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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 9:20 AM

COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S NEW KINGS SHOW GUTS, GET THE GLORY …

WHAT’S AHEAD FOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL 2017 …

NFL, NCAA HOOP NEWS & NOTES

Just don’t call it “business as usual”.

The Clemson Tigers – who started off the season the #2 team in the country – not only beat the team that started off the season #1 in the country but it truly changed college football history on Monday night:

Clemson’s thrilling 35-31 victory against 6-point favorite Alabama in the National Championship Game produced the school’s first title since 1981 but it also marked the first time ever that a Nick Saban-coached team lost a national title tilt (1-0 with LSU, now 4-1 with ‘Bama) and it kayoed the Crimson Tide from the ranks of the unbeaten, meaning no FBS team finished with a perfect record this year.

And consider this: Last year Clemson finished 14-1 SU (straight-up) with that one loss coming in the 45-40 loss-but-cover against Alabama in the national championship game and here Clemson finishes 14-1 again -- but it sure had a different ending this time!

Okay, so much is being made of the fact Alabama’s vaunted defense wore down during the course of the game – Clemson cranked out a whopping 99 plays from scrimmage and that’s the most ever faced by a ‘Bama defense – but if you’re gonna be considered a “defense for the ages” than you have to make a big play on that final Clemson drive.

Sack QB Deshaun Watson (420 yards passing with 3 TDs); Knock the ball away from stud WR Mike Williams (8 catches including two acrobatic grabs on that game-winning drive); defend that last-second Watson-to-WR Hunter Renfrow two-yard scoring toss better than y’all did.

We don’t want to hear anything about how Alabama’s offense did not give the Crimson Tide defense “enough time to rest” – for all the post-game criticism piled on frosh QB Jalen Hurts, he was the guy who darted his way for the go-ahead 30-yard TD run with just 2:07 remaining, right?

Hats off to Clemson’s spiritually-rich head coach Dabo Swinney and the team with the guts – and now the glory – as revenge was special for this 2016 Tigers’ team.

Orange is the new champ.

Okay, so what’s immediately ahead in the College Football World?

Well, last year at this time in a Jim Sez column we forecast an Ohio State vs. Florida State matchup for all the marbles. Hmm, we didn’t quite get that one correct but we’re sticking to that same forecast for next year but just for fun here’s our unofficial College Football Preseason Top 10:

  1. Ohio State
  2. Michigan
  3. USC
  4. Florida State
  5. Alabama
  6. Clemson
  7. LSU
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Louisville
  10. Oklahoma

Okay, enjoy the off-season, College Football fans!

Your attention, please …

Make sure you cash in big with Side & Totals winners this Saturday and Sunday in the NFL Divisional Playoff Games as the Seattle Seahawks are at the Atlanta Falcons and the Houston Texans are at the New England Patriots in the Saturday games – and they’re followed on Sunday by the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers are at the Dallas Cowboys.

So, just check with us at Jim Hurley’s Network right here at Vegas Sports Masters or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 on game day mornings.

Plus remember all the NBA and College Basketball action when you check with us each and every day all throughout this winter of fun-n-games!

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

Here’s a few pointspread-related thoughts on the top two seeds from both the AFC and NFC in action this weekend:

AFC

#1 NEW ENGLAND (14-2) – The Patriots are hotter than you think as the perennial AFC East champs have covered five in a row while heading into Saturday night’s home game against 16-point (and growing) underdog Houston. How about the fact, however, that New England is a money-torching 6-12 ATS (against the spread) in all post-season games dating back to the AFC Championship Game in 2006.

#2 KANSAS CITY (12-4) – The Chiefs have cranked out five covers in their last six games dating back to late November but keep in mind that KC’s just 5-9-1 versus the vig at noisy Arrowhead Stadium since the start of last year.

NFC

#1 DALLAS (13-3) – True, the Cowboys own a solid 10-6 ATS mark this year but Jason Garrett’s club has failed to cover five of its last six outings and the ‘Boys – for what it’s worth – are a dead-even but vig-losing 3-3 ATS in all post-season games the past 10 years.

#2 ATLANTA (11-5) – Here’s a real pointspread gem when it comes to these Falcons: They’re 10-6 against the odds this season and that’s the best ATS mark for these Dirty Birds since 2010. The NFC South champs are just 6-10 spreadwise as hosts the past two years.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL UPDATE

Lots of great College B-Ball matchups on this week’s agenda including Tuesday’s Big East bash between #15 Xavier (13-2, 3-0) at #3 Villanova (15-1, 3-1) as the defending national champs go for a 46th consecutive win inside The Pavillion (that would tie a record set five years ago) but will Xavier’s junior star Trevon Bluiett and newly-installed senior G Myles Davis (suspended for first 15 games this year) ruin the homecoming?

Then check out the Wednesday college hoops menu that includes another monster Big East matchup with #12 Butler (14-2, 3-1) at #8 Creighton (15-1, 3-1).

Don’t look now but Creighton freshman C Justin Patton – who is averaging 14.3 ppg and 6.5 rpg – already may be one of the top 10 players in the land.

Hey, the Big East may look much different from back in 1985 but maybe the league will wind up with three teams in the Final Four as it did that year in Lexington … go ahead and Google, if you must!

Jim Hurley’s gonna stay hot with the College Basketball and NBA selections all week long, so check it out here online or at 1-800-323-4453. Don’t let the end of the College Football season get you down!

NOTE: We’ll preview Saturday’s NFL Divisional Playoff games in the next edition of Jim Sez.

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