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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 9:39 AM


Put the salsa dance on ice for now, Mr. Victor Cruz! And stop patting yourselves on the backs, New York Giants' defensive linemen! Y'all didn't do a damn thing against Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo and friends on this opening night of play.

As a matter of fact, in last night's NFL Kickoff game - Cowboys 24, Giants 17 -- there was plenty of blame to go around for members of "Big Blue" who spent way too much time this past summer worrying about just how much press coverage the New York Jets were getting and not enough time boning up a secondary that proved depth will be a major concern here till further notice.

On a night when the aforementioned Romo was sacked only twice and threw just one interception en route to a magical 22-of-29, 307-yard passing performance that included three touchdown passes, the Giants proved their cynics correct - you know, the ladies and gentlemen who spent the past few weeks claiming these Giants (like the ones defending Super Bowl triumphs in 1987, 1991 and 2008) were not gonna repeat this year and might even stumble along in .500-type mood for the 2012 campaign.

Well, the Giants proved those folks right for at least one night as WR Cruz dropped three passes, QB Eli Manning (a modest 213 yards passing with just one TD) missed plenty of targets and the NYG cornerbacks were roasted big-time (and we mainly mean you, CB Corey Webster) by a Dallas wide-out corps that was responsible for 16 receptions with New York City native WR Kevin Ogletree accounting for half of them worth 114 yards and two TDs.

If Giants fans are searching for that proverbial "silver lining" today, than know this:

The last two times that the G-men won Super Bowls - in 2007 and 2011 - they lost their season-opening game to an NFC East foe (a 45-35 loss in Dallas back in '07 and last year's 28-14 loss in Washington) and so if you like omens than maybe Tom Coughlin's club shouldn't feel so bad today but if you watched that Week 1 loss closely than you know the Giants' much-ballyhooed D-line really stunk against a rather patchwork Dallas offensive line (one that lost its starting center just moments into the game) and without a fierce pass rush this secondary will get chewed to pieces and it surely appeared Coughlin knew that while answering the media queries late Wednesday night inside the bowels of MetLife Stadium.

The biggest Giants goats on the night were Cruz, the D-line and the secondary (in no particular order) but make sure you understand that the Cowboys never did lose their cool, they made a terrific first-half goal-line stand following the lone Romo pick and Dallas also managed to overcome some 86 yards in penalties. Nice!

The 'Boys averaged 7.6 yards per offensive play  (including 5.5 yards a rush) and so it's back to the proverbial drawing board for the Giants who become the first defending Super Bowl champion team to lose the NFL Kickoff since this "stand-alone" game was instituted nine years ago.

Now go dance to that one, Mister Cruz!

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have all the weekend winners and it started with last night's 24-17 win by the Cowboys (+4) over the Giants. There's NCAA Football and MLB Winners too each and every day -- so climb aboard right now with America's #1 Handicapper! Remember that this week's College Football schedule gets started with Thursday's Big East tilt on ESPN with Pittsburgh is at Cincinnati and there's a slew of key games this Saturday featuring Washington at LSU, Florida at Texas A&M and Purdue at Notre Dame. Check in with us on Game Days either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the winners. So, let's go ahead and pile up the profits together right thru Super Bowl XLVII ... okay?


Let's first get you our Jim Sez quick-hitter previews for the Thursday/Friday games:

Tonight, it's PITTSBURGH (0-1) at CINCINNATI (0-0) - 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
We'll soon find out that age-old question as to whether it's truly better to have a game under your belt - even if it's a disastrous 31-17 home loss against 18 ½-point underdog Youngstown State last weekend - than it is to be starting fresh as this is the Cincinnati Bearcats' 2012 debut and there are plenty of folks mentioning the Queen City kids as potential Big East champs this year.

No doubt that third-year Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones - who's just 14-11 SU (straight-up) in his first two years on the job - is feeling some heat to produce a big-time winner but keep in mind the 'Cats have at least shared the Big East crown in three of the last four years. If QB Munchie Legaux shows that maturity that Jones has talked about lately than Cincinnati might be able to put up 30-or-more points here.

Stay tuned to the latest developments on that ragged Pittsburgh defensive line as last week a short-handed unit surrendered 204 yards rushing to Y-State ... not good!

Spread Notes - Since 2005, Pittsburgh's covered five of the seven head-to-head meetings with Cincinnati including last year's 26-23 non-cover win by 3 ½-point road favorite Cincy. Note that the Pitt Panthers are an electric 11-3 ATS (against the spread) in all Big East games since the start of the 2010 campaign.

On Friday, it's UTAH (1-0) at UTAH STATE (1-0) - 8 p.m. ET, espn2
Think these teams have a rivalry? Utah enters this under-the-lights clash owning a 77-28-4 SU mark all-time and note the Utes have won the last 12 games in a row in this series and right now Utah's listed as a 7 ½-point road favorite one week after slamming Northern Colorado 41-0 behind the one-two punch of RB John White (119 yards rushing) and QB Jordan Wynn (two touchdown passes) and note the highlight of last week's blowout win was a 21-play, 91-yard TD drive that consumed 10:42 ... wow!

If Utah State - fresh off last Thursday night's 34-3 win/cover versus 21 ½-point pup Southern Utah -- is gonna pull the upset here than underrated QB Chuckie Keeton must display great accuracy again. Last week Keeton completed 22-of-26 passes for 304 yards and two TDs while the Utah State defense applied major pressure to Southern Utah slinger Brad Sorensen.

Spread Notes - The visiting teams are 5-0-1 spreadwise in the last six showdowns between these in-state rivals and note they last met in 2009 when 21-point home fav Utah failed to cover en route to its season-opening 35-17 win. Overall, Utah is a decent 11-7-1 against the odds when favored while dating back to late in the '09 campaign.

Now, here's a couple of Top 25-related things to keep an eye out for this weekend ...

The 4th-ranked Oregon Ducks - who moved up a spot in this week's Associated Press Top 25 rankings - angered more than a few folks by putting up a half-a-hundred points in the first half of last week's 57-34 non-cover win against 37 ½-point dog Arkansas State but toss aside the pile of first-half points and keep in mind Chip Kelly's club played a whopping 17 freshmen in that non-league win including QB Marcus Mariota who led the Ducks to TDs on their first seven possession en route to his 18-of-22, 200-yard, 3-TD performance. Let's see if Fresno State has anything up its sleeve for Mariota and mates this weekend. P.S., Oregon;'s been installed as a five-TD betting favorite ...

And #17 Texas - who actually dropped two spots in the AP poll following that unimpressive 37-17 win against 31-point pup Wyoming last Saturday night - is a raging 38 ½-point fav against New Mexico in this week's Homecoming Game in Austin but do keep an eye on freshman RB Johnathan Gray who gained just nine yards on five carries against Wyoming but it sounds like head coach Mack Brown will "break him out" here against the Lobos and we'll soon find out whether or not he's the next great Longhorns running back.

NOTE: Catch our NCAA Football Saturday Game Previews in the next Jim Sez!

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