So how was everyone's off season? Pretty uneventful, wasn't it? No Huskies robbing toddlers, no vision-mechanisms invented to make looking at the Ducks' grotesque uniforms more tolerable, no Trojans living in an agent's house or accepting rent money outside their stipend and the school doesn't even get a slap on the wrist….wait, that happened? Care for two out of three? You get my point. About the most exciting thing that happened this year was the TV powers-that-be trying to get me excited about soccer all summer. Sorry, it just doesn't have the same effect unless I'm getting orange slices at halftime and a small participant trophy from a clown at a pizza party.
With two straight Apple Cup wins under the belt, I've been trying since Thanksgiving to talk trash to my Husky co-workers and several of them have completely disavowed any knowledge the UW even has a football team. To be fair, a good argument could be made that the Dawgs don't REALLY have a football team -- they just found 80 dudes who like wearing purple spandex in public.
But I digress, it's Friday, we're mere hours away from 12 straight COUGAR FOOTBALL SATURDAYS, and I'm already seven beers deep.
Now to our new friends from other schools, again we must bear in mind there are no scientific evaluations for these predictions and you will not find football analysis. That's for people higher up on the Cougfan.com food chain. I'm just here for the hate mail.
For the third year, it's time to Ramble On…
WASHINGTON STATE at AUBURN
So the last time a Coug ventured down into the deep south, he was famously documented as getting tanked at a Gentlemen's Club, passing out in a cab and waking up in a hotel with three strippers. In Alabama, they called it a disgrace. Most Coug grads would call that a pretty good Tuesday. I would like to put out a challenge to my fellow Ramblers to get their picture taken in front of Arety's Angels. First person to get a picture with Destiny herself, I'll pay for your Cougfan subscription for the next year. Back to the game: Anyone who says Wazzu won't be ready for the heat and humidity of the South obviously hasn't been to The Coug on Tuesday night for bladder-busters. In a sweater. With a broken jukebox. Now THAT'S uncomfortable heat. Probably a good thing I'm not in charge of conditioning… By the third quarter, Auburn quarterbacks won't even be able to say "ouch", it'll just sound like "Mkristo."
EASTERN WASHINGTON at OREGON STATE
NORTHERN ARIZONA at ARIZONA STATE
By the time this column prints, both of these games will have aired, but does it really matter? Normally this portion of the column is devoted to chastising the scheduling of clown colleges, but how else are you going to prepare for UW?
Winner: Certainly not the viewers.
BRIGHAM YOUNG at ARIZONA
I always get nervous when Arizona plays religious schools, because lets face it: Mike Stoops is one blown Pass Interference call away from committing a hate-crime.
SAN JOSE STATE at WASHINGTON
Who's really the patsy in this game? As much as people in Seattle want to crow about the return of the Dawgs, they still have to start off against a team that Smilin' Ty has lost three out of the last four to. And they'll be doing it in front of a crowd of around 8,000 or so, all of whom got their tickets for test driving a Poulsbo RV. The Huskies will once again long for softball to start, but at least they can beat the worst team in college football at home, right? RIGHT?
CALIFORNIA at TENNESSEE
In one of the more heartbreaking stories of the season so far, Joseph Ayoob has been benched, leaving a void in "Division I Quarterbacks whose names rhyme with boob." All that 3-year-olds like me have now is John David Booty and frankly I'm not sure I can get behind that (PUN!). While I'm sure Erik Ainge will do his very best to ruin the Vols' season 20 minutes after it starts, do you really expect a team to win whose best road victory in the past 10 years was against….uh, have they won a road game in the past 10 years?
STANFORD at OREGON
Trent Edwards is this year's "Mike Bell Award" winner for the player who has seemingly been in college since 1973. In the year 2 A.B.T. (After Buddy-T), the Cardinal head to the land of Diamond Plated Uniforms to pull off the early upset. You have to feel bad for whichever team loses this game, as it will have to spend the next three weeks with the Pac-10's worst record. At least until the Huskies play their first conference game anyway.
UTAH at UCLA
In another year where someone named Kyle tries to make something of himself, Coach Kyle Whittingham takes another crack at a Pac-10 team. Nobody seems to listen to me when I advise athletic directors to do everything possible to schedule the Bruins after Halloween. Without Maurice Drew, Drew Olson, Marcedes Lewis and pretty much everyone on the field except the cameramen going on to the NFL, the Bruins are ripe to lose their first game (after all, they're probably looking ahead to that crucial showdown with Rice next week), but sadly….there's the downside to being named Kyle. You don't win much. Just ask the blackjack dealers in Vegas.
USC at ARKANSAS
The band that knows three notes voyages into the land that knows three teeth. Now that Reggie Bush is fighting hurricanes, Matt Leinart is buying baby furniture and Lendale White can afford all the Little Debbie cakes in Nashville, the new-look Trojans have questions to answer: namely who is paying Dwayne Jarrett's rent this year?
UNCLE WOOD'S FUNTIME MAILBAG
"Have you heard the KJR commercials for Husky football that play Ramble On in the background and the tagline is "Huskies and KJR: Ramble On"? Are you upset they're taking your schtick?" - Dave, Seattle
Well, it's Zeppelin's schtick, and I'm pretty sure John Bonham is rolling in his grave at the idea of me using their song as my headline anyway. Can you really determine what's worse: my writing or the 2006 Huskies? It's pretty much a toss-up, so I'm flattered KJR wants to stoop down to my level. There are parallels to be drawn also: If you play Stairway to Heaven backwards, you will hear homages to the devil himself. If you play Bow Down to Washington backwards, you'll hear ideas for different things to mix with Zima. Pretty much the same thing.
Have a safe three-day weekend and thanks for reading!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ramble On! Pac-10 picks Week One
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