Smart Bettors, I'm told, saw this one coming a mile away. Ridiculously low scoring, they predicted. Stay away from betting the spread, these guys cautioned, and bet the under.
How right they were. Last Saturday's big college football battle, No.1 vs. No.2, LSU against Alabama, lumbered along, with LSU finally winning 9-6--in OT yet. Hard to believe that it took extra time to pile up so few points. Not only was it low-scoring--no TDs, all field goals--but it was also extremely low in excitement.
In pre-game analyses, what canny bettors saw was that both teams have cream-puff offenses and killer defenses. Neither passes very well so both defenses could concentrate on squashing the run. What we saw mostly was running backs plowing futilely into brick-wall defenses. It's a recipe for a boring game and a primer on how not to play creative offense.
Most fans hate this kind of game, with teams jockeying for field position. NFL scouts, though, were in heaven, positively drooling over all the pro prospects on both defenses. Hard-hitting LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu could play in most NFL secondaries right now. There was plenty of skilled defensive line play too--if that turns you on.
LSU vs. Alabama--game of the century, the hype machine trumpeted for weeks. Turns out that this wasn't even the best game of the day. There were four other candidates, three thrilling upsets and one near upset: UCLA nipped Arizona State, 29-28; Northwestern edged Nebraska, 28-25; Iowa beat Michigan, 24-13; and Oklahoma State escaped an embarrassing home loss to Kansas State, 52-45.
Defense was not a significant factor in either of these four games. Nor were bettors, I'm told, as sharp predicting these outcomes.