Nobody wants it, and I love it.
The story of the 2007 Bowl Championship Series is a story of fumbles and interceptions. There's a really good chance no major-conference team will be undefeated come January 1, which means the national championship game participants will probably be selected from a mountain of one-loss teams. Here's the rundown of how the top BCS teams have tumbled this year:
South Florida lost to Rutgers 30-27 as the #2 BCS squad.
Boston College lost to Florida St. 27-17 as the #2 BCS team.
Ohio St. lost to Illinois 28-21 as the #1 BCS team.
Oregon lost to Arizona 34-24 as the #2 BCS team, while Oklahoma lost 34-27 to Texas Tech as the #4 BCS team.
LSU lost to Arkansas 50-48 as the #1 BCS team just this Friday.
And this roster of massive upsets only takes into account the six weeks since the BCS standings have been released. Before that, #4 Michigan lost to Appalachian St., #3 Oklahoma lost to Colorado, #4 Florida lost to Auburn, #5 West Virginia lost to South Florida, #7 Texas lost to Kansas St., #2 USC lost to Stanford, #5 Wisconsin lost to Illinois, #1 LSU lost to Kentucky and #2 California lost to Oregon St.
As such, this is perhaps the most fun college football season ever, and the one (you heard it here last) that screams loudest for a true NCAA-hoops-style tournament. The more screwed up the BCS, the more messed up the national championship game, and I have to believe that's good for a possible tournament somewhere down the road. It won't happen right away, not with Fox's big TV contract for the BCS title game. But if you're sane human being, and want the BCS to go away and have this sport changed so it's no longer the only event in the world where the title isn't settled on the field, root for Hawaii.
The former Rainbows (now Warriors) went into Friday night's game with Boise St. undefeated, but with absolutely no chance of playing for a national championship. But like Boise St. last year, an undefeated Hawaii squad could play in a BCS game, win behind Colt Brennan, and make the same argument the Broncos made last year: Cinderella should be given a chance to knock out the giant ugly stepsister on a level playing field, with a national championship at stake. George Mason got that chance in hoops, and took us on the best underdog ride in sports history.
So let's go chaos!
So the New England / Philly game jumped to the highest non-expansion line in history, 23.5 points, right after open. Is it still a sucker bet to take the Eagles? If Donovan McNabb doesn't play, could this line wind up breaking the all-time record?
Bodog Bookmakers, BoDogLife.com: The money is still coming in strong on the Patriots by game time. Right now all signs point to A.J. Feeley starting for the Eagles on Sunday, so I wouldn't be surprised if this line jumps another point or two before game time. Going to 24 is psychologically difficult for an odds-maker, because the favorite would need to win the game by three touchdowns and a field goal just to push on the spread. But the lines for Patriots games don't surprise me anymore; if New England continues its dominance over the next three games, you can pretty much guarantee we'll see a spread never seen before in an NFL game when the Patriots welcome Eric Mangini and the Jets to Foxboro.
What are your overall thoughts on line-making when it comes to the '07 Patriots? Are the books' heads just spinning? Has any consideration ever been given to taking them off the board completely? And will it take just one loss to have their lines come back to normal?
Bodog Bookmakers, BoDogLife.com: Yes, you just have to shake your head when as a book you set line so that the favorite has to win by three touchdowns and a field goal just to cover the spread in an effort to discourage bettors from taking a line, but people are willing to give up two or three touchdowns to take the bet. To be fair, the Patriots have done their part covering every spread except the -4.5 to -6 points versus the Colts. The strategy did work in Week 3 versus Buffalo and Week 5 versus the Browns, where neither game was in the top six wagered on games in their respective weeks. I don't think a single loss would bring the lines back to a reasonable number; I anticipate the bettors would think to themselves, "Oh it won't happen twice." We've never considered not offering a line on the Patriots, as upsets do happen, and I can assure you we pray for an upset every week.
Lloyd Carr is out at Michigan...that's a huge vacancy at a glamour program. So do you think it's a fait accompli that LSU's Les Miles will take the gig? If so, what do you think that'll do to bettors' perception of the Wolverines next year?
Bodog Bookmakers, BoDogLife.com: Based on everything that's been written in the media, it would be a surprise if Les Miles was not coaching Michigan next year. The guy played and was an assistant coach under the legendary Bo Schembechler. To think he might not want to follow in Schembechler's footsteps is ludicrous. Obviously, it would be tough to leave LSU, but it's not like the opportunity to coach the Wolverines comes up very often. As for bettors' perceptions of Michigan, people already consider it a powerhouse. Miles might help some forget Appalachian State, but the Wolverines already get plenty of respect.
What do you think of the Yankees' moves here in the offseason? We went from the major sea change the organization probably needs to an aging team that's pretty much back together for the next three or four years. If they can't pry Johan Santana from the Twins, is taking them as a bettor next year to win the American League and/or World Series a bad bet?
Bodog Bookmakers, BoDogLife.com: You never want to count the Yankees out, because they have the money to get the pieces they need to get it done. I learned that lesson last year when I used this very column to stick a fork in their 2007 season. They went on to have one of the best second-half runs in baseball, and made the playoffs. Their off-season started off just as rocky, but a month-and-a-half later they have A-Rod signed, Posada signed, Rivera signed, and if they get their mitts on Johan Santana, the American League should fear the Bronx Bombers once again. Taking the Yankees without Johan Santana in the lineup is not even a bad bet at this point, but with Santana in the lineup the Yanks will be the team to beat once again in the AL East. If you're thinking of betting on the Yanks while the odds are good, it would be best to put your money down before they bring in a star like Santana. Because if they get a star of that caliber, the line is likely to drop the way Boston Celtics futures plummeted when they signed Kevin Garnett