Saturday, June 21, 2008

Eyes On A Foe: Teddy Bears closing the gap?

I’m completely dumbfounded by how quickly the UCLA Bruins have shaved their odds of winning the 2009 BCS Championship game. At season’s end, the Bruins opened at 70-1. As of yesterday, they are down to 35-1. That’s a 50% improvement in Vegas, without any significant change to the roster.

The Bruins already lost Patrick Cowan to injury, after he was named the starting quarterback by Norm Chow. Even with his loss, the Bruins continued to better their odds. How is that? The UCLA coaching staff may have had confidence in Cowan, but it sure doesn’t seem like the general public did, since sportsbooks have been collecting money from people even more confident in the Bruins using an alternate option at QB.

The Bruins have 2 tough games out of conference, Tennessee and BYU, and then enter conference play, where USC, Arizona State, and Oregon are sure to be ranked. They’re looking at possibly 5 ranked opponents on a 12 game schedule. Lose just one of those games, and the Teddy Bears won’t be playing for any championships in January. Everyone knows the only way a Pac 10 team is going to play in a BCS championship game is to go undefeated and hope to be selected.

The Trojans remain the heavy favorite with most oddsmakers, holding steady at 3-1 to win it all.

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