By REED NELSON
This week was a bit hectic, so the Dirty Preview is being replaced this week by the Dirty Preview, Jr. He wears his hat backwards during batting practice, hits towering home runs and has hung out in professional clubhouses since he was old enough to play with Hess trucks, so I think we’re good hands.
This week, as a No. 5 Notre Dame team trudges into Norman, OK to face a No. 8 Oklahoma team, as No. 2 Florida hopes to validate the high ranking bestowed upon them against No. 10 Georgia, the Pac-12 has what we’ll call a Recess Week.
All 12 teams are in action, but not a single game features two ranked opponents, which is a good thing considering the conferences game of the year is looming around the corner, just a week away.
So put on your rally caps, folks, and lets hope the Kings of the Mountain can stay on top for just one more week; Oregon could use all the USC/Stanford/Oregon State help that the week will allow on this rainy Eugene Saturday.
I had a rough 2-3 week last week, dropping my record against the spread this season to a 5 feet 9, 145 pound-esque 24-22-1.
Call me the redeem team, because I’m ready to rock this (As always, times are PST, lines from sportsbook.ag, and my moneyline picks are in bold.):
Colorado (+46.5) at #4 Oregon (-46.5), Noon — It would be tempting to take a Colorado team getting nearly seven touchdowns on the road, but then I remembered it was Colorado. Colorado, the only satisfied zombie in the Pac-12, has continued to sleepwalk their way through the 2012 season without so much as an inkling for the oppositions blood. Do I expect them to acquire the thirst this Saturday, in a downpour against the nation’s most explosive offense? Absolutely not. I’ll lay the points. Who I’m taking: Oregon (-46.5), AA.
UCLA (+6.5) at Arizona State (-6.5), 12:05 p.m. — If this were last week, I’d be happy to lay the 6.5 on ASU, but seeing as the Sun Devils have had a week to stew with this one at home without star DT Will Sutton (still out as of Friday), I like UCLA. They’re due for a big win, RB Jonathan Franklin is due for an early-season performance, and ASU’s interior D-line is an absolute nightmare without Sutton. Who I’m taking: UCLA (+6.5), AA.
#9 USC (-5) at Arizona (+5), 12:30 p.m. — USC needs a big performance. Arizona needs to keep winning to avoid a Little Caesar’s Bowl appearance. In a cage match (or on a football field, your choice) I like Matt Barkley over Matt Scott, Silas Redd over Kadeem Carey and Lane Kiffin, in the most slap-errific fight in the history fights, over RichRod. If the spread came out at more than a touchdown, Arizona would make an iota of sense. If USC expects to play with Oregon, they need to put a two score gap between them and the Wildcats. Who I’m taking: USC (-5), AAA.
Washington State (+25) at #17 Stanford (-25), 3:15 p.m. — I hate games like these. I don’t know if either team is capable of scoring 25 points, let alone covering a 25-point spread (on either side). But seeing as Stanford has beat just one opponent by more than 25 points this season (a surprisingly good Duke team in week two), I’ll give the pirate a shot, and probably get caught butt-naked in a crow’s nest. I still don’t think that’s worse than getting burned by betting on the Cougs in ’12. Screw it. Who I’m taking: Washington State (+25), A.
Cal (+2.5) at Utah (-2.5), 6:45 p.m. — The spread is less than a field goal in a game featuring the Pac-12’s least consistent performer (Cal) and one of its most (Utah). It’s not that Utah is a consistently good, it’s just that their in-game performances rarely range in quality. Their offense is good for in between 19 and 23 points and their defense can usually hold an opposition in between 21 and 24. What does that tell us? That Utah is not one to get blown out, nor are they really one’s to win a game. It’s a tough take, but I like Utah and freshman QB Travis Wilson to get a big home win on Saturday. Who I’m taking: Utah (-2.5), AA.
#7 Oregon State (-3.5) at Washington (+3.5), 7:15 p.m. — Again, if this spread was any higher, Washington would be an attractive pick, but it’s not. QB Sean Mannion is back for the Beavs, and Washington is coming off a three-week stretch in which they’ve allowed 52, 24 and 52 points. If the pattern holds, they have a chance. If the 24 point total they gave up to USC turns out to be an anomaly, then OSU should walk all over them. Who I’m taking: Oregon State (-3.5), AA.