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Submitted by Jim Hurley’s Network on Monday, September 25, 2017 at 2:20 PM

This was supposed to be the year that the USC Trojans were FOR REAL. They played like a true national champion last year after finally getting the right guy at quarterback. They crushed Washington on the road, the eventual Final Four representative of the Pac 12. Then, they rallied to beat respected Penn State in the Rose Bowl.

And the 2017 team was supposed to be even better!

But, now...heading into Friday night's huge game on the road against #16 Washington State, there are concerns that USC has taken a step backward during the offseason rather than forward.

*USC opened the season with a horrible first half against Western Michigan, before rallying to win a non-cover.

*USC followed up an impressive win over Stanford with a near-loss to supposedly outmanned Texas as a double-digit favorite. An overtime win kept them undefeated...but it sure felt like a loss in terms of the championship chase.

*USC struggled to shake California last week, ultimately winning by 10 as a 17-point favorite.

Against market expectations, that looks like this:
USC (-28) beat Western Michigan 49-31 (missed by 10 points)
USC (-5) beat Stanford 42-24
USC (-17) beat Texas 27-24 in overtime (missed by 17 in regulation)
USC (-17) beat California 30-20 (missed by 7 points)

That's a 4-0 straight up record...but the market is still chanting OVERRATED at the Trojans because three of the four results missed by at least a TD.

And, now...perhaps...the toughest task of all. USC plays on the road against a ranked team that's feeling its oats in terms of returning to the national spotlight. This is the matchup Washington State coaches, players, and fans circled before the season began It's the biggest game of the season until the finale at state rival Washington. It's the biggest HOME game of 2017. You can bet the stadium will be PACKED and LOUD like you rarely see outside the rivalry.

*The Cougars want to prove its ready for the big time
*QB Luke Falk wants to prove he's better than Sam Darnold
*Coach Mike Leach still holds a grudge against the media after how he was treated during the Texas Tech debacle

Even though it falls on a Friday, THIS is the biggest college football game of the week...and one of the biggest we'll see all season in the Pac 12.

How should you bet it? First, let's run the same chart for Wazzou that we just did for USC.

Washington State (-41) beat Montana State 31-0
Washington State (-7.5) beat Boise State 47-44 in overtime
Washington State (-19.5) beat Oregon State 52-23
Washington State (-28.5) beat Nevada 45-7

Good news and bad news. Some impressive scores in there (and 3-1 ATS). But, that's a PATHETIC schedule! And, going overtime at home against Boise State looks worse now than it did at the time because of that blowout loss to Virginia on the blue turf. Worth remembering that Falk mossed much of the Boise State game with an injury. Though, the offense wasn't sparkling when he was on the field.

Frankly, BOTH Washington State and USC could be overrated pretenders in terms of their media hype. Maybe USC's penchant for turnovers and lackadaisical play should have them ranked in the 15-20 range. Maybe Washington State shouldn't even be ranked...with offseason hype about the Leach/Falk connection weighing too heavily on voters' minds.

At least USC has been "tested" against the likes of Stanford, and super-motivated dogs from Texas and Cal. Washington State has mostly exploited awful opposition.

The early line is showing USC at -3.5 or -4 depending on where you look. JIM HURLEY is here to tell you right now that this game will miss THAT pointspread by at least a touchdown! Maybe that means USC coasts...or maybe it means Washington State springs the upset. You'll have to be a paying client to find out!

Our full TEAM HANDICAPPING approach has already done the early legwork with boxscore and computer matchup analysis. We know how offenses like USC's perform in "road pressure" situations. We know how Mike Leach has performed throughout his career in "home pressure" situations. Somebody won't be able to handle the pressure...and NETWORK clients will be there to take advantage and cash their tickets.

Between now and Friday, build your bankrolls with game day football and baseball. You can always purchase BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours. Be sure you check on combination packages that take you through the World series. This may be one of the most exciting baseball postseasons ever...and it's going to help ups pyramid profits even faster.

College football is full of overrated teams. And, the world of sports handicapping has its share too. But, PROVEN WINNER JIM HURLEY has been beating the number for three decades...always at the cutting edge of advanced analysis...always miles ahead of Las Vegas sportsbooks. You saw that again this past weekend with a nice Saturday and a HUGE Sunday of doggie delights. Tired of losing on your own? Get ready for some BIG, JUICY WINNERS from JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!