Heisman Watch & Thursday/Friday College Previews

IT'S THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL MID-WEEK REPORT

WE'VE GOT THE LATEST HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH (WITH STANFORD QB LUCK STILL IN THE LEAD)
PLUS THURSDAY & FRIDAY NITE TV PREVIEWS AND MORE LSU AT'BAMA BANTER

By Jim Hurley:

Let's take a moment and get some real perspective on this Saturday's #1 LSU at #2 Alabama tilt from Tuscaloosa:

Since the arrival of head coach Les Miles prior to the 2005 season, the LSU Tigers have won 70 games, gone 5-1 SU (straight-up) in post-season bowl games and have copped one BCS National Championship (see 2007 season).

On the flip side, since the arrival of head coach Nick Saban prior to that '07 season, the Alabama Crimson Tide has won 51 games, nabbed 3-of-4 post-season bowl wins and nabbed the 2009 BCS National Championship.

In other words, these programs don't know anything but true success since their current sideline generals came on board but yet somebody's gotta lose their first game of this 2011 season and conventional wisdom says the following:

The team that commits fewer turnovers (of course) and makes more good things happen in the red zone probably wins when 5-point LSU ventures into'Bama but here's a couple of X-factors to munch on:

Alabama has not played a close game this year - Saban's crew has won its eight tilts by a per-game average of 32.5 points - and so what happens here should the Crimson Tide find itself in a major free-for-all late in this game. Will they react like a champion or will they feel the heat?

Meanwhile, LSU really has played only one top-flight defensive team this year - the Tigers bested Miss State 19-6 in a field-goal fest back on Sept. 15th - and so will QBs Jarrett Lee and/or Jordan Jefferson get flustered here with a couple of back-to-back three-and-outs?

We'll cover this game from front-to-back in our next edition of Jim Sez but first let's feed you one more goodie on LSU-Alabama as we bring you the following: Here's the year-by-year results between LSU versus Alabama since the arrival of Bengals boss-man Miles (and note home teams are in CAPS):

YEAR FAV SPREAD DOG RESULT
2005 Lsu - 3 ALABAMA Lsu 16-13
2006 LSU - 17.5 Alabama LSU 28-14
2007 Lsu - 7 ALABAMA Lsu 41-34
2008 Alabama - 3.5 LSU Alabama 27-21
2009 ALABAMA - 7.5 Lsu ALABAMA 24-15
2010 Alabama - 6.5 LSU LSU 24-21

Strange but true, Favorites vs. Underdogs here are a dead-even 2-2-2 ATS (against the spread) in the six head-to-head meetings between LSU and Alabama since Miles took over the Tigers' command ... hmmm.

 

THE WEEKLY HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH
Now, here's our Top 5 Heisman Trophy candidates in all as we roll into play this coming weekend:

1 - ANDREW LUCK, QB, STANFORD - Now for the sixth time in as many weeks this Palo Alto gunslinger tops the Heisman Trophy list after rallying the Cardinal to a thrilling 56-48 triple-OT win at USC. Luck's slowish start was a concern in that clash but he answered the bell with 330 yards passing and 3 aerial scores to go along with a TD run. On the year, the sure-fire #1 pick in next year's NFL Draft has 2,218 yards passing with 23 TDs and 4 INTs for 8-and-oh Stanford. Next Up: At Oregon State.

2 - TRENT RICHARDSON, RB, ALABAMA - The superstar back of the Crimson Tide stays put at #2 after Alabama had a bye last week in preparation for this epic clash with LSU. Overall, Richardson has rushed for 989 yards (a gaudy 6.6 yards-per-carry average) with 17 TDs and don't forget the junior has 18 receptions and he's averaging an eye-popping 26.5 yards a catch. Next Up: You gotta ask ... it's LSU!

3 - KELLEN MOORE, QB, BOISE STATE - Simply put, if this classy lefty isn't somewhere in everyone's Heisman Trophy Top 5, than they better get a clue! The fact of the matter is Moore is posting his usual stupendous stats with 2,010 yards passing and 24 TDs with only 5 INTs as he continues to be the face of this 7-0 squad. Boise State had a bye last weekend but the Broncos will be playing five games these next five weeks and Moore could creep a little higher in the Heisman race should Luck and/or Richardson suffer a loss. Next Up: At weakling UNLV.

4 - CASE KEENUM, QB, HOUSTON - Guess when you throw nine TDs in a single game you know there's a place for you in the Heisman Trophy Watch List! Keenum zipped city rival Rice with those nine scoring strikes and 534 yards passing in last Thursday's 73-34 win and so get a load of the up-to-date numbers for the now sixth-year slinger: Keenum's thrown for 3,219 yards with 32 TDs and 3 INTs for a Houston Cougars club that keeps climbing in the BCS Standings. Next Up: At UAB.

5 -- -LANDRY JONES, QB, OKLAHOMA - It's a fierce multi-player battle for our fifth spot this week but let's give it to the Sooners' slinger who threw for a school-record 505 yards and 5 TDs in last week's 58-17 beat-down win against host Kansas State. For the 2011 season, Jones now has thrown for 3,094 yards with 26 TDs and 9 TDs. Next Up: Home to the Texas A&M Aggies.

Extra, extra: Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will continue to win big-time all week and weekend long as we bolt into November with out TNT Program with lots of great College Football action plus there's lots of winning straight ahead with NFL Week #9 action. Go ahead and make sure you're all aboard for all the action right through Super Bowl XLVI on February 5th. Just remember to call our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here for the NFL, NCAA Football and upcoming NCAA Basketball winners!

THE THURSDAY NITE TV PREVIEW

FLORIDA STATE (5-3, 3-2 ACC) at BOSTON COLLEGE (2-6, 1-4 ACC) - 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Here's the best thing you can say about this year's Florida State Seminoles - a team that was ranked #6 in the Preseason Associated Press Top 25 -- they haven't give up on their season.

Sure, Jimbo Fisher's crew suffered through back-to-back-to-back losses earlier this year in games against Oklahoma, Clemson and Wake Forest but the'Noles shook off their 2-3 SU (straight-up) start and have won/covered three in a row including back-to-back identical 41-16 wins at Duke and versus Maryland, respectively.

Note that Florida State sports the nation's 12th-best scoring defense (allowing 16.9 points per game) and quarterback EJ Manuel has returned from injury to post some solid numbers (see 1,776 yards passing, a 66 percent completion rate with 13 TDs and 8 INTs) and here the versatile slinger will try to dent a Boston College defense that's allowed 25.1 points per game and needs RB Rolandan Finch (averaging 5.2 yards a pop on 98 carries) to chew yards/clock here one week after he scooted free for 243 yards on 39 carries in last weekend's 28-17 upset win at 7-point fav Maryland.

Tell us right now that Finch gets 30-or-more touches here and the 15-point home underdogs could be hanging around at closing time.

Spread Notes - Florida State rolls into this prime-time game in Chestnut Hill on a three-game pointspread winning streak and the Seminoles have covered four-of-five games this year when laying twin-figure prices. On the flip side, Boston College has covered its last three consecutive showdowns against Florida State including last year's 24-10 loss-but-cover as 21 ½-point road dogs. The Eagles are 3-5 ATS overall this year and just 15-17-1 vig-wise in the Frank Spaziani Era.

THE FRIDAY NITE TV PREVIEW

USC (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) at COLORADO (1-8, 0-5 Pac-12) - 9 p.m. ET, espn2
The $64,000 question here is what's in the emotional tank for the USC Trojans just six days after leaving it all on the field in that 56-48 loss to Stanford?

Lane Kiffin's club isn't lacking for firepower with QB Matt Barkley (2,290 yards passing and 22 TDs this year) pulling the trigger for an offense that's averaged 39.3 points in its last four outings and now WR Robert Woods (81 catches and 9 TDs) is chomping at the bit to go against a sad-sack Colorado defense that's allowed 48, 45, 52 and 48 points in its last four games.

Spread Notes - USC enters this prime-time battle at 4-3-1 ATS this season and the Trojans have covered seven of their last 11 away games while dating back to late in the 2009 season. Meanwhile, Colorado is a rotten 2-7 versus the vig this season and that includes a current six-game spread losing skid. Note that the CU Buffaloes are 4-12 ATS as underdogs since the start of last season.

NOTE: Get all the key Saturday College Football Previews in the next edition of Jim Sez.

24
Sep

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