Am I reading this right?

Do sportsbooks have the Indianapolis Colts at 10-1 to win the Super Bowl? And 4-1 to get to the Super Bowl? You mean there’s still someone out there who will bet on Indy?

That, my friends, is shocking. There is absolutely no way in the fucking world for the Colts to make it to Miami, let alone win a title this year. I know the pundits have been adamant that Indy can’t stop the race this season. I know you’ve seen everyone from Maurice Jones-Drew to Travis Henry to Ronnie Brown to Ron Dayne go crazy on them in featured packs over the last couple of months. I know you think Peyton Manning has a very tough road ahead of him if he’s going to score enough points to get through this 11-man tackling matchup going through a defense. But I don’t think you have a serious enough understanding of exactly how bad this defense is against the Colts’ run.

No team since 1985 has allowed as many rushing yards as Indianapolis. No one. Equipment. That’s another 652 possible team seasons, and the Colts allowed more rushing yards per game, 173, than each of them. Clearly, that is historically bad. Do you want to go back even further? In the 16-game era (that is, since 1978) exactly nine teams have had worse run seasons than the 2006 Indianapolis Colts. Nine. There have been 849 team seasons played from 1978 onwards. In exactly nine of these team seasons, one team allowed more than 173 rushing yards per game, a percentage of just over 1%. Here are the dirty nine, along with their rushing yards allowed per game, and their final win-loss record:

1978 Buffalo Bills: 201.8 games, (5-11)

1980 New Orleans Saints: 194.1 games per game, (1-15)

1978 Baltimore Colts: 188.1 games per game, (5-11)

1981 New England Patriots: 184.4 games per game, (2-14)

1979 Green Bay Packers: 180.3 games per game, (5-11)

1985 Houston Oilers: 175.9 rypg, (5-11)

1981 Seattle Seahawks: 175.4 games, (6-10)

1984 Houston Oilers: 174.3 rypg, (3-13)

1983 Houston Oilers: 174.2 games per game, (2-14)

Heck, technically we could even consider defending against the historically poor run of the Houston Oilers from 1983 to 1985 as a team, right? Anyway, look at those win-loss records. The fact that the Colts actually went 12-4 this year is a testament to both the sheer excellence of the offense and the fact that the AFC South is some kind of pathetic agglomeration of football teams. As if that wasn’t evidence enough that the Colts aren’t going anywhere fast, here are the Super Bowl entrants from the 16-game era, with their rushing yards per game allowed in the regular season:

2005 Pittsburgh Steelers: 85.5 rypg over Seattle Seahawks: 114.5 rypg

2004 New England Patriots: 98.3 rypg over Philadelphia Eagles: 118.9 rypg

2003 New England Patriots: 89.6 rypg over Carolina Panthers: 107.6 rypg

2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 97.1 rypg over Oakland Raiders: 90.8 rypg

2001 New England Patriots: 115.9 rypg over St. Louis Rams: 85.9 rypg

2000 Baltimore Ravens: 60.6 rypg over New York Giants: 72.3 rypg

1999 St. Louis Rams: 74.3 rypg over Tennessee Titans: 96.9 rypg

1998 Denver Broncos: 80.4 rypg over Atlanta Falcons: 75.2 rypg

1997 Denver Broncos: 112.7 rypg over Green Bay Packers: 117.3 rypg

1996 Green Bay Packers: 88.5 rypg over New England Patriots: 93.9 rypg

1995 Dallas Cowboys: 110.8 rypg over Pittsburgh Steelers: 82.6 rypg

1994 San Francisco 49ers: 83.6 rypg over San Diego Chargers: 87.8 rypg

1993 Dallas Cowboys: 103.2 rypg over Buffalo Bills: 120.1 rypg

1992 Dallas Cowboys: 77.8 rypg over Buffalo Bills: 87.2 rypg

1991 Washington Redskins: 84.1 rypg over Buffalo Bills: 127.8 rypg

1990 New York Giants: 91.2 rypg over Buffalo Bills: 113 rypg

1989 San Francisco 49ers: 86.4 rypg over Denver Broncos: 98.8 rypg

1988 San Francisco 49ers: 99.2 rypg over Cincinnati Bengals: 128 rypg

1987 Washington Redskins: 104.9 rypg over Denver Broncos: 126.1 rypg

1986 New York Giants: 80.9 rypg over Denver Broncos: 102.6 rypg

1985 Chicago Bears: 82.4 rypg over New England Patriots: 103.4 rypg

1984 San Francisco 49ers: 112.2 rypg over Miami Dolphins: 134.7 rypg

1983 Los Angeles Raiders: 99.1 rypg over Washington Redskins: 80.6 rypg

1982 Washington Redskins: 105.1 rypg over Miami Dolphins: 142.8 rypg

1981 San Francisco 49ers: 119.9 rypg over Cincinnati Bengals: 117.6 rypg

1980 Oakland Raiders: 108.1 rypg over Philadelphia Eagles: 101.1 rypg

1979 Pittsburgh Steelers: 106.8 rypg over Los Angeles Rams: 124.8 rypg

1978 Pittsburgh Steelers: 110.9 rypg over Dallas Cowboys: 107.6 rypg

Average rushing yards per game allowed by all these teams? 100.5 yards per game. Average rushing yards per game allowed by winners? 95.3 yards per game. And the losers? 105.7 yards per game. (It’s worth noting that the team that allowed the fewest defensive rushing yards per game in the regular season won 20 of these Super Bowls and lost just eight.) The worst run-against team to ever play in a Super Bowl in the 16- era of the game? The ’82 Miami Dolphins (142.8 rypg), and that was in a strike year, with just nine regular-season games.

Drop it, Indy. There is no way.

How crazy was that Boise St. game over Oklahoma? I’m still smiling. were you looking Can you believe it touches the great Boise St.? Clearly, Oklahoma didn’t cover … did that make it a successful game, business-wise, for the books?

BoDog Bookmakers, Considering everything that happened in the last 3:00 of regulation and overtime, the Fiesta Bowl was one of the best bowling games in recent memory. I think every television in the building here was on the game, and every eye was definitely mesmerized by the heroism of Boise State. The hook-and-swing play on the 4 and 18 clearly surprised the Sooners, and the TD pass on the 4 and 2 with Zabransky on the move had Oklahoma scratching its head, ultimately resulting in a profitable situation for the house. , and a bit of glory and history for Boise.

Apparently, Nick Saban is out as the Dolphins’ head coach after just two seasons, and on his way to Alabama. What do you think this means for Miami and for Alabama?

BDB, Well, for Miami it means starting over from scratch. It was Saban who brought in Daunte Culpepper, and whoever the new coach is will need to cement the quarterback position as his number one priority. It can be a difficult role to take on, especially considering that Ricky Williams may be back in Miami. Finding a good balance between him and Ronnie Brown will be key to the new man’s success. On the other hand, for Alabama it means they get the high-profile, higher-paid coach they’ve been looking for. We’ll have to see how long it will be before Alabama returns to the top of the SEC. However, with Saban’s coaching skills and conference knowledge (since he previously coached at LSU), he should be poised to return Alabama to national prominence.

What is the betting public’s view of the college football national championship game…in favor of Ohio St. or Florida? and how is the handle?

BDB, Pre-Ohio State vs. Florida game, the action has been balanced, with almost identical amounts wagered on both sides of the ball. Right now the handling is low, but most of our action happens in the 48 hours leading up to the game. We expect the action to be fast and heavy once the other bowling games are complete. Once the public starts betting, the house hopes to be a big fan of Florida.

I’m surprised the Colts are a seven-point favorite over the Chiefs. How many rushing yards do you think Larry Johnson will have in that game? And in which of the Wild Card games do you think he will win an underdog?

BDB, The Kansas City/Indianapolis line opened with Indy the seven-point favorite. So far, astute bettors haven’t caused the line to move. Sportsbooks across the board seem to be holding steady at seven points in the early days leading up to the game. The betting public should hold this line steady, as enough people know the weakness exhibited by the Colts’ run defense. By all accounts, Larry Johnson should have a career game against the Colts. The bruised running back is averaging 26 carries per game, and that number should increase to 30 against the worst run defense in the league. Kansas City will need to ride Johnson to win this game. To beat Indianapolis, you have to keep Manning off the field as much as possible. The best way to do this is to control the clock with a solid time-consuming running game. The Colts can only hope that 2005 Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders can return from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, which kept him out of 12 games this season. Sanders has been seen practicing in recent days, and he is expected to start as long as the swelling in his knee can be controlled. Coach Tony Dungy has stated that Sanders cannot solve all of the team’s defensive problems. However, when he plays, the Colts are clearly a different team. The defense plays faster, more aggressively and with more confidence. In terms of total yards for Larry Johnson, if he can get more than 25 carries in the game, he can reasonably be expected to put up more than 130 yards, depending on the impact of Sanders. Unfortunately, the Wild Card game that could see an underdog win is Dallas at Seattle. With injuries wearing down Seattle’s starting cornerbacks (both Ken Hamlin and Marcus Trufant are out), Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn are in a good position to have big games. Seattle will be hard-pressed to stop Dallas’ passing attack, especially on big plays. This could potentially lead to an unfortunate upset for the ‘Hawks.

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