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The Gamble-Tron Season in Review

Prettay, prettay, prettay good!

Curb Your Enthusiasm FYC Panel Photo by Charley Gallay/FilmMagic for HBO

Good morning! As the 2022 football season gets closer (we’re almost to training camp!), there still isn’t a lot to talk about in terms of actual Cougar sports, and the only thing concrete about realignment rumors is that nobody knows anything, so there isn’t much of a reason to regurgitate any of that.

What we will do is re-live a glorious 2021 gambling season, because it may never come around again. Though it won’t look like it, this column has been in the works for a while, mostly because I’ve been too lazy to finish it. But now as the 2022 season nears and we prep for another litany of ups and downs, it’s a good time to look back at how things went lsat year. Here goes.

Pac-12 Season Totals

Washington State Cougars Under 6: LOSS

What I Wrote: The chances that WSU goes 5-7 are exponentially higher than the chances it goes 7-5.

What happened: You already know, and I will be taking the Under again this year, regardless of the number.

California Golden Bears Over 5.5: LOSS

What I wrote: While I see serious bust potential with this team, Chase Garbers and a solid defense are probably good enough to keep six wins within reach throughout the season. (I accidentally wrote under at first, probably out of habit)

What happened: I knew it! Shoulda stuck with the gut.

Oregon Ducks Over 9: WIN

What I wrote: The Ducks have been stacking the roster with highly-ranked recruits, and if they get even average quarterback play, they’ll win 10 without much of a problem.

What happened: The Ducks did indeed exceed the total. Let’s just end it there.

Oregon State Beavers Under 4.5: LOSS

What I wrote: The Beavs didn’t get any breaks from the conference schedule makers, as they have back-to-backs against UW/USC, Utah/Cal and ASU/Oregon. Yikes.

What happened: Swing and a miss! OSU went 4-2 in those games I mentioned, enroute to a 7-5 season and bowl appearance. It also lost to WSU for the eighth straight time.

Stanford Cardinal Under 4: WIN

What I wrote: Those four [2020] wins were by a combined 10 points, which suggests that such fortune will not befall the team again this year, especially with the loss of Davis Mills. Now for the schedule. Can you find more than one sure win on there? I can’t.

What happened: After a promising start that included a win over Oregon, the Cardinal stepped on a series of rakes, losing seven straight. Its last four losses were by margins of 45, 21, 30 and 31 points. I, for one, fully support whatever they’re doing with the program down there.

Washington Huskies Over 9: LOSS (but actually our favorite win of the season)

What I wrote: Looking at the slate, there’s a better than coin flip chance that Washington is 8-0 before Oregon comes to town, and with games against Colorado and WSU after that, a minimum of 10 wins is all but certain.

What happened: The greatest Husky football season since 2008, and a guarantee that I’ll be betting “Over” again this year.

Arizona Wildcats Over 2.5: Loss

What I wrote: If the Wildcats can somehow split one of the first two games against the BYU Cougars and San Diego State Aztecs, they just have to scrape out one conference win.

What happened: They did not split those games. They did not even beat the 1-AA team on the schedule. But they did win one conference game! Hooray?

Arizona State Sun Devils Under 9: Win

What I wrote: The ol’ Tron thinks the likelihood that they win eight is higher than their chances to win 10. If things go south this season — it won’t be due to the feckless NCAA — I look forward to shadow governor Antonio Pierce firing more low-paid assistants in an attempt to save his own ass.

What happened: Pretty much that! Though ASU didn’t even get to eight wins.

Colorado Buffaloes Under 4.5: Win

What I wrote (after declaring this the lock of the year): Even if they figure out a way to beat Minnesota, they have to win three conference games, and can’t cough up one of the coin flippers against Arizona, Cal or OSU.

What happened: They stunk, and the lock was true.

UCLA Bruins Under 7: Loss

What I wrote: Once again, I’m going with the “they’re more likely to win x than x” philosophy. In this case, I can see UCLA winning six more so than I can see them winning eight.

What happened: The Bruins did, indeed, win eight. I professed my optimism for UCLA in 2021 and still faded it. True genius right there.

USC Trojans Over 8.5: LOL

What I wrote: Better than even money on USC winning nine? With an opening five of San Jose State, Stanford, WSU, OSU and Colorado? And a crossover lineup bereft of Oregon and Washington? What in the wide world of sports keeps the Trojans from winning nine without breaking a sweat?

What happened: This alone should disqualify me from making any more predictions for the rest of time.

Utah Utes Over 8.5: Win

What I wrote: I’m getting immense value with the over at +100. A look at the schedule shows that Utah will likely be favored 8-9 times, and two of its toughest three games are at home.

What happened: Possibly the greatest season in Utah history, right up until the end.

Season Preview Totals Record: 5-7

WSU Season Props

  • Opening game attendance Under 22,999.5: WIN

Official attendance (i.e. tickets sold) was north of 24,000, and I’m fully confident that there were hundreds of no-shows.

  • Borghi + Harris Over 1799.5 yards from scrimmage: WIN

The dynamic duo combined for 1,852 yards from scrimmage. Looking at Borghi’s rushint total (880) and Harris’ receiving total (814), I’d have figured the number would be far larger due to Borghi’s receiving acumen and Harris’ skills on designed runs. Turns out Ron Stone, Jr. had more rushing yards (7) than Travell (2).

  • Under 2.5 QBs who get meaningful snaps: LOSS

I mean, in my defense, this one was looking pretty good for nearly 15 minutes! So of course Nick Rolovich started the wrong guy, then decided to put a third quarterback in the game in order to run some sort of idiotic series of plays because stupidity. But hey, at least we got that on tape, or something.

  • Under 0.5 games lost due to COVID: WIN

Praise be! We did it! Luckily this wasn’t “Under 0.5 coaches lost due to COVID” or we’d have taken another “L.”

  • Brennan Jackson Over 13.5 TFL: LOSS

Welp, this wasn’t close. Jackson had 3.5 TFL in just four 2020 games. In 13 2021 games, Jackson tallied all of 6.5 TFL, good for fourth on the team, and well behind Ron Stone’s 11.5.

  • Jaylen Watson Under 2.5 Interceptions: WIN

Admittedly, this may have gone over if Watson hadn’t been banged up this season. He finished with two interceptions, tied for second on the team along with Justus Rogers and Derrick Langford. Armani Marsh led the Cougs with three.

Completely made-up and arbitrary season props record: 4-2

2021 Season Against the Spread

  • Regular Season: 103-80-3 (56% clip) - The experts are happy with 54%, so we’d say this was a pretty damn good tranche of betting tips.

That went...poorly

This space wouldn’t be complete without some self-flagellation, so here are some of our, uh, regrettable calls of the 2021 season:

  • WSU (-16) vs. Utah State - Took Utah State at first, got caught up, and changed the pick. Always a good idea.
  • Washington (+7) at Michigan Wolverines - Turns out the Huskies really sucked! Unfortunately, I didn’t catch on for a bit.
  • Oklahoma Sooners (-22) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers - Nebraska proved without a doubt in 2021 that it was just good enough to lose a lot of close games. Also Spencer Rattler stinks, which I should have known.
  • Oregon State Beavers at USC Trojans (-10.5) - Apparently I put too much stock into USC’s beatdown of that vaunted WSU team. Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, OSU led 42-17. Good job, me.
  • Alabama Crimson Tide (-17.5) at Texas A&M Aggies - Alabama lost one game in the regular season. You’ll never guess who beat them!
  • Temple to beat USF (+115) - Ok look Temple only lost by three touchdowns. Almost had it!
  • In Week Nine, I picked six Pac-12 games. I lost six Pac-12 games.

Pretty good place to end things!

Championship Week


Bowl Season

The first rule of bowl games is never bet bowl games. But that isn’t any fun!

Stupid Tennessee prevented a 5-2 start (where we probably would have hung it up while we were ahead). But 4-3? Onward and upward!

That’s more like it!

But PJ, what about the picks you made on Tallysight, along with some other CougCenter writers?

I’m glad you asked!

So anyway, given the success of the past season, let’s look ahead to my 2022 ledger.

Can’t wait!


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Track and Field

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This Week in Parenting

We sat down and watched Field of Dreams with the kiddos recently, after they saw the YouTube video of the 2021 game’s opening segment. The most teachable moment came when Ray went to the library to do some research, and used the good ol’ microfiche machine. “What is that?!” was the first and most salient question. Never get old, folks.

We then moved on to checking out the Home Run Derby. When the announcers lauded Albert Pujols for performing well despite his age (which is close-ish to mine), the 10 year-old turned to me and asked, “Why aren’t you out there hitting home runs, dad?” No good comeback for that one.

A bit later, we went to a local liquor store, and Mrs. Kendall asked the guy behind the counter if they had a particular wine, which was her favorite in Germany. When he asked her to spell it, the 10 year-old jumped in and did it for her. A good laugh was had.

Finally, after an endless torrent of requests and begging, we carved out some time to take in Top Gun: Maverick this week. Of course, that wasn’t without some friction. I purchased tickets online the night before (with an $8 “convenience” fee, of course) and off we went the next day. When we scanned the tickets, the attendant said, “Oh, sorry, we’re not showing that movie today. That theater is broken.” Umm, come again? Not sure what “the theater is broken” means, but that was a first. They did give us a refund and passes to the movie at a theater about 15 minutes away, though the “convenience” fee wasn’t refunded.

Now, I’ve heard almost universal praise for Top Gun: Maverick - more so than any other movie in the last several years - so I won’t pick apart the technicalities of the show from the perspective of someone who has compiled a few thousand hours in military aircraft. But I will say that it required a healthy suspension of disbelief.

Either way, it was entertaining. But the teenager had a bone to pick. There are a couple scenes when Maverick is tooling around in a restored P-51 Mustang, and the kid was incredulous. “Why would they put him in a P-51? The Navy didn’t use P-51s. He should have been flying in an F-4U.” The 10 year-old squashed any chance for further discussion by butting in with, “I didn’t understand a word you just said.” Same as it ever was.

You Suck If...

The drive from Tampa to NW Florida this week brought something into sharp relief. During my four years in Germany, I became rather tired of the myths that Germans were organized, orderly and prompt. This was legend especially false when it came to things such as never-ending road construction, chronically delayed trains and lengthy airplane boarding.

However, one thing about Germans that is true: Those MFers know how to drive, especially on the freeway. Americans are terrible at it. On the autobahn, you only use the left lane to pass. If you’re not passing someone, your ass is in the right lane. If you are in the left lane and someone is approaching quickly, you get over and let them pass. Simple. Orderly. Efficient (unless there’s a stau. There are often staus).

The USA? Forget it. It’s a free-for-all, and as someone who got used to the autobahn, it was maddening, and it will take a bit to adjust.

So if you are one of those people who just hangs out in the left lane on the freeway, without a care in the world or awareness of those around you, you suuuuuuuuuuck. Stop sucking, and get the hell over to the right lane.


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