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Chuck Landon: Leagues need to bet on injury reports

September 4, 2018

Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.

This is definitely a Labor (Day) of love.

>> Conference USA and Big 12 leaders need to wake up and smell the betting.

That’s because legalized gambling became a reality in West Virginia last weekend, which translated into bettors being able to wager legally on Marshall’s 35-28 win over Miami (Ohio) and WVU’s 40-14 victory over Tennessee.

Forget Pandora’s Box, this opened Pandora’s Book and created a situation both leagues need to address sooner than later.

If Conference USA and the Big 12 want to get the jump on this issue, which is a good idea since the state of West Virginia got the jump on legalized gambling, the leagues need to initiate the one entity all head football coaches abhor.

They’re called injury reports.

Somehow the NFL has managed to prosper quite nicely despite each team issuing a report each and every week. If the NFL can do it, why can’t the Big 12 and C-USA?

Obviously, they can.

It’s a matter of want to. And those two leagues had better want to because, otherwise, their credibility is on the line.

It’s a new day in gambling and college football can either adjust to that reality or pay the price with a high-profile scandal.

One of the best ways to avoid that is issuing a weekly injury report. That’s why so many people connected with collegiate football are advocating a weekly injury report from each of the FBS conferences.

In fact, ACC commissioner John Swofford told a Virginia-based newspaper recently, “I suspect it’ll be for next season. I’ll be surprised if that’s not in place.”

I just hope 2019 will be soon enough.

But I have a feeling it won’t be.

Gambling is legal now, right? Then, when would be the best time for college football conferences to address the issue?

Oh, here’s a great idea.

How about now?

Otherwise, the people in the gambling industry will be seeking out the student managers and student trainers and anyone else connected with a major college football program.

Why?

In hopes they can work out a monetary arrangement in exchange for inside information on injuries. That’s the life-blood of point-spreads.

Take the Marshall-Miami (Ohio) game, for example. The RedHawks had been as much as a 2.5-point favorite all summer, until the odds suddenly reversed to favoring MU by 2.5 on Friday.

But, then, on Saturday the odds inexplicably reversed again with Miami becoming a 2.5-point favorite.

What caused that?

Maybe the bookmakers learned Marshall’s star defensive lineman, Ryan Bee, was injured and not going to play. That would be enough to move the line.

And, remember, nobody knew Bee wasn’t playing until the first time Marshall’s defense took the field and he remained on the sidelines.

This is the can of worms that has been opened.

Want to put a lid on that can?

Start issuing weekly injury reports now.

>> That flushing sound everyone heard last weekend?

It was Conference USA’s credibility going down the drain.

First, the best of C-USA - Florida Atlantic - got humiliated by Oklahoma, 63-14. The Sooners’ first-team offense gained 14 yards per play.

Then, upstart Liberty embarrassed Old Dominion, 52-10, for its first win as an FBS program. So much for that in-state rivalry.

This is the same Liberty, by the way, that C-USA didn’t want.

It wasn’t a good day for Conference USA’s public relations.

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