Welcome to the annual Butch and Tommy Slap-O-Rama where Butch and Tommy take turns slapping each other around for a full season of collegiate football prognosticating. Last year, it was Butch who 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 weeks of the season. With the beginning of a new school year, it is lab experimentation time and the students will observe how, in 2010, 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 grapes while immersed in lukewarm lime Jell-O and humming the theme from Animal House. Butch hopes this will give Tommy the hope to win three consecutive times like Butch did a few years ago. Now, granted, neither Tommy nor Butch have exactly been world-beaters lately - Tommy was only 38-29 - only the second time he has vaulted above the .500 Tommy Line in four years whereas poor old Butch got infected by Tommy's Trojan cooties last year and - for the first time ever - finished below Tommy's Line at 33-34 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 again in 2010 but fortunately - since he won't have to worry about playing in any bowl games this year [snicker, snicker] - he has decided to mercifully jettison those silly non-conference noogie games that nobody cares about until November. Meanwhile, Butch will just go back to what has worked for him in the past - hypnotism and nog.
Tommy: Well, what do you know? It's time for more tomfoolery, hijinks, and general stupidity from yours truly, Tommy Trojan, and his Royal Highness, Sir Butch the Furry. It's too bad such a short and uneventful summer for a Trojan fan like me had to blow by with absolutely nothing that could, say, cripple a program, happening. Then again, it could be worse...I could be a Coug fan! Since I know Butch is ready to kick off another national title contending season for his beloved WSU, we will waste no further time getting it going with spread picks. (Since Tommy is not on probation, he can still win the pick 'em title.) By the way, don't expect to see Cal, Stanford, and ASU in today's column as this weekend they are scrimmaging their school's girls' powderpuff teams.
Butch: If only life were that easy, Thomas. What has changed since last year when - with virtually every advantage in your favor - you still lost your fleeing-for-the-hills head coach, obnoxious dictator AD [no loss there] and most of this year's scholarships as well as a good chunk of dignity [perhaps an oxymoron lurking in the USC "bushes"] - and yet still only managed to beat Butch by five games and get your school docked 30 million schollies [yes, Tommy, as part of the "Trojan family" that created the USC environment, you are partially responsible for your own school's demise that nearly the entire population of West Coast are so broken up about]. Since Tommy's victories in the last two years have coincided with two 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, Butch will be guessing that now Tommy's team is no longer near the top of the heap, the numbers will read a little different this year. By the way, Tommy, do the Trojans play any baseball?
USC (-20) at Hawai'i
Tommy: Come on, really? This is like shooting fish in a barrel. The Trojans put 50+ on the Polynesian Dancers every time they play. Line it up and knock it down, this is the easiest way to start this year's pick 'em. Good Guys-56, Grass Skirts-20.
Butch: Normally Butch would agree with you Tommy, but your boy Pete is not there to deliver those Snoop Dogg and Will Ferrell celebrity appearances. Instead, the players just get too look at the head coach's wife and fantasize about when they will be eligible for a bowl game again [you thought Butch was going somewhere else with that, didn't you ?]. Butch takes the Rainbows to cover.
Arizona (-15) at Toledo
Tommy: This one is not as easy. The Cats have been horrible on the road against the spread in non-conference games, even losing to a horrendous New Mexico team two years ago when they were favored. But Stoops' boys have a little swagger, even after the beatdown they took against Big Corn, and the Rockets fired all the way down to the bottom of the NCAA's defensive stats last year. Tommy smells coverage. Stoops' Angry Spittle-42, "I Miss The Earth So Much, I Miss My Wife"-25.
Butch: What's worse Tommy? Having the NCAA put your school's butt in a sling for everyone to see or losing your first two picks of BvT 2010? Butch takes the Mud Hens to cover because he did some research and discovered that Stoops' teams have tended to not cover well against teams they are supposed to smush by double digits.
New Mexico at Oregon (-34)
Tommy: The Quackers have been very tough at home over the years against non-BCS out of conference opponents, covering in the last five years against everyone but mighty Boise. The honeymoon is over for Mike Locksley in Albuquerque after a 1-11 season, and Tommy thinks he's well on his way to a quick firing. Ducks cover, even without the sticky fingers of Jeremiah Masoli, who has taken his "talents" to Ole Miss, where things like crime are less frowned upon. You Can Punch Someone In The Face, But Don't Steal Anything-52, Bring Back Rocky Long-17.
Butch: Now here's a close game, Tommy! Will the Nikes new quarterback make a ton of mistakes while Chip Kelly is trying to run up the score or will Kelly just run up the score under the guise of running the system? Butch takes Kelly to run up the score and the Nikes to win and cover.
UCLA at Kansas State (-2.5)
Tommy: PSSST! Hey, Vegas? Have you seen UCLA's offensive line? Expect another huge improvement from a Bill Snyder team who does not have a lot of preseason buzz, and in an ugly, boring game in the Little Apple, UCLA will show why it's going to take more than SC's sanctions to get them anywhere close to good. Cats Playing Keyboards lolz-17, Self-Sanctioned By Hiring Neuheisel-6.
Butch: There is absolutely no reason - no reason whatsoever - to expect Neuheisel's Powder Blue Helicopters to win this game or even cover, yet why does Butch have that weird feeling of being kicked in the groin whenever Neuheisel's name appears? Butch takes a gander at UCLA's last few season openers and does not trust Slick Rick [nor his NCAA brackets] and takes the Bruins to cover.
Washington at BYU (-3)
Tommy: Butch's favorite team is definitely on the upswing, but that defense scares me against any team, much less a BYU teams that has not averaged less than 30 points per game in the last five seasons. Cougars win and cover. Hot Chicks-34, Dogs 21.
Butch: Nobody goes to Utah and wants to remember what happened there. Such will be the case for the Hussies. Butch also takes BYU to win and cover.
Wazzu at Oklahoma State (-15.5)
Tommy: The march toward the BCS title starts here. Just imagine when a team which has won three games in the last two years storms the field in Glendale and bombs on defending champ Alabama...and then Butch woke up, and realizes his team has no hope. Only eight returning starters for The Pokes? No problem? Look who you're playing. "I'm A Man, I'm 40!"-42, Reality Returns To Pullman-17.
Butch: What Tommy fails to realize is that 25 points he is predicting to be the margin of victory would actually be considered by some people to be an improvement in 2010 and if the Cougars do score 17 points, it will be only the third time in the last three years they have achieved that lofty status against a team from a BCS conference. Butch also takes the 40-Year Old Virgin Gundy's to win and cover.
Oregon State at TCU (-12.5)
Tommy: September is upon us, and you know what that means. Time for the Beav to embarrass himself in a non-conference road game. OSU is 0-5 against the spread in the last five seasons in games like this, and four of those games were losses by 31, 31, 28, and 36 points. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to predict a Frog cover, especially while the Beav breaks in a new QB. Froggy, Don't Be So Hard On The Beav-38, Can We Go Back To Corvallis Now-10.
Butch: No argument here, Tommy - the numerals get in a nekkid three-point stance and speak for themselves. Butch also takes the Horny Toads to win and cover.
Last Year: 38-29
Last Year: 33-34
+++++++sponsored by Greg Davis Sports Photography+++++++++
The college football prognosticating season is here and you know what that means [well besides Butch and Tommy going at each other's throats] 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.