Saturday's Key College Previews

Hurley's Two For The Money Kicks Off With Two Big Wins!
Thursday: Cincinnati (-7.5) over NC State 44-14 WON!
Friday: BYU (-2) over UCF 24-17 WON!

SATURDAY'S KEY COLLEGE PREVIEWS

By Jim Hurley:

Giddyup!

It's another great Saturday of College Football action and - really - it's the last weekend before we go full-steam ahead into the slew of Conference Games that will dominate the remaining weeks of this here-and-now 2011 season.

Want to keep track of what #1 Oklahoma, #2 LSU and #3 Alabama are up to this weekend?

You came to the right place 'cause today's edition of Jim Sez previews what's on tap for all three powerhouse teams plus don't forget there's a highly-underrated and highly-unpublicized Top 10 showdown comin' from College Station way.

P.S., not every game figures to be a 30-point blowout, you know (see last night's never-in-doubt 44-14 win by 7-point Cincinnati over hapless N.C. State - a WINNER that started out our TWO FOR THE MONEY 2-week special. This program is full of big game plays for the next two weekends so get aboard today, and click here.

This will be a super Saturday for show and now hear this:

Now hear this ...Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will win big-time this College Football weekend with a full slate of College Football Games on Saturday plus there's NFL Week #3 action too along with the final regular-season weekend of Major-League Baseball and so please make sure you're all aboard for all the action right through Super Bowl XLVI on February 5th. Hey, it's gonna be a great ride! Just remember to call our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else go online right here for the NFL, NCAA Football and MLB winners!

Now, let's check out Saturday's top NCAA Football games with Spread Notes included in the mix ...

#2 LSU (3-0) at #16 WEST VIRGINIA (3-0) - 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Let's cut right to the proverbial chase here: Just how can 5 ½-point home underdog West Virginia "steal" this marquee matchup game under the lights in rambunctious Morgantown?

For starters, WVU must get a "short field" or two here and so winning specials teams is critical because moving the ball on this LSU defense is a real pain - the Tigers gave up 27 points in a season-opening 13-point upset win against Oregon although there was a garbage-time touchdown there and than 3- and 6-point yields followed in wins against Northwestern State and Miss State.

In short, LSU's defensive line is the best in the biz right now and that secondary starring S Brandon Taylor ain't too bad either!

True, the Mountaineers - fresh off last Saturday's hang-on-for-dear-life 37-31 win at Maryland (a pick 'em game) - sport a red-hot quarterback in Geno Smith who ranks fourth in the FBS with 1,008 passing yards to go along with 7 TDs and the Big East bunch has won 16 of its last 17 home games but how about the factoid that LSU's defense holds its opponents this year to either no gain or a loss on 46 percent of the snaps ... yowie!

Every week so far this season the College Football world has offered up a sensational showdown of highly ranked teams - from Oregon-LSU, to Alabama-Penn State to last week's Oklahoma-Florida State affair -- but now here's a cream-of-the-crop team laying road juice and looking to win the speed game against a very speedy team that likes to get off lots of snaps, thanks to new head coach Dan Holgorsen and his high-octane offense.

First team to 30 points wins? Not likely. The team that keeps the other guy from getting 20 points probably takes this tilt.

Spread Notes - LSU's covered two of its first three games this season but did you know the Bayou Bengals are just 10-17-1 against the Las Vegas prices when placed in the favorite's role since the start of 2008? West Virginia has split its first two spread verdicts this year - remember the 34-13 win against Marshall back on Sept. 4th was a "no play" having been halted with 14:36 remaining in the fourth quarter - and the Mountaineers are 9-3 ATS (against the spread) as point-grabbers the past six-plus seasons. Last year WVU covered the 9 ½-point price in a 20-14 loss at LSU.
 

#7 OKLAHOMA STATE (3-0) at #8 TEXAS A&M (2-0) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/espn2
Can we put all this talk about Texas A&M heading to the SEC - and all the other realignment chatter that's really/truly taking away from the start of a very interesting College Football season - to rest here and just examine what's on deck for this Big 12 clash?

The visiting Okie State Cowboys presumably got plenty of sleep after finishing up its 59-33 win/cover at Tulsa last weekend at 3:35 a.m. ET following a three-plus hour weather delay - and now QB Brandon Weeden (1,154 yards passing with 8 TDs but 6 INTs) will look to confound an A&M defense that's allowed just 21 total points this year.

The Weeden-to-WR Justin Blackmon (27 catches and 3 TDs) combo will get plenty of attention here but count us among the folks who believe Okie State's other receivers must stretch the field here while Texas A&M would love to get a 50-50 run-pass balance here with RB Cyrus Gray looking to go over 100 yards rushing for a tenth consecutive game.

Hey, if Texas A&M slinger Ryan Tannehill (a 72.3 percent passer with 4 TDs and 1 INT) can make some plays with his legs too than the 4-point favored Aggies could dance up a couple of places in the polls. Did you realize that Texas A&M's had just one three-and-out on offense this year?

Spread Notes - Oklahoma State's covered two of its first three games this season and the Cowboys are a collective 12-4 versus the vig since the start of last year. On the flip side, Texas A&M is 18-20-1 spreadwise in the Mike Sherman Era that began back in 2008 and note the Aggies are 0-3-1 ATS in their last four head-to-head showdowns against Okie State.


#14 ARKANSAS (3-0) at #3 ALABAMA (3-0) - 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
The SEC opener for both teams has a strange recent history: Okay, so 'Bama has won the last four head-to-head showdowns SU (straight-up) but two of the games have been blowouts (by 28 and 35 points) and the other two have been tight fits (by 4 and 3 points) and so the inevitable question here is how close will this encounter be in always-noisy Tuscaloosa?

Maybe that's not so easy to answer but consider that Alabama - an 11-point betting favorite at press time - has surrendered 18 points in all while besting Kent State, Penn State and North Texas and now looks to put the hammer lock on Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson who threw for 303 yards in last weekend's 38-28 non-cover win against Troy but still infuriated head coach Bobby Petrino by making some bad red-zone throws - if the Razorbacks don't get at least three TDs when getting into 'Bama territory here they can forget about the outright win while the home folks won't be subtle:

The pass rush pressure will be intense and the Alabama backfield tandem of RB Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy (328 rushing yards combined in the 41-0 non-cover win against 46 ½-point pup North Texas last weekend) will get 35-to-40 rushes between 'em and the Tide will be asking flat-out ... can you guys stop it or not?

Spread Notes - Alabama enters this conference tilt at just 17-16-1 ATS in SEC affairs during the Nick Saban Era that began back in 2007 but note the Crimson Tide's a nifty 24-14 spreadwise as favorites the past three years including 2011 covers thus far against 39-point dog Kent State and 10-point home pup Penn State. Meanwhile, Arkansas has notched spread wins in two of its first three games this year (covers against Missouri State and New Mexico) and note the Hogs have covered 12 of their last 16 games played against SEC competition dating back to the start of 2009.
 

MISSOURI (2-1) at #1 OKLAHOMA (2-0) - 8 p.m. ET, FX
No doubt there are some wishful-thinking folks who believe that the Oklahoma Sooners might have an emotional letdown here following on the heels of last Saturday night's key 23-13 win/cover at 3 ½-point underdog Florida State.

Here's what we have to say about that ... no chance!

The Boomer Sooners - a full three-TD betting favorite for this Big 12 affair from Norman - have the "R" word going here and that's revenge after last year's humbling 36-27 loss at Missouri.

Expect Sooners' boss-man Bob Stoops - now armed with a contract extension that takes him into 2018 (and maybe beyond!) - to have his club operating a hurry-up offense that will apply major heat on a Mizzou defense that surrendered 37 points (in OT against Arizona State) to its only real "name" opponent this year.

Some numbers for you: Quarterback Landry Jones has completed 53-of-74 aerials for 574 yards with 2 TDs and no question that WR Kenny Stills (see 37-yard game-winning touchdown grab in Tallahassee last weekend) has become a superb "second target" behind All-America Ryan Broyles (21 catches already this year).

Take note that Stoops suspended WR Trey Franks (violation of team rules) earlier this week and that presumably means more passes to Broyles and Stills.

Spread Notes - Oklahoma has notched back-to-back pointspread wins to start off the current campaign and the Sooners are a rock-solid 16-9-1 against the odds in Big 12 games the past three-plus seasons. Meanwhile, Missouri enters this prime-time road tilt at 2-1 ATS this season and the Tigers have split their last 10 away verdicts including the 37-30 loss-but-cover at 10-point favorite Arizona back on Sept. 9th.

 

GET 'EM WHILE THEY'RE HOT!!! THE NFL WEEK #3 KEY SUNDAY AFTERNOON GAME PREVIEWS ARE HERE

By Jim Hurley:

We know that you've noticed:

In all, there are eight divisional battles on this NFL Week #3 schedule- many of 'em being true blood-and-guts rivalries that date back (seemingly) hundreds of years- and so it really feels like the "good ole days".

Hey, all you need to say is Packers-Bears, Giants-Eagles, Jets-Raiders and you get the idea- how 'bout closing your eyes for a moment and just focusing on the music the NFL Films guys used to play in the background?

You know what we're talking about.  

Still, as we head into NFL Week #3 play, there remain a couple of important questions:

First off, will we continue to see loads of scoring?

Remember we told you in a recent Jim Sez column that NFL games are averaging 47 points a game through the first two weeks of action and check it out: 

This NFL Week #3 card has just three games with an over/under price of more than 47 points- see New England at Buffalo (54 points and up from an opening line of 50 ½), Houston at New Orleans (53 points and up slightly from an opening price tag of 52 ½) and the New York Giants at Philadelphia although this one is in a "circle" in many locals (48 points right now).

Now remember that scoring's been upped to a large degree because of kick and punt returns for touchdowns- who can forget San Francisco's Ted Ginn Jr. scoring via each route in his team's Week #1 win/cover against Seattle?- and so there figures to be better tackling and overall better organization on kick/punt coverages the deeper we get into this current campaign. Still, we'll see if that holds true here in Week #3.

One other question pertaining to NFL scoring at this current pace: The weather's bound to go bad in some locales this weekend:

Keep in mind it's been just about picture-perfect weather out there plus- and betcha didn't know this factoid- we've already had eight NFL games (out of 32 games or one-quarter of 'em in all) played in domed stadia and there will be four more games played in domes here on the final Sunday in September (see New Orleans, Minnesota, St. Louis and Indianapolis) but don't be shocked if there's some foul weather in places such as Buffalo, Philadelphia and/or Chicago.   

Now, here's a look at some of the top NFL Week #3 Sunday afternoon showdowns ...

GREEN BAY (2-0) at CHICAGO (1-1)- 4:15 p.m. ET, Fox
Remember the date? It was January 23rd of this year when the Green Bay Packers extinguished the Super Bowl dreams of the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field with a 21-14 hang-on-for-dear-life victory and now the Pack's back in the Second City and they want to deliver an encore blow- hey, Chicago's tattered O-line took a couple more hits this week with the announcement that rookie RT Gabe Carimi (right knee sprain) is expected to be sidelined for several weeks and already this blocking wall- and QB Jay Cutler -- has been walloped to the tune of 11 sacks in season-opening games against Atlanta/New Orleans. P.S., keep in mind last year the Bears surrendered a league-worst 56 quarterback sacks.

Cutler was sacked six times in last Sunday's 30-13 loss at 4-point fav New Orleans and so either more shotgun calls here or a ground-first mentality must rule ... hey, it was odd seeing the always-boastful Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz take a few hits this week as he claimed he "had a bad day" in terms of play-calling in the game at the Superdome.

Quickie stat fact on the Packers here: Their vaunted defense allowed 419 aerial yards to New Orleans QB Drew Brees in the opener and 432 passing yards to Carolina's rookie QB Cam Newton in last week's 30-23 non-cover win ... just sayin'!

Spread Notes- Green Bay has notched pointspread wins in 12 of its last 16 overall games dating back to the middle of last year and that features a four-game spread winning streak in the glorious post-season away run at Philadelphia, at Atlanta and at Chicago along with the Super Bowl win/cover versus Pittsburgh. Note that the Packers are 20-11 ATS (against the spread) in all divisional games during the five-plus year reign of head coach Mike McCarthy. Meanwhile, Chicago is a tasty 8-4 ATS in the underdog role dating back to the start of last season and that includes the 20-17 outright upset at 3-point Green Bay early in 2010 and, of course, the aforementioned 21-14 loss as 3 ½-point home underdogs in last year's NFC Championship Game.


NEW YORK GIANTS (1-1) at PHILADELPHIA (1-1)- 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Okay, so we get it, we get it! The Eagles have made it clear that concussed QB Michael Vick (429 yards passing and 122 yards rushing so far this 2011 season) will indeed play here after getting kayoed late in the third quarter last Sunday Night in that rollicking 35-31 loss in Atlanta but now the $64,000 question is do the Giants have the bodies to slow him down ... or is this gonna be Philly's seventh straight win in this series?

No doubt the Las Vegas pointspread this week has shown the volatility of this Vick injury- in many venues the game has gone from 7 ½-to-9 or even 9 ½ points with the Birds the heavy-duty chalk-eaters and so that's why it's only been a little laughable that Giants S Antrel Rolle (among others) has had so much to say- why weren't they chirping last December after surrendering 28 points in the game's final 7:28 en route to a devastating 38-31 home loss to Philadelphia?

Paging Philly's DeSean Jackson and his 65-yard punt bring-back of a Matt Dodge boot for the game-winning score with no time left. Let's just say that if new Giants P Steve Weatherford punts it in Jackson's general direction in this particular tilt it could have G-men head coach Tom Coughlin popping his lid!

Spread Notes- Believe it or not, Philadelphia is just 16-17 ATS at home dating back to the start of the 2007 season but take note that the Eagles have covered the last six consecutive games against the Giants including the 23-11 win as 4-point road dogs in the 2008 NFC Divisional Playoff round. On the flip side, the Giants have failed to cover eight of their last 11 games dating back to last season and NYG's a crummy 3-6 spreadwise in divisional play dating back to late 2009.


NEW ENGLAND (2-0) at BUFFALO (2-0)- 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Maybe Buffalo Bills WR Stevie Johnson said it best when he hinted his club won't be able to change anyone's mentality "until we beat these guys".

After all the Patriots have made it into the post-season in seven of the past eight years while the Bills have gone a whopping 11 straight seasons without a playoff berth- and now chuck into the mix the fact New England's won the last 15 in a row SU (straight-up) versus Buffalo- and so there's some major ingredients poured into the pot here and we're haven't yet uttered a word about Pats mega-star QB Tom Brady (see 940 yards passing with 7 TDs and 1 INT through in season-opening wins against Miami and San Diego).

Simply stated, Brady- who sports a 17-1 career mark against the Bills- is really in rhythm these days and that really holds true with his tight end tandem of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez but note the latter has a knee injury that may KO him here and so this could be a two-Gronkowski tilt (see back-up TE Dan) and keep a close eye on whether Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (also 7 TDs and 1 INT thus far this season) can get his active TE Scott Chandler into the mix here. Chandler's already nabbed three scoring strikes but may get the "shadow" treatment when/if the Bills get into the red zone here.

Spread Notes- New England has notched pointspread wins in 13 of its last 18 head-to-head showdowns with Buffalo and that includes last year's spread split (a 38-30 non-cover home win by the 14 ½-point favored Patriots and later a 34-3 Pats' win/cover as 7 ½-point road favorites). The Bills are a rotten 6-12 ATS in AFC East games dating back to the start of the 2008 season and note Buffalo's an ugly 1-8 vig-wise in divisional home games during this time span although note that includes a 2008 "home" game played in Toronto versus Miami as was an '09 tilt against the New York Jets.

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be winning big-time with NFL Week #3 action along with the final regular-season weekend of Major-League Baseball and so please make sure you're all aboard for all the action right through Super Bowl XLVI on February 5th. Hey, it's gonna be a great ride! Just remember to call our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else go online right here for the NFL, NCAA Football and MLB winners!

     NOTE: Get the NFL Week #3 Sunday Night Football Game Preview- that's Pittsburgh at Indianapolis- plus lots more in Sunday's edition of Jim Sez.
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