Sep 23, 2003 8:38 AM

MAC and Mac-kovic. Talk about a winning parlay!

The Mid-American Conference left calling cards in past years that they are not to be taken lightly in non-conference matchups against the nation’s elite. Last Saturday, they struck paydirt.

Toledo, Marshall, Miami of Ohio and Northern Illinois each knocked off heavily favored teams on the road. Bowling Green came within a touchdown of the defending national champion.

The bettors finest moment, however, was the Arizona-Purdue mismatch when the line jumped from an opening 21 for the Boilermakers to 26 at the Stardust and 27 at the Hilton.

Rarely will you find a six-point hike in the number, but then not many teams have John Mackovic as a head coach. Arizona fell to 0-3 ATS with a totally predictable 59-7 loss.

For entertainment purposes, it’s even money for another playoff revolt in Tucson during the year and 1-10 that Mackovic keeps his job. Expect him back in the TV booth next year fellow coaching casualty Bob Davie (Notre Dame).

Another hit on the house was the aforementioned Ohio State game, where the Buckeyes allowed BG to come up with the infamous 24-17 backdoor cover as a 10½ point underdog.

Overall, the dogs held a slight 23-21-1 edge against the number, while "unders" nipped "overs" in posted totals 9-8. Results the Vegas books can definitely live with.

It was a frustrating week for bettors, who backed teams not used to being placed in the role of double-digit favorites. We focused on seven teams, which went 2-4-1. Some like Louisville, Minnesota and Wake Forest won confortably but didn’t cover. Others like Missouri were barely survived the outright defeat.

Our "second guess" award actually goes to a winner, Oregon coach Mike Bellotti. The Ducks opted for a fake field goal on fourth down in the red zone instead of taking the 3 that would have created a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter. Michigan stopped the fake and drove the length of the field. Oregon held on, 31-27.

Results that had us reaching for the Pepto were Georgia Tech losing 39-3 at home to Clemson after playing Florida State to a one-point loss and Tulsa’s 54-7 rout of Arkansas State. Quite a few of top handicappers were high on A-State. They probably got high after the game.

As for this week, here’s four possible letdowns. Unbeaten Iowa visits Michigan State with thoughts of Michigan next week in Iowa City. Tennessee has South Carolina this week in Knoxville, but may be focused on Auburn. Nevada hosts UNLV next week and may take this week’s opponent SMU lightly. And, Texas entertains high-scoring Tulane with Kansas State coming up next.




Marshall 27-20 v K-State

Miami, OH 41-21 v Colo St.

N. Illinois 19-16 v Alabama

Toledo 35-31 v Pitt

Bowling Green 17-24 v Ohio St.

Kent St. 10-32 v Penn St.


UCF 14-38 v Syracuse

Buffalo 7-38 v UConn

E. Mich 7-39 v Navy

No line

Akron 65-7 v Howard



Wake Forest (-19) 34-16 v ECU

Louisville (-36) 42-14 v UTEP

Missouri (-21.5) 41-40 vs MTSU

Minnesota (35.5) 48-14 v UL-Laf


Navy (-15) 39-7 v E. Michigan

U. Conn (-23.5) 34-7 v Buffalo


Tulane (-17) 50-33 v Army


Favorites 23, Dogs 21, 1 push

Under 9, Over 8

SU upsets: 13 of 45