Wayne Root: BCS Chaos
A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM
By the KING of Las Vegas WAYNE ALLYN ROOT
We're coming up to the point of the college football season where everyone starts talking about the race for the BCS championship. This is great for me as a handicapper because it sets up DISTRACTIONS that I can take advantage of in very dramatic fashion.
You may remember last year that I won THREE STRAIGHT outright upset calls against teams who were #1 in the national polls at kickoff. As soon as players and coaches start getting bombarded with questions about the BCS, they become primed for upsets because they stop thinking about their next opponent. Meanwhile, that next opponent is very fired up about the chance to knock off a national power.
It's very hard for many of you to think about upsets right now because all the undefeated teams seem so dominant. They're not just winning...but they're winning by very impressive margins. The powers covered their spreads last week in big TV games. You probably think that's going to last all season long.
Well, maybe for one or two teams it will last all season long. But, MOST teams who are currently undefeated and wowing voters are going to stub their toe this month or next. I'm confident I'll be able to find those spots on the schedule where upsets are most likely to happen. And, believe it or not, the stage might actually be set for a major upset THIS weekend!
Let's take a look at a particular subset of ranked powers...
#1 LSU is playing on the road at Tennessee in a national TV game (CBS)
#2 Alabama is playing on the road at Ole Miss in a national TV game (ESPN2)
#3 Oklahoma is playing on the road at Kansas in a national TV game (ESPN2)
#5 Boise State is playing on the road at Colorado State
#6 Oklahoma State is playing on the road at Texas in a major TV game (ABC-regional)
#7 Stanford is playing on the road at Washington State in a national TV game (Versus)
#8 Clemson is playing on the road at Maryland in a national TV game (ESPNU)
Amazingly, seven of the top eight teams in the polls (all of whom are still undefeated) are ROAD FAVORITES this Saturday! (Only #4 Wisconsin plays at home, against struggling Indiana). That's the ideal situation for picking SHOCK THE SYSTEM upsets. Now, I'm not going to stand here and tell you that Kansas is capable of beating Oklahoma, or that Colorado State might upend Boise State. The road favorites there are laying more than 30 points. But...I do think at least one game on that list is going to get very interesting. Maybe more. And, the media hype is just beginning!
Remember, upsets typically happen when what had been a hot team loses its focus and plays one of its worst games of the year. Certainly, a few of those teams could lose if they played their worst game of the year vs. that particular opponent. Oh, and in terms of just covering pointspreads...flat favorites are always in danger of underachieving tall Vegas numbers.
There are a couple of other undefeated teams just outside the top 10 who are also playing on the road this Saturday:
#11 Michigan is playing on the road at #23 Michigan State on national TV (ESPN)
#12 Georgia Tech is playing on the road at Virginia on national TV (ESPNU)
Michigan losing wouldn't be a pointspread upset because Michigan State is actually the betting favorite there. Georgia Tech better not get too high on themselves.
We're still early the early stages of BCS Chaos...so I could easily be backing any of those favorites this week because my contacts are certain that distractions aren't an issue yet. You saw what happened last weekend when favorites sent quite a few messages in blowout fashion. Just be aware that we're likely to see some flat performances in the coming days and weeks...and that this Saturday's amazingly road heavy schedule for ranked teams might be the trigger for some very exciting developments.
I have a big weekend planned once again in the colleges. You can sign up right now online or by calling my handicapping office at 1-877-766-8946. The first winner goes Thursday Night in either USC-Cal on ESPN or SDSU-Air Force on CBSC. Start your weekend off right with THE KING OF LAS VEGAS!
I'll finish my series on conference handicapping over the next two days on these pages. I'll discuss handicapping the ACC the next time we're together. My report on Big East handicapping will probably go up overnight Friday or very early Saturday. If you missed earlier guidance in the SEC, Big 10, Big 12, and Pac 12, please check the archives.
BCS Chaos is about to begin. The man who's picked more documented upsets than anyone else in handicapping is ready to help you make the most of it. It's time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!
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