Weekend Picks

October 11, 2008

Another solid week, going 5-0 straight up and 4-1 ATS, leaving me 8-1 and 7-2 respectively.  This week, Cal and U-Dub are off and the Pac-10 matchups are not that intriguing.

USC 30 Arizona State 10 (USC by 27): What was a battle of the backups is just now a mismatch.  That said, ASU has held Georgia to 27 and Cal to 24.  The Sun Devils won’t score a lot of points, but they won’t give up a lot of big plays either.

Oregon 31 UCLA 17 (Oregon by 17): I’m still not sold on the Ducks.  They’re 4-2 and with average quarterback play, they’d be at least 5-1.  Even worse is their vaunted secondary that has struggled thus far.  Oregon will win, but UCLA will be ready for the Ducks.

Oregon State 41 Washington State 10 (Oregon State by 30): Wazzu had an American Idol competition for their third string QB.  No, really.

Stanfurd 27 Arizona 24 (Arizona by 6): This is not a bad Arizona team, but their schedule thus far has been extremely week, including a loss to New Mexico.  The Furd will present the toughest test thus far for the Wildcats.  If they’re for real, they win this game.  Preblem for them, they aren’t for real.


Weekend Picks

October 4, 2008

Last week, I went 3-1 straight, 3-1 ATS, and failed to make any pick whatsoever for the Oregon State versus USC contest, convenient, I know.  Well, I did it again, I forgot to make a Thursday selection.  For the record, last week I would have selected USC and this week I would have selected Utah, so it’s pretty much a wash.

Notre Dame 16 Stanfurd 10 (Irish by 7.5): The talent gap between the Furd and the rest of college football is beginning to close.  Add their 2009 recruiting class and Harbaugh may build a competitive football team.  I’m not saying they’ll finish in the top third of the conference, but they might be back to bowl game competitive.  That said, I don’t think they’re ready to beat Notre Dame on the road, even a very average Notre Dame team.  The Furd defense has some decent pieces, but thus far they’re surrendering 27.5 points per game.  In the end, I hate both of these teams and want both of them to lose.

California 38 Arizona State 20 (Cal by 9): The QB1 position is unsettled.  Their Heisman candidate RB1 is injured and out for the game.  Their defense captain DE is out 6 weeks with a broken foot (maybe).  And, their starting LG is out for the season.  So, Cal is favored by 9.  Talk about having faith in home field advantage, Shane Vereen, and Cal’s depth at TB.  I’m siding with Vegas, particulalrly if it rains-Cal’s ground game and run defense is stronger than ASU’s.  The nly question mark is whether Longshore AND/OR Riley will spark the passing game which has been doormat for 2.5 games.

Arizona 100 Washington -2 (Arizona by 21): Is anyone going to watch this game?  No Locker.  At Arizona.  Too much Tuitama.

USC 27 Oregon 16 (USC by 16): This is an absurd line.  If Oregon State ran over USC, the conventional wisdom is Oregon will do the same.  It’s not as if Oregon State had a world beater at quarterback, and Oregon likewise doesn’t.  USC on the other hand will be motivated and it’s at the Coliseum.  I’d love to pick the Ducks, but I don’t think they have the nastiness to beat USC and the Trojans will be a lot more prepared than they were last year against the Furd (the only team to beat USC at the Coliseum since 2002).

UCLA 31 Washington State 10 (UCLA by 17): Please Wazzu, prove me wrong.

Goodbye Tom Hansen

June 9, 2008

Well, the good folks at Fire Tom Hansen get their wish, sort of. The AP is reporting that Hansen will retire, effective July 1, 2009. No word on replacement candidates.

For most Cal football fans, this is pretty good news. For too long the Pac-10 brethren have suffered from a lack of leadership. Despite the recent resurgence of USC as a national power, the reputation of the Pac-10 has fallen considerably, with regard to football. Continually, Pac-10 teams have been hurt by the BCS despite worthy resumes (e.g. Oregon in 2001 and Cal in 2004). What those teams were left with was a bowl game beneath their stature. In most years that means a trip to San Diego for the Holiday Bowl.

A great deal of this drop in prestige, in my view, is the result of poor national coverage. ESPN covers and reports on the games they put on the air. That means teams in the Big East and ACC usually get more coverage than they deserve. And, while the network plays lip service to the Pac-10, it undeniably hurts the conference when games on that network have been so few and far between up until very recently. Also, not having a second team play on New Year’s Day affects national perception of the quality of play out West. Although the Holiday Bowl does have the advantage of playing in prime time without any other competitor, not having the game on New Year’s day has led many to believe the conference fails to get the publicity it deserves for its solid bowl game track record.

26 years is a long time to hold any position, particularly a leadership position. Hansen likely did much greater work than I am giving him credit for, but I think every agrees – even Hansen – that is has been time to go.