Midweek Report





We’ve got a question:

Have you been checking up on all the latest College Football line moves?

Last week there were some real doozy moves during the course of the week and right up until game time - for example, Rice started the week as a 1.5-point betting favorite at Army, eventually the Owls became a 2-point underdog and by game time last Saturday there was Rice laying three points (and winning in the rain 41-21).

Yet some of the money moves didn’t turn out “right” as USC opened as a 2.5-point fav at Arizona and yet the Trojans went off as a 1-point underdog just prior to that 10:30 p.m. ET kickoff. The end result in that wacky game was USC holding on for a 28-26 win.

And you know that somewhere out there were guys/gals that “middled” that particular Pac-12 game (they were the real winners, of course!) but USC defied the late line move and busted the public that moved the game to ‘Zona being the favorite.

Now, we’re heading into another great weekend of college football action and our eyes have turned to a couple of games that have experienced Las Vegas line shifts already:

The big marquee matchup between #5 Notre Dame at #2 Florida State (see our Jim Sez preview tomorrow) already is buzzing with lots of action as FSU went from a 12.5-point opening line favorite down to 10.5 points - is it the drama that surrounds State QB Jameis Winston that’s caused the underdog to grab the public’s cash or perhaps just the ND Fighting Irish backers coming out of the woodwork?

Then we’re also tracking the less-heralded game between South Florida at Tulsa - the home Hurricane opened as a 1-point favorite and after 36 hours this line had moved to USF favored by a deuce - could that be an over-reaction to USF’s strong showing in last weekend’s 28-17 loss-but-cover against mighty East Carolina?

The question we have is this: The USF Bulls might have played their “A game” in that cover against ECU but should they be road favorites against anyone? Hmmm.

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It’s our first look at the 2014 Heisman Trophy Watch List where we offer up our top five contenders each week for college football’s most coveted individual award … now here’s how we see things shaping up while heading into this October weekend:

  1. DAK PRESCOTT, QB, MISSISSIPPI STATE - The leader of this 6-0 Bulldogs bunch has shot up the Heisman charts the past two weeks with those back-to-back high-profile wins over Texas A&M and Auburn (by a combined 32 points, no less!). Prescott totaled 367 all-purpose yards in last weekend’s electric 38-23 win against 2-point road fav Auburn and the junior’s up-to-date stats feature 1,478 yards passing with 14 TDs and 4 INTs to go along with his 576 yards rushing (5.4 yards per carry) and 8 touchdowns.
  2. TODD GURLEY, RB, GEORGIA - We know, we know. The Bulldogs’ scintillating junior running back was suspended for last weekend’s snazzy 34-0 win at Missouri because of some silly memorabilia profiteering but we can’t chuck him out of the Heisman Trophy race just yet. Consider that Gurley has rushed for 773 yards (an 8.2 yards per carry average, folks) with 8 TDs plus don’t forget that coast-to-coast kick return for a score in the opener against Clemson and we’ll place Gurley in the second spot while heading into the Dawgs’ game at Arkansas this weekend. P.S., if he sits out two more games with this “indefinite suspension” then we’ll kayo him from our Jim Sez Heisman Trophy race. Got it?
  3. MELVIN GORDON, RB, WISCONSIN - The Badgers (4-2) may be out of the hunt for any College Football Playoff spot but their junior star is very much in contention for this year’s Heisman Trophy. Gordon’s rushed for 140-or-more yards in five of his team’s six games and he’ll enter the team’s Oct. 25th Homecoming Game against Maryland with 1,046 yards rushing (a 7.9 ypc average) with 13 TDs plus another score as a pass catcher. Gordon trampled Illinois to the tune of 175 ground yards and 4 TDs last weekend in a 38-28 non-cover win but he’s received some criticism for piling up big numbers against some shaky/soft defenses ever since rushing for 140 yards in the club’s opener against LSU. Hey, no matter how you slice it this Wisky back should be somewhere in everyone’s Heisman Top 5!
  4. MARCUS MARIOTA, QB, OREGON - Most Heisman Trophy lists have this dual-threat star at either #1 or #2 but we disagree … Mariota’s 1,621 yards passing with 17 TDs and 0 INTs is super-duper stuff and ditto for his 290 yards rushing (a 5.9 ypc average) with 5 TDs but knee injury or not he came up small in the Ducks’ 31-24 loss against Arizona back on Oct. 2nd and so that costs him in our Jim Sez Heisman standings
  5. AMEER ABDULLAH, RB, NEBRASKA - Big Red’s senior star will look to shatter the 1,000-yard rushing mark in Saturday’s game at Northwestern as the senior has thus far rushed for 878 yards (a 6.4 ypc average) with 10 TDs while helping the ‘Huskers go a brilliant 5-1 against the odds. Abdullah has rushed for 200-plus yards three different times this year and anything near a 2,000-yard season will guarantee him a trip to New York City for the 80th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Presentation on Saturday, December 13th.


NEW YORK JETS (1-5) at NEW ENGLAND (4-2) - 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS

Okay, so the “demise” of NE Patriots QB Tom Brady was greatly exaggerated as the three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback followed up his 43-17 win against Cincinnati two weekends ago with a 361-yard, four-TD showing last Sunday in that runaway 37-22 win at 1-point home fav Buffalo but all’s not warm and fuzzy for Bill Belichick’s club as injuries to RB Stevan Ridley and LB O.J. Mayo could have major short- and long-term negative effects on this 2014 campaign.

But back to Brady:

The born-again slinger has found some new favorite targets in WR Brandon LaFell (TDs of 17 and 56 yards last week), TE Tim Wright and WR Brian Tyms - they both scored TDs in Orchard Park too - and now the Pats will unleash these new targets at a Jets secondary that took another hit last weekend when disappointing CB Dee Milliner (Achilles Heel) went down for the year … we’ll give you a prize if you can name any Jets’ defensive backs aside from hard-hitting rookie S Calvin Pryor!

Spread Notes - New England has split its first six pointspread verdicts this year but did you know the Patriots have covered eight of their last 11 home games while dating back to the start of 2013? On the flip side, the Jets are a dismal 0-5-1 ATS (against the spread) this year and that makes the team 44-46-2 ATS in the Rex Ryan Era that started in 2009.

NOTE: Lots of NCAA Football Previews - including #5 Notre Dame at #2 Florida State plus Thursday’s tilts between Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh and Utah at Oregon State -- in tomorrow’s jam-packed edition of Jim Sez.


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