When Mark Skiba made a $100 bet on Auburn in January 2013, all of his friends were laughing at the potential “dead money” because the Tigers were coming off an atrocious season where they just won three of twelve games on schedule.
Most sportsbooks never considered Auburn to go all the way to the title the following season and pegged them at +50,000 to win the 2014 BCS National Championship.
Skiba would have none of it and still made the bet, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
12 months later, the bet was looking good after Auburn’s “destiny” season, beating top-ranked teams including Alabama, wherein they won to the tune of 34-28 in a classic game that was decided in the final moments of the game.
After an easy 59-42 drubbing of No.5 Missouri in the SEC Championship Game, Mr. Skiba’s bet of $100 was one win away from becoming a whopping $50,000—if the Tigers can pull-off the upset as 11.5 underdogs.
A day before the game, Rovell updated his report that Skiba was thinking of hedging his bet by placing a bet on Florida State to win the title game.
“I heard from a lot of Auburn fans,” the 39-year-old Skiba told Rovell in the ESPN interview. “Some of them said, ‘You’ve come this far, you going to give up now?’”
Eventually Skiba decided against betting versus his own team and was adamant about his being an Auburn fanatic, and did not hedge the bet.
Skiba must have felt good about the decision for most of the title game. The Tigers built a big 21-3 lead late in the first half and was still leading 24-20 with 4 minutes to go in the game. However, Florida State did steal the lead late but the Tigers stole it right back with over a minute to go.
Game over. Tiger wins. $50,000 for Skiba, right?
“Wrong!” says Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, as he delivered a tough 2-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin to steal the lead, 34-31 and give the win for the Seminoles.
"At the end of the day, I want us to win the game," Skiba said in the same interview. "We're playing for the damn national championship. Winning the money still doesn't even seem real."
Well Mr. Skiba, you should have hedged the bet. That loss wouldn’t have been as bitter now, huh?