Welcome to the second week of our picks column. As stated above, the only thing worse than our Week One selections was the giant pile of (insert your own description here) that the WSU football team left on ValuJet Field at Martin Stadium last Saturday. But given the fact that the Gamble-Tron and WSU football are kindred spirits, what with the constant kicks to the groin, followed by getting back up only to be kicked even harder, it's our obligation to move forward. Before that, let's take a look back how we set a bunch of pretend money on fire last weekend.
Why I'm a genius: As usual, this will be the shorter part of the next few paragraphs. I knew Colorado was in trouble. Not because Hawaii is good, but because Colorado still stinks. I also knew that Taysom Hill would run wild in Lincoln, and that Nebraska would have no answer. What? That's not exactly what happened? Oh well, the upset still came home.
Why I'm an idiot: Where to start? Well, the beginning I guess. I figured that Jim Harbaugh could coach the Iowa out of Jake Rudock. I was wrong. Three interceptions, including one for a touchdown later, Michigan turned what should have been a tight loss into a 10-point non-cover. I also thought the apparently over-hyped Boise State Broncos would play it close early, then pull away late. So of course the exact opposite happened, with Boise jumping out to an early lead and getting my hopes up for an easy cover. NOPE.
Then Saturday rolled around and the sports gods didn't think that WSU getting humiliated at home in a rainstorm was enough punishment for me to endure. Instead, Stanford decided to roll out its flaccid offense headed by its wet straw container thingy-armed quarterback Kevin Hogan, and scored only six points.
BUT THAT STILL WASN'T ENOUGH PUNISHMENT. No, the gods decided to have UCLA stall at the four yard line midway through the fourth quarter. The ensuing field goal only gave the Bruins a 34-9 lead, leaving this game at the outskirts of backdoor cover city limits. Wouldn't you know it, that's exactly what happened. Virginia went 75 yards in eight plays against the UCLA Scrubby McScrubbersons, and I lost a UCLA pick...again.
Last Week: 2-6 ATS / 1-0 Money Line / -$225
- cmaddex: 3-5 / 1-0
- Ryan Eames: 2-6 / 0-1
- stewak: 7-1(seriously, go to Vegas) / 0-1
- Dr. Coug-A-Lot: 5-3 / 0-1
- CarolinaCoug: 4-4 / 1-0
- BothwaysUphill: 3-5
- Billygphilly: 4-4
A note about the money line game: The intent of this is to pick an underdog to win outright. You are free to select the underdog I pick as your game. However, you can also pick any underdog on the board. I'm going to try and peg teams that are getting at least four points, but it is not a hard and fast rule.
Also, I might dabble into the over/unders from time to time, and you are free to do the same.
Utah State at Utah (Utah State +13.5/-110, Utah -13.5/-110): When we last saw Utah, they were beating new-look Michigan by 10 points. Aside: If Michigan is going back to its roots with Jim Harbaugh, why on God's green earth aren't they wearing maize pants!? When we last saw Utah State (we didn't actually see them, but follow me here), they were barely squeezing by an FCS team. Letdown city for the Utes.
The Pick: $110 on Utah State
Oregon State at Michigan (Oregon State +15.5/-110, Michigan -15.5/-110): We didn't get much of a feel for OSU last Friday, as they struggled with Weber State for a bit before pulling away. Michigan was not impressive at all on offense, but their defense is very good. For the second straight week, I'm taking Mr. Pleated Khakis. Come on, Jim, you owe me a solid after last week.
The Pick: $110 on Michigan
UMass at Colorado (UMass +13/-110, Colorado -13/-110): Colorado isn't very good, but they're better than what we saw against Hawaii. UMass almost upset the Buffs at home last year. This is UMass' opener, which gives Colorado the big edge, despite the fact that they could quite possibly have the Hawaii trip hangover.
The Pick: $110 on Colorado
WSU at Rutgers (WSU +2/-110, Rutgers-2/110): Join us in Piscataway for an epic battle of Top Six teams! This is easily one of the most inexplicable line shifts I've ever seen. Rutgers opened up as a 5.5 point favorite, having dispatched its FCS cupcake by 50. After seeing the turd WSU laid, gamblers everywhere bet so much on the Cougs that the line moved nearly four points. This is a classic "error of recency" game, in which we overreact to what we saw last week and make inferences as to what will happen this week. Well, after being witness to that disaster last week, sign me up for the Error of Recency Newsletter.
The Pick: $110 on Rutgers - I apologize in advance for the forthcoming 35-34 Scarlet Knights win.
Bonus Pick: Rutgers is, um, green in the secondary. WSU got steamrolled by Portland State's running game. Rutgers has a pretty darn good running back. Lots of points at Nursing Home Code Writer Stadium.
The Pick: $110 on Over 63.5 points
San Diego St. at Cal (SDSU +13.5/-105, Cal -13.5/-115): This is one of those tough calls because of the competition each team faced on opening weekend. Both played FCS teams, with SDSU winning by 30 and Cal winning by about 145. There's a little more juice required if you like Cal, and I'll take that as a sign that Vegas thinks they'll cover.
The Pick: $115 on Cal
Arizona at Nevada (Arizona -11.5/-110, Nevada +11.5/-110): Hmm, Nevada hosting a Pac-12 team at night? Luckily for the Wildcats, Rich Rodriguez runs laps around Mike Leach in the coaching department. Nevada is still breaking in a new quarterback and is young at several key spots. Even though Anu Solomon and his, umm, interesting hair didn't look that great in the opener, they should win by two touchdowns. The loss of Scooby Wright means there will likely be many points on both sides.
The Pick: $110 on Arizona
Idaho at USC (Idaho +43/-110, USC -43/-110): Never in my life did I think I'd lay 43 points on any team. Well, I'd never met Paul Petrino and his merry band of NAIA-level players.
The Pick: $110 on USC
Oregon at Michigan State (Oregon +3.5/-110, MSU -3.5/-110): We've arrived at the juiciest game of the weekend in all of college football. Michigan State didn't exactly blow away Western Michigan, but they won easily and likely didn't open up the playbook that much. Oregon looked like Oregon always looks, even though EWU kept it classy by taking a cheap shot that knocked Vernon Adams out of the game. Michigan State has a very good defense, but Oregon's array of skill players keep this tight. Just don't ask who wins.
The Pick: $110 on Oregon
UCLA at UNLV (UCLA -29/-110, UNLV +29/-110): Once again, my ability to accurately forecast UCLA is less than zero, thanks to a garbage time touchdown. Josh Rosen looked tremendous against Virginia, and I doubt he'll have much trouble with the perpetually-rebuilding Rebels. UCLA should win this game by 45 points. They'll probably win by 28.
The Pick: $110 on UCLA
Central Florida at Stanford (UCF +19/-110, Stanford -19/+110): This would've been a hell of a game two years ago, with UCF winning the Orange Bowl and Stanford playing in the Rose Bowl. Now? Not so much. Stanford looked positively putrid on offense at Northwestern. UCF, a 17 point favorite, came from ahead to lose to Ron Turner-coached FIU. Holy hell, what a s**t show this game appears to be. When in doubt, take the points.
The Pick: $110 on UCF
Money Line Upset: Slim pickings this week. There are three tempting games on the board: Kentucky +245, Georgia Southern +185 and Colorado State +200. Kentucky is the initial lean, mostly because South Carolina isn't very good. Then there's Iowa State, which owns the bank note on nearly every Kirk Ferentz team ever. Still, Minnesota is coming off a tough loss to TCU, while CSU breezed past its FCS patsy last weekend. Good enough.
The Pick: $100 on Colorado State