College Football and Week 2 NFL Rundown
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IT’S OUR NCAA FOOTBALL AND NFL WEEK 2 RUNDOWN
WE GET YOU GAME PREVIEWS/ANALYSES/(SOME) SELECTIONS ON THE KEY SATURDAY/SUNDAY GRIDIRON CLASHES
By Jim Hurley
Okay, so if you were strapped into a seat and could only watch one NCAA Football and one NFL Week 2 game this coming weekend, then odds are the #1 Alabama at #6 Texas A&M tilt on Saturday afternoon and the Sunday Night bash between San Francisco at Seattle would probably get your vote … right?
Well, fortunately there’s a whole lot of great football action you can be viewing this coming weekend and with that in mind in this Jim Sez column space we’re offering up our analyses/insights into a handful of key NCAA Football tilts plus a trio of games from Sunday’s NFL menu and so here goes with the college kids up first.
#1 ALABAMA (1-0) at #6 TEXAS A&M (2-0) – 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Here’s the reality of this much-hyped game in College Station:
A loss for either one of these squads doesn’t necessarily sink their season in terms of aspiring to play in this year’s BCS Championship Game … but if you look at the respective schedules you surely could make the case there is no other “tough” game for the Crimson Tide until it gets to the SEC Championship Game in December.
Still, ‘Bama knows things could have turned out much differently last year after losing 29-24 as two-TD home favorites against QB Johnny Manziel and the Aggies – a game in which “Johnny Football” threw for 253 yards and ran for another 92 yards and ‘Bama trailed 20-0 before Nick Saban’s crew even knew what hit ‘em.
So, with that little history lesson in mind, betting Alabama in the first half minus 4 or 5 points is probably a sound play here and keep in mind we’ll have either/both the Side & Totals play on this monster marquee matchup when you check in with us at 1-800-323-4453 or via this online site of www.jimhurley.com.
TENNESSEE (2-0) at #2 OREGON (2-0) – 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN
Did someone want to know if the here-and-now Oregon Ducks miss former head coach Chip Kelly?
Well, it’s Kelly’s fast-paced offense that this Pac-12 team continues to operate in the great northwest, but be sure that Oregon hasn’t missed a proverbial beat under rookie boss Mark Helfrich with 66-3 and 59-10 wins against Nicholls State and Virginia, respectively, right out of the starting gate, and if you didn’t have QB Marcus Mariota on your Heisman Trophy list then you better add ‘em right now!
Mariota already has accounted for 433 yards passing and 235 yards rushing with six total TDs through these first two games, and we're not sure that even the new-and-improved Tennessee Vols can keep him in check here – even while grabbing hold of a four-TD price from the good folks in Las Vegas!
Note that Oregon is a collective 13-7-2 ATS (against the spread) whenever laying twin-figure prices while dating back to late in the 2010 season – that’s a swift .650 winning rate – and did you realize the Ducks actually have held 10 of their last 13 foes to 21 points or less? You can look it up, Jack!
#16 UCLA (1-0) at #23 NEBRASKA (2-0) – 12 p.m. ET, ABC
Here’s the only other game besides Alabama vs. Texas A&M that pits nationally-ranked teams against one another and the question we have is this:
Are the UCLA Bruins a “sleeping giant” type as we roll our way into the early stages of this 2013 season?
No doubt Jim L. Mora’s club is well-rested following its 58-20 win against Nevada two weekends ago when QB Brett Hundley threw for two TDs and rushed for another pair of scores but there remains a question here regarding the overall focus of the Pac-12 team after the tragic auto accident death of walk-on WR Nick Pasquale last Sunday. Mora has not allowed any of his players to talk with the media as the Bruins continue to grieve and not till Saturday will we know if UCLA’s hearts-and-minds are in this game or not.
Note: The ‘Huskers, meanwhile, have been playing up the revenge angle after UCLA scored a 36-30 win last year in Pasadena.
#20 WISCONSIN (2-0) at ARIZONA STATE (1-0) – 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
We’re looking at snatching up the 5 ½ points here with the Big 10’s Wisky Badgers …. and we’ll tell you why:
First-year head coach Gary Andersen’s squad really kept its collective focus throughout earlier-season shutout wins against UMass and Tennessee Tech and the depth this Badgers’ bunch has exhibited is key when A-State starts tuning things up with a higher-paced offense.
If Wisconsin’s ground game – currently ranked #3 in the land while averaging 390 rushing yards a game – can keep hold of the ball for close to 40 minutes here then there won’t be so many opportunities for Sun Devils’ slinger Taylor Kelly, who fired five TD passes in last week’s 52-0 win against Sacramento State.
Gotta say the points look inviting in a 27-24 type final … one way or the other!
#25 OLE MISS (2-0) at TEXAS (1-1) – 8 p.m. ET, Longhorn Network
Hmm, wonder who the Texas “scapegoat” will be here if/when the Longhorns fall to the 3 ½-point underdog Ole Miss Rebels!
Following last Saturday’s weather-interrupted 40-21 loss at BYU the firing of Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was announced – he’s been replaced by oft-recycled DC Greg Robinson – and you do have to wonder how an in-season change such as this will filter down and keep in mind Ole Miss runs a really fast-paced offense with lots of speed-burners at the ready.
It could be that Rebels WRs Evan Engram (the freshman has 7 catches for 131 yards) and veteran Dante Moncrief (7 catches for 130 yards) will burn a secondary that really hasn’t been very good for the past few years … stay tuned.
And don’t be shy about gobbling up the points as this Ole Miss team could be head for a double-digit win season.
And now hear this …
My handicappers/bloggers will continue to pound Las Vegas with our NFL Week 2 Sides & Totals plays beginning with tonight’s New York Jets at New England Patriots matchup on the NFL Network – plus make sure you’re all aboard for all the NFL and NCAA Football action when you check with the Jim Hurley Network right here online at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 1 p.m. ET on week days and any time after 10 a.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday.
Remember there’s a monster weekend on tap when it comes to College Football – it’s not all just Alabama at Texas A&M, you know! – as we’re dissecting a slew of other big showdowns and so get it started with the college kids tonight with the Three (3) on-the-board games including #24 TCU at Texas Tech and tomorrow night’s ESPN game between Air Force at Boise State!
Plus get all our down-the-stretch Major-League Baseball winners too!
NFL WEEK 2 – TOP SUNDAY SHOWDOWNS
SAN FRANCISCO (1-0) at SEATTLE -- 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Is the NFC West – the once-upon-a-time laughingstock of this league – now the strongest division in all of pro football?
Sure seems that way as two top-notch and Super Bowl-legit squads from this division square off in the great northwest this Sunday night and our Network scouts are strong on the Niners plus the 3-point price.
No doubt Jim Harbaugh’s club has a long memory and last year’s 42-13 loss in Seattle on the next-to-last regular-season weekend still stings the defending NFC champs and gotta believe QB Colin Kaepernick – fresh off a brilliant 412-yard, 3-TD passing show in that 34-28 win/cover against Green Bay – will be aces here while getting downfield help from WR Anquan Boldin (an amazing 13 receptions for 208 yards last Sunday at Candlestick Park) and friends.
Hey, if Carolina RB DeAngelo Williams didn’t lose a fumble inside the Seahawks’ 10-yard line last weekend, then Seattle – a 12-7 winner against the Panthers – might right now be looking up at both San Fran and St. Louis as early-season division leaders.
Looks like a 27-21 type game here in the Niners’ favor – consider the team totals play too on San Francisco, okay?
WASHINGTON (0-1) at GREEN BAY (0-1) – 1 p.m. ET, Fox
There are not many NFL teams in history that find success while starting off the year at 0-2 SU (straight-up) and so – yeah – there’s a major sense of urgency here for both the TD-plus underdog Redskins and the equally desperate Packers but now hear this:
Washington is travelling off the short work week following Monday Night’s 33-27 loss to Philadelphia and there’s loads of rust on QB Robert Griffin III’s game even though he scraped some off en route to a 329-yard, two-TD performance against the Birds. Throw into the mix the fact that now Green Bay LB Clay Matthews has had his “manhood” questioned by a certain Harbaugh brother and you get the sense the Packers will be revved-up and quite angry for this important NFC tilt.
If Washington’s so-so secondary can’t keep up with WR Jordy Nelson here (see 7 catches for 130 yards and one score last week in SF), then it could be curtains early here for the ‘Skins.
Did anyone say something about Green Bay and the “over”?
DENVER (1-0) at NEW YORK GIANTS (0-1) – 4:25 p.m. ET
Everyone’s making a big deal out of the fact that this is Manning Bowl III – yes, Peyton’s won the first two over Eli but both of those wins came when big brother was in Indianapolis (see 2006 and 2010 seasons) – but the big deal here is can the Giants hang onto the football one week after committing an ungodly six turnovers in that 36-31 loss in Dallas?
Now that Giants RB David Wilson has tweeted his feelings out – he called NY Giants fans “irrelevant” – it’ll be interesting to see just how many touches G-men head coach Tom Coughlin/offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride gives Wilson here after he lost a pair of fumbles against the Cowboys with one of ‘em returned for a score.
Note the extra prep time here for the visiting Broncos who battered Baltimore 49-27 behind P. Manning’s seven touchdown passes but what was really intriguing there was the fact three pass-catchers – WRs Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and TE Julius Thomas – combined for 334 receiving yards and all six of the scores.
Hey, the totals price has gone up here from 52 ½ to 55 ½ and we say go “over” now before it climbs upwards even further … got it?
NOTE: Get more NCAA Football Previews in the next edition of Jim Sez.
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