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Pac-12 football odds and picks 2014: The Gamble-Tron, Week 5

The Gamble-Tron had its first winning week. Then again, so did nearly everyone else.

Greetings, Coug fans, and welcome to Week Five of the Gamble-Tron. This year is officially flying by. It seems like just yesterday I was forecasting a relatively easy win for WSU over Rutgers. If there's one thing I know, it's that lessons are not learned easily in this space. Once this weekend is over, we will officially enter the heart of the season. The air will be crisp (unless you live in the South), the intensity will rise, and hopefully, the Cougs will win some games. If not, there will always be games to pick, so it's not all bad, right? RIGHT?

Why I'm a genius: I don't care much for Nebraska, but they were still playing a home game against a worse-than-advertised Miami team, and Miami was starting a freshman quarterback. I know it took a miracle play to avoid a possible loss to McNeese State, but Nebraska was obviously the better team, and I thought the spread should have been higher. I'm glad it wasn't.

Why I'm an idiot: Let's make it a double. First, Michigan. Second, the schools from Washington continue to own me. Washington trailed Georgia State 14-0 before GSU decided to start throwing up all over itself, nearly resulting in a miracle cover. I also ignored all logic that suggested WSU would play Oregon tight, and laid WAY too many points. I'm 0-6 ATS in games involving teams from Washington.

Despite the fact that I can't pick UW and WSU games to save my life, I still managed to go 4-3, and collect whopping $45 profit. Put on your dancin' shoes honey, were hitting the town tonight! The season totals after four weeks are 13-19 / $870.

Once again, all are welcome to make picks, even if you haven't made them all year. I will total up as many weekly picks as you folks want to make. What do you have to lose? I've already lost enough dignity for everyone.

Week 4 Results:

  • harpstar: 6-1 / $111
  • CarolinaCoug: 4-3 / $30
  • Ryan Eames: 4-3 / -$100
  • ezcrew: 3-4 / -$35
  • stewak: 7-0(!!!) / $1225
  • 89Coug in FL: 5-2 / $75

Built-in excuse: That picture you see was taken this week when I ventured out to Bizarro-God's country, Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico. The intent was to fly one last time on the mighty Spectre Gunship before they're retired for good in a month. The picture was taken in an air park, where that plane will sit for the rest of eternity. Few things on this earth will make a person feel older than seeing a plane he flew in combat now sitting in the middle of a gravel patch, collecting dust and bird crap. Every stick figure you see represents five people killed at the hands of the crew inside that plane. There are also more painted under the windscreen. The castle-looking things are blown-up buildings, and that plane even blew up a motorcycle for good measure. So I'm feeling a bit nostalgic, especially since they cancelled flying this week. On the positive side, I was able to bring home 22 New Mexico beers in my luggage, with room to spare. So if my picks suck, well, maybe they'll be better next week when I'm back to flying my desk.

UCLA (-5) at Arizona State: This may or may not be the battle of the backup quarterbacks. UCLA's backup, Jerry Neuheisel, subbed for an injured Brett Hundley and led the Bruins to a comeback victory. Jim Mora is pretending he's still in the NFL, and refuses to say whether Hundley will play. ASU's Mike Bercovici is getting his first career start in place of Taylor Kelly. Even if Hundley plays, he won't be 100 percent. Bercovici wasn't close to good in garbage duty against Colorado, but he will be competent enough to keep this game close.

The Pick: $40 on ASU

Colorado at Cal (-14): That Cal loss last week had to be one of the all-time gut punches. 36 points allowed in the 4th quarter? Yikes. Meanwhile, Colorado wasn't exactly impressive in a win over Hawaii last week. If Cal had somehow held on to beat Arizona, this line would probably be around 18. My only reason for pause is a possible Cal hangover. Wait, no, it's definitely that Cal could be looking ahead to its trip to Pullman. Yep, that's it.

The Pick: $30 on Cal

Stanford (-8) at Washington: It's the fifth week of the season, and I still have no idea whether Washington is any good. For one thing, they haven't played anybody with a pulse, unless you count EWU. They've also been incredibly inconsistent. How on earth does a Pac-12 team trail Georgia State (NOT Georgia) 14-0 at halftime? However, they've played Stanford more competitively than any other Pac-12 North team recently, beating them in 2012 and almost doing it again last year. Stanford wins...barely.

The Pick: $25 on Washington

WSU at Utah (-13.5): As I mentioned above, I have no clue when it comes to the Cougs. The one hunch I had was that they'd lose to Nevada, but I changed my pick, which nearly always guarantees a loss. Utah is good, much better than last year, but I think (hope?) WSU is finally getting its act together. If my life depended on it, I'd say Utah wins by at least 17, but this is far from that.

The Pick: $35 on WSU

Oregon State at USC (-10): Oregon State was pretty impressive against San Diego State last week. When last we saw USC, their defense went full tire fire in Chestnut Hill, and got absolutely destroyed. Still, they had a bye week to lick their wounds and get healthy. I think they'll come out quite motivated to show that the disaster against BC was an abberation. Plus, if there's one team Steve Sarkisian can beat at home, it's the Beavers.

The Pick: $40 on USC

 Florida State (-19) at NC State: I'll keep this short. NC State is possibly the worst 4-0 team in the history of ever.

The Pick: $30 on FSU

Minnesota at Michigan (-12): Let me see if I have this right. Michigan, which hasn't scored an offensive touchdown against a Power Five conference team this season, is laying 12 points to a conference foe not named Purdue or Illinois? They shouldn't be giving that many points to a team led by Hayden Fox and Luther Van Dam, let alone an actual team.

The Pick: $25 (and two free Cokes) on Minnesota

Place your bets below, and good luck.