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Pac-12 Football Odds and Picks: The Gamble-Tron, Week Eight

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Let’s slow down, please!

Road closure sign seen displayed in Soho. Road closure sign... Photo by Hesther Ng/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Welcome to the eighth week of the gambling college football season. Is that right? Are we really almost two-thirds of the way through this thing? Yes, yes we are, for better or worse. Somehow it feels like this has been a really long year, while the season is speeding by. Given all of the controversy surrounding the program, coupled with the results from the first few weeks, it felt like the misery would never end. Then the wins came, things are kind of fun again, and we’re down to only five games! Where is the time going?! It’s like I’ve heard people say in terms of raising children: The days are long and the years are short. Seems like an apt metaphor for Cougar Football 2021.

We’ve had better than average results up to this point, checking in at a winning clip just below 58% (53% is usually considered pretty good). Can we keep it going? Probably not. But while we hope to continue on the road to profitability, we sure would like it if the road’s end is a little further off in the distance, especially when it comes to our beloved Cougs. If this team were able to play into December, we think that would be a high achievement considering both how the season began and the turmoil that has been visited upon this program and its players over the past weeks. Lord knows those players, and the coaches who stuck around all deserve a reward.

Why I’m a Genius

Despite a rough opener on Friday (you’re comically underwhelming, Oregon), I stayed the course, didn’t panic, and avoided any inclination to chase with some Twitter picks. Yep, no evidence of that! No Sir! And if any such tweets existed - which they don’t - it was the result of a hack.

Ok, I did send Twitter picks, and they were not good, and for the first time in eight years - my god, eight years? - I’m taking a Twitter mulligan. Sorry not sorry. And if you’re really upset about it, contact my attorney Brian Fahling.

Ok we’re back. We rode our Cougs to a fourth straight winning ticket! As the great Mel Allen used to say on This Week in Baseball (look it up, kids): How ‘bout that! Hit the exacta in Boulder, which we fully expected, but had we known Colorado would score 34 the Under probably wouldn’t have been on the card. Thankfully Arizona did its part by scoring 0 points. Definitely kinda sorta lucked out with Nevada, but that was little more than a flier based on Todd Graham’s incompetence, but the money spends all the same.

Why I’m an Idiot

Still can’t figure out Oregon, and still giving them far too much credit. They’re a good team, but it seems like injuries and mediocre quarterback play are starting to become a problem. The Oregon game was symptomatic of a larger issue, as I’m horribad at picking Friday night games. I don’t think I’ve cashed one so far. Speaking of quarterback play, Washington’s is flat out bad, and it seems like Jimmy Lake has a lifetime contract, given his reticence to at least give whichever Huard is there a chance to play.

That Arizona State pick was looking great, until it wasn’t. Sheesh. And I warned myself that I took too long to jump on the Georgia Bulldogs bandwagon. Sure enough, they gave up an 11+ minute drive to Kentucky, which included two 4th down conversions and a Wildcat score on the last play of the game (before which Mark Stoops called timeout to run the cover play for the boosters). It was a pretty terrible moment in my personal pantheon of bad beats. So thanks for that, everyone involved. Definitely not bitter.

Last Week: 5-4-1

Season Total: 56-41-3

Reader Results:

  • x99163z: 1-4
  • .:R: 7-2-1
  • BothwaysUphill: 4-2
  • J.J. FeKl: 4-3-1
  • cougman the II: 4-6 (nicely done on the money line)

BYU Cougars (-4.5) at Washington State Cougars

This is definitely an easy one to forecast, as neither team has had a tumultuous week. Nope, everybody has a clear mind bereft of distractions! The thing I’m most interested in (besides the outcome) is what, if anything, the WSU players will do to memorialize their former coach. I’m sure there will be lots of writing on wrist tape and the like, but I think the WSU players will also be motivated as hell to send a message. I have no idea what that message is, but the real worry for me is what happens in the weeks after this one. So please make some hay this weekend, boys.

As far as an attempt at actual analysis, BYU has lost two straight after gaining a Top 10 ranking, and is on the second of back-to-back road trips, having played in Waco last week and now flying to Pullman for this one. Here’s hoping that’s taken a toll. We’ll conveniently ignore the results versus common opponents because reasons.

The Pick: Cougs (if you think you need to ask which Cougs, show yourself out)

Washington Huskies (-17.5) at Arizona Wildcats

Man, how down is Arizona? Washington can barely muster 18 points in a game, and here they are, favored by nearly that many? With a total in the mid-40s? That may seem odd until you see that the Wildcats are down to their third-string quarterback, as backup Gunner Cruz’s season ended with a broken thumb at Colorado. As poorly as the Huskies have played, if they don’t win this game by at least 24, it’s a much worse indication of how bad they are than anything else they’ve done in 2021. Ok, not as bad as losing to an FCS team, but almost. Did I mention that they lost to an FCS team? Because the Huskies totally lost to an FCS team that currently occupies 7th place in the Big Sky.

The Pick: Washington

Oregon Ducks at UCLA Bruins (-2.5)

I don’t know if the odds-makers whiffed on this one, or wanted to see how many people they could lure toward UCLA, but this line opened at Oregon -3, and was 5.5 points the other way in about 45 seconds. Oregon is one of those teams that I keep expecting to be better than it actually is. We see this every year, in every sport. This year’s NFL version is the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Pick: Oregon (congratulations to UCLA)

USC Trojans at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-7)

Yuck. I can’t recall a time when this rivalry featured such, to be kind, subpar quarterback play. (I also didn’t look it up so it was probably like 2018). USC seems to be a lot better on the road than in the Coliseum, as evidenced by the fact that they’ve surrendered somewhere around eleventy billion points in LA. I never thought I’d write this, but it appears that Kedon Slovis is...the better quarterback here?

The Pick: /plugs nose - USC, Under 58

Colorado Buffaloes at California Golden Bears (-8.5)

As God is my witness, I didn’t even know this game was happening. I wrote every Pac-12 matchup out, and only noticed that this game was taking place as I scrolled through Vegas Insider looking for juicy lines. That is probably a decent metaphor for this game in general - largely overlooked and completely uninteresting.

The Pick: Ralphie / Under 43.5

Utah Utes (-3) at Oregon State Beavers

Hard to be more impressed with a performance than the one the Utes put on last week against ASU. Not only were they mourning the death of a teammate, they dug themselves a 21-7 hole against Pac-12 South leader ASU. Not to worry, though, as Utah turned things around 180 degrees in the second half, while the Sun Devils remembered all their lines in the “shoot ourselves in both feet” playbook. OSU is coming off an idle week, still licking its wounds after exiting Pullman with a loss, and this game will be a good measuring stick as to whether the Beavers are as decent-to-good as they seemed after consecutive wins over USC and Washington.

The Pick: Utah

LSU Tigers at Ole Miss Rebels (Total = 76.5)

So last week when Ole Miss played at Tennessee in front of the world’s classiest fans, the total was 82, and the game ended 31-26. I know LSU broke out last week, but this is yet another principle play, especially with Matt Corral dinged up.

As an aside, my kids absolutely love it when I say “Go Tigahs!” in my best Ed Orgeron voice, so here are 2+ minutes of Ed doing just that. You’re welcome.

Not sure Ed is as jacked up to say that phrase as he was a year ago. Where were we? Oh yeah.

The Pick: Under

Other quick hitters:

Ohio State Buckeyes (-21) at Indiana Hoosiers

The Buckeyes ain’t (bleeping) around no more.

The Pick: Ohio State

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (-3) at Army Black Knights

Keeping it simple here - Wake Forest is better than Army, and Army’s quarterback is banged up.

The Pick: Deacs

San Jose State (-3.5) at UNLV

Once more unto the fade UNLV (who is winless but catching fewer than four points?) breech.

The Pick: Blue Sparty

South Carolina Gamecocks at Texas A&M Aggies (-19.5)

Texas A&M isn’t as good as they’ve been over the last couple weeks, but holy cow are the Cocks bad.

The Pick: A&M

Clemson Tigers at Pitt Panthers (Total = 48)

Let’s have a look at Clemson’s point totals against FBS competition so far this season: 3, 14, 21 (OT), 19, 17.

The Pick: Under.

Cincinnati Bearcats at Navy Midshipmen (Total = 48.5)

I feel like I’m taking too many unders, so let’s try and balance it out a bit. Cincy needs to boatrace every team on the schedule, and Navy can score at least 17, can’t it?

The Pick: Over

Money Line play of the week: Temple (+115) at USF

Wow, that is a full slate. I will definitely not see you on Twitter. For real.

Staff Picks

Standings

Last week

Overall