College Football Opening Weekend
Volume 30, Issue 1 - Saturday, August 30 thru Monday, September 1
Get all of the NCAA Football Winners for Opening Weekend, and the remainder of this 2014 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.
#16 CLEMSON at #12 GEORGIA – 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
If Georgia head coach Mark Richt has his way, then Heisman Trophy-hopeful RB Todd Gurley (989 yards rushing in just 10 games a year ago) must high-step his way ‘round a Clemson defense that surrendered 35, 31 and 31 points in three of its final four games a year ago when the Tigers roared to an 11-2 SU season. Keep Gurley’s longest runs here to 10 or 15 yards and Clemson will have a shot late.
Spread Notes – Georgia finished just 3-8-1 ATS (against the spread) overall last year and that included the season-opening 38-35 loss to 1 ½-point underdog Clemson. The ACC Tigers are 9-3 versus the vig away the past two years and note Clemson’s 19-10 ATS as point-grabbing sides since the start of the 2005 season.
#13 LSU vs. #14 WISCONSIN (at Reliant Stadium/Houston) – 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
The Big 10 boys make no secret of their desire to “pound the rock” but we want to know whether Heisman Trophy-hopeful RB Melvin Gordon (1,609 rushing yards last year) will tire out after 30-plus totes while the $64,000 question on LSU’s side is who exactly will be running the show at crunch time … soph Anthony Jennings or freshman Brandon Harris?
If the Tigers lean on super-frosh RB Leonard Fournette than nobody will blame ‘em but what happens when this highly regarded RB gets stuck right there at the line of scrimmage? The oddsmakers have LSU favored by 5 ½ points (it opened at four points) but keep in mind Wisky’s won 16 consecutive openers straight-up.
Spread Notes – The LSU Tigers are a meek 3-7-1 ATS away the past two years and note the Bayou Bengals are just 51-54-8 ATS in the Les Miles Era that dates back to ’05. On the flip side, Wisconsin is a decent 8-5-1 spreadwise as pups the past five years but the Badgers have failed to cover their on-the-board opener in five of the last six seasons.
FLASH ALERT --- MUST-ACT LATE INFO --- FLASH ALERT
#1 FLORIDA STATE vs. OKLAHOMA STATE (at Cowboys Stadium) – 8 p.m. ET, ABC
The ‘Noles are up to a 19-point betting fav at press time and that means Okie State’s only real hope of covering this price tag is having Florida State score less than 35 points … so Cowboys RB Desmond Roland (811 yards rushing last year) must chew clock/yards and hope FSU’s physical and fast defense doesn’t wear him down.
Spread Notes – Florida State cranked out a 10-3 ATS mark en route to last year’s national championship season and did you realize the Seminoles are a respectable 20-14 vig-wise as double-digit betting favorites under fifth-year head coach Jimbo Fisher? Meanwhile, Oklahoma State’s 33-17 ATS overall the past four years (a sizzling .660 winning rate) and the Cowboys are a collective 61-44-3 spreadwise under 10th-year head coach Mike Gundy.
#2 ALABAMA vs. WEST VIRGINIA (at Georgia Dome/Atlanta) – 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
What’s really gonna be important in terms of whether or not Alabama covers the hefty-sized 26 ½-point spread here is can West Virginia’s offense starring QB Clint Trickett (7 TDs and 7 INTs last year) move the ball against a Tide defense playing without LB Trey DePriest who has been suspended for a “minor violation” … if the WVU Mountaineers score more than 14 points here than it’s a moral victory of sorts.
Spread Notes – Alabama is 50-37-1 ATS overall in the Saban Era that started back in 2007 (that’s a .575 winning rate) and note the Crimson Tide’s 16-12 ATS versus non-SEC foes during this time span. West Virginia enters this season-opening bash in Atlanta with a solid 17-10 spread log as point-takers dating back to the start of the 2005 season. The ‘Neers, however, have failed to cover seven of their last 11 away games.
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