Friday, September 16, 2011

Pac-12 Football: Week 3 Power Rankings and Predictions ATS

Its been a crazy week, leaving me little time to contemplate the wonderfulness of the Pac-12.  But don't worry, I can always open up a few minutes to write a gambling blog.  Because I couldn't seem to do the same with the Power Rankings, here is the cliff note version of that post:  

1. Oregon
2. Stanford
3. Arizona State
4. USC
5. Washington State
6. California
7. Washington
8. Arizona
9. Utah
10. UCLA
11. Colorado
12. Oregon State

Now, on to this weekend's games.  After a pretty impressive record last weekend, I couldn't let all of that goodness go to waste.  But, once again, I don't have time to get in depth on my picks. So please forgive me....

Last week's record: 7-3

Colorado St
@ Nebraska
Missouri St.
Washington St.
@ San Diego St
Arizona State
@ Illinois
@ Arizona

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pac-12 Football: Prediction Against the Spread ~ Week 2

Pac-12 Football conference play starts this week.  However, that match-up might not be the most interesting game on the board.

Both Arizona schools test their wherewithal this week against ranked Big 12 squads. The reality of whether these schools are pretenders or contenders will certainly sink in before the weekend even starts.

Also this week, a match-up between two Pac-12 teams that will not count in conference standings....strange to say the least.

Let's stop wasting time and make these Picks Against the Spread
(picks are in bold)

Arizona @ No. 9 Oklahoma St. (-13.5)
This a rematch of two games last year (one a bowl game) where Arizona got tattered both times.  Both teams are bringing back similar personnel, so it's probably wise to go with the team that keeps winning.  

Arizona St. (-7.5) vs. Missouri
The Sun Devils are a huge question mark entering this season and specifically this game.  No one is really sure what ASU is capable of, and this will be a rude awakening for some fans.  Although Missouri lost Blaine Gabbert, they are still dangerous enough to a) be ranked and b) cover this lofty spread.  

Oregon St. @ Wisconsin (-21)
In case you didn't see last week's game against UNLV, Russell Wilson elevates the Badgers to a completely different level.  The fact that they get to face a team that just lost to a non-FBS school makes this game smell like a rout from miles away.  

California (-5) @ Colorado
This game was on the schedule way before the Buffaloes made the leap to the Pac-12 and the directors decided to keep the game as a non-conference match-up, which doesn't make any sense to me.  Colorado will get an early taste of the Pac-12 without repercussions, but they will probably second guess their decision after losing to one of the conference mid-tier teams.     

Stanford (-21) @ Duke
The last time Andrew Luck went to the East Coast to play a game, he made swiss cheese out of the ACC's best team.  This year, he gets to face one of the ACC's bottom dwellers and it should get ugly fast. 

Washington (-6.5) vs. Hawaii
Hawaii dismantled one Pac-12 last week and they are primed to make it two in a row this week.  Although Washington comfortably won it's season opener, they gave up a bevy of yards to a low-rate offense.  This week, Bryan Moniz marches into town and he definitely knows how to find the endzone with his arm and his feet.  

Oregon (-26.5) vs. Nevada
With that epic loss still resonating in their minds,  the Ducks should be looking to unload on the meager Wolf Pack.  Oregon's offense should explode like most fans of the Pac-12 are used to seeing. Unfortunately for Nevada, they will be at the wrong end of this shellacking.  

Washington St. (-13.5) vs. UNLV
This seems like quite a large spread for the Cougars.  Probably the latest in the season that they have been favored this high in years.  There is something about Washington State that intrigues me.  Plus, after watching UNLV take one on the chin last week, the Cougars seem like the better wager in this one.  

USC (-8.5) vs. Utah
The Utes will experience their first BCS conference game this weekend and they may be in for more than they can handle.  Both Utah and USC did not look dominating in their season openers and one team will raise even more questions amongst their fan-base once this on is through.  However, this isn't USC first rodeo and they will welcome Utah the Pac-12 accordingly.  

UCLA (-21.5) vs. San Jose St.
UCLA actually looked decent last week against Houston and they will face a much weaker opponent on Saturday against San Jose State.  Three touchdowns seems like a lot for this rather inconsistent offense, but the Spartans should cough up the ball enough times to let the Bruins cover.  

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pac-12 Football: Power Rankings and Weekly Awards

A tumultuous start for Pac-12 football was outlined by insistent conversation about a possible Pac-16 realigment. These conversations with Oklahoma and Texas is almost like talking about having a baby the minute your wife gives birth. It leaves this semi-bitter, semi-sweet taste in my mouth at the end of a questionable start for the Pac-12 Conference.  
The "S-E-C" chants following the Oregon/LSU game pretty much says it all.  We put up our best against arguably, their best and we fell flat on our faces. It stings and it begs the question, would Stanford done any better against the Tigers?  So many arguments can be made either way.  
I applaud Oregon for taking the chance at playing this caliber of an opponent this early in the schedule. For this reason, they rank No. 1 on this week's Pac-12 Power Rankings.
No. 1: Oregon
The Ducks put up a helluva fight, but it just wasn't good enough. LaMichael James was sallowed up by LSU's defensive front, leaving Oregon looking rather one-dimensional.   This doesn't mean there weren't flashes of brilliance that the Pac-12 has come accustomed to. Although the loss severely hurts my conference pride, the Ducks are still the top-dogs until another team plays a tougher opponent or Oregon struggles again. Not sure which will come first.
No. 2: Stanford
Andrew Luck. Do I even need to say any more? This kid is absolutely amazing to watch and you are doing yourself a disservice if you haven't seen him play yet. Luck finished the day with 171 yards passing and three total touchdowns, which doesn't sound amazing, but it looked outstanding in live action. Next week, Luck gets to pick apart Duke, which is available to watch on ESPNU. I'd suggest you stay tuned.
No. 3: USC
The Matt Barkley-Robert Woods connection looks extremely promising for the Trojans.  Woods caught 17 passes for 177 yards with all of USC's TDs coming from the the conference's No. 1 QB/WR duo.   While the rest of the team definitely showed signs of hope, the overall score leaves much more to be desired from Lane's Trojans.
No. 4: Arizona State
The hype surrounding the Sun Devils this past off-season is finally set into motion.  Unlike Mike Riley, Dennis Erikson picked the correct Northern California cupcake to use as a warm-up.   Brock Owseiler will need to carry this team to glory this season, and he made a decent start to prove that he can.  However, can this team survive a ranked opponent is whole different question.
No. 5: California
Another amazing QB/WR duo emerged from the Bears game last weekend. Cal's new quarterback Zach Maynard and sensational sophomore wide receiver Keenan Allen made a splash against Fresno, connecting on eight passes for 112 yards. While the "brothers" created havoc, Marvin Jones reminded the Bulldogs that he hasn't left for the pros just yet. Jones caught Maynard's two touchdowns, gaining 118 yards on five receptions. This could finally be the passing game Cal has been wishing for since those Aaron Rodgers days.     
No. 6: Arizona
A surprise to none, Arizona set the scoreboard on fire against Northern Arizona.  Nick Foles torched the skies, passing five touchdowns to five different receivers and collecting over 400 yards. The Wildcats looked dangerous, but this result was to be expected.  Top-ranked Oklahoma State is next and this will be a rude awakening for many fans. 
No. 7: Washington State
This might be the first time ever that the Cougars have not ranked lasted in my rankings. Washington State did exactly what a BCS team should do to a cupcake school...absolutely devour them. Their defense still seemed a little shoddy, but let Pullman's faithful enjoy this win while they can. 
No. 8: Utah
The Utes first game as a member of the Pac-12 did not exactly wow the devoted conference followers. A mediocre win against a below-par opponents won't make that bandwagon any more appealing. 
No. 9: Washington
Many suspected that the Huskies' offense would struggle out of the gate. These people were kind of right. Although Keith Price threw three touchdowns, he only passed for 103 yards. Chris Polk was and will be the man going forward, gaining 125 yards to kick off the season. Like the other Washington squad, defense troubles also seem apparent early. 
No. 10: UCLA
The Bruins offense hung with one of the top quarterbacks in the league, which is either a good thing for UCLA's offense or a really terrible thing for Houston's defense. Either way the Bruins looked much better than expected in the loss. 
No. 11: Colorado
The Buffaloes received a taste of poy, and it wasn't pleasent. It is hard to pull any good out of this game for Colorado, other than, even USC struggles when they play in Hawaii. Better luck next week. 
No. 12: Oregon State
The loss to a FCS school is practically inexcusable. Mike Riley always has problems in September and Sacramento State was supposed to ail that. The shock and awe from this unbelievable loss is still resonating in Corvallis.

Offensive Player of the Week: Robert Woods (17 REC, 177 YRD, 3TD)
Robert Woods shined like a quarter flickering in a wishing pond. His continued connection with Matt Barkley brought truth to the claims that USC fans have been spouting all offseason.  Nick Foles was a close second with 5TD passes, however, at least USC was playing a BCS opponent (albeit a lower tier BCS opponent). 

Defensive Player of the Week: Desmond Trufant (11 TCK, 2BrUp, 1INT, 1 FF)
Desmond Trufant was a one-man wrecking crew for the Huskies. His pick late in the game solidified the win for Washington, narrowly escaping an unthinkable upset. Trufant proved to be the best weapon on the Huskies' rather questionable defense.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pac-12 Football: Predictions Against the Spread (ATS) ~ Week 1

HOLY SHIT! What the hell just happened.  The last thing I remember,I was getting ready to post a Pac-12 Football Daily Breakfast links in late June.  My eyes blinked, I glanced to my phone and it read the last day of August...

That should be good enough to explain my absence the last month and a half. 

For those people that have been reaching my page, I apologize for the the lack of content. . However, with football season just around the corner, why not get this puppy back up and running.

Surprise, surprise, the first article that pops into my head relates to gambling. Unless you are one of those few special folk who read articles first and then headlines, you should see where this one is headed. 

The true reason I started The Pacific Dozen was for making picks and doing Power Rankings. Besides the occasional recruiting/opinion article, don't expect too much. 

Let's get started with Week #1. 

Thursday's Games: (Picks are in Bold)
Utah (-28) vs. Montana State
Utah is not messing around this season.   They want to quickly prove to the Pac-12 that they are capable of hanging with the big boys and devouring this stepping stone will be a huge step in that direction.  With USC on the schedule next week, they are going to need as much of an ego-boost as they can possibly get from this cupcake.  

Arizona State (-35.5) vs. UC Davis
It still pisses me off that UC Davis has a football team and UC Santa Barbara doesn't.  Just because of that, I want to see the Aggies drown during any gridiron adventure.  The Sun Devil's posses an extremely explosive offense.  As long as their defense doesn't completely collapse, ASU should win this one by 50.

Saturday's Games:
No. 25 USC (-22) vs. Minnesota
There is so much to like about USC's offense, that it completely overshadows the concerns that the Trojans have on defense...well, at least for this week's matchup. Minnesota is definitely improving, but they should struggle to stay afloat in this first game.  

UCLA @ Houston (-3)
UCLA found a way to beat the Longhorns in Texas last year, it seems like the Bruins should be able to do the same against a "lower tier" team.  Don't underestimate the Cougars, though.  A healthy Case Keenum could be the difference for Houston.  

Oregon St. (-27.5) vs. Sacramento St.
The Stinging Hornets really have no chance in this one.  Oregon State might be experiencing a slight downturn this season, but this won't stop them from winning this game by at least four touchdowns.  

No. 7 Stanford (-30) vs. San Jose St. 
For some reason, this game is actually considered a pretty deep rivalry.  San Jose State's football program is the epitome of the term "rebuilding year" and they be the equivalent of Bambi starring down a Mack Truck this weekend.  

Washington St. (-28) vs. Idaho St.
The Cougars need a lot of work.  Lucky for them, so does Idaho State.  Washington State is primed for a turn around and if Paul Wulff is going to steer this ship in that direction it is going to be this year.  

California (-10) vs. Fresno St.
This game opened up in Vegas with Cal as 4.5-point favorites.  Since then, it has exploded to a 10-point spread for the Bears.  The odds makers saw something in the Bulldogs when they originally wrote the line.  Let's see if they were right.  

Washington (-18.5) vs. E. Washington
I don't know much about Eastern Washington, but for some reason this line seems like a slap in the faces of the Huskies.  Sark and his boys win this one by at least three touchdowns...guaranteed.  

No. 3 Oregon (-4) vs. No. 4 LSU
Since this line opened, LSU went from 3-point favorites to 4-point "dawgs."  Four points seems like awfully a lot for this marquee matchup.  Whichever team eventually wins, its only going to be by a field goal.  

Arizona (-27.5) vs. Northern Arizona
Vegas bookies are seriously underestimating the dangers of Arizona's offense. The Wildcats' defense should be able to handle Northern Arizona's sub-par offesne, and Nic Foles and company will ignite the scoreboard in this home opener laugher. 

Colorado vs. Hawaii (-7)
"Only gambling degenerates bet on the Hawaii game." ~ The Dilemma  So true, mainly because it's the last game of the day where you can either break even, jump ahead, or the more likely case, dig yourself a deeper hole.  Making the trip to Hawaii is never easy, even for the best teams.  The Buffaloes should get trampled.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pac-12 Breakfast Links: 06.22.2011

*Only four BCS schools have never been dinged for a major NCAA violation, Stanford being one of them.  In this day in age, that seems almost amazing.  [Wall Street Journal]

*Show me the Money! After Washington, Colorado was the second most profitable program in the Pac-12. Way to let the newbie show up the conference.  [The Ralphie Report]

*Speaking of that overused line from Jerry Maguire, there is a trail of red paint leading to the hands of those that run the Oregon program.  Like an AA member falling off the wagon, the NCAA has lost complete control. [Business Insider]

*Oregon State Head Coach Mike Riley is upbeat about a Beavers turnaround this season.  Take a picture because this might be the last time we see the coach so positive. [Mail Tribune]

*Andrew Luck is finally getting some 1st team All-American love. What took so long? [Lindy Sports]

*In case you miss the Pac-10, here is great stat rundown of how the 33 years played out.  It is kinda sad that Cal was the only team during that period not to make a BCS bowl.  [Tucson Citzen]

Monday, June 20, 2011

California Football: Leaning Heavily on the Legs of Zach Maynard

Although the ship isn’t necessarily sinking out in Berkeley, fans aboard the S.S. Golden Bear have reasons to fear the outcome of their current journey. Last season, Cal suffered its first sub-.500 record in nine years and uncertainty on both sides of the ball raises some warranted off-season concerns. 

Earlier this spring, Head Coach Jeff Tedford tried to put some of these worries to rest by announcing that Buffalo transfer Zach Maynard would be the Bears’ opening day starter at quarterback. 

For years, Cal’s string of highly touted quarterbacks and running backs were the crux that held their fans’ heads high.  However, this season, the amount of productivity that the Bears will get from the otherwise unknown Maynard and their untested backfield is highly questionable.

Pac-12 Breakfast Links: 06.20.2011

*Los Angeles is once again trying to put together a new downtown stadium that would host an NFL team and possibly Pac-12 Football events.  LA can’t sustain an NFL team.  Haven’t they learned this yet? [LA Times]

*Speaking of Southern California, LA Coliseum tells USC they can’t afford $60 million in renovations.  Since an NFL team is doom to die in LA, hopefully their other pro team can get at least get a new stadium. [LA Times]

*Now that Oregon has hit the map of NCAA violations, things are getting quite ridiculous in this corrupt organization.  My guess is at least three more programs will be revealed as violators before the offseason is through. [State Journal]

*USC is finally realizing that Pete Carroll has moved on.  He has moved on and so should you. [Conquest Chronicles]

*If the former Pac-10 members thought they were underexposed, imagine how Utah felt all those years.  [Salt Lake Tribune]

*Can UCLA pass the “Eye Test”?  Early prognosis says their fans might need glasses. [Bruins Nation]

*Mega-expansion was the rave all last summer.  I personally thought it would have been awesome. Could there still be a chance that the Pac-12 becomes the Pac-16? Probably not for a few years. [The Husky Haul]

Friday, June 17, 2011

Washington State Cougars Recruiting Round-Up

Recent Commits
·         No recent commits

Trending on the Trail 
Eduardo Middleton, OL, 6-5/280 (**): Playing at the “Pac-12 Level” is huge for Middleton; Wazzu is his only Pac-12 offer currently but Utah might offer soon. 
Jordan Pulu, MLB, 6-1/235 (**):  said if Wazzu offers, he will commit right away. 

Top Commits for 2012
·         Dalen Jones, WR, 6-0/180 (***): recruited as an ATH, Jones wants to and most likely will play WR; Cougars talked about playing him at CB, as well.
·         David Bucannon, S, 6-2/175 (***): a strong hitter that is capable of flying around the field
·         Austin Apodaca, QB, 6-3/185 (NR): won’t blind you with his speed, but he definitely can make plays with his feet; has the arm and intangibles to become a good pocket passer.

***Check out how the rest of the Pac-12 is doing on the recruiting trail here.  

Washington Huskies Recruiting Round-Up

Recent Commits
Dwayne Washington, WR, 6-1/195 (NR): familiarity with college football route running was a huge plus; also possess great speed.
Nathan Dean, OT, 6-5/270 (***): his work ethic, size, and athleticism drew many suitors; needs to add a little bulk.  
Damontae Kazee, CB, 5-11/170 (NR): good speed with excellent closing skills; also impressive on kickoff returns.
Malcolm Jackson, DL, 6-3/255 (NR): has the perfect frame to excel at the collegiate level;
Trending on the Trail
Blake Rodgers, ILB, 6-2/220 (NR):  the Huskies are apparently Rodgers favorite so far; he is expected to make a decision in a month. 
Darreus Rogers, WR, 6-2/194 (****): despite being a verbal commitment to USC, Rogers might not be 100% sold on Trojans. ASU and Washington are still in the mix

Top Commits for 2012
·         Jeff Lindquist, QB, 6-3/225 (****): posses superb field vision with keen pocket awareness; ball handling skills needs slight improvement.   
·         Tairen Owens, RB, 5-9/165 (***): was recruited for his explosiveness and breakaway speed; size could be an issue.  
·         Cyler Miles, QB, 6-2/220 (***): this was a small surprise considering the Huskies already have a four star commit for 2012; Miles definitely brings more speed to the position.

***Check out how the rest of the Pac-12 is doing on the recruiting trail here.