Good day, Coug fans, and welcome to Week Six of the Gamble-Tron. What started out as an unmitigated disaster has finally turned the corner toward
respectability a slightly more contained tire fire. We've now had two winning weeks in a row. Granted, each week was a whopping 4-3, but still. I'm calling it a winning streak, and there's nothing you can do to stop me. This weekend is chock full of compelling matchups, both in the Pac-12 and throughout the country. It is by far the best weekend of games we've seen this season, on paper at least. Hopefully at this point we've figured out who's good and who stinks, but that's never really the case with college football, because it's played by college kids.
Why I'm a genius: Oregon State hasn't exactly been impressive this season, and they were playing a USC team, in L.A., who was coming off a bye week preceded by an embarrassing performance at Boston College. The game was actually competitive until USC scored on that Hail Mary before halftime, but OSU was quite deflated after that and USC poured it on. Also, anyone who saw more than three plays of Michigan-Utah knew that Michigan would be hard pressed to score 12 points, let alone beat another team by that much.
Why I'm an idiot: I'll admit that I hadn't seen ASU play much this season. That was due largely to the fact that they hadn't played anyone with a pulse until UCLA showed up. Therefore, I had no idea how dismal their defense was, along with their apparent penchant to give up big plays. Couple that with the return of Brett Hundley, and what started out looking like a good pick quickly devolved into being on the wrong side of a boatrace.
The end result was another 4-3 week, and a modest profit of $25. That brings the season-long totals to 17-22 / $895. We're not exactly setting the world on fire, but at least some aloe has been applied to the scorching we took in the first few weeks.
Week Five Results:
- stewak: 4-3 / $200
- Ryan Eames: 3-4 / -$135
- CarolinaCoug: 4-3 / $130
- Samsinite: 4-3 / $100
- Brian Anderson: 3-4 / -$140
- ezcrew: 4-3 / $40
- 89Coug in FL: 1-1 / $100
Built-in Excuse: Thursday morning, Mrs. Kendall left town to visit some college friends. She won't be back until Monday. As documented before, she had to look after our two boys this summer while I was deployed for 135 days, so I figure it's an even trade if I watch them for a few days while she gets some time away. Plus, she's going to meet them in Cleveland since her friends mostly live in the rust belt, so it's not like she's getting to go somewhere I've always wanted to see. If you've never been to Cleveland, this and this sum it up well.
That said, I've been trying to figure out how I'm going to entertain the little jackals for the next four days, and it's quite likely that my lack of sleep is already starting to affect my ability to forecast these games. On the other hand, it's not like I've been on fire with her at home, so maybe this will help. Either way, the Kendall house may set a 72-hour record for viewing episodes of Scooby Doo and Paw Patrol.
Arizona at Oregon (-24): The Ducks used the bye week to lick their defensive wounds after the scare in Pullman. The Wildcats, meanwhile, probably would have preferred to play another game last Saturday after the miracle win over Cal. My head keeps telling me that, while Arizona won't win, they'll hang around just long enough to make Oregon sweat. The main reason for pause is that Anu Solomon is playing in his first truly hostile environment. After the close game in Pullman, the Ducks are looking to make a statement.
The Pick: $30 on Oregon
Stanford (-2) at Notre Dame: The fact that Stanford is favored actually surprised me at first. Then I remembered that Notre Dame has beaten exactly nobody of consequence this year. On the flip side, Stanford tried its best to hand the game to Washington last week, but lucked out when Chris Petersen decided to one-up them in the awful decisions category. Stanford's defense is tremendous, but Kevin Hogan is still the same quarterback he was two years ago, and I don't trust him one bit. The obvious play here is the Under 44.
The Pick: $25 on Notre Dame
Oregon State (-7) at Colorado: Despite losing a shootout at Cal last weekend, Colorado showed that they're not the pushover they were last year. If they had a guy who could make a field goal, they probably would have escaped Berkeley with a win. Oregon State looked pretty bad on offense last week, but a lot of that had to do with the USC defense. Still, the Beavers are banged up on defense, giving Nelson Spruce a chance to put up some more big numbers, and the Buffs will hang in.
The Pick: $20 on Colorado
Arizona State at USC (-12): ASU is reeling, especially on defense. Their offense was still quite effective against UCLA. Well, the offense was effective if you don't count those four pesky turnovers. ASU turned out to be Lane Kiffin's Waterloo last season, as he was fired before he was allowed to leave the airport in LA. Taylor Kelly is still out, the USC defense is still really good, and Arizona State still insists on breaking out those ghastly "flaming" helmets on occasion. It all adds up to a double-digit Trojans win.
The Pick: $40 on USC
Utah at UCLA (-14): Another nearly impossible game to figure out. UCLA hadn't looked good at all until they hammered ASU last week. Still, they were outgained, and also got two returns for touchdowns. We all know what happened to Utah last week (Hell yes we do!) and outside an early avalanche of points, WSU was clearly the better team. Something is off with Travis Wilson since his return from injury. This will be a close game, for a half.
The Pick: $30 on UCLA
Cal at Washington State (-4): I don't think there's anyone out there who expects a defensive struggle in this game. It could very well top 80 points and 1,000 total yards. In a game like that, turnovers will likely be the difference. The WSU defense, while getting better by the week, still doesn't force enough of them. Every time I think about this game, I think it's a good measuring stick. I also think that this has a great chance to be OSU in 2011 and 2013. In other words, I've got a bad feeling.
The Pick: $20 on Cal
LSU at Auburn (-8): This seems like an incredibly obvious play. LSU is starting a new quarterback on the road. It's becoming apparent that their underclassman defections are catching up to them, and they dearly miss their departed receivers. Auburn's defense has improved quite a bit, and LSU is starting a lot of young players on offense. Everything points to an easy Auburn win. When it looks obvious, it's probably too good to be true. So that's why I'm taking...Auburn.
The Pick: $100 on Auburn