As usual, I went undefeated again last weekend and will, without any doubt, extend my streak this week.
People will always ask why I don’t bet on the games and the answer to that is not exactly complicated. You see, betting on the games you already know the result of is wrong, therefore I’m not even physically able to do it because I’m always right.
Enough about me, let’s look at this week’s games.
USC @ Cal
USC will turn to their defense in this one and will impose their will on hapless Cal, who won’t even score until the third quarter. It may be a sign that USC is rounding in to form, or that Cal is on their way to a big meltdown. Either way, USC wins this one.
USC 30, Cal 9
*I understand that this game was played last night, but this surely would’ve been my exact post had I wrote it on Thursday morning. Trust me.
Utah @ Pitt – 9:00am
In a rare 9am game, UU heads east to take on 3-3 Pitt. UU will likely appreciate not getting beat up by a fellow Pac-12 squad for one weekend, but quickly realize that it’s not too fun traveling across the country to get beat by a non-conference foe either.
Pitt 34, UU 24
Colorado @ Washington – 12:30pm
If Colorado’s spirit isn’t broken after a 1-5 start, it’s about to be as they will face UW, Oregon, ASU and USC in the next four weeks before coming up for air against Arizona on 11/12. That’s terrible. Washington will likely continue where WSU and Stanford left off and just roll right over the sleep-walking Buffalo secondary.
UW 39, CU 20
BYU @ Oregon State – 1:00pm
Tell me, should OSU feel good that they were the team that caused Mike Stoops to be fired, or should they be insulted that the Arizona AD considered losing to the Beavs as reaching “rock bottom”? As much as I don’t want it to happen leading up to their October 22nd game against the Cougs, the Beavers will likely be able to build their confidence with a second-straight win this weekend.
OSU 23, BYU 20
#18 ASU @ #9 Oregon – 7:15pm
It’s the conference’s marquee match-up of the season thus far and the eyes of the nation will be on Dennis Erickson’s boys as they try to prove they’re for real in Eugene. LaMichael James is out for Oregon, but I’m not sure it’ll make a huge difference. ASU has had one tough game on the road this season, at Illinois, and they forgot to show up. Guess what, Sparky? It’s much tougher to play in Eugene than in Champagne.
UO 44, ASU 35
And now for the game of the week…
#7 Stanford @ WSU – 4:30pm – Versus
The most optimistic of Cougar fans will point to Stanford’s schedule as evidence that an upset is possible, stating that it’s not very strong. Stanford’s opponents this season are a combined 10-18 on the and not one of those defenses rank higher than #64 in the nation. Essentially, they have yet to be tested. The question, though, is whether or not the Cougs pose any sort of test of their own.
I outlined the defensive numbers in a post earlier this week, and in case you didn’t read that, it came to the conclusion that despite the Cougs having a decent defensive performance thus far, it has been due to playing some very weak offenses.
So, yes, I’m worried about this one.
Stanford’s offense is efficient and balanced. They’ll beat you with Andrew Luck or they’ll beat you with Stepfan Taylor. Pick your poison. They’ve allowed only two sacks all season. They’ve turned the ball over only three times. They’ve only allowed 11 tackles for a loss this season. 11! The next closest Pac-12 team is Oregon who has allowed 24. They’ve converted 100% of their 4th-down conversions (8-8) and 48% of their 3rd down conversions. They’ve also scored in 100% of their trips to the red zone, with 22 of the 27 trips resulting in touchdowns. To top it all off, they only get penalized 4.6 times per game for a measly 49 yards.
What does all that mean? First and foremost, you can’t rely on them to make an error because they just don’t do it. Secondly, if you have the opportunity to score, the Cougs better take it because they’ll need it. Unfortunately, Stanford’s defense is #1 in the conference allowing only 302.4 yards per game.
Is there any good news? Not really. The Cougs are at home, and one of the few times the Cardinal looked human this season was on the road at Arizona where they only led 16-10 at half-time. Of course, they went on to skunk the Wildcats the rest of the way and ran away with it, 37-10. BUT, that does mean that they may start out slow on the road and possibly the Cougs can get a jump on them. The other piece of good news, of course, is the return of Jeff Tuel. Jeff doesn’t play defense though so it may not matter in the long run, but his involvement as the true leader of this squad could motivate these guys. It’s not clear if Tuel will start or just how much he’ll play, but if he is able to get significant time, you have to think it’ll be a boon. Let’s just hope the Cougs are still in it at that point.
The fact of the matter is that the Cougs are getting better and are competing week in and week out. Unfortunately, Stanford is probably a little out of their league right now. It pains me to say it, but it’s true.
Of course, the only time I’m ever wrong is when picking the Cougs, so perhaps I’ll be totally off the mark with this one. I really hope I am, because a win here would be a program-changer for this team and this staff. That would be awfully cool.
Stanford 41, Cougs 30