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Letdowns, late moves spell $$$

Sep 30, 2003 3:57 AM

Maybe picking spread winners in college football is all about letdowns and late line moves.

Nevada, Tennessee, Iowa and Missouri were targeted last week as definite "look-aheads" and all four failed to coverage. Iowa and Missouri lost outright and the other two barely won straight up by field goals.

In a sport where you only play 12 games, it’s hard to imagine why any team would look past an opponent. And yet, it happens all the time.

There were a few games that particularly caught our eye regarding late line moves. The big shocker was at Oregon, not so much that Washington State pulled the upset but that the Ducks allowed 55 points in a 29-point home loss the week after beating Michigan.

Too much woofing. Yeah, I guess.

LSU (-15½) at Miss St: The line opened at 13 and jumped two full points on Saturday. Wise guys knew what they were doing as the visiting Tigers cruised 41-6. It may be time for Jackie Sherrill to leave Starkville.

Utah (+6½) at Colorado St: Again, the line moved a full two points on game day in favor of the visiting Utes, closing at 4½. Money talks and CSU walked away a loser, 28-21.

Arkansas (-2½) at Alabama: This game had to kill the house. Bama opened as a one-point chalk only to see the wise guys pour heavy money into the Hogs. The books were counting the dough, up 21 late in the third. Instead, Soooey Pig. Razorbacks in OT, 34-31.

Maryland (-37) at E. Michigan: A horrible result for the Terps, winning by only 24 against a terrible team. The line jumped from 35 on Saturday.

Navy (-1½) at Rutgers: Alarms should have gone off when Navy turned the favorite. The game opened with Rutgers at -3! The lines makers knew what they were talking about. Rutgers wins easy, 48-27.

Wyoming (+25) at Boise St: Bettors just couldn’t decide. The visiting Pokes opened at 25 and the closing line finished that way. In between, the number fell to 23. Boise won 33-17, but never came close to covering.

San Diego St (+9½) at UCLA: Talk about the classic middle. The game opened UCLA -12.5 and steady descended. The 20-10 result would have been a push had not the late, late money went to the victorious Bruins, who covered. But, then so did the smart guys who took the Aztecs early.

Marshall (-11½) at Troy St: After beating Tennessee, the Thundering Herd were burned at the State...The line dropped from 15. Big win for the wise guys.

Making State-ments: LSU, Florida St, Washington St, Pittsburgh, California, and Kansas.

As for this week’s possible letdowns: Oklahoma visits Iowa State knowing Texas looms ahead the following week, Virginia Tech travels to Rutgers with a home game ahead against Syracuse and Nebraska hosts feisty Troy State with Missouri up next.