Ah, the contract extension. Again it proved the kiss of death.
The latest case involved Lou Holtz, whose contract at South Carolina was extended through the 2008 season last week. After a 63-17 drubbing against archrival Clemson at home Saturday, retirement might be a better option.
Since the South Carolina athletic department sends me monthly reminders about my $25 annual dues, I feel compelled to lash out at the Gamecocks and rejoice in my selection of the Tigers as a one-point underdog.
Tommy Bowden may have saved his job after seeing red-hot QB Charlie Whitehurst consolidate the stunning win over Florida State the previous week with a four touchdown effort. The 63 points were the most S.C. has allowed since the storied series began in 1896 ”” Holtz’s first year.
Just kidding, Lou.
LAST RIGHTS: Jackie Sherrill. The Mississippi State coach made his decision to leave the program last month and the Bulldogs responded by dedicating the rest of season to avoid covering spreads. MSU "improved" to 2-9-1 ATS after a 52-6 drubbing at Arkansas.
This week, the Bulldogs end the season at home against Ole Miss in the annual Egg Bowl. One would hope the eggs don’t wind up coming from the seats toward the Bulldogs bench. With the visiting Rebels fresh off a bitter 17-14 loss to LSU that probably cost them a trip to the SEC championship game, this one could get ugly fast.
IS BCS LEGIT? We’re not advocating support for this computerized system, but at this point it would seem that the two best teams in the country are Oklahoma and Southern Cal. Just the way the BCS ratings have it.
Is LSU getting the royal shaft? Possibly, but that can no longer be said for Ohio State and TCU. Thank goodness the Dirty Dozen doesn’t recognize the BCS. Illinois was crowned as this year’s worst "cover" team after falling to Northwestern as a 3-point home dog, 37-20. The Illini went down a "not Fighting" 1-10 ATS.
3-TEAM WINNER: Our esteemed staff looked over last week’s rotation and determined that we’re putting way too much thought in this process of beating the house. Wagering against the bad teams like Iowa State, Mississippi State and Illinois would have produced an easy 3-team parlay. Betting $50 to win $250 on these nags just seemed too easy to do.
This is the last good week to apply this theory. So we’ll recommend Texas, Ole Miss and Missouri no matter the posted line. Just do it!
TWO STANDOUTS: Our own Doc and ABC’s incomparable Keith Jackson ventured beyond their usual neighborhoods and we were the beneficiaries. Doc usually focuses on the Big Ten, but he strongly recommended taking USC to cover against UCLA. They did.
Jackson has basically done West Coast games (mostly Pac 10) since trimming his college football broadcasting assignments. But the magnitude and tradition of the Ohio State-Michigan game brought him to Ann Arbor and it was again great television. The Wolverines covered as a 7-point favorite, 35-21. Doc, of course, was right.
SECOND GUESS: Those trusty oddsmakers. Oregon State was made a 3-point road favorite at Oregon. The Ducks rarely lose at Autzen Stadium and it didn’t happen against the visiting Beavers. Oregon easily covered, 34-20. Add that Clemson line to this one.
WORST BEAT: NC State: The Pack look to be comfortably ahead until Maryland scored 19 points in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning field goal as time expired to win 26-24. The visiting Terrapins opened as a 1-point dog and closed as a 1-point favorite. Naturally, we had State.
OUR BREAKDOWN: Favorites and dogs split the 41 lined games 20-20-1. The "over" held a 10-7 edge.