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Pac-12 Football odds and picks: The Gamble-Tron, Week Four

NASCAR: GEICO 500 Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back. So I think I’ve finally figured out why this year has been a disaster. This column began in 2014. The results were terrible, and the Cougs sucked. Fast forward a year. The Cougs were really good, and we did better than the people who do this for a living. Now, here we are in 2016. Guess what? The Cougs are lousy so far, and our picks have been an unmitigated disaster.

But on we must go. I never thought having zero money on these games (besides the pool I do on the side which has been equally maddening after a 3-0 debut) would make me so emotionally invested, but there I was cursing at my TV as Penn State completely screwed me. Now I’m getting upset again. Let’s move forward.

Why I’m a genius: I’m not, but I am smarter than Mark Helfrich. Anyway, the Cougs were due to take out their frustrations on somebody, weren’t they? It didn’t look that way for a bit, but wasn’t close to stressful down the stretch. Man, the Trojans are terrible. I mean, borderline dumpster fire. I don’t know if Stanford is that good or USC is inferior. Either way, I’ll take it.

Why I’m an idiot: I’m not as big of an idiot as Mark Helfrich, but I’m probably not far off. More on him in a bit. First, way to go, Arizona. Should have won by 30. Didn’t. Way to go, UCLA. Led 17-0, and won 17-14. UCLA’s defense owned Taysom Hill, but apparently Jim Mora just couldn’t stand helping me out.

ASU wasn’t close to covering, and probably should have lost. I wish they would have. I could have sworn that Michigan would hammer Colorado. By the end of the game, Colorado’s punter was the main reason Michigan won. WHAT??!! Yep.

Now let’s talk about Mark Helfrich. Last Saturday, Oregon scored five touchdowns. Nebraska scored five touchdowns. Neither team kicked a field goal. "Oh," you say, "the game must have gone to overtime tied at 35." Well, you’d be wrong. Why? Because stupid Mark Helfrich went for two, not once, not twice, BUT EVERY GODDAMN TIME. WHYYYY??!! Because he’s stupid, that’s why.

I’m sure all the stat geeks out there want to pony up a bunch of Excel spreadsheets and computer algorithms that say going for two is mathematically advantageous blah blah hoo hi hoo hi. Whatever. Mark Helfrich cost his team the game because he thinks he’s Chip Kelly. He most definitely is not. The philosophy behind going for two is an easy one. You don’t go for two until you have to. The end. Thanks, Mark, for costing me, and your actual team, a chance to win.

Last Week: 2-7-1 / -$675

Season Total: 11-18-1

Cash Balance: $280

Reader Results:

  • stewak: 3-5-1 / -$250
  • Dr. Coug-A-Lot: 3-5-1 / -$190
  • BothwaysUphill: 3-5-1 / -$250
  • SirBenjaminPK: 3-5-1 / -$410
  • MileHighPharmer: 5-7-1 / -$270
  • cmaddex: 6-3-1 / $270
  • Ryan Eames: 4-5-1 / -$150
  • Navy.Coug: 5-4-1 / $460
  • hollyweirdcoug: 3-6-1 / -$360

USC (+3/-110) at Utah (-3/-110): No idea where to go with this one. USC has shown next to nothing this season. Now they’re starting a new quarterback. Utah hasn’t been great, but they haven’t been bad either. All signs point to a semi-comfortable Utah win. I am sooooooo tempted to take USC here for no good reason. Alas, I’m a coward.

The Pick: $110 on the Utes

Boise State (-13/-110) at OSU (+13/+110): Boise State isn’t that good. Oregon State is really bad. Both either had a relative bye (playing Idaho State qualifies) or an actual bye last week. Watching Brett Rypien play an entire game for the first time left me with a decidedly "meh" reaction. Still, they should beat OSU pretty easily.

The Pick: $110 on Boise State

Colorado (+10.5/-110) at Oregon (-10.5/-110): This all hinges on Sefo Liufau’s ankle. If he’s ok, I think Colorado has a chance to win, mostly because Oregon lost approximately 86% of its starters last week. If he isn’t, Oregon should win comfortably. I think it’s somewhere in between, with a gimpy Liufau trying to gut one out. Oregon has the athletes to overcome its losses. Colorado doesn’t.

The Pick: $110 on Oregon

Stanford (-3/-115) at UCLA (+3/-105): I picked UCLA in this game last year. It was competitive for about 18 seconds before Stanford stepped on their throat. Stanford is in a tricky spot, coming off USC and getting ready for Washington on a short week. Stanford is the class of the Pac-12 until proven otherwise.

The Pick: $115 on Stanford

Cal (+4/-105) at ASU (-4/-115): All. The. Points. It’s funny how Todd Graham is a defensive coach whose defenses get worse every year. When in doubt, I’m taking the better quarterback and the points.

The Pick: $105 on Cal

Washington (-11/-110) at Arizona (+11/-110): Arizona stinks. Washington is really good. Washington minus anything, also until proven otherwise.

The Pick: $110 on Washington

Duke (+20.5/-110) at Notre Dame (-20.5/-110): This line seems somewhat deflated after Notre Dame’s turd-laying last weekend. But Duke, ohhhh Duke. They lost to Wake Forest. Despite the fact that Brian Van Gorder is the college football version of Rob Ryan, Notre Dame should take out some frustration here.

The Pick: $220 on Notre Dame

Georgia at Ole Miss: Going to a game at Georgia was second only to Ole Miss in terms of great atmospheres. Ever since I went there, I’ve referred to the real Dawgs as my SEC mistress. I root for them quite often. But Georgia’s ranking is highly inflated. They needed a near-miracle to beat sorry Missouri.

The worst thing that could happen to Ole Miss is jumping out to a 21-point lead. They’re 0-2 this year when leading by 21. The rest of college football is 139-2. That is...not good. Still, Ole Miss is much better than Georgia.

The Pick: $110 on Colonel Reb

Money Line Upset of the Week: It’s back, unless we lose. Then it’ll probably go away again. Texas A&M is better than they’ve been in a few years, mostly because they have they have a tremendous defensive line. But there’s something about Arkansas, so here goes.

The Pick: $100 on Woo Pig Sooie (+200)