Ramble On! Pac-10 Picks, Week Seven

IT'S ALWAYS TOUGH watching kids go through gut-wrenching life lessons firsthand. I had such an experience at Martin Stadium this past Saturday during the Cougs' heartbreaking loss to Nike U.

There's a ten-year-old who sits directly in front of me who likes nothing more than taking the time to explain football to me in terms even I can understand. (And I thank him publicly for not telling everyone around him that my breath smells like his uncle's "cough syrup.")

You can give this kid any jersey number and he can tell you the last five Cougs that have worn it. But Saturday showed there are still some moments as a Coug fan you just have to live through to understand. You see, halfway through the fourth quarter, my favorite fifth grader proclaimed the Cougs had it in the bag, which is the equivalent to Peter Pan saying he doesn't believe in fairies: there's just no coming back from it.

Karma's an interesting mistress isn't she? She showers you with gifts like New Mexico and Arizona; then she donates the Oregon and Colorado games to Goodwill. And the more you think about it, the presents she boxed up for the thrift store were the ones you wanted in the first place…

Well kid, I'm sorry you had to witness that. And no matter how many Pac10 titles the Cougs win in the future, it's the games like last Saturday that become the Coug fan's rite of passage. Don't worry: in ten years, you can start drinking.

PS: thanks for sharing the nachos.

Again the game of the week is in South Central where the Sun Dirkles take their 5-0 record and Hakim Hill's pink cast into Trojan Town. Pete Carroll received extra time to scout the Sun Devil offense, as he had a presidential debate against George Bush in Tempe this week (not the first time I've use a "Pete Carroll looks like John Kerry" reference, but I've never denied how many tricks my pony has.) A team that looks lost offensively has just lost ANOTHER receiver; "walk-on" student "Ike" Williams has been offered a tryout with the team. If ASU wins this game, watch the Gatorade bath for me and let me know if Dirk's hair is waterproof. Lord, that's a pretty wig…Sun Dirkles

Excellent seats still available! How long has it been since it's been so easy to get a Husky ticket (especially considering the Lavendars are on a win-streak!)? Poor Carl Bonnell; I guess I should take some time to point out that someone who did not have the balls to stay at WSU won't play this week because of a groin injury. Can't pick against the Huskies this week for two reasons: the first is that until someone unseats them, the "Northwest Championship" is still painted purple. The second is that until she has a Husky victory to brag about, a coworker of mine will likely keep microwaving popcorn at 8 in the morning. Bow Down, Beavs… Huskies

Hoist the Billboards, Oregon is 1-0! Well, 1-0 in games they want to talk about anyway. Coming into the stadium this weekend are new-and-improved Wildcats (well, it's the same old crappy Wildcats; they just have Blue helmets now) and the Pac10's best playcaller since the "third-and-long-dive" days of Mike Price. Look for the Ducks to win big and look for the biggest fraud-of-a-brother since Frank Stallone to blame it on anything except his team. Ducks

Spencer Havner, who leads the nation in tackles, will look to take on the Pac10's best team single-handedly. Although his press conference tells you he may be shorthanded: Havner went from "I haven't looked at Cal closely yet at all. From what I've heard, they're very good" to "…there was a certain running play they used that we had some problems with. It has to do with our linebackers and stuff." Impressive preparation they have there in Westwood. The Cable Guys' darkhorse-season ends as soon as Cal takes the field. Bears

Dear Eugene,
I can't wait for you to come up to Pullman for the first time with Stanford; although I do have to apologize for the smell: we're still hosing Duck-crap out of the fieldhouse. I know you must be lonely on the road, as your record shows loud and clear, so I wanted to let you know about a Chutes and Ladders tournament they're having over at Sunnyside Elementary. Don't worry about the kickoff time; it'll take at least until November to get Tim Day off the field.
Looking forward to it,
Cougs win

Out of all the ‘fantastic' taunting e-mails I received from Oregon fans this weekend, I seriously couldn't find a single one that spelled ‘Duck' correctly, so I figured I'd lend my advice to a Coug in a fit of depression.

Dear Rambler,
How bout that 4th quarter on Saturday? Was that painful or what? How do you deal with Coug losses?
-Jared, Seattle

Jared, I've found that the only way to beat being as miserable as I was on Saturday was to make others around me even more miserable. There were a couple times in college where I'd go to Shakers and put a couple bucks in the jukebox, just to pick the most annoying song in the entire library and play it 8 or 9 times in a row. As far as anthropological studies go, it's pretty funny to watch the gradual drop in smiles from the first time your song is played ("who the hell played this") to the fifth time ("who taught this fool how to work a jukebox") to the 8th time ("somebody yank the cord out of tha t %*&ing jukebox!!!) To those endured the 98 degrees marathon at Valhalla on Saturday, I commend thee. If that doesn't work, I've found it very therapeutic to catch a guy in the campgrounds standing in front of a cooler and giving him a little shove backwards.

Toshiba Fund III entered into a stalemate in its second week of existence. Minnesota covered but I foolishly picked them to win outright, and San Diego St blew its lead with punts of 7 and 9 yards successively. This week, I attempt to double my money again by taking:

Week 3 ($200)
Oklahoma St (-7) over Texas A&M: $50
Virginia (moneyline) over Florida St: $50
NC State (moneyline) over Maryland: $50
Navy (+6 ½) over Notre Dame: $50

Have a question or comment? Need a stock tip? Can't find a date for your High School Reunion (or better yet, your prom?) Hit up the mailbag at ramble_on@comcast.net

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