Jim Sez for Wednesday, October 29 …

OUR JIM SEZ MID-WEEK REPORT

THE FIRST COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS TO BE RELEASED NEXT WEEK, BUT WE WEIGH IN ON OUR "TOP FOUR" TODAY (AND BIG 12 FOLKS ARE NOT GONNA LIKE THIS!) ...

PLUS A COUPLE OF QUICK-HITTER PREVIEWS AND THE LATEST INSTALLMENT OF OUR HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST

Hey, there's a lot for us to all get through before we finally lay eyes on this year's initial College Football Playoff Rankings at this time next Tuesday ...

There's a full card of College Football games ahead, there's great NFL Week 8 action, there's a handful of World Series games, the Breeders Cup, it's Halloween this Saturday and there's Daylight Savings too.

Just be patient - we'll all know soon enough what teams are riding the highest in the CFP rankings but we figured on beating the holiday rush and so here's our we have things prior to this week's jam-packed college card:

1 - OHIO STATE (8-0, 4-0 Big 10) - We appreciate all the smarty-pants folks that have cast stones at these 2015 Buckeyes. Sure, Urban Meyer's guys have not always looked crisp/sharp while failing to cover five of its first eight games and the never-ending quarterback talk has been a drag but the defending champions are getting their groove on the past couple of weeks while besting Penn State and Rutgers by a combined score of 87-to-17 and go ahead and name us one team out there that would be favored over The Ohio State on a neutral field ... see, 'ya can't do it.

2 - CLEMSON (7-0, 4-0 ACC) - Here's the squad that's generating a whole lot of #1 talk but we here at Jim Sez believe the Tigers - at least for the time being - must settle for being second-best even though Dabo Swinney's crew has buried a batch of teams by 39, 31, 19, 17 and 58 points to go along with the early-season close wins against Louisville and Notre Dame. Combine the country's fourth-ranked defense with do-it-all QB Deshaun Watson and you've got magic here and we might be inclined to have Clemson hurdle Ohio State should the ACC gang happen to beat Florida State on Nov. 7th.

3 - LSU (7-0, 4-0 SEC) - Let's face it: The SEC is gonna get one team and one team only into this year's College Football Playoffs no matter the fact that #7 Alabama and #11 Florida are looming in the CFP background. If the Bayou Bengals run the table, then the gig is theirs come playoff time but that's a big "if" seeing that Les Miles' crew is at 'Bama on Nov. 7th and at Ole Miss on Nov. 21st. Still, with Heisman Trophy lead dog RB Leonard Fournette (see below) cranking out the big numbers and with an LSU team that's riding a spiffy three-game ATS (against the spread) winning streak, right here and right now here's the best of the SEC.

4 - STANFORD (6-1, 5-0 Pac-12) - Okay, Big 12 fans, take it easy! We've omitted both #2 Baylor (now minus injured and out-for-the-year QB Seth Russell) and #5 TCU from our top four playoff chart but consider that Stanford's won/covered six in a row and early knee-jerk reaction is that the Pac-12 champ (if it is Stanford) will get the nod over the defensively-challenged Big 12 team when proverbial push comes to shove. Also, keep in mind TCU hosts Baylor on Nov. 27th so somebody's losing a key late-season game there and both the Bears and Horned Frogs are vulnerable in future road games with TCU at Okie State and Oklahoma straight ahead while Baylor's also at Oklahoma State on Nov. 21st.

So - at this precise moment one full week before the real College Football Playoff rankings are made public - we'd have an Ohio State vs. Stanford matchup in the Orange Bowl and a Clemson vs. LSU tilt in the Cotton Bowl with the winners going head-to-head on January 11, 2016 for the National Championship. What'dya think?

My handicappers and bloggers have everything all scoped out and you can get the World Series game-by-game winners plus all the NFL Week 8 Side & Totals winners beginning with Thursday Night's game between the Miami Dolphins at the New England Patriots (see preview tomorrow right here at Jim Sez) 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 get ready to head straight into another winning sports month! There's great games ahead on the college docket including Thursday's game between North Carolina at #23 Pittsburgh and West Virginia at #5 TCU, plus Friday offers up Louisville at Wake Forest and then. Saturday's busy menu features Georgia vs. #11 Florida, #8 Stanford at Washington State and, of course, #9 Notre Dame at #21 Temple (7-0). 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!

 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL QUICK-HITTER PREVIEWS

We'll have lots more NCAA Football previews all this week right here at Jim Sez but let's get you some pertinent comments on a couple of big Saturday games involving top 10 teams:

#3 CLEMSON (7-0, 4-0) at N.C. STATE (5-2, 1-2) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC regional
Well, Clemson got one major-college head coach (see Miami's Al Golden) fired last weekend thanks to that 58-0 beat-down at the Orange Bowl but don't expect N.C. State's Dave Doeren to head to the unemployment line after this one even though his Wolfpack could get clobbered for a second straight year (see Head-to-Head Spread Note below). Key for Clemson is bringing up-the-field defensive pressure on elusive State QB Jacoby Brissett (1,332 yards passing with 10 TDs and 1 INT).
Head-to-Head Spread Note - Clemson's failed to cover four of its last five showdowns against N.C. State although the Tigers did pound out a 41-0 win last year as two-TD home favorites.

MARYLAND (2-5, 0-3) at #10 IOWA (7-0, 3-0) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC regional
And you thought all the fun in Iowa had to do with the folks running for President in 2016! The Iowa Hawkeyes - not even a part of the preseason top 25 polls this year - have rampaged their way into the playoff conversation and too bad Kirk Ferentz's crew won't be playing Ohio State this year. In this Big 10 tilt this weekend, Iowa's defense - ranked third nationally against the rush and 12th overall - will bring the heat but check out Hawkeyes' WR Matt Vandeberg who has nabbed 41 receptions already this season for a run-first offense.
Head-to-Head Spread Note - Maryland bested 3.5-point road dog Iowa 38-31 last year in the only head-to-head matchup played on the gridiron between these schools.

 

THE JIM SEZ HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST

We're back with the latest Installment of the 2015 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:

1. LEONARD FOURNETTE, RB, LSU - It's our third week of posting the Heisman Trophy frontrunners ... and the third that this sophomore back is sitting on top of the pack as Fournette's 150-yard, one-TD showing in a 48-20 rain-filled win against Western Kentucky last weekend kept 'em safely in the lead. On the year, Fournette's rushed for 1,352 yards rushing (that's a 7.7 ypc average) with 15 TDs but note LSU is idle this weekend before a monster showdown with rival Alabama on Nov. 7th.

2. TREVONE BOYKIN, QB TCU - The top runner-up for all three weeks was idle last Saturday but he gets a national TV audience to soak in his play Thursday against West Virginia and may we remind you that Boykin will enter that game with 2,539 yards passing plus 25 TDs and just 5 INTs. Note Boykin's also rushed for 440 yards and 5 TDs this year.

3. EZEKIEL ELLIOTT, RB, OHIO STATE - We've seen this Buckeyes' megastar slide down in some Heisman Watch Lists this week but not here! Last week's 142-yard, two-TD performance in OSU's 49-7 blowout against Rutgers kept last year's CFP hero firmly entrenched in third place for a third consecutive week - for the year, Elliott's rushed for 1,130 yards and 13 TDs while averaging a haughty 6.8 yards a pop. The Buckeyes have a bye this weekend; next up is a home game against Minnesota on Nov. 7th.

4. COREY COLEMAN, WR, BAYLOR - Sorry to see Bears' QB Russell be lost for the year with his neck injury but there remains one Baylor player still in our Heisman hunt as this junior wide out has totaled 47 receptions for 962 yards and an eye-popping 18 TDs.

5. CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY, RB, STANFORD - No surprise here that this sophomore star has popped onto our Jim Sez Heisman Trophy Watch List as he leads the country in all-purpose yards with 260 and note he's produced three 200-yard rushing/receiving games the past four weeks while the above-mentioned Cardinal steamrolled the likes of Washington, UCLA, Arizona and Oregon State. Next up is a date at Washington State this Saturday.

NOTE: Catch all the NCAA and NFL Week 9 previews/forecasts in the coming days right here and remember we'll preview the NFL's Thursday Night Game between Miami at New England in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez!

 

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