Welcome to this week's Gamble-Tron column. We're beginning on a somber note today, as the state of Ohio and, more specifically, its beloved football team seems to have some sort of vendetta against us. So what if we make fun of the Big Ten? It's not like the conference doesn't give us plenty of material (Michigan beats Northwestern 10-9, Penn State beats Indiana 13-7, I could go on and on). So what if we all know that people are leaving your footprint as fast as their cars will drive? That's no reason to treat us this way.
For the second time this season, we bet big on the Buckeyes. For the second time this season, they decided to start handing the ball to the other team. Ohio State averaged eight yards per pass and 7.6 yards per rush. They outgained Minnesota by over 180 yards. They had half as many penalties. They also turned the ball over three times, including once near the Gopher goal line. They should have won this game by 21 points. So the question is, what did we ever do to you, Ohio? Why do you want to be solely responsible for the Gamble-Tron ending the year in debt? Have you no sense of point spread honor? Ok, it's getting heated in here, so let's move on.
Why I'm a genius: I just knew something weird would go down in Corvallis. It nearly always does. I even pointed to past results as part of my prediction, and for once it worked! It was also pretty obvious that Illinois was getting way too much respect from the odds-makers. They're really bad, and they have zero home field advantage. Finally, I am stunned at the fact that Stanford was giving more than a touchdown to a team with a pulse. So of course there were only two touchdowns scored during regulation. Two really good defenses facing two not-so-great offenses means take those points and cash in.
Why I'm an idiot: I didn't see UW being so competitive but HAHAHAHAHA I don't care since they lost in that manner. Next, good lord I can't stand USC. Would you like a coach who gets his team up 31-2 in the first quarter, could literally name the score, yet has to sweat out a one-score win? Well, Steve Sarkisian is your man! This game should've ended 59-16, yet ol' Stevie just doesn't seem to care that his team goes into halftime and doesn't come out.
Week 12 Results:
- stewak: 3-4 / -$200
- 89Coug in FL: 3-6 (I TOLD YOU TO RUN AWAY!!) / -$90
- JJ FeKl: 2-5 / -$100
We always have room for more, folks! As mentioned earlier, we had a winning week at 4-3. However, we got out over our skis for the second time in a month and took a hit in the wallet. Overall, we are 44-45-1 with a balance of $805.
Built-in excuse: Yeah, there's really nothing this week. When my picks suck on Saturday, it's because I earned it!
WSU at Arizona State (-15): 45-28, 47-14, 31-0, 42-0, 46-7. Those aren't lottery numbers, they're the final scores of WSU's last five trips to Tempe. While those WSU teams were mostly terrible (except for 2004 and 2006), the ASU teams they faced weren't exactly setting the world on fire. Even though I'll never be recognized for my math acumen, that makes for an average score of 42-10. Until they prove otherwise, never screw with a streak.
The Pick: $50 on ASU
Arizona at Utah (-4): Following WSU's 28-27 win at Utah, if you'd told me that this game would have an impact on the Pac-12 South race, I'd have laughed you out of the room. Funny how things work out. Utah seems to be getting better, and I'm not going to dock them for getting out-gunned in the second half by Oregon. Conversely, Arizona's offense hasn't really clicked for a while now. That's not a good thing when you're facing the MUSS.
The Pick: $75 on Utah
Stanford (-5.5) at Cal: While I realize that Cal rallied last week to get within one score late, that was due in large part to the standard Sarkisian-coached team killing itself. And while I realize that Kevin Hogan is terrible, I just can't take the Bears here. They're playing for bowl eligibility, but they've got another shot at it next week. Plus, Stanford's defense is still the best unit that will take the field Saturday. Cal's defense, um, isn't.
The Pick: $50 on Stanford
Colorado at Oregon (-32.5): Sefo Liufau looks good to go after suffering a concussion at Arizona two weeks ago. That gives me confidence that Colorado will at least move the ball and put up some points on a suspect Oregon defense. Oregon can name its score on offense, but I get the feeling Mariota won't be playing much into the third quarter. This has "Mississippi State at Alabama" backdoor cover potential.
The Pick: $50 on Colorado
USC at UCLA (-3.5): After spending the first half of the season barely getting out of its own way, UCLA appears to have righted the ship, and is clearly playing its best football right now. USC is always a threat to score with Cody Kessler and Nelson Agholor, but UCLA is playing much better right now, and USC's coach is still Steve Sarkisian.
The Pick: $75 on UCLA
Oregon State at Washington (-6.5): Washington is coming off a heart-breaking loss. Oregon State is coming off a possibly season-saving win. Easy pick, right? OSU needs to win this game to get bowl eligibility, because they aren't beating Oregon. Washington needs to win this game for bowl eligibility because they aren't beating...nevermind. OSU rediscovered its ground game last week, but lost Terron Ward in the process. Washington also rediscovered its non-Shaq Thompson ground game, but it lost to a laminated chart. I think this game is close, so give me those points.
The Pick: $50 on OSU
Elsewhere on the national landscape, tons of compelling matchups dot the schedule. The SEC leads the pack with non-conference games against titans such as Samford, Western Carolina, Eastern Kentucky, Charleston Southern, South Alabama and Vanderbilt, BECAUSE THERE ARE NO WEEKS OFF IN THE SEC. Even SEC wanna-be Clemson is getting in on the act by facing Georgia State.
Ole Miss (-3.5) at Arkansas: It's pretty clear that Arkansas is better than their 1-5 conference record, so congrats on that, Bert (sic). They have a physical run game and a decent defense. However, that LSU team they beat last week was completely spent. Ole Miss played an FCS team, then had a bye. They'll be a little rusty early, but they're the better team here. Yep, I'm putting faith in a team led by Bo Wallace. What could go wrong?
The Pick: $50 on Ole Miss
Air Force at San Diego State (-6): Since there's a paucity of big games nationally, let's do a little dumpster-diving in the Mountain West. I've got no real analysis here. The current USAFA Superintendent, Lieutenant General Michelle Johnson, was my wing commander when I was stationed at McConnell AFB in Wichita. Good enough for me!
The Pick: $50 on the Zoomies