THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT:
WE GET YOU FRIDAY’S #8 BAYLOR AT BUFFALO BASH PLUS THREE KEY SATURDAY PREVIEWS …
THE NFL NOTEBOOK: THE LEAGUE’S (REALLY) SLOW STARTERS
Okay, so the 2014 College Football season is really in high gear now – yes, we’re still a couple of weeks away from the serious grind of conference games but so far there’s been a handful of key early-season wins when it comes to talkin’ about the newfangled College Football Playoff as LSU’s come-from-behind triumph over Wisconsin on Labor Day weekend was a doozy and ditto for last week’s road win by Virginia Tech before 107,000-plus fans at Ohio State.
If you wish to scan the roster of games this weekend, then no doubt the real “biggies” are #6 Georgia at #24 South Carolina and #12 UCLA versus hobbled Texas (in Cowboys Stadium) – so we’ll get you our Jim Sez Game Previews on these tilts in just a moment (and we’ll have more NCAA Football Previews tomorrow too!).
One thing you may wish to know is that of the 50 on-the-board NCAA Football games on the sked this week/weekend, some 36 of ‘em (or 72 percent) sport double-figure betting lines … so there are some big games on the docket but lots of “warm-up” tilts too, so be aware.
Jim Hurley and his veteran Handicappers and Bloggers are all revved up for this NCAA and NFL season and we’ll continue to storm our way right to the winner’s circle all weekend long: Make sure you’re banging out lots of winners this week beginning with the pair of NCAA Football games on tonight’s card – that’s Louisiana Tech at North Texas (CBS Sports Network) and Houston at BYU (on ESPN) plus there’s a double-dip on Friday night as Toledo plays at Cincinnati (ESPNU) and it’s #8 Baylor at 5-TD underdog Buffalo (on ESPN).
Plus get the NFL Week 2 Thursday Night Game on CBS as we’ll have the Side & Totals winners on the mega-important AFC North battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Baltimore Ravens. Plus, get all the important College Football games this weekend including such slam-bang games as Georgia at South Carolina, Purdue at Notre Dame and Tennessee at Oklahoma. Plus cash in with loads of Major-League Baseball Winners too as we’ve been banging out lots of “W’s” in recent weeks as we head to the home stretch of this 2014 MLB season.
Check with us right here online for all the weekend picks, or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for weeknight action and after 10 a.m. ET for the Saturday and Sunday NFL. NCAA and MLB winners!
On Friday night, it’s …
#8 BAYLOR (2-0) at BUFFALO (1-1) – 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
All signs point to the return of Heisman Trophy candidate QB Bryce Petty of Baylor fame here – the senior slinger sat out last week’s 70-6 scrimmage-like win against 47 ½-point underdog Northwestern State after cracking two small bones in his back early in the team’s season-opening win/cover against SMU and so get ready for another “bombs away” night and pay special attention here to hot-shot freshman wide-out KD Cannon who last week scored on touchdown plays of 50, 81 and 42 yards … all in the first quarter!
Spread Notes – Baylor is laying 30-plus points for the third time in as many games to start off this here-and-now 2014 campaign but did you know the Bears are a collective 8-0 ATS (against the spread) when laying 28-or-more points since the start of last season? Meanwhile, Buffalo is 0-2 ATS out of the starting gate this year with spread setbacks versus Duquesne and Army but note the Bulls are a hearty 9-6-1 ATS at home since the start of 2011.
On Saturday, it’s …
#6 GEORGIA (1-0) at #24 SOUTH CAROLINA (1-1) – 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Now that didn’t take long, did it? The South Carolina Gamecocks entered this 2014 season as the favorites to snag the SEC East but here we are just two weeks into the campaign and it’s the Georgia Bulldogs who are the 5 ½-point betting favorite for this nationally televised clash in Columbia?
An overreaction to Georgia’s scintillating 45-21 win/cover against Clemson two weeks ago?
Or was South Carolina merely an overrated item upon entering the new season as a 52-28 home loss to Texas A&M was followed up by an unimpressive 33-23 non-cover win over 14 ½-point pup East Carolina.
We’ll see here if the Gamecocks can put together four good quarters – and one thing’s for certain that getting RB Mike Davis jump-started (see just 116 total rushing yards in first two games this year) is a top priority as is slowing down Georgia RB Todd Gurley who totaled a school-record 293 all-purpose yards that included 198 yards rushing and three TDs along with a scintillating 100-yard kickoff return for a score. Are the Dawgs ready to slam the hammer down on the Gamecocks here … or not?
Spread Notes – Georgia is 2-8 against the odds in its last 10 head-to-head showdowns with rival South Carolina and that includes last year’s 41-30 win by the 3-point home favorite Dawgs. Overall, Georgia is dead-even but vig-losing 8-8-1 ATS against fellow SEC foes since the start of the 2012 season. Meanwhile. The SC Gamecocks are 0-2 ATS so far this year – home spread losses to Texas A&M and East Carolina as mentioned – but did you know Carolina is 61-48-1 spreadwise in the Steve Spurrier Era that started way back in 2005?
#12 UCLA (2-0) vs. TEXAS (in Arlington/Cowboys Stadium) – 8 p.m. ET, Fox
Maybe the UCLA Bruins have not exactly resembled world-beaters to start off the current campaign and thus the drop of five spots in the Associated Press Top 25 poll – the back-to-back 28-20 and 42-35 non-cover wins at Virginia and then home to Memphis, respectively, have been a tad spotty -- but gotta say that Uclans’ QB Brett Hundley had his act together last weekend while throwing for 396 yards and 3 TDs.
The $64,000 question here for Texas, meanwhile, is who is going be tossing the ball for the beleaguered Longhorns?
The answer is the six-foot-four redshirt frosh Tyrone Swoopes who will get to start his second straight game with David Ash suffering from concussion issues (he’s out indefinitely) and last week Swoopes was lost in a 41-7 home loss versus BYU (see 176 yards passing, one TD and one INT).
The ‘Horns need to get something positive from Swoopes here or else first-year head coach Charlie Strong’s club will be forced to climb out of an early-season ditch. Somebody got a shovel?
Spread Notes – UCLA has failed to cover its first two out-of-the-gate games this year but the Bruins still are a solid 17-12 vig-wise under third-year head coach Jim L. Mora. On the flip side, Texas is a horrid 6-13 against the odds as point-grabbers since the start of the 2009 season.
NFL NEWS & NOTES
Have you wondered lately what NFL teams have been really slow starters these past few years? We have – and so in today’s NFL segment of Jim Sez we’ll spread some knowledge, so here goes and note we’ll concentrate on what these teams did in the first four games of their seasons:
DALLAS – Go back to the 2010 season and you’ll see the Cowboys are a collective 6-10-1 ATS in the first four games of a campaign and that includes last week’s stumbling/bumbling 28-17 home loss against 3 ½-point favorite San Francisco.
JACKSONVILLE – Following last weekend’s horrid 34-17 loss at 10-point fav Philadelphia, these Jaguars are now 3-10 ATS when you track their beginning-of-the-year numbers since 2011. Note that includes a 2-5 ATS mark away and a 1-5 spread mark at home!
NEW YORK GIANTS – Nobody’s getting rich betting on this NFC East team at the start of seasons since 2010 as Tom Coughlin’s crew is just 6-10-1 ATS in these games and that now includes four consecutive Week One spread losses following on the heels of that ugly 35-14 loss at 6 ½-point fav Detroit this past Monday Night.
PHILADELPHIA – Surprise, surprise. The Eagles are just 4-12-1 against the odds in the first four games of a season the last four-plus seasons and note that includes a 3-10 ATS mark in non-divisional games during this time. P.S., Philly’s at AFC South member Indianapolis this Monday Night, so you’ve been forewarned!
PITTSBURGH – Is it really possible that Mike Tomlin-coached teams are now 2-11 vig-wise in the first month of a season while dating back to the start of 2011? No kidding as last Sunday’s blow-the-cover-badly 30-27 win against 5 ½-point dog Cleveland was just the latest slow-start pothole for the Pittsburghers.
ST. LOUIS – Put the Rams on this NFL slow start list with a rotten 3-10 ATS mark while dating back to the 2011 campaign and include in your notes the fact St. Loo is just 3-8 ATS as an underdog side in these early-season affairs.
NOTE: More NCAA Game Previews in tomorrow’s Jim Sez plus lots more about NFL Week 2 action as well!
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