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Pac-12 football odds and picks 2014: The Gamble-Tron, Week 8

We turned in another winning record last week, but didn't make any money, because of course.

Stuart Franklin

Good day, Cougar fans, and welcome to the first of two bye weeks for the WSU football team. Since it's been an up and (mostly) down season for the team thus far, it will be nice to have a weekend to watch the other games throughout the conference and country, and avoid the anxiety that comes with watching the Cougs play. Plus, it gives those of us who live in the eastern portion of the country a chance to actually do something with our lives on Saturday night.

Although the Cougs are taking the week off, the Gamble-Tron presses forward. You didn't think we were going to sit idly by and decline more opportunities to wager fake money on college kids, did you? Heck no. After all, we witnessed a near-meltdown of epic proportions in Clemson last weekend, with the Tigers snatching victory from the jaws of defeat by overcoming their several mind-boggling mistakes and self-inflicted wounds. As such, the Gamble-Tron will not be deterred by its continued insistence on taking Steve Sarkisian's side and losing every damn time.

Why I'm a genius: For one, I wrote this column when the WSU line was still 18, as it would later fall as low as 16. That made a bit of a difference, no? I was also finally able to correctly identify UCLA for what they are...giant frauds. Where on earth is that "Jim Mora toughness" everyone spent last year talking about? Finally, I still remember an undefeated West Virginia team sauntering into Lubbock two years ago and getting poleaxed. This year looked like more of the same until Texas Tech remembered that they suck, enabling the Mountaineers to escape with the win, but not the cover.

Why I'm an idiot: Well, I thought USC would finally give some sort of effort in the 4th quarter. I was wrong, as they tried repeatedly to turn a 28-13 lead into a loss. They escaped due to Arizona's kicking ineptitude, but the spread fell victim by the dreaded half-point. I also thought Ole Miss would be busy patting itself on the back after the Alabama win, only to be ambushed at Texas A&M. Umm, not even close. Turns out the Rebel defense is tremendous, and Texas A&M is finally living down to its preseason expectations.

This all led, once again, to a 4-3 week. However, I clearly need to get better at figuring out how much to wager on which game, because I broke even.

Overall, the Gamble-Tron stands at 25-28 / $960.

Week Seven Results:

  • Ryan Eames: 1-6 / -$110 (You might want to have someone else start your car in the morning)
  • Dr. Coug-A-Lot: 3-4 / $228
  • harpstar: 3-4 / -$70
  • stewak: 4-3 / $200
  • CarolinaCoug: 2-5 / Even
  • 89Coug in FL: 2-4 / -$50

Built-in excuse: This weekend is always one I look forward to down here. The 7th annual Baytowne Beer Festival is taking place in Sandestin, Florida. Mrs. Kendall and I will be headed there for a childless day/night of beer, food, and most of all, adult conversation. To kick it up a notch this year, I went ahead and purchased, ahem.../straightens monocle, checks pocket watch, takes sip of brandy...VIP tickets. That's right, I am such a terrific husband that I purchased VIP tickets for myself and my wife to a beer festival.

She just better not ask to go in any of the boutique shops around there, because it's not like I have money to throw around at frivilous things, unless you count my CAF membership. Regardless, due to the fact that the Cougs aren't playing, to go along with having looked forward to this weekend for quite some time, the last thing I'm worried about is whether USC can actually play a full four quarters, or how Oregon will look in its 1994 throwbacks.

Utah (-2) at Oregon State: A Thursday night conference 10 PM EDT...on the Pac-12 Network? Seriously? Bravo, Larry Scott, bravo. This game is tricky. Utah only has one loss, but that loss was at home to a clearly better WSU team whose record I don't need to recite. Their two biggest wins are over Michigan and an increasingly mediocre-looking UCLA. Oregon State is 4-1, but they've played one team with a pulse, and lost by 25 at USC.

Utah's starting quarterback situation is in a bit of flux, but I don't see any way they go with Travis Wilson. Kendal Thompson subbed at UCLA and played better. Oregon State is getting healthier, and they're getting points at home. I'm really going back and forth on this one, to the point that I've written down both teams. When in doubt, I'm taking the home underdog. No I'm not. Yes I am. No I'm not.

The Pick: $30 on Utah

UCLA (-7) at Cal: Yeesh, this isn't getting any easier. I think we got a taste of what both of these teams are really like last week. I am still in disbelief that Cal was favored to beat Washington, and UW made it obvious early on that they are the superior team. UCLA is a complete mess. They lost at home to Oregon in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the 42-30 score would indicate. Still, this is a team that went to Tempe and blew out ASU. They'll right the ship, for a week any way.

The Pick: $40 on UCLA

Colorado at USC (-19.5): It didn't take long for USC to take on the image of its coach. Lots of talent, no idea where to go or what to do. I said it last week and I'll say it again. Give the ball to Buck Allen and Nelson Agholor and get out of the way. When it comes to Agholor, they're using him in the same manner that Seattle is inexplicably using Percy Harvin, and that's not a good thing. Colorado has been hanging tough, but they're totally outclassed here.

The Pick: $30 on USC

Washington at Oregon (-21): We are well aware of how this game has gone over the last decade. If you aren't, Oregon has beaten Washington every time, often badly. Although I picked the Ducks last week, I've been ready to write them off. Then they get a starter back on offensive line and blow the doors off UCLA. I don't think there's any doubt Oregon will win the game. However, whether it's close will come down to how well Washington's outstanding front seven contains Oregon's running game. I keep wanting to take Washington, and then I keep remembering that Cyler Miles is their quarterback. Still, that's too many points.

The Pick: $30 on Washington

Stanford (-3) at Arizona State: Pretty good matchup of strength-on-strength here, as ASU's explosive offense faces Stanford's suffocating defense. Conversely, I think both teams would be fine if Stanford just punted on first down every time they got the ball. It looks like Taylor Kelly will be back for this game, and in a matchup of quarterbacks, both he and Mike Bercovici are better than Kevin Hogan and his javelin-like release. I just can't get the images of Stanford not missing one tackle against WSU out of my head.

The Pick: $50 on Stanford

Texas A&M at Alabama (-11.5): Neither of these teams has looked good the last two weeks. Last Saturday Ole Miss dominated the Aggies at home, and Alabama probably should have lost to Arkansas. Despite two close contests, Alabama's defense is slowly returning to its dominant form. While the offense has looked marginal at best these last two weeks, Lane Kiffin has shown this year that he can score points on inferior defenses. Congrats? I guess? Texas A&M simply isn't very good, and that opening win at South Carolina gets further in the rearview mirror every week.

The Pick: $50 on Alabama

Kansas State at Oklahoma (-7.5): When last we saw Oklahoma, they were trying to do everything humanly possible to lose to an inferior Texas team, for the second straight season. That came after their loss at TCU. Meanwhile, Kansas State just plugs along, staying under the radar and winning. They should have even beat Auburn. They're also coming off a bye. If this game was at night, they'd be a lock.

The Pick: $40 on Kansas State