Ferringo College Report: Lady Luck is a Bitch
by Robert Ferringo - 09/26/2006
I am Fortune's fool.
Or at least that's what I thought as I watched Penn State hang around with Ohio State late in their Big 10 showdown on Saturday. No sweat. I took the Buckeyes -16.5, but it was just one game and I still had plenty of ammo left for the weekend. My wife asked if I had lost and I responded. "Yup. Well, unless something absolutely bizarre happens."
Sure enough, Bizarre Happens.
First it was Malcolm Jenkins' interception return for a touchdown with about 2:30 left to put Ohio State up 21-6. That didn't really affect me at the time though. I just thought that it was a subtle jab from the Gambling Gods; close, but not close enough, kid.
But then it happened again. Antonio Smith intercepted another Penn State pass just five plays later and had a lot of green in front of him. I was screaming and shouting and yelling like some wild-eyed Columbian hopped up on yayo. My wife thought the house was on fire and came running upstairs. I'm a babbling idiot at this point. But it was a win. And a cover. And for the first time this Gambling Season I won a wager that I absolutely shouldn't have.
I was able to enjoy my luck for less than an hour.
Because not long after the Ohio State victory, Arkansas (-1.5) was heading to overtime at home against Alabama. The Razorbacks did squat with their first possession and all Alabama needed was a field goal for the win. However, freshman kicker Leigh Tiffing missed a 37-yard kick - his third missed field goal of the day - to force a second OT.
In the overtime, the Crimson Tide scored immediately, only to watch Tiffin miss the extra point. Arkansas scored (and made its extra point) for a one-point win. Now, I know that the game shouldn't have been that close and that the Tide should've won outright but it still is a kick in the nuts when you lose any bet on half of a point.
So that was bad, but not awful. It got awful soon enough.
Marshall (+22) played incredibly tough at Tennessee all afternoon. The Volunteers were up just 16-7 at halftime of a game delayed by inclement weather. In the second half the Thundering Herd kept pressing into Vols territory, and when the fourth quarter opened and they were still down just nine the Herd were thinking upset.
Then it all went south. An 89-yard touchdown run and a field goal later and Marshall was clinging to a cover. But they had played well and Marshall backers deserved the payoff. Nope. The swift kick in the groin occurred when David Yancey ran for a "meaningless" five-yard touchdown with five seconds left. Brutal.
But hey, we still had a good weekend and we live to fight another day. The moral of the story here is that you'll win some bets you shouldn't and you'll lose some bets that you shouldn't. But as long as coked-out Colombians don't set your house on fire you're still OK.
Here are the rest of my random thoughts on a by-the-book Week Four:
- Is anyone surprised that Notre Dame is just 1-3 ATS? No one should be because the Irish are the definition of an over-hyped public team. What is surprising is that Notre Dame is 113th in third-down conversions (27.2 percent).
- While it was strangely amusing and horrifying to watch Michigan State's humiliating collapse on Saturday, most Spartans backers went home happy with their team covering. Anyone who was that late to the party to get MSU at +3 deserved the push when they could have had at least a touchdown earlier in the week. Not much sympathy from me on that one.
- There was a very strange gambling moment in the Michigan-Wisconsin game. The score was 27-10 Michigan, and the Wolverines had absolutely dominated the entire second half. Wisconsin hadn't crossed half field in the half and had gone three-and-out on six straight possessions. Michigan would surely cover the 14-point line (I caught it at 13.5 earlier in the week) and the Badgers were done.
Naturally, Wisconsin went 73 yards in just over three minutes, leaving them with fourth-and-goal at the Michigan nine-yard line. And here is where it got awkward: I couldn't decide if I wanted Wisconsin to go for it or not. A touchdown would've meant a brutal backdoor loss for anyone with the number at 14 or higher, but if they didn't score the TD the game would be over and everyone wins. Instead, UW coach Bret Bielema inexplicably kicked the field goal. Wacky push. The Kiss Your Sister Moment of the weekend. Some pushes you feel fortunate to get. That definitely wasn't one of them.
- Haven't we established by now that the ACC is awful? It really is a putrid conference, as evidenced by Cincinnati almost toppling Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. However, somehow there are more ACC teams (four) in the Associated Press Top 25 than there are teams from the Big East (three), Big 10 (three) and Pac-10 (three). What gives?
- So much for Baylor coach Guy Morriss' preseason predictions about the Bears ending the school's 12-year bowl drought. For the third time this year they let a halftime lead slip away in the second half of a game, and have now lost three games by a total of 19 points. The Bears may shock a team or two (Kansas State this week, perhaps?) in Big 12 play, but I don't see them going 5-3 in the conference.
- Boston College got themselves caught on the roller coaster and ran into a team that wanted to win a bit more than they did in N.C. State. Well, that and the Eagles were tormented by a rare Tom O'Brien miscue.
Up 15-10 with less than a minute to play, O'Brien opted not to attempt a 43-yard field goal that would've all but iced the contest. The Eagles went for it on fourth-and-two and were stopped, and NC State scored the game winner on a 34-yard touchdown pass just five plays later.
Wolfpack coach Chuck Amato may have earned a stay of execution but I'm not certain he deserves it.
- The Vinnie Johnson Award for instant offense off the bench definitely goes to Georgia quarterback Joe Cox. The "other" freshman stepped in and bailed out the Bulldogs against Colorado by going 10-for-13 for 154 yards and two late touchdowns. Matt Stafford was awful, averaging just 4.8 yards per pass, but Cox was able to salvage the game and make Dawgs fans forget about the serious game mismanagement by Mark Richt in the fourth quarter.
- I swear you could hear the disappointment in Bonnie Bernstein's voice during the Ohio State-Penn State game on Saturday when she found out that Joe Paterno wasn't dying; he was just going to the bathroom.
- And how funny was Kirk Herbstreit during the second half of the Notre Dame-Michigan State contest? He was talking about an amazing collapse by the Spartans when they were still up 37-21. Sure enough, the inevitable train wreck was just around the bend. Good show, Kirk.
- I guess Oklahoma, Nebraska and Florida State were able to take out some aggression last week. Geez guys, take it easy.
- Speaking of how bad the ACC is, I think it's clear that Clemson is the class of that league. The Tigers seemed primed for a letdown against North Carolina this week after a heart-breaking overtime loss to Boston College and a gutsy win over Florida State in back-to-back weeks. Not so much on the letdown. It was 52-7 and I think it's safe to say that it wasn't even that close of a game.
- Teams with revenge from last year were an astounding 17-2-1 against the closing spread this weekend in college football. Some of the more impressive payback victories were Washington toppling UCLA, Utah over San Diego State (which was my College Game of the Month) and Kent State over Bowling Green.
- Quick, who has the No. 1 defense in the country? Auburn? Michigan? USC? Try Missouri. The Tigers are surrendering just 174.8 yards per game and just 9.2 points per outing. They are 4-0 SU, 2-1 ATS and 3-0 on the Under.
- I have to give a shout to my alma mater. Syracuse is now 4-0 ATS after its convincing win over Miami, OH on Saturday. Wyoming comes to The Loud House on Saturday in what should be another interesting nonconference clash for the rebuilding Orange.
Also, Buffalo (3-0-1), Central Michigan (4-0), East Carolina (4-0) and Hawaii (3-0) are still undefeated ATS.
- RIP Dale Lloyd. The 19-year-old freshman DB died on Monday after a light workout with the team.
- Here's your weekly update on nonconference records by BCS schools:
ACC: 4-0 straight-up, 2-2 against the spread (17-10 SU, 6-16 ATS for the season)
Big East: 6-2 SU, 4-2 ATS (21-7 SU, 17-5 ATS)
Big 10: 0-3 SU, 1-2 ATS (28-8 SU, 16-14 ATS)
Big 12: 6-4 SU, 6-3 ATS (31-14 SU, 19-13 ATS)
Pac 10: 1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS (20-7 SU, 10-14 ATS)
SEC: 7-1 SU, 4-3 ATS (22-7 SU, 14-12 ATS)
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