Welcome to California Golden Blogs staff pick 'em WEEK 8! I have a ride to LA to catch so let's go straight to the results from last week.
In a shocking twist, first place Nam had the fewest points this week and last place Berkelium97 finished way ahead of everyone to move into 4th place! Nam however stayed in first.
I was able to get 2 points on everyone by picking Colorado to cover against Arizona, but Nam and I lost two points on everyone because Michigan lost to Michigan St, while everyone else got their Wild Card picks right. So yeah, not everyone outside of Ann Arbor was excited about that wild ending that gave Michigan St the victory. The minority who picked Furd and Oregon also got points while those who had Arizona St and USC pulling off upsets lost some ground because those underdogs failed to deliver.
We got some upset picks right! Utah State knocked off Boise State and Memphis romped over Ole Miss. Honestly though, this week's wild cards aren't that great...
Let's get to the picks. We'll start with the Thursday night Pac-12 game which features your California Golden Bears. Back from a bye week. They started off as 7 point underdogs but have since moved all the way down to 3 point underdogs. However, when I sent the spreadsheet, the line was 3.5, so that's what we're going with.
Also, we have a new format thanks to a suggestion in last week's comments. I will uniformly do ROAD TEAM @ HOME TEAM, unless it's a non-conference game or a home game featuring Cal... then i'll do Pac-12/Cal vs. ROAD TEAM. Same with discussing the lines. I'll always list the favorite unless the game involves Cal or a non-conference game in which case I'll do Pac-12/Cal is a ___ favorite/underdog. Hope that clears up some confusion!
(This week I saved the pick screenshots as a GIF, so apologies for the "GIF" thing hovering over the picks. Hover over the pics to remove it. I can't fix it now, but next week I'll go back to .PNG.)
#20 CAL @ UCLA (THURSDAY 6PM. ESPN)
Cal is a 3.5 point underdog. Over/Under is 65.5
There was some controversy two weeks ago when the entire board picked Cal to lose to Utah handily. This time, everyone has Cal going on the road to Pasadena and beating the Bruins. The good news about being underdogs is that any margin of victory is correct if the Bears win. Will our faith in the Bears be rewarded or will the black-jersey wearing Bruins make the Bears black and blue? It also looks like everyone expects a high scoring affair. Here's why everyone has faith in the Bears.
Berkelium97: If Cal can get the run game going early against a porous UCLA run defense, it's going to open the floodgates against a defense that gives up more than 450 yards per game in Pac-12 play. The veteran Cal secondary also has plenty of turnover opportunities against Rosen, who stares down his receivers on routes longer than 15 yards.
Nik Jam: Very nervous about this game and have good reason to be. But why not Cal? Previous year's Cal teams would choke at this stage (see: 2011) but THIS IS A NEW CAL TEAM.
PerryScope: UCLA is coming off a spanking from Stanford and they won't be ready for Cal off the bye week who is looking to get back on the winning side of things. It's time for the Golden Bears to drop 50+ in a Pac 12 team and with this UCLA defense depleted, this game will be fun to watch.
Andrew G Miller: I just wrote my UCLA preview and can't help but feel confident against their defense. We don't have the running game to bash them like Stanford did but we can still take this one.
Ruey Yen: Bear Raid will be on display on Thursday night at the Rose Bowl!
KWBears: I'm expecting a pseudo-shootout of sorts, with Cal barely beating UCLA.
WASHINGTON STATE @ ARIZONA (SATURDAY 1:00, PAC-12 NETWORKS)
Arizona is a 7 point favorite. Over/Under is 72
Our crew has a lot of faith in Washington State staying hot and getting one win closer to bowl eligibility, but two people have Arizona cooling off the Cougs.
Berkelium97: Neither team is adept at defending the pass, so I'm expecting this to turn into a shootout. I don't know who will win, but it should come down to the final drive.
Nik Jam: I really do believe in Washington State having a really good year and if that were to happen, they must pull this one out. They kept things tight against Cal and Oregon, no reason they can't have another good showing on the road.
PerryScope: Wazzu is coming off back to back wins and the Air Raid has been effective. Zona squeaked by Colorado by a touchdown and were trailing for much of the game. Look for the Cougars to continue momentum and shock the Wildcats
Andrew G Miller: Eep. I'm not willing to give the Wildcats a touchdown just yet, considering that was their margin against the Buffs last week.
Ruey Yen: Despite their record and recent wins, Wazzu is not that good.
KWBears: Big time Air Raid from both teams! But, UofA has Solomon and Wazzu only has Falk (who is more limited), so the Wildcats win this one.
#3 UTAH @ USC (SATURDAY 4:30, FOX)
USC is a 3.5 point favorite. Over/Under is 59
A weird line has the 3-3 Trojans as a FAVORITE against the undefeated and third ranked Utah Utes. The line has actually INCREASED to -4.5 for USC as of Wednesday evening. Everyone except yours truly believes this is dumb and that the Utes should handle the Spoiled Children, but I have an inkling Vegas is onto something.
Berkelium97: This may be the most bizarre spread of the year.
Nik Jam: Really weird that USC is favored in this one, but you know what? I actually have a feeling the Trojans will pull it out. They're too good to have a lengthy losing streak, and I'd rather they don't end it next week.
PerryScope: The Utes will be an underdog for the first time this season but it's not legitimate. Just because USC competed well against Notre Dame does not mean they will play like that every week. Utah should take care of the Trojans and prove that they are the best team the South
Andrew G Miller: USC kept it close against Notre Dame, but I think Utah has shaken off the scare Cal gave them and keeps rolling.
Ruey Yen: Why is USC the favorite in this one?
KWBears: Utah wins an ugly game with USC.
COLORADO @ OREGON STATE (SATURDAY 7:30, PAC-12 NETWORKS)
Oregon State is a 2 point favorite. Over/Under is 60
Again, I stand alone with the rest of the pack. Everyone has Colorado getting their first conference win against the reeling Oregon State Beavers, but I have the home team pulling it off in the game of cellar dwellers.
Berkelium97: Colorado has been bad but Oregon State is a disaster.
Nik Jam: Just because Oregon State is at home, and I probably need to go against the grain to gain ground on the rest of the staff, but this one will go either way.
PerryScope: Finally one of these teams will get a conference win and I think Colorado will finally get it done. I don't know much about either of these teams but I have seen Sefo Liufau play (Buffs QB) and he looks pretty decent so I'm taking them.
Andrew G Miller: I'm going to keep picking underdogs here. Colorado has been getting closer, OSU hasn't.
Ruey Yen: I like the Buffs a tiny bit more.
KWBears: Colorado finally gets a Pac-12 win against the lowly Beavers.
WASHINGTON @ #10 STANFORD (SATURDAY 7:30, ESPN)
No line because of Jake Browning injury. I asked our staff to pick the straight up winner based on two scenarios, one where Browning starts and one where he is scratched. I then asked them to predict the total score, and give one point to anyone within 10 above or below.
Nam has the Huskies pulling off the upset if Browning starts, but everyone else sees Furd topping the Huskies and putting further pressure on Cal and Washington State to win out if they want the Pac-12 North.
Berkelium97: The Lobsterbacks have looked too good in recent weeks for Browning to make much of a difference here.
Nik Jam: I think Furd wins by double digits no matter what, because the Huskies did not look good at all against a bad Oregon defense. I was really hoping this would be where Furd stumbles, but I'm thinking we'll be looking to WSU (or you know, the Bears) to do so.
PerryScope: I think it should be a close game regardless if Browning plays. He hasn't been that effective and that's not why they will have a chance to win this game. It's that stout defense and they have the best chance of upsetting Stanford.
Ruey Yen: Furd are the favorite regardless of Browning's status. I'm hoping for a letdown game from the Furdies though. One can dream...
KWBears: Furd is going to destroy U-Dub, with or without Browning.
WILD CARD: LOCK OF THE WEEK
Asked staff to choose a straight up winner from a select list of games with small lines. They are...
#22 Temple @ East Carolina
Utah State @ San Diego State
Auburn @ Arkansas
Kansas State @ Texas
#23 Duke @ Virginia Tech
#15 Texas A&M @ #24 Ole Miss
The popular choice here is Texas A&M winning at Ole Miss. We also gave Texas some love, as well as one vote for Temple and Utah State. Last week there were a lot of big games against ranked teams, including Michigan/Michigan St and LSU/Florida, but not a whole lot this week.
Berkelium97: Both teams have started off slowly and while SDSU has looked good in conference play, Utah State has been dominant.
Nik Jam: Home game, I have a good feeling Texas A&M delivers. I haven't gotten a Lock of the Week pick right yet though.
PerryScope: Texas is coming off a bye week and more importantly that huge win against OU in the Red River Rivalry. They've had time to settle down and focus on the rest of the season. I think from here on out Texas will compete in every game and after barely losing to TCU, K state gets absolutely killed by OU.
Andrew G Miller: Texas beat Oklahoma 24-17. A week later, Kansas State lost 55-0.
Ruey Yen: Going with my local team because why not.
KWBears: Aggies are the better team - I expect them to pull this out.
WILD CARD: UPSET OF THE WEEK
Asked our crew to gamble and pick a potential upset. 3 points if pick straight up wins, 0 if they don't. Anyone who opts out gets one point if all favorites win. The games...
Tulsa (vs. #18 Memphis)
Central Florida (vs. #21 Houston)
UMass (vs. #19 Toledo)
FCS Wagner (@ BYU)
Virginia (@ North Carolina)
Texas Tech (@ #17 Oklahoma)
Indiana (@ #7 Michigan State)
Western Kentucky (@ #5 LSU)
Kentucky (@ Mississippi State)
Rutgers (vs. #1 Ohio State)
Not a lot of great choices this week, and most of our staff picks NO UPSET, but the two that picked an upset chose Texas Tech. Will their faith be rewarded?
Berkelium97: I was tempted to pick Texas Tech or for another embarrassing OOC loss for the SEC (WKU is solid, but not good enough to win in Death Valley), but I don't have much confidence in any of these underdogs.
Nik Jam: When I looked for potential double digit underdogs I couldn't find one that jumped out as a potential upset.
PerryScope: Texas Tech has the ability to score points with the best of them and they are my upset of the week because if that air raid gets going early nobody is going to stop it.
Andrew G Miller: As much as I wanted to pick 0-6 Wagner over BYU...
Ruey Yen: Nothing looks good to me.
KWBears: All the better teams will win this week.
Gotta go to bed early because I'm on the road to LA as of when this article is published. Hope to see some of you at the Rose Bowl, as the team tries to earn a spot to the Rose Bowl game by gaining a pretty much required win. GO BEARS!