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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, September 5, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Anyone out there have a poncho? You could make the case that the biggest winner in this opening weekend of the 2011 College Football Season was Mother Nature as a slew of games were either interrupted or even shortened thanks to foul weather that ravaged the Midwest and a couple of other geographical pockets and one such game was Sunday’s 34-13 win by West Virginia against in-state rival Marshall.

In case you were out at a neighbor’s house having a cheeseburger or a hot dog, than you might have missed West Virginia’s weather-halted affair as this game was stopped – for good – just a minute into the final quarter of play after first suffering through a three-hour stoppage with five-plus minutes left in the third quarter.

The good news for #24 West Virginia is that it won the debut game for new head coach Dana Holgorsen – the bad news is that it wasn’t played to the gun and so most bettors saw it go as a “no play” – and ditto for Saturday’s 34-10 win by Michigan against fellow in-state foe Western Michigan that was stopped with 1:27 remaining in the third quarter but toss those two games aside and you’ll note that NCAA Betting Favorites went a collective 18-19 ATS (against the spread) through the first four days of this opening week that finally concludes with the Labor Day evening tilt between the Miami Hurricanes at the Maryland Terrapins..

We’ll get to that College Football Preview in just a moment but first this important reminder: Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are gonna win plenty of greenbacks this 2011 College Football Season and so make sure you get it all jump-started right through this Labor Day Monday and then, of course, right through the BCS National Championship Game on January 9th, 2012.

And, of course, the NFL 2011 Season rolls into action come Thursday night – it’s the 2009 Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints at the 2010 Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers – and get all of the Week 1 Winners and take it straight through to Super Bowl Sunday on February 5th.

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The college kids put the cherry on top of this Labor Day weekend with an important Atlantic Coast Conference showdown from College Park tonight – and everyone’s asking what are the U of M Hurricanes gonna be like without all those suspended players including QB Jacory Harris (1,793 yards passing with 14 TDs and 15 INTs in 2010) and star senior LB Sean Spence?

Harris was one of eight Miami players to get smacked with a suspension here – some will be back for the team’s next game against Ohio State on September 17th and some won’t be back for awhile – and here look for the Al Golden Era to begin with Stephen Morris starting at quarterback (his fifth career start) and his key will be keeping mistakes to a bare minimum. Tell us right now that Morris won’t throw a pick (LSU backup-turned-starter Jarrett Lee accomplished that feat in the Bayou Bengals’ 40-27 victory against Oregon this past Saturday night) and we’ll tell you the ‘Canes have a real shot to land the mild upset win here in this under-the-lights special.
Keep in mind that Maryland – which opened as a 5 ½-point home pup before all the suspensions pushed the Terps into the favorite’s role at minus 3 ½ points – has its own “issues” as the Ralph Friedgen Era is over and done with after 10 years and so Randy Edsall looks to wave his magic wand after a brilliant stint at Connecticut. Edsall is asking QB Danny O’Brien (2,538 yards passing with 22 TDs and 8 INTs last year) to lead the Terrapins to a fifth bowl in six years and remember there’s a new offensive coordinator for O’Brien this year in well-respected mentor Gray Crowton.

P.S., throw into the mix the fact that heavy rains are forecast here and this one could well be decided by a fumble here or there or a special teams mishap – there were plenty of those this past weekend, weren’t there?

Spread Notes – Miami is 17-31 ATS in ACC games since the start of the 2005 season and that includes last year’s 26-20 non-cover home win against 9 ½-point road underdog Maryland. Note the Hurricanes are 13-8-1 ATS as point-grabbers since the start of the 2001 campaign. On the flip side, Maryland’s a dismal 1-8 versus the vig in its on-the-board opener since 2002 but note that includes the lone cover a year ago when the Terrapins downed 6 ½-point fav Navy 17-14.

Editor’s Note: We’ll get you plenty of College Football News/Notes in the next Jim Sez but first let’s get you a listing of the outright upsets on this first week of play (note home teams below are in all CAPS):

Bowling Green  + 5.5  IDAHO    32-15
BAYLOR + 4  Tcu 50-48
Northwestern    + 5     BOSTON COLLEGE  24-17
South Florida + 11 NOTRE DAME   23-20
Ball State  + 5.5  Indiana (at Indianapolis) 27-20
Lsu  + 3.5 Oregon (at Arlington) 40-27

Now, let’s toss you a quick-hitter note on three of these outright upset winners:

BOWLING GREEN – The Falcons owned a better-than-2-to-1 advantage in time of possession here as QB Matt Schilz aired a pair of scoring strikes including a 76-yarder.

BAYLOR – The epic win by the Bears featured five TD passes by do-it-all QB Robert Griffin III but what about the fact Baylor committed 11 penalties worth 116 yards, didn’t win the turnover battle (that was one turnover apiece) and still won on an PK Aaron Jones field goal with 1:04 remaining and thus TCU’s national title hopes are gone like that.

NORTHWESTERN – No QB Dan Persa (Achilles), no problem here as the ‘Cats managed to go just 6-of-17 on third/fourth-down conversions and still won despite the fact BC had yet another 100-yard rusher (that’s RB Andre Williams and not the injured Montel Harris).


The NFL 2011 campaign is just days away – so it’s a good time to check in with the team-by-team “over/under” wins total:

Green Bay 11.5 ov/un 110
New England 11.5 un 120
Baltimore 11 ov/un 110
Pittsburgh 11 un 120
Atlanta 10.5 un 115
Philadelphia 10 ov 120
San Diego 10 ov/un 110
Indianapolis 10 un 120
NY Jets 10 un 120
New Orleans 10 un 125
Chicago 9.5 ov/un 110
NY Giants 9.5 un 115
Dallas 9 un 120
Tampa Bay 8.5 ov/un 110
San Francisco 8 ov 120
Houston 8 ov 115
Miami 8 un 115
Kansas City 8 un 120
Cincinnati 7.5 ov 120
Detroit 7.5 un 120
St. Louis 7 ov 120
Oakland 7 ov/un 110
Seattle 7 un 120
Minnesota 6.5 ov 120
Washington 6.5 ov 120
Tennessee 6.5 ov 115
Cleveland 6.5 ov/un 110
Arizona 6 ov 120
Jacksonvill 6 ov/un 110
Denver 6 un 120
Buffalo 5 ov 30
Carolina 4.5 ov/un 110

NOTE: More College Football and NFL News & Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez.


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