Friday Jim Sez Fun N Games Column
OUR JIM SEZ FRIDAY FUN-N-GAMES COLUMN
BILLS DUNK THE J-E-T-S 22-17 TO KICK-START NFL WEEK 10 ACTION (Another Network Winner!) PLUS WE HAVE PANTHERS-TITANS AND PATRIOTS-GIANTS PREVIEWS AHEAD
WHAT COLLEGE FOOTBALL TEAMS COULD MAKE UP MAJOR GROUND THIS WEEKEND IN THE PLAYOFF CHASE?
COLLEGE BASKETBALL IS BACK - AND CHECK OUT OUR FINAL FOUR FORECASTS!
Funny how things work out: The lead-in to last night's much-hyped Buffalo Bills at New York Jets game was all about first-year Bills' boss Rex Ryan who didn't always leave Jets' fans laughing after his six-year stay in Gotham City.
Instead, after the game folks wanted to know what was going through the mind of new Jets' head coach Todd Bowles who eschewed not one, but two fourth-quarter field goals in Buffalo's 22-17 win - a Jim Hurley Network winner too! - not to mention some of the other silly play calls that included a few passes shy of the first-down "sticks" and a call for a blocking tight end to save the day with a fourth-down play late.
Maybe the Jets didn't deserve to win this game anyway considering they lost the turnover battle 4-to-zip but for all of Ryan's many in-game faults during his NYJ tenure there probably were some folks wishing he was on gang green's sideline and not Bowles last night.
In NFL Week 10 action this Sunday, it's ...
CAROLINA (8-0) at TENNESSEE (2-6) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Consider this recent stretch for the unbeaten Carolina Panthers: A comeback win in Seattle, a prime-time win against Philadelphia, an OT Monday Night Football win against Indianapolis and then last week's hang-on-for-dear-life 37-29 triumph over Green Bay ... so, will the emotional gas tank be empty here for Ron Rivera's gang as 5-point road favorites ... or does this team really entertain thoughts of going 16-and-oh?
No doubt QB Cam Newton (297 yards passing with 3 TDs plus another 57 yards rushing with one score against Green Bay last Sunday) gets an "A+" for delivering this team eight straight wins but Tennessee's healthier on offense than it's been in weeks and QB Marcus Mariota (371 passing yards with 4 TDs in the 34-28 OT win at 6.5-point fav New Orleans) was not sacked once in that latest tilt ... P.S., The Panthers' defense sacked Packers' QB Aaron Rodgers five times last week.
Spread Notes - Carolina is 6-2 ATS (against the spread) so far this season and overall the Panthers are a solid 14-9-1 vig-wise as betting favorites the past two-plus seasons. Meanwhile, Tennessee is 4-4 spreadwise this year and a collective 4-13-3 ATS as hosts since the start of the 2013 season.
NEW ENGLAND (8-0) at NEW YORK GIANTS (5-4) - 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS
NFL historians take note ... the last two times the Patriots and Giants collided in regular-season action, the G-men went on to win it all and both were Super Bowl triumphs over New England, but then you already knew that, right.
So, naturally Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and Company are counting on history repeating itself - again - here in 2015 but the reality of this situation is the Patriots are the NFL's second-highest scoring team (averaging 34.5 ppg) and iconic QB Tom Brady has tossed just two INTs all year long. True, Brady will be without multi-service RB Dion Lewis (knee) for the rest of the year but we know you checked out last week's stat line and saw WR Brandon LaFell (five catches for 102 yards) is shaking off some of his rust and there's no way TE Rob Gronkowski is only gonna account for just 47 receiving yards against a Giants LB/DB corps that is truly sieve-like!
The Giants - for their part - are relying on WR Odell Beckham Jr. (105 yards receiving in last week's 32-18 win at Tampa Bay -
Spread Notes - New England's an electric 6-1-1 against the odds so far this season and note the Patriots are 12-5 ATS in non-AFC East games since the start of last season. The NY Giants, meanwhile, are a solid 5-3-1 vig-wise this season but just 8-13-1 ATS as underdogs the past two-plus campaigns.
Here's an important note ...My handicappers and bloggers will have all the weekend winners and you can get NCAA Football, NFL Week 10 play and all the NBA/NCAA Basketball action when you check with us here at Jim Hurley's Network at the toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453 or right here online. Check is any time after 1 p.m. ET today and after 10 a.m. ET on Saturday/Sunday.
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF CHASE
Let's cut right to the proverbial chase ...What teams have a real good shot to catapult their way up the College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings this weekend?
#6 BAYLOR (8-0, 5-0 Big 12) - We know, we know ... the Bears were not happy campers that they left were outside the top four teams in this week's rankings but if Art Briles' squad can snag a lay-the-wood win on surging Oklahoma and #4 Notre Dame and #5 Iowa sport less-impressive weekend wins, then you could see Baylor climb into the top four. Remember what we've been saying all along ... a one-loss Big 12 team is toast especially with Independent Notre Dame in the playoff mix.
#9 LSU (7-1, 4-1 SEC) - Funny how this thing works but the Bayou Bengals dropped from #2 all the way down seven spots with that painful two-TD loss at Alabama last weekend but consider the possibilities if RB Leonard Fournette and Company "regain their footing" here against Arkansas and a couple of teams above 'em lose (maybe aforementioned Baylor; maybe Stanford versus Oregon), Folks, it's conceivable that LSU could be sittin' there at #5 or #6 at this time next week and still in the hunt for the SEC Championship Game providing 'Bama loses against either Miss State or Auburn.
#12 OKLAHOMA (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) - Okay, so the Sooners really have not been part of any real playoff mix for the past year-and-change but that all could change with a win - especially a resounding win - in Waco this Saturday night plus throw in a couple of losses/close wins by teams in the CFP top 10 and you might have one of those times when a Power 5 team jumps half-a-dozen squads in one week's time. If Oklahoma gets to #6 or #7, let's say, they are "in play" because high-profile games against TCU and at Oklahoma State lie ahead and wins in both would bolster the Oklahoma resume big-time.
THE COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT
Hey, College Basketball is back and you don't need to plow through another billion pages of team reports ... we'll be happy to give you our "Final Four" right here/right now.
Okay, wise guys, we know the season has not yet started, there's no brackets, etc. but let's go out on a proverbial limb and give you the matchups we see happening at NRG Stadium in Houston next April. Note we've listed the preseason Associated Press rankings next to the teams below: Drum roll please and The Final Four teams will be ...
#6 VIRGINIA - The Cavaliers have been knock, knock, knocking on the Final Four door the past couple of years but now Tony Bennett's team has a bit more scoring with Malcolm Brogdon (an 88 percent free-throw shooter) ready to rock-and-roll. It's the Wahoos and not #1 North Carolina nor #5 Duke that make it to this year's Final Four.
#10 WICHITA STATE - The perennial Missouri Valley Conference champions have a magic man in veteran G Fred VanVleet and this ain't his first rodeo. The Shockers get to this year's Final Four ... and then win it all!
#20 UCONN - C'mon, really? The Huskies have reloaded and that means coach Kevin Ollie and Company is ready to make a long run in this year's "Big Dance" with Seton Hall/Oklahoma transfer G Sterling Gibbs the "Kemba Walker" of this year's tourney.
WEST VIRGINIA - Always fun to take one "interloper" or non-Top 25 team and so our vote's on the Mountaineers who are on the AP list of "others receiving votes" to start the year but head coach Bob Huggins' team will play ferocious defense - again - and KO Kansas from the top perch in the Big 12.
Just for fun, we'll have a Final Four that pits Virginia versus West Virginia; and Wichita State versus UConn with Wichita State beating Virginia for the national championship. The country's so-called bluebloods will have to sit out this Final Four ... no Duke, no Carolina, no Kentucky, no Michigan State and no Kansas. Got it? We'll see how it all turns out in a year when many folks are forecasting one of the above "elite teams" a lock to win it all ... hmmm.
Note: Get more NFL Week 10 quick-hitter previews in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez.
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