Weekly picks – Week 1 (really week two)

Good morning boys. I was without internet access for the last 48 hours so I’m only now posting the games plus the picks. Roost, VERY happy to see your comments! Please jump in at all times. And, yes my posts and long and rambling, but I’ll try and cut them down. I’ve been on vacation the last two weeks so I have time to post garbage, you know? πŸ™‚

Agree on Lawson, sans shirt. It’s time Michael! Come on up! Julian would have a blast, he and Conor can hang on the beach and cruise for chicks, but Rooster’s own Lucy is just a little too young. πŸ™‚ Last time I saw Lawson shirtless was on the sun deck, with the great chest hair starter kit.

Here’s this week’s games:

1) #16 CAL (-8) @ UW:

UW is better, I have no doubt after watching some of the rebroadcast last week. Then again, it was a small, light Air Force team coming off a losing season last year, so how much of a barometer was it? The funniest thing?? UW drew 26,000 for a Seattle game, their opener in the Willingham ERA on a Saturday. The Cougs drew 28,000 for Idaho on a Thursday! FACE! πŸ™‚
Anywho, the line has been moving down steadily, opening at 10, now at 8, will probably be 7 by kickoff. I know I foolishly called UW wins last year when I knew deep down they really were that terrible, but I have a weird feeling on this one.

UW wins it, 30-27. Cal is just too unsettled at the most important position on the field(QB), they will put 8 in the box to stuff Marshawn Lynch, and force Ayoob to beat them. He won’t. Their D has a lot of new faces as well, and I think they’ll have a hell of a time stopping the UW running game. The best thing though will be the 25,000 no-shows, as they are projected to have around 50,000 fans at the game! Even better, right now they have 25,000 tickets available for Notre Dame! I LOVE it, and will unabashedly enjoy it while it lasts!

2) #5 LSU @ #15 ASU(-1)
Wow what a tough one to call, for incredibly obvious reasons. I almost think we shouldn’t even count this game, in fact, I’m going to say that we won’t count this game for this year (Lawson, I know you are high pin and all, so if you want to pull rank, go for it!). I’ll say ASU wins by 3, but I really have NO IDEA.

3) Boise State @ Oregon State (-3 1/2)
Just like the Beavs last year, Boise State is going to get DRILLED in this one. Remember, the Beavs made that SEC trip to LSU last year, lost in the humidity, then limped into Boise and were embarrassed on ESPN. Something else to consider? The Donkeys have won ONE game against a Pac-10 team in their history, vs. the Beavs last year. It will not happen again. Beavs, 34-24.

4) Montana @ Oregon(no line)
The Ducks are absolutely loaded offensively. They’ll put up 35 at the half and cruise from there. Did I mention I’m REALLY high on Oregon this year, as much as that hurts to write that? Ducks, 56-13.

5) Stanford (-3) @ Navy
Like everyone else, it’s pretty clear Stanford will fight to stay out of the cellar this year. New coach, new system, on the road, etc, spells trouble. I’m calling Navy, 31-24.

6) Northern AZ @ Arizona (no line)
Another no line game with a pretty big mismatch. I caught about 1/2 the Arizona game last Friday night from Priest Lake Marina, and they held their own against Utah. Obviously the Mildcats have improved and they will steamroll their neighbors to the north, 40-17.

7) Rice @ UCLA(-24)
UCLA is another sleeper this year. Their offensive talent is staggering, at least on paper, and they always seem to play well early. 24 points is big, but Rice is, well, not good. Still, it is an option attack, something you never see in the Pac-10, so that’s got to count for something. UCLA 41, Rice 10.

FINALLY, 8) Cougs (-10) @ Nevada
Nevada’s opener with a brand new scheme. Normally I’d think that would be trouble, but Nevada has a pretty good QB in Rowe and over 150 catches from last year between their two starting receivers. Flowers is the the key, 91 catches last year is a HELL of a lot. Are the DB’s up to the task?

I think we’ll move the ball, maybe not at will, but I think Brink will lead a balanced attack and we’ll put up about 450+ yards in total offense. Take out that lousy 2nd quarter on all aspects of the game last week and we would have run away with that game. Think of last year as the last scrimmage, now tonight is the real thing. We’ll be ready.

Somewhat like New Mexico last year, this won’t be easy. They are only supposed to have about 25,000 in attendance, so I don’t see a huge home-field advantage, but still, it’s on the road. I will be holding my breath on punt and kickoff coverage units, with so many new kids playing on the road for the first time, well, it might set up for some big plays.

The biggest thing? The pass coverage and even bigger, the pass rush. They must get pressure up front, and how will they respond again without Ropati? We didn’t get many sacks last week, and as Rooster mentioned, we at times were pushed around by the Vandals. But there really was some decent pressure on passing downs. Mkristo seems to be unblockable at times, but he still has to get more consistent. I have a feeling he takes plays off, but I’m also sure a lot of d-lineman that play every snap don’t go 100% every time! There are rumblings that on 3rd downs they’ll move Braidwood inside to d-tackle and bring in a speedy pass-rusher, like newcomer Lance Broadus who we stole away under the radar from the Ducks. Doba touched on this on his radio show, that they need more speed from the outside, so I would expect we’ll see that on more than a few occasions. Hopefully it means more pressure, more sacks, more bad throws, etc.

Cougs win this one, but in a bit of a disappointing track meet that will be too close for comfort. We’ll have more questions than answers after this one on the defensive side of the ball.

Cougs 44, Nevada 35.