Welcome to Week 10 of our college football picks column. It is rarely entertaining, funny or insightful, but we make up for it by making poor predictions. Somehow I'm going to work that sentence on to my resume' when I retire in five years. We got way out over our skis last week, so the conventional thinking is to rein it in a bit for Saturday. One thing to know about the Gamble-Tron is that conventional thinking rarely makes an appearance in its thought process.
Why I'm a genius: I will go to my grave mystefied as to how that WSU line was less than a touchdown. To top it off, every one of the regulars on College Gameday picked WSU to win the game outright. Wha..wha...what?! Oh, and I finally figured out that UCLA isn't to be trusted under any circumstances, even with a 17 point lead in the fourth quarter.
Why I'm an idiot: I refuse to accept that I overdid it with Ohio State. They were up 17-0 at halftime (yes, thanks to a ton of help from the refs), and were dominating. Then J.T. Barrett decided to throw a pick six to a fat guy and Ohio State decided to pack it in until overtime. Ugh. I also thought that USC could actually close out a game against a below-average quarterback. Double Ugh. Finally, I thought Ole Miss could, ya know, score more than a measly seven points on a rebuilding LSU defense that gave up 27 points to Florida. Despite a 4-1 turnover advantage, Ole Miss somehow found a way to lose the game in excruciating fashion. Quintuple Ugh.
Because of my suddenly-rediscovered ineptitude, the week ended up 2-5-1. Overall, the ol' Gamble-Tron is down a good bit, at 31-36-1 / $730.
Week Nine Results
- Ryan Eames: 1-6-1 / -$306
- 89Coug in FL: 2-5-1 / -$175
- stewak: 4-3-1 / $200
- CarolinaCoug: 4-3-1 / -$85
- crimsonwazzu: 2-5-1 / 1$170
- Dr. Coug-A-Lot: 2-5-1 / -$330
Built-in Excuse: Friday is Halloween. For kids, it's a chance to dress up as their favorite superhero, cartoon character, sports star etc., and get free candy. For adults, it's a chance to dress in a ridiculous costume that is probably a size or five too small. For dads (such as all the dads in my neighborhood growing up) it's a chance to sip from the flask while trailing the trick-or-treating kids.
The best part for parents is the mandatory candy tax. I tend to impose a 25 percent levy on my two boys. I figure it will help them avoid obesity, diabetes, cavities and hyperactivity. It will also teach them some life lessons about having to pay Uncle Sam just because he says so. After all, I'm looking out for the little guys. Right now I'm starving myself to prepare for the avalanche of empty calories that will come with all that candy. By the time Saturday rolls around, I could very well be in a sugar-induced coma. Along with that, let's do a quick Halloween candy power ranking, assuming all are served in the "Fun Size."
1) Anything with the words "Reese's" and "Peanut Butter" on the label
2) Any form of Snickers
3) Milky Way
4) Kit Kat
Worst (In no particular order):
- Smarties: If you eat more than half of a package, you need an insulin shot.
- Tootsie Rolls: There is approximately a 10-second window in which these things are actually edible. Otherwise, they're soft enough to stay in your teeth for a week, or hard enough to make you think you're biting into a piece of granite.
- Dots: Dots may be the worst candy in history. If you have a filling when you start the box, there's a 50/50 chance you won't have that filling when you're done.
- Good & Plenty: My guess is Kim Jong Un loves Good & Plenty
- Milk Duds: Ok, Fun Size Milk Duds still taste great (as long as they're not rock-hard), but there are only two (TWO!!) in that miniscule box. Nine year-old Husky sized clothes-owning, Steve Largent jersey-wearing PJ was alway left wanting more than two of those things.
- Anything you get if you're unlucky enough to knock on a dentist's door. Seriously, dentists (or anyone else) who give out tooth brushes or floss in lieu of candy can die in a fire.
Now for the picks...
Washington (-4) at Colorado: When we last saw Washington, they were looking even more inept on offense than usual. Their defense played reasonably well in the rain and wind, but despite the insertion of Shaq Thompson at running back, the offense didn't reach the endzone. Colorado looked like Colorado for three quarters, then rallied to force overtime against UCLA. In the end, they couldn't pull it off. Colorado is still lousy, but they are just good enough to put a scare into their (often better) opponent. Is this the week they finally break through and win? It's a definite maybe.
The Pick: $25 on Colorado
USC (-9.5) at WSU: I really wanted to take the Cougs here, and that was before the line went from 6.5 to 9.5 in less than 24 hours. If this line were 10.5, I just might. But as we all know, when it comes to gambling, one must go with their head and not their heart. I do believe that WSU will keep this one interesting into the fourth quarter. In the end, USC has too much big-play potential with Nelson Agholor, and too much consistency in the running game. The Cougs have a glimmer of hope in the fact that USC will likely be down three offensive line starters. If WSU somehow manages to apply pressure on defense and keep Leonard Williams from terrorizing Connor Halliday, this game will be close. I just don't see it happening.
The Pick: $40 on USC
Stanford at Oregon (-8)
Here is a classic matchup of strength vs. strength. Rumor has it the Stanford offense and Oregon defense will also make cameo appearances. I'm not really sure what to make of this line. Oregon is highly ranked and appears to be nearly back to the form it took in that big win over Sparty. Stanford is unranked and a model of inconsistency. Normally that would point to at least a 10 point spread in my opinion, so I think Stanford is getting a good amount of respect from the odds-makers based on 2012 and 2013. Despite the fact that Oregon's defense isn't nearly good enough to win a national title, it is good enough to hold Stanford in check.
The Pick: $75 on Oregon
Cal at Oregon State (-4)
A ticket to this game can be had for $10. Beaver Football, feel the excitement! I thought OSU would keep the game close at Stanford last weekend. Boy was that a mistake. The Stanford defense totally suffocated them, and Kevin Hogan actually resembled a Pac-12 quarterback. On the other hand, Cal's defense is really bad. Oregon State's offense isn't much better. The Beavers are missing some key guys, and when in doubt, take the Pac-12 road team in 2014.
The Pick: $30 on Cal
Arizona at UCLA (-6.5): With the exception of a couple games, like last week, Arizona has been walking a tightrope for most of the season. Somehow they've managed to come out of top nearly every time. Same goes for UCLA. They could rightfully be looking at a 3-5 record right now, and that isn't including their one-score wins over Virginia and Memphis. Arizona is on a roll, and UCLA is constantly flirting with disaster. Did I mention that Arizona has some guy named Scooby who is pretty good, and he gets to face that bad UCLA offensive line? Once again, I'll take the road team.
The Pick: $50 on Arizona
Utah at Arizona State (-5)
The game starts at wait for it...and wait...and wait...8 PM PDT. That is borderline criminal. This line has dipped a point over the last day, curiously. I say that because Utah's biggest receiving threat, Dres Anderson, was recently declared out for the rest of the season. Utah showed some guts in their comeback win over USC last week, and they're far better now than when they played WSU. Their only hope in this game is Devontae Booker having a career night. I just don't see it. ASU has way too much skill position talent.
The Pick: $75 on ASU
Arkansas at Mississippi State (-10.5) Mississippi State has been less than impressive on defense, and let Kentucky hang around an awful long time last week (Only because the SEC is so deep PAAAWWWLLLL). Arkansas was involved in the typical Bert (sic) Bielema cupcake game, in which ol' Bert decided to break open the box of trick plays that would never work against a team with a pulse. Mississippi State's day of reckoning is coming, but it isn't happening this weekend.
The Pick: $100 on Cowbell Incorporated