Five College Teams To Bet Against
by Trevor Whenham - 09/21/2006
The nice thing about the college football season is that we get to learn very quickly which teams are really good (Ohio State, West Virginia, Michigan), which ones have more work to do than most people thought (Texas, Notre Dame), and which ones are destined for an underachieving season (Miami, Florida State).
There are five teams, however, that really need to be celebrated. These teams are so remarkably bad -- each in their own ways -- that it seems impossible to believe that they could be so good at being so bad. There is some money to be made by going against these teams, even though the lines will be ridiculous. Here's a look at the very best of the absolute worst:
Colorado Buffaloes, Big 12 - Montana State, Colorado State and Arizona State was the easy part of the schedule, but they managed to lose all three fairly convincingly. Yes, that's the same Montana State that's a Division I-AA team. Teams like Colorado are supposed to beat I-AA teams by 40.
New coach Dan Hawkins looked like a genius when he was at Boise State, but now he's probably trying to figure out why he was stupid enough to take this job. The backup quarterback quit the team, the offense is non-existent, the defense is fairly lousy and overall team morale is at an all-time low. This program has been in a decline for a long time, but they could really hit rock bottom this year. They were a bowl team last season, but they'll struggle to win three games, never mind the six they would need to be bowl eligible this year.
Miami Hurricanes, ACC - What's going on at the U? One of the most feared teams in the country over the course of the last decade and the best NFL factory in college football, the Canes are a shell of themselves this season. They lost to an almost equally bad Florida State team in the most boring game of the year, then they got crushed by Louisville. Their record and their stats look deceptively good because they beat up on Florida A&M, but this is a sick program.
The most concerning part to me was that stupid act they put on before the Louisville game when they stomped on the Cardinals logo. That kind of thing is dumb at the best of times, but is just ridiculous when you aren't good enough to back it up. Larry Coker seems to have lost complete control and his days are clearly numbered. It's bad already and this is the kind of thing that could get really ugly.
Mississippi State, SEC - The Bulldogs were shutout by South Carolina and Auburn in completely uninspired and pathetic efforts to start the season. They finally scored a bunch of points in the third game, but it was only against Tulane, not exactly a powerhouse. Their defense gave up even more points, and they lost.
Their three quarterbacks have combined for four interceptions without a touchdown. Their depth is so laughable that their leading passer, Omarr Conner, is not only their second leading rusher with 71 yards, but also their second leading receiver with eight catches for 70 yards. The team is terrible and coach Sylvester Croom publicly chastised their fans after the Auburn loss for not being supportive enough. Anyone who is still a fan of the team deserves a medal, not a lecture.
Stanford Cardinal, Pac-10 - The Pac-10 really isn't very good, so it really means something to say that the Cardinal are the worst team in the conference. They've been outscored 120-53 this year. An opening loss to Oregon was expected and acceptable, but a loss to San Jose State and then a complete undressing by Navy just won't cut it. Major conference teams do not lose back-to-back games against teams like San Jose State and Navy.
Quarterback Trent Edwards is passable, and the running game is serviceable, but the defense is incredibly bad. It wasn't that long ago that Stanford was a factor in the Pac-10, but now you have to wonder if they could even thrive in the Big Sky.
Utah State Aggies, WAC - I know that the WAC isn't a major conference and that it isn't fair to pick on them, but a team as bad as Utah State deserves recognition. They have scored one touchdown in three games while giving up 120 points. That one touchdown came in the first half of the first game, and it was scored by the defense on an interception return. The starting quarterback, junior Leon Jackson III, has 227 yards passing in three games and has completed 38.5 percent of his throws. There are a lot of bad teams in the country, but few of them can hold a candle to these Aggies. They were a bowl team in 1997, but since then they have been in a slow decline, which may have bottomed out this year.