Ramble On! Pac-10 Picks: Week One

ADMIT IT. IT'S OK. You. Missed. Me. But fear not, my six readers. CF.C has booked me for another season of crystal balling the Pac-10. Yes, some may call my forecasting nonsense or flat-out stupidity. Rest assured, while I haven't clicked onto ESPN.com since April for fear of seeing that Coke commercial about "teaching the world to chill," I have spent the last two weeks boning up. One over-riding thought: What'll I do without Buddy Teevens and Ol' Gilby to kick around?

During my 14 days of playing catch-up, my research has concluded that apparently USC is still good, and their fans still talk like they play for the team. Somehow Karl Dorrell and Mike Stoops are gainfully employed, but my man Buddy-T gets the sack!?! Oregon players land their own characters in a comic book, and Oregon State's grid-guys land time in the pokey for stealing sheep that have no interest in making baby sheep.

But HEY!!! WE WON A FREAKING APPLE CUP! Huskies could not cause me emotional pain for an entire year . . . but then I go and break my shoulder (don't ask) and now my physical therapist LOVES to talk about Joe Lobendahn while he's trying to tear my arm off twice a week. I'm going to catch up to karma one of these days.

Speaking of the Fighting Purples, I was able to hold on to this column long enough (procrastination pays off!) to find out UW was merely three days from committing yet another NCAA violation in announcing ineligible Duck and Pierce Community College reject Johnny Durocher as their backup quarterback. If this doesn't confirm that "UW Compliance Officer" completes the unbeatable trifecta of "Employees with great credentials that come to Seattle and become completely inept," I don't know what will (For those keeping score, the other two are "Seahawks Head Coach" and "Mariners Third Baseman").

Now bear in mind just like last year, there are no scientific or mathematic analyses in my picks. As Jim Moore can attest, writing a column doesn't make you an expert. Indeed, if the Cougfan writers were a family, I'd be the drunken uncle nobody really wants to talk about. If we were all TV shows, I'd be Battle of the Reality Network Stars. Singers? I'd be William Hung.

So buckle up, keep your arms inside the vehicle, and stop yelling at your sister so we can start year two.

It's time to ramble on.

If you were watching this football game and someone were to tell you that the team that is NOT in the middle of a grade-fixing scandal was Oregon, how much money would you lose? In a move hoping to make the Duck uniforms even more annoying, Nike is now giving way to a co-outfitter: the BeDazzler. Neon-Yellow pants and Rhinestone Jean Jackets, baby!!
Pick: Ducks

So we had a quarterback controversy and I wasn't informed? I will always remember Josh Swogger's first pass play in a big-time game. Against ASU in 2003, Josh took three steps back and heaved it 40 yards. Having watched the Gesser "deep ball" for so long, I had completely forgotten what one looks like when the receiver doesn't have to stop and run back to get it...and so did our receivers. Wouldn't you know the ball hit Devard Darling square in the hands, in stride, and HE DROPPED THE BALL. Michael Harrington should be so lucky. But I digress. Turns out Joey's bro had his own QB controversy to endure this summer. The question at hand, though, is whether the Vandals will score and whether Doba calls off the cats after 35.
Pick: Cougs

My dear Owls, just heed the warning: When down four touchdowns to the Sun Devils, beware of the fake punt. I know it seems ridiculous, but nobody's accused my man Dirkles of making Mensa members feel inferior: Just annoyed. As much as I'd love to call the upset, it's hard to pick a team that was actually kicked out of the Big East.
Pick: Sun Dirkles

I like Utah. You know why? I think Kyle Whittingham is the first guy named "Kyle" to ever amount to anything. Lord knows I'm not helping out much. Arizona apparently landed a lauded recruiting class, which means they might get to .500 by 2009. Three years ahead of the Huskies.
Pick: Utes

Excellent seats still available!!! You'd think Husky fans would be excited to play a game in Seattle without fear the stadium would collapse on top of them, but after the "don't-call-me-Ty" hire, I've lost all confidence in their logic. I'm pulling for the Ave-Shackers this weekend, just because nothing will amuse me more than the purple fans next week discussing the possibilities of running the table.
Pick: Huskies

I'm glad that Trojan fans get to go to Hawaii this weekend. It'll be a nice trip for them. I mean, it's had to be pretty hard to be a USC fan lately, right? Not much to cheer for. To provide further proof that the world isn't fair, a Trojan student wrote a column which I can summarize with "Matt Leinart made eye contact with me this one time" made it all the way to ESPN's Page 2. Now, I've been given the finger by everyone on the field from Skip Hicks to the inflatable Idaho mascot (Watato included) and I still have to flat-out BEG to keep my job here? I miss Paul Hackett. Trojans were tolerable then.
Picks: Trojans

I will have to go on record and say that any team that schedules a I-AA school (without a world-famous marching band) should be ashamed of themselves! Come to Berkeley for the brownie tailgating, stay for Jeff Ayoob throwing left handed for the entire 3rd quarter. Meanwhile in the land of Macaroni Salad and Salsa, the Beavs are unveiling a new deck to their stadium, which is like my neighbor who put 20-inch rims, racing flames and midnight tinting on his Dodge Neon. $8,000 customs on a $9,000 car is for the cool kids…and Beavs.
Picks: Bears, Beavs

All I know about San Diego is that there lived an anchorman that was more man than the rest. His name was Ron Burgundy. He was like a God walking amongst mere mortals. He had a voice that could make a wolverine purr and suits so fine they made Sinatra look like a hobo. In other words, Ron Burgundy was the….oh right, football picks. Karl Dorrell begins his farewell tour in the town whose meaning has lost all translation. Note to SDSU athletic department: SCHEDULE UCLA IN NOVEMBER.
Pick: Bruins

Oh Buddy, where art thou? Come to Memorial Stadium this weekend as we rename the field after one Eugene Francis Teevens the 3rd, who retires tied for Stanford's all-time best record in bye weeks.
Pick: Card

We'll start the Gambling Grab Bag probably next week, as I haven't paid enough attention to football recently to know who to bet on, but I can proudly report that after a scorching hot Thanksgiving weekend last year, Toshiba Fund III rose to over $3,000 and I am the proud owner of a new DLP Big-screen. I am not, however, the proud owner of a life anymore. But who needs a life when "The OC" is on in HD, right? Right?

Anyway, the first question of the season was from Ryan in Seattle who wanted to know if I am going to be interviewing any players this year. Well Ryan, I do need to re-emphasize my position on the Cougfan food chain: The day they let me anywhere near the players or coaches is probably the first step toward the dismantling of the university altogether.

I've interviewed two athletes in my journalism career: One was back in 1997 when my roommate was too nervous to call Ryan Leaf for some GenEd paper he had to write, so he let me do it. My first question was something to the effect of "Why are you so awesome?" and spent the next 10 minutes ripping on Todd Belcastro (I'm sure someone on the message boards can clue you in on that legend…) The second was conducted in the endzone of Martin Stadium in 2000 with perennially injured Major Leaguer David Segui, who I believe was there because he was dating a cheerleader. One of us was quite inebriated (and I'll give you a hint: it wasn't him). I made some remark about how I hated A-Rod's greedy agent, only to find that the two of them shared the same greedy agent. Needless to say, our time was cut short.

So for example, I can only imagine that my imaginary 15 minutes spent with Michael Bumpus would consist of me asking about the Bumpus hounds in "A Christmas Story" and how it was so obvious Old Man Bumpus was letting them run through the kitchen and stealing the Christmas turkey on purpose, as every yard in that neighborhood was fenced in (I could go off on this for awhile, so it's probably a good idea I stay in Section 26.)

Until next week…

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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