Welcome to week eight of the Gamble-Tron's college football predictions. What had been a relatively smooth ride hit some rough seas last week, at least for the machine. A few of our fellow bettors did quite well for themselves, as you will see below. We are now at the midpoint of the season, but it's still tough to get a good read on nearly all of the teams. Stanford and WSU stunk in week one, and look at them now. Utah was an afterthought in the South, unlike their more-hyped division mates Arizona State, UCLA and USC. How has that worked out?
Even still, Utah could take a tumble this weekend, or at Arizona down the road. Maybe they'll even fall flat at (gulp) Washington. And how the hell do they seemingly always avoid Stanford? In the Pac-12's first six years of existence, Utah and Stanford will have met twice. Then again, Utah beat them in 2013 and 2014, sooooo...nevermind. UCLA looks to be on their way down, but there's so much talent there. Would you be surprised if either the Bruins or USC went on a tear? I wouldn't. I guess that's what makes this little exercise simultaneously fun and maddening. Away we go.
Why I'm a genius: Umm, not a lot to work with here. That Colorado pick was looking great for three quarters. As the fourth quarter wore on, the pick was suddenly on life support. But wouldn't you know it, the Buffs rallied for a late touchdown and snuck my cover through the back door. Fellow mountain school Utah's chances to cover were also on a ventilator for much of the game Saturday, which was odd since ASU never scored an offensive touchdown. Luckily the Utes pulled away with the help of a 20-0 fourth quarter, and the bleeding was slowed a bit.
Why I'm an idiot: Well, here we are, back to a time when this segment was far more word-filled than the category above. Let's start with our favorite team. As much as I've believed in WSU as an underdog lately, I just couldn't buy in to them giving more than a touchdown at home, where they'd won all of two conference games in three seasons. Well, they certainly kicked my lack of faith in the ass, and did so in about 20 minutes of game action. On this topic, let's get some thoughts from SB Nation's OSU site, which tries so hard to troll WSU and, bless its heart, is really bad at it.
The fake punt turned into 3 points, and is possible a longer field and a defensive adjustment that didn't get made until halftime could have held and forced a field goal instead of a touchdown. Throw in a pair of available field goals that didn't get attempted, and instead of still being down 20 points when Jordan Villamin hauled in both a touchdown pass from Seth Collins and a 2 point conversion pass from Victor Bolden, it might actually have been a 1 score game. Remember, this was before Collins threw 2 interceptions, one a pick-6. There's no scheme or game plan that includes throwing 2 4th quarter interceptions and still winning the game. But you can't presume that will happen before it does.
Stop laughing. No, really. We've got a ways to go today.
Also on the idiot front, I've resumed my usual trend of being completely clueless when it comes to UCLA. I had no idea that they tried so hard to negate any good play with a penalty. I thought they had a shot to win, and they lost by three touchdowns. It wasn't nearly that close. That USC pick was looking pretty darn good for a while, but USC's defense and Cody Kessler are just too inconsistent. They can't stop the run, can't cover good receivers, and Kessler's best plays come when he throws a screen pass that goes 80 yards.
Finally, I thought this was the year that UW broke through. I wasn't exactly confident, and I probably would have picked the Ducks if Adams was a sure bet to go. In retrospect, I should have assumed he was playing. The guy is a difference-maker, especially when compared to the other QBs on the roster. I also had no idea that Darren Carrington was returning from injury. Couple that with UW's anemic passing offense, and the Ducks should have won this game by a lot more than they did. So I'll just take partial credit for jinxing UW into its twelfth consecutive loss to "little brother" and move forward. It's what Jared would want.
Last Week: 2-4 / 0-1 / -$335
Season Totals: 29-22 / 2-5 / $620
- crimsonwazzu: 0-1 spread / 0-1 O/U
- stewak: 1-5 / 0-1 / -$595
- BothwaysUphill: 3-3 / -$30
- KINN1CK: 3-4 / -$140 - Hope you sat the Mrs. down and asked her if she knows any good moving companies
- cougman the II: 4-2 (nice debut!) / 0-1 / -$20 - KSU came up juuuuuust a bit short there
- TheOriginalCougMan: 3-3 / -$30 - Yeah, we aren't allowed to make up our own lines, so you don't get credit for Washington +7
- TommyCoug: 1-0
- cougbud: 4-2 / $180
- cmaddex: 5-1(!!!) / 1-0 / $720 - I don't have last week's money line numbers in front of me, but I'm gonna guess MSU was roughly +230
- Brian Anderson: 3-3 / 0-1 / $420 - Proof that well-placed bets trump all others
- Ryan Eames: 3-4 / 1-0 (Nice Call!) / 0-1 (O/U) / -$270 - Proof that one poorly-placed bet will ruin your weekend
- coug2828: 4-0 - A tip of the cap to you, good sir.
- hollyweirdcoug: 3-3
Cal at UCLA (Cal +3/-105, UCLA -3/-115): Man, we're not exactly starting off easy here, are we? The odds-makers require a little more juice for UCLA. On the one hand, Cal is coming off a bye, while UCLA played last Thursday against a physical Stanford team. This plays straight into Bruce Feldman's Body Blow Theory. UCLA appears to be in disarray on defense, and they have a freshman quarterback. On the other hand, every time we're ready to throw dirt on UCLA, they win big, such as against Arizona last season. Can I just pretend this game isn't happening? No?
The Pick: $55 on Cal
WSU at Arizona (WSU +7.5/-110, UA -7.5/-110): As we're all aware, WSU has by-and-large performed better away from home in the Leach era. They're a couple special teams blunders against Cal from being unbeaten on the road in 2015. Arizona has been all over the map. Their most impressive win has come against...Oregon State? They were on the big stage against UCLA and got whipped. They were on the ropes against Colorado before rallying to win.
Their defense is a MASH unit, and Scooby Wright is sidelined. Still, Arizona's offense will move the ball and get its points. Rich Rodriguez almost always finds a way, regardless of who is behind center. Anu Solomon is a better passer, while Jerrard Randle scares defenses far more with his legs. Arizona will move the ball and score, but the Cougs should match them. That hook on the touchdown makes it too hard to play the favorite.
The Pick: $110 on WSU
Utah at USC (Utah +3.5/-110, USC -3.5/-110): Let's see, Utah is unbeaten and ranked #3 in the AP Poll. USC has lost three of four, including two straight at home, fired its coach and appears to be on the verge of system failure. So it totally makes sense that the Utes are...underdogs? Uhhhh, WHAT? Everything points to Utah controlling this game, and I tend to agree. But there's a reason the odds-makers live in big houses, while most of the rest of us give them our money every week. But more than a field goal? I'll never forgive myself if I show faith in USC and they blow it, again.
The Pick: $55 on Utah
Colorado at Oregon State (CU +2/-110, OSU -2/-110): Bleck. This is the classic Pete Axthelm (look him up, kids) Broken Windshield Special. What's that, you ask? It's one of those games where you accidentally leave four tickets under your windshield. When you return to your car, you find that someone has smashed the windshield and left an additional four tickets.
OSU has lost five straight Pac-12 games, and nine of 10. They are clearly a rung or two below most of the conference. The Buffs enter this matchup with their best chance to end a 13-game conference losing streak. Those 13 straight are among 35 losses they've suffered since entering the conference. They've won four Pac-12 games, total. In 39 Pac-12 games, Colorado has given up 1,697 points, and lost by an average score of 44-22. I've already written way too many words on this rotten game. When in doubt, take the Pac-12 road team and the points.
The Pick: $110 on Colorado
Washington at Stanford: Currently off the board, due most likely to Jake Browning's status. I will update this post if/when a line becomes available. Assume Stanford minus anything.
Odds published Friday: UW +17/-110, Stanford -17/-110: Washington's defense will give Stanford a much better test than UCLA's or Arizona's did. That said, I don't see the UW offense doing much of anything in this game. Stanford is clearly the North's best team at the mid-point of the season. Unless they suffer a key injury or two, I don't see that changing.
The Pick: $110 on Stanford
American Conference Bonus Special
Tulane at Navy (Tulane +23/-110, Navy -23/-110): Navy is good, and had a week off. Tulane is Tulane. #analysis
The Pick: $110 on the Middies
Houston at UCF (Houston -21.5/-105, UCF +21.5/-115): UCF may be the worst team in FBS. Houston is a serious contender for a New Year's Six bowl game. #evenmoreanalysis
The Pick: $105 on Houston
Money Line Upset: I give Virginia Tech credit. At least they lost in conventional fashion, and not in the last minute. This little segment of the show is also on life support, as I seem to be sinking money into it with not much in return. Still, I am tempted by a few games. Northwestern (+250) is probably due for a bounce back at snake-bitten Nebraska. Does Clemson fall into the trap at Miami (+210)? Ole Miss is in a nosedive, and ripe for a loss to Texas A&M (+200). All that said...
The Pick: $100 on WSU (+245) Burn it. Burn it all.