Dirty Dozen: Duke has devil of time winning

Aug 21, 2001 7:14 AM

The time has come for giving the nation’s worst college football teams their proper respect. After all, bettors follow losers as much as winners. A payoff is a payoff, no matter if the choice is Nebraska or Kent.

The only difference in betting circles between the haves and have-nots is that most of the time points are given instead of received. Admit it, receiving 30 points is more satisfying and relaxing than giving 30.

National polls provide a disservice to the thousands of betting customers who seek information on teams almost certain to lose on the field and win at the window. The time has come for educating the masses. As a public service from Las Vegas, here is the Gaming Today Preseason Dirty Dozen fresh off the grill.

Remember, these schools can cover the spread with the best mayonnaise.

Duke: The unofficial defending champion went winless, a major accomplishment considering the Blue Devils fell to Vanderbilt,  Maryland and Wake Forest. Duke did go 3-1 ATS in its last four games, so repeating may be difficult.

UL-Monroe: The Indians made a heck of run at Duke last year, closing with eight straight losses including the season-finale against 1-AA Wofford. Monroe plays at Florida on Sept. 8 in a game children 17-under will not be allowed to watch.

Army: The Cadets have already lost six starters for the season due to injury. Army fell to Navy last year and could challenge Duke with a repeat setback to the Middies in December.

UL-Lafayette: The UL-designated schools have made Tulane a respectable football team by comparison. Lafayette, formerly called Southwestern Louisiana, would have been ranked higher if not for an Oct. 27 showdown at home with Monroe.

Kent: Golden Flashes head coach Dean Pees received a two-year contract extension after a 1-10 season. Now, that’s an organization everyone should work for. Pees is 3-30 in three years at Kent. Talk about consistency.

Arkansas St: Cleo Lemon started 41 straight games for the Indians until graduating last spring. State opens its season Sept. 1 at Georgia. Andy Shatley, the new QB, has never taken a varsity snap. Oh, brother.

Navy: The Midshipmen blew a No. 1 ranking with a victory against Army. Opponents scored 40 points or more five times. Injured QB Brian Madden is back and the Middies have winnable games against Temple, Rice, Rutgers and Army.

Buffalo: The mighty MAC is an underrated league, despite the fact three of its members are in the Dirty Dozen. The Bison won two games last year after going 0-11 in 1999. Buffalo stands to capture four games in 2001, which is possible.

C. Michigan: If the Chippewas do the same two things right this year, they will remain out of Top 5 consideration. Central upset Western Michigan and led the MAC in fewest penalty yards (414).

Nevada:  With 114 schools in Division I, Nevada ranked in the triple digits for both scoring defense and total defense. QB David Neill has thrown for over 5,300 yards in three seasons. If the Wolf Pack can average 50, they may win a couple.

Connecticut: The Huskies open at Virginia Tech, a matchup slightly less ugly without Michael Vick. UConn has a huge Dirty Dozen home test Sept. 22 with No. 8 Buffalo. Baylor hits the schedule on a home-and-home basis next year.

Baylor:  The NCAA granted QB Greg Cicero a sixth year of eligibility after breaking his collarbone in Game 2 against Minnesota. The Bears then lost LB Anthony Simmons, the third leading tackler last year, for disciplinary reasons.