Rebels with a cause: Runnin’ from Dirty repeat title

Aug 23, 2005 2:19 AM

The fifth annual Dirty Dozen made its initial appearance in GamingToday during the 2001 college football season. The object was to show bettors that they could find equal value from teams not covering the spread as with teams that did.

Mediocre is bad in gambling. Success or failure is good.

Since the "anti-gambling" media outlets publicize the top college schools, a great opportunity was created for hyping the weak. For instance, last year’s Dirty Dozen champ UNLV went 3-8 against the number. So bettors that went against the Rebels last year cashed eight times in 11 games or 72.8 percent.

That’s worth glorifying, we thought.

Thus, UNLV returns this season in a fourth effort to become the first team to become a repeat champ in the Dozen. The competition is stiff, particularly from the Mid America Conference. The Michigans (or muh-shug-a-nahs to my Jewish friends) figure to again be in the thick of the battle for No. 1, whether Eastern, Central or Western.

Buffalo, the Bulls not the Bills, is always a welcomed member of the Dozen. We play no favorites. Elite teams, cupcakes — they’re all invited to attend.

Since there are no preseason games, as in the NFL, organizing a poll prior to the opening week is pure speculation. We’ll add a new wrinkle this year for bettors and include the top five ATS schools, which will differ from the best straight-up teams.

Duke, the inaugural Dirty 12 champ in 2001, was a surprising 7-3 ATS last year. Duke still finished last in the ACC, but 70 percent covers will always make our honor roll. Other past Dozen winners are Baylor (2002) and Illinois (2003).

Just to be fair, from time to time this season we will also include the teams that are the best in covering the spread.

Last year’s winner was the Louisville Cardinals, which went 10-2 against the number. Iowa was the next best at 9-3, followed by Fresno State at 8-3.