Taking the trip to Corvallis is usually a pretty good time. The drive is easier than getting to Pullman, there's a tax-free outlet mall to buy an emergency pair of shorts when you realize you're wearing jeans for an 85 degree game, plenty of parking available to people who don't donate thousands of dollars to the athletic department, plenty of fans in orange wanting to pour you a shot for making the trip, a common perpetual "wait til next year" attitude (though the Beavs may be there this year). Of course, you can always expect some crazy things to happen:
- A dude-bro in a Raiders jersey who is still a few Cartography credits short of graduating saw my friend's "509" t-shirt and says "509? MAN, F*CK SEATTLE!"
- A long kickoff return helped by an uncalled block in the back for OSU was put up on the jumbotron and when they got to the block in the back, they literally fast-forwarded through those three seconds to show the runner 20 yards further down the field.
- The fan behind me after what he felt was a questionable call against the Beavs: "Hey ref, how much are they paying you?" This guy realizes we have zero money to pay officials, right?
- If you were upset about Connor Halliday's interceptions, fret not. According to the OSU PA announcer, Jeff Tuel played the entire game. He also claimed Jeremiah Allison had roughly 20 tackles and he pronounced Gino Simone's name SIM-EE-OH-NEE, making it all the more surprising when Ioane Gauta rolled off the tongue flawlessly.
I'm as upset about WSU's offense as the next guy, and our site has written thousands of words to that effect this week, but for the sake of this column: the Cougs covered last week and punching that ticket as a winner is all that matters.
On to this week's picks:
ARIZONA STATE (-22.5) at COLORADO: Arizona St moves out to 5-0 against a mid-week spread and playing on a Thursday allows for that streak to stay alive (ASU is 4-1 against final spreads, because of a wild last minute three point swing when Missouri lost their QB, but if you had bet them before Saturday, the Devils would have covered.) ASU is sacking the quarterback five times per game, and Colorado allows six per game (and they've played the Cougs!) This isn't going to be pretty and the spread will probably be covered by halftime.
UTAH (+9) at UCLA: Is UCLA starting their yearly swoon early? Despite taking care of business and destroying Colorado like college teams are supposed to do (Hi Coach Leach!), UCLA has looked particularly unimpressive over the past month after starting so strongly. Working in the Bruins favor is that Utah is flipping horrible on the road. I think UCLA pulls out the win, but nine is too much. Take Utah and the points.
STANFORD (+8) at NOTRE DAME: This has six point game written all over it. Stanford's defense is too good and is a few fluke plays (Hi Bishop Sankey!) from being one of the more dominant ones in the country this season. I want to take Stanford because I think they can keep it within a touchdown, but it'll really depend on which Josh Nunes shows up. I'm willing to believe Nunes hits his TE's in the hands this week instead of the ankles and Stanford keeps it within a touchdown.
OREGON STATE (+5.5) at BRIGHAM YOUNG: HAS ANYONE SEEN CODY VAZ PLAY QUARTERBACK? This is a legitimate question. Apparently, he threw 17 passes last year, averaging about 3.5 yards per attempt. While it's a very small sample size and probably only reserved for garbage time, that's worse than 2012 Jeff Tuel. BYU is a team that destroyed 2012 Jeff Tuel. Transitive property works everytime, right? RIGHT? Take the Cougars and give the points.
USC (-13) at WASHINGTON: UW is looking to open up the season 4-0 at home and counting last year's Apple Cup, trying to get their CenturyLink Field win streak to five games, making the Husky Stadium remodel all the more puzzling. Why aren't they leveling that stadium to build an indoor practice facility for their crew team that doubles as a Four Loko distillery? Does anyone object to this? We can even build a track around the facility if they miss the memories of the Goodwill Games that badly. This is why they'd never let me be in charge of UW Athletics: I'd put out Rose Bowl teams for the alums and Four Loko for the kids, both of which are as forbidden at that school. Back to the game, the magic of the Clink shows up again and UW backdoor covers to lose by ten. Magic!
CALIFORNIA (-7) at WASHINGTON STATE: Serious question, has Cal ever had game-day experience lining up against zombies? How do you prepare for this? (insert shotgun formation joke here). I see nothing positive about what's about to happen Saturday night. Everyone is going to be wet and miserable, Cal will put up a ton of points and the athletic department has decided to arm a third of the stadium with weaponized bobbleheads. What you aren't being told is that if you can hit a receiver with your bobblehead from the stands, you get to play QB in two weeks at Stanford. Take the Bears, lock of the week.
Last Week: 3-2
Good luck to you all and here's hoping you finish the weekend with a small fortune, provided you didn't start it with a large one.