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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 12:40 PM




The College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings - the week three edition - were released last night between a pair of college hoop games at the United Center in Chicago and, while the #1-thru-5 teams didn't change at all, the heavy-duty talk was all about whether or not the Big 12 was gonna get someone into this year's playoffs and whether Notre Dame could be moved out of the top four without suffering a second loss.

Okay, so Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame stayed put #1-thru-#4 and Iowa held firm at #5 with the only "top six" change happening with Oklahoma State replacing Baylor at the sixth spot but - as much as we love the ESPN crew of Rece Davis, Joey Galloway, David Pollack and Kirk Herbstreit (that's from left-to-right on your flat screen TV) - they still didn't tackle the burning issue that we've been bringing up for the past couple of weeks:

What, pray tell, happens if #1 Clemson loses in next month's ACC Championship Game against surging (and for now #17) North Carolina?

We continue to say Clemson still will get a berth at the big table with a spot in either the Cotton or the Orange Bowl on New Year's Eve and yet that topic's been ignored - don't ask why - while if any of the other top four teams lose from here on out they are absolute goners and that includes what would be a two-loss 'Bama bunch and even a one-loss Ohio State team.

We do agree with Mr. Herbstreit who says Iowa will be part of the playoff picture should the Hawkeyes run the table and we'll say this: If #7 Oklahoma beats TCU this weekend and then defeats an unbeaten Okie State team the following weekend, we'd take the OU Sooners over Notre Dame for that final slot ... and not care about that silly "common opponents" deal that involves ND's win over Texas and Oklahoma's early-October loss to the Longhorns.

Okay, so we're a week away from Thanksgiving and that means one thing in the wonderful world of College Football ... we've officially reached "crunch time"!

Lots of teams are playing in their final home games this weekend and you know it's gonna be super-emotional in Blacksburg for the farewell to Frank Beamer whose Hokies (5-5) still need to win one game in order to land a post-season bowl berth (it's North Carolina this Saturday followed by a trip to Virginia next weekend) and don't you just know that Death Valley in Clemson this weekend will be uber-loud as the numero uno Tigers host Wake Forest in the final home game of this super-special season?

Throw into the mix the fact that the Big 12 folks - whether they wish to admit it or not - are shaking in their high tops with thoughts that the league once again could get shut out of the four-team CFP chase ... hey, right now the best way we see the Big 12 getting invited to the CFP bash is if Oklahoma State "runs the table" and that means the Cowboys must beat visiting sides Baylor and Oklahoma these next two weekends.

Otherwise, quite frankly, the Big 12 champion - remember there is no Championship Game in this conference - must get lots of help in the next three weeks and that means a Notre Dame loss, an Alabama loss and/or a loss by Iowa.

Again, we stick firm to what we said last week and that's 10-0 Clemson could lose in the ACC Championship Game to North Carolina and still get one of the four playoff berths - but wouldn't that scenario shake up the dozen committee folks that meet each week in Grapevine, Texas?

In any event, let's get a jump-start on this important weekend of College Football and get you three top-flight games but first ...

We'll dig into the College Football previews in today's Jim Sez plus get key NFL News & Notes but first this key reminder ...
My handicappers and bloggers have everything all mapped out for this week's College Football and NFL Week 11 tilts and you can get the Side & Totals winners when you check with us here at Jim Hurley's Network at the toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453 or right here online. Get all the NCAA Football (once again there's games every night this week including a pair of Mid-American Conference tilts this Wednesday evening including Western Michigan at Northern Illinois and Central Michigan at Kent State), NFL Week 11 starting with Thursday's Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars bash and there are NBA/NCAA Basketball winners too as we roar through the month of November with lots of winners!


#10 BAYLOR (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) at #6 OKLAHOMA STATE (10-0, 7-0 Big 12) - 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox
Remember all that talk about the Big 12 schedule being heavily back-loaded? Well, here it is, in living color! The 10-team league - in truth - needs an unbeaten Okie State team to win its final two regular-season games and then keep fingers crossed that it'll get an invite to the playoffs but Baylor could gunk up the works here. But not if Okie State's two-QB system continues to sparkle at crunch time as J.W. Walsh and Mason Rudolph have made head coach Mike Gundy look very much like a modern-day genius even if most folks (including us) are not usual great believers of a two-quarterback system.

Also, count us among one of the cynical folks that believe this is a "short price" here and you might see the Bears snag this one providing Heisman Trophy hopeful WR Corey Coleman (just three catches for 51 yards in last week's 44-34 home loss versus Oklahoma) snaps out of it with some deep-ball plays and a real X-factor here is whether or not Art Briles' squad can clog up the running lanes on "D" just one week after the Sooners rushed for 241 yards (or 4.6 yards a pop).

Spread Notes - Oklahoma State is 6-4 against the odds overall this season and note the Cowboys have covered eight of their last nine head-to-head games against Baylor. The Bears, meanwhile, are just 4-5 ATS (against the spread) this year and a collective 21-12 vig-wise in Big 12 games the past three-plus seasons.

#18 TCU (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) at #7 OKLAHOMA (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) - 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Word out of Fort Worth is that both QB Trevone Boykin (ankle) and WR Josh Doctson (arm/wrist) are both "questionable" for this Big 12 showdown in Norman and the ESPN round-table folks made a good point last night saying Oklahoma would get more "credit" for a win against Gary Patterson's squad providing both players are in there for this tilt.

Keep in mind that Oklahoma storms into this prime-time game having won/covered five in a row since the debacle against Texas bask on October 10th and last week RB Samaje Perine - remember him - cranked out 166 yards rushing and one TD in that aforementioned 10-point triumph at Baylor. No doubt that Oklahoma's offense is clicking on its proverbial cylinders with 55, 63, 62, 52 and 44 points scored during this flex-your-muscles winning streak and, while the energetic QB Baker Mayfield-to-WR Sterling Shepard pass/catch combo hooked up for 177 yards and a pair of scores last Saturday night near the Brazos River, it's Perine who needs to be a chain-mover and stat-sheet stuffer here while looking to keep TCU's offense - with or without Boykin/Doctson - on the outside looking in.

Spread Notes - Oklahoma is an electric 8-2 ATS this year and that includes a current five-game spread winning streak. Note Bob Stoops' club has covered eight of its last nine games played against fellow Big 12 "comp" while dating back to the final two games last year. On the flip side, TCU is just 4-6 against the odds this season but a cumulative 12-6 ATS in conference games since late 2013.


Gotta say that this here-and-now 2015 NFL season has featured plenty of highs and lows - can you imagine if we do get a New England versus Carolina showdown in the Super Bowl with both clubs unbeaten? - but as we intimated not everything has been peaches-and-cream for NFL teams and so let's spend a few moments on the "wrong-way" spread streakers as we head towards Week 11 action:

ATLANTA - The Falcons have been either feast-or-famine on the Las Vegas betting board this year with the NFC South club sporting four consecutive season-opening covers but since then Dan Quinn's club has dropped five in a row versus the vig and take note all five of those pointspread "L's: came as betting favorites ... hmmm.
Up Next - Atlanta's a 6-point home fav against the QB Andrew Luck-less Indianapolis Colts

CLEVELAND - Why does it seem the Browns would turn up on such a list every time we look? Cleveland is skidding badly these days with an 0-4-1 ATS mark in its last five games (including four consecutive spread losses the past four games and how can anyone expect to cover when you score 9, 10, 20 and 6 points in your last four games.
Up Next - Hip, hip, hooray. The Browns get their bye in this final bye weekend.

GREEN BAY - Well, looky here! The Packers have dropped their past four straight spread verdicts including the 27-20 non-cover win against 10.5-point dog San Diego just prior to this current three-game SU (straight-up) losing skein and in case you're wondering Green Bay did lose six consecutive pointspread decisions in the 2013 regular season.
Up Next - The Packers are in a pick 'em game at divisional rival Minnesota this Sunday (and the teams meet again come Week 17).

NEW YORK JETS - Just a month ago the New York City tabloids were singing the praises of first-year head coach Todd Bowles but things have started to slip-slide away with the J-E-T-S now having lost four in a row to the number including divisional spread losses to New England and Buffalo.
Up Next - It's on to suddenly-hot Houston this Sunday afternoon and the Vegas guys/gals have NYJ listed as a 2.5-point betting favorite ... but why?

NOTE: Plenty of NFL Week 11 News, Notes and Previews in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez, so don't miss out!

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