College Football’s Whirlwind Weekend of Top 10 Showdowns


Hey, what kind of movin-and-shakin’ are we gonna get in the polls following this weekend’s action in the College Football universe?
We gave y’all a heads-up the other day with word that there are three Top 10 showdowns on the docket – one on this final Friday night in September, two more on Saturday – and it’s quite possible that the likes of #3 Louisville, #4 Michigan and #7 Stanford could be bounced down poll-wise with losses… it’s a yummy weekend and we’ll get you some key College Football Previews in just a moment but first this ultra-key reminder:

Jim Hurley’s Handicappers and Bloggers are ready to rock-n-roll with more gridiron winners this week beginning with this evening’s Thursday night action as #6 Houston hosts four-TD underdog UConn (ESPN at 8 p.m. ET) and then there’s Friday/Saturday action galore plus don’t forget the NFL Week 4 menu gets jump-started tonight with the Miami Dolphins at the Cincinnati Bengals (see our quick-hitter preview in yesterday’s Jim Sez column).
And remember to check with the Jim Hurley Network right here online at or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 1 p.m. ET on week days and any time after 10 a.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday for what’s gonna be a jam-packed/winning weekend ahead.
Plus get all the Major-League Baseball winners this final week of regular-season play and remember it’s the American League Wild Card Game next Tuesday and the National League Wild Card Game next Wednesday before we get full-blown into the Baseball Playoffs.
Folks, we’re finishing out September with a real bang and promise that October’s gonna rock with both Football and Baseball at the Jim Hurley Network!

On Friday, it’s…
#7 STANFORD (3-0, 2-0 Pac-12) at #10 WASHINGTON (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) – 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
It’s the hands-down best game in the Pac-12 in quite some time but now we’ll see if Washington’s soft non-league sked really got ’em ready for this prime-time battle in Seattle – hey, wins against Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State prior to last week’s overtime non-cover conference win against Arizona is hardly anything to get excited about, ’ya know?
If the UW Huskies – who lead the nation with 13 takeaways this year – can force RB Christian McCaffrey and mates to cough up the ball here, then coach Chris Petersen’s crew could be riding high but let’s see how still-new Stanford slinger Ryan Burns plays here one week after directing the game-winning TD drive against USC.
Spread Notes – Stanford’s covered 14 of its last 19 overall pointspread verdicts while dating back to late in the 2014 season while Washington has notched spread wins in three of its last four tilts against the Cardinal.

On Saturday, it’s…
#8 WISCONSIN (4-0, 1-0 Big 10) at #4 MICHIGAN (4-0, 1-0 Big 10) – 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Just how stingy has the Wisconsin defense been thus far in 2016?
Well, Paul Chryst’s team ranks seventh in scoring defense (11.8 pgg) and all the "love" has been given to new DC Justin Wilcox but can Bucky’s Badgers find a way to slow down a Michigan team that’s scored 63, 51, 45 and 49 points in its first four games this year?
Nobody knew Michigan’s soph QB Wilton Speights (875 yards passing with 9 TDs and 1 INT) would be this good/this fast but now Speights must make sure he delivers the ball quickly against a Wisconsin "D" that will come at ’em from all angles.
The numbers game plan for Wisky goes like this:
Try to make sure its lefty kid QB Alex Hornibrook doesn’t have to chuck it more than 20 times here!
Spread Notes – Michigan is 10-7 versus the vig under second-year boss-man Jim Harbaugh but did you know the Wolverines are just 1-3-1 ATS (against the spread) in their last five meetings with Wisconsin while dating back to 2006? On the flip side, the Badgers are 7-3 ATS overall in their last 10 spread verdicts.

#3 LOUISVILLE (4-0, 2-0 ACC) at #5 CLEMSON (4-0, 1-0 ACC) – 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Here’s a little perspective on this Atlantic Coast Conference matchup from Death Valley on this first Saturday in October:
The Louisville Cardinals opened up this current campaign ranked #19 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and they’ve jetted their way to right near the top of the heap while Clemson started off at #2 in the AP poll and, forgive us for saying this, has become a bit of an afterthought just 10 months after having played in the National Championship Game.
You get the point… it’s the U of L kids that have swiped the spotlight in the ACC and throughout much of the football world behind Heisman Trophy frontrunner QB Lamar Jackson who directs an offense that leads the nation with 682 yards per game and a whopping 63.5 ppg en route to a tasty 3-0-1 spread start.
Gotta believe that Clemson QB Deshaun Watson (996 yards passing with 9 TDs) feels a little bit slighted these days by all the attention piled on Mr. Jackson, so this could be a real mano-a-mano deal and, yes, we are a tad surprised the ’Ville is a 2-point betting favorite at press time (Clemson opened as a 2.5-point choice).
Spread Notes – Louisville is 5-0-1 ATS overall since late last season and the Cardinals are 28-12-1 vig-wise away since the start of the 2010 campaign (that’s a sizzling .700 winning rate). Meanwhile, Clemson is a composite 54-43-1 ATS under veteran coach Dabo Swinney and the Tigers enter this under-the-lights clash at 25-17-1 ATS in ACC play since the start of 2011.

Is the NFC East – all of a sudden – now the best division in pro football?
Maybe we’re jumping the gun on that assumption but consider that the Philadelphia Eagles/New York Giants/Dallas Cowboys/Washington Redskins are a composite 8-4 SU (straight-up) so far in this ’16 season and in non-divisional games this quartet has covered four of its first six games including Philly’s blowout win against mighty Pittsburgh…
The "PA" listed in the NFL standings, of course, refers to Points Allowed and hard to believe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers already have a league-worst "PA" of 101 or nearly 34 ppg so far. One problem for the Bucs (1-2) – who happen to host the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos this weekend – is they only have five quarterback sacks and one interception.
Heck, we thought T-Bay would be a 9- or 10-win team this year but this could be an unmitigated disaster with a Monday Night Football game at Carolina next week and road games

Note: More NCAA and NFL Week 4 Previews in tomorrow’s Jim Sez.


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