Sorry for the lateness of the picks. Apparently my battery that's supposed to last two hours, only lasts 45 minutes. So instead of getting them done on my flight yesterday, I got to listen to Hayes Carll on the iPod and sit and endure the stench of the rather large man in the seat next to me. It was like sour cream and feet. At least the noise cancelling head phones were able to curb the screaming 1-year-old three seats in front of me. People were not pleased.
Presbyterian at Cal (Infinity – really it’s -44)
For those of you that don’t know, according to Wikipedia …
Presbyterian College is a private liberal arts college in Clinton, South Carolina, USA. Presbyterian College, or PC, is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA. PC was founded in 1880 by William Plumer Jacobs, a prominent Presbyterian minister who also founded the nearby Thornwell Home and School for Boys and Girls. The college's current President is Dr. John V. Griffith.
Presbyterian College has around 1300 students and runs on an endowment of around $100 million. PC also has 84 full-time faculty members and has more South Carolina Professors of the Year (6) than any other South Carolina college or university.
The motto of PC is "Dum Vivimus Servimus" or "While We Live We Serve." Service is a crucial part of PC, and almost all of its students partake in some form of service by the time they graduate. Consequently, students are encouraged to participate in programs like Student Volunteer Services, one of the largest student-run organizations on campus.Can you guess what the Presbyterian mascot is?
The PC mascot is the Blue Hose, represented by a Scotsman clad in a kilt with blue stockings. PC athletics are a part of the Big South Conference of NCAA's Division I. PC is also home to Cyrus, the largest bronze statue of a Scotsman in the world.
The pick: This is ridiculous. The Bears didn’t want to play Presbyterian but they had to. Read Jon Wilner’s explanation why. This is a game that will be so lopsided, evenn back-up quarter Brock Mansion will get to play in (I’m guessing end of the second quarter) and probably even look respectable.
If I were a betting man … I would give the points. Yes it’s a lot, and I don’t think Jeff Tedford is quite like Chip Kelly when it comes to willingness to hang 60 points on an outmanned opponent. Plus Presbyterian is doing the Bears a favor by playing this game. Still, the vast talent gap between the Bears third string and PC’s first string means a 50-point blowout.
And since we are talking about Cal. Please tune into 710-AM tonight and tomorrow to listen my buddy and Cal grad Mike Curto call the Mariners games. If the Mariners were smart, they would give him the job next year.
Washington State at San Diego State (-5 ½)
How big is this game? Well my favorite Cougar apologists have gone insane in preparation for this game. Jim Moore of 710 gave up beer, golf and pictures of scantily clad women, Jason Puckett of 950 KJR hasn’t been able to eat a thing all week, his buddy Ian Furness suddenly lost his Canadian accent and ability to drink Molson Canadian and my buddy Jeff Nusser at Coug Center swore he would remove his ear rings and shave off his goatee if WSU won.
Yes, it’s that big. Basically any win the Cougs can steal without Jeff Tuel at quarterback is a big. But a Cougs team starting 3-0, well, that's just unthinkable.
This road game is so important they actually ordered extra cases of Boone’s Farm at The Coug, because you can never have enough Strawberry Hill. And the restaurants in Pullman have decided to stay open past 9 p.m.
The pick: The combination of Paul Wulff facing a good team on the road usually meant a 30-point beating. But this is a different Cougar team – it actually has talent. SDSU has an NFL level quarterback in Ryan Lindley and that’s usually disaster for a Coug secondary that isn’t CFL level. After beating up on a bad FCS team in the first week, and beating up a bad FBS team with a Division III defensive coordinator in the second week, Wazzu is going to be in a real fight. It’s a fight that they unfortunately lose, but just barely. Marshall Lobbestael has been good, but the Cougars needed Tuel for this game.
If I were a betting man…. I would take WSU and the points. The Cougars are going to be in right to the end, don’t be surprised if they lose by a last second field goal.
Texas (-3 ½) at UCLA
Is anybody tired of Texas determining the fate of every conference in the country? What’s funny is how the Four-Letter Network covers this situation since they are together with Texas like Glen Rice and Sarah Palin in the old days. Is the Longhorn Network an unfair advantage for Texas recruiting? Maybe. You know what’s an unfair advantage? Austin, Texas and Sixth Street. I’ve been to Austin, I’ve been to the Texas campus, I’ve been to Sixth Street a few times, and if I were a top high school recruit, I would go there in a heartbeat. It might be a better place to go than even Miami during the Nevin Shapiro era. UCLA is a disaster.
Neuheisel can’t get his players to play, he has given up talking to fans and even TJ Simers is getting bored with treating him like a piñata.
The pick: UCLA whipped Texas last year in Austin thanks to the inspired play of Longhorns QB Garrett Gilbert, who generously gifted a few turnovers to the Bruins. Once UCLA got ahead, the Bruins were able to grind it out with running back Jonathan Franklin. Gilbert has been benched for his turnovers and Case McCoy, younger brother of Colt McCoy, and freshman David Ash will share snaps. What’s sad is the two inexperienced quarterbacks are still better than the experienced UCLA quarterbacking tandem of Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut.
Warm up your fingers TJ, the Bruins are going down and they are going down hard.
If I were a betting man…. Take Texas give the points. UCLA seems to be the type of team to quit late in the game allowing the opponent to pick up that late spread-covering score.
Colorado (-7) vs. Colorado State at Invesco Field
The battle of Colorado or should we call it "the North Face Fleece Jacket Bowl" sponsored by Thule Bike Racks and Nalgene Water Bottles. Yes, that’s a cheap shot at the outdoors loving folk of Colorado. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
CU coach Jon Embree is still looking for his first win, and this is a must-win for him. It’s one thing to start 0-2 against two decent teams, but to go 0-3 and lose to CSU as well, that’s Dan Hawkins territory.
Since the game is being played at Invesco maybe Tim Tebow should come down and hang out, and remember what it was like when he got to play.
The pick: I’m taking the Buffalos for some reason. Talent-wise they are better than CSU. Obviously the duo of QB Taylor Hansen and WR Paul Richardson won’t combine for 282 yards passing, but they will go for at least 150. And running back Rodney Stewart will finally get going and get some yards.
If I were a betting man…. I’d take CU and give the points. I just think Colorado will make enough big plays to pull away late.
Arizona State at Illinois (-1)
You have to love a team coached by Hurricane Dennis. They are ridiculously talented, completely undisciplined, maddeningly inconsistent and on the verge of a total meltdown. I swear I’m not describing just Vontaze Burfict, though it seems like I am.
Still, I like Arizona State. Brock Osweiler is good. Aaron Pflugrad is good. They seem to be the steady boats in a see of A.D.D. that is the Sun Devils.
The pick: ASU on the road against a decent Big 10 team? That sounds like a disaster since they seem to rack up more penalties in a game than I do blog comments in a year. But what’s odd about Erickson coached teams is they sometimes play better when you expect them to struggle.
If I were a betting man…. It’s a one-point spread, take ASU, give the points, and pray that Burfict doesn’t lose his mind and they keep the penalties below eight.
Syracuse at USC (-16 ½)
USC hasn’t looked like world beaters in its first two wins this season. It feels like it’s going to be this way with Lane Kiffin all season, superior talent and suspect decision making means close games. But Syracuse is flying across the country to the Coliseum. That’s not an easy thing to do. The Orange players will likely be wanting to soak up the sun since it’s probably going to snow in upstate New York next week and not melt until May.
The pick: Will the real USC please stand up? The Trojans have more talent than Syracuse. But will they play down to the Orange’s level? Maybe they need to bring in one of their celebrity fans to pump them up.
Maybe him ….
My bad, wrong USC fan.
How about him?
USC will win because they are simply better. Heck they might even go for a two-point conversion for no apparent reason.
If I were a betting man…. Man 16 ½ points is a lot to give for a Kiffin-coached team. But after playing back-to-back close games, the Trojans finally break out and have a blow out win.
Utah at BYU (-4)
Two teams that truly dislike each other. It’s like my hate of vegetables and lettuce on sandwiches. If I wanted a salad, I’d order a salad. This is a real rivalry. You would think that these normally laid back and good-natured Utah-ites would be cordial. But this game is anything but. It’s fantastic.
You have two good quarterbacks in Jake Heaps and Jordan Wynn going at each other. Remember when some local people tried to say that Nick Montana would someday better than Jake Heaps. Yeah, I wasn’t one of those people. Heaps is really, really good.
The pick: Utah still hasn’t been consistent offensively under new offensive coordinator Norm Chow and Wynn’s surgically repaired shoulder has forced him to start throwing like this guy …
It’s not going to be easy to suddenly find consistency in this rivalry game. I’m taking BYU and Heaps. JJ DiLuigi will come up with a big play – possibly throwing for a score out of an option to lead the Cougars.
If I were a betting man…. Four points? Hmm, this game will be decided by a field goal. Take Utah and the points. And if you could tease it with the Washington State game, you would be rolling.
Stanford (-9 ½) at Arizona
The Arizona schedule is in a brutal stretch, which should labeled – Meltdown for Mike Stoops. It’s brutal. Last week it was Oklahoma State, this week it is Stanford, next week Oregon and then at USC. That’s worse a stretch than the drive from Othello to Pullman. And I have the two tickets to prove it.
After getting stomped by OSU last week, Arizona now has to play the most physical team in the Pac 12.
It will be a showcase of quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Nick Foles. Both have been good this season.
The pick: There are going to be some points scored in this game. Arizona will probably throw it 55 times and Foles will go over 350 yards passing and it still won’t be enough. The Wildcats’ inexperienced offensive line will get abused by Stanford’s D-Line and Foles will take a beating. Meanwhile, Andrew Luck will toss out a Heisman-worth performance against Arizona’s undermanned secondary.
If I were a betting man…. Bet against a home underdog? Hmm, my grandma was against this very notion. And you usually don’t argue with a 4-foot-6 Japanese lady. But I’m going to give the points and take Stanford while grandma shakes her head from the great beyond. Also expect Mike Stoops to freak out on the second series of the game.
Missouri State at Oregon (double infinity, okay it’s now -58, which is almost infinity)
Really Missouri State? Really? Well, that’s how scheduling works these days. And if you are a lower tier FBS team, do you really want to go to Autzen and get insulted by Duck fans, and get embarrassed on the field by having the score run up on you simply because Chip Kelly can and will do it. Yes, teams get paid for this kind of stuff. But they don’t get paid enough. If were an AD of a WAC or Mountain West team and Oregon wanted to schedule us, I’d say fine, “That will be $600,000 please.”
If the balked, I would say, “Call Uncle Phil, he’s got some spare time, the NBA isn’t playing this season.”
The pick: Come on. Do you really need to ask? Even if a widespread food poisoning epidemic hit the Ducks 20 minutes before game time, they would still win by 30.
If I were a betting man…. 58 points, would you really give 58 points? They won by 62 points last week against a better team. It could be 70 and I’d probably give the points, I have faith in Chip Kelly and his willingness to embarrass other teams.