Volume 26, Issue 3

Volume 26, Issue 3 ~ Thursday, September 23 thru Wednesday, September 29



Perhaps you know this little tidbit regarding past Super Bowl winners:
Only two of the prior 44 NFL teams that won a Super Bowl title started off their championship seasons at 0-2 - the 1993 Dallas Cowboys, the 2001 New England Patriots and the 2007 New York Giants - and so it's not particularly a case of having the odds on your side if you've happened to stagger out of this year's starting gate at 0-2.
Still, the likes of Dallas and Minnesota - teams that really/truly believed at season's start that they would be representing the NFC playing in Super Bowl XLV come February -- shouldn't totally despair. After all, we've just ticked off a short list of three teams that have won it all the past 17 years that were 0-2 at the start and so it's proven that it can happen.
But know this: All of the above-named Super Bowl-winning teams won their next game after the 0-2 start and so the Cowboys (at Houston this Sunday) and the Vikings (home to Detroit this weekend) have been forewarned.
Lose in Week 3, guys, and history says you are doomed!
Extra, extra:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you the NFL Week 3, NCAA Football and Major-League Baseball down-the-stretch winners all week and all month long when you either call us at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else when you simply log online right here at www.jimhurley.com.
The check-in times are after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday afternoon Baseball Games; then anytime after 1 p.m. ET Monday thru Friday for all the NFL, NCAA Football and MLB weeknight games; and anytime after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays.


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.


MIAMI at PITTSBURGH: The Steel City will be buzzing for this under-the-lights clash - hey, these clubs haven't met since 2003 when the U of M Hurricanes were still part of the Big East and so there's a real fight for conference supremacy in this ESPN shindig. Note that both clubs (wisely) had last weekend off and that allowed the 'Canes more time to soothe QB Harris who was picked off four times in 36-24 loss at 8-point favorite Ohio State back on Sept. 11th. No doubt the Pitt defense will turn up the heat on Harris but $64,000 question is when does Panthers' RB Lewis finally get heated up? Get this clash plus the night's Major-League Baseball winners when you check with us online or at 1-800-323-4453 on game-day afternoon. Got it? 


TCU at SMU: Just so you know a little recent history, the TCU Horned Frogs have outscored the SMU Mustangs 108-28 in their last three meetings (a 36-9 per-game average) - and now HC Patterson's crew comes into Dallas looking to maintain/improve its lofty status in the polls and so this could be a show-no-mercy result. Note that TCU slinger Dalton (267 yards passing and two TDs in last week's 45-10 win/cover against Baylor) directed the Frogs to scores on their first five possessions in that clash and may be an under-the-radar Heisman Trophy candidate ... really! This is the only game in town for pigskin fans tonight but we'll get you the Side/Totals winner and Baseball too when you check with Jim Hurley on game-day afternoon.


VIRGINIA TECH at BOSTON COLLEGE: It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that something's just not right with the V-Tech Hokies this year - true, they dug themselves out of early-game hole to batter East Carolina 49-27 last weekend but inexperienced defense and some shaky coaching this year by boss-man Beamer has us siding with revenge-minded BC here (see 48-14 loss for the Eagles in Blacksburg last year). Inspirational LB Herzlich gets up-close and personal with Tech QB Taylor and home team win this one by a "touch". Call it Boston College 27, Virginia Tech 20.

Hats off to N.C. State Wolfpack who've charged out of the 2010 starting gate with perfect 3-0 SU (straightup) and 3-0 ATS (against the spread) mark thus far and now have had the benefit of two extra prep/practice days to get ready for G-Tech's option offense here - okay, so we're grabbing what's offered but won't go totally crazy here. State QB Wilson fresh off 330-yard, 3-TD passing game in 30-19 triumph over Cincinnati last Thursday night and now "back on track" while Techsters off physical 30-24 win at North Carolina and could be gimpy at the start. Georgia Tech 27, N.C. State 24.

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WAKE FOREST at FLORIDA STATE: Once upon a time we loved to grab the WF Demon Deacons plus points as 10th-year boss Grobe is a rock-solid 35-20-2 ATS as a dog but anyone who eye-balled last weekend's 68-24 loss at Stanford knows that the Deacs can't play a lick of defense anymore plus they have some QB issues too. Meanwhile, Florida State's defense collected eight sacks last week in 34-10 home win against 10 ½-point pup BYU and may get to double digit sacks here!

GEORGIA at MISS STATE: No doubt you've heard that the Georgia Dawgs are 0-2 in the SEC and that hasn't been the case since Herschel Walker was in short pants (or a long time ago) and tough to like HC Richt's these days while coming off last-minute loss to Arkansas that "featured" no forced turnovers and skimpy 6-of-15 success rate on third-down plays. Georgia QB Murray (253 yards passing versus Arkansas last week) can heave it deep and maybe the Dawgs should let him air it out here against M-State squad that sports no offensive punch. If you must, it's Georgia 24, Mississippi State 23.

OKLAHOMA at CINCINNATI (at Paul Brown Stadium): Last week's 27-24 non-cover win by the OU Sooners over Air Force was just the latest evidence that this club has some "issues" as defense surrendered whopping 351 rushing yards and allowed the Fly Boys to convert on 11-of-18 third-down plays. The Sooners are not gonna get our road support here at this price tag but Cincy becomes the lesser of two evils and folks in/around the Queen City are wondering if HC Jones was the right guy for this job - the non-competitive 30-19 loss at N.C. State last Thursday night was a real red flag game, if you ask us!

Last Week We Went 3-0 With Notre Dame, Arizona and Kansas State!
We're ready to sweep again because Network takes advantage of inflated numbers and misguided public perception with marquee TV matchups! That's our TV Club.

ALABAMA at ARKANSAS: No doubt that there's major buzz for this SEC clash as 'Bama has Heisman Trophy-winning RB Ingram back in tow (see 9-carry, 151-yard, two-TD performance last week in that 62-13 slaughter of Duke) while host Hogs riding high following last-minute 31-24 win at Georgia. QB Mallett (380 yards passing versus the Dawgs) zipped in game-winner with 15 seconds left "between the hedges" but not so sure he'll meet with same success against nation's top-ranked squad. Gotta believe the Tide picks 'em off two or three times here and thus stalls any/all upset hopes. It's Alabama 29, Arkansas 17.


OREGON STATE at BOISE STATE: The ESPN Game Day crowd will be front-and-center here to watch the BCS-busting B-State Broncos and gotta believe HC Petersen's crew wants to "show off" here in this key clash against a Pac-10 foe. Last week's 51-6 win at Wyoming was a real joke - do you know there were actually folks claiming this could be a "trap" game for Boise State? - as QB Moore threw for 370 yards and remains in the mix for the early Heisman Trophy competition and here he flings another four or five TD strikes (paging WR Pettis!). Boise State 45, Oregon State 24.

Count us among the folks stunned by Michigan State's fake FG-turned-TD in overtime last weekend in Spartans' 34-31 win against Notre Dame and something tells us it will take HC Kelly and his club some time to get over that rough road loss. On the flip side, Stanford comes into South Bend with 3-and-oh mark that includes last weekend's 68-24 romp over Wake Forest as QB Luck laughed his way to 207-yard, four-TD passing performance (and he rushed 52 yards for a score too!). If HC Harbaugh's club can strike early against wobbly Irish defense, than home folks might be playing from behind all game long. Check with us for this game-day winner at 1-800-323-4453 or get it right here online.

CALIFORNIA at ARIZONA: Let's just get this on the table right here/right now: 'Zona HC Stoops is a major clown as his late-game antics in 34-27 win against Iowa last Saturday night was something else! His U of A Wildcats needed to end that game with four consecutive sacks of Iowa QB Stanzi to get "mission accomplished" but who could trust 'em here and especially if WR Criner (foot) is out (check status). On the flip side, Cal defense a major sieve in 52-31 loss at Nevada last Friday night as the Golden Bears surrendered 497 offensive yards. Maybe Cal RB Vereen (career-high 198 yards rushing and 3 TDs last week) can dent the end zone a couple of times here but we'll sit this one out.


UCLA at TEXAS: Go ahead and check the schedule and you'll this that this is an ultimate "sandwich game" for the Texas Longhorns - they come off last week's emotional 24-14 win at Texas Tech and have archrival Oklahoma on deck and so that means the Uclans slip into town and  make this a really, really close fit! The Bruins rock-n-rolled their way to easy 31-13 win against 3-point favorite Houston last Saturday night as RB Franklin banged out 158 rushing yards and three scores and now makes life tough on the 'Horns who are crummy 6-10-1 versus the vig as chalk sides since late in the 2008 season - betcha didn't know that! Texas 27, UCLA 23.

JIM HURLEY knows a LIVE DOG when he sees one! Not just dogs who play well and stay within the number...but PIT BULLS that grab the game by the throat and WIN OUTRIGHT! 
Last weekend our Dog of the Week won with Bowling Green (+3½) outright by more than two TD’s over Marshall 44-28, it was never-in doubt by halftime!
You can play Saturday's Dog on the money line for even greater profits because Vegas has the wrong team favored! Just $50 online - Click Here or call 1-800-323-4453  

Must admit that we're tempted to take what's offered here except don't like the fact Kentucky's only played Louisville/Western Kentucky/Akron so far ... and that's no way to warm up to a big game such as this one! Florida defense has been the real story this year for HC Meyer's crew as the Gators have collected a nation's-best 10 INTs this year and even another modest showing by Florida QB Brantley (see 167 yards passing and one TD in last week's 31-17 win at Tennessee) will be enough to do the trick here. It's Florida 33, Kentucky 16.

SOUTH CAROLINA at AUBURN: Gut feeling is that you never want to be laying points with this Auburn Tigers team that survived major scare as 7 ½-point home favs a week ago en route to 27-24 non-cover win in OT versus frisky Clemson - note that Auburn's a money-torching 5-11 against the spread as chalk the past two-plus seasons and here Carolina RB Lattimore (97 yards rushing in last week's 38-19 win against Furman) turns on the switch late to provide minor upset. South Carolina 23, Auburn 21.

WEST VIRGINIA at LSU: Something tells us this LSU Tigers defense received its "wakeup call" in that season-opening hang-on-for-dear-life 30-24 win against North Carolina and now will be tough to beat the rest of the way. The Bengals have allowed only 10 total points in back-to-back SEC wins against Vanderbilt and Mississippi State - last week CB Claiborne had two picks in LSU's grind-it-out 29-7 win against M-State - plus HC Miles' crew loves its PK Jasper who boomed school-record five FGs last Saturday. LSU 26, West Virginia 14.

OREGON at ARIZONA STATE: Gotta think A-State boss-man Erickson has not been sleeping much this week after botched PAT cost his club in 20-19 loss-but-cover at Wisconsin last Saturday afternoon. The fact of the matter is the Sun Devils should have scored two special teams TDs in that one (see 97-yard KO return stopped at the Wisky one-yard line) and only way the home folks win this one is if they get multiple defensive/special teams scores here. Oregon revs its engines up every week - the Ducks have scored 72, 48 and 69 points to start off the 2010 season and RB James (227 yards rushing and two scores in last week's scrimmage-like 69-0 win against Portland State) lights the fire again in this Pac-10 bash. Next! Oregon 42, Arizona 33.

(Note all figures below are against the spread)

  • Alabama is 12-6 vs. the SEC
  • Boise State 25-11-1 at home
  • California was 3-6 vs. the Pac-10 in 2009
  • Florida is 13-6-1 at home
  • Georgia Tech is 4-1 vs. N.C. State
  • LSU is 14-8-1 vs. non-SEC teams
  • Michigan State is 6-3 in its post-Notre Dame games
  • Nevada is 8-13 away
  • Rutgers is 4-10 at home
  • UCLA is 3-7 as an underdog side
  • Virginia Tech is 28-13-1 away
  • Washington State is 2-5 vs. USC


  4. TCU
  5. TEXAS

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.


TENNESSEE at NY GIANTS: Both of these teams really "laid an egg" in their Week 2 tilts but it's the Titans who go into the New Meadowlands Stadium scratching their collective heads here - QB Young was awful in that 19-11 home loss versus Pittsburgh (though HC Fisher immediately said he wasn't gonna yank him as the team's numero uno quarterback after his three-turnover showing) while the Giants never were in that 38-14 loss at Indy last Sunday night. Still, the Jints have some major O-line worries and the secondary is already paper-thin these days and so it's the road dogs or nothing at all in this clash as Young rebounds and RB Johnson (16 carries for 34 yards last week) gets at least one 50-plus yard TD scoot ... trust us! Tennessee 24, NY Giants 20.

BUFFALO at NEW ENGLAND: If the NE Patriots want to kick themselves for last week's 28-14 loss at the NY Jets, then HC Belichick's guys have to look no further than the first quarter-plus when they had the ball 90 percent of the time (or so it seemed) and got zippo for their efforts but gotta believe Pats will go back to basics here with more rushes (only 20 carries for 52 yards last week) against hapless Bills bunch that has scored grand total of 17 points in season-starting losses to Miami/Green Bay ... ugh! New England 27, Buffalo 10.


CLEVELAND at BALTIMORE: Better believe the Ravens are fuming after losing their third consecutive game against rival Cincinnati - last week's four-INT game by QB Flacco in that 15-10 loss against the Bengals will turn out to be mere bump-in-the-road stuff for Baltimore's third-year pro who dissects the Browns here and look for a couple of scoring grabs by WR Boldin (5 catches for just 35 yards last week) as he continues to get into a comfort level with the young slinger. The Ravens' defense has surrendered zero TDs this year and all the Brownies get here in this AFC North bash is a couple FGs. Call it Baltimore 25, Cleveland 6.


PITTSBURGH at TAMPA BAY: One of our handicapping theories through the years is that it's tough to win/cover back-to-back road games - and we were right about that two-of-three times last week as Arizona and Baltimore failed to cash away games after doing so in Week One (Miami proved us wrong!) and so here we'll put that theory into practice and make anti-Steelers play in the very same joint they won their most recent Super Bowl title. Hey, there may be as many Pittsburgh fans here than Buc backers but look for down-to-the-wire clash as improved T-Bay defense (allowed 21 total points so far in wins against Cleveland and Carolina) starring veteran CB Barber (INT last week) steals this one. It's Tampa Bay 20, Pittsburgh 16.

Already 2 For 2 Outright In NFL Upset Plays - Going For #3 On Sunday
Week 1: Texans (+2) over Colts 34-24       Week 2: Buccaneers (+3) over Panthers 20-7

We also crushed Vegas with last year's week-three Upset-Blowout, when the Bengals (+3½) upset the Steelers 23-20. This week's game looked just as ripe for an upset as that one, so I even had wise guys and friends checking in with me. Had I spotted the mistake? Was I moving on it?  I did and I am! Vegas took a strictly numbers approach to a certain game without asking HOW the players matched up man to man. Result: we're getting a ton of points all to ourselves because the squares don't have a clue! We're really getting the best of it so don't miss out. Click Here To Win

ATLANTA at NEW ORLEANS: No doubt the Falcons flexed their muscles in Week 2 with gigantic 41-7 win against Arizona as QB Ryan was sharp with 225 yards passing and 3 TDs but key to this tilt will be how Atlanta runs the ball - can RB Snelling (24 carries for 129 yards and 2 TDs) fill the starring role should first-stringer RB Turner (groin) be out here? Note that the Saints come off short week after Monday Night Football tilt in San Francisco and last year New Orleans failed to cover their two post-MNF games - just so you know!


DALLAS at HOUSTON: Gotta know that the Cowboys (and owner Jones) are oh-so-close to pushing the proverbial panic button on this 2010 season following 0-and-2 start but fully expect the NFC East club to rise to the occasion here in Lone Star State showdown - QB Romo (374 yards passing but two picks in last Sunday's 27-20 loss to Chicago) can be counted on to run an up-tempo offense with WRs Austin (10  catches for 142 yards last week) and Bryant ready/willing/able to torch a Texans secondary that last week surrendered 426 aerial yards from Washington's QB McNabb. Now-or-never time for the 'Boys and they respond with TD-plus road win. It's Dallas 30, Houston 21

INDIANAPOLIS at DENVER: Last week's run-first, pass-later schemes worked wonders for the Colts who rode 20-carry, 92-yard ground game from RB Addai last week in dominant win against the NY Giants but gotta look for QB Manning (20-of-26 for 255 yards and three scores in that hyped "Manning Bowl II" bash) to chuck it more here and Broncos' defense won't have all the answers. Indianapolis 26, Denver 17.

SAN DIEGO at SEATTLE: Last week's 38-13 win by the SD Chargers over turnover-prone Jacksonville (see six miscues including four QB Garrard INTs) was your good news/bad news affair as the defense did shine but rookie RB Mathews suffered a sprained ankle and didn't return and the Bolts need a dependable ground game here to keep the Seahawks' defense "honest" when coming after QB Rivers. Gotta believe that Chargers' stop unit answers the call here we'll be strongly thinking about the "under". It's San Diego 21, Seattle 14.


NY JETS at MIAMI: Now that the J-E-T-S calmed down Gotham City with rock-solid 28-14 win against New England last weekend, you wonder if HC Ryan's guys will keep the beat going here against red-hot Dolphins bunch that now may have the best cover corner in the league (see speedy CB Davis). The Jets' QB Sanchez (220 yards passing and 3 TDs versus the Pats) will continue to seek out TE Keller (7 catches for 115 yards and a score) in the red zone and whole key to whether or not the Jets get the cover is do they get 3's or 7's at the end of their drives?


GREEN BAY at CHICAGO: The longest-running NFL rivalry is an oldie-but-goodie here as the Packers and Bears are 2-0 SU at the same time in ages but key question here is can GB harass/hound Chicago slinger Cutler who threw for 277 yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs in last week win in Dallas. Check with us game-day afternoon and we'll clue you in with the Side/Totals winners.

(Note all figures below are against the spread)

  • Arizona is 13-7 at home
  • Chicago is 6-13-1 vs. Green Bay
  • Cincinnati is 3-9 vs. non-division foes
  • Cleveland is 0-4 vs. Baltimore
  • Dallas is 7-14 away
  • Green Bay is 10-2 vs. NFC North opponents
  • Miami is 13-21-2 vs. divisional foes
  • Minnesota is 9-5-1 as home favs vs. NFC North
  • New England is 41-24 vs. AFC East
  • St. Louis is 8-17 at home
  • San Diego is 1-4-1 vs. Seattle
  • Tennessee is 20-13 away

Today’s Hot Plays