MoQ PICK$ for Week 10 // @jdamis and @JonathanAdams
JA: If the oddsmakers are correct, this could be a most uninteresting week in the Pac-12. All five games feature double-digit point spreads, starting with a Thursday night tilt in Boulder between UCLA (+10.5) and Colorado. The Bruins have lost three straight by a total of 16 points and they will be without starting QB Josh Rosen for the third straight game. Colorado, meanwhile, has given up the fewest points in conference play in the Pac-12, holding their last four opponents to just 48 points total (UCLA gave up 52 in their last game). That extra half-point gives me pause, but ultimately I just don’t trust this UCLA team in a hostile environment at night. I like the Buffs here, something like 38-24.
JD: I feel like UCLA’s will has to be pretty much broken at this point, but at the same time, I feel like Colorado has struggled to score against the more talented teams in conference (USC, Stanford). I think Colorado wins this game, but only by six to eight points, so I’m taking UCLA +10.5.
JA: Christian McCaffrey looked like the 2015 version of himself at Arizona last weekend, rushing for 169 yards and scoring 3 TDs. And the Cardinal defense has given up a total of 30 points in their last three games, an uptick in performance that is the direct result of getting healthy (they played UW and WSU without their two starting CBs). The Beavs have been really bad on the road in Pac-12 play, getting blown out at Colorado and Washington, and I think that trend continues. I’ll give the points and take Stanford 30-13.
Staying in the Bay Area, Washington is a 17-point favorite at Cal. While you were reading that last sentence UW committed two more uncalled block-in-the-back penalties. Cal doesn’t run the ball or stop the run well enough to have much of a chance here, and the only reason to bet on them is because you think they’ll get the backdoor cover; this most certainly will not be a close game for very long. There’s nothing worse than betting on UW only to watch them win without covering. It’s like being punched in the face and the crotch. After two weeks of this you’d think I’d learn, but no, I’m coming back for thirds. UW wins 45-24.
JD: Yeah, I still have some resentment towards UW for not covering against the Beavs. One of UW’s biggest strengths is how well it defends the pass, tied for sixth in the nation Yards/Att. Cal is one of the top passing teams in the country, but when you look at Yards/Att, they’re pretty mediocre, ranking only 77th nationally. I think this one will get really ugly fast. I think this will be one of UW’s biggest margins of victory of the year, so put me down for UW -17.
JA: You’re right, it seems like the Cougs have spent most of the last three weeks trying desperately to give away a game, but UCLA, ASU, and OSU just weren’t good enough to oblige them. As for Arizona, the fact that they went to overtime with Washington gets more bizarre by the week. They’ve lost by double-digits in every game since, and I can’t see a reason why that trend won’t continue here. I continue to believe that WSU is going to drop a game they shouldn’t before the Apple Cup, but I just can’t see how Arizona is the team to do it. I’ll join you in taking the Cougs to cover.
To the Big 10 now, where #9 Nebraska (+14) goes on the road to battle #6 Ohio State in a de facto playoff elimination game. Both teams have failed to crack 30 points (not including OT) over the last three games, but this is much more worrisome for Nebraska since two of those game were vs. Purdue and Indiana. I think the Ohio State offense emerges from the Penn State hangover and busts out in a big way in this one. If they get to 40 I think they’ll easily cover, as I can’t see how Nebraska ends their offensive funk against a solid OSU defense. Buckeyes win 42-20.
JD: I’m with you. I think this is a bad match-up for Nebraska’s offense, and I think Ohio State’s offense gets back on track here and piles on the points. Ohio State covers easily.
JA: LSU’s defense is the key here, and I think they can hold down Alabama’s offense. Ultimately the Tide will win, but it will be ugly and low-scoring. Something like 20-13, so I’ll take LSU to cover.