So I’ve been trying to give you winning Pac-10 picks all season, including against the spread, when who know all I really should have been doing is copying Nick Daschel?
I didn’t realize that the Buster Sports Pac-10 expert is a glittering 31-18-1 against the spread on Pac-10 picks this year, which would have been a lot better investment than all this 401K nonsense that has gotten me nowhere. Heck, that’s better than most of the Vegas gurus I hear on the radio all the time, most of whom I’m convinced pick one team when they’re on in Seattle, the other when they’re on the air in Fargo five minutes later.
As for me? The bye week was yet another realization that this will be a rebuilding year in this space as I went a Washington General-esque 0-4 against the spread, though bucked up a little with a 3-1 straight-up. I wasn’t looking too bad when Cal, Oregon State and Notre Dame all jumped off to coverable margins early. But there was more backdoor scoring going on last week than in a Princeton basketball game, resulting in the kind of beating usually reserved for an Oakland Raiders assistant.
Anyway, on to this week’s picks, worth every penny that we’re charging you for them.
WASHINGTON STATE AT ARIZONA (Wildcats by 33:) The Cougs can’t score early, being outscored 121-3 in the first quarter this year. But they can score late — well, a little bit, anyway — each of the last two weeks hitting paydirt just enough after falling behind by huge deficits to cover the spread. And give me some ill-timed defeats. But I’m not giving in yet. Arizona may be the second-best team in the conference — WSU is definitively the 10th best. The Cats have had a week off and are squarely in the Rose Bowl race in November for the first time in a decade. They won’t let up here. ARIZONA 52, WSU 10.
OREGON AT STANFORD (Ducks by 6.5): I have ample proof that the Internet has finally spread to Eugene — and yes, that’s a joke, I know it’s already been there for at least a year or so — in the form of more than a few e-mails letting me know what an idiot I was for picking against the Ducks the last two weeks. I won’t take the called third strike on this one. Oregon is the team to beat in the Pac-10 until proven otherwise. And while Stanford has the kind of ball-control offense that could frustrate the Ducks — especially if the UO offense gets off to the kind of slow start in did in Seattle — I don’t see Oregon stumbling here. OREGON 34, STANFORD 23.
OREGON STATE AT CAL (Bears by 7): The way things are shaping up at the moment, this looks like a battle for the Vegas Bowl. OSU has somewhat oddly won three in a row in Berkeley. But this has been a Pac-10 season for breaking streaks and that’s another one that will go down hard. The Bears got a gutty win on the road last week at ASU and buoyed by the home field, will do just enough to get its fourth straight victory — Cal’s current three-game streak is second only to Oregon’s seven-gamer. CAL 28, OSU 24.
USC AT ARIZONA STATE (Trojans by 10): Two teams coming off devastating defeats a week ago, if obviously different in manner. One team, however, has a track record of being able to rebound. The other has no recent track record of much of anything other than accumulating more penalties than Larry King has wives. So no deeper analysis than that needed of this one as the Trojans shake off the frustration of a week ago. USC 34, ASU 17.
LAST WEEK: 3-1 straight-up, 0-4 against the spread.
SEASON TO DATE: 39-15 straight-up, 21-28-1 against the spread.