Happy Thanksgiving from Jim Hurley

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!
OUR JIM SEZ PLATE IS FILLED
WITH LOTS OF HOT TOPICS
INCLUDING THE LATEST COLLEGE
FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS,
WHY THE NFC IS SO DARN BAD … AND MORE!

We sure hope that this Thanksgiving holiday week/weekend is treating you and your family/friends very well — now let’s see what is on our plate on this football-filled time of the year:
First, a reminder …
My handicappers and bloggers are in the holiday spirit and so we’ll be winning the Annual Jim Hurley Turkey Shoot all weekend long and so that means lots of winners in NCAA Football, NFL Week 13 action plus on the hardwood too with the NBA and NCAA Hoops galore.
Don’t get left out in the cold — win all week and cash in big with both Football and Basketball when you check with us here at Jim Hurley’s Network either here online at www.jimhurley.com or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.
Check with us Friday morning after 10 a.m. ET as there are a whopping 16 College Football games on the day-after-Thanksgiving menu plus there’s a ton of hoops action and then be back with us after 10 a.m. ET on Saturday/Sunday for more Turkey Shoot Winners … okay?

THE LATEST (AND NOT-SO-GREATEST)
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS
Well, you didn’t really expect the College Football Playoff committee to be making any drastic moves at/near the top of the charts after that rather “status quo” weekend, did you?
Still, we’ll beg to disagree with the committee folks who insist on putting Alabama at #1 above a more-deserving Oregon team and at least they kept their wits about ‘em by slotting unbeaten Florida State at #3 … we were worried there following the unimpressive 20-17 win against Boston College that the Seminoles might slip to #4 but Miss State stayed put there as did TCU, Ohio State and Baylor at nos. 5-6-7, respectively.
The truth is the whole entire SEC should have been “flagged” for playing those non-league patsies a week ago — we did want to see the likes of Western Carolina and/or Samford showing up on any other SEC skeds in November the next few years, you got it guys?
Here’s how our Jim Sez “top four” would have looked while heading into Thanksgiving Day:

  1. Oregon; 2- Florida State; 3- Alabama; 4 — Baylor.

THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKEND MENU —
AND THE HEAT’S ON …

#5 TCU (9-1) — No doubt the Horned Frogs have their fair share of “signature wins” this year including triumphs over Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kansas State but now the heat’s turned up high on this Thanksgiving Night game at 6 ½-point home underdog Texas.
You see, TCU’s getting some criticism for not winning by a margin two weeks ago in that 34-30 non-cover triumph at four-TD dog Kansas (note TCU had a bye last weekend) and so now Gary Patterson’s squad must win here against a greatly improved (and healthier) Longhorns’ team and that means extra pressure is building on Heisman Trophy candidate QB Trevone Boykin.
Consider that TCU isn’t gonna get any “style points” if/when they beat lowly Iowa State next weekend and so realistically speaking the Frogs need to win this prime-time game in Austin by a twin-figure price or they can pretty much forget getting into the four-team playoff tournament.
Yes, maybe it does hurt TCU that the 10-team Big 12 doesn’t have a conference championship game at year’s end.

#21 CLEMSON (8-3) — Don’t think for a second that only the CFP power boys are facing the heat this holiday weekend … if the Clemson Tigers were to lose their Saturday early afternoon game against heated rival South Carolina then it would mark the sixth straight year that a Dabo Swinney-coached club failed to beat a Steve Spurrier-coached Gamecocks crew in this annual shindig.
And don’t think for a single minute this whole 0-and-5 bit with Swinney is sitting well with the orange-clad gang from Clemson.
In reality, a Clemson loss here not only crushes the Tigers’ whole season — we really don’t have to review the painful OT loss to the Jameis Winston-less Florida State Seminoles now, do we? — but it probably knocks Clemson off the New Year’s Day bowl calendar too.

NOTRE DAME (7-4) — Gotta say that things really unraveled for this year’s ND Fighting Irish team once they lost 31-27 at Florida State back on Oct. 18th … yes, the somewhat controversial “pick play” pass interference call that cost Notre Dame a late-game TD stuck in coach Brian Kelly’s craw for a long time but it’s inexcusable that the Irish have failed to cover a pointspread price in the four games since and Kelly’s own well-documented blunders in the 43-40 loss versus Northwestern two weeks ago and last Saturday’s late-game meltdown by PK Kyle Brindza (now don’t go blaming the holder, kid!) have sabotaged what could have been a feel-good season for the South Bend side. If Notre Dame doesn’t walk out of USC with a win this Saturday afternoon, then it might be a return trip to the Pinstripe Bowl in the Bronx for Notre Dame … ugh!

THE NFL HOLIDAY NOTEBOOK —
WHY THE NFC SOUTH IS SO DARN ROTTEN

How’s this for delicious ironies?
In a year when the TV folks are serving up three all-NFC matchups on the Thanksgiving Day/Night card — again, the first time that’s happened in the post-merger days of 1970 — we’re not gonna get even a whiff of the downright rotten NFC South!
The Chicago-Detroit, Philadelphia-Dallas and Seattle-San Francisco games to be played on this Turkey Day 2014 all have plenty of intrigue (and lots of playoff-related meaning) and so “hats off” to the NFL schedule-makers for not spoiling our holiday TV viewing with any signs of the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints or Tampa Bay Bucs.
Yes, the division that’s become an absolute laughingstock among NFL fans won’t have any of its teams in action till Sunday but how a quickie look at what this NFC South has wrought numbers-wise and we’ll chuck in our “two cents” when it comes to just why it’s been a miserable season for a division that has given us a pair of Super Bowl champions the past dozen years (see the 2002 Bucs and the 2009 Saints).
First off, here’s how the division looks in terms of straight-up records while heading into Week 13 play:

TEAM                WON    LOST    TIE PCT
Atlanta              4           7           0     .364
New Orleans    4           7           0     .364
Carolina            3           7           1     .318
Tampa Bay       2           9           0     .182

Okay, so add it all up and the NFC South is a composite 13-30-1 for a stunningly bad .302 winning rate.

Now, let’s see how the NFC South has fared spreadwise this season:
TEAM                WON    LOST    TIE PCT
Carolina            6           5           0     .545
Atlanta              4           7           0     .364
New Orleans    4           7           0     .364
Tampa Bay       4           7           0     .364

Now, add it all up and the NFC South is a collective 18-26-0 ATS for a .409 winning rate — not great but considerably better than that SU mark, as you can see.
Now, dig a little deeper here into the spread stats and you’ll find that the NFC South is a composite 11-19 versus the vig when playing out-of-division foes (a wobbly .367 winning rate):
Atlanta is 1-6 vs. non-divisional opponents
Carolina is 4-4 spreadwise against non-NFC South teams
New Orleans is 3-5 ATS versus non-division teams
And Tampa Bay is 3-4 spreadwise when venturing outside the NFC South.
You get the idea … there really are not any numbers that make the NFC South teams look good these days but now let’s dispense with sheer stats and get you our humble opinion with two major reasons why this division has been stinkeroo:
Number one, it’s been a particularly bad year for both the quarterbacks and the coaches of these NFC South squads — safe to say Saints’ slinger Drew Brees is having his worst year ever and things ain’t been great for Falcons’ veteran QB Matt Ryan and Carolina’s Cam Newton.
You won’t be finding any of these dudes in the Pro Bowl this winter.
Plus, the in-game coaching from this lot has been brutal — notably Atlanta head coach Mike Smith who’s botched up his fair share of time outs this season and Carolina’s Ron Rivera has been clueless with his clubs totally unprepared for some of its games (see 18-point home loss to Pittsburgh and a 21-point loss in Green Bay among his black marks).
Okay, so sometimes there are years when divisions go through a “down cycle” but — let’s face it — it’s beginning to look as if the winner of the NFC South will be no better than 7-9 and still they’ll host a first-weekend playoff game and very likely it’ll be against a double-digit winner from the now-mighty NFC West.
But, hey, wasn’t everyone mocking the NFC West just three or four years ago?

 

NOTE: Lots more Thanksgiving Weekend treats in the next edition of Jim Sez.

 

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