Editor’s Note: When you’re losing money gambling on professional athletes, it’s always a smart move to turn to our brilliant college students playing in the NCAA.
Honorable Mention: Gonzaga-St. Mary’s 1/16:
My worst college basketball beat came early in 2021. I worried that Gonzaga would put in their scrubs. They were up by 17. I might have used another term to describe the lesser players. A late three pulled St. Mary’s within 14. The Bulldogs had one final chance to cover. A missed dunk (not contested) ended up costing me.
My top 5 college beats were all from football.
5. Western Kentucky-Army 9/11:
How could you not take Army when they have a September 11 game at West Point? The line was just under a touchdown. Army went ahead 35-14 with 10:31 remaining. This quickly became 35-28. A late field goal made it 38-28, but left the back door open. Army’s prevent defense allowed Western Kentucky to drive down and score a touchdown with just 22 seconds to go.
4. Oregon-Stanford 10/2:
The Ducks were favored by more than a touchdown. I went with the substantial but seemingly safe ML. Unranked Stanford’s injured quarterback returned to throw a touchdown with no time on the clock. Stanford was given an untimed down after a holding penalty with zeroes on the clock, and the undefeated Ducks would end up losing in overtime. Three Oregon penalties aided Stanford’s late drive in the final 1:59 of regulation to tie the score.
3. Penn State-Iowa 10/9:
Both teams were ranked in the top 5. Iowa was a small favorite. It went up to 2.5. I probably would have bought Penn State to 3.5, but it was lower at the time of my bet. With the score 14-3 Penn State, it looked like the Nittany Lions were driving for a 21-3. They ended up getting just a field goal, and lost their quarterback to an injury. Sean Clifford’s replacement missed numerous open teammates, but threw passes to some open Iowa defenders. Penn State fell 23-20.
2. Colorado-Oregon 10/30:
Another Ducks game involved snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. At least where the point spread was concerned. I bought the line down one point to 23.5. It was a 45-14 lead for Oregon. Colorado converted twice on fourth down to keep a drive alive, including on their touchdown to pull within 24. Oregon’s quarterback threw an interception on the next drive.
Another touchdown followed. Once again, Colorado was able to keep the drive alive with a conversion on fourth down. The math says to go for two, and Colorado pulled within 16. Oregon answered with a touchdown, but only won by 23. Guess I should have bought two points instead of one.
1. Wyoming-Boise State 11/12:
I had been haunted by the Broncos all year. Their blown lead against Oklahoma State narrowly missed this list. It seemed like I was not on them when they played well. This debacle made SVP’s weekly Bad Beats segment. Wyoming seemed to have no sense of urgency. Boise had a 23-7 lead as the final seconds were ticking away.
A long pass was not only caught, but inexplicably taken in for a touchdown of 74 yards with just 4 seconds left. Wyoming had no timeouts remaining. If the tackle had been made inside Boise’s 5, the clock would have restarted after stopping temporarily. There would not have been time for any more plays. It was without a doubt my worst bad beat of 2021.