Welcome to week seven of the Gamble-Tron. Week six didn't exactly start off like a house of fire, what with 17-point favorite USC standing up to UW about as well as a pine needle in a hurricane, but luckily we rebounded nicely, only losing one other game the rest of the way. We only had a small profit last week, thanks mostly to Utah, but it's always better than losing money, and we're doing quite well for ourselves so far this season.
Of course, the big news of the week was that our beloved Cougars not only covered, but won the game outright. After all, I think we all would trade a winless gambling season, in which we lost all of our pretend money, in exchange for a WSU bowl game. I know I would.
Why I'm a genius: Well, for the second week in a row, it didn't take a genius to know that WSU was getting way too many points. The Cougs are better than Vegas wants to admit, and until now, the Ducks have been worse. That's not the case this week, as we'll see. Arizona was bound to bounce back once Anu Solomon got healthy, and that's what they did. I thought they'd cover, but I definitely didn't see that blowout coming.
The same went for ASU. After a shaky September, they seem to have righted the ship a bit. Good teams step on inferior opponents from the start, and never let them up. That's what the Sun Devils did to the Buffaloes, who seem a long way from turning any sort of corner. The most fortunate part of the week was getting in on LSU before the odds-makers added a touchdown to the line. Wouldn't have mattered, as they won by 21, but the fourth quarter was far less stressful.
Why I'm an idiot: In hindsight, USC's curb-stomping of ASU was possibly the world's biggest false positive. ASU had one of those games where everything they tried turned into a disaster, and USC was there to capitalize. The referendum on what kind of team USC had actually passed the week prior, when Stanford manhandled them down the stretch. Washington is better than many have given them credit for, but their offense has been borderline inept so far. If it was even average, UW would have won the game by three touchdowns.
As far as Cal and Utah, I am still in the dark as to how Utah didn't cover. If you'd told me that Jared Goff would throw five -- FIVE -- interceptions, I would have put up the note on my house. Even after all that, Cal had a chance to win the game, despite Devontae Booker rushing for 269 yards in the conference's second-best offensive performance this week. What a weird game.
And after one reprieve, the fun little game known as "Kick the Gamble-Tron's upset pick in the pills" resurfaced. I should have known better and just saved some money, but that's no fun. So of course East Carolina got out to a big lead on BYU, lost it, tied the game late and let BYU score the winning points with 19 seconds to go. Yet another pick comes close and falls on its face.
Last Week: 4-2 / 0-1 / $60
Season Totals: 27-18 / 2-4 / $955
- Brian Anderson: 2-4 / 1-0 / -$70 - May have lost money, but called biggest upset of the year with Texas.
- stewak: 3-3 / 0-1 / -$60
- Eric L. Garcia: 5-2 / $70
- hollyweirdcoug: 3-3 - Apologies for leaving you out of the results last week. I've done that to someone twice in a row for some reason. You were 3-2.
- cmaddex: 3-3 / -$30
- Ryan Eames: 4-2 / 0-1 / $160
- coug2828: 3-1 - The faith in Va Tech was rewarded.
- BothwaysUphill: 2-3 / -$130
- KINN1CK: 5-1 / $490 - I'll assume you put $110 on Wyoming. Damn Zoomies couldn't cover.
UCLA at Stanford (UCLA +6.5/-110, Stanford -6.5/-110): I've never pegged Jim Mora to be a big excuse maker, but man is he being a baby about playing consecutive Thursday games, calling them "truly an injustice." UCLA got a bye before playing Stanford this week, as is standard for teams playing on Thursday. Then they get a week until they play Cal, then they get nine more days before they play a Colorado team that doesn't have a bye all season. INJUSTICE INDEED, JIMBO. Stanford is coming on strong, but I think UCLA keeps it close.
The Pick: $110 on UCLA
Oregon State at WSU (OSU +8/-110, WSU -8/-110): Let's not beat around the bush. Oregon State is a bad football team, especially on offense. But WSU has faced some bad OSU teams in the past and lost. 1994, 2005 and 2011 come to mind. So this boils down to a "prove it" game for me. WSU needs to prove to itself (not to me, because why the hell would they care how I feel?) that they can beat the teams they're supposed to beat. Also, Mike Leach has beaten all of two Pac-12 teams at home, UW in 2012 and Utah in 2013. That's it. That's the list. Prove it, Cougs. Please, Please, PLEASE prove it.
The Pick: $110 on OSU
USC at Notre Dame (USC +6.5/-105, Notre Dame -6.5/-115): If Sarkisian were still coaching this team, this would be an easy choice for the Irish. Aside: If you look up "Peter Principle" in the dictionary, there should be a giant photo of Pat Haden next to it. Now? I'm not so sure. I think the Trojans come out with a renewed vigor. We know they have an immense amount of talent. All they need is motivation. So are the Trojans motivated? Let's go to Ryan Abraham, long time USC follower and co-host of The Podcast of Champions, which I quite enjoy (though they REALLY need to change the WSU sound effect).
Huge NBC TV crew at #USC practice today. A camera man wore ND shirt & was asked to change. He turned it inside out & wore a security vest.— Ryan Abraham (@insidetroy) October 14, 2015
That's all the evidence I need!
The Pick: Fight On for $105!
Arizona at Colorado (Arizona -8/-110, Colorado +8/-110): No idea what to make of this game. Arizona got off the mat against the Beavers, but that's nothing to tweet home about. Colorado looks about the same as they have all season, which is to say not very good. Colorado came awfully close to upsetting some teams last season, but couldn't quite pull it off. I don't think they'll win here, either, but they'll come close.
The Pick: $110 on Colorado
Arizona State at Utah (ASU +6.5/-110, Utah -6.5/-110): As stated earlier, the Sun Devils appear to have turned things around a bit, upsetting UCLA on the road and taking care of business against Colorado. Now they face their biggest test in a while, as they travel to Utah. Is it just me, or does it seem like Utah has played almost every game at home this season? This game will make it four of the first six in front of the MUSS. ASU doesn't have the skill players Cal has, and Utah still has Devontae Booker. That's all I need.
The Pick: $110 on Utah
Oregon at Washington (Oregon +2/-110, UW -2/-110): So there's a pretty funny meme making its way around Twitter, with the hashtag #LastTimeUWBeatUO. Long time contributor mcrose14 has a couple pretty good ones, and there are quite a few funny facts on there. Anyway, during Oregon's 11-game winning streak, the Ducks have outscored the Huskies 481-202. The closest margin of victory for Oregon is 17 points. Yet, if you ask most myopic Husky fans, they still consider Oregon "little brother." Why? I don't know. What would you expect from a bunch of Western Washington and Bellevue CC grads?
Despite getting repeatedly gashed by USC on the ground (seriously, why did USC even try to throw? Oh yeah, Sark), Washington still leads the Pac-12 in rush defense, allowing a paltry 3.1 yards-per-carry. This will be a game of strength-on-strength, as Oregon leads the conference in rushing offense, averaging 6.3 yards-per-carry. This was no doubt bolstered by their huge performance against our Cougs. The difference here is that Oregon's defense is terrible, and will probably have a hard time stopping even UW, which is 11th in the conference at 26.8 points-per-game. The only variable is Vernon Adams. If he plays, this game could go either way. UW fans, it's finally your year, even though it took a near-calamitous set of circumstances at Oregon.
The Pick: $110 on Washington
Money Line Upset: Tempted to double down and take the Beavers (+265), but I can't do it. Instead, we'll go with a team whose offense closely resembles a steaming pile of garbage, the Virginia Tech Hokies (+200). Why? Why not!? The thought here is Miami is coming off an emotional road game at FSU, in which they played well enough to win, but lost yet again. Also, Al Golden is walking the college football version the green mile.
So that's what I've got. What say you, fellow gamblers?