Network Bulletin Sept 19-23

Volume 29, Issue 2 - Friday, Sept 20 thru Monday, September 23

TURMOIL IN TEXAS

It is - without a question - a program in major turmoil these days but is the media and other NCAA football teams shoveling dirt prematurely on the Texas Longhorns?

Consider that Mack Brown's club enters Saturday's home game against Big 12 rival Kansas State with a shabby 1-2 SU mark - a so-what win against New Mexico State was followed up by back-to-back losses at BYU and Ole Miss - and everyone knows the 'Horns have allowed a bundle of points in their last two games.

That's 40 points allowed versus BYU, That's 44 points allowed versus Ole Miss ... and one defensive coordinator (see Manny Diaz) already sacked by Brown following the 40-21 loss in Provo back on Sept. 7th.

Right, new DC Greg Robinson didn't work any miracles last weekend in the 44-23 home loss to the Ole Miss Rebels as the Texas defense yielded 453 yards (or 6.3 yards per play) and generally had that deer-in-the-headlight look once again.

Still, the Longhorns could turn the beat around with just one win here against K-State: Even with the grumbling at an all-time high - remember this is Brown's 16th season in Austin and he's heard "fire the coach" rumblings before - the fact of the matter is we've got a long way to go this season and Texas QB Case McCoy does come off a solid 24-of-36, 196-yard passing game with no picks and he could be a turn-the-season-around kind of player.

For all the folks who have been saying Brown's a goner if/when his Texas team loses to Kansas State and then again on Oct. 12th against archrival Oklahoma, remember this: If the 'Horns WIN both of these high-profile games, they could be headed for a BCS bowl game - and so let's see how all this plays out in the famed Lone Star State and let's give Brown the whole year to show what he's got. Don't 15 mostly successful seasons - including a national title back in 2005 - allow Brown to be cut some slack.

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NCAA TOP TEN PREVIEWS

Get all of the NCAA Football Winners for Saturday, September 21st and the remainder of this 2013 season when you check in with Jim Hurley either online at www.JimHurley.com or at the exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 10am (ET) on game-day mornings and after 1pm. ET for the weeknight games.

COLORADO STATE (1-2) at #1 ALABAMA (2-0) - 7 p.m. ET, espn2
There's a sentiment going 'round that Alabama head coach Nick Saban will "take it easy" on old friend Jim McElwain (former Crimson Tide assistant coach) but if that's the case why has this Las Vegas line climbed from 36.5 points to 39.5 points?

#2 OREGON (3-0) - Bye Week; Next vs. California (Sept. 28)

FLORIDA A&M (1-2) at #4 OHIO STATE (3-0) - 12 p.m. ET, Big 10 Network
Keep in mind the O-State Buckeyes have beaten three teams (that's Buffalo, San Diego State and Cal) with a combined 2-6 SU (straight-up) mark and so this hasn't exactly been "Murderer's Row" for the Big 10 guys who will open conference play next weekend at home against wounded Wisconsin.

#23 ARIZONA STATE (2-0) at #5 STANFORD (2-0) - 7 p.m. ET, Fox
Now that the Sun Devils were "gifted" that 32-30 win against Wisconsin last Saturday night, will the Pac-12 officials not cut 'em a single break here? Stanford's guy-to-watch is RB Tyler Gaffney who's rushed for 236 yards in his two games (a 5.9 ypc average) with 3 TDs. Sure looks like it all adds up to a twin-digit win here - and note Stanford's "only" laying 7 .5 points at the moment.

AUBURN (3-0, 1-0 SEC) at #6 LSU (3-0, 0-0 SEC) - 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
Prime-time hootenanny in Death Valley but did you know the LSU Bayou Bengals have beaten "War Eagle" by a combined 76-to-20 score in the last two meetings in Baton Rouge? If LSU slinger Zach Mettenberger (797 yards passing with 9 TDs and no INTs) is salivating here, who can blame 'em as Auburn has country's 99th-best pass defense. Ugh!

Jim Hurley's Major College Mismatch of the Month
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FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (0-3) at #7 LOUISVILLE (3-0) - 12 p.m. ET, ESPN Game Plan
Okay, so Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater is putting up Heisman Trophy-like stats - he's 62-of-88 passing for 1,002 yards with 10 TDs and just 1 INT - but this early-season sked's been a joke with wins against Ohio, Eastern Kentucky and at Kentucky. Maybe the first time we'll really know if Bridgewater and the U of L Cardinals are "for real" is the Oct. 18th home game against UCF. So just be patient!

BETHUNE-COOKMAN (3-0) at #8 FLORIDA STATE (2-0) - 6 p.m. ET
Probably not a whole lot of folks lining up to wager on a near six-TD favored Florida State crew here - not with seven consecutive ACC games on tap including FSU's conference clash at Boston College next weekend - but thought it might be a good time to let you know Sems' freshman QB Jameis Winston is the proud owner of the following stats: He's completed 40-of-45 passes for 570 yards with 6 TDs and 1 INT. Wait, another frosh Heisman Trophy winner?

Saturday Night Dynamite Duo!
Two teams ready to blow up the pointspread complete another standout Saturday.
Last Week we swept with these two...
Rice (-7) over Kansas WON 23-14 and Ohio U (+8) over Marshall WON 34-31
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NORTH TEXAS (2-1) at #9 GEORGIA (1-1)
- 12:21 p.m. ET, SEC-TV
This is rare early-season breather for the Georgia Dawgs who've lost to Clemson, beaten South Carolina and have a date with mighty LSU on deck. So, do does that mean Mark Richt's team "relaxes" here? Looks to us like a well-coached North Texas team - remember Dan McCarney (former Iowa State boss) - could give the Bulldogs some major fits.

SMU (1-1) at #10 TEXAS A&M (2-1) - 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Don't count out "Johnny Football" as a potential back-to-back winner of the Heisman Trophy after that stirring 464-yard, 5-TD performance in last week's 49-42 loss-but-cover versus Alabama. If the tempo is stepped up on both sides here, then Manziel should throw the ball a minimum 50 times.

Here's a pair of Top 25 games of interest that we'll be keeping a close eye on this Saturday ...

MICHIGAN STATE (3-0) at #22 NOTRE DAME (2-1) - 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC
This has been a real streaky rivalry as ND Fighting Irish has covered the last three in a row after M-State Spartans had gone 4-0-1 vig-wise in the five prior showdowns - and now folks well aware that Brian Kelly's golden domers are 0-3 spreadwise this year. If State has upset hopes as 6 ½-point dogs then 101st-ranked passing "attack" must make some chunk plays and that means new #1 Connor Cook (4 TDs and 0 INTs) must not be shy about chuckin' it deep.

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PURDUE (1-2) at #24 WISCONSIN (2-1) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN
Think the Wisky Badgers head into this game feeling the on-field zebras "owe them something" after Pac-12 officials put the screws to Gary Andersen's gang last Saturday night in the desert? No question the bloated 24-point price looks a bit scary but gotta believe Wisconsin QB Joel Stave (603 yards passing with 6 TDs and 2 INTs) will go off against wobbly Boiler secondary. Looks like one of those 55-14 type games, if you ask us!

NFL UNBEATENS AFTER 2 GAMES

Hey, one of the real neat stories so far in this 2013 NFL season is the fact the Miami Dolphins have started off things at 2-and-oh both SU and ATS - and the Fish have exploded onto the here-and-now scene with road wins/covers against the Cleveland Browns and the Indianapolis Colts. In case you were wondering, only five NFL teams have won/covered back-to-back season-opening road games the past 10 years and here's the roll call with what those teams eventually did:

DENVER - In the 2003 season, the Broncos bashed hosts Cincinnati and San Diego right out of the starting gate with 30-10 and 37-13 winners. The end result: The '03 Broncos were one-and-done in the playoffs, thanks to a 41-10 loss at 3-point fav Indianapolis.

MIAMI - In 2010, the Tony Sparano-coached Dolphins won 15-10 at 3-point underdog Buffalo in a Week 1 game and then followed it up with a 14-10 triumph at 5.5- point fav Minnesota. So, history does - sometimes - repeat itself! The end result: Those '10 Dolphins finished 7-9 SU and, obviously, didn't even land a playoff berth.

Jim Hurley's NFL September Stunner III
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Sept 8: Packers / 49'ers (Over 49) 28-34 covered by 13!
Sept 15: Cardinals (+2) upset Lions 25-21, covered by 6
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MINNESOTA - The 2009 Vikings won/covered in Cleveland and Detroit in the opening two weeks of play with 34-20 and 27-13 wins as 4- and 10-point favorites, respectively. The end result: The '09 Vikes won 12 regular-season games and beat Dallas 34-3 in an NFC Divisional Playoff Game but then had their season ended with a 31-28 loss-but-cover in OT at eventual Super Bowl champ New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game.

NEW ORLEANS - The 2006 Saints won/covered season-opening games at Cleveland and Green Bay and that was before the highly-emotional Monday Night Football home opener win before Atlanta in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the year before. The end result: New Orleans won 10 regular-season games and one playoff tilt before having its year finished with a 39-14 loss in Chicago in the NFC Championship Game.

SEATTLE - The 2004 Seahawks nabbed back-to-back season-starting wins/covers at New Orleans and Tampa Bay and note that Seattle defense allowed a grand total of 13 points in those games. The end result: The '04 Seattle team went 9-7 SU and was kayoed in the first round of the playoffs with a 27-20 home loss against St. Louis.

20-STAR NFL TOTALS PARLAY SWEEPS SUNDAY!
Jim Hurley knows HOW the Game Will be Played.
That's why he's 7-1 in Totals so far in 2013.

9/7 Oregon/Virginia OVER 64 WON 59/10
  Buffalo/Baylor OVER 70 WON 13/70
  Duke/Memphis OVER 54 Lost 28/14
9/9 Texans/Chargers OVER 45 WON 31/28
9/12 Troy/Arkansas State OVER 67 WON 34/41
9/14 Tennessee/Oregon OVER 71 WON 14/59
9/15 Chargers/Eagles OVER 55.5 WON 33/30
  Panthers/Bills OVER 43.5 WON 23/24

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NFL WEEK 3 PREVIEWS

Get all of Jim Hurley’s NFL Week 2 winners when you check with him on game day Sunday after 11 a.m. ET and after 1 p.m. ET on Monday for the MNF game either online at www.JimHurley.com or at the exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453

TAMPA BAY (0-2) at NEW ENGLAND (2-0) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Here's hoping Patriots' QB Tom Brady has calmed down a bit following his tirade-filled performance in last Thursday's 13-10 non-cover win against the New York Jets. Sure, Brady and his new cast of pass-catchers were not often on the "same page" but the extra prep time here should help plus the fact New England's real game plan should be to run right at a Tampa Bay defensive front that's hurting - looks like the "right spot" to lay a TD with Bill Belichick's crew, eh?

HOUSTON (2-0) at BALTIMORE (1-1) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
It's become obvious that this year's Texans already have become the "cardiac kids" of this man's league with that buzzer-beater win at San Diego in Week 1 followed last Sunday by an electric 30-24 non-cover OT win against Tennessee. Maybe rookie WR DeAndre Hopkins (a 15.3 yards-per-catch average on his 12 catches this season) will be a fourth-quarter menace to the Ravens here ... you have been warned!

ARIZONA (1-1) at NEW ORLEANS (2-0) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
The "Who Dat's" surely had some luck on their side last weekend in that 17-16 win at Tampa Bay as Bucs PK Rian Lindell missed a 46-yarder with a minute remaining that would have put the Tampa Bay Bucs in good shape and instead New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley won it at the gun with a 27-yard FG boot. Gotta believe that Hartley's a big key here for a Saints team that went 0-for-4 in the red-zone a week ago. Maybe the Saints' sidewinder bangs home another three or four FGs in this clash but the points sure do look inviting - the road team is a full touchdown pup at press time -- if Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald gets more involved (see just two catches for 33 yards last Sunday in a 25-21 win against Detroit).

ATLANTA (1-1) at MIAMI (2-0) - 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox
As we pointed out in yesterday's Jim Sez column, there's only been five other NFL teams in the past decade that have started off a season with back-to-back road wins/covers and so "hats off" to the Dolphins who look to follow up those wins in Cleveland and Indianapolis with a rousing home opener here. The Fish placated WR Mike Wallace (9 catches for 115 yards in last week's win in Indy after one-catch opener) and tell us right now that he's a 100-yard catch guy here and we'll tell you Miami covers the 3-point price tag.

JACKSONVILLE (0-2) at SEATTLE (2-0) - 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS
Not sure we're gonna have a twenty-something Las Vegas price tag here for this Jaguars-Seahawks clash in the great northwest but know this: Seattle is a sizzling 20-6 versus the vig at home ever since head coach Pete Carroll came aboard in 2010 ... va-va-va voom!

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  Are You 2-0 On Sunday Night? I am!

Sept 8
: Cowboys (-3.5) Giants WON 36-31
            Sept 15: Seahawks (-2.5) 49ers WON 29-3

Listen to me and you'll be 3-0 after Sunday night's Steelers-Bears Matchup.
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On Sunday Night, it's ...
CHICAGO (2-0) at PITTSBURGH (0-2) - 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Hey, the Bears are the NFL's only unbeaten team that's yet to cover a pointspread while copping back-to-back home games thanks to a season-opening 24-21 "push" against Cincinnati and last week's 31-30 non-cover comeback win against Minnesota but the question here is can the always-opportunistic Bears defense force Steelers slinger Ben Roethlisberger into some bad throws here? Not often the Steelers are home dogs but taking 2 ½ points right now and looking rather lifeless, wouldn't you say?

On Monday Night, it's ...
OAKLAND (1-1) at DENVER (2-0) - 8:40 p.m. ET, ESPN
The Broncos are averaging 45 points through season-starting wins/covers against Baltimore and the New York Giants but what really encouraged Denver last week were those two turn-the-corner TD runs by RB Knowshon Moreno - might he be the real "fantasy" steal this year. Note this Las Vegas price tag is up to 15 points and the last time Denver laid more than a two-TD price was way back in the 2005 season (a 12-10 non-cover win against 15-point pup Baltimore)

JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK IS THE MONDAY NIGHT MASTER!
11-6 last year on Monday Night Football and 3-0 So Far on MNF in 2013!
Sept 9: Eagles (+4) Redskins WON 33-27
Sept 16: Bengals (-6.5) Steelers  WON 20-10 & Steelers/Bengals UNDER 41 WON
Jim Hurley covers Oakland-Denver tonight, just $25 - Click here

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