Around the Pac-12 – Week 7

Last week brought with it the inaugural mascot melee.  This is week 2 of that, but you’ll have to make it through all of the football games first.  The mascots will be after the jump.  The Pac-12 football teams, on the other hand, will be talked about before the jump.  You can read both, or not.  One will be interesting and ridiculous, while the other will still be somewhat interesting, hopefully, and not so ridiculous.  How’s this for an introduction!  Let’s talk some football.

This Week:  Arizona State (Bye) at Colorado (Bye)

This is the Thursday night game that will be shown on ESPN.  What a barn burner they picked.  Arizona State is a surprise team and could make a run at the South division but count me in as a guy who doesn’t totally buy in to the Sun Devils.  I’m still trying to figure out what a Sun Devil is, to be honest.  This team has a good defense, although I question their secondary.  The offense is a bigger concern.  Colorado is bad.  They won one game by magically beating the Cougars.  They probably won’t win another one, although I wouldn’t be surprised if they kept this one a little bit close.  Arizona State should improve to 5-1 after this game, which is the same record they had last year before they collapsed.  Just saying.

This Week:  California (beat UCLA 43-17) at WSU (lost to OSU 19-6)

Cal went out last week and tried to salvage their season.  They succeeded.  WSU went out last week and tried to salvage their season.  Their defense gave a good effort but they failed.  Cal had looked lost all season before playing UCLA and now it seems that the Golden Bears aren’t as close to teetering off the edge as we thought.  They should be 3-4 after this week and, while that’s not great, aspirations of a bowl are still in tact.  WSU players said that they still think making a bowl is doable this week.  Logically that’s correct.  But, have they watched themselves on tape?  Seriously, that team has a lot of holes.  They might surprise someone this season and I guess this is as good of game as any?  But, no.  It probably won’t happen.

This Week:  Oregon State (beat WSU 19-6) at BYU

The Beavers magic will be tested this week.  That’s not because BYU is a good team.  In fact, I think the Beavers have beaten three teams that are better than BYU already, but it’s because they’ll be without their quarterback, Sean Mannion.  BYU will be a challenging place to play and it will make for an interesting task for new quarterback Cody Vaz.  OSU didn’t look all that impressive against WSU last week but you have to take into account that Sean Mannion was playing on a bad knee all game.  The defense continues to impress.  The Beavers are ranked in the top 10.  How weird is that?

This Week:  Stanford (beat Arizona 54-48) at Notre Dame

The Cardinal played a barn burner on Saturday against Arizona.  It was the exact opposite game that they played against Washington the week before.  I don’t know what to make of the Cardinal.  If they could put it all together, then they’d be a top-15 team but I just don’t see them doing that this year.  Notre Dame is a tall task for Stanford and I don’t expect them to get it done.  I hope they do.  The Pac-12 could use an Oregon State or Stanford victory this week, both would be fantastic.

This Week:  UCLA (lost to Cal 43-17) vs. Utah (lost to USC 28-38)

This could turn in to a really ugly game.  Both of these teams suffered disappointing losses last week.  Utah had USC on the ropes and had some points gifted to them.  They took an early lead only to get dominated in the second half.  It’s been a very disappointing season for the Utes thus far.  I only wrote that sentence so I could use the phrase ‘thus far’.  UCLA played their worst game of the season and, like a true UCLA team, got drilled by an opponent they should have beaten.  Now, they’ll try to regroup.  If they’re a true UCLA team they probably won’t regroup.

Byes this week:  Oregon, Arizona

Oregon is good.  Arizona is probably the best 0-3 conference team in the country but that doesn’t mean they’re good.  The Wildcats let Josh Nunes beat them last week.  Husky fans will laugh at that.  Matt Scott and Ka’deem Carey are on fire right now though.  As a Husky fan, I don’t like that Arizona has a bye the week before they play us.  As a Husky fan, I don’t like Oregon.

I plan to preview the USC-UW game a little more on Friday.  After the jump we move on to the mascot melee on one of the more controversial Olympic sports.  If you missed last week, the Good Guys broke into a new realm of mascot love.  I decided to rank the Pac-12 mascots based on how they’d do in the 400 meter hurdles.  We’ll be staying in the Olympic events for a while and this week we move on to badminton.

Badminton has had its moment in the sun this year.  Some Olympians decided to throw their matches in favor of a better match-up at the Olympics.  I’m still a little upset about the Badminton National Federation’s decision.
It’s time for badminton to make another jump this year and turn up in the Good Guys Sports Blog.

I will try to do these rankings as fairly as I can.  I will take the mascot for what the general definition of the mascot is.  Except for the Sun Devil, I take it as a cartoon devil (who really likes the sun?).  I have to come up with these rules or this post gets really complicated…. From worst to first, here we go.

12.  Stanford Cardinal
Another week, and another week where the Stanford Cardinal finish last.  We are going to have a problem with the animals gripping the badminton racket but assuming all the mascots can, it’s not like the cardinal could swing the racket.  Cardinal is a color so, for one, it doesn’t have hands.  If you go by the tree mascot, then it has limbs but it couldn’t swing the racket, unless it’s windy.  Birdies always get stuck in trees making the Cardinal an annoying match-up at least.

11.  Oregon State Beavers
I’m excited for the week where I pick tree cutting as the event because we have a beaver and a tree in the mascot category.  For the record, no other conference in college or pro sports has that.  I’m going to make a wild guess that no high school conference has that either.  As for this category, beavers are rather skittish when things come flying at them.  Yeah, that doesn’t bode well in badminton.

10.  Arizona Wildcats
If you weren’t with us last week, the actual definition of wildcat is essentially a house cat.  I’m still trying to get over how dumb that is.  It is literally the least wild a cat can get.  The Good Guys will review whether we want to change our view of this mascot to just a general cat that is wild.  For now, you just get to picture a house cat with a racket in its mouth trying to hit a birdie over a net that’s about 8 feet taller than it.  Yeah, the wildcat would drop the racket and eat the birdie in about 2 minutes.  That’s long enough to outlast a beaver and an inanimate object.  It loses to everyone else.

9.  Oregon Ducks
I’m finding that the Duck will be a real wild-card each week.  It all depends on if the Duck is allowed to fly.  I will stick to the rule that the Duck is allowed to fly but can’t sail over the objects in the game (this week the net, last week it was the hurdles).  It’s hard for me to imagine a duck being able to hold a racket.  Most of these animals could have the racket in their mouth but a duck?  Probably not.  Yet, it’s coverage of the court is intriguing when it takes flight.

8.  Colorado Buffaloes
Buffaloes aren’t exactly agile but I could see him standing at the net, racket in mouth, and just playing the role of the blocker.  He’d be a good one.  If only he could stand on two legs.  You’ll see this theory more when we get to the bears but I’m really valuing (maybe over-valuing?) the size in this badminton game.  Unless you’re a tree because trees can’t hit anything back.  What a stupid mascot, Stanford.

7.  Washington Huskies
Like the duck, a Huskies coverage of the court is intriguing.  Plus, we don’t run into as big of an issue with holding the racket.  But the trajectory at which these smaller animals have to hit the birdie over the net will take away from the power.  They’ll have to rely on their precise aiming.  Do you really think a duck, husky, and a (spoilers!) cougar should be relying on precise aim?  Me neither.  These animals may tire out their opponents but I just don’t see them having a staying power.

6.  Washington State Cougars
See the Husky above, but this animal is a little bigger.  I do like both of these animals leaping ability which is why they end up above the buffalo and duck.

5.  Arizona State Sun Devils
Here’s where it gets tough.  I took in to account the strict rules the National Badminton Federation had last summer to control the Sun Devils magical powers.  It always appears that when a devil can’t mess with the opponent then they are average.  Now, the devil will have hands which automatically puts him at number 5.  But, he gets no higher because the federation will just disqualify him if he tries anything tricky.  This is so obvious that I don’t think anyone would question me here.

4.  California Golden Bears
These final four are tough.  By now, you can see that I favor the bears.  Can you imagine a bear standing across from you, racket in paw, ready to smash the day lights out of a birdie that’s flying towards him.  Stop trembling in your boots and finish reading why the Golden Bear finishes fourth.  We found out last week that the golden bear is extinct.  I have a hard time giving an animal that’s extinct the edge over a few other things.  Plus, I question this bears mobility if it wasn’t fast enough to run away from extinction (I’m sorry if that offends any animal lovers, but I laughed while I wrote it).  Truly, if anyone knows any significant differences between the golden bear and a bruin please let me know for future weeks.

3.  USC Trojans
Trojans aren’t really around anymore either.  I felt that I had a clear top 4 here though.  So, I put the ones that don’t really exist anymore in below the other 2 and played a game with them in my mind.  The Trojan wins because of its mobility and better hands over a bear that clearly isn’t very fast.  The Trojan is begging me for a javelin competition, by the way.

2.  Utah Utes
The Utes outlasted the Trojans kind of by default.  I question both of their willingness to play games but I don’t question that they actually have hands.  Hands are a pretty big factor in this sport.  I think the speed is a big factor here too.  I don’t know if a Ute has a traditional Native American outfit but, assuming they do, that would give them a lot freedom in their mobility and flexibility.  Quickness is a big factor here.

1.  UCLA Bruins
How could I rate a bear over a Ute after everything I just wrote?  Easy, Bruins have more mobility than the golden bear, they have a bigger selection of bears to represent them than the golden bear, and the bruin is ambidextrous.  Okay, I made that last part up.  But, fishing in rivers does have to help a bruin with the range of motion in both hands.  If the bruin can switch hands with the racket he can simply stand at the net on his hind legs and block anything that comes his way.  He is the champion.  He is bear.

Until next week!


This picture may change the swimming rankings.




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