Column: MoQ PICK$ for Week 9

MoQ PICK$ for Week 9 // @jdamis & @JonathanAdams

It’s Halloween weekend…yada yada yada, trick or treat pun, yada yada. Josh Damis and Jonathan Adams are here to guide you through this week’s Pac-12 games, as well as a few other key match-ups. Note: All picks are against the spread and our Oregon-Cal picks will be in a separate game preview post on Friday.

JA: Our first game this week is a Thursday night affair in Los Angeles, as Cal (+14) takes on USC. The schedule makers really screwed Cal here, as they have to play on the road only six days after their previous game, while USC hasn’t played in 12 days. I think we’ll see a lot of the Cal offense that only put up 11 points in the second half vs. Oregon and I like USC big (like double the spread) in this one.

JD: USC seems to be rolling now, and beating the bad teams the way they should. I think with the extra time to prepare, and Cal coming off an overtime victory on a short week, I like USC to cover. I’m taking the Trojans -14.

Washington (-10.5) at Utah is a tough game to pick, because neither team has really played a very tough schedule. Washington has the 11th ranked defense from a YPP perspective versus Utah coming in at 68th. Washington also posses an offense ranked 4th, while Utah comes in at 67th. Now Utah is pretty banged up, while Washington is relatively healthy. Utah has been in mostly close games, but has shown it can win a game 52-45 or 19-14 if it needs to, except when it came up short to Cal. Meanwhile Washington has blown out all but Arizona. And that’s why I’m picking Washington to cover. I think Utah is getting a little too much respect here, and Washington comes to Salt Lake City this Saturday and wins by 20.

JA: Yeah, I think Vegas has spent the last month kind of disrespecting Utah, and now they’ve swung too far the other way. Two things would have helped Utah here: A night game and Washington not essentially coming off a bye week. Alas for the Utes that this game starts at 12:30 and that UW played OSU last week and that game was over in 15 minutes. It’s a bad sign for Utah that UCLA put up 45 points on them last week, and I expect Washington to score 35+ in this one. Further, I don’t think Utah has the kind of offense that will give UW a lot of trouble, so 24 points seems like their ceiling. I’ll lay the points and bet UW stays undefeated.

Washington State (-14) makes the short trip to Corvallis to take on Oregon State on Saturday night. This line seems way too low, and I suppose oddsmakers are looking at OSU’s performance vs. Cal as a blueprint for this one. But Cal QB Davis Webb was not playing at 100% (and WSU’s Luke Falk is better anyway) and Oregon State still had their starting QB. The Cougs have been kind of clunky on offense since blowing out Oregon and Stanford, but I think they bust out in a big way, and rout the offensively-challenged Beavers.

JD: Washington State has definitely been one of the tougher teams to get a read on this season. One week they’re losing to FCS teams, then they’re winning blowouts against Oregon and Stanford, and then they’re playing UCLA and ASU close. This team feels like one that actually plays up and down to the perception of the program they’re facing. That might be one of my weirder takes so far on this blog, but I like OSU +14 this week.
Stanford (-6.5) is bad. Arizona is bad. And this is going to be a bad, ugly game that I honestly have no interest in watching. Maybe Stanford’s QB change will give them a spark? But after only scoring three points at home versus Colorado last week, I think I’ll take the home dog to cover.

JA: It’s funny to me that Stanford is favored by more points this week than they scored last week. I assume Stanford’s new QB is an annoying preppy white guy with a terrible-looking throwing motion who will be really good just in time to beat Oregon because god forbid the Ducks ever play Stanford early in the season when they’re not as good. I’m hate-picking Stanford in this one.

Moving outside the Pac-12, unbeaten Nebraska is a 7.5-point underdog at Wisconsin. Nebraska has been the beneficiary of a weak schedule, and I think they get exposed this week. I’ll take the Badgers to cover at home.


JD: I like Wisconsin’s defense, but Nebraska is the more balanced team here. I think Wisconsin wins, but only by one score, so I’m taking Nebraska to cover +7.5.
Our final game is Clemson (-3.5) at Florida State. I think FSU has definitely shown some slight improvement on defense over the last few games, and I don’t trust either of these teams’ offenses much. Since 2010, the FSU/Clemson game has typically been a close one, with the exception of 2013. I actually think this game more upset potential than any other game with a top 25 ranked team this weekend (and Clemson will probably blow FSU’s doors off now that I said that). I like FSU to cover and win outright at home this weekend.

JA: I like Florida State, as well. They’re at home, at night, and Clemson has been trying to lose a game all season. Plus a Clemoson loss is good for Washington, so of course it’s going to happen. College football is really dumb, Josh. Really. Dumb.

Agree: USC (-14) vs. Cal; UW (-10.5) at Utah; FSU (+3.5) vs. Clemson.

Disagree: Damis takes OSU (+14) vs. WSU; Arizona (+6.5) vs. Stanford; Nebraska (+7.5) at Wisconsin.

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