Key Saturday College Previews


By Jim Hurley:

Hey, Tom Coughlin, you're one cute cookie!

The New York Giants' two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach let the media drone on and on this week about all those key Giants injuries -it made everyone out there feel as if the G-men were being led to some kind of slaughter in last night's prime-time game in Carolina.

Heck, the Las Vegas price went from Giants favored by 1 ½ points to open all the way to Carolina favored by 3 points just prior to game time ... and you guessed it, the line move meant absolutely nothing!

Instead of a highlight-reel type game from Panthers' young stud QB Cam Newton -has he stopped throwing it to the wrong colored jerseys yet! -we got vintage Giants football with the O-line and D-line playing their best game since last year's Super Bowl win against New England and toss in a dose of new star RB Andre Brown (20 carries for 113 yards and two TDs) and there it was ...Giants 36, Panthers 7

You could have gone to bed early and not missed a dang thing! Let's hope Sunday's NFL Week 3 card has a little more drama.


#10 CLEMSON (3-0) at #4 FLORIDA STATE (3-0) -8 p.m. ET, ABC
Please let's not hear any Clemson player moan-and-groan about the fact the FSU Seminoles are two-TD favorites for this under-the-lights affair ...If you want to prove a point, than beat the Noles for a second straight season (and for the third time in four years) and win that ACC Atlantic Division too!

Dabo Swinney's guys have been all upset about the Las Vegas pointspreads but have you seen Florida State in action so far?

In last weekend's 52-0 absolute beat-down of four-TD dog Wake Forest, the Sems piled up 612 offensive yards and that included the 74- and 80-yard scoring romps from RB Chris Thompson who is playing just one year removed from suffering a broken back -if Thompson and fellow star-in-the-making RB James Wilder Jr. (16 carries for 94 yards against WF) find creases here in this vulnerable Clemson defense that ranks 81st nationally against the run (allowing 180 ypg) than it could be lights-out time before we ever get to the fourth quarter.

And time for the Clemson kids to cool their heels regarding that aforementioned pointspread!

Spread Notes -Florida State has failed to cover six of its last seven head-to-head showdowns versus Clemson dating back to the 2005 season when this ACC clash used to be known as the "Bowden Bowl" and note the 'Noles are a wobbly 10-15 ATS (against the spread) in all conference games the past three-plus seasons. Meanwhile, Clemson enters this prime-time tilt in Tallahassee with a shabby 2-7 spread mark in its last nine games overall and the Tigers are sub-.500 (that's 7-8 ATS) whenever snapping up points since the start of the 2008 season.
#15 KANSAS STATE (3-0) at #6 OKLAHOMA (2-0) -7:50 p.m. ET, Fox
Will last year's 41-point home loss suffered by the K-State Wildcats at the hands of Oklahoma serve as a source of major motivation here or is it merely a reminder of the kind of damage this Oklahoma Sooners crew can lay on someone?

No doubt OU's 58-17 win in Manhattan last year was a major spanking but how about the fact Kansas State didn't collect a single sack back than of Oklahoma QB Landry Jones?

The Heisman Trophy hopeful has thrown for 474 yards and four TDs in early-season wins this year against nobodies UTEP and Florida A&M and so expect the 'Cats to sprinkle in some corner blitzes here and take note Bill Snyder's crew does have eight sacks in their last two games this year.

Key stat here: If Kansas State QB Collin Klein can burst through the gates and put up a couple of field-flipping runs (25 yards-or-more), than this could be closer than the "experts" think.

Spread Notes -Oklahoma registered a shoddy 3-6 spread log in all Big 12 games last year but the Sooners have covered 11 of their last 17 games when placed in the role of double-digit betting favorite since early 2010. On the flip side, Kansas State's 11-4 vig-wise overall since the start of last year (a sizzling .733 winning rate) and the 'Cats own a 15-8 ATS mark as pups since the start of 2009.
#18 MICHIGAN (2-1) at #11 NOTRE DAME (3-0) -7:30 p.m. ET, NBC
The Fighting Irish Nation wants to know: Should they really be getting excited about this year's team?

No doubt Brian Kelly's club -not even a part of the season-opening Associated Press Top 25 -zoomed into national consciousness again with last week's 20-3 muscle-flexing win at Michigan State and now ole Notre Dame tries to do the one-two punch to the state's other "name" team here and all eyes will be on LB Manti Te'o who collected a dozen tackles last Saturday night and now needs to put the wraps on Wolverines' QB Denard Robinson who's fresh off a 397-yard game (that's 291 yards passing and another 106 yards rushing) against lowly UMass last week.

What else is a "what-to-watch" item here?

Check out how much pressure the Big 10 guys put on Notre Dame QB Everett Golson whose stats so far may not wow you (see 611 yards passing in three games with 3 TDs and 1 INT) but he's great at buying time and so Michigan's D-backs must stick to the ND wide-outs for an extra tick here ... or else.

Spread Notes -Notre Dame's covered two of its first three games out of the cute this year (spread wins against Navy and Michigan State) but did you realize that the Fighting Irish is now a dead-even but vig-losing 13-13-3 ATS overall in the Kelly Era that started back in 2010? Michigan heads into this marquee matchup affair having covered its last three in a row against Notre Dame including last year's 35-31 win as 4-point home dogs. The maize-and-blue is a tasty 9-4-1 vig-wise in non-Big 10 games the past three-plus years.

#22 ARIZONA (3-0) at #3 OREGON (3-0) -10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Here's a little info that figures to send fright waves through the new-and-improved Arizona Wildcats: The Oregon Ducks have averaged 50.8 points per game in their last four hoedowns against the 'Cats and already this year Chip Kelly's kids are averaging 54 ppg in wins against three non-BCS conference clubs.

Gotta believe that the 'Zona game plan here is to own the clock for as much as possible and so QB Matt Scott (7 TDs and 1 INT this year) needs to nail all those short-to-medium range passes here against Oregon and do keep an eye on WR Austin Hill whose already accounted for 319 yards receiving this year for the desert gang.

Meanwhile, the Ducks rank fourth in the land in rushing offense (329 ypg) and last week De'Anthony Thomas registered 222 all-purpose yards on just 10 touches ... yowie!

Spread Notes -Oregon has failed to cover all three of its season-opening tilts this year but the Ducks did snag a spiffy 6-3-1 ATS mark last year when playing fellow Pac-12 foes. Arizona, meanwhile, is 8-17 against the odds away while dating back to the start of the 2008 season.


Hey, we just spent the lion's share of this Jim Sez column on the ranked-team matchups for this weekend but here's wondering aloud whether these 0-and-3 spread sides can get their acts straightened out come Saturday (and beyond):

ARKANSAS -Enough of hillbilly head coach John L. Smith and his press conference "act" and let's see if this Razorbacks club can get righted against TD underdog Rutgers. If QB Tyler Wilson (head/concussion) can't go (he says he will), can backup Brandon Allen (60 yards passing last week) look just a bit more prepared here?

AUBURN -War Eagle is only two years removed from its national championship season but Gene Chizik's crew can't get out of its own way these days and it sure looks like Kiehl Frazier is not the answer at quarterback. Now, Auburn's a three-TD home dog this weekend to LSU ... how the mighty have fallen!

COLORADO -What's to say about a team that surrendered 35 first-quarter points in last weekend's 69-14 loss at Fresno State? Quite frankly, we're surprised head coach Jon Embree is still on the job!

HOUSTON -Where's QB Case Keenum and former head coach Kevin Sumlin when you need 'em? The Coogs fired their offensive coordinator after a season-opening 30-13 loss to 34 ½-point pup Texas State and things have been getting even worse from there. Lucky the Coogs get this week off before a Sept. 29th tilt against city rival Rice.

IOWA -So much for the mystique of head coach Hayden Fry who hopes his ground game is for real here as heavy-duty favs against Central Michigan.

USC -Once upon a time the Men of Troy looked like they were gonna run roughshod over the land and cover every game but the fact is Lane Kiffin's club is 0-3 vig-wise and starting to finger-point too (with the head coach in the lead!).

VIRGINIA TECH -Did you know that the Hokies actually have covered only three of their last 16 games overall and this year's trifecta of spread setbacks to Georgia Tech, Austin Peay and Pittsburgh has Blacksburg faithful wondering if it's time for Frank Beamer to say adios.

WASHINGTON STATE -The Mike Leach Era could have Wazzau fans bankrupt before long and what happened to a high-octane offense that's averaging just 22 ppg?

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have all the NCAA Football, NFL Week 3 and Major-League Baseball Winners for you and so go ahead and climb aboard right now with America's #1 Handicapper! Make sure to get all this week's key gridiron games and be sure to check in with us on Game Days either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the winners. So, let's go ahead and pile up the profits together right thru Super Bowl XLVII ... okay?




By Jim Hurley:

Hey, it's kind of neat that there are only six undefeated teams left in the NFL- and two of the Week 3 games pit fellow unbeatens versus one another (see Atlanta at San Diego and Philadelphia at Arizona).

Good Stuff!

Got a feeling the 1972 Miami Dolphins- celebrating their 40th anniversary "perfect season"- will be popping those champagne bottles sooner rather than later this year? Us too!

Meanwhile, there's a slew of top-flight games on the NFL Week 3 sked and we'll gladly get to that Sunday Night Preview- that's New England at Baltimore- in the very next edition of Jim Sez but here we'll concentrate on four big pro games with three of 'em slated for that "late afternoon" TV window.

NFL Syndicate Parlay Has Swept 12 of 17 and Sweeps Again Sunday!

Now here's a look at the NFL Week 3 Key Sunday afternoon previews:

HOUSTON (2-0) at DENVER (1-1)- 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS
What ... no prime-time game here for Denver QB Peyton Manning?

Okay, so the Broncos- finally- are back to playing day-time football and no doubt everybody will be watching to see if Manning is on target out of the starting gate after he aired three first-quarter picks (in the first eight minutes, no less) in last Monday's loss in Atlanta.

Manning shouldered all the blame for his "poor decisions" but here expect the veteran slinger to get the ball out early against a hard-charging Texans defense that really has not be threatened by amateurish quarterbacks from Miami and Jacksonville these first two weeks of 2012 play.

Hey, if you want to focus on something here that's not Manning-related, than check out how the Texans challenge Broncos CB Champ Bailey who- it seems to us- isn't exactly recorded the same type respect these days he used to garner and so Houston WR Andre Johnson (11 catches so far this year) could be kept quite busy in his head-to-head moments with Bailey here.

Spread Notes - Houston has covered its last five games in a row while dating back to last year and note the Texans are a solid 7-3 ATS (against the spread) away since the start of last season. On the flip side, Denver's split its first two out-of-the-box games in 2012 and the Broncos are 10-24-2 vig-wise at home the past four-plus seasons (that's a shabby .294 winning rate).

ATLANTA (2-0) at SAN DIEGO (2-0)- 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox
No doubt the early Tuesday morning DUI arrest of Atlanta Falcons RB Michael Turner cast a pall over the team's heady 27-21 Monday Night Football win against Denver and now there's some question as to whether the Falcs will let him play or not here- stay alert for the updates as we close in on this key tilt on the left coast (and remember the opponent here was Turner's original team back in the day when he played backup to LaDainian Tomlinson).

In any event, the NFL's top-rated passer- that's Atlanta QB Matt Ryan- has completed 70 percent of his passes this year and gotta believe he will be eyeballing old Chargers rival TE Tony Gonzalez (12 receptions for 123 yards this season) and how the Bolts defend him in the red zone is ultra-critical.

Spread Notes - San Diego is 2-and-oh spreadwise for the first time since 2006 (and note the Chargers failed to cover that year's Week 3 tilt at Baltimore) but did you know this AFC West crew failed to cover all four of its games versus NFC competition last year? Atlanta is already 2-0 ATS against AFC teams this year with those covers at Kansas City and home to Denver plus these Falcons are 28-16-1 ATS when playing non-NFC South foes dating back to the start of the 2008 season.

PHILADELPHIA (2-0) at ARIZONA (2-0)- 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox
Okay, so this year's Philly Eagles are the "kings of the close call" with one-point wins against Cleveland and Baltimore- but truth is Andy Reid's club hardly deserved to win either of these interconference games with a glut of turnovers (see four QB Michael Vick picks in Week One and another pair in last week's home tilt against the Ravens) and that's no way to survive in this man's NFL!

If Vick and Company decides to operate the no-huddle attack here, than slipping in draws/screens to RB LeSean McCoy is key. Hey, McCoy should be making some replacement official happy with his "fantasy league" stats here (just kidding, NFL!).

Note that Arizona is 27th in the league in passing offense and 25th in rushing offense and yet the Redbirds have clawed out four- and two-point wins against Seattle and New England, respectively, but one major question here can the Cards get WR Larry Fitzgerald injected back into their offense one week after he nabbed just one QB Kevin Kolb pass worth four yards? Yikes!

Spread Notes- Arizona's in search of its first 3-and-oh (or better) spread start since that 4-0 ATS beginning back in 2007 and remember that was head coach Ken Whisenhunt's first year on the job. Meanwhile, Philadelphia is a rotten 7-16 odds-wise when playing non-divisional opponents the past two-plus seasons and that includes the non-cover wins against Cleveland and Baltimore to start off this current campaign.

SAN FRANCISCO (2-0) at MINNESOTA (1-1)- 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Let's see if the beat goes on for the SF 49ers who look to trump a third consecutive NFC North foe following those pair of 8-point wins against Green Bay and Detroit.

Safe to say that Niners' boss-man Jim Harbaugh will be telling his QB Alex Smith to slide earlier following that late-game pop to his nose against the Lions last week (a major cheap shot!) but how about the fact the oft-criticized Smith so far has completed 40-of-57 passes (that's 70.2 percent) as a neat complement to the NFL's third-ranked rushing attack that is averaging a haughty 167 yards a game?

If sledgehammer RB Frank Gore (201 rushing yards this year) proves to be the best back on the field here against Minny's Adrian Peterson than San Fran will head to "The Big Apple" next week picture-perfect.

Spread Notes- San Francisco is now 14-5-1 ATS overall since the start of last year (a .737 winning rate) and note the Niners are a tasty 12-4 versus the vig as betting favorites while dating back to late in the 2010 season. Minnesota heads into this NFL Week 3 clash at 12-22-2 ATS overall since the start of 2010.

Get the NFL Rematch Of The Season: Patriots at Ravens on NBA Sunday Night


Let's go 'round the league with some NFL Week 3 Key Spread Stats ...

  • The Buffalo Bills venture to Cleveland this weekend and do you know the only time the Bills have been installed as road favorites in their last 18 road games was a 23-20 loss at 3-point home pup Cincinnati last season?

  • Since 2006, the Dallas Cowboys have covered all four of their head-to-head showdowns against Tampa Bay and that includes last year's 31-15 triumph at the TD-underdog Bucs

  • The last time the Detroit Lions started off a season at 0-3 ATS (or worse) was back in 2008 when those Motowners began 0-4 versus the vig

  • Indianapolis is a shabby 3-7 ATS in its last 10 home games against the Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Last year the Kansas City Chiefs registered a 9-3 ATS mark when placed in the underdog role; this year KC's already 0-2 ATS as pups with spread setbacks against Atlanta and Buffalo

  • The New York Jets last year went 3-6 ATS whenever coming off a spread loss and this week in Miami the J-E-T-S are coming off that putrid 27-10 loss at 4 ½-point fav Pittsburgh

  • Finally, Washington is playing its home opener this weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals and did you know the Redskins are 3-1-1 ATS in their last five home lid-lifters?

NOTE: Catch our NFL Week 3 Sunday Night Game Preview in the next Jim Sez.


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