Welcome to the annual Tommy Slap-O-Rama where Butch educates Tommy on how to properly prognosticate collegiate football games. Last year, however, Butch was distracted by a lovely bunch of coconuts and Tommy was able squeeze by him and clinch the prestigious balsa wood BvT trophy in the last week of the season. With the beginning of a new school year, it is lab experimentation time and the students will observe how, in 2009, Butch will slap down the lab mice, er, subject [Tommy] yet again. This time, having become frightfully bored with previous straightforward slapdowns, Butch will officially pick this year's games with both eyes covered by pogo sticks while immersed in warm, soapy water and humming the them from Shaft. Butch hopes this will give Tommy more of a chance since the last time Tommy beat Butch two years in a row, gasoline was less than $1/gallon and a social network was referred to as a circle .well, ahem, we are unable to go there at this time but, the carnage has been that complete. Now, granted, neither Tommy nor Butch were exactly world-beaters last year - Tommy was only 41-33 - the first time he was above the vaunted .500 Tommy Line in three years! But that Tommy Line is contagious and Butch got some of Tommy's cooties and finished 37-37 overall on the year. Normally, that would have been enough to beat the likes of Tommy - if he had not found a lucky nickel in a Vegas gutter. Tommy is still feeling spunky in 2009 and will continue to try and distract Butch with those silly non-conference noogie games that nobody cares about until November. But Butch will just go back to what has worked for him in the past - hypnotism. All right, Tommy just relax and have another .beer and another and one more okay, now pick!
Tommy: Welcome back, Pac-10 football fans (and Cougar, Husky and Bruin fans, whose teams did not qualify for the Pac-10 last year.) Time for another rip-roaring tour through the conference season with the greatest prognosticators who ever barely finished over .500, Tommy and Butch. Butchie is excited because of his team's four game winning streak against the spread. ("Awesome, guys. We only lost to Arizona by 31!) But will it go woefully wrong again? Will Tommy's team find a way to lose a game to a team like Washington? Will the greatest coaching staff in the history of the world find a way to win six games in Westweird? What new way will Cal find to underachieve this year? Will Mike Stoops finally drown a Pac-10 ref with spittle? Will Chip Kelly replace Mike Bellotti as the biggest tool in the Pac-10? Lofty expectations to be sure. Most important, can Butch avenge the burial that he underwent last year in this contest? Nope, but let's play the games anyway.
Butch: Burial, indeed - four games, Trojan - and that came after three consecutive years of losing and licking Butch's boots while struggling to cross the daunting .500 threshold appropriately nicknamed the "Tommy Line". Since Tommy took advantage of one of the worst seasons in Cougar football history since the 1970s when there were no scholarship limits and his boys of Troy could amass 372-person rosters, pardon Butch if he does not look back at 2008 as an anomaly swinging nipple tassles to distract everybody from the travesty that is the BCS. Hey Tommy - ready for hoop season yet? Bring your wallet, the price for good players went up after Floyd left.
Oregon at Boise State (-4.5)
Tommy: The Ducks had to lose four quarterbacks last year to lose to the Blue Turfers by single digits. Tommy's not buying a cover of that many points for Team Peterson. Still, the Broncs have been very good at home, so I think they may pull out a win, but The Skirted One will hedge his bets and say that the birdbrains cover. My Son's Widget Coach Runs Boise's Plays And Claims He Made Them Up-31, We'll Miss Bellotti's Pornstache-28.
Butch: Ducks? Who are they? All Butch knows is some team called the Nikes will be blinded by the blue turf of the Truck Driving Academy and that really makes it difficult to pretend to care about the welfare of either team. Should Butch be overwrought with despair about Uncle Phil's boys possibly losing their eyesight or should he be wracked with guilt over the prospect of television viewers being forced to digest these colors - bright orange, bright yellow [oh sorry, lightning snicker, snicker] and green - all on a bright blue turf background? It is just downtown Loserville all the way around here. Where is the tequila to put us out of our misery? Since he has to pick somebody, Butch takes the Truck Drivers to win and cover.
San Jose State at USC (-34.5)
Tommy: Oh, no! The Trojans are starting a true freshman QB! They're doomed! ZZZZZZZZZZ! Wake me in December when they've won the conference again. Six Time Defending Champs-45, Tomey Left Arizona Just In Time To Avoid Shellackings Like This Every Year-3.
Butch: The outcome is not in doubt for Tommy's boys but they will lose some serious style points while their offense and defense learns first, who their teammates are and second, how to properly run up a score like in the good old days. While they are figuring that out, the Spartans should keep it under five touchdowns, so Butch takes Tommy's boys to win but SJSU to cover.
San Diego State at UCLA (-24)
Tommy: We're saving the best for last. RIIIIIGHT! The great Rick Neuheisel and the great Norm Chow have been scheming and plotting to take the world by storm, and Bruins fans think it could happen this year. Sure. That unbelievable offensive line and Elway-like QB should get the job done. All Tommy knows is that the Bruins better hope that Chuck Bullough is a capable replacement for the outstanding DeWayne Walker, because if he isn't, Ruin fans might be missing the good old days...of Karl Dorrell. The collapse will have to wait for next week though, because the Ass-tecs are brutal. Wait For It...Wait For It-28, School With Hot Girls-7.
Butch: No argument here with the straight up assessment, Tommy. Butch is not so much enamored with the mighty, powerful Bruins as he is skeptical of SDSU's claim to be a Division I football team. So, Butch thinks UCLA will win but SDSU will use the smoke from the wildfires as camouflage, and cover.
Stanford (-16.5) at Wazzu
Tommy: The Cougs played their best football at the end of the season. Meanwhile the Cardinal tanked their chance at a bowl game with three consecutive losses to close out the season. But you'll have to excuse Tommy if he is not overcome with excitement over watching the great Kevin Lopina, who threw no TDs and 11 INTs, regain his rightful place behind center. It won't help either that the Cardinal blitz like crazy and the Coug OL was Swiss cheese last season. Good luck, Butch. Harbaugh's Solid Gold Toilet-40, The Cougs Are In The Toilet-13.
Butch: Well, there is no doubt that it cannot get any worse than it did last season and with that disclaimer out of the way, the only question remaining is - just how bad can it get this year? Not that bad, says Butch - at least not in this game. Harbaugh, as the Trees' top lumberjack, got a new $60,000 place to drop a log from Stanford's version of the Supreme Being at the expense of the fencing team - touché! But Butch says it will be the Cougs who take a dump long enough to keep the game within a couple touchdowns. Butch takes the Trees to win but Wazzu to cover.
Maryland at California (-21.5)
Tommy: Hmmmmmm. Did you watch this game last year? It was an embarrassment. How do you outgain your opponent 461-297, finish +1 in turnover margin...and lose the game? The Bears found a way last year, as they usually do. But not at home. Cal has been pretty darn good at home against BCS conference teams in the Tedford era, and the Terps were decimated on both lines by graduation. The Bears get the job done...for now. Countdown to QB Controversy-38, There's a Reason They Call Our Coach "Fridge"-14.
Butch: What is this, Tommy? Agreeing with Butch again? Next thing you know, you will be above .500 in the first week of the season! Butch takes the Fighting Tedfords to win and cover.
Central Michigan at Arizona (-13.5)
Tommy: CMU will challenge for a conference title this season. Unfortunately for them, it will be in the MAC, which is garbage, and lost all five of their bowl games by an average of just under 17 points. The Cats are replacing their QB, but in this system, Tommy could put up big numbers at QB. Stoopsy is only 3-3-1 ATS at home out of conference, but he bested two big lines last season easily. The Guy With The Sword says he'll do it again. The Sky Is Blue, The Sun Sets In The West, Stoops Is Mad-38, I've Got Fever For LeFevour-20.
Butch: The double digit spread rears its ugly head again and look, Tommy, how many times has Arizona been listed as a double digit favorite under Stoops and won? Answer: Who cares? - because it is a small double digit spread and they will dispose of Central Michigan. Granted, it will be ugly, but most garbage disposals are. Butch reluctantly takes the Wildcats to win and cover.
LSU (-17.5) at Washington
Tommy: Tommy has a funny feeling about this game. A slow start by the Mad Hatter's squad could lead to a loud Husky Stadium, and Jake Locker ain't Ronnie Fouch. But Tommy's gonna go against his instinct because...well...because the Huskies have won 12 games in five seasons, and Locker appears to be a square peg in the round hole of Steve Sarkisian's offense. Toothless Drunken Morons-34, Love Ya, Sark...But You Guys Suck-10.
Butch: Oh, that is touching, Tommy - a display of unabashed love for a fellow cheater [who began his stint at Washington by immediately breaking NCAA rules because why, Tommy?...wait for it wait for it that is what he was used to doing in Los Angeles, silly!] With LSU being a member of the evil SEC whose former commissioner was primarily responsible for the soul-crushing greed and stupidity of the BCS Taliban, if it did not affect his picks, Butch would not care one whit about either of these purple-plagued teams. It is like picking who is most intelligent between Chris Brown and Rihanna - why not just send both of them off to Tristan da Cunha [Earth's remotest island] and be rid of the problem? Butch takes LSU to win and cover.
Nevada vs. Notre Dame (-14.5)
Tommy: What would the pick'em contest be like without a contest featuring Butch's favorite squad...the Domers? Fortunately, we won't find out. Fat Chuck has the team moving forward this season...toward the eventual hiring of Urban Meyer. But Nevada ain't good enough to stir the pot on that conversation this early in the year...are they? Tommy guesses they go the way of Hawai'i and get worked thanks to a bad defense. Domer Coach Hungry For New Season-35, Pistol Shoots Itself In The Foot-14.
Butch:Butch knows you have a soft spot in your heart for the Leprechauns too, Tommy - otherwise, how to explain the obsession with always having them in the picks? Well, there are those pics of the Leprechaun mascot and a lap dance but Butch digresses from the gutter to the sewer. Butch could care less who wins this game but would laugh heartily if it was Nevada - and since Butch needs a good laugh, he takes the Fightin' Wolfpack Burning Man Meth Labbers to cover.
Georgia at Oklahoma State (-6)
Tommy: and what would be pick'em be like without Butch's favorite conference...the SEC? Has Oklahoma State ever beat anyone good out of conference...or at all. Tommy ain't buying the hype this year at all. The Dawgs win with defense. The Real Dawgs-24, The Team With The Awful Colors-20
Butch:The good thing about the SEC, Tommy, is that now that they have all that ESPN money, they have gone all Gestapo on us and do not want to let anybody know what is going on behind the Iron Curtain without their permission. The problem in making that approach effective, of course, is that first, Butch would have to care about the SEC. Then there is Mike Gundy, who must be what - 42 now? Do we have another YouTube outburst confirming that fact? No, just Gundy going Gestapo on us too and closing his practices for no reason. That settles it - this is a classic Spy vs. Spy match-up - so Butch says tie.
Virginia Tech vs. Alabama (-7)
Tommy:The Hokies are a lot more experienced than the Tide, and have a far better coach than the team that Bama whupped last year from the ACC. Nick Saban, the most popular coach in college football with opposing fans, will be throwing a new QB to the wolves of the VT defense. Tommy smells upset. The Comonwealth-17, The Commoners-13.
Butch:Butch has never liked the cut of Alabama's jib - and that is both before and after the Civil War. Virginia Tech is not much better but at least they are not Alabama. Butch takes Tech to cover.
Last Year: 41-33
Last Year: 37-37
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Summer is almost over and you know what that means It's time for a whole new season of Cougar Athletics! Football, soccer, volleyball, men's & women's basketball, baseball, track & field and tennis, just to name a few, are coming up right around the corner. If you need "game action" photographs for your newspaper, magazine, web site, blog, etc., then Greg Davis Sports Photography should be your choice for all things "Cougar" and "Pac-10 Conference"! Coverage for specific athletes or upcoming events is also available. Check out the images from games, practices and events from last season, and be sure to come back often for uploads from all of this season's action.