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.