The ticket, via ESPN

The ticket, via ESPN

Mark Skiba sounds remarkably calm and grounded for someone who just lost $50,000 in the final seconds of a football game and blew guaranteed thousands by not making a simple bet.


Skiba was one of a handful of fans to place a wager on Auburn at very long odds (500 to 1 in his case) to win the BCS National Title at the start of the season. His wager was $100, meaning if Auburn would have won last night instead of losing a lead in the closing seconds, he would have won big.

But he also had the option of making a big bet on Florida State for the single game to guarantee a nice payday. Instead, per

When Skiba went public with his ticket last month, many fans contacted him on Twitter to offer advice. Most told Skiba that if they were him, they would place a sizable bet against Auburn to guarantee a payday.

Skiba had planned on doing exactly that. But as Monday's game approached, he backed off. With Florida State becoming more and more of a favorite, it meant that Skiba would have to bet even more money against Auburn to balance out the action.

So after consulting with his high school buddy, accountant Brian Burnett, who is an Alabama alum, the two made the trip to Las Vegas for the game but decided to let the bet ride.

"I regret nothing," Skiba said after the game. "At the end if the day, I was playing with house money for the last two months. This was not supposed to happen in so many ways. It's the whole experience and the story. That's what I will remember.

"It was a bit of a life-changing experience just from the exposure standpoint and tonight it definitely peaked."

We imagine the three hours during the game had to be among the most exhilarating of his life -- an experience that would have been dulled with a hedged bet.

But at some point, he's going to realize he walked away from guaranteed money. Maybe the experience means more to him, but it must still sting.

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