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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Yikes ... The NCAA folks really did bring down the hammer on the Penn State program earlier this week and our best estimate is that the once-proud Nittany Lions won't be "back" for another 8-to-10 years and so don't exactly hold your breathe waiting for this football power to re-emerge.

However, the Nittanies will be part of College Football's big opening weekend that gets you a whole slew of games from Thursday, Aug. 30th thru Labor Day Monday, Sept. 3rd (see Ohio at Penn State on Saturday, September 1st) and there will be some 81-or-so on-the-board games for your "pleasure" and so today we figured to put the kids first and get you some key pointspread primers when it comes to these tilts.

Don't look now but we're just some 37 days away from kicking off the 2012 NCAA Football Season and so le's whet your summertime whistle and bring you a dozen key games that opening week/weekend:

Thursday, August 30th ...

South Carolina at Vanderbilt - The visiting Gamecocks split their six away pointspread verdicts last season but note Steve Spurrier's crew is just 13-17 ATS (against the spread) overall in road or neutral field games since the start of the 2007 campaign. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt reeled off a tidy 9-4 ATS overall mark in 2011 and the Commodores banged out SEC covers against the likes of Georgia, Arkansas and Florida ... not bad! Note that in last year's head-to-head meeting South Carolina copped a 21-3 win/cover as 15-point home favorites.

Washington State at BYU - Go back to the very end of the 2009 season and you'll see that the BYU Cougars are a collective 18-9 versus the vig overall (a .667 winning rate) and that includes a spiffy seven-game ATS winning streak to close out the 2011 campaign. The BYU Cougars also own a dashing 8-3 spread mark in their on-the-board openers while dating back to the 2001 season but note the Coogs did fail to cover their opener a year ago (a 14-13 non-cover win at 2 ½-point home dog Ole Miss). Washington State, meanwhile, has gone the other way in on-the-board openers as these Coogs have failed to cover eight of their last 10 lid-lifters but Wazzau did land an opening-week cover last year thanks to a 64-21 triumph over 30 ½-point pup Idaho State. Did you know W-State has covered 12-of-20 games as point-grabbers the past two years?

Friday, August 31st ...

Tennessee at N.C. State - Here's something from the strange-but-true files regarding the Tennessee Volunteers: Last year the Vols won/covered all four of their non-SEC affairs (versus Montana, Cincinnati, Buffalo and Middle Tennessee State) and that marked quite a turnaround considering "Rocky Top" was a collective 4-9 vig-wise in non-conference games the three previous seasons. Note that N.C. State started off the 2011 season at 0-4-1 against the odds en route to a 6-6-1 ATS season. Overall, the Wolfpack is 19-10 spreadwise in non-ACC games while dating back to the start of the 2008 season and that included a tantalizing 8-and-oh spread campaign in '08.

Boise State at Michigan State - Last year "Sparty" reeled off five consecutive season-ending spread victories en route to a 10-4 ATS season and that actually turned out to be only the second time in the past 10 years that M-State finished with a winning spread mark ... really! Note that this Big 10 team notched five spread wins in seven tries at home last year - Michigan State had gone 22-35-3 ATS as hosts the prior nine seasons. Here's something to munch on for the Boise State fans: The Broncos were a collective 77-45-2 ATS from 2001-thru-2010 (a stunning .631 winning rate over a 10-year span) but last year B-State flopped to 5-8 against the Las Vegas price tags and that included a season-opening 35-21 win against 3-point dog Georgia in a game played inside the not-so-neutral Georgia Dome.

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are gearing up for a big-time NFL Preseason run and we'll get you started with the Side & Totals Winners of this year's Hall of Fame Game in Canton - again, that's the Saints vs. the Cardinals - on Sunday, August 5th. It promises to be a lucrative summer time of pigskin fun for Jim and his clients and so don't miss out on all the profits - we'll be rollin' in the green with NFL Preseason Winners in less than three weeks time! So be sure to check in with us either right here online or else at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the upcoming College & NFL Winners plus get all the daily and nightly MLB winners too.

Saturday, September 1st ...

Notre Dame vs. Navy (at Dublin) - "Top of the morning to you" as this one comes from Ireland (right now i's a scheduled 6 a.m. ET kickoff here in the states) and i's worth noting that Notre Dame's failed to cover seven of the last 11 games in this rivalry although the 23 ½-point favorite Irish did batter the Midshipmen 56-14 in South Bend last Oct. 29th. Did you know that Notre Dame is a money-burning 2-6-1 against the odds in its last nine season-opening tilts?

Northwestern at Syracuse - Go back to the start of the 2010 season and you'll see that the N'western Wildcats are just 8-17 ATS overall and that includes a split of their eight non-conference games (and a 4-13 ATS mark against fellow Big 10 squads). Conversely, Syracuse is just 5-12 overall against the numbers the past year-plus but the Orange has covered its last three consecutive season openers with pointspread wins over Minnesota, Akron and Wake Forest the past there years.

Miami at Boston College - Last year's shocking 24-17 season-ending win by 12 ½-point dog Boston College over Miami snapped a four-game ATS winning streak by the U of M Hurricanes in this Big East-turned-ACC series. Overall, "The U" finished last year with a decent 5-3 ATS log in league games after having gone a shoddy 17-31 ATS in conference tilts the prior six seasons. Hey, the BC Eagles started last year on a three-game spread losing skid and than ended it on a three-game spread winning streak.

Clemson at Auburn - The Auburn Tigers didn't exactly "print money" the year after copping the BCS Championship Game as the 2010 title campaign was followed up by a 5-8 ATS year that "featured" a losing spread mark at home (see 3-4 ATS). Note that the Clemson Tigers are just 7-12 vig-wise in non-ACC affairs while dating back to the start of the 2007 season.

Michigan at Alabama - In Nick Saban's five years as head coach of the 'Bama Crimson Tide, this club is 37-26-2 ATS (tha's a solid .587 winning rate) but take a moment to realize that since the team registered a 3-8-1 ATS mark in Saban's debut campaign in Tuscaloosa this program sports a sterling 34-18-1 ATS mark (tha's a .654 winning percentage, folks!). Michigan moves into this season-starting road game with a 5-14-1 ATS away mark the past four years.

Sunday, September 2nd ...

Kentucky at Louisville - Underdog sides have covered seven of the last 10 games in this hotly contested Bluegrass State Rivalry and that included last year when 5-point road pup Louisville snagged a 24-17 win in Lexington. The UK Wildcats - believe it or not - have registered identical 6-6 spread seasons the past five years in a row!

SMU at Baylor - The post-Robert Griffin III Era begins with the Bears laying points in their own backyard and did you know the Waco crew won/covered all five home games last year when in the role of betting favorite? SMU, on the other hand, failed to cover four-of-six games last year when placed in the underdog role but overall the Mustangs are 11-7 ATS as point-takers the past three years. Solid!

Monday, September 3rd ...

Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech - Last year's 37-26 win by the two-point favored VT Hokies over Georgia Tech snapped a three-game spread losing streak to the Yellow Jackets but how about these figures: G-Tech is just 5-9-2 ATS in conference games the past two years while Virginia Tech's looking to bounce back from a dour 4-9-1 ATS overall campaign (the program's worst in more than a decade!).

NOTE: There's lots more NFL and NCAA Football chatter all this week here at Jim Sez, so don't miss out!

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