Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 10:22 AM
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL UPDATE:
WE TACKLE THE #5 CLEMSON AT GEORGIA TECH THURSDAY NITE PRIME TIME SHOWDOWN PLUS THERE'S QUICK-HITTER FRIDAY/SATURDAY GAME PREVIEWS TOO ...
OUR NFL WEEK 3 Q&A SESSION
Suffice to say, the College Football world has been turned sideways through the season's first three weeks of play - just check out what had been the Associated Press' Top 25 opening rankings:
Oklahoma was #3 in the land and now the Sooners already have lost two games;
Florida State was slotted #4 at the beginning and here's the Seminoles coming off a 43-point loss at Louisville; And one-time #10 Notre Dame has dropped completely out of said rankings with September losses to both Texas and Michigan State. Yikes!
What does it all mean to you - the hard-core College Football fan?
For starters, the gates now have swung wide open for aforementioned Louisville - now the nation's #3 team after starting out at #19 in the AP poll - while fellow hot squads such as Houston, Washington and Texas A&M all of a sudden are eyeballing a potential place at the four-team College Football Playoff table.
This weekend's menu is chock full of fun and important matchups and we'll get you some previews in a sec but first this reminder ...Jim Hurley and his veteran Handicappers and Bloggers will storm their way to the winner's circle this week/weekend with NFL Week 3 and NCAA Football action with the pro menu getting jump-started Thursday Night (where we are a perfect 2-0 in the NFL) with an AFC battle between the Houston Texans at the New England Patriots (see preview in yesterday's Jim Sez). Plus, the college kids are back on the gridiron come Thursday night too with the above-mentioned #5 Clemson vs. Georgia Tech hoedown and there's lots of great Friday/Saturday action too! And catch Major-League Baseball Winners too with regular-season play winding down quickly - just check with us right online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 ... and win, win, win!
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEWS
On Thursday Night, it's ...
#5 CLEMSON (3-0, 0-0 ACC) at GEORGIA TECH (3-0, 1-0 ACC) - 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The number's been sitting tight there at Clemson minus 9.5 points for this under-the-lights bash in Hot-lanta but there are some folks out there wondering if the Tigers will have wandering minds what with a game next Saturday versus Louisville on deck ... if Dabo Swinney's crew wants to stay off the "upset alert" ticker than QB Deshaun Watson (7 passing TDs) might have to do some damage with his legs too as he's been strangely silent in the stat department thus far (see 23 rushes for only 84 yards and zero ground scores thus far). Keep in mind this G-Tech team is passing the ball more than ever under 9th-year head coach Paul Johnson as last weekend the Wrecksters threw for 222 yards in a 38-7 blowout win against 6-point pup Vanderbilt as QB Justin Thomas - finally - is a dual-threat dude.
Spread Notes - Clemson is a solid if unspectacular 16-11 ATS (against the spread) away since the start of the 2012 season while Georgia Tech has covered seven of its last 11 games when placed in the underdog role.
On Friday, it's ...
USC (1-2, 0-1 Pac-12) at #24 UTAH (3-0, 0-0 Pac-12) - 9 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Could it be that the USC Trojans will have three September losses? If the Troy Boys are going to right the proverbial ship here (and note Utah's been bet up from 1.5 to 3-point favorites) than redshirt freshman QB Sam Darnold will have to be the fix-it guy as ineffective Max Browne was benched following last week's 27-10 loss at Stanford. On the flip side, Utah comes off a 10-sack outing in last Saturday's 34-17 win/cover at two-TD dog San Jose State and bringing the heat here is a no-brainer. Folks, did you realize that the Utes have won eight of their last nine games SU (straight-up) inside Rice-Eccles Stadium since the start of last year?
Spread Notes - The home teams are a perfect 5-and-oh spreadwise in Utah vs. USC games since 2011 but note the Utes are a sickly 3-8 vig-wise in Pac-12 games the past year-plus.
On Saturday, it's ...
#11 WISCONSIN (3-0, 0-0 Big 10) at #8 MICHIGAN STATE (2-0, 0-0 Big 10) - 12 noon ET, Big 10 Network
Well, loooky here!
The Big 10 has a whopper of a game on hand here and yet neither team is named Ohio State or Michigan ... gotta believe that the M-State Spartans (a 5.5-point fav at press time) are feeling pretty good about themselves after manhandling host Notre Dame 36-28 last week and now that turnover-minded defense has sights set on new Wisky QB Alex Hornibrook (a redshirt frosh) and a Badgers' ground game that could be without star RB Corey Clement (ankle).
Spread Notes - Michigan State's a tasty 17-10 ATS in Big 10 affairs the past three-plus seasons while Wisky has failed to cover its last four in a row to Sparty.
NFL WEEK 3 Q&A SESSION
Q: What head coach with an 0-2 SU record faces the most heat this weekend?
A: There's eight NFL teams in all off to stumbling/bumbling 0-2 records but there's little question the heat's turned on highest for Buffalo's Rex Ryan and Jacksonville's Gus Bradley. In fact, we make it "even money" that both will get fired this season and the Jags could axe Bradley if his team loses Sunday's home game against Baltimore.
Q: What team(s) appear a lead-pipe cinch to go "over" their projected wins total for this 2016 season?
A: The Philadelphia Eagles have galloped out of the starting gate at 2-0 behind confident rookie QB Carson Wentz - note Philly's wins total was listed as 7 under 150 at season's start - while we'd love to have a "laundry ticket" with the Minnesota Vikings who are 2-0 and headed into the year with a projection of 9.5 wins minus 150. Heck, we think with this Vikes' defense - yes, we know RB Adrian Peterson is out for now - they could win 12 or 13 games.
Q: What NFL Week 3 Las Vegas betting lines have us scratching our head right about now?
A: Aren't you just a wee bit surprised that the Oakland Raiders - everyone's favorite vogue choice to have a big year in '16 - are a 1.5-point underdog at Tennessee and what about the Kansas City Chiefs being "only" a 3-point home favorite against the albeit well-rested New York Jets? Seems to us the Vegas folks are "begging" you to place wagers on the Raiders and Chiefs, right?
NOTE: More NCAA Football and NFL Week 3 previews tomorrow right here at Jim Sez.