Pints and Picks Week 4: Being in a long-distance relationship with Cal while crushing on BYU forces us to talk baseball and Hollywood Vampires instead

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Each week, during college football season DPB’s Kyle Magin and Andrew J. Pridgen pour on the prose with Pints and Picks™. Who to wager and what to drink while doing it. Here, the boys are talking about Margot Kidder, Anne Murray and a potential World Series Game 1 matchup reflected in Texas A&M vs. Arkansas

Ladies and Gentleman, the man who has texted Sonny Dykes 14 times in a row with not as much as an emoji back…Andrew Pridgen:

pridgenIKyle,

What the fuck, Kyle Cal?!?! I spend all kinds of valuable work time vetting and sweating you…even getting all cozy with the idea of Sonny Dykes and—how do you thank me? You shit all over the spread and my pick.

I should’ve known. You’re Cal goddammit. At some point you looked around the silent as an STD clinic Darrell K Royal stadium on Saturday and were like, “whoa. Fuck. We’re winning.” Then you looked up at the scoreboard with none of the seconds left in the third quarter and did a little quick math—because you’re good at math, you’re Cal dammit—and were like: “Holy Fuck. We’re winning by a lot. Like, 21 points a lot.”

And then, for whatever reason, the whole Cal O-line went to queue up at Franklin Barbecue and the DBs went ahead and decided to shower up and go check out the Draught House before the line got ridiculous and Jared Goff was basically reduced to that one dude who’s been just DOMINATING at beer pong all night but has played so many games in a row that he’s fucking hammered and is starting to make bad decisions like trying to make out with every girl who’s passing by (because, you know, preternaturally she should feel his presence as the beer pong king) and all of a sudden he’s stumbling around looking lost and gets relegated to the ‘Is that dude OK’ part of the backyard where he’s either pissing FOREVER or puking—or both—and you think it’s probably mostly puking because he’s leaning against the corner of the fence with all the weight on his forearm that’s holding the rest of his limp body up by his scalp.

Anyway, that’s what I saw when Cal coughed up 20 in the fourth. The smooth-talkin’, hair slicked back, Axe body sprayed, Crest Whitestrips on the bathroom counter and ready to slay bro reduced to a mound of cargo shorts and RVCA shirt wondering what the fuck happened to the evening hat cocked all the way back as he scratches his head because someone stole his phone. Hell, the Bears were on so much autopilot most of the fourth quarter, I turned my attentions to the Mormon’s suddenly taking over Hollywood getting their idea for a Brian Jones biopic optioned, joining the Hollywood Vampires with Anne Murray (<– second AM reference this week) and just dominating from the Whiskey to the Rainbow—that I could hardly believe my eyes when the Cal final flashed and I’d realized…my run for the week 3 was over.

Anyway, our love affair (for now) is over Cal.

*Phew* deep breath.

Kyle, thanks for letting me drag that squirming to the edge and heave it off the cliff. Sometimes you just gotta vent and move on, look at the wonder of being on this side of the chalked up turf and thank God you’re not in a cardboard box with Margot Kidder. In the words of Keith Richards, It’s great to be here. It’s great to be anywhere…

maginIAJ,

A few deep breaths, man. The nice thing about this week is there is so, so little to get worked up about. Were it not for the Pac 12’s two electric games–UCLA in Tuscon vs. ‘Zona and Utah-Oregon in Autzen–I probably wouldn’t watch any of this weekend’s matchups. BYU’s trip to Ann Arbor is probably the premier early-kick matchup and it really just goes downhill from there. The continued extinguishing of any goodwill Arkansas fans may have had for waddling pork rind depository Bret Bielema may go out the window when he gets mollywhopped by Texas A&M at Jerry World, so there’s a little hate-watching you can do. Besides that, though, it’s a dull weekend. Which is OK by me, because baseball is at its absolute regular-season zenith right now. The Yankees-Blue Jays games in Toronto this week did Yogi’s memory justice. The Cubs are being led by Midway Jesus Jake Arrieta in a bid to save the Windy City and it’s just plum fun to watch the wheels fall of the Astros’ “Process” bandwagon.

Since I’ve got seams on the brain, we’ll make that the theme of this week’s CFB picks:

BYU +4.5 @ UM

Best current baseball alum:

BYU: Jeremy Guthrie (‘09)

UM: Clayton Richard (‘05)

The nod goes to Guthrie when comparing the two schools’ big league offerings, which are slim right now. The Kansas City starter looks to be in the Royals’ rotation come playoff time, while Richard is a nice part for the Cubs to have in the bullpen.

Last week I stepped off the BYU horse and paid for it when they went into the Rose Bowl and came out with a 1-point loss, covering easily. I won’t make the same mistake twice, certainly not when the wheels are ready to fall off the Harbaugh machine in Ann Arbor after feasting on subpar opponents the last two weeks. BYU’s pass defense mostly held UCLA freshman QB Josh Rosen in check last week, meaning they shouldn’t have much of a problem with Michigan’s spare part rental Jake Rudock. I like the Cougars to cover in the Big House because nobody has pulled away from them yet.

NIU +4.5 @ Boston College

Best current baseball alum:

NIU: None

BC: Eric Campbell (‘08)

Slim damn pickins between these two cold-weather schools on the Diamond. Campbell is a reserve infielder for the Mets, which means he should be in baseball for roughly 100 more at-bats.

On the gridiron, however, this is maybe the most intriguing David/Goliath matchup of the weekend. You’ve just got to figure out who is who. BC comes from the bigger league but is pretty much a disaster on offense right now, having lost 14-0 to Florida State last week in a truly awful Friday night game to go to 2-1 on the season. The Eagles are down starting QB Darius Wade and are now forced to choose between a true freshman and a Flutie spawn (son Troy, because of course that’s his name) who’ll take over the reigns of an attack that is averaging 19 points per game against everyone not named Howard. The Eagle defense is stout, but are they enough to handle a 2-1 Husky attack that just held its own for four quarters against Ohio State? NIU averages 4.3 yards per rush and 12.6 yards per catch. They score touchdowns 90 percent of the time they’re in the red zone and haven’t failed to score once when they’re inside the 20 this season. Bet the #MACtion in Chestnut Hill.

Texas A&M -7.5 vs. Arkansas (Jerry World)

Best current baseball alum:

A&M: Michael Wacha (‘12)

Arkansas: Dallas Keuchel (‘09)

Holy shit, this is actually a possible World Series game 1 matchup. Wacha is of course the next in a seemingly endless line of Cardinals Aces and Keuchel is the one Houston Astro pitcher you really, really need to know.

Too bad the power of transference won’t work for his 1-2 Hogs this weekend. A&M is 3-0 and looking every bit the well-oiled Kevin Sumlin offense we’ve come to know and love. Aggies running back Tra Carson totes the ball for 4.8 yards per carry and while QB Kyle Allen isn’t the most accurate passer at a 61 percent completion rating, he is throwing for 8.49 yards per attempt and has 9 TDs to 2 INTs, so we’ll take the gunslinger shit for now. Plus, it’s not like the Razorbacks are really going to put the heat on him. Opponents complete over half their third downs against Arkansas, who haven’t managed a sack all season and just sort of lay there in the red zone, giving up TDs 80 percent of the time. If A&M doesn’t double the spread I’ll be surprised. Also, Fuck Bret Beilema.

UCLA -3 @ Arizona

Best current baseball alum:

UCLA: Gerrit Cole (‘11)

Arizona: Mark Melancon (‘06)

Where would the Pirates be without the Pac-12? Without their current ace or closer, who strike out nearly 9 and 7 batters per 9 innings, respectively. They’re both tremendous arguments for the conference, which is probably the best all-around sports league in the land, hands-down.

This one was a tough pick for me. 3-0 UCLA goes into its first real adverse situation on Saturday in a couple of ways. First and most important, they’ll be in Tuscon, with Gameday in tow, to see a 3-0 Arizona team with a probably-good defense an incredibly finely-tuned offense. Secondly, they’ll be seeing that offense without star middle linebacker/running back Myles Jack, who closed out last week’s win over BYU with an interception then blew out his knee Tuesday in practice. It’s almost unspeakably sad to lose Jack, who has been the team’s and the league’s most entertaining star since he stepped on campus as a true freshman in 2013. That said, Arizona hasn’t seen anything like UCLA yet. The Wildcats have run RichRod’s spread to a T over the likes of UTSA, Nevada and Northern Arizona, who have a combined 0 wins of Div. 1 opponents this season. The Bruins are nobody’s idea of a cupcake. They went to war with a game BYU squad last week and snuck out on top. Rosen looked awful last week against the Cougars–he threw 3 picks against 1 TD–but his defense has sacked opposing QBs 7 times this season and led the way for a squad scoring 35 points off of turnovers. UCLA also adjusts as well as anyone in the nation leading the half–they’ve scored 38 points in the third quarter compared to 7 for the opposition. If things go wrong early, they won’t stay that way. Wildcat QB Anu Solomon is the truth for Arizona but he holds the ball for too long and has been sacked four times before getting to the red zone this season, a telltale sign that he’s getting caught looking for a long bomb. Those routes don’t materialize often against the UCLA D (they give up just 179 passing yards per game, usually on short underneath routes), so take the Bruins and expect an exciting affair.

AJ, what are your thoughts on this week?

pridgenIKyle, I too have a bit of a case of the Week 4 doldrums. Maybe it’s a little bit my dysfunctional long-distance relationship with Cal (see: above and below). Maybe it’s my mind turning back to baseball as well as I have my MLB.TV set to stun tomorrow for the Huddy/Zito showdown—the most meaningful A’s/Giants game since an earthquake came and changed the fates of both teams, their fanbases and respective bergs (the A’s can eliminate the Giants from contention Saturday; so Zito’s start isn’t just a well-timed gimmick).

…Or maybe it’s just the lackluster matchups and still being a week away from meaningful conference play.

So, after a couple days squeezing these lemons, I did come up with a few attractive buys, they are:

Oregon State +17 vs. Stanford 1) I don’t think OSU is as bad as they showed in Michigan. 2) I don’t think Stanford’s as good as they showed in the second half against USC. 3) Never ever ever ever ever (ever)…take Stanford as three-score favorites on the road.

In their last five meetings, the no. 21 Cardinal are 5-0 against the Beavs. Though I do think OSU could pull the upset depending on which Kevin Hogan—last week’s Pac-12 player of the week or the one who ran scared from Northwestern’s front five— shows up at Reser Stadium (or whether Hogan is eligible to play at all after suffering an ankle sprain last Saturday in Watts). The Friday night game also swings the pendulum Oregon State’s way as Stanford comes off a short week and back-to-back conference away games.

Crafty OSU freshman QB Seth Collins, who finally looked like he could run a collegiate offense in the second half last week against SJSU, is still ranked last in the Pac-12 when he tries to take to the sky. Stanford’s staunch secondary won’t enable him to pad those stats. With Stanford weak on the run and the Beavs’ ground game suddenly working thanks to the personal injury firm of Storm Barrs-Woods, there should be some points on the Beavs’ side of its pixelated scoreboard in the first half and the second is a coin toss.

San Jose State -4 vs. Fresno State

It would be too easy to take a dig as the battle of the schools you attend when you’ve wasted two years being a Phoenix and you want to keep your shift manager job at Fashion Fair Cheesecake Factory (apologies to Stevie Nicks, SJSU and Sam Peckinpah, FSU) while finishing school—but I’m not here to tie any firecrackers to the tails of any Bulldogs or shields of Spartans; instead I’m here to talk about why the 1-2 Bulldogs are much worse than advertised and the 1-2 Spartans are much better.

SJSU QB Kenny Potter was booted up this week like a Prius parked in front of a fire hydrant, but should still start in Fresno. If not, the Spartans have capable backup in senior Joe Gray and a prospect that may be worth watching in third-stringer Malik Watson.

Fresno State has been my go-to patsy thus far this year. They didn’t come within two scores of covering against Utah last week—small redemption for my fourth quarter Cal fizzle—and have yet to show they can move the chains at all this year. I expect that to continue, even against a mostly young and porous SJSU secondary. The Spartans win by seven.

Cal -1 @ Washington

Well, Cal. I’m back. Miss me?

I know we had a little rough correspondence at the beginning of the week and I know I was a little harsh. But you also didn’t return my calls Saturday night. I know you were out in Austin with ‘reservations’ at Midnight Cowboy or whatever, but c’mon. I’m showing you all the love and I don’t feel like I’m getting much in return.

In other words, when I text edyou after that game with: ‘Great win on the road. But, like—what happened at the end…it was a more phoned in third act than the last Avengers movie?’ and you don’t say anything…well—my feelings get a little hurt (and I SAW the ellipses at 2 a.m. that showed you were writing a reply so don’t think that I don’t know you weren’t thinking about me).

And I know you needed some time to re-focus a little…and that’s fine. I just. I don’t know. Just tell me if I’m coming on too strong, I guess.

Anyway, that said. I’m all about moving forward. This week I think you having to go up to face Washington in Seattle is a bit of a task. You’re on the road—again—and Chris Petersen is truly a wit. If not for the Rosen One in Westwood my message boards would be all about Husky freshman QB Jake Browning. Last week, Washington also found a big play maker in junior tailback Dwayne Washington in the second half against Utah State. Washington checked in with more than 130 yards on the ground and in the air (OK, so it was only two on the ground) and promises to be nimble again this week at home.

What you’re seeing from the Huskies now that you didn’t see in week one on the Smurf turf is that they can create and Browning can now run more of Peterson’s signature moving sets a la his mid-’00s Boise State teams; see: pitch to the RB, lateraled back to Browning for a 20-yard completion in last week’s first half.

Peterson will try to stack his team on one side of the hash marks (#hashmarks) or the other to throw Cal’s defense off kilter. Cal has a solid D-line and future first-rounder in Hardy Nickerson (Jr.) conducting the jazz ensemble…but look out for that long ball.

Cal secondary’s pair of Darii (senior Darius White and sophomore Darius Allensworth) are more prone to wideouts streaking on them than a pair of squeegees as HC Sonny Dykes is starting to sub in junior Antoine Albert and freshmen Malik Psalms and Jaylinn Hawkins to try to shag a few in the outfield.

To offset, Cal’s pass rush is becoming formidable and if Nickerson can instruct his corps to (yes) stay home and not get fooled by a Freshman, the Bears head back to Memorial undefeated for an Oct. 3 date with another magician, Mike Leach and his Wazzu Cougs.

If this doesn’t happen…we’re breaking up. For good this time. Swear. Double-swear.

PNP Recap:

AJ:

pridgenILast week: 2 and 1

Overall: 8 for 11

Oregon State +17 vs. Stanford

San Jose State -4 vs. Fresno State

Cal -1 @ Washington

Kyle:

maginILast Week: 2 and 2

Overall: 6 for 12

BYU +4.5 @ UM

NIU +4.5 @ Boston College

Texas A&M -7.5 vs. Arkansas (Jerry World)

UCLA -3 @ Arizona

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