Ramble On! Pac-10 Picks: Week Three

TOUCHING DOWN IN Reno, the first thing I say to my buddy is that this place looks EXACTLY like Vegas -- well, not today's Vegas, but certainly the "Godfather II" Vegas.

Now my gambling problem is probably much larger than most people's but even I think the slot machines in the Wal-Mart line were a little extreme. While it's always going to be Vegas Jr., Reno is still pretty much as lawless at its big brother.

Cougs and Wolfpackers alike were found taking Jack Daniels pulls in the middle of the road and I think we packed NINE people in a standard taxi. I'm pretty sure you could stab a guy down there and just have to pay a fine. Anyway, I left town a couple hundred up on the poker table, a couple hundred down on the blackjack table and with a boatload of confidence that the Cougs are ready for the Pac-10 to start. I'm also still waiting for my ears to pop.

Now, rambling on to the picks…

OREGON STATE at LOUISVILLE
This game's at 9am?!? Have fun trying to get drunk for this one, Beavs. I know I make a Reser joke nearly twice a week, but COME ON: there has to be something about Team Bean Dip making a trek to Papa John's Stadium -- just can't think of it. After watching Kentucky tear apart Louisville's secondary last weekend, Mike Haas has been practicing catching passes behind his back.
Upset No. 1 of the week: Beavers

IDAHO at WASHINGTON
The Vandals haven't beaten the Huskies since 1905: a full century of futility. For that guy who keeps writing to my editors about how I don't include statistical analyses in my picks, choke on this: The 100 Years War finished when the English introduced their aerial Welsh Longbow attack at the Battle of Agincourt. Idaho will be concluding their 100 years war by introducing their aerial Wichman attack at the Battle of Ave-shack. Remember when "Don't-call-me-Ty" referred to UW as the best 0-2 team in the country last year? Who else is wondering if Charlie Weis extends them the same courtesy by referring to them as the best team in the country at 0-3? I'm calling two upsets in a row.
PICK: Vandals

OKLAHOMA at UCLA
UCLA is favored by a touchdown in this game! With as horrible as Oklahoma's looked the last two weeks, both quarterbacks are doing their best Jeff Ayoob impression, their all-everything running back Adrian Peterson is banged-up and Bob Stoops has had to stay up late every night to hear brother Mike's new curse words. Everyone in America is saying this IS the beginning of OU's first implosion this century. Everyone, that is, except Pac-10 fans who understand that the Bruins haven't won a game of significance that they were favored in since the days of Twin Peaks and Hammerpants. Looking to make some money, I did a quick search and to my disappointment, www.firekarldorrell.com has already been registered.
PICK: Sooners

ILLINOIS at CALIFORNIA
Seriously, you have to answer. Which name would you rather have: Zook or Ayoob? And since I haven't been paying attention, could you tell me why Marshawn Lynch is thinking of sitting this one out because of a hurt pinky? I'd rather hear he was sitting because of hurt feelings or a broken heart! The Illini gave up close to 300 yards passing to both RUTGERS and SAN FREAKING JOSE STATE. You know that friend of yours that you play Madden with that calls for the Hail Mary about 90 percent of the time? He's being flown in to be Cal's offensive coordinator this week.
PICK: Bears

FRESNO STATE at OREGON
You think Mike Bellotti shaved his mustache off last year because he's afraid of being mistaken for Pat Hill? I would be, but then again I can't grow a mustache either. The Green V's head north with 16 starters from a 9-3 team a year ago. Oregon brings, well, a really, really, really good kicker and defensive lineman. The general rule of thumb is when you are having trouble running the ball and your receivers can't catch a pass, your really, really, really good kicker won't be doing much of anything. Just ask Todd Belcastro. Sorry Ducks.
PICK: Bulldogs

GRAMBLING STATE at WASHINGTON STATE
So fill me in, as I haven't been paying attention: are we playing the football team or the band this weekend? As much as I've read, I can't seem to find that information and nobody's quite been able to tell me either. Is our band suiting up? Nobody's sent me the rules for the band-off either. More important, if Grambling's band is going to play at this game, have they learned "Hey Baby" and, in honor of Tiger coach Melvin Spears, "Evil Ways?"
PICK: Cougs

NORTHWESTERN at ARIZONA STATE
Hmmmm. Maybe I shouldn't have been pitching so much grief to Dirkles these last couple years for the fake punts. Turns out his real punts cost him wins on national television. My guess is that we see my man return to evil form this weekend now that the entire country isn't rooting against him and his team. Just me.
PICK: Sun Devils

PURDUE at ARIZONA
In another spotlight game for the Pac-10, we will be treated to the ultimate chess match in coaching strategy. The visiting sideline will feature Joe Tiller running that Purdue offense that never seems to stop moving forward and a truckload of experience on both sides of the ball. The home sideline will feature . . . oh crap who am I kidding?
PICK: Boilermakers

CAL-DAVIS at STANFORD
Oh Buddy, where art thou in my desperate need for material on a ridiculous bit of scheduling? Next.
PICK: Cardinal

ARKANSAS at SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
I used to think my last semester in college was the easiest road to graduation in the history of education (Billiards, Racquetball, History of Rock and Roll and History of Baseball adds up to my last eight credits) but now Matt Leinart has to show me up with his semester entirely consisting of ballroom dancing. If we're comparing lives though, I'm probably still ahead, right? Right? I didn't think so either. Well, Leinart puts his cha-cha skills up against a team that lost to Vanderbilt, which should chalk up to the second-easiest thing he'll have to do all year.
PICK: Trojans

Last Week: 5-3
Season Total: 13-4

UNCLE RAMBLER'S FUNTIME GAMBLING GRAB BAG

I think I've bet on Clemson probably 15 times in my life and I'm pretty sure this week was the first time they actually covered! Clemson, Idaho and Illinois all came up winners for me and Navy/Stanford pushed to give me my money back. Not a bad way to start the year. Again, the winnings from the Grab Bag this year are going to ALS Association (http://www.alsa.org). May your rivals always go 1-10 if you do the same.

So after paying the juice, we're up to $169. This week we try to double that by picking:

Notre Dame (-6.5) over Michigan State: $42
UTEP (-12) over Houston: $42
Wyoming (+3) over Air Force: $42
UNLV (-2) over Nevada: $43

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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