12/29/2001 12:00AM

Bet Clemson bowls 'em over

Email

LAS VEGAS - What we lose in not having a Monday Night Football game this week we more than make up for with a full menu of college bowl games.

Clemson (-6 1/2) vs. La. Tech

Clemson went on the road and beat fellow bowl teams Georgia Tech and N.C. State earlier in the season, and then fell upon hard times and lost its next four games versus teams in bowls. Still, the experience against top competition puts the Tigers a few notches above Louisiana Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl since Louisiana Tech lost to all three bowl teams it faced (Fresno St., Auburn, and Kansas St.). Clemson QB Woodrow Dantzler is the unknown factor. He sometimes shows flashes of Heisman Trophy potential, but also disappears at times. If he is on his game here, Louisiana Tech is in for a long afternoon.

Play: Clemson for 11 units.

Michigan St. (+5 1/2) vs. Fresno St.

I'm passing on the Purdue-Washington St. matchup in the Sun Bowl even though I took Purdue +8 on the Daily Racing Form website at www.drf.com/ncaa_selectors.html. I felt Purdue was the best side, but I'm unable to pull the trigger with a bankroll play because Purdue's offense has disappeared during the second half of the season. The Silicon Valley Classic between Fresno St. and Michigan St. is another case with a Big 10 team getting quite a few points. I feel more confident taking the points in this spot because Michigan St. has a balanced offense that can get the job done. RB Tico Duckett can control the clock for the Spartans and help keep the ball out of the hands of Fresno St. QB David Carr. Except for the upset of previously unbeaten Michigan, the Spartans underachieved this season, and this is their chance to make amends.

Play: Michigan St. for 11 units.

BYU (+3) vs. Louisville

BYU has crashed and burned since threatening to sue the NCAA over its snub in the BCS rankings. BYU became a laughingstock after losing 72-45 to Hawaii and the public has continued to bet against the Cougars here. I've made money going against BYU twice this year - when Utah lost to BYU but covered and again with Hawaii - but the pendulum has swung to the point where I don't think oddsmakers and other bettors are giving BYU enough respect. The loss of RB Luke Staley has certainly hurt, but the offense will still put up its share of points against a team that accepted this bowl berth and then got trounced 37-22 by TCU. Early money has gone on Louisville, which is fine with me as I'll take the 3 points in case they're needed.

Play: BYU for 11 units.

Auburn (+2) vs. N. Carolina

Auburn beat Florida and North Carolina beat Florida St. Usually, those would be similar upsets, but this year Auburn's victory was much more impressive because Florida is an elite team and Florida St. had its worst season in years. Auburn is coming in off a loss to LSU that cost the Tigers a shot at the SEC title game, so they have something to prove here. North Carolina's offense is similar to LSU's, so Auburn should benefit from that experience. This game will not be a candidate for ESPN Classic as Auburn will be looking to grind out a win, so don't expect a shootout.

Play: Auburn for 11 units.

Starting college bankroll: 1,000 units.

Bankroll through Christmas Day: 1,003 units.

Last Thursday-Friday's results: Won on Georgia Tech and Boston College, lost on Texas. Net profit: 9 units.