Saturday College Top Five Previews
IT’S ANOTHER COLLEGE FOOTBALL MONSTER WEEKEND WITH FIVE SLAM-BANG HEAD-TO-HEAD SHOWDOWNS IN AP TOP 25 PLAY - AND WE’VE GOT ALL THE KEY PREVIEWS!
And you thought last weekend’s College Football action was maddening!
Okay, so many of you good folks probably don’t think the college kids could top that first week/weekend in October when the likes of then-#2 Oregon, then-#3 Alabama, then-#4 Oklahoma and then-#6 Texas A&M all went down in a heap and they’re still yakking about the Hail Mary pass that beat USC and don’t forget about Utah’s stunning win at UCLA but - trust us - this weekend has the potential to just as good or even better.
Well, there are five head-to-head showdowns in the Associated Press Top 25 this week - we’ll preview ‘em all shortly in this edition of Jim Sez while also doling out some key Spread Notes - and there’s plenty of other teams that better watch their backs too as we could be hearing about “upset alerts” all ‘round the land.
My handicappers and bloggers have everything all scoped out and you can get the NFL Week 6 Side & Totals winners beginning with tonight’s game between the Indianapolis Colts at the Houston Texans when you check with us here at Jim Hurley’s Network and then keep rollin’ in the green all week/weekend long with all the NCAA Football, the NFL and the on-going Major-League Baseball Playoffs.
There’s great College Football action all weekend long and all you have to do is check with us on game days either here online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 - make this an October to remember! The MLB American League and National League Championship Series get rolling Friday night and Saturday - so make sure you cash in big-time with all the diamond action!
THE NCAA FOOTBALL KEY SATURDAY PREVIEWS
#2 AUBURN (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at #3 MISS STATE (5-0, 2-0 SEC) - 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
ESPN’s “College Game Day” show arrives in Starkville and here’s hoping wacko singer Katy Perry has been left off the guest list. But, seriously, the host Miss State Bulldogs are in rarified air these days while sharing the AP #3 spot with “buddy” Ole Miss and gotta say that QB Dak Prescott is the single hottest name around - don’t y’all agree? - after throwing for two scores and rushing for three TDs last weekend.
Prescott enters this SEC West free-for-all with 1,232 yards passing, 13 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions this season and he steamrolled right into the upper crust of the Heisman Trophy chase with last week’s electrifying showing in the never-in-doubt 48-31 win/cover against 2 ½-point pup Texas A&M ... is there more magic here against an Auburn gang that ranks 11th nationally in rush defense and note Auburn’s not allowed a single 100-yard rusher yet this season.
Spread Notes - Auburn is an electric 14-4 ATS (against the spread) under second-year head coach Gus Malzahn and the Tigers enter this tilt with a sparkling 10-1 spread mark in SEC games the past year-plus. Meanwhile, Miss State’s 4-1 ATS so far in ’14 and the Bulldogs are a hearty 12-6 vig-wise at home since the middle of 2011.
#3 OLE MISS (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at #14 TEXAS A&M (5-1, 2-1 SEC) - 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
How ‘bout this? We’re talking two SEC West games in a row here and neither one of ‘em involves Alabama (or LSU, for that matter!).
The Ole Miss Rebels, of course, just bested ‘Bama 23-17 last weekend as veteran QB Bo Wallace threw the game-winning touchdown but it’s that underrated Ole Miss defense that will take center stage here as the Rebs’ stop unit is yielding an SEC-best 10.2 ppg and no doubt this will be their biggest challenge against QB Kenny Hill Jr. and a Texas A&M team averaging a haughty 47.8 ppg - but Hill’s coming off a shaky showing with two picks versus Miss State and you wonder if he’s lost some confidence. Hmm.
One X-factor to keep an eye on here is how the Aggies perform on third down as last week A&M converted just 5-of-17 third-down plays and that was a real killer.
Spread Notes - Ole Miss is 4-0-1 versus the vig to start off this 2014 campaign and the Rebels are 10-4 ATS away the past two-plus seasons. Texas A&M is a dead-even but vig-losing 3-3 ATS this season and a rotten 3-8 spreadwise in SEC games since the start of last year.
#9 TCU (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) at #5 BAYLOR (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
So, what can the TCU Horned Frogs do for an encore after beating Oklahoma last week in frenetic Fort Worth (a Jim Hurley Network winner!)?
Well, how about beating another undefeated team but this time in its backyard.
Okay, so Baylor - averaging a lofty 51 ppg so far this season - has some issues to straighten out here namely the fact that QB Bryce Petty completed only 7-of-22 passes for 111 yards in last weekend’s slug-it-out 28-7 win/cover at two-TD underdog Texas. Petty also struggled the last time he faced this TCU team as he completed just 19-of-38 passing tries for 206 yards with two TDs and one INT in a 41-38 non-cover win last year.
If Petty can’t post monster numbers here, then “live” TCU could be the one stealing all the Big 12 headlines on this day and let’s see if Gary Patterson’s squad gets another dandy showing from QB Trevone Boykin who accounted for 395 yards of offense in last Saturday’s aforementioned upset of Oklahoma. Boykin may be the most improved player in America - if he can match Petty through three-plus quarters here than the Frogs will have a fighting chance at crunch time. Trust us!
Spread Notes - Baylor’s 4-0-1 spreadwise out of the chute this year and the Bears are 14-5-1 ATS in conference play since the start of 2012. Meanwhile, TCU is a perfect 4-0 ATS so far this season and did you know the Horned Frogs have covered five of their last six showings versus Baylor since 2006?
#12 OREGON (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) at #18 UCLA (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) - 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox
Spread the word ... The Pac-12 is really gonna have to scramble in order to get a team into this year’s College Football Playoff (that’s unless you’re a big believer that 5-and-oh Arizona is gonna run the proverbial table).
Both Oregon and UCLA were ultra-popular picks at the start of this season to be in the sport’s “final four” but losses last week may well have doomed ‘em both and shame on both clubs for truly blowing it!
Now, Oregon invades the Rose Bowl with a shaken QB Marcus Mariota who’s been sacked a grand total of 12 times in his last two games - whatever happened to that sterling Oregon O-line, we ask?
On the flip side, the Uclans have their own offensive line problems as normally mobile QB Brett Hundley was sacked 10 times in last week’s 30-28 loss to 13-point pup Utah - that’s the most any major-college team QB has been sacked in a single game in two years.
If Hundley (1,310 yards passing with 9 TDs and 2 INTs) can spot WR Jordan Payton (team-best 31 receptions/averaging 15.8 ypc) for a few “chunk plays” here than the slight underdog Bruins should hand Oregon its first back-to-back losses in seven years.
Spread Notes - Oregon has failed to cover four of its first five games this year but the Ducks overall are still a decent 18-12-1 spreadwise in league games while dating back to the end of 2011. UCLA, meanwhile, is 1-4 vig-wise this season but 7-4 ATS as point-grabbers the past two-plus seasons.
#13 GEORGIA (4-1, 2-1 SEC) at #23 MISSOURI (4-1, 1-0 SEC) - 12 p.m. ET, CBS
Don’t let this SEC tug-of-war game get lost in the Top 25 shuffle. The Georgia Bulldogs - even with that earlier-season loss at South Carolina - can win the SEC East and be a major trouble-maker for whomever gets out of the SEC West but to survive here in Columbia the Dawgs must do three things:
Heisman Trophy front-runner RB Todd Gurley - averaging 154.6 ypg rushing - must get a minimum of 25 carries and he also probably needs to break one on a kickoff return too;
Secondly, the Georgia defense must wrap up Missouri RB Russell Hansbrough who was tough to tackle in a recent come-from-behind win against South Carolina (yes, another Jim Hurley Network winner!);
Finally, the Dawgs must win the special teams battle that they all too often lose in SEC road games - how about Mark Richt’s club (a three-point betting favorite here at press time) getting a PK Marshall Morgan field goal or two in the final quarter?
Spread Notes - Georgia has failed to cover seven of its last eight away games since the start of last year while Mizzou is 13-5 ATS overall since the start of last year.
NOTE: There’s NFL Week 6 previews in the next edition of Jim Sez - so don’t miss out!
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