Thursday’s With Raider: Pac-12 Game Previews


Oct 19, 2013 Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal cheerleaders before the game against the UCLA Bruins at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s Note: Due to both some network issues and some 12 week old baby issues, I didn’t get this posted yesterday.  So all of Mr. Raider’s comments were written before the Oregon game.  The boy just might be a genius.

Oregon v. Stanford

Raider: For the second season in a row, this is the game of the year in the PAC.  I recall my whining from last season and how the Ducks loss to the Maroon Color aided and abetted the SEC in winning another title.  What really bothers me about the SEC winning national titles, you ask?  Several things, really, but chief among them is the fact that fans of a program that hasn’t done a lot recently (say, Tennessee for example) actually feel justified in an “S-E-C!  S-E-C!” chant by virtue of the fact that another SEC member school wins a football title.  This would only make sense to a fan of an SEC school, because it’s blithering idiocy coming from everyone else in the civilized world.  I can also recall Stanford fans on my Twitter timeline last year gloating about how “Stanford football players actually go to class”, like that’s supposed to make me feel better about the whole thing.

I digress.  As for the actual game, someone made a comment last season–I forget who it was–that a team that has a physical defense is capable of beating Oregon.  This explains, of course, how Stanford was, in part, able to beat them.  That having been said, I often think of the 1998 Minnesota Vikings when I think of this edition of the Ducks.  They have an offense that is flat out unstoppable, but the problem is that their offense can’t afford to have a “B” game.

MAC: As I said in the editor’s note, I have the benefit of actually having seen the game.  And you nailed that game.  Stanford I think with their unique design, is built to beat Oregon.  I didn’t think they could do it again, but they clearly could.  Sadly this will give us a national title game where I’m forced to cheer for EFFING Florida St.  Which is like cheering for something that isn’t very fun to cheer for.  Not as bad as Alabama, but not fun.

USC v. Cal

Raider: I’m still on this “who will take over in the fall of 2014 as the USC head coach” kick, and I still can’t help but think that there’s still a decent chance they might win ten games.  I have my doubts they will sleepwalk through Cal the way Arizona did last week.  But let me throw this out at you and to the readers at large: I’m pretty sure that Orgeron has little chance at this job, as you alluded to last week, so do they go to the college ranks or do they keep a recent trend going where they pluck someone from the NFL ranks–like they did with Pete Carroll and Paul Hackett?  Or would another proven HC in the college ranks take it, given the school shaming the NCAA did toward SC?

MAC: The rumor is Jack Del Rio who is now the acting head coach of the Broncos.  I still wonder if Mr. Peterson in Boise just might be willing to take phone calls now that cracks have appeared in that Boise foundation.  Either way, USC somehow has themselves in a position to win the Pac-12 South.  And Utah doesn’t.  And that makes me sad.

Colorado v. Washington

Raider: UW might make you lose the great faith you once had in Steve Sarkisian, which is odd to me that he became so detestable.  Out of every single former BYU QB in their “glory days”, I think I hated Sark the least.  But to prove that it’s in the nature of Ute fans to worry about everything and anything, I have a bad feeling about the CU game in a few weeks.  Losing to them at home again as well as for the second time in three years isn’t a world I want to live in.

MAC: I think there was a time when Sark wasn’t a horrible human being.  But when you mix in parts BYU and USC things are going to start to go bad.  Then you add in Washington and well, its a recipe for disaster.  The thing most people don’t get is that Washington is the SEC school of the Pac-12.  They have a booster group that is utterly willing to cheat to win.  It’s just they have a northwest liberal side too which makes them conflicted and self-hating.  Sark is probably dirty, but when you’re dirty and don’t win, well that’s not acceptable.

UCLA v. Arizona

Raider: Neither team can afford a third conference loss, especially considering that the Bruins could still win the South division without much issue.  I’m not about to go too deeply into goofy tiebreaker scenarios if there ends up being some kind of three way tie for the South at 5-3.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure either Oregon or Stanford is probably going to sit around thinking “mmmmmm, fresh meat” in that eventuality, but if you feel like solving that equation, I’m not about to stop you from doing so.

MAC: I was told there would be no math on this exam.  As for what I’d like to see.  I’d like to see Arizona win out, see UCLA beat USC and ASU and that would send Rich Rod to the Pac-12 South Title game.  Why, well because that is how I roll.

Arizona State v. Utah

Raider: Two summers ago, I was in attendance when Larry Scott graced us with our presence up on Capitol Hill for “Utah Pac-12 Day”, the first day of our era as a Pac-12 school.  While the pomp and circumstance of that event made me feel all warm inside, I kind of wish someone after that day had said something along the lines of this:

“A lot of you might think we can compete in this conference right away.  You will be wrong and a half if you think this.  I’m not sure if you’re aware of this fact, but USC is in our division now.  Yeah, that USC where recruits flock like the salmon of Capistrano.  Arizona State nearly won a national championship with Jake Plummer as their QB.  UCLA isn’t a program you want to provoke into being good.  And then there’s the other division.  I’m not sure if you know who bankrolls Oregon athletics, but I assure you it’s not the Boy Scouts”.

Maybe if we all would have had a heart to heart about this whole Pac-12 thing, just us, athletic department to fan base it wouldn’t feel quite so bad.  Perhaps if someone, maybe Chris Hill, maybe Urban Meyer coming back into town and slapping us into reality, maybe even Kyle himself, would have just said “this is going to take about a decade.  It’s going to seem like a lost decade, but try not to yell at us until at least 2021.  Thanks”.

The Sun Devils are actually a very good football team.  They scored more than half a hunnerd against USC, so based on that alone, I’m a little jealous.  My sole hope was pining for a blinding snowstorm on Saturday that would slow down their offense and maybe it’ll be a 3-0, 6-3 type of game.  The forecast actually calls for sunny skies and somewhere in the mid to upper 50s as of the writing of this email.  So much for that I guess.  I’m not sure what would have happened if Travis Wilson, Kenneth Scott, Jake Murphy, et al had been healthy, but for now I’ll sit back, relax and enjoy the fact that ASU will probably win this game without much incident.

One day, we’ll smell roses.

MAC: I think we’re going to win.  I’m putting my faith in three things, two weeks to get ready, Dennis Erickson and Travis Wilson’s hand being healthy.  Now if number three ain’t right, one and two don’t matter, so as faith goes, this is a lot.  But damnit, we need to beat these guys.  I’m really freakin sick of these guys.  REALLY. FREAKIN. SICK.

They have all the hot girls and they’re all willing to put out, they don’t get to win the Pac-12 South too.