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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, November 3, 2017 at 11:38 AM

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"Tanks" for nothing!

The New York Jets - who critics this past summer claimed were going to finish 0-and-16 this year - instead exited last night's 34-21 never-really-in-doubt win against the 3-point road favorite Buffalo Bills with a near .500 record (see 4-5) and they haven't given up the ghost when it comes to thinking about the playoffs.

Hey, you ask, weren't the J-E-T-S supposed to be "tanking" this 2017 NFL campaign in the first place?

Ha, that never was the plan in this part of New Jersey as GM Mike Maccagnan and third-year head coach Todd Bowles have done top-notch work while watching "gang green" become a major weekly pain in the behind for any/all comers.

Go ahead and ask New England and Atlanta - both of last year's Super Bowl participants appeared in major trouble against the Jets in recent weeks but the Patriots and Falcons eked out road wins. Last night the heady Bills were not so fortunate as the Jets' defense had a major sack party at the expense of Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor (sacked seven times and harrassed on a bunch of other occasions) and so the Jets - the "other" team in town - suddenly have a revived fan base and probably little if any hope of selecting in the top five in next spring's NFL Draft.

Maybe it wasn't meant to be for the Jets to "tank" - and maybe those college quarterbacks getting all the attention in terms of top draftees (see UCLA's Josh Rose, Wyoming's Josh Allen and/or USC's Sam Darnold) weren't going to be worth "tanking" over, right?

In other NFL Week 9 Notes ...

The stunning news that Houston Texans' rookie QB Deshaun Watson is out for the year following a severe knee injury suffered in Thursday's practice really knocked the wind out of the NFL sails. Hey, the kid's a born winner and champion and Watson was accomplishing so much before he went down in a heap - kind of ironic that less than 24 hours after the city's baseball team won the World Series for the first time ever, word of Watson's injury bummed out the city's pro football fans. A shame!

Jim Hurley and his famed Handicappers and Bloggers are gonna make sure you rock-n-roll through this first weekend in November with College Football and NFL Week 9 winners from tonight right through Monday Night Football. Get Sides & Totals plays on tonight's college tilts - including the Pac-12 bash between UCLA at Utah - and gobble up tons of winners Saturday/Sunday too. Just call us at the toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right now and cash in big with all the gridiron goodies and don't forget there's NBA winners on tap too.


Let's first get y'all to our current Heisman Trophy Watch List ... here goes:

1 - SAQUON BARKLEY, RB, Penn State ... Last week we reasoned that this Nittany Lions' megastar didn't deserve the "Watch List" top spot, but that's all changed even after the painful 39-38 loss at Ohio State last weekend. Barkley began the game with a kickoff return for a touchdown and for the year he's rushed for 801 yards (a nifty 5.8 ypc average) with 9 TDs to go along with 3 receiving scores.

2 - BAKER MAYFIELD, QB, Oklahoma - Last weekend's four-TD, 281-yard passing performance against Texas Tech pushed this two-time Heisman finalist up our chart; for the year, Mayfield's thrown for 2,628 yards and 23 TDs with only 3 INTs.

3 - BRYCE LOVE, RB, Stanford - Last week's ankle-related absence against Oregon State hurt this Pac-12 star (remember we had Love in the lead) and he figures to be a game-time decision this Saturday versus Washington State. Love's stats include 1,387 yards rushing (a 10.3 ypc average) with 11 scores.

4 - JOSH ADAMS, RB, Notre Dame - We told you ND Fighting Irish fans last week that we'd include this star once he gave us another "prove it" performance ... and his 202 ground yards in the win/cover against N.C. State was a real eye-opener. Adams has 1,169 yards rushing (an 8.9 ypc average) with 9 TDs.

5 - MINKAH FITZPATRICK, S, Alabama - Gonna keep this defensive stud right where he was in our Heisman Watch List from a week ago even though the Crimson Tide was idle last weekend. Fitzpatrick is a general's general on "D" and maybe one of the two or three most important players head coach Nick Saban has had on his side in the last 10 years.

On Saturday, it's ...

SOUTH CAROLINA (6-2, 4-2 SEC) at #1 GEORGIA (8-0, 5-0 SEC) - 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Imagine that ... the Georgia Bulldogs (for now) are back on top of the college football world and a pound-you-into-the ground running game and a top-shelf defense have been the heart-and-soul of Kirby Smart's squad. Still, a rushing attack averaging 284 yards a game starring Nick Chubb and Sony Michel better not take Carolina lightly as the Gamecocks have won three straight.

#5 OKLAHOMA (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) at #11 OKLAHOMA STATE (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) - 4 p.m. ET, FS1
Keep in mind in the wild-and-wacky Big 12, these clubs still could finish 1-2 in the standings and play again come the night of the conference championship game ... but let's concentrate on the here-and-now and that Okie State is less than a "home-field betting favorite" at minus 2.5 points with the totals price tipping up to 76.5 points at last check - va-va-va voom! The hosts need QB Mason Rudlph to attack this Oklahoma defense that often messes up assignments and leaves guys wide open - while Oklahoma needs its ground game to complement aforementioned QB Mayfield.

#13 VIRGINIA TECH (7-1, 3-1 ACC) at #10 MIAMI (7-0,  5-0 ACC) - 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Winning close games has been the signature move of this year's Miami Hurricanes ... and a win here, close or not, could just propel Mark Richt's team into serious discussion regarding the playoffs. Miami's kid QB Malik Rosier is averaging nearly 300 yards per game through the air but how will he react facing blitzes, odd looks and the like? Good question. Virginia Tech has a loss on the docket against Clemson, and that's it. Maybe it's a one-loss Hokies crew that gets in on the post-season fun - they'll need frosh QB Josh Jackson (17 TDs, 4 INTs) to not melt under the bright lights of south Florida.

NOTE: Catch our NFL Week 9 game previews plus more in the next Jim Sez.


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