Yep, the Pac-12 picks are back for another year. And though I will be leaving the Husky beat as a full-time writer in the coming weeks. I'm still going to do the picks. Why? Well, it's a great way for me to vent and have some fun and mock people ... which is what I usually do on Twitter every day. But this forum allows me more than 140 characters.
And there is this reason .... I'M MAKING YOU MONEY!!
I went 57-23 in games straight up and 49-30-1 against the spread. Yeah, that's 19 games over .500 against the spread. When was the last time the Mariners were 19 games over .500?
Remember that awful movie starring Matthew McConaughey ... ok that doesn't really narrow it down. The awful movie where he was a football tout ....
Never miss a local story.
Look at that goodness ... I can't understand why he didn't win an Oscar. Well in that movie there's a line in the movie where Al Pacino tells Rene Russo, describing McConaughey's character:
"All he does is work out and pick winners."
I'm living that line. Well, except for the working out part .
Let's get to the picks ...
Washington State at BYU (-11.5)
Hey, did you know that Mike Leach likes Pirates? Did you know that Mike Leach is a history buff? Did you know that Mike Leach kilt him a bear … when he was only 53. (Yes, that’s a Ballad of Davy Crockett reference).
Don’t act like you don’t remember the song or remember Fess Parker.
We pretty much know everything there is to know about Mike Leach … well, except if his mad-genius pass first, pass second, pass always philosophy can turn the Cougs into winners.
Sure the funny jokes and interesting anecdotes and sometimes bizarre sidetracks that Leach falls into have made him a darling of the Pac-12 media. But what's much more interesting is how the Cougs will play this season. They have to be better. But how much so?
Have you ever noticed he sounds a lot like this guy?
Just listen to Leach's interview with Mitch Levy .... HERE
Having Leach in Pullman is good for the Pac-12. He’s brought more national attention to the league. Yes, the league was popular before, but a little more publicity can’t hurt, particularly since ESPN thinks the world revolves around the SEC … oh and the Yankees and Tim Tebow.
If you think WSU is going to be some pushover this season, you’d be very wrong. They are going to score points and points and more points. They have probably the third best quarterback in the league in Jeff Tuel, and his back-up Connor Halliday is better than about 1/3 of the starting quarterbacks in the league. They also have one of three best receivers in the league in Marquess Wilson and a freshman named Gabe Marks, who is also talented, and might be able to walk on water much like Tebow.
You know are interested in watching.
The pick: This isn’t a debate about civil war or pirates, this is a football game. And BYU is good. They have a good experienced quarterback in Riley Nelson and plenty of size and speed. Let’s not overlook that fact. They are also playing in Provo. It’s a loud raucous crowd fueled on 7-up and good intentions. The home field advantage and the WSU’s suspect defense means that BYU will win.
If I were a betting man … I would take those 11.5 points. It’s a lot of points, and I think the Cougs are going to keep it close. If I were really a betting man … I’d tease those 11.5 points up to 17.5, while bumping down that 65-point over/under to 59. I’d then drop a cool 100 bucks down and place my order for some these …
By the way, that’s only way I’d spend $250 on headphones. And the reason why so many college athletes all have $300 headphones is that they come as gifts from playing in bowl games and conference tournaments. When I was playing baseball at Dickinson State University (yes, that’s a real school) in North Dakota, we got free packs of sunflower seeds in the dugout and free bug spray, lots of free bugspray
Northern Arizona at Arizona State (-25.5)
The real victory for the Sun Devils is that vagabond head coach Todd Graham made it through fall camp without deciding to take a new head coaching job. Yep, I keep rolling out that joke about Graham leaving every place he’s been after a short time. Why? Cause it’s true and it’s still amusing. Maybe not in a “Dumb and Dumber” or even “The Hangover” amusing way, but more like "Hitch" or any other Will Smith comedy amusing-way.
And if you think, that I’m suddenly going to put that joke away now that the season has started, you obviously aren’t aware of my snark level.
The pick: Arizona State is going to win that’s a given. That’s why they scheduled this game.
If I were a betting man … Ohhh, that’s a lot of points to give for a team that is starting a new quarterback, who may or may not be good in the future. But Todd Graham likes to make a good first impression. Usually, cause he’s leaving a last impression shortly after the season done and he is headed elsewhere. And it continues ...
UCLA (-15.5) at Rice
I covered Jim Mora a little bit when he was the head coach of the Seahawks. During the media sessions, he was always polite and well-spoken and mostly genial. Of course, those of us in the media could also sense this kind of simmering intensity in him. It’s not so much that he hated the press conferences or hated us, but it was clear he felt he had better things to do. And so the more he would talk, the more that intensity would build. And the more it would build, the more he would talk and without thinking about what he'd say. It’s why he threw Olindo Mare under the bus after only making 4 of 6 field goals in a loss to the Bears – saying:
“There’s no excuses for those. If you’re a kicker in the National League you should make those kicks — bottom line. End of story. Period. No excuses. No wind, doesn’t matter. You’ve gotta makes those kicks.”And ….
“Especially in a game like this, where you’re kicking and fighting and scratching your tail off and you miss those kicks, it’s not acceptable. Not acceptable. Absolutely not acceptable.”And
“We’re not going to fight our ass off, and have a field goal kicker go out there and miss two field goals and lose a game. It’s not going to happen.”
Then there was his comments about the team needing more Dirtbags.
"If you're going to be a good offensive lineman ... you've got to be a little bit of a dirtbag. Not as a person. But on the football field. Because in the pit where all that stuff goes down, man, if you don't have some frickin' toughness, you're going to fail, you know?"
Hey, Allen Pinkett … notice he said dirtbags,not criminals
It was great. Most of us media guys knew one thing, the more he talked, the more of a chance of him saying something crazy.
And well, you know, it’s not like was going to change in Los Angeles. It started with a few more dirtbags demands then graduated to his idiotic and insensitive comments on the Roger Lodge radio show.Yes, the former host of Blind Date has his own radio show in Los Angeles.
Then again so does this guy …
And this guy …
That might have been the easiest wager in the world that Mora would say something controversial before the first game was even played. It can only get better as the season goes on.
The pick: UCLA. Yes, they are on the road. Yes, the Bruins starting quarterback is making his debut. But they are significantly more talented. In fact, UCLA has a lot of talent thanks to Rick Neuheisel and Mora might be able to do what Neuheisel couldn’t and get them to consistently play hard. Of course, a team’s overall psyche can only take so much when the most important player on your team – the quarterback – is usually the worst player. That changes with Hundley, who is a dual-threat playmaker.
If I were a betting man … I think I would take the points. Rice isn't good, but a home underdog getting over two touchdowns. That's bettor's 101.
Northern Colorado at Utah (-42.5)
Can Jordan Wynn win? You see what I did there. Utah is good. A lot of people don't realize it. But the Utes have size and experience on both lines, a good running game, but it all falls on the oft injured shoulders of the senior quarterback.
Wynn is the type of quarterback that makes you want to rip your hair out. He can be unbelievably good and crafty in making ridiculous plays. He's athletic with good feet and a deep arm. He makes things happen. But he can also make bad things happen. His decision making is suspect at times and his desire for the big play often leads to big plays for the defense.
It has to frustrate the hell out of Kyle Whittingham.
But if the Utes are going to win this season, Wynn is going to be a major factor.
The pick: Really? Really? Wow, that just gave me flashbacks to conversations with my ex-girlfriend. Of course, I’m picking Utah. And still single for obvious reasons .... gambling problem, Peter Pan complex, obsession with sports and workaholic.
If I were a betting man … that's more than six touchdowns. I just cannot give that many points unless Chip Kelly or Bret Bielema is involved. Whittingham won't run it up the way those other guys will. The only time Northern Colorado will get beaten by 43 is by my Montana Grizzlies later in the season.
Saturday's picks will be posted tomorrow ....