Hello, Coug fans and all fans of pretend gambling. Welcome to the final week of Pac-12 competition. Once again, it went by way too fast. We wait so long for football to start, and it's over before we know it. The final week means it is (mostly) rivalry week, WHERE YOU CAN THROW THE RECORDS OUT.* We have overcome a toddler's double-ear infection, the Atlanta airport and Highway 195 to make it to Pullman in time for Thanksgiving and the Apple Cup. Hopefully many of you will be making the trip so we can all be one big, happy frozen family as Saturday turns to Sunday. Pass the Fireball.
*You can't actually throw the records out, and few things annoy us more than people who say that.
Why I'm a genius: There was a lot of sentiment last week that this was Cal's year to break the recent streak of futility against Stanford. No way, no how. That was far and away the easiest call of the week. The Cal defense is bad enough to make even Kevin Hogan look semi-competent. And would you look at that, we actually made the right call on UCLA! It's a pre-Festivus miracle!
Why I'm an idiot: For some reason, I enjoy looking for a couple games to forecast outside the Pac-12 every week. This was going just fine for a while, but it has taken a severe left turn lately. Last weekend was no different. Once again, the state of Mississippi decided to take a night stick to our knees. Two of my picks stuck out as completely hideous. Ole Miss and Utah, both favorites, lost by a combined score of 72-10. Not our finest hour. Also, we were apparently stupid for inferring that, when Sefo Liufau was listed as "Probable" to play, that meant he would, you know, ACTUALLY START THE GAME. Instead, Colorado started Scrubby McScruberson, and despite the fact that the Ducks pulled way back on the throttle, we lost by 1.5 points.
Week 13 Results:
- CarolinaCoug: 4-4 / -$20
- stewak: 3-5 / -$400
- J.J. FeKl: 2-6 / -$150
- 89Coug in FL: 2-6 / -$275
- Ryan Eames: 2-6 / -$330
Come on guys! As the great Vince Lombardi once said, "What the hell is going on out there?!" Hang on while we look at the Gamble-Tron's results. Let's see here, 3-5, with a loss of, um, $100. Ok, forget I said anything. That brings us to 47-50-1, and a balance of $705. Luckily there is plenty of time to recoup our losses. Wait, nevermind.
Built-in excuse: As mentioned previously, we traveled across the country to get back here for the Apple Cup, and there are scores of possible excuses as to why the picks will be terrible. First, our equilibrium was thrown off last night while tipping back a couple microbrews at My Office. There was a guy there wearing a sleeveless hoodie/gray sweatpants combo and combat boots. Why was the hoodie sleeveless? Well obviously so he could show off his padded elbow braces. There are some things you just can't unsee.
Second, I don't know if you've looked at the weather forecast, but it's gonna be frigid at Martin Stadium Saturday. In preparation, I'm writing this from inside a giant storage freezer at Dissmore's. It seems to be going well so far, other than the frost-bitten limbs and reduced motor skills. Once again, pass the Fireball.
Arizona State at Arizona (-2.5): The Pac-12 schedule kicks off on Friday with the Territorial Cup. Both teams are coming off wins, but Arizona's was far more unexpected, as they went to Utah and hammered the Utes. ASU won big as well, kind of. I was honestly surprised to see Arizona favored. ASU has been less than impressive the last couple weeks, but they will get Jaelen Strong back, and Anu Solomon is iffy to go for the Wildcats. The winner will don Stanford gear immediately upon exiting the field. That winner will be ASU and their Shamwow-peddling head coach.
The Pick: $75 on ASU
Utah (-9) at Colorado: Looks like the aforementioned Liufau will actually start this week. Colorado is winless in the conference, but they've been really close on more than one occasion. Utah has been team schizo, with wins at UCLA and at home against USC, supplemented by a home loss to WSU and a blowout at the hands of Arizona. I won't be surprised if Utah wins this game by three touchdowns, and I won't be surprised if they lose by two touchdowns. Ok, I'll be a little surprised if that happens.
The Pick: $75 on Colorado
Stanford at UCLA (-5.5): Man, if there's one thing we've learned about Jim Mora, it's that he can sure as hell get his guys ready to play USC. Although the Stanford offense played better than average against Cal, that's largely because it was Cal. UCLA has hit its groove, while Stanford has shown that it is a shadow of its former self. UCLA is headed to Santa Clara.
The Pick: $100 on UCLA
Notre Dame at USC (-7): I can't think of a team who has cratered more than Notre Dame. Remember all the Offensive PI truthers who came out of the woodwork after they lost to FSU? These loons broke down video of the infamous play like it was the Zapruder Film. Where are all those folks now? My guess is they're busy stashing their Notre Dame gear in the closet until next fall. Notre Dame is banged up, and USC is at home. Even Steve Sarkisian can't screw this up, can he?
The Pick: $125 on USC
BYU at Cal (-4.5): It's been a tale of two seasons for BYU. Early on, they were looking like a juggernaut with Taysom Hill running all over everybody. Then Hill went down, and so did the Cougars, losing four straight. They've rebounded nicely of late, but their three straight wins have been over Middle Tennessee, UNLV, and Savannah State. Not exactly The Patriots, Packers and Broncos. Cal has a chance to go bowling just one season after going winless in the conference. They will not be denied here.
The Pick: $50 on Cal
Oregon (-19.5) at Oregon State: This game was far closer than anticipated a year ago, with Oregon needing a near-miracle to win. This isn't last year. The Beavers stink and the Ducks are two wins away from the College Football Playoff. Also, Marcus Mariota is healthy, unlike last year. It'll be another one-sided Civil War, and the Beavs will turn a 4-1 start into a 5-7 finish, rendering the win over ASU even more inexplicable.
The Pick: $100 on Oregon
Washington (-3.5) at WSU: When we submitted our predictions for Sherwood and Winters' super incredibly outstanding game preview this week, I included a narrative for my game prediction. No reason to provide some actual analysis, so I'll share it with you folks as well. Here goes:
Here was how I saw it playing out until this morning: Thanks to a 55 yard field goal and two missed extra points, the Cougs trail 35-29 late. Falk hits Williams for a touchdown on 4th and 14 with a minute to go for a 36-35 lead. UW gets to the WSU 37 and stalls. However, Van Winkle pulls his groin kicking into the practice net, and out comes Vizcaino. As WSU fans have 2006 Carl Bonnell flashbacks, the former WSU commit drills a 54 yarder at the gun, and UW wins 38-36.But then I saw a kid wearing a Weiser Lock Copper Bowl hat in the Atlanta airport this morning (seriously, what are the odds one of those would even exist today?), and I had a flashback to our Copper Bowl year. We all know how that Apple Cup went down, so (bleep) it. That's an omen in my book. We're gonna win.
The Pick: $180 on the Cougs
If you're scoring home, the total amount of the wagers is my remaining balance. As Kurt Cobain once said, it's better to burn out than fade away. Happy Thanksgiving. Go Cougs