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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, November 20, 2015 at 1:38 PM




You can tell us ...Are you really holding your breath this weekend in hopes that one of the nation's top teams in the College Football Playoff race are gonna lose?

Just a refresher but #1 Clemson's favored by 29 points against weakling Wake Forest, #2 Alabama is listed currently as a 38.5-point home betting favorite against someone named Charleston Southern and #3 Ohio State is a solid two-touchdown home betting fav against wounded Michigan State.

Ohh, and #4 Notre Dame is priced as a 16-point favorite versus Boston College in a game that'll be played at famed Fenway Park.

We keep hearing from all the so-called experts that there is gonna be jockeying for positioning but let's call it the way we see it and that's all the jockeying has been taking place in those #5-thru-#10 spots and - heck, last time we checked anyone below the "four line" don't get into this playoff mix anyhow!

Okay, so let's see what changes we do get in this here-and-now CFP rankings after all this pre-Thanksgiving Day weekend tilts and let's get you two more game previews.

Editor's Note: Earlier this week we brought you the following College Football Previews:
#18 TCU at #7 Oklahoma; #10 Baylor vs. #6 Oklahoma State (see Wednesday's Jim Sez);
#9 Michigan State at #3 Ohio State; #4 Notre Dame vs. Boston College (see Thursday's Jim Sez).

Tomorrow, it's ...
#12 MICHIGAN (8-2, 5-1 Big 10) at PENN STATE (7-3, 5-2 Big 10) - 12 p.m. ET, ABC

Year One of the Jim Harbaugh Era at Michigan's been a blast - whether you're talking about those back-to-back-to-back shutouts thrown by the maize-and-blue earlier this year or last week's thrilling twin-OT 48-41 non-cover win at Indiana where QB Jake Rudock fired six scoring strikes while throwing for 440 yards. Okay, so Penn State knows something about stopping the forward pass - the Nittany Lions rank second in the land while allowing just 159 aerial yards per game - and simply put that's the "game within the game" here as James Franklin's gang needs to keep the heat on the unflappable Rudock here plus the 3.5-point home dog Lions need a monster ground game from RB Saquon Barkley and word is he's close to 100 percent healthy from a recent ankle injury after Penn State enjoyed their bye last weekend.

Head-to-Head Spread Notes - Michigan has failed to cover four of the last five games against Penn State dating back to the 2008 campaign (the teams did not meet in either 2011 or '12).

#24 USC (7-3, 5-2 Pac-12) at #23 OREGON (7-3, 5-2 Pac-12) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Don't be fooled by the fact these Pac-12 teams are holding down the tail-end of this week's CFP Top 25: USC controls its fate in the conference's South Division after winning four in a row following the loss to Notre Dame; Oregon needs to win out and have rival Stanford lose to Cal in order for the Ducks to claim the Pac-12 North but, hey, anything's possible and the home team has won/covered four in a row with slippery QB Vernon Adams spearheading Oregon to 43.2 points per game during this month-long run.

If Adams can divvy up his personal stats - we're thinking 275 yards passing and close to 100 yards rushing - than USC might be kept on its collective heels all game long but the flip side is the Trojans have scored 30-plus points in seven games and QB Cody Kessler (he's still underrated, folks) is looking to wound an Oregon defense susceptible to downfield chucks and so keep eyes open for WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (1,160 yards receiving and 10 TDs). Is the totals price "too low" at 72.5 points here? Hmmm.

Head-to-Head Spread Notes - The favorite sides have covered six of the last eight games in this Pac-12 series.

My handicappers and bloggers will have all the weekend winners and you can get NCAA Football, NFL Week 11 play and all the NBA/NCAA Basketball action when you check with us here at Jim Hurley's Network at the toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453 or right here online. Check is any time after 1 p.m. ET today and after 10 a.m. ET on Saturday/Sunday.


The NFL Week 11 menu kicked off with Jacksonville's 19-13 win/cover versus 3-point road dog Tennessee on Thursday Night and funny how one single special teams play - the dynamic 63-yard fourth-quarter punt return by Jaguars' rookie Rashad Greene changed everything - but gotta say that right now the game appears "too fast" for Titans' rookie QB Marcus Mariota who was sacked four times in this divisional road game and we're still seeing too many decision-making errors by Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles ... patience, people!

On Sunday, it's ...
WASHINGTON (4-5) at CAROLINA (9-0) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox

It's sure starting to look as if everyone's upcoming Thanksgiving Day is gonna include a heaping serving of Carolina Panthers football - Ron Rivera's club is favored to be 10-and-oh while heading into Dallas on Turkey Day but it might be prudent of the NFC South leaders to make this a physical battle and not allow Washington's born-again QB Kirk Cousins the opportunities to pick-and-choose downfield targets (see last week's 47-14 win against hapless New Orleans when Cousins threw for 324 and 4 TDs).

The Panthers will jam the Redskins' wide receivers right there at the L.O.S. (that's line of scrimmage) and don't expect Cousins and Company to have much success when challenging top CB Josh Norman - right now he's angling to be the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year. Gee, wonder if Carolina QB Cam Newton has been working on his dance moves after receiving a scathing letter from a disappointed mom - hey lady, turn away from your TV screen if Newton dents the end zone here!

Spread Notes - Carolina is an electric 7-2 ATS this season and the Panthers are 14-7-1 vig-wise as betting favorites since early in the 2013 season. Washington is 4-5 against the odds so far this season and the 'Skins are 5-12 ATS versus non-NFC East foes since the start of last year.

GREEN BAY (6-3) at MINNESOTA (7-2) - 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox
C'mon, did you ever think the Packers would be looking up at the Vikings in the NFC North standings following Green Bay's swell 6-and-oh SU (straight-up) start? Neither did we but that's the case as we head into this Week 11 bash from the Twin Cities and gotta take issue with a couple of items in the news:

Number one, we don't want to hear any chatter that Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers has an achy shoulder - if he's good enough to play then we go by the mantra of "no excuses";

And for that remark made by former Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano that Minny QB Teddy Bridgewater is a "young Joe Montana" we say ... get a grip! Bridgewater - who gets high marks for being a modern-day "game manager - has 7 TDs and 6 INTs and a less-than-robust 84.6 QB Rating which ranks 'em towards the bottom of the NFL hit list. If Minnesota is gonna win Part I of this series (they meet again in Week 17) then it's RB Adrian Peterson (961 yards rushing leads the league by a whole lot) and that stingy Vikes' defense that's be the story, not Teddy B!

Spread Notes - Minnesota's charged out to an 8-1 ATS mark this year including covers in eight straight but did you know the Vikings are also a tasty 13-3 spreadwise in non-divisional games since the start of last season? Green Bay, meanwhile, staggers into this NFC North bash on a four-game spread losing skid and the Packers are 9-14 ATS away the past two-plus seasons.

Note: More NFL Week 11 Previews in the next Jim Sez including that titanic Sunday Night Game between Cincinnati at Arizona, so don't miss out!

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