Ramble On! Pac-10 picks Week Eight

THE IRONY was not lost on me. I began this crystal ball gig in ‘04, given a chance to predict big things for a team coming off back-to-back-to-back 10-win seasons. But with each column, Wazzu's chances at a bowl dwindled and after 2 1/2 seasons of being unable to write about a big win over a nationally ranked foe, doubt set in. Was I so cursed I'd never get to write such fare? Enter Oregon!

Working my mind back through the game, I still have no idea how the Cougs pulled this one off. Everything was aligned against them: red zone problems, Jonathan Stewart, losing two in a row at home to the Ducks, coach Robb Akey one step away from brining fans from the stands to play on the defensive line, a Leaf throwing for nearly 300 yards in about 20 minutes of game time. Yet somehow the Cougs did it. Convincingly. And after waiting for oh so long to get to write about a big win, what do I come up with?

Nothing.

I've been racking my brain for something clever to say about how Dennis Dixon is still looking for his baby teeth at around the 25-yard line or how Mike Bellotti has petitioned "Oregon losses" be replaced with "games where Oregon beat themselves" so they can still consider themselves undefeated, but I'm drawing a blank. And so we turn to:

ARIZONA STATE at WASHINGTON
The Huskies are starting a new tradition this year whereas they will be dropped off by the lake and walk to the stadium through the fans, an alumni band and an archway of raised oars from the Women's rowing team. After passing through, the oars will then be handed over to Arizona State players who will spank the Husky players for four straight quarters.
Pick: Dirkles

PORTLAND STATE at OREGON
For further insight on how deranged the television gods can be, I'd like to point out that this game is available for live television, while last week's clash in Pullman was left off the schedule. In this mystical opposite land, we will also wear socks on our hands and hamburgers will eat people.
Pick: All fans without televisions

SOUTHERN CAL at OREGON STATE
John David Booty will be the guest of honor in the House that Macaroni built's first ever sellout. While a house of packed Beavers will be loud and rowdy and do everything possible to give their team an advantage, I'm not sure giving the OSU defense actual chainsaws on third down would stop Steve Smith.
Pick: Trojans

WASHINGTON STATE at UCLA
Just when you think our Cougs have the monopoly on losing with flair, along comes UCLA, as the Bruins allowed Touchdown Jesus to conjure up an eighty yard game winning drive with a minute left and no timeouts. Los Angeles writers are favoring the terms "Bruin-esque" and "So Bruin" to describe what is quickly becoming an all too familiar fourth quarter meltdown. I'm going out on a limb and predicting whoever is ahead at the end of the third quarter will lose this ballgame. Here's to a fine first half coach Dorrell!
Pick: Cougs

THE REST (ARIZONA, STANFORD, CALIFORNIA)
It should be noted that this will be the first time in three years when both Arizona and Stanford won't lose.

Last Week: 5-0
Season to Date: 42-9


UNCLE RAMBLER'S FUNTIME GAMBLING GRAB BAG
Two 3-1 weeks in a row have me sitting pretty though the more I win, the more spectacular the inevitable 0-4 week will be. I hope to prolong the winnings with picks like:

Week 9 ($336)
Florida St (-4) over Maryland: $84
Kansas St (-4) over Iowa St: $84
Minnesota (+27) over Ohio St: $84
Tennessee (-3) over South Carolina: $84

Have fun if you're headed to Pasadena. Buy me a shirt if you see me in the hotel bar and as always, 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 ramble_on@comcast.net


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