The Betties - College Football Betting Awards for 2006
T.O. Whenham of Doc's Sports Predictions
Movies have the Oscars and the Golden Globes. T.V. has the Emmys and music the Grammys. Sports has the Espys, though I don't know anyone who cares about them. There is a major void just screaming to be filled, and I'm going to fill it. Allow me to introduce the College Football Betties, the awards designed to honor the best and brightest of the most important part of the last college football season - the betting. Drumroll, please:
The "you won the national championship and we went broke" award - Florida Gators. I wasn't sure that Florida belonged in the National Championship Game. They proved me incredibly wrong, but they still earned this award. They ended the season just 5-8 ATS, and it took covers in their last two games against Arkansas and Ohio State to get to that point. Two of their covers came against Central Florida and Southern Mississippi, so they hardly count. Before the Arkansas game they failed to cover five times in a row. There are probably some die-hard Gator fans trying to figure out how to file for bankruptcy.
The "do you still think we suck?" award - The Big East. We heard all year that they were barely a major conference. And then came the bowl season. They were 5-0 straight up, and 3-2 ATS. That's better than the ACC. And the Big 12. And the Big Ten and Pac-10, too. Only the SEC can hold their head higher than the 'lowly' Big East. The two biggest stories in the conference, champions Louisville and upstarts Rutgers, went 15-7-1 ATS on the season.
The "maybe you shouldn't fix your program" award - Miami Hurricanes. The Hurricanes were a complete disaster on and off the field this year, and the total overhaul that is under way is sorely needed. There was a definite upside to the chaos, though - the team couldn't score, and bookmakers couldn't help but underestimate their offensive ineptitude. The team went under in 10-of -11 Division I games. Ironically, the only team that Miami went over with was Georgia Tech, a squad that was as painful to watch on offense as the Canes.
The "what happened to the glory days?" award - Fresno St. Bulldogs. It wasn't that long ago that 'Fresno St.' was synonymous with 'dangerous mid-major'. They were guaranteed to win 10 games a year, and they gave us quarterbacking 'superstars' like Trent Dilfer and David Carr. For some reason this year, the good old reliable Bulldogs turned into a disaster. They were 4-8 straight up, and a very dismal 1-11 ATS. Dismal for their fans, that is. For handicappers they were an absolute gift. This team couldn't cover against anyone. Probably not even Iowa.
The "you do nothing to disprove the argument that the Big Ten is terrible" award - Iowa Hawkeyes. Remember week five? Undefeated Iowa was hosting Ohio State, and the media was tripping over themselves trying to tell us how this game was destined to be an Iowa upset. Not so much. They were humiliated in that game, and they humiliated themselves for the rest of the year. The only team worse than them against the spread was Fresno St. They were 1-10, and their only cover was against a Purdue team that took the middle part of the season off.
The "for a bad team, you guys were pretty good" award - Tie - UL Monroe and Syracuse. Both teams ended the year at a disappointing 4-8. The only time all year we heard about either team was when Syracuse almost upset Iowa in week two - back when we thought Iowa mattered. Despite the sad records, though, both teams were very solid bets. UL Monroe was 8-3 ATS and Syracuse was 8-4.
The "wasted effort" award - Texas Tech Red Raiders. Any team that can outscore a team from a major conference 38-3 at any point in a game and not cover deserves a slap. When the spread is only eight points and the opponent in Minnesota, then that team deserves an award. Never in the history of this planet has a team deserved to cover less than Minnesota. Heck, it's debatable whether they still deserve to exist as a football team after that bowl debacle.
The "maybe now you'll pay attention to us" award - The WAC. Boise State is the sweetheart of the country right now, but this conference deserves more attention than that. They were 4-0 ATS in the bowls this year. Nevada gave Miami a good battle, San Jose State was a great upset and Hawaii came out and showed that the reports of their fireworks weren't exaggerated. The betting attractiveness of this conference wasn't limited to the bowl season, either. Nevada was 10-2 ATS, San Jose State was 8-3, Hawaii was 8-3-1. The "Smurf Turf" may be hard to look at, but you definitely need to watch more WAC football next year.
And now, the award you have all been waiting for - The Betty for best college football team to bet on. The nominees are a varied and unexpected lot. In fact, the only major conference team among the five finalists is Ohio State. Joining the Buckeyes are Central Michigan, Nevada, East Carolina, and BYU. And the winner isō
The Central Michigan Chippewas. Yes, not only do the Chippewas have a MAC championship and a Motor City Bowl title in their trophy case, but now they have the most prestigious trophy in sports betting - the Betty. The team's prospects looked dim after a 2-3 start, but they finished up by winning eight of nine. More impressively, they covered 11-of-13 games that had lines. No team in the country was more profitable all year than Central Michigan. I've never watched a whole Central Michigan game, and chances are pretty good I never will, but I will always look back fondly on the great '07 season of the mighty Chippewas.