Vegas sure beats Mobile

Dec 17, 2002 7:41 AM

   Welcome to the bowl season, the culmination of another college football campaign and start of holiday cheer in Las Vegas.

   Mike Seba, the pride of the University of Arkansas, agreed to lend his Las Vegas Sports Consultants expertise to the first wave of bowls leading up to the Miami-Ohio State national title matchup on Jan. 3.

   While some of the contests have appeal, frankly it’s the pull of the pointspread that’s drawing us to sports books and away from the Sopranos, CSI and pro wrestling.

   Hey, it takes a lot to watch games on blue turf. Not to mention such exotic locales as Mobile (AL) and Shreveport (LA) where it seems to rain 365 days a year. Thank goodness for the Las Vegas Bowl.

   Maybe UNLV will return to that bowl when the brass decides to play the right quarterback in September instead of December.

   Enough frivolity — an early Christmas present for the customers is Seba’s take on the opening action.

   Tuesday, Dec. 17

   New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana Superdome

   Cincinnati (-8½) vs North Texas:

   North Texas opened the season against UNLV a couple of years ago. That’s the last most folks out here have seen of them. Obviously, they have improved a bit but this game rests on the arm of Cincinnati QB Gino Guidugli. Gino beat Louisville and almost upset Ohio State. If G’s head is straight, the Bearcats should prevail. CINCINNATI

   Wednesday, Dec. 18

   GMAC Bowl: Ladd Stadium, Mobile (AL)

   Marshall (-2½) vs Louisville:

   Great QB matchup between Byron Leftwich and Dave Raggone. Louisville beat Florida State, but lost to Houston. Leftwich and Ragone are tough and will play with pain. The total is up from 59 to 60 because Marshall plays little defense. Louisville plays some, but prefers to control the ball on offense. Weather is always the X-factor in Mobile. UNDER.

   Monday, Dec. 23

   Tangerine Bowl: Citrus Bowl, Orlando

   Texas Tech (-6) vs Clemson:

   LVSC opened the game at 7½ and went down to 7. We like the Texas Tech side. The Raiders have played better competition and Clemson’s defense is susceptible to the pass. That’s great news for Kliff Kingsbury. Throw out the Oklahoma result and he would be up for the Heisman. Should be high scoring. Total up from 65 to 66. TEXAS TECH.

   Wednesday, Dec. 25

   Las Vegas Bowl: Sam Boyd Stadium

   UCLA (-10½) vs N. Mexico:

   Two teams headed in opposite directions. UCLA now has an interim coach, which continues the downward spiral of the Bob Toledo firing. Doubtful the Bruins will want to play this game. New Mexico has come up, and owns an excellent record at Sam Boyd Stadium. UCLA is new to Vegas. Could be a money play. N.MEXICO

   Hawaii Bowl: Aloha Stadium

   Hawaii (-12½) vs Tulane:

   The Rainbows have known about this bid for nearly a month. The line opened at 10½ and climbed to 12. Hawaii’s motivation was there in a five-point loss to Alabama, but lacking in a one-point win over San Diego State. This bowl could be a vacation for Tulane. We rated the Green Wave an 8-point dog, but the public jumped on it. HAWAII.

   I’ll be at the Las Vegas Bowl looking for a powder blue UCLA uniform and a money line win for the underdog Los Lobos.