Ohio State-Texas will shape BCS again

Jul 11, 2006 7:01 AM

Last season, I felt Texas-Ohio State in Week 2 at Columbus was the football game that carried the most impact. Bulls eye.

Now, for 2006, we’re predicting the same scenario.

Again, the game occurs in the second week of the season, only the scene shifts to Austin. Vince Young led Texas to a 25-22 victory en route to an unbeaten season that included wins over Oklahoma and USC.

Now, Young is gone and I don’t believe Game 2 is enough time for Texas to overcome the loss of the nation’s top QB. Meanwhile, Ohio State has most of its weaponry intact, especially fleet QB Troy Smith and Ted Ginn Jr., this year’s version of Reggie Bush.

Whichever team emerges from Austin with the W has the inside track on No. 1 throughout the year and a potential collision course with Notre Dame. I don’t believe the Irish can run the table in their first four games (at Georgia Tech, home to Penn St and Michigan, then a road game at Michigan St).

However, this year’s top QB Brady Quinn figures to gather steam in a weaker midseason. Thus, a win Thanksgiving Day at Southern Cal, would impress the judges enough for the Irish to gain a shot at the BCS title with one loss against the Buckeyes.

So, much for college football, let’s talk World Cup soccer 2010.

Just kidding.

Actually, college teams will now play 12-game schedules with many sacrificing traditional Saturday dates for weeknight and Sunday prime time TV exposure. The Las Vegas books very overjoyed. Can you just imagine all those 2-team parlays? Christmas comes early.

"The opportunities for Sunday night NFL/college football parlays are incredible," Wynn director of race and sports operations John Avello recently told me. "It’s just a natural for bettors to parlay the games. This couldn’t have worked out better for the books."

Imagine, the NCAA actually helping sports betting in ”˜Sin City’ business after crusading for years to eliminate gambling. Talk about a gang that can’t shoot straight.

As we said in last week’s tease to this preview article, many of the top college football preseason publications are now available at the Gamblers Book Shop (11th and Charleston). The College Football Scorebook ($24.95) is the bible on past performances against the spread and full of juicy trends.

If you prefer an less expensive investment to beating the house, try the USA Today preview ($4.95). On the internet, a solid website is collegefootball.com.

In the meantime, we’ll keep an eye out for the Hilton SuperBook’s annual College Football Games of the Year with accompanying point spreads. No doubt, Ohio State and Texas will be there in Week 2.

Caesars Palace race and sports book certainly favors an Ohio State-Notre Dame national championship game, listing the Irish as the 3-1 favorite. The Buckeyes, which opened as a 4-1 favorite back on Jan. 16 when the 2007 odds were initially released, are now second choice at 7-2.

Five other schools have odds below 10-1 — Southern Cal (8-1), West Virginia (8-1), Oklahoma (8-1), LSU (9-1) and Florida (9-1). Gaining support from bettors since January are West Virginia (down from 10-1), LSU (down from 12-1), Oklahoma (down from 12-1) and Florida (down from 18-1).

Among the BCS bowl contenders losing some betting support are Texas (15-1 from 8-1), TCU (50-1 from 25-1), Oregon (35-1 from 25-1) and South Carolina (50-1 from 40-1).

Quite often bettors follow the odds over the months leading up to the regular season for clues to how teams will fare. So, some sleepers could be Auburn (12-1 from 15-1), Penn State (18-1 from 30-1), Miami (12-1 from 22-1), Florida State (18-1 from 35-1) and Nebraska (22-1 from 50-1).

Boise State has been a popular betting team with the public throughout this decade, much as Gonzaga captured the fascination of the fans in college basketball. This year the Broncos and their celebrated blue turf opened 60-1. Currently the price is 75-1 at Caesars to win the national title.

Other possible longshots to consider for a potential huge payoff are Boston College (125-1), Texas A&M (150-1) and Utah (300-1).

As stated in the tease last week, all the schools will now play 12 games during the regular season. That meant a heavy scramble to find someone to play that didn’t have a conflict. Translation: Many more games between Division I and IA teams.

These "cupcakes" at could present problems for Las Vegas oddsmakers, who will have to dig deep for reliable lines Samford (Sept. 9 at Georgia Tech), San Diego (Sept. 16 vs Yale), Illinois State (Sept. 2 at Kansas State) and Rhode Island (Aug. 31 at Connecticut) among some 70 scattered throughout the season.