on Sept. 18th really rocked the Storrs gang while Rutgers has been a major mess as last weekend's 17-14 home loss to 17-point underdog Tulane might be partly explained away by the terrible tragedy of a student committing suicide but the fact of the matter is the 2010 Scarlet Knights simply have not played hard/well so far.

Rutgers QB Tom Savage has been downright awful - he's only thrown one touchdown pass and is completing less than 52 percent of his aerials -- while Connecticut RB Jordan Todman (638 yards with a 159.5 yards-per-game average and 7 TDs) remains the best player on the field here. Tell us right now that Savage plays his average game while Todman gets 150-plus ground yards and 5 ½-point fav Connecticut should win by two TDs or more.

Spread Notes - Connecticut's failed to cover both of its road games this year and yet the Huskies still are 11-5 ATS away the past two-plus seasons. Meanwhile, Rutgers is 0-4 spreadwise so far this 2010 season and the Scarlet Knights are 1-6-1 vig-wise in head-to-head showdowns with UConn since 2001.


THE HEISMAN TROPHY REPORT

Here's the 2010 debut of our Jim Sez Weekly look at this year's top Heisman Trophy candidates with our top five listed in order (and subject to change each/every week, of course). Hey, it's an all-quarterback cast to start off our Jim Sez Heisman Trophy Report list:

DENARD ROBINSON, QB, MICHIGAN - Right now the star of the maize-and-blue is the runaway leader for the 2010 Heisman Trophy thanks to some overwhelming stats such as 905 yards rushing (with 8 TDs) and 1,008 yards passing (with 7 TDs and only 1 INT) and already twice this year he's rushed for and passed for more than 200 yards in a game for the 5-and-oh Wolverines. Robinson has completed 70 percent of his passes and is averaging a rollicking 9.2 yards a carry - about the only thing that could kayo him from this trophy would be another knee injury such as the one suffered two weeks ago in the win against Bowling Green.

KELLEN MOORE, QB, BOISE STATE - The Broncos have won all four of their games so far and the lefty slinger is back to his new tricks with 11 TD passes and just one pick (remember last year's 39 TDs and 3 INTs). Moore zinged home three scoring strikes in last weekend's 59-0 laugher win against New Mexico State while playing limited minutes but that game-winning touchdown drive against Virginia Tech back on Labor Day evening still should be fresh in everyone's minds.

TERRELLE PRYOR, QB, OHIO STATE - The truth is this junior star has been a tad uneven at the start of this season (see 3 INTs) and he has thrown some wobbly passes but nevertheless deserves a spot in our Top 5 thanks to his 1,015 yards passing and 373 yards rushing while accounting for 15 TDs (that's 12 passing and 3 rushing) for the second-ranked Buckeyes. Last week's injury scare was a brief hiccup and the proof of whether or not Pryor deserves to really get in the Heisman hunt will depend on how he plays in "name" games down the road against Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan - so this could be a late-bloomer Heisman candidacy, if you

ANDREW LUCK, QB, STANFORD - No doubt that this Cardinal slinger hasn't completely been on his "A" game in recent tilts at Notre Dame and Oregon and yet this 4-1 club has been riding high thanks in large part to Luck's 1,253 yards passing with 13 TDs (and only 4 INTs). Maybe the best highlight of Luck's year so far was that dazzling 52-yard across-the-field touchdown run in the resounding 68-24 win against Wake Forest but no question this sophomore belongs on the Heisman short list right now.

COLIN KAEPERNICK, QB, NEVADA - You might find other Heisman Trophy lists with Auburn QB Cam Newton or Oregon RB LaMichael James or even LSU return specialist/defensive back Patrick Peterson but we'll toss in this lanky senior who really is a stat-sheet stuffer: Kapernick has thrown for 1,048 yards and rushed for another 548 yards while totaling 17 TDs for the 5-and-oh Wolfpack.


THE MLB POST-SEASON IS HERE -- CATCH THE "WIN-IT-ALL" PRICES AND OUR QUICK-HITTER COMMENTS

The 2010 Major-League Baseball Post-Season finally has arrived ... so go ahead and check out the goodies below beginning with the Odds to Win it All based on $100-per-play wagers:

TEAM

ODDS TO WIN WS

Philadelphia

+ 100

NY Yankees

+ 200

Tampa Bay

+ 250

Texas

+ 300

Cincinnati

+ 800

Minnesota

+ 800

San Francisco

+ 800

Atlanta

+ 1000

In the National League ...

ATLANTA BRAVES (91-71) - The Bobby Cox Farewell Season could be over in a few days or could last into November and much of that depends on whether RHP Tim Hudson has anything left in the tank as he looked gassed in many late-season starts. Make no mistake that Atlanta has some clutch hitters in this lineup including All-Star MVP C Brian McCann who posted 21 HR, 77-RBI season.

CINCINNATI REDS (91-71) - The National League Central champs wasted no time in inking popular manager Dusty Baker to a contract extension but can the Reds mark their 20th anniversary since that last World Series crown with another trophy? There's plenty of pop in Cincinnati's lineup but the one guy who might well make-or-break this post-season is 100-plus mph reliever Aroldis Chapman (2.03 ERA in just 15 games) who figures to be seeing lots of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in this upcoming series against Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (97-65) - The one-two punch of RHPs Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt is considered second-to-none in the majors right now but this NLDS series against Cincinnati could well come down to whether or not closer Brad Lidge can get out MVP frontrunner 1B Joey Votto when/if they square off in the ninth inning. The Phils may not need SS Jimmy Rollins in the lineup for every inning, but it would help.

SAN FRANCISCO (92-70) - The gripping battle for a playoff berth might have taken some of the starch from the Giants (every game was a must-win the final three or four weeks, folks) and so Bruce Bochy's club really needs to "hold serve" in the two first games against Atlanta and that means the occasional long ball by either Juan Uribe (24 HR) and/or LF Pat Burrell (20 homers including many keys one for SF) is essential.

In the American League ...
        
MINNESOTA TWINS (94-68) - The American League Central champs know that 1B Justin Morneau (concussion and out since July 7th) won't be able to play in the post-season but LF Delmon Young did produce 21 HR, 112-RBI campaign and is capable of lighting up the Yankees' lefty hurlers in Round I. P.S., Twins are finally getting Games #1 and #2 in their joint after always having to start off in The Bronx and that could be the "diff" here.

NEW YORK YANKEES (95-67) - No doubt that the Yanks really staggered in September/early October while going 9-17 in their last 26 games but key for the Bombers is that CF Curtis Granderson is heating up and LHP Andy Pettitte says he feels fine and could get two starts in the ALDS versus Minnesota. Still, can manager Joe Girardi trust any reliever as the bridge to closer Mariano Rivera? Hmmm.

TAMPA BAY RAYS (96-66) - Joe Maddon's club won more road games than any team in the bigs (47) and so nobody should push the panic button if Texas LHP Cliff Lee beats 'em in Tropicana Field in Game 1 but note that Tampa Bay's been punch-less for much of the final month and it's not entirely due to still-hurting 3B Evan Longoria. The Rays have reason to be worried about RHP James Shields (13-15, 5.18 ERA) who could pitching in a must-win Game 4 spot in Texas this weekend.
 
TEXAS RANGERS (90-72) - Everyone's talking about how healthy is OF Josh Hamilton (league-leading .359 average with 32 HR and 100 RBI) but might this be a case where veteran DH Vladimir Guerrero (29 dingers and 115 RBI) carries this team's offense on his shoulders with some big hits/homers? The Rangers hope all the innings logged by their starters don't catch up with 'em in October and that kid closer Neftali Feliz (40 saves in 43 opportunities) isn't phased by the bright lights and big stage.

NOTE: Catch our College Football "Saturday Six-Pack" in the next edition of Jim Sez.

23
Nov

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