College Midweek Report and Previews
A Huge Weekend Starts Today!
The Breeders Cup At Churchill Downs, both Friday & Saturday!
Plus college & NFL football!
Make sure the one network you stay tuned into is Jim Hurley's!
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL MID-WEEK UPDATE IS HERE - CATCH THE THUR-FRI TV PREVIEWS PLUS THE LATEST HEISMAN TROPHY REPORT TOO
THE NFL RUMOR MILL HEATS UP IN DENVER AND DALLAS
By Jim Hurley:
The 2010 College Football Season has now entered nitty-gritty time as we've flipped the calendar page to read November and any slip-ups from this point forward by any of the sport's elite will doom 'em ... no ands, ifs or buts about it!
Last week both Missouri and Michigan State exited the ranks of the unbeaten as both were steamrolled by twin-figure margins and now who's gonna survive this Saturday's epic TCU at Utah battle plus you can wonder aloud if this is the weekend that defending champion Alabama officially becomes "yesterday's news" as a loss at LSU would indeed kayo the 7-1 Crimson Tide from this season's national title hunt.
Safe to say that there's a whole lot on the line this weekend in a bunch of College Football venues but know that BCS #1 Oregon (a 35-point betting favorite against the Jake Locker-less Washington Huskies) and #2 Auburn (a gazillion-point home favorite against Tennessee-Chattanooga) should be safe in their respective upcoming tilts and ditto for Boise State (a three-TD fav against Hawaii) although the Broncos might have to stay on their toes all game long here as the team from the 50th state has been rock-solid this year.
We'll have our College Football Saturday Six-Pack in the next Jim Sez - yes, must-read stuff for the hard-core fan - but here in our Mid-Week Update we'll delve into quickie previews of the Wednesday-Thursday-Friday TV games plus we'll get you the latest Heisman Trophy Report and there's some NFL chit-chat too with coaching rumors running wild in the football-crazed cities of Denver and Dallas. First, it's this important message:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you the NFL, and College Football action 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 has started, and you can get the entire NBA & NCAA basketball seasons at an early bird price right now. Click here to start winning in hoops.
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THE THURSDAY-FRIDAY GAME PREVIEWS
On Thursday, it's...GEORGIA TECH (5-3, 3-2 ACC) at #22 VIRGINIA TECH (6-2, 4-0 ACC) - 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
Don't look now but that Virginia Tech squad that appeared both dead and buried following an 0-2 SU (straightup) start could well wind up in a BCS bowl game come January. It's true as head coach Frank Beamer's club has put the pedal to the floor ever since that season-opening 33-30 loss to Boise State and than the ensuing 21-16 loss to 31-point underdog James Madison on Sept. 11th and now here's the Hokies sporting an undefeated record in Atlantic Coast Conference play and dreaming about a date in the Orange Bowl - not bad for a team that looked as if it folded its tent a week after Labor Day!
Virginia Tech roars into this prime-time game having scored 40-or-more points five times in its last six games and QB Tyrod Taylor has been merely terrific with 1,602 yards passing to go along with 15 TDs and 3 INTs - if Taylor and WR Jarrett Boykin (31 receptions and a nifty 16.7 ypc average) can hook up for a couple of long balls early here than the rushing lanes will really open up for RB Ryan Williams who missed four games this year with hamstring problems. Last year Williams rushed the ball 14 times for 100 yards and one TD in a 28-23 loss at Georgia Tech and so Beamer's boys have revenge plus its healthiest roster of the year.
Spread Notes - Georgia Tech's covered 14 of its 22 ACC games since the start of the Paul Johnson Era in 2008 and the Yellow Jackets are 7-3 spreadwise as underdogs during this same exact time span. On the flip side, Virginia Tech has covered its last six consecutive games and the Hokies sport a sizzling 8-3 ATS mark at home since the start of last season.
On Friday, it's...CENTRAL FLORIDA (6-2, 4-0 Conference USA) at HOUSTON (5-3, 4-1 Conference USA) - 8 p.m. ET, espn2
Just how good have the Central Florida Knights been ever since losing 28-21 against N.C. State way back on Sept. 11th? Well, the gang from sunny Orlando has won five of its last six games and fared pretty well spreadwise too in the process (see Spread Notes below) and most of it has been done with iron-clad defense: In fact, UCF ranks ninth nationally in total defense (13th against the rush and 15th against the pass) and keep in mind here that Houston's playing a third-stringer following the earlier-season-ending injuries to Case Keenum and Cotton Turner.
Let's see if QB David Piland (1,108 yards passing with 11 TDs and 3 INTs) can confound George O'Leary's stop unit here one week after the Cougars' freshman signal-caller aired five TDs in a 56-17 win against Memphis. P.S., keep an eye peeled here on Central Florida's SS Reggie Weams who has registered three of UCF's seven interceptions this year.
Spread Notes - Central Florida zooms into this C-USA clash riding a six-game spread winning streak and did you realize that the Knights are a collective 16-4 versus the vig since the start of last season? Meanwhile, Houston is an electric 10-3-1 against the odds at home the past two-plus seasons and that includes early-season covers against Texas Stat and UTEP. The Coogs also have covered six of their last eight games when placed in the underdog role dating back to the start of the2008 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).
#1 - CAM NEWTON, QB, AUBURN: Here's what we can offer up that's "new" regarding College Football's unabashed front-runner for this prestigious award ... even though the second-place guy had a breakout game a week ago, Newton still pulled further away as the leader of the pack. The 6-foot-6 junior threw for 209 yards and two TDs - plus he caught a ball deep in the corner of the end zone - in the 51-31 route at Ole Miss and the up-to-the-minute stats now include 1,573 yards passing with 15 TDs and 5 INTs along with 1,122 yards rushing with 14 scores. Newton has been a highlight reel guy each/every week and probably the only thing that could derail his campaign would be a rotten showing in the Nov. 26th Iron Bowl against Alabama. Otherwise, Newton should check to see if he's landing at either JFK or LaGuardia a couple of days before the Heisman Trophy presentation with an acceptance speech tucked away in his shirt pocket!
#2 - LaMICHAEL JAMES, RB, OREGON: How's this for a possible scenario ... Newton beats out James for the Heisman Trophy and then James' club gets a shot at Auburn in the BCS Championship Game. Folks, now that would be great theatre! Last week's 36-carry, 239-yard, 3-TD game by James in the 53-32 romp over host USC firmly put this 5-foot-9 sophomore in position for the "silver medal" in this Heisman chase and he's put a major gap between him and the trailers here. If James (1,210 yards rushing with a 7.1 ypc average and 14 TDs) puts up a couple of 250-to-300-yard rushing games between now and early December, he could make it a real ultra-tight race.
#3 - KELLEN MOORE, QB, BOISE STATE: We know, we know ... There are plenty of quarterbacks who have been stat-sheet stuffers this year but the likes of Stanford's Andrew Luck, Michigan's Denard Robinson, Oklahoma's Landry Jones and Nebraska's Taylor Martinez simply don't measure up all around to what this classy lefthander has done so far in 2010. Not only are his 7-and-oh B-State Broncos winning their games by a per-game margin of 34.3 points but Moore has been painfully efficient with 1,865 yards passing and 18 TDs with only 2 INTs. Do you realize that since the start of the 2009 season, Mr. Moore has produced 57 TDs and 5 INTs - now that deserves a wow and at least an engraved invitation to the ceremony in NYC!
#4 - KENDALL HUNTER, RB, OKLAHOMA STATE: Count us among the folks surprised not to see this star running back on more Heisman lists out there and last week's 28-carry, 143-yard effort in a 24-14 win at Kansas State hardly damaged his already nifty credentials. In fact, Hunter - a senior - now has rushed for 1,174 yards (a 6.2 ypc average) this season with 12 TDs and he could be a real late-bloomer in this race providing he's pouring on the stats in games this month at Texas (Nov. 13th) and then home to Oklahoma (Nov. 27th).
#5 - ROBERT GRIFFIN, QB, BAYLOR: Okay, so we've kept our Top 5 exactly the same as last week's edition and how could you chase this soph star from the group after he engineered a stirring 30-22 win at 7 ½-point favorite Texas? The Bears are 7-2 SU this year and potentially looking at a January bowl game - they haven't gone bowling at all since 1994! - and most of the credit goes to Griffin who enters this weekend's game at Oklahoma State with 2,592 yards passing and 401 yards rushing with a combined 27 TDs.
NFL NEWS & NOTES: PLANNING A NEW FUTURE IN DENVER & DALLAS
News flash (well, hardly):
The Dallas Cowboys are gonna have a new head coach in 2011 - and so too are the Denver Broncos.
And the bottom line is there's a good chance these two proud-but-down NFL franchises could be chasing after a couple of the same gentlemen to lead them out of troubled waters.
The Cowboys - in case you need a refresher - have won a single/solitary playoff game in the past 15 years (see that 34-14 NFC Divisional Playoff Round win against Philadelphia last year) and this season's crash-and-burn job will get Wade Phillips axed and - no - offensive coordinator Jason Garrett won't be the first guy on owner Jerry Jones' list.
Instead, word is going 'round that Jones and maverick Broncos owner Pat Bowlen both could be seeking to get their hands on Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh who is bound for an NFL job either in 2011 or 2012.
One other candidate that will be high on both the Cowboys and Broncos list is one that always makes the late-year rounds... and maybe this will be the year that Oklahoma's Bob Stoops makes the leap to the NFL.Stay tuned.
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