I don’t remember anyone telling us that the Washington State Cougars would be the only PAC-12 North Division team that was undefeated against other rivals within the Division by week eight.
You know how that would have gone. We would have been polite enough to put our hands over our chuckling mouths, all the while considering the statement to be about as trendy and becoming as Jerry Nadler’s pants.
I can almost hear WSU fans now. “Time to pull on them suspenders. Britches!”
After a dramatic win over Stanford last weekend, the Cougars have won three in a row in the North, and that is where the paladins of the Palouse will reside for another week as Washington State (4-3) plays a non-conference game against another set of Cougars from vulnerable #22 BYU (5-2).
Although BYU has been better over the season as a whole and Washington State has some coaching turmoil, in the past month, WSU has posted a net of six positive trends in our prediction system (savvygameline.com) while BYU has posted a net of five negative. Trend lines with such steep patterns of convergence tell us that this game is high on upset potential.
On the other side of the state, Washington (2-4) is in great jeopardy of finishing with a record of 4-8. The Huskies rank 123rd on our Index when it comes to performing up to expectations. If games were played today, they would be underdogs to Stanford, Oregon, Arizona State, and Washington State.
That’s what makes this week’s game against Arizona (0-6) critical. The ‘Dawgs need every bone they can get. They must win where they are favored and pick up a couple where they are not.
Washington’s issues are primarily in the offensive line. That line returned nearly intact from a stellar 2020 season. It was projected to be one of the ten best in the nation this year, yet it ranks 84th for protecting its quarterback and 100th for opening holes for running backs.
However, Arizona doesn’t have enough to capitalize, and the Huskies are favored to come back from Tucson with a 31-14 win.
California (1-5) has lost four games by one possession but will turn things around this week as the Bears host Colorado (2-4). Although Colorado expects to finally have outstanding receiver Vontae Shenault back, Cal is predicted by our Index to win by one.
Oregon State (4-2) is number one in the PAC-12 and 19th nationally when it comes to performing above expectations. Credit offensive line coach Mike Cavenaugh had fewer returning starters than most teams and has efficiently put them into the top twenty nationally for run blocking and in the top 10 for keeping marauders out of the OSU backfield.
As good as OSU has been, Saturday’s game with Utah (4-2) will be a wet slugfest and the Utes, who are undefeated in the PAC-12, have too much steam and momentum. Betting lines favor Utah by three. Our Index favors the Utes 32-24.
Thirteenth-ranked Oregon (5-1) is the early underdog in Vegas. Whether because of injuries or poor coaching, the Ducks are again performing under their talent level. Our Index says the Ducks will be 30-28 winners over UCLA (5-2) despite their shortcomings. Much of the problem for Oregon is found in discipline, as the Ducks rank 113th in number of penalties per game.
USC (3-3) looks confused as it is inconsistent, and things won’t get better after a 31-24 point loss at Notre Dame (5-1). The Fighting Irish have announced that Jack Coan will continue to be their starting quarterback despite a solid performance by freshman Drew Pyne. The USC defense will look better this week, but only because Notre Dame can’t get anywhere on the ground.
To see all of our college football predictions across the country, please visit us here.
Around the nation . . .
Ed Orgeron is out at LSU, although he will coach the remainder of the season. His ouster raised the temperature in the Bayou because Coach O told us two weeks ago that he wasn’t going anywhere, yet he’s been working on a separation package for just as long.
Ugh. Never go full Saban.
It also tilted some heads when fans thought the timing of his departure and the probable availability of Washington State’s Nick Rolovich was more than coincidence.
Similar questions surfaced over the weekend in Miami, where Hurricane fans are spouting that their beloved program didn’t spend tens of millions of dollars to get Manny Diaz only to be 2-4 this year. They are calling for a change, and they all seem to be dropping the same name: former Hurricane Mario Cristobal of the University of Oregon.
This week LSU is projected to lose at Mississippi (5-1), and Miami (2-4) should have no trouble continuing in misery following a four-point loss to #19 North Carolina State (5-1).
Tenth-ranked Oklahoma State (6-0) can’t get any respect. They’ve been out there footballing all season and defying the oddsmakers who said they would lose to Boise State, Kansas State, Baylor, and Texas. They won all four yet still came up short in the wager wars against #23 Iowa State (4-2). Both teams have quarterbacks that have been disappointing in their passing efficiencies, so the potential for turnovers makes any prediction precarious.
Our Index agrees with the oddsmakers on the winners of 50 of the 54 games this week but disagrees with the following:
UCLA over Oregon by 2.5. Our Index says Oregon by 2.
Fresno State over Nevada by 4. Our Index says Nevada by 1.
Louisville over Boston College by 6.5. Our Index says BC by 1.
Texas Tech over Kansas St. by 1. Our Index says Kansas St. by 3.
Last week, we bucked the betting lines three times and won two of them. Over the season, we are 75% accurate in picking winners vs. 72% by the oddsmakers. We defied the betting lines three times last week and won two of them. We’re a half-dozen games behind the betting public in nailing point spreads for the season, but we’re 22 games above the lines in predicting total game points.