College Football Previews

Solid Start to the Football Week!

Thursday Night Jets (+12) Cover (And Almost Win Outright) Against Patriots.  In College Football, Texas Tech (+3) Gets the Win Outright Over TCU in Our Web Special.

Friday Wins again with Air Force (+24) covering vs. Boise State 20-42

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL QUICK-HITTER GAME PREVIEWS

By Jim Hurley

Well, if you enjoy punts (20 of ‘em in all), third-down ineptitude (a combined 10-of-36) and dropped passes (sorry, but we lost count) then you had to love last night’s New England Patriots’ 13-10 non-cover win against the 11-point underdog New York Jets … hope NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell won’t be sending that game tape to the Smithsonian!

The fact of the matter is both the Pats and the Jets were more than a little miffed following last night’s AFC East tilt – yes, New England QB Tom Brady told the media that he has to “improve his body language” while Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan looked/sounded absolutely distraught about all the aforementioned dropped passes by his guys and those three awful fourth-quarter interceptions of his rookie QB Geno Smith.

Hey, they play again at MetLife Stadium on October 20th … hope that one’s not a snoozefest!

Meanwhile, there will be plenty if thrilling NCAA and NFL gridiron goodies all weekend long and before we get to some analyses of the college kids, here’s a key reminder:

My handicappers/bloggers will continue to pound Las Vegas with our NFL Week 2 Sides & Totals plays this Sunday/Monday plus make sure you’re all aboard for all the 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 including tonight’s Air Force at Boise State clash!

Plus get all our down-the-stretch Major-League Baseball winners too!

NCAA FOOTBALL – MORE SATURDAY SHOWDOWNS

Hope you checked out our Jim Sez column yesterday when we dissected a handful of games involving Top 25 teams such as #1 Alabama at #6 Texas A&M, #16 UCLA at #23 Nebraska and #25 Ole Miss at Texas.

Now, we’ll delve a little deeper into that ‘Bama vs. A&M tilt that’s getting all the buzz in the football world plus we’ll check in on two other games involving Top 25 teams.

#1 ALABAMA (1-0) at #6 TEXAS A&M (2-0) – 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Now that ‘Bama boss Nick Saban is in his own personal rage following the reports that five SEC players – including one-time Alabama O-linemen D.J. Fluker – received payments while playing college ball, you wonder if his top-ranked team is gonna get a bit distracted too while heading into this “revenge game” versus QB Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies.

True, Manziel’s play last year in the now well-documented 29-24 A&M win should have been enough to alert this here-and-now Crimson Tide team that this game’s gonna be serious – remember Texas A&M led 20-0 in that November 2012 tilt in Tuscaloosa before staging a too-little, too-late comeback – and one thing to remember then is Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron threw two INTs in that loss and only threw three INTs all year long.

The folks here at Jim Hurley’s Network believes if McCarron wishes to pick on Aggies CB Deshazor Everett – he’s the dude who picked off McCarron late near the goal line a year ago and thus sealed the shocking win – then it could be a play-with-fire deal for the veteran slinger.

One X-factor at work in this monstrous matchup in College Station:

The Aggies – albeit after only two games (against Rice and Sam Houston State) -- rank a dismal 100th nationally out of 125 FBS teams in rush defense while allowing 273 ground yards per game (306 yards rushing by Rice!) and so let’s see what this ‘Bama ground game can accomplish here.

Spread Notes – Alabama is a spiffy 11-3 ATS (against the spread) away since the start of the 2011 season and that includes a 6-2 spread mark in regular-season SEC road games. On the flip side, Texas A&M is 10-20-1 versus the vig as underdogs dating back to the start of the 2007 season. The Aggies failed to cover two-of-three games as dogs last year with a pointspread win in the aforementioned 29-24 triumph at 13 ½-point fav Alabama while losing spread verdicts to both Florida and LSU as 1 ½ - and 3 ½-point pups, respectively.

Now, here’s two other Top 25-related games to watch …

#21 NOTRE DAME (1-1) at PURDUE (1-1) – 8 p.m. ET, ABC

So, Brent and “Herbie” are back covering the ND Fighting Irish here for the ABC folks one week after Brian Kelly’s club came up 41-30 losers at 5-point favorite Michigan and what’s really got to dismay the South Bend gang is that the defense was steamrolled in that game at the “Big House” with Notre Dame allowing 460 total yards – the most yielded in ND’s last 20 regular-season games.

Still, the Las Vegas guys/gals have the Irish as three-TD road betting favorites – we don’t think that’s “out of line” considering Purdue already lost by 35 points at Cincinnati and was life-and-death in a six-point win against Indiana State last weekend -- and it may interest you to know that Notre Dame’s covered four-of-six games as twin-digit away favs in the Kelly Era that started in 2010.

Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees aired a pair of picks in that loss to the Wolverines, plus the Irish ground game was held to less than 100 yards – 19 carries for 96 yards, to be exact – and if Rees throws two-or-more INTs here and the ground game doesn’t bust the century mark, the Irish simply won’t be covering this hefty spread.

Spread Note – Notre Dame is just 3-7 versus the vig in its last 10 overall games and just 4-5-1 against the odds in its last 10 head-to-head affairs with the Boilermakers.

VANDERBILT (1-1, 0-1 SEC) at #13 SOUTH CAROLINA (1-1, 0-1 SEC) – 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

As you can see in the above-mentioned records, the loser of this game already will have a pair of setbacks inside the rough-and-tumble SEC, but no question the heat’s on the South Carolina Gamecocks here following last weekend’s disappointing 41-30 loss at 3 ½-point fav Georgia.

Never mind the fact that DE Jadeveon Clowney continues to be MIA (and now he’s blaming the team’s “defensive schemes” for his lack of success!) what really should have irked Gamecock fans last week was that silly fourth-and-goal play called by “ole ball coach” Steve Spurrier in a contentious fourth quarter – a slow-developing pitch play that never had a chance against a quick Georgia front.

Gut feeling here is Spurrier knows his team’s defense ain’t what it used to be – note the Gamecocks currently rank 74th nationally in pass defense and 63rd nationally in rush defense – and so that means playing with a ball-control mindset here with TB Mike Davis (149 rushing yards against Georgia) a real key.

We say Davis gets 25-plus carries in this conference clash in Columbia … or else Vandy will “get the green” when this night’s done.

Spread Note – South Carolina is a respectable 12-8 ATS in its last 20 SEC games overall.

Hey, we’ll save you the trouble of looking it up … here’s all the NCAA Football teams that have registered 2-0 ATS starts so far this season:

Arizona, Ball State, Baylor, Bowling Green, Duke, Florida Atlantic, Hawaii, Houston, LSU, Marshall, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Northwestern, San Jose State, UCF, UT-San Antonio, Utah, Washington State, Wisconsin and Wyoming … and a special “hats off” to Texas Tech which improved to 3-0 vig-wise following last night’s gritty 20-10 home win against 3-point fav TCU.

NOTE: Catch our up-to-date NFL Week 2 Sunday forecasts/previews in tomorrow’s edition of Jim Sez.

 

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