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Monday, September 27, 2004

Once Again, Don't Bet the Spread

I was at a sports bar on Saturday night watching the Red Sox drop seven runs on the Yankees in the eight inning when I noticed another guy in the room who was paying a little too much attention to the latter stages of the Texas-Rice college football game, which was 35-6 Longhorns in the fourth quarter. The guy was yelling at the Texas players to fumble or otherwise turn over the ball, presumably because Rice needed another score to cover. I heard the guy say that he had bet on the Florida-Kentucky game earlier in the day, a game in which Florida, favored by 19, won 20-3.

Insane as it is to bet the spread on NFL games, college is even worse. Are you really going to put money on a bunch of college kids coming through?

The other Saturday night sporting highlight was Roy Jones getting knocked cold in his attempted comeback fight. As he walked to the ring, HBO announcer Jim Lampley noted that Jones, who hails from Pensacola, Florida, lost a beach house in one of the hurricanes. He also lost 100 gamecocks he raised there, who got free from their cages and attacked and killed each other; they are trained to do this, Lampley informed us. Then the decaying Larry Merchant chimed in that like his gamecocks, Roy Jones has been "bred to fight." That just sounded like Merchant was calling the best boxer of the last 15 years the product of some kind of eugenics program. And to think, before the ill-fated comeback effort, Jones was slated to join the HBO crew as an analyst upon the departure of George Foreman. Hmm.

Moving along, I see Christine Chinlund, the Globe's ombud, is doing some penance for the Globe's coverage of the Bush/National Guard story. True enough, "Authenticity backed on Bush documents" was an unfortunate front-page headline to print as the controversy was starting up, but we need to keep in mind that the Globe has been one of very few media outlets to take the Guard story seriously at all, both in 2000 and when it reemerged months ago. The Globe should've been credited for pursuing the story, and thanks to CBS and the idiocy of Dan Rather we end up with the paper apologizing for its tangential connection to that mess on its editorial page.

Another highlight on the Boston.com front page now is that Bill O'Reilly dissed Jon Stewart for having "stoned slackers" watching his show. Guess which cable host actually has a better-educated audience?

Dan Kennedy, who I checked for Chinlund reaction, actually had a good catch of Mark Steyn making up a Dan Rather quote which he has repeated in a new column ... which of course is criticizing Rather for using inaccurate information. Alert the irony police.