It's time for our weekly picks and a chance to prove to you all that not only are we witty and insightful, but we are also clairvoyant. For example, if you had told me 4 weeks ago that at this point in the season one of the 4 Pac-12 teams with a new coaching staff would be sporting a #22 ranking and an offense that was drawing comparisons to Oregon, I’d have totally guessed it was Arizona. What, you wouldn’t have? I mean, you didn’t think that was going to be us, did you?
Read on to find out what else we know...
With all the cupcakes on Wazzu’s schedule lately, I expect us to at least come down with a mild case of diabetes. The pig out session continues this weekend with a Colorado team that is doing their best Wazzu circa 2008 impression. Bottom line, this is yet ANOTHER game that should not be close, but its safe to assume probably will. I am done predicting anything too exciting for this team until they can go out and do something that excites me.
Cougs 28, Buffs 21
UCLA 24, Oregon State 21 - UCLA has been vaulted up to #19 in the polls and so far they have proven more than Oregon State, but this is a fascinating matchup nonetheless.
USC 28, Cal 24 - What a performance by Cal at the Horseshoe last weekend. Does anyone on the planet feel worse than Cals kicker right now? Perhaps Utah State’s Kicker? Anyway, hard not to be impressed by how they stacked up with the Buckeyes. USC’s title hopes hang by a thread if they still exist at all, so with his legacy on the line I expect Barkley to bounce back strong and hold off da Bears.
Arizona State 35, Utah 17 - Utah visits the desert after an epic mess of a win against BYU. They still have shown absolutely nothing on offense and on the road, against a Sun Devil team on the rise their South Division title hopes are going to take an early hit.
Oregon 44, Arizona 30 - Lots of buzz about what Rich Rod and Mike Scott have goin on in Tuscon, but against the Ducks in Autzen I expect to see an Arizona team thats not quite ready to challenge the cream of the conference.
Your beloved Blogfathers tried to get rid of me, but because they drunkenly gave me the password to the WSU Football Blog, I'm back again this week to predict this weekend's games! Bare with me here, as I still think I have a BAC level that makes it illegal for me to drive, so some of these picks, like last week, could be sketchy. Very, very sketchy.
UCLA 31, Oregon State 17
I still think UCLA is overrated, but this is Oregon State. They scored 10 points against Wisconsin -- granted, they won -- but I don't see them beating UCLA in the Rose Bowl.
USC 51, California 20
Ooooooooooooooooh boy. USC is pissed off, at home and looking for blood. I feel sorry for Cal here, because I don't see this one being close at all. I expect 'SC to be up 35-0 early and then coast to victory... I still think they have an outside shot at a National Championship game against the LSU/Bama winner, unless the computers have something to say about it... again.
Arizona State 23, Utah 21
I'm kind of surprised that Arizona State is listed as a TD favorite here. I get it, everyone is dogging on Utah, but they just beat what I believe to be a Top 25 team in BYU without John White. Assuming White returns this week (which is being reported), then I'm all over Utah here in the upset special of the week. If I was still in Vegas, I'd bet the house!
Oregon 66, Arizona 45
Speaking of Vegas, the Oregon Ducks. I decided, getting 9/1 odds on the Ducks was just too good to pass up. I think the winner of the Oregon/USC game is going to be 2 or 3 in the final BCS rankings, so why not grab the best value (USC's odds weren't updated before I left). So I can't have them losing this week if I want to win all of the money's! I haven't checked the TV schedule yet, but I hope this is the night game on FX. Those games seem to ALWAYS be crazy... which brings me to...
Washington State 38, Colorado 10
I think the Cougs finally blow a team out, because Colorado is bad. How bad? I discussed on Twitter (shameless plug: @UpperTankStank) with a few people that they are "2009 Cougs" bad. Why do they finally cover? Because I'm not laying any cash on the game, for 1. And 2... because they are at home, this is Homecoming, and because dammit, THEY NEED IT! This is the game that Mike Leach kicks a meaningless field goal, just because the crowd won't be chanting "1 more point" this Saturday.
Go Cougies! (shout out to my main man, Hooty McBoob!)
Really quick, before we jump into my picks, a quick shoutout to SeanHawk who has 139 points and leads the way across both our our Yahoo Pick Em leagues. Followed by DawgKiller11 with 133 points and IAMWINNERS with 132.
UCLA 28 - OSU 17: Unfortunately for the Beavers, that win against Wisconisn isn't looking as hot as it was two weeks ago, after Longball's Logan Aggies, were a missed FG as the clock expired from knocking off the Badgers in Camp Randall last weekend. OSU has a great run defense from what we've seen thus far, and UCLA has a tremendous RB in Jonathan Franklin. This should be a great match-up!
USC 38 - Cal 24: While I picked the Cardinal to cover +8.5 last week against USC in my weekly office pool, I can definitely say I didn't think they would pull the upset. So unless they meet in this year's conference championship game, one feather missing from Barkley's cap will be a win against Stanford, as he is now 0-4. I have a hard time seeing the Trojans dropping two in a row. If they can contain Sofele and Benedict Bigelow, then they should win this one, because we all know, Zach Maynard is about as good as Kevin Lopina.
Utah 28 - ASU 17: The Utes recoverd nicely last week with a victory over #25 BYU, after suffering a tough overtime loss the week before in Logan. Meanwhile, the Devils went east to Columbia, MO and showed what I believe are their true colors, in that they aren't a very good team. Ute fans, enjoy the scenery in Tempe for me this year, I won't be making it down there for our game in November.
Oregon 56 - Arizona 42: Oregon's defense has shown it's susceptible, but now that we're in conference play, I would imagine Uncle Chip opens the playbook up substantially. I haven't seen a ton of Arizona action this year, but it appears Scott likes to sling the pigskin quite well. It truly amazes me Rich Rod was unable to succeed in Ann Arbor. The Ducks should be feeling fat and sassy heading into Seattle next weekend. Hopefully an editor at Sports Illustrated is foolish enough to put them on the cover next week! I'm pretty sure we all know how that one turned out.
Wazzu 56 - Colorado 24: The Buffs head to Pullman to open the conference slate and look to rebound after a humilating performance through the season's first three weeks. I guarantee you, there is more talent on the EWU and UNLV rosters than the embarassment Colorado will roll out on Saturday. That being said, we of all program's cannot afford to do anything other than take this game one drive at a time. Hell, who saw Nick Saban rebuke a reporter who talked about how bad Bama was going to kill Western Kentucky? A fantastic take, from a coach that I am not fond of. Last week the Cougs made significant strides on both sides of the ball, and I have a hunch Halliday, barring injury, is our starter the remainder of the season. I think we were three crappy penalities last week from a 49-17 route. Normally I don't like to blame officiating, but they definitely extended two late UNLV drives with the flags on Carpenter and Bucannon, while forcing us to Punt after calling a phantom Unnecessary Roughness call on Isiah Myers. The Homecoming crowd goes home happy!
Greetings my friends, and a happy Football Friday on Thursday to you. And since today is September 20th, let me first wish one of the old school blogfathers, HOOTY McBOOB, a happy 50th birthday! OK, he's not 50 but he's just a salty old a-hole, even in his early 40's....but I tip my hat his way for his Wave the Flag appearance that has made him some sort of demi-God.
Happy B-day JERK-ASS!
Anyway, an important game this weekend in Pullman, and we'll get to that in a moment. But first, the picks for this week:
UCLA 31 - OSU 20: The Bruins continue their run at the most surprising team of 2012 in the Pac-12, if not the country. You know, at the moment the Mora hire happened he was widely criticized by a lot of people who thought he was a lousy hire. But me, I don't know. At the time I felt like we could be seeing the potential of another Pete-Carroll type situation, where he was a former NFL defensive guy with a lot of energy and all that? But I didn't think they would win right away, and they couldn't have gotten off to a better start! Beavs hang tough for a while but UCLA pulls away late.
USC 41 - Cal 20: USC and Lane Kiffin are ANGRY after last week. Cal look drastically improved at the OSU last week, and might have pulled that thing off, but came up short. But I can't imagine that the Cal D is up to the task of USC's passing offense, and would you bet on Zach Maynard beating SC? I sure wouldn't.
ASU 27 - Utah 20: Let-down city for the Utes after they celebrated about 50 million times DURING the BYU upset last week. Utah might have hung on last week, but I still think they have some big issues they have to figure out. ASU is much improved and should take care of business.
Oregon 48 - Arizona 37: All I can say is I can't wait to see what happens in this game. Rich-Rod and Chip Kelly go way back with this whole spread read-option offense (seriously, who knew that?), so there will likely be few surprises for either coach this week. I have been really, really impressed with AZ, while Oregon has looked like an NFL team going through the motions of the preseason schedule - taking care of business, but not exactly JACKED-N-PUMPED, ya know? That all changes this week as the Ducks wear out the AZ D in the fourth quarter.
Finally, the Cougs.
Can y'all believe the point spread right now? I heard it opened at 16, but was up to 18.5, and some reports that it could approach 20 POINTS in WSU's favor!? Seriously, a 20-pt favorite is rare enough for us - we were favored by 30 last year vs. Idaho State, but I couldn't find an instance of a conference game where we had a point spread like this in, well, I couldn't find it. EDIT - actually Bud Withers found it! Believe it or not, the last time the Cougs were favored by this much in a conference game and actually covered the spread?? Try Drew Bledsoe's Cougs in 1992, beating the hapless Beavs 35-10 as an 18-pt fav! So yeah, it's been a while, let's just leave it at at that! But I do know that WSU was 2-1 last year at home against the spread as a home favorite, so there you go.
CU has issues folks. They have some athletes, definitely, and probably have just as much if not more raw talent than WSU does at the moment on their roster. But they are young, one of the youngest teams in the country, and look like a discombobulated mess right now if you want to know the truth. And last week, their loss at Fresno State was an epic disaster. 35-0 in the first quarter?? 55-7 at the half?? That sure sounds a HELL of a lot like Paul Wulff/WSU, circa 2009?? CU, we feel your pain.....but we will show no sympathy this weekend, no mercy whatsoever.
And I think we are better than we've shown thus far. Think of it this way, in the most very basic way as possible - it's been widely reported that WSU has had, what, about FIVE TD's that coulda/woulda/shoulda happened.
1) The TWO TD's vs BYU called back for holding;
2) The TD pass brought back for holding behind the play and the goal line fumble that wasn't vs. EWU;
3) Then at least one Marquess Wilson TD drop last week vs. UNLV.
I know it's a stretch. If's and But's were candies and nuts, we'd all have a MERRY CHRISTMAS, yadda yadda yadda. But ask yourself how you would feel if those TD's would have held up? What if the BYU game was 30-20 instead of 30-6? What if we would have beaten EWU 38-20 instead of just 24-20? And what if the final in Vegas was 42-27 at UNLV? I don't know about you, but I think personally I would have been walking around saying "See, it's getting better every week, it's just a matter of time now!" Instead it's been a lot of hand-wringing, know what I mean? But it's funny how a handful of TD's that weren't can change the entire feel and perspective of how things are going, know what I mean? And as I sit here today, I believe we are much closer to what we want to be than we might think.
So, Connor Halliday cleans up the mistakes and stops throwing into quadruple coverage down the field, and starts to hit the underneath stuff with regularity. The blocking down field improves with Bobby Ratliff and Andrei Lintz as the "heavy" inside receivers/blockers, opening up the short passes as well as the running game. And the WSU D gets after the CU running game as they have most of this season so far, and brings the heat on passing downs. Cougs get up and stay up as we see them play a complete 4-quarter game, the best game under Mike Leach in Pullman. Cougs 37, CU 20.
ENJOY THE GAMES, AND GO COUGS!
UCLA 27 - Oregon State 17: Oregon State is extremely difficult to project at this point, having only played once. Was their win over Wisky one of those we-do-this-once-a-year-at-Reser flukes? Maybe Wisconsin just isn't very good? I don't really know. UCLA has more body of work to rely on at this point. That plus being at home gives them the edge for me. It's not getting a lot of confidence points from me though.
USC 38 - Cal 21: That's a tough bit of scheduling for the Golden Bears - @Ohio State and @USC in back-to-back weeks. Throw in the fact that Cal lost in particularly disappointing fashion last week and this doesn't look too good. On the bright side, the Trojans could be ripe for a let down after finally vanquishing Stanfo -- what's that? USC lost huh? Man, they've gotta be pretty ticked. Sorry, Cal.
Utah 23 - Arizona State 20: I guess this counts as my upset special for this week, but in reality I just felt like a lame-o picking the home favorites in every game. ASU came back to earth a little bit last week and the Utes bounced back with an impressive win against their rival. I liked Utah far more before the season so I'll stick with it.
Oregon 56 - Arizona 42: I am pretty gosh darn excited to watch this game. I had a pretty good feeling that Matt Scott was poised for a nice season under RichRod, but to come out of the gates the way they did is awfully impressive. Then again, they went to overtime against Toledo in week 1, so let's not get too carried away. I expect them to put up points because the offense does look strong and Oregon's D is a little banged up, but those other guys still have Kenjon Barner and The Black Mamba to deal with. Throw in that it's at Autzen and it's too much. This should be fun though.
WSU 45 - Colorado 21: This is the week the air gets raided. If it doesn't, I'll probably say it next week anyway. I'm half expecting to see Kevin Lopina in at quarterback for the Buffs. We simply HAVE to beat this CU team and HAVE to not let them creep back into it at the end. Anything else will feel like another letdown. This should be the perfect week to eliminate the mistakes that have kept the Cougs from running away from lesser opponents the last two weeks. It will happen. It will happen. I will keep telling myself this.