Volume XXVII, Issue 7
Jim Hurley's NCAA PICKS & PREVIEWS are based on information obtained prior to press time and may not reflect any changes that could affect these selections. For firmed-up Game-Day selections/ratings, visit us at www.JimHurley.com or call the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 9:30 a.m. ET on weekends and holidays and anytime after 1 p.m. ET for weeknight games.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14
HAWAII at SAN JOSE STATE: Okay, so this one may not rank all that high on your college football "Richter scale" but fact is it's the only game on the board and Hawaii kids are always fun to watch as evidenced by fact 50th-state team has put up 100 points combined in recent back-to-back wins against UC-Davis and Louisiana Tech. Let's just say QB Moniz (1,578 yards passing with 15 TDs and 1 INT) always comes out chucking and did you know that Hawaii's an electric 13-5 versus the vig overall since the start of the 2010 campaign? Before you turn on ESPN to watch, check in with Jim Hurley's Network to win, for just $15.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15
MIAMI at NORTH CAROLINA: No question that this – already – has been a trying first year on the job for Miami Hurricanes' boss-man Golden who stepped into major NCAA mess (see booster Shapiro) and now must soothe the hurt of a 2-3 SU team that comes off heart-breaking 38-35 loss-but-cover at Virginia Tech. The 'Canes allowed game-winning TD in the final minute of play plus Tech QB Thomas completed eye-popping 23-of-25 aerials in that ACC clash and could see Miami be down-and-out for this Carolina revenge game (see 33-10 Miami win last season).
NAVY at RUTGERS: Here's a little-known secret about this year's Rutgers Scarlet Knights … They haven't lost a bet yet this year! HC Schiano's crew is a perfect 5-0 ATS (against the spread) following last weekend's 34-10 shockeroo win as 6 ½-point home dogs versus Pittsburgh that included four INTs by the Knights. Still, reason to be weary of financially backing Rutgers here 'cause team made good on just 3-of-15 third-down conversions last week and kid QB Nova still very much a wet-behind-the-ears gunslinger (see 11-of-24 passing versus Pitt).
CLEMSON at MARYLAND: The storyline here is whether or not Clemson Tigers QB Boyd (hip pointer) is 100 percent or close to it for this clash in College Station. Gotta admit the kid has been better than expected this year for the 6-0 Tigers who charge into this game having covered four in a row and five-of-six on the year. True, Clemson's covered only three of its last 10 head-to-head tilts with the Terrapins but when have the Tigers ever played like this in recent memory as last weekend's 36-14 win/cover versus 21-point pup Boston College featured 500 offensive yards for HC Swinney's guys plus five FGs from ultra-dependable PK Catanzaro.
VIRGINIA TECH at WAKE FOREST: The numbers don't lie and they say V-Tech's won/covered all three head-to-head matchups with WF Demon Deacons since 2004 and now aforementioned red-hot QB Thomas (310 yards passing with 3 TDs and 2 TDs rushing last week versus Miami) takes his act on the road against frisky gang from Winston-Salem. Did you know the Deacs are 41-27-2 ATS as underdogs in the Grobe Era that started back in 2001 … and so think twice before you are tempted to tell your man to "gimme Virginia Tech and just lay it"!
BYU at OREGON STATE: Count us among the folks thoroughly unimpressed this year by the "Independent" version of the BYU Cougars who've failed to cover four of their first six outings this year and keep in mind the fact BYU's not exceeded 29 points in any of these half-dozen games … what happened to the good old days? Meanwhile, Oregon State scored 27 points in the second quarter alone in last weekend's 37-27 win against Arizona as new starting QB Mannion threw for 267 yards and two scores. Play it again, guys! Oregon State 27, BYU 20.
ARIZONA STATE at OREGON: Stay tuned for any/all updates on Ducks RB James who rushed for 239 yards before getting carted off with funky-looking dislocated elbow in last Thursday's home win/cover against Cal – no doubt high-octane Oregon can win/cover this two-TD plus price even without their Heisman Trophy candidate but why pay so much if you're not sure superstar guy might be out of the lineup?
LSU at TENNESSEE: Did you notice how the price tag on this SEC bash went up from LSU minus 13 points to minus 16 points faster than you could say gumbo? The Tigers pummeled short-handed Florida 41-11 in day-time tilt in Baton Rouge last Saturday and note QBs Lee and Jefferson teamed up to go 10-of-14 for 215 passing yards and no turnovers. If you tell us right now that Tennessee slinger Bray will have time to throw it here, than possibly orange gang can hang tight but it always seems it's "rush hour" in enemy backfields when LSU's defense is on the field. Know what we mean? This game is televised nationally at 3:30 ET on CBS. It may or not be a part of Jim Hurley's TV Triple Crown, a package that's gone 12-6 so far this year. Join us again Saturday for another day of watching and winning at the cut-rate price of $15.
BAYLOR at TEXAS A&M: So, maybe the Baylor Bears aren't a one-man show after all! QB Griffin is a legit Heisman Trophy contender this year and last week he threw for 212 yards and rushed for another 107 yards en route to that 49-26 win/cover against 15 ½-point dog Iowa State but it was Bears back Ganaway who turned heads with career-best 200-yard rushing outing that included three scores and now this two-head monster does its thing here against A&M Aggies bunch that has lost four in a row to Mr. Vig. Sound the alarms! Baylor 39, Texas A&M 35.
MICHIGAN at MICHIGAN STATE: No doubt one handicapping theory we've espoused over the years here at THE NETWORK BULLETIN is that it's tough to win/cover back-to-back road games in major-college football … but we're making an exception to our little rule here! The Michigan Wolverines have triple-revenge for this clash in East Lansing and they have the better QB (Robinson over Cousins) and more team speed at RB, WR and DBs here and that's gotta count for something, right? Michigan QB Robinson was stat-sheet stuffer supreme with 338 yards passing (and two TDs) and 113 yards rushing (with two ground scores) in last week's 42-24 comeback win at 7 ½-point pup Northwestern and he's got bag of tricks for "Sparty" here. It's Michigan 30, Michigan State 22.
OHIO STATE at ILLINOIS: Count the 3-and-3 Buckeyes as emotionally down-and-out here following last week's painful 34-27 loss-but-cover at Nebraska – the 'Eyes surrendered a 27-6 lead and QB Miller left the game with an injured right leg and so HC Fickell's guys in major funk and possibly without make-it-happen quarterback here too. Hey, one thing about this year's Illinois club is that Champaign gang is 6-0 SU and a win here would equal the start of the Illini squad way back in 1951. QB Scheelhaase (210 yards passing with 3 TDs and 0 INTs last week in 41-20 win/cover at Indiana) is legit star … in case you were wondering!
ALABAMA at OLE MISS: Here's a little saying we like to blab to our best buddies … Nobody's getting rich these days betting against the 'Bama Crimson Tide! Last week's 34-0 whitewash of 29 ½-point dog Vanderbilt now means HC Saban's club is 5-1 vig-wise this year and 30-15 ATS overall since the start of the 2008 season.
STANFORD at WASHINGTON STATE: Don't be so darn quick to think the here-and-now Stanford Cardinal is gonna win/cover all of its games this year (see 5-0 SU and ATS start)! Fact of matter is QB Luck – who is fresh off season-best 370-yard, 3-TD game in 48-7 triumph against Colorado – is the hands-down best player in the sport but gritty Wash State has plenty of weapons to make this interesting with QB Lobbestael-to-WR Wilson combo sure to be heard.
GEORGIA at VANDERBILT: This just in … the Georgia Dawgs won't be axing HC Richt at year's end nor should they do so! The 11th-year head coach of the "between the hedges" gang has righted the ship with four successive wins/covers following dreadful 0-2 SU/ATS start and has anyone out there noticed the Bulldogs have done it with defense? Georgia's allowed a grand total of 35 points in its last four outings and that stingy "D" plus frosh RB Crowell (TD runs of 1 and 17 yards in last weekend's 20-12 win/cover at 2 ½-point pup Tennessee) slam-dunks home boys here. It's Georgia 27, Vanderbilt 8.
OKLAHOMA STATE at TEXAS: Wonder what the rumblings will be in/around Austin this week following that 55-17 Oklahoma thrashing of the 'Horns last weekend in Red River Rivalry game … okay, so it ain't gonna be fun talk radio for Texas HC Brown, right? Now here comes scorching-hot Okie State bunch that just hung 70 points on Kansas – note that Cowboys QB Weeden threw for 288 yards and five TDs while playing less than a half in that one – and you can bet your bottom dollar that O-State will send lots of blitzes after kid QBs McCoy and Ash couldn't handle same against the Sooners.
NORTHWESTERN at IOWA: From the hard-to-believe department comes the news that N'western has copped four outright upsets wins in the last five head-to-head meetings with Iowa dating back to the 2006 season (including the last three in a row, folks!) and now in saunters a Hawkeyes bunch that last week lost time of possession 35:54-to-24:06 while getting bopped at the line of scrimmage against Penn State in 13-3 Nittany Lions win. The 'Eyes were outrushed 231-to-84 in that Big 10 road tilt and safe to say HC Ferentz's crew must shore up O-line and get ground game purring here.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16
PHILADELPHIA at WASHINGTON: Don't know about you but we're actually now feeling a bit sorry for the "Dream Team" Eagles who haven't won (or covered) a game since the 31-13 triumph in St. Louis back in Week 1 play. Last Sunday's horrible 31-24 loss at 3-point home dog Buffalo "featured" four picks of QB Vick and now the energized 'Skins want some payback from last year's humbling 59-28 home loss to Philly in a Monday Night Football clash … remember that debacle? Note that Washington is an electric 6-1-1 ATS (against the spread) overall since late last season and last week's bye is a real plus here. It's Washington 26, Philadelphia 19.
SAN FRANCISCO at DETROIT: The magical 2011 season rolls on for these Detroit Lions who held on for the dear cover in 24-13 win against 6 ½-point dog Chicago last Monday Night – if you're keeping track than note the Motowners are 4-0-1 ATS this year and a spiffy 9-0-1 against the odds since late in 2010 and here RB Best (see game-changing 88-yard TD scamper versus Da Bears) looks to juke his way past a Niners defense that is yielding just 15.6 points a game.
INDIANAPOLIS at CINCINNATI: Go ahead and raise your hand if you thought the Cincy Bengals would have a winning record while heading into their Week 6 tilt but that's the case as rookie QB Dalton aired a pair of scoring strikes last week in 30-20 win at 3-point dog Jacksonville (and please don't ask the NFL folks on Park Avenue in NYC to explain that last-second fumble bring-back for a TD by DL Atkins as that didn't look kosher!). You fantasy league guys/gals know that Colts WR Garcon now has scored four TDs in the past two games but what good's that done for 0-5 Indianapolis?
BUFFALO at NY GIANTS: Memo to NFL handicappers that the Giants are a wobbly 10-15 versus the vig as betting favorites while dating back to the start of 2009 and so be extra careful when tempted to tell your guy "gimme the G-men" here. Throw into the mix the fact that Giants QB Manning aired three INTs in last Sunday's shocking 36-25 home loss to 9 ½-point dog Seattle (and let's not hear anything about 'em all being deflected passes!) and you get the feeling HC Coughlin's club may resort to more ground-and-pound stuff here.
HOUSTON at BALTIMORE: Sure shapes up as a pro-Ravens play here as HC Harbaugh's guys -- 3-1 SU (straight-up) and 3-1 ATS – are fresh off last week's bye and knowing full well that prep time was spent fine-tuning QB Flacco who completed just 10-of-31 passes in recent 34-17 win/cover against the New York Jets. Hey, maybe it's high time to see if WR Boldin (team-leading 15 receptions among wide receivers) can bust loose with some long balls. On flip side, visiting Texans still bumming over that last-second INT tossed by mistake-prone QB Schaub who might have thrown for 416 yards last week but also threw two picks including late end-zone errant pass on game's final play in 25-20 loss against 4 ½-point pup Oakland. Call it Baltimore 28, Houston 14.
DALLAS at NEW ENGLAND: Here's something you might not have known regarding these here-and-now New England Patriots … they've actually covered nine of their last 12 games while dating back to late last season and last week's 30-21 win/cover versus the 7 ½-point underdog Jets featured best game by an O-line in the league this year. Note that RB Green-Ellis scampered free for career-best 136 yards rushing – and the dud never loses a fumble! – while QB Brady (24-of-33 for 321 yards with one TD and one INT) had all day long to search for the open receiver and only way the 'Boys hurry 'em here is if DE Ware and mates show major speed off the edge. Note that Dallas claiming it's healthier than ever after enjoying last week's bye but QB Romo (ribs/lungs) still no picture of health and WRs Bryant and Miles are hurtin'.
NEW ORLEANS at TAMPA BAY: Maybe the single-worst thing to happen to any professional sports team is to get embarrassed – it usually lights a fuse for the next game and that's the thought process here as T-Bay Bucs were spanked 48-3 at San Francisco last Sunday afternoon as RB Gore spearheaded the offense with 125 yards rushing but it was a gallant showing by the Niners' defense that told the tale. Now, will look for kid QB Freeman (187 yards passing with 0 TDs and 2 INTs in that loss) to enjoy bounce-back game for Tampa Bay here against poor-tackling Saints defense that was rather lucky to have survived 30-27 non-cover win in Carolina last Sunday. P.S., it's the third road game in three weeks for N'Orleans here! Tampa Bay 28, New Orleans 21.
MINNESOTA at CHICAGO: Here's a Windy City memo that is circulating throughout town … The Bears better plug up their many problem spots along the O-line (and soon!) or under-siege QB Cutler will get swallowed up before we ever get to the team's Oct. 30th bye week! In last Monday's aforementioned 11-point loss at Ford Field, Cutler was sacked three times but we lost track of how many times his passes were hurried and how many times he was chased from the pocket. Now, Cutler needs to make sure do-it-all RB Forte (116 yards rushing and 35 yards receiving last week) gets at least 30 "touches" here – he had 22 carries and 4 receptions in that last NFC North tilt and needs to carry the load here. Get on board and get our winner on this Sunday Night Showdown for just $15. .
MONDAY, OCTOBER 17
MIAMI at NY JETS: No more excuses for the J-E-T-S who dropped all three of their road games from Sept. 25th-thru-Oct. 9th in Oakland/Baltimore/New England and among the many troublesome facts is WRs Holmes/Burress/Mason were true non-factors in these games (see eight total receptions in last week's aforementioned nine-point loss in Foxborough) and now winless Fish invade Met Life Stadium off their bye week and with ornery defense ready to step forward here. Maybe Miami HC Sparano knows he's ultimate "lame duck" but do keep in mind that Dolphins have covered four of their last five head-to-head showdowns against the Jets and will be taking a bundle of points here – maybe do-it-all RB Bush can make the Jets defense "swing-and-miss" here. Stay tuned. We're set to cash in this AFC East Grudge Match and you can join us for only $20.
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