Volume 26, Issue 2
Volume 26, Issue 2 ~ Thursday, September 16 thru Wednesday, September 22
Jim Hurley's NCAA BOWL PICKS & PREVIEWS are based on information obtained prior to press time -- to get all the firmed-up Game-Day selections/ratings, just check with us anytime after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and whenever there are weekday afternoon games and also after 1 p.m. ET for the weeknight games either online here at www.jimhurley.com or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
CINCINNATI at N.C. STATE: One of the quiet, under-the-radar impressive wins last weekend on 'Monster Saturday' was N.C. State's 28-21 triumph at 3-point favorite Central Florida. The Wolfpack picked off three passes (including a 43-yard INT return for a score by CB Wilson) and recovered a pair of fumbles -- but will Cincy kids be so error-prone in this under-the-lights showdown in Raleigh? The Bearcats must pressure State QB Wilson (see 10-of-30 passing last week) and show that they won't melt on the road as was the case in season-opening 28-14 loss at Fresno State. This one's a real hoot on a school night and we'll have the Side & Totals winner plus all the Baseball too when you check with us either online here or at the above-mentioned toll-free telephone line.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
KANSAS at SOUTHERN MISS: Maybe you've 'read the news' in recent years and realized that HC Gill is a godsend whenever taking points and last week's 28-25 victory by the KU Jayhawks against 13 ½-point favorite Georgia Tech was Gill's latest conquest -- he is now 23-12 versus the vig as a point-grabber the past four-plus seasons (four years at Buffalo and now here) and he had plenty of help last weekend as QB Webb aired three TDs and RB Sims checked in with 101 yards rushing. Now we'll see if Kansas can snag a win in Hattiesburg where the USM Golden Eagles won all six of their home games last year. Note: Make sure to get the espn2 tilt here too -- that's California at Nevada (10 p.m. ET kickoff) -- when you check in with us on game-day afternoon.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
ARKANSAS at GEORGIA: Count us among the folks who hate it when 'name' teams play a couple of nobodies right out of the starting gate -- Arkansas has beaten Tennessee Tech and UL-Monroe so far and to that we say so what! On flip side, Georgia Dawgs still hurting after RB Ealey lost costly fumble inside the South Carolina five-yard line in 17-6 Gamecocks' win/cover last weekend. Now, something tells us Georgia needs to do better than go 3-for-11 on third-down plays to get the home 'W' here.
MARYLAND at WEST VIRGINIA: Gotta expect that the WVU Mountaineers will have spent the better part of this week patting selves on the back following electrifying 24-21 come-from-way-behind overtime win at Marshall last Friday night (the 'Neers were down 21-6 in the fourth quarter) plus simply like the fight in this 2010 Maryland team -- they gutted out season-opening win against Navy with a couple of goal-line stands and now HC Friedgen has two QBs (Robinson and O'Brien) that he's learning to trust. The Terps 'man-up' again while playing stern red-zone defense and almost steal this one outright in noisy Morgantown. Grab those points! Call it West Virginia 24, Maryland 22.
GEORGIA TECH at NORTH CAROLINA: Chalk up last week's 28-25 G-Tech loss at two-TD underdog Kansas to a case of overconfidence as the Yellow Jackets scored right out of the gate and then went to sleep at the wheel. Expect HC Johnson to have read proverbial 'riot act' to his guys but what would really should bother GT is that QB Nesbitt can't hit the broad side of a barn when he needs to make a play in the passing game -- see his shoddy 5-of-15 completion rate that included some really ugly-looking throws. Carolina's suspension woes could change right up to game time and so we're making it a case not to get involved in any/all Tar Heels games until further notice. Got it?
ALABAMA at DUKE: No sense making a 'blanket statement' here but sure looks like #1 'Bama Crimson Tide is even quicker than last year's title-holders and we still haven't seen Heisman Trophy winner RB Ingram in action -- last Saturday night's walk-in-the-park 24-3 win/cover against 13 ½-point pup Penn State included 144-yard rushing game by RB Richardson and a 229-yard, two-TD passing game by QB McElroy and fact is Tide may hang half-a-hundred on defenseless Blue Devils here.
BYU at FLORIDA STATE: Here's a factoid on the here-and-now FSU Seminoles: Maybe they won't miss icon HC Bowden as much as they're gonna miss DC Andrews -- last week's shoddy tackling/coverage in 30-point loss to Oklahoma was dreadful stuff and the 'Noles better plan on getting physical here. BYU's two-headed quarterback system -- that's Nelson & Heaps -- worked wonders in season-opening win against Washington but not so great in last Saturday's 35-14 loss at Air Force and did you know the Coogs threw it for only 88 yards in that tilt?
FLORIDA at TENNESSEE: Maybe it's pure tradition that has us making this SEC game our 'Marquee Matchup' because, heaven knows, the UT Volunteers no longer are prime-time players! The Vols surrendered five second-half TDs last week in lightning-interrupted 48-13 loss to Oregon and now here comes another Top 10 team into the building with the 'mighty Gators' slowly but surely getting back on track. Florida's 38-14 win against 16-point dog South Florida was not always a thing of beauty but RB Demps (a 62-yard scoring run among his 139 rushing yards) is a threat every time he touches it and that defense made life hell on USF slinger Daniels who completed 5-of-20 passes and was picked off four times.
USC at MINNESOTA: Count us among the folks not all that impressed with the play-calling of new USC boss-man Kiffin -- he had Virginia in vulnerable spots last Saturday night at The Coliseum and didn't 'floor it' en route to 17-14 non-cover win against the 3-TD dog Cavaliers. No question that QB Barkley ready/willing/able to zip it (see five TD chucks in season-opening win in Hawaii and 202 aerial yards with two scores a week ago) and hapless Minny Golden Gophers could be real whipping boys here. USC 38, Minnesota 16.
ARIZONA STATE at WISCONSIN: In case you've lost track, Wisky RB Clay now has rushed for 100-plus yards in eight straight games and is fresh off 137-yard, two-TD showing in 27-14 non-cover win against San Jose State -- Clay rushed it 23 times in last weekend's tilt (a 6.0 yards-per-carry average) but something tells us he gets 35-plus totes here and Badgers play keep-a-way in two TD-plus win. It's Wisconsin 38, Arizona State 21.
NEBRASKA at WASHINGTON: Is Big Red the real 'sleeper' in this year's national championship picture? Nebraska's loaded on 'D' again -- even without DL stud Suh -- and new QB Martinez (157 rushing yards and two ground scores in last week's 38-17 non-cover win against Idaho) has a real winning quality to his game. The key here is how often Nebraska gets to Washington QB Locker ... stay tuned.
AIR FORCE at OKLAHOMA: Now that the 'Boomer Sooners' delivered their early-season message with last weekend's robust 47-17 home win against Florida State, you wonder if HC Stoops' crew lets its foot off the pedal here -- now that would be a big mistake! Oklahoma QB Jones rebounded from shaky opening week versus Utah State to complete 30-of-40 passes for 380 yards and 4 TDs last Saturday against the Sems but gotta believe AF Falcons (409 yards rushing in last week's 35-14 drumming of archrival BYU) will control the ball for stretches here and now worth plus the bundle of points. Oklahoma 34, Air Force 22.
BAYLOR at TCU: No doubt that it's very tempting to make pro-Baylor Bears play here plus all these points ... but not so fast, my friends! The Waco crew may have star QB Griffin (career-high 297 yards passing in last weekend's 34-6 win/cover versus Buffalo) but do you really think for a moment that HC Patterson's crew will let him wheel-and-deal here? Fact of matter is TCU's held 24 of its last 28 foes to 17 points or less and that's super-duper stuff. Note that Baylor committed 13 penalties for 120 yards last week and that's a kiss-of-death sign if they allow the Horned Frogs 'free' yards/downs.
CLEMSON at AUBURN: The numbers say that Auburn's just 13-21 ATS (against the spread) as betting favorites dating back to the start of the 2006 season but most of those spread setbacks came 'B.N.' -- Before Newton. The 6-foot-6 quarterback stud rushed for a pair of scores and accounted for 206 offensive yards last Thursday night in 17-14 win at Miss State and now extra rest/prep time should be an aid here for HC Chizik's squad ... we'll see!
TEXAS at TEXAS TECH: No one's gonna soon forget the last time the UT Longhorns played in Lubbock as WR Crabtree's TD catch-and-run in closing seconds pushed Tech over the top in 39-33 win but now the 'Horns come calling with new-and-improved QB Gilbert at the controls (see 222 yards passing and no picks in last week's 34-7 win against Wyoming). Key for the home team is to force a couple of Texas turnovers (no INTs and no fumbles against Wyoming) ... or else!
MISS STATE at LSU: Must admit that we believed Bayou Bengals might have been a tad overrated heading into this current campaign but here we are and LSU's already 2-and-oh and now facing an M-State team they always beat! The visiting Bulldogs converted just 5-of-15 third downs last week versus Auburn and don't appear to have the weapons to stretch the field here while LSU confident following 27-3 hammer-job win against Vanderbilt last Saturday night in Nashville. The Tigers' RB Ridley rushed for 144 of his game-high 159 rushing yards last week after intermission and this could again be a case where he grows stronger over time. LSU 30, Miss State 16.
NOTRE DAME at MICHIGAN STATE: Fact of matter is Irish HC Kelly must 'take a hit' for poor end-of-half decision not to kick a FG in last week's 28-24 loss to Michigan but look for Notre Dame to play better/coach smarter here against Michigan State squad that's yet to be tested in so-what wins against 23-point dog Western Michigan and 26 ½-point pups Florida Atlantic -- way to test yourself early, Sparty! The Irish were carved up on the ground last week as Michigan's do-it-all QB Robinson rushed for mind-blowing 258 yards but expect better here and simply believe Kelly over HC Dantonio is a no-brainer! Notre Dame 28, Michigan State 21.
IOWA at ARIZONA: It may not exactly be 'Desert Swarm' but note that U of A Wildcats have not surrendered a touchdown so far in wins against Toledo and The Citadel (we know, we know!) and could see ultra-active Pac-10 team giving Iowa QB Stanzi major fits here. Keep in mind that Hawkeye slinger hurt his knee/leg in season opener and not quite as frisky as usual. P.S., it's revenge for the 'Cats who lost 27-17 in Iowa City last September. Arizona 23, Iowa 17.
NCAA BETTING TRENDS
JIM HURLEY'S NCAA FOOTBALL TOP 10
Jim Hurley's NFL PICKS & PREVIEWS are based on information obtained prior to press time. To get all the NFL Week 16 Side & Totals Winners, just log online here at www.jimhurley.com or call our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 anytime after 10 a.m. ET on Sunday and after 1 p.m. ET on game days for Monday Night Football.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19
BUFFALO at GREEN BAY: Tricky spot here for the heavily-favored GB Packers who really started to run out of gas on defense last week while chasing Philly QB Vick in 27-20 hang-on-for-dear-life road win and so be careful about being chalk-eater here. LB Matthews was real star of that show in Week 1 with gigantic effort and feeling here is 'under' the likely way to go. Meanwhile, Bills are off our 'shopping list' as long as QB Edwards is chuckin' it (see 139-yard showing in home loss to Miami in Week 1). Green Bay 23, Buffalo 12.
BALTIMORE at CINCINNATI: Maybe the best thing you could say about the Bengals' season-opening 38-24 loss in Foxboro last Sunday was that they didn't 'pack it in' after getting behind 21 points at the half -- but that's about it. The Cincy kids played with no passion on defense for much of this tilt and looked a step or two slow (most notably on special teams where NE's Tate burnt 'em with 97-yard KO return to start the second half). Now, Bengals catch one break in that Baltimore's off short work week after jawbone game at the J-E-T-S but who can trust Cincinnati here in near pick 'em affair? Not us!
PITTSBURGH at TENNESSEE: If there's one thing that you gotta learn in NFL-land, it's history ... Note that the Tennessee Titans spent much of this past off-season assuring folks that they wouldn't be starting off this 2010 campaign at 0-6 (see last year) and HC Fisher's guys shot out of the canon last Sunday with easy 38-13 win/cover against 6 ½-point pup Oakland. Sure, RB Johnson roasted the silver-and -black with his 142 yards rushing and two scores but how about new-and-improved defense that collected four sacks and forced a pair of turnovers that were turned into 10 points? More of the same here as visiting Steelers do seem like they're playing with one hand tied behind their back until suspended QB Roethlisberger returns in Week 5. Tennessee 27, Pittsburgh 13.
CHICAGO at DALLAS: Now that Cowboys have put that Week 1 mess in the rear view mirror -- the 13-7 loss at Washington last Sunday night included such highlights as 12 penalties for 91 yards and a myriad of mix-ups between QB Romo (282 yards passing) and his receiving corps -- but will HC Phillips' crew be able to fix this O-line by game time here?
ARIZONA at ATLANTA: Last week new Cardinals QB Anderson threw for nearly 300 yards (see 297) but had devil of a time getting 'Zona into the end zone save for that 21-yard go-ahead scoring toss to WR Fitzgerald and here red-zone defense on both sides likely to be a real key. Hey, the Falcons could only put up three PK Bryant field goals in tough-to-stomach 15-9 overtime loss at Pittsburgh as QB Ryan threw for 252 yards but never did really pose any in-close scoring threats. If you must, it's Atlanta 23, Arizona 16.
MIAMI at MINNESOTA: No question that the Vikes needed this extra prep time following 14-9 loss in N'Orleans a week ago Thursday night as QB Favre and his wide-outs never did click (chalk it up to a bad first game for stud WR Harvin) and Minny D-line looked gassed in the second half. Expect sharper showing here and -- remember what we always say -- it's tough for NFL road teams to cover back-to-back away games. The Fish last week managed just one TD in 15-10 triumph at Buffalo while one-back backfield punch of RBs Brown/Williams combined for 127 rushing yards but no room here against the 'Williams Wall'. Minnesota 27, Miami 12.
JACKSONVILLE at SAN DIEGO: We're quite sure you've heard all the hub-bub regarding SD's early-season sked (see first six games) that includes only one NFL team that made the playoffs last year -- that's Week 4 meeting with new-look Arizona. So, knee-jerk reaction is to believe HC Turner's crew will dismiss overmatched Jaguars here ... but no so fast, my friends! Last Sunday Jacksonville scored hard-fought (and weather-interrupted) 24-17 tilt against Denver as QB Garrard aired three scoring strikes including a pair to TE Lewis and that combo allows the 'Ville to hang tough here. P.S., yes it's a short week for the Chargers! Call it San Diego 27, Jacksonville 23.
NEW ENGLAND at NY JETS: Now that the 'whole world' has forgotten about HC Belichick and his NE Patriots, it's time to take the plunge against loud-mouth Jets who are playing on short week after MNF clash with Baltimore and won't have enough D-backs to keep WRs Welker (eight catches and two TDs last week in comfy romp over Cincinnati) and Moss on silent side here. The Jets figure to be surprised by the Pats' overall team speed (see defense and specials) and so HC Ryan will have plenty to blabber about after this divisional hoedown. It's New England 24, NY Jets 15.
NY GIANTS at INDIANAPOLIS: One thing about this 'Manning Bowl' is now l'il brother Eli has a true top-notch target in second-year WR Nicks who snagged three scoring strikes last week in ultra-sloppy 31-18 Giants win over Carolina -- now find out if older bro' Peyton can scratch out his club's first win of the year and let's see if Indy's defense steps it up after allowing a 6.1 yards-per-carry average in last week's dreadful 34-24 loss in Houston. Check with us for this prime-time winner as we plan on 'cleaning up' in NFL Week 2 action.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
NEW ORLEANS at SAN FRANCISCO: Now that the Saints' party is finally over -- isn't it? -- HC Payton's gang gets down to business and wonder if there's any rust considering it'll be 11 days between games (see aforementioned 14-9 win against Minnesota back on Sept. 9th). Better check with us game-day afternoon to get the Side & Totals winners as we'll see if SF 49ers can get their offense cranked up after PK Nedney booted two FGs in frustrating 31-6 loss in Seattle. Fearless forecast: The Saints win by more than the 'number' as long as they pick off at least two passes from erratic QB Smith. Check with us at 1-800-323-4453 or right here online and we'll toss you the evening's Major-League Baseball Winners too!
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