Ramble On! Pac-10 Picks: Week Five

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, my dear readers (all seven of you), I come to you a more humble, gentle rambler this week. Going 5-5 with your published picks teaches you a lot about yourself. As much as you love having the glory of picking the upset, you look like an absolute fool when you pick FOUR upsets and lose on all of them. So what do I do? I run and hide for a week, hoping all the bad thoughts will go away. They didn't…

I do apologize for not being here last week, and I apologize even more profusely to those who were hoping Jason Kelly was taking over full-time. I've just thrown four picks on the road and I'm rattled; the crowd is in my head. But here's hoping we can rally the troops and stage an inexplicable comeback.

So what else since last we spoke? We learned that any old team from Los Angeles can beat up on Oklahoma and any old team period can beat up on Mike Stoops. If football games only lasted four minutes, Oregon State might be ranked in the top five right now, but no amount of time could possibly save hapless Stanford, whose coach actually had to apologize to former players for that debacle. Notre Dame showed the Huskies what they'll look like in a few years when they give up on Don't-Call-Me-Ty and hire someone competent to coach his players and Mike Bellotti was so confused as to why that guy down the hatch was making smoothies to Mama Cass records that he forgot there was a second half of football to play.

But for all we think we've learned, the first week of full Pac 10 play is upon us and will show us what fools we actually are (ok, what a fool I am). Put down the hate mail for a minute; it's time once again to Ramble On…

ARIZONA at CALIFORNIA
With the plug and play success Jeff Tedford has enjoyed at the Running Back position since taking over as head coach with Adimchinobe Echemandu, JJ Arington, Marshawn Lynch and now Marcus O'Keith and Justin Forsett, Cal has become the Denver Broncos of College Football. Tedford would probably also have the sense to cut Maurice Clarett as well.

In contrast, rumor has it Mike Stoops has been in negotiations to bring back Lawrence Phillips. Bears

WASHINGTON STATE at OREGON STATE
The experts (ie: every columnist NOT named Sherwood) have deemed this to be the first "test" for the undefeated Cougs, which could be the understatement of the year as this is actually the first team WSU has played that walks upright and holds a pulse. I think Grambling actually played us without shoes. Again, I'd like to extend a big thank you to the athletic department for the most invigorating pre-season in decades. Oh well, at least there was beer in Reno.

After surrendering enough points in the past two weeks to make even the French blush, the Beavs welcome our beloved Cougs to their super-sized tub of salsa. I've never quite understood the chainsaw rally cry in Corvallis. Isn't the chainsaw the sworn nemesis of the Beaver? It's along the lines of Oregon fans blowing into those duck-callers that are used to hunt their mascot. Strange traditions are afoot down south, I tell you… Look for Alex Brink to make up for the nightmare that was the 2004 OSU game, and look for me to still be depressed in the endzone because again I forgot to pack my rain gear. Cougs

WASHINGTON at UCLA
Now the last time the Huskies won at the Rose Bowl, their fans were still wearing those overalls with one strap hanging unbuckled and dancing to "Whoomp! There it is!". Now technically, they won the actual Rose Bowl in 2001, but I'm willing to bet even then half their closets were still filled with the stone-washed OshKosh.

Hoping to follow up last year's Rueben Mayes impression, running back Maurice Drew has been simulating the Husky run defense by putting the scout team's linebackers in blindfolds. Just keep the yards below 357, Maurice… Bruins

OREGON at STANFORD
It begins. Every year it seems the Ducks have a big game in late September or early October where they lose so badly, it triggers a fallout faster than you can say "Mambo Number Five." Will this be the year Oregon gets out of one-hit wonder hell? They could, but this won't be the week we'll know for sure. What's worse than being dominated by a 1-AA school? Having two weeks to sit around and think about it. To build confidence in his downcast team, coach Walt Harris has unleashed his squad on local elementary schools to bully the juice boxes out of unassuming 3rd graders. The worst part was when half the players reported back to campus with atomic wedgies. Ducks

SOUTHERN CAL at ARIZONA STATE
The conference's two best teams and two best heads of hair will collide in Tempe this weekend. Derek Hagan broke nearly every ASU career receiving record last week, which isn't all that impressive seeing as he's been playing college football since 1987. Hagan and Sam Keller will need to have the game of their lives in order to keep up with the newly bearded Matt Leinart, who has now proven that he can even grow facial hair better than I can. Remember when this was supposed to be a big showdown game last year and the Trojans were already playing their equipment managers by halftime? Nothing's changed. Sorry Dirkles… Trojans

Last Week: 4-0
Overall: 22-9

UNCLE RAMBLER'S FUNTIME GAMBLING GRAB BAG
During my week of reflection, the grab bag DID get above the Mendoza line when Hawaii, Arizona State and UTEP all made me look brilliant. My one loss really made me feel more like part of the in-crowd than anything else, as I'm sure the entire country lost money on Louisville. Again, all winnings this year are going to the ALS Association (http://www.alsa.org). May all your rivals go 0-8 hire re-tread mediocre coaches if you do the same.

This week I try not to go completely bankrupt with picks like:
Week 4 ($120)
Oregon (-7) over Stanford ($30)
Boise St (-10) over Hawaii ($30)
LSU (-14) over Mississippi St ($30)
South Florida (+22) over Miami, FL ($30)

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

Cougfan Top Stories