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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 11:49 AM

THE NFL REPORT: WHY THE COWBOYS' MNF WIN WAS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WE ALL FIRST REALIZED, PLUS A WEEK-BY-WEEK POINTSPREAD BREAKDOWN ...

COLLEGE FOOTBALL MID-WEEK NOTEBOOK: DO ALL OF THE POWER-5 LEAGUES REALLY HAVE MORE THAN JUST A SINGLE LEGIT NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER IN THEIR MIDST?

There just so happened to be 10 National Football League teams that won games in the just-completed Week 3 to flip their won/loss records to 2-and-1. But the Dallas Cowboys' 28-17 victory on Monday Night Football against the 3-point home underdog Arizona Cardinals may have been the biggest of the bunch.

Consider that the Cowboys - the defending NFC East champs and last year's numero uno seed in the conference - needed to show some road gumption following that less-than-hearty 42-17 road loss in Denver plus 'Boys could use the win in 'Zona to jump-start this whole 2017 campaign.

Note the upcoming Dallas sked: The Cowboys host the Los Angeles Rams here in Week 4, then host the Green Bay Packers in Week 5 before getting a bye on Oct. 15th and then the 'Boys come out of the bye to play at lowly San Francisco.

Folks, if you believe that Dallas will be the betting favorite for these immediate upcoming games - and it will - than Jason Garrett's gang could well be sitting there at 5-1 SU (straight-up) while heading into a most important road tilt in Washington come Week 8.

Yes, it's quite possible that the Monday Night win in the desert will be what pushes the Cowboys to the top of the NFC heap by mid-season (and maybe beyond).

And consider that the Cowboys could have been cooked in that first half of Monday Night's games before veteran PK Phil Dawson missed a chip-shot FG with Arizona already ahead 7-0. Yes, a bit of good fortune went into that win for the Cowboys but QB Dak Prescott's ability to make big pass plays on the run - hey, the kid's got amazing downfield accuracy when he's rolling right - was key as he threw for a relatively modest total of 183 yards but he made every one of 'em count and the 'Boys were able to win on a night when their battered secondary surrendered 325 passing yards to Cardinals' QB Carson Palmer who wound up getting sacked six times in all - three times by super pass rush whiz DE DeMarcus Lawrence who may turn out to be one of the league's most important players in '17.

Meanwhile, the Dallas win/cover on MNF slightly improved on what was a brutal weekend for NFL Betting Favorites who finished up Week 3 at 4-11-0 ATS with one Pick 'Em game (against the spread). Here's the running tab now on NFL Betting Favorites have done so far this season along with the Over/Under results:

WEEK #NFL FAVSOVERS VS ATS
Week #17-7-15-10-0
Week #28-8-06-9-1
Week #34-11-0 (1 Pk)11-5-0
Up-To-Date19-26-1 (1 Pk)22-24-1

Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers come off a slam-bang winning week in both College Football and the NFL ... and there's plenty more winners in store when you check with us this week as the gridiron action resumes Thursday night with an NFL Week 4 bash between the Chicago Bears at the Green Bay Packers along with a key Thursday game in the colleges (that's Texas at Iowa State). Get all the Football plus all the Major-League Baseball winners when you go online right here or call 1-800-323-4453.


THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

No doubt about it: Each/every week we hear the TV talking heads discuss "what's the best conference in the land" and all that stuff but we say it's still too early to say whether the "SEC is down this year" or that the "Pac-12 lacks a team with a dominant defense" we thought a month into this here-and-now season it would make sense to really see if each of the Power-5 conferences/leagues have more than just a single team with national championship qualities.

Okay, so if you take a quick gander at the current Associated Press Top 25 rankings you will see that the Power-5 is represented right there in the top five with #1 Alabama (SEC), #2 Clemson (ACC), #3 Oklahoma (Big 12), #4 Penn State (Big 10) and #5 USC (Pac-12) all fitting in neatly into the upper crust of the rankings.

But what type of "championship-quality depth" do these conferences have? Here's our albeit early-season thoughts on the matter:

ACC - Virginia Tech, Miami and Louisville are all ranked between #12 and #17 in this week's AP poll but we don't see national championship mettle here although we could change our tune when it comes to the Miami Hurricanes providing it goes into that Nov. 4th home game versus aforementioned Virginia Tech with a 6-and-oh mark.

BIG 10 - The Nittany Lions are sitting in prime position so far but #8 Michigan, #10 Wisconsin and #11 Ohio State all are quite capable of making a national title run and, yes, the Wolverines could stay perfect for a while with backup QB John O'Korn in the saddle for a now-injured Wilton Speight. We say watch out for Wisky as the schedule is quite favorable and this smash-mouth squad could be 10-0 while heading into a Nov. 18th home game against Michigan.

BIG 12 - Now that #9 TCU has flexed its muscles with last weekend's 44-31 win at 10-point fav Oklahoma State, you gotta consider Gary Patterson's team a legit national contender to go along with above-mentioned Oklahoma. The key for TCU: Making sure QB Kenny Hill doesn't suffer any meltdowns against clever defenses (see the Oct. 14th game at Kansas State as a real potential pothole).

PAC-12 - Sorry, we're not about to blast this league just because USC (4-0 SU) has appeared mortal so far while failing to cover three of its first four games. The Troy Boys have surrendered nearly 25 ppg - and that might seem high for a national title contender - but the way the games are played out west simply lends to more shootouts. And that's why we're thinking both #6 Washington and #16 Washington State have a shot to get to the playoffs this year ... hey, Friday's game between USC at Wash State is gonna be great late-night action and we'll have something for you here on game-day at Jim Hurley's Network.

SEC - There are a handful of Southeastern Conference that help comprise the current top 25 besides mighty Alabama but unless you're "sold" on this edition of the Georgia Bulldogs (allowed just 46 points so far en route to a 4-0 start) we don't think you're gonna get a playoff appearance from the likes of Auburn, LSU, Miss State or Florida. But we've been telling you all along you can punch Alabama's ticket to the four-team playoff right here and right now!

NOTE: We'll get you some key TV previews in the next edition of Jim Sez, do don't dare miss out!

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