Midweek Report

IT’S GAME 7 FOR GIANTS-ROYALS AS THE WORLD SERIES WILL END TONIGHT IN KAYCEE AS HUDSON-GUTHRIE IS THE MOUND MATCHUP

NFL WEEK 9 SWINGS INTO ACTION WITH SAINTS-PANTHERS SHOWDOWN

IT’S THE FIRST LOOK AT THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS PLUS THE LATEST INSTALLMENT OF THE
HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST, AND THURSDAY’S FLORIDA STATE AT LOUISVILLE BASH

The Kansas City Royals’ fans have been chirping all post-season long with the mantra, “Party Like it’s 1985”. Hey, the San Francisco Giants have their own thoughts while heading into tonight’s Game 7 of the World Series: And they want to turn back the clock to 1975

Say what?

Well, 1975 happened to be the last time in World Series history that a road team - back then it was the Cincinnati Reds over the Boston Red Sox - won a Game 7 in the Fall Classic and so this evening the Giants will put their trust into 39-year-old RHP Tim Hudson and a bullpen that’s saved this team’s proverbial bacon more than once this post-season while the Royals hope there’s enough bloops and blasts in their bats to make this 29-year wait worthwhile in terms of World Series magic.

In last night’s 10-0 Royals win, the KC gang squared up some balls with hard hits and also had their share of dunkers in a seven-run, eight-hit second inning that basically wiped any/all drama from that potential elimination game and so for the first time since 2011 when St. Louis bested Texas in seven games we’re going the distance in a World Series and for folks who believe Giants’ LHP Madison Bumgarner is good to go beyond an inning, we say that’s doubtful.

The Royals send RHP Jeremy Guthrie to the mound here in Game 7 and he’s already won once in this series (a 3-2 triumph at San Francisco in Game 3) and the $64,000 question is will the Giants ever hit another home run and might the lack of the long ball finally come back to bite Bruce Bochy’s win-the-championship-every-other-year club right on the rump?

Look for the Giants to be super-aggressive in challenging Guthrie here - the NL champs don’t care about pitch counts or long at-bats - if the middle-of-the-order guys C Buster Posey, 3B Pablo Sandoval and RF Hunter Pence don’t shine here, it’ll be yet another World Series Game 7 home team winner.

THE NFL REPORT -- WEEK 9

On Thursday Night, it’s NEW ORLEANS (3-4) at CAROLINA (3-4-1) - 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Go ahead and laugh all you want that the TV talking heads are calling this is a “battle for first place” ... it is!

Okay, so the NFC South has a collective won/loss record of 9-20-1 (that’s a .310 winning rate) but someone’s got to be in first place when this here-and-now 2014 NFL season ends and going into Week 9 play it’s the Panthers holding a .009 lead but with New Orleans sporting the so-called “game in hand”.

If QB Drew Brees and the Saints are gonna build on last Sunday night’s 44-23 win/cover against 2-point dog Green Bay, then we’ll need to see more of the downfield chucks to rookie WR Brandin Cooks and more involvement from still sore-shouldered TE Jimmie Graham.

Meanwhile, the Panthers have scored 20 points or less in five different games this year and were held without a touchdown in last weekend’s 13-9 loss-but-cover versus Seattle - did you happen to notice that QB Cam Newton already has been sacked a whopping 17 times and he has just 8 TD passes, so don’t tell us WR Steve Smith Sr. isn’t missed in the Carolinas!

Spread Notes - New Orleans is 3-4 versus the vig this season and overall the Saints are 4-10 ATS (against the spread) away since the start of last year. On the flip side, Carolina is 5-3 ATS this season including home covers against Detroit, Chicago and Seattle and note the Panthers have covered seven of their last 10 head-to-head games against N’Orleans.

My handicappers and bloggers have everything all scoped out and you can get tonight’s World Series Game 7 winner plus all the NFL Week 9 Side & Totals winners beginning with Thursday Night’s game between the New Orleans Saints at the Carolina Panthers when you check with us here at Jim Hurley’s Network. We’re also planning on a monster winning week/weekend with NCAA Football too - so make sure you pile up the profits as we head straight into another winning sports month! There’s great games ahead on the Saturday college docket including Auburn at Ole Miss, Stanford at Oregon and TCU at West Virginia .... so be sure and check with us on game days either here online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Don’t miss out!

THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL UPDATE

Ready or not, the first-ever College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings have been announced and there are - indeed - three teams from the SEC West on the top four list but you might have been surprised that Alabama was not among the conference’s threesome.

Instead, ‘Bama was ranked sixth on this debut list behind Miss State (7-0), Florida State (7-0), Auburn (6-1), Ole Miss (7-1) and Oregon (7-1) but before you Crimson Tide fans scream bloody murder remember that Alabama (7-1) did lose to Ole Miss back on Oct. 4th and then followed that up with a shaky 14-13 win against 9-poin pup Arkansas.

As all the talking heads have reminded us, there’s still plenty of time for shakeups among the top four team that will comprise this first-ever playoff but let’s put it this way - nobody in the top five can “afford” to lose at this stage and there is a really good chance that three or four of these top-six teams will have two losses on their record when the dust finally settles on this 2014 regular season.

Gut feeling?

Anyone that’s ranked #12 or lower probably needs a miracle or two to make it into the four-team playoff field but we count #7 TCU, #8 Michigan State, #9 Kansas State and #10 Notre Dame very much in the mix ... got it?

THE JIM SEZ HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST

We’re back with the latest Installment of the 2014 Heisman Trophy Watch List where we offer up our top five weekly contenders for college football’s most coveted individual award ... now here’s how we see things shaping up as we get set to head into another big-time gridiron weekend:

DAK PRESCOTT, QB, MISS STATE - Sorry, but we’re not knocking off this slightly-dinged junior star from the top perch even though most “experts” have ‘em no better than third or fourth in their current Heisman Trophy rankings. Prescott rushed for touchdowns covering 2 and 11 yards and aired an 8-yard scoring strike to Brandon Hill. In all, Prescott threw for 216 yards and ran for another 88 yards in the 45-31 non-cover win at 15 ½-point dog Kentucky. For the season, Prescott’s thrown for 1,694 yards with 15 TDs and 5 INTs.
Next: Home to Arkansas

AMEER ABDULLAH, RB, NEBRASKA - No question this senior superstar has jetted right up the Heisman Trophy rankings (we started him at #5 and jumped ‘em to third place before this current rise) and why not after that 225-yard rushing performance in last weekend’s 42-24 non-cover win against 19.5-point underdog Rutgers. The cat-quick Abdullah scored three TDs last Saturday and for the year he’s rushed for 1,249 yards (a 6.9 ypc average) with 17 TDs.
Next: Home to Purdue

MARCUS MARIOTA, QB, OREGON - This senior stud moved up one spot on our Heisman Trophy list following last Friday’s 59-41 win/cover against 17.5-point pup California. Mariota threw for 326 yards with 5 TDs and 1 INT in that Pac-12 bash and on the year his stats feature 2,283 yards passing with 24 TDs and 1 INT and note he’s completed 68.8 percent of his passing tries.
Next: Home to Stanford

TREVONE BOYKIN, QB, TCU - Here’s a newcomer to our Jim Sez Heisman Trophy list ... and we’re sure you understand his inclusion following a 7-TD passing performance in TCU’s wild 82-27 win against Texas Tech last weekend. Boykin’s thrown for 2,306 yards with 21 TDs and 3 INTs for the 6-1 Horned Frogs and don’t forget he’s rushed for an additional 374 yards and 3 TDs.
Next: at West Virginia    

JAMEIS WINSTON, QB, FLORIDA STATE - We’ve kept last year’s Heisman Trophy right at the #5 spot in this year’s Heisman rankings. Winston and Company were idle last weekend but his 7-and-oh Seminoles do own high-profile wins against Clemson and Notre Dame this year and Wisnton’s thrown for 1,878 yards with 13 TDs and 6 INTs. We’ve got ‘em nosing out the likes of Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon, Auburn QB Nick Marshall, Alabama WR Amari Cooper and West Virginia WR Kevin White right now.

On Thursday Night, it’s #2 FLORIDA STATE (7-0, 4-0 ACC) at LOUISVILLE (6-2, 4-2 ACC) - 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The first of the top four teams in the aforementioned playoff chase to make an appearance following the Tuesday night announcement is defending national champ Florida State ... and gotta know that Jimbo Fisher’s crew has put aside all the Winston-related distractions this season but now there’s new alleged problems with physical RB Karlos Williams who may or may not be charged in a domestic violence incident.
Wonderful!

The Seminoles say Williams will play here but the key remains Winston who’s completing 70 percent of his passes and he’s been at his absolute best with the money on the line in close-call wins against Oklahoma State and Notre Dame. If Winston is afforded time here to pick-and-choose his targets, then be sure WR Rashad Greene (791 receiving yards this year) and super frosh Travis Rudolph will be prominent players but Louisville’s top-ranked defense will have a say and note the Cardinals are second in the country in interceptions (15) and sport the country’s stingiest “D” while allowing just 245.8 yards per game.

Spread Notes - Florida State’s a dreary 1-6 against the odds so far this season and overall the Seminoles are 6-11 ATS away dating back to the start of 2012. Meanwhile, Louisville is 5-3 spreadwise this season and the Cardinals own a 15-7 spread log as underdogs the past three-plus seasons.

NOTE: Catch all the NCAA and NFL Week 9 previews/forecasts in the coming days right here at Jim Sez!

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