Volume 26, Issue 4
Volume 26, Issue 4 ~ Thursday, September 30 thru Wednesday, October 6
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.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2
TEXAS vs. OKLAHOMA (at Dallas): Let's get this right on the table ... neither Texas HC Brown nor Oklahoma boss Stoops will be winning "Coach of the Year" this season and the $64,000 question here is can the Longhorns distance themselves from last week's humbling/bumbling 34-12 home loss versus 16-point pup UCLA? The 'Horns turned the ball over five times and QB Gilbert looked lost for much of the affair. Better look for "best player on the field" RB Murray (only 67 yards rushing last week in scary 31-29 non-cover win against Cincinnati) to make the big plays when they count. This game my be a part of our TV Triple Play for just $20.
THE SATURDAY TV TRIPLE PLAY HAS YOUR WINNING ACTION!
Games we're keeping an eye on this week include:
WISCONSIN at MICHIGAN STATE: Count us among the folks who don't like Wisky playing three nobodies in the first four weeks of the season (see UNLV, San Jose State and Austin Peay) but still believe hard-charging RB Clay (118 yards rushing in last Saturday's silly 70-3 win) will make life miserable on Michigan State defense that isn't always real physical. The Badgers haven't always shown great road traits under fifth-year HC Bielema but get it done here while keeping State RBs Baker/Bell all hemmed up at crunch time. Wisconsin 27, Michigan State 23.MICHIGAN at INDIANA: Nice of Wolverines' boss-man Rodriguez to talk down to everyone in last week's post-game press conference as he spoke of knee injury to ace QB Robinson (5 carries for 129 yards plus 60 yards passing before going down early in 65-21 win/cover against Bowling Green) but who can be sure the Heisman Trophy wannabe will be 100 percent here against Indy Hoosiers team than can score? Let's sit this one out and find something tastier on this college menu. Michigan 38, Indiana 26.
VIRGINIA TECH at N.C. STATE: It's time to ride a really hot hand here and that's the 4-and-oh N.C. State Wolfpack. The kids from Raleigh smacked around 8-point favorite Georgia Tech 45-28 last week in Atlanta as State slinger Wilson threw for a career-best 368 yards and three TDs and now here's a case of siding with the revenge-plus-points guys as Pack lost 38-10 in Blacksburg last year. Note that Tech PK Hazley boomed four FGs in last week's 19-0 win at Chestnut Hill but "settling" for treys here will cost the Hokies who simply don't have that offensive explosion (and may not have RB Williams - again - in the lineup here) they used to have "back in the day". N.C. State 28, Virginia Tech 20.
GEORGIA TECH at WAKE FOREST: Among the major areas of concern for the GT Yellow Jackets is poor third-down execution (see 4-of-14 success rate last Saturday in 17-point home loss against N.C. State) and fact that QB Nesbitt just cannot throw the ball (5-of-18 overall last week). In the matter of lesser of two evils here, we'll side with the hefty home dogs and keep our fingers crossed. It's Georgia Tech 22, Wake Forest 17.
NAVY at AIR FORCE: Great service academy showdown here with AF Fly Boys fresh off close call 20-14 non-cover win against 13 ½-point home dog Wyoming and now gotta wonder if Navy's gonna be the fresher team after having last weekend off ... hmmm. No doubt Air Force QB Jefferson - who scored game-winning six-yard TD run last week in Laramie - is multi-faceted cat but Navy QB Dobbs can do a few things too and see this one as real cliff-hanger with points worth grabbing. It's Air Force 26, Navy 23.
NOTRE DAME at BOSTON COLLEGE: It sure looked as if ND Fighting Irish HC Kelly was a tortured soul following on the heels of last weekend's 37-14 loss to Stanford - are you sure you wanted this job, coach? - but flip side here is you could take brainless BC boss-man Spaziani who elected not to take sure FG and instead tried last-gasp play at the end of the first half that failed in 19-0 home loss to Virginia Tech. Your move!
TENNESSEE at LSU: Let's just say if LSU's defense/special teams wanted to out-score its offense each/every game it could with glittery star Peterson (see 60-yard punt return for a TD in last weekend's 20-14 non-cover win against 9 ½-point pup West Virginia) looking to strike the Heisman pose once again here! LSU 26, Tennessee 13.
OHIO STATE at ILLINOIS: It's quite apparent that the O-State Buckeyes plan to "lay it on" thick these days as HC Tressel knows any slip could cause Boise State and/or TCU to pass 'em in the polls and so it's full-speed ahead here for QB Pryor (224 yards passing in last week's 73-20 win against 44-point dog Eastern Michigan) and no mercy shown to the not-so-high-flyin' Illini here. Ohio State 42, Illinois 19.
ARIZONA STATE at OREGON STATE: No question that the O-State Beavers acquitted themselves well in last weekend's 37-24 loss-but-cover at 18-point fav Boise State but have to believe HC Riley's guys threw heart-and-soul into that prime-time clash and could be a bit winded for this Pac-10 opener. Plus, consider how A-State practiced long/hard this week regarding ball security after seven-turnover affair in last Saturday's 42-31 loss-but-cover against 12 ½-point fav Oregon (four INTs of QB Threet). This one is closer than "they" think. Oregon State 31, Arizona State 29.
FLORIDA STATE at VIRGINIA: This is our "not-so-fast-my-friends" game of the week as everyone now is about to christen the FSU Seminoles as here-and-now powerhouse again following wins against BYU and Wake Forest but gotta believe ultra-physical Virginia Wahoos will give HC Fisher's gang all it could hope for and then some here - much impressed with rookie HC London and here his classy pass/catch combo of QB Verica-to-WR Burd (8 catches for 119 yards and a TD last week in romp over VMI) gets the last laugh. Is old man Bowden smiling some place after this one? Virginia 25, Florida State 23.
FLORIDA at ALABAMA: These super-powers have met in the SEC Championship Game the past two years in a row with each club snagging one of the wins and then going on to cop the BCS Championship Game and no doubt the loser here in major hole (especially if BCS-busters Boise State and TCU keep on winning!) and must believe that 'Bama game plan here is to blitz Gators' QB Brantley (24-of-35 for 248 yards passing with one TD and one INT in last week's 48-14 win/cover against Kentucky). Florida ran a lot of Wildcat offense in that clash with kid RB Burton getting school-record six TDs but expect the Crimson Tide to "spy" him here and then it comes down to whether or not Alabama RB tandem of Ingram/Richardson can carve out some big gainers. Ingram's spiffy 24-carry, 157-yard outing at Arkansas last week proved the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner is "back" and don't be shocked if he gets 30 totes here! This will likely part of our TV Triple Play so make sure you sign up here for $20.
BOISE STATE at NEW MEXICO STATE: In case you're wondering, the B-State Broncos now are still-solid 14-8-1 against the odds whenever laying twin-figure prices dating back to the middle of 2007 but last week's non-cover win against Oregon State raised some concerns as usually-sound special teams were awful. Unless HC Petersen's squad goes belly-up in the kicking game here, this is major route with QB Moore (288 yards passing and 3 TDs against the Beavers) getting more attention for that 2010 Heisman Trophy. It's Boise State 51, New Mexico State 7.
STANFORD at OREGON: No question that this would be our NETWORK BULLETIN "Marquee Matchup" most weeks - hey, nothing is knocking off Florida-Alabama, folks - and this should be major donnybrook at always-noisy Autzen Stadium ... but might it be too much to ask Stanford to win back leg of road back-to-backers following last Saturday's armchair-easy 37-14 triumph at Notre Dame? Note that Oregon QB Thomas threw for 260 yards and two scores in aforementioned non-cover win against Arizona State but the Ducks defense did surrender 387 passing yards to slinger Threet and Stanford QB Luck might be the best in the land right now although he does come off two-INT game in South Bend.
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.
NFL Week 4 Byes: Dallas, Kansas City, Minnesota and Tampa Bay.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3
DENVER at TENNESSEE: We'll take a bow for that pro-Titans play in last week's NETWORK BULLETIN (we had Tennessee beating the NY Giants 24-20 and they snagged a 29-10 victory) and truth is RB Johnson (125 rushing yards) never really did bust it loose till a late-game run after the verdict was in - now 2,000-plus yard man gets another 25-plus totes here and HC Fisher's crew bops a Broncos team that lost their final four non-divisional road games last year and then fell 24-17 at lowly Jacksonville in Week 1 tilt three weeks ago. Call it Tennessee 27, Denver 17.
BALTIMORE at PITTSBURGH: No doubt that the Steelers are the numero uno story in this 2010 NFL season as HC Tomlin's squad is haughty 3-0 SU (straightup) and 3-0 ATS (against the spread) without suspended QB Roethlisberger but now here comes arch-nemesis Ravens into Heinz Field and - surprise, surprise - this one figures to be major head-knocker with offensive TDs at an absolute bare minimum. Okay, so Baltimore's lost its last four trips into the Steel City - including that 23-14 setback in the AFC Championship game two years ago - and so maybe you're thinking the Ravens are "due" here. Find out what gives when you check with us game-day morning either here online.
CINCINNATI at CLEVELAND: You know the deal - we love to go against NFL teams attempting to win/cover back-to-back road games and will not make an exception here even if that means a pro-Browns play. Hey, HC Mangini's club was gallant in the 24-17 loss-but-cover in Baltimore last Sunday and here just needs to get it into WR/KR/PR Cribbs' hands more plus we'll count on another shaky showing by Cincy QB Palmer (could have been picked off five times in the first half last week!). It's Cleveland 20, Cincinnati 17.
CAROLINA at NEW ORLEANS: Maybe the Saints have used up all the magic - after all, last week's tough-to-stomach 27-24 overtime loss against rival Atlanta included yet another botched gimme FG by PK Hartley (he used to be ultra-clutch, you know) and starting to think that the defending champs are pointspread liabilities these days with 0-2-1 ATS mark out of the chute. Still, who needs Carolina club that has green QB Clausen (16-of-33 passing last week in 20-7 home loss to Cincinnati) even with a bundle of points? Pass!
SAN FRANCISCO at ATLANTA: And the award for the biggest early-season clunkers in the NFL goes to the SF 49ers - now how does a preseason divisional favorite foul up the start of a season so darn badly? Heck, we don't have enough time to tell you here but fact of matter is the Niners didn't score their only touchdown last week until the game's final play (it saved the "over" players!) in that humbling 31-10 loss at Kansas City and even the fact the Falcons come off emotionally-charged 27-24 overtime win in N'Orleans doesn't have us running to the window with pro-49ers play here! Combo of Atlanta QB Ryan (228 yards passing against the Saints) and RB Turner (114 rushing yards last Sunday) enough to get the job done here but let's look elsewhere for our bread-and-butter. If you must, it's Atlanta 24, San Francisco 17.
NY JETS at BUFFALO: Let's keep this one short-and-sweet as Jets' defense (with or without CB Revis) should buckle down here after surrendering 400-plus yards in last Sunday's hang-on-for-dear-life 31-23 win in Miami - plus the QB Sanchez (256 passing yards against the Dolphins)-to-TE Keller (6 catches for 98 yards and two scores against the Fish) combo make selves heard from here. New York Jets 23, Buffalo 17.
ARIZONA at SAN DIEGO: The "Zona Cardinals may be without one-time star QB Warner this year but this NFC West crew has a whole lot of karma on their side! Last week's magical 24-23 non-cover win against Oakland looked lost but 32-yard missed FG by Raiders' star Janikowski was heaven sent and now here comes HC Whisenhunt's crew into San Diego where Chargers are in usual early-season funk and needing to answer a whole batch of questions - like why can't their special teams make a tackle (see pair of KO returns for TDs by Seattle's born-again Washington). Go ahead and take what's offered! San Diego 26, Arizona 23.
WASHINGTON at PHILADELPHIA: Rest assured that this NFC East showdown will get more media attention than Lindsey Lohan this week as QB McNabb returns to Philly as the "enemy" quarterback - but count us among the folks who believe the real key here is how does Eagles QB Vick handle a week of back-slapping as his showing in 28-3 win at Jacksonville last week (that's 291 yards passing and 30 yards rushing while accounting for all four TDs) was front-and-center stuff in City of Brotherly Love.
CHICAGO at NY GIANTS: The Bears have not been done any scheduling favors here as HC Smith gang has short work week after MNF home tilt against Green Bay and the host Jints in really foul mood after penalty-filled, turnover-marred 29-10 loss to Tennessee last Sunday - no doubt the Giants need C O'Hara back from the injured list plus it's high time QB Manning stepped to the leadership forefront. Looks to us as if Chicago passing game - orchestrated by new offensive coordinator Martz - is "for real" and so there may be more points than you might think here. Check with us game-day morning and we'll get you clued in to this prime-time tilt.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 4
NEW ENGLAND at MIAMI: Gut feeling that every AFC East game will be absolute slugfest this season and here the host Dolphins really playing with a sense of urgency 'cause they don't want to lose two divisional home games - maybe offensive coordinator Henning will see fit to throw it WR Marshall's way once they get inside the 10-yard line (didn't happen in last week's loss to the J-E-T-S). Get the Side/Totals winners of this ESPN bash on game-day afternoon at 1-800-323-4453.
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