Midweek Football Preview

Hurley Splits On Football
Wins with N.C. State (+4) over Fla State 28-24
Misses on (Over 59)
Wins World Series Game 2
Giants/Rangers (Over 7) 9-0 WON

OUR COLLEGE FOOTBALL MID-WEEK UPDATE- WE ASK AN OFF-THE-WALL QUESTION HERE: ARE THE TOP THREE NON-BCS TEAMS BETTER THAN THE TOP THREE BCS CONFERENCE TEAMS IN THE LAND RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW? ...

THERE'S THURSDAY/FRIDAY TV GAME PREVIEWS PLUS THE LATEST HEISMAN TROPHY REPORT (AND WE HAVE YET ANOTHER NEW LEADER!) ...

THE WORLD SERIES: OUR QUICK-HITTER COMMENTS ON THE TEXAS RANGERS VERSUS SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS MATCHUP

By Jim Hurley:

Did you happen to take a good long look at this week's BCS Standings?

Right ... there's a new #1 in the Auburn Tigers but look closer and you'll see that three of the top eight teams in this week's BCS Standings hail from non-automatic qualifier or non-BCS leagues (that's #3 Boise State, #4 TCU and #8 Utah).

So, with all the talk regarding who "belongs" at/near the top of the BCS Standings, our question really is this ...

In a round-robin type scenario, how would Boise State/TCU/Utah fare against Auburn/#2 Oregon/#5 Michigan State?

Gotta say this based on everything we've seen with our very own eyes this 2010 season, we think the non-BCS teams are slightly better than the cream-of-the-crop BCS conferences teams overall and we don't believe anybody from Auburn/Oregon/Michigan State would blow out the "little guys" even though those clubs from the SEC, Pac-10 and Big 10 have rained down some major beatings on a few of their own brethren this season.

True, Boise State's 49-20 win against 36-point underdog Louisiana Tech wasn't always a thing of beauty (keep in mind that L-Tech scored a touchdown in the game's waning moments for the pointspread cover) but the Broncos don't have to apologize for anything during their snazzy 7-and-oh start.

Ditto for TCU (8-0) and Utah (7-0).

The fact of the matter is the non-BCS guys already this year have beaten the likes of Virginia Tech, Oregon State (twice), Baylor and Pittsburgh- maybe not a veritable "who's who" in the sport but not bad "comp"- while some of the wins by the heavy-hitters did come against folks named Arkansas State, UL-Monroe, Portland State, Florida Atlantic and Northern Colorado.

So there!

Ask us to rank the country's top five teams right now and we'd have to put Boise State and TCU ahead of everyone but the Oregon Ducks- now we'll see how this whole thing sorts itself out and all we know is too bad there is not a playoff system at work these days!

Lots more on this Jim Sez Mid-Week menu but first this key reminder:

 First, this key reminder: Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you the NFL, College Football and all the World Series Winners starting Wednesday 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. Remember, the NBA season starts Tuesday night, and you can get the entire NBA & NCAA basketball seasons at an early bird price right now. Click here to start winning in hoops.

THE THURSDAY/FRIDAY GAME PREVIEWS

On Thursday, it's ...

#16 FLORIDA STATE (6-1, 4-0 ACC) at N.C. STATE (5-2, 2-1 ACC) -- 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
No matter how you slice it, the Florida State Seminoles have played with a new attitude in the post-Bobby Bowden Era.

The grandfatherly man known in/around Tallahassee as "Saint Bobby" may be beloved to this very day but right now it sure seems the administration folks made the right call by popping in Jimbo Fisher as the head coach beginning with this 2010 season.

The 'Noles have held five of their first seven foes to 17 points or less and here the deal is getting in the face of N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson (2,124 yards passing with 18 TDs and 9 INTs) who has single-handedly beaten the likes of Cincinnati and Georgia Tech this year.

On the flip side, FSU is hoping QB Christian Ponder (1,187 yards passing with 12 TDs and 7 INTs) is A-OK for this clash- Ponder's been suffering with an elbow ailment (bursa sac) and that could limit his downfield chucks here.

Spread Notes – Florida State has lost eight of its last nine head-to-head pointspread decisions against ACC rival N.C. State but note the Seminoles are a rock-solid 6-2 ATS (against the spread) overall dating back to the end of last season. The Wolfpack, meanwhile, is 5-2 versus the vig overall this year and N.C. State's 15-7 ATS as an underdog since the start of the 2008 campaign.

On Friday, it's ...

WEST VIRGINIA (5-2, 1-1 Big East) at CONNECTICUT (3-4, 0-2 Big East)- 8 p.m. ET, espn2
Talk about your mental meltdowns! In last week's 19-14 home loss against 13 ½-point pup Syracuse, there was West Virginia coaches calling for deep pass plays in the closing moments (a couple of first downs would have been fine!) and there was Mountaineers QB Geno Smith not using that proverbial clock in his head before getting sacked on his team's final offensive play- it was a game of misfires from start to finish and now we'll see if a talented albeit undisciplined WVU club can pick up the beat here.

One thing's for sure and that the West Virginia TB Noel Devine (averaging 89.4 yards a game) must get his hands on the ball a minimum of 25 times or else even an underachieving Connecticut club that ranks 97th nationally in passing offense could snag an upset win here.

Spread Notes- West Virginia is 4-3 ATS so far this season and note the 'Neers have covered five of their last six head-to-head battles with UConn. Note the Huskies are 12-6-1 versus the vig at home since the start of the 2008 season.

THE HEISMAN TROPHY REPORT

Here's 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).

Note that this marks our fourth leader in as many weeks- all quarterbacks- as first it was Michigan QB Denard Robinson, then Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor and last week we placed Boise State's Kellen Moore atop the pack and yet only one of 'em is on the current list and Moore's so-so showing on Tuesday night dropped him down to #3!

#1 -- CAM NEWTON, QB, AUBURN- Is there really any question at this stage of the season? The do-it-all Tigers super-hero now has rushed for 1,077 yards and 14 TDs this year and don't sleep on those passing stats either as the 6-foot-6 junior has thrown for 1,364 yards with 13 TDs and 5 INTs- one more highlight reel run like the score against LSU last Saturday when he rushed for 217 yards in all and the guy can start dotting the i's and crossing the t's on his acceptance speech.

#2 -- LaMICHAEL JAMES, RB, OREGON- Last week's 123-yard, 2-TD performance was relatively mild stuff for a Ducks club that routed UCLA 60-13 but, like Newton, we've pushed James up one notch in our Heisman Report and keep in mind his season numbers so far includes 971 yards rushing (a 7.2 ypc average) with a dozen TDs in all. James could really make a big-time splash this Saturday night at USC with a major chunk of the ABC audience getting this game and so he could creep a little closer to the top with one of those 175-yard ground games.

#3- KELLEN MOORE, QB, BOISE STATE- If you happened to tune in to the Broncos' aforementioned 29-point win against Louisiana Tech on Tuesday night than you no doubt noticed the lefty Moore was high and/or wide with a few throws en route to his 20-of-28, 298-yard, two-TD game (and don't forget he caught a trick play for a touchdown too) and so we're knocked him back into the middle of this Top 5 pack. Still, Moore's 2010 stats are superb including 1,865 yards passing with 18 TDs and 2 INTs.

#4 -- KENDALL HUNTER, RB, OKLAHOMA STATE- Don't know what the "experts" at cbssports.com are watching but none of their esteemed panelists has this star runner on their top five list even though he's rushed for 1,031 yards (a healthy 6.4 ypc average) with 12 TDs following last weekend's almost epic 201-yard ground game against mighty Nebraska.

#5- ROBERT GRIFFIN, QB, BAYLOR- Must admit that the final spot here is a real toss-up among a handful of offensive players but we'll opt for the Bears' megastar who now has thrown for 2,373 yards passing with 18 TDs and 4 INTs to go along with another 384 yards rushing and 6 TDs. If Griffin now can savage the on-again, off-again Texas defense this weekend than he might be a legit part of our Heisman Report the rest of the way.

ACC ACTION MOVE

  With the Jim Hurley Network cashing in at 60 percent on the gridiron, we're chomping at the bit for a big run to close out October and this ACC Action Move is the way to do it! Florida State and N.C. State play for the inside track to the ACC Championship Game. Both are coming off a bye that followed a poor performance--FSU was nearly upended by lowly Boston College and NC State was upended by hungry East Carolina. But both have shown the capacity for much more--the Seminoles blew out Miami. The Wolfpack had Virginia Tech beaten until a final-minute flurry. Which version of each team will show on Thursday night? Thanks to the on-scene sources of the Jim Hurley Network, we know the answer! Click here to win this big showdown in the ACC!

 

THE WORLD SERIES IS HERE!

Here's something that you might not have known as we head into the start of the World Series this evening:

When Las Vegas released its "Win it All" odds prior to the start of this year's post-season it was the San Francisco Giants who were the only team among the eight playoff squads who "took money"- the Giants went from +800 (based on a $100 per-play wager) to +600- while we always thought the price tag on the Texas Rangers was a tad short as the American League West champs were + 300.

No doubt the betting favorites to get here to this year's Fall Classic- the Philadelphia Phillies (+100 or even money) and the New York Yankees (+ 200) were handed their walking papers in the National League Championship Series and ALCS, respectively, and neither of 'em deserved to get this far after their bats went strangely silent.

Now, it's Rangers-Giants in a World Series that nobody saw coming- except maybe the folks who posted those "Win it All" odds -- and let's get three quick and important items on the table right here:

#1- WHY IS TIM LINCECUM STARTING GAME #1? – Okay, so know the peanut gallery is telling us he's the Giants' best pitchers and we're not gonna argue there but the two-time NL Cy Young winners pitched in relief last Saturday night in the series clincher at Philadelphia and should be held here to Game #2. No doubt SF manager Bruce Bochy knows his club better than us but RHP Matt Cain should be the Game #1 starter opposite Texas LHP Cliff Lee- it would give Lincecum's arm/body an extra day to rest plus you would not "waste" him against the almost invincible Lee.

#2- MEMO TO THE RANGERS: MAKE SURE VLADIMIR GUERRERO GETS AT LEAST ONE AT-BAT IN BOTH GAME #1 AND GAME #2 IN FRISCO: The Rangers will be going DH-less in the first two games of this World Series and that means veteran stick Vladimir Guerrero has to ride the pine but it doesn't mean he has to stay there for a full nine innings. You've gotta think that runs will be at an absolute premium in the first two games when the Giants sport the home-field advantage but Texas manager Ron Washington must get Guerrero to the plate in the late innings to take a hack when the moment is just right.

Washington- like most AL managers- doesn't do a whole lot of maneuvering with his bench players during the course of the season but here he must judge the best time to plug in Guerrero even if it means putting a less capable defensive player in the field (and we're not talking Guerrero who won't be playing any defense in this Series).

#3 -- STAY AWAY FROM USING STARTING PITCHERS IN RELIEF- Folks, this is a plea to both teams here as it may be tempting at some point of this best-of-seven series to put Lincecum back on the field for a couple of batters late in a game he isn't starting and ditto for the Rangers who might be so inclined to do the same with either Lee or RHP Colby Lewis. Hey, this strategy didn't work at all in the NLCS last week (see Phillies Roy Oswalt spitting the bit in relief in Game #4) and neither manager should indulge the temptation here.

P.S., we will say that the winner of this World Series probably is the team that gets the key seventh- and eighth-inning outs- we believe both SF closer Brian Wilson and Rangers closer Neftali Perez will be fine- but let's not see starters taking on these unfamiliar roles. It could be the death of one of these teams in this shindig.
  

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