Butch pounded Tommy into submission last year. Made him go back to school to learn how to pick college football games. Sent him upstairs to discuss Uganda with Prince Charles. Frightened him into confessing that he was responsible for the BCS. No matter which caustic way you want to put it - it was a telepathetic display by Tommy. The poor guy did not even crack .500 and then, on top of that, he had to watch a one-man team run through his little boys of Troy in the national championship game. But as much as Butch would like to heap the platitudes of defeat on Tommy for a few more paragraphs, the fact of the matter is that this is a brand new year and Tommy probably has something up his sleeve. In fact, Butch knows Tommy has something up his sleeve because Tommy has suggested adding three non-conference games to the mix in a desperate attempt to make himself look good – a diversionary tactic akin to the ole "Hey, look at that flying pig over there!" ruse. But everybody knows that the games that matter will still be the Pac-10 games and there, Tommy will not have his USC champagne-flavored ice cream cone game handed to him every week. This year, he will have to actually consider picking his boys of Troy to lose a few games – that should be fun to watch. On to the first week of shenanigans…
Tommy: Well, Tommy will respectively bow down and call Butch "sir" after Mr. Cougar took him to the woodshed last year...OK, that's over. Time to be Butchie's daddy again.
Butch: Daddy? Leave it to Tommy to bring up his genetic defects – still have that Uncle Carl? The one with the tail? Let Butch introduce you to his new friend – Mr. Spanky – handcrafted from the finest European hardwoods a tree can give up. Welcome to the 2006 season, Tommy.
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Stanford at Oregon (-11.5)
Tommy: A HUGE Pac-10 showdown begins the season. The winner will likely play for the national title. The Cardinal are posed to return to the top of the conference for the first time since the great Tyrone Willingham was the head man. Oregon is looking to keep the momentum going after an inspired offensive showing in the Holiday Bowl. In case you haven't figured it out, Tommy's being wildly sarcastic. The Trees were god-awful last year against the Ducks, and Stanford fans (if there are any) will be too worried about the rowdies in Autzen to cheer for their great team.
Practice Good SportsDUCKship (LOL)-38, Do The Cardinal Even Have Fans-17.
Butch: The Trees have been beset by injuries. Head coach Walt Harris says they have the best equipment money can buy and he doesn't know why the football gods are mad at him. Butch does. Pluto backlash. Plutonians think some Stanford scientists were in on the fix to off Pluto [you didn't hear any gigantic outcry coming out of Palo Alto last month to defend poor Pluto's honor, did you?] - and that was before they went 0-4 SU and ATS against Oregon in the last four years. Butch takes the Nikes and Plutonian schadenfreude to win and cover.
San Jose State at Washington (-18.5)
Tommy: Speaking of national title contenders, the Huskies kick off their season against the Spartans. They are hoping to combine their win totals from the last two years in order to continue their improvement. The good news is that they only need three to reach that lofty goal. There's even more good news: SJSU sucks! The powerful pooches will be one third of the way to their goal by Saturday evening. WOO-HOO!
High Expectations-35, Tomey Used To Losing to UW-10.
Butch: Watching this game is going to be like watching a dog lick itself. If you don't turn your head away after 30 seconds – you must consider the reality that there is something horribly wrong with you. Butch takes Washington to win but San Jose State to cover their eyes.
California at Tennessee (-1.5)
Tommy: What do you know? Some actual teams that could contend for the title. Well, at least one. The Vols haven't sniffed a BCS bowl since the 90s, and they didn't sniff any bowl last year, missing out on that after losing to #1 Vanderbilt. Cal could win this one even with Joe Ayoob at QB. (Tommy though is crossing his fingers behind his back that anyone...ANYONE else will win the starting job, even if that means bringing back Joe Kapp.) Anyone But Ayoob-24, Our Fight Song Is About Hillbillies-20.
Butch: Hey Tommy, Butch hears Steve Levy can toss a pint glass with deadly accuracy – that might actually come in handy in a state like Tennessee. The only thing Butch has to say about Tennessee is – watch out for their referees – otherwise he agrees with Tommy and takes Cal to win and cover.
Utah at UCLA (-4)
Tommy: Tommy thinks that the Bruins are going to get smacked in the mouth a few times this year, but that will have to wait for the second half of the season, as usual. The Utes have a decent team, but the Powders have always been tough on non-conference foes at home. Get ready though, Gutties. The fall will be steep.
Dynamic Dorrell-31, Bring Back Urban Meyer-20.
Butch: Bad luck for Karl Dorrell and UCLA. Their season opener is against Utah and in Utah, as everybody knows, they don't believe in Pluto – there goes that ploy. Fortunately for UCLA, they don't believe in rush defense either, as they allowed 151 [a good number for rum, bad for rush defense] yards per game last year. That translates into lots and lots of handoff practice for quarterback Ben Olson who will likely be a bit rusty after returning from his missionary position. Butch takes UCLA to win and cover.
WSU at Auburn (-15)
Tommy: I can see it now. Butch breathlessly waiting in front of his TV, hoping that the Cougs can replicate the beating that the Trojans gave to the Tigers a few years ago. Don't hold you breath, Butch. The Cougs may hang in for a while, but Auburn is a little better than the last team you beat with a late fourth quarter TD. Cougs cover, but lose. We Should Have Been in the Rose Bowl Even Though We Lost Two Games-27, Not Ready For Primetime-17.
Butch: By the time this game begins, WSU may be reduced to starting Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson [they're looking for work] on the defensive line – as long as Tom's not suffering pregnancy depression and Mel's not out of tequila. WSU is used to scoring points in their first games out of the chute, Auburn is not [especially against BCS schools]. As long as Ernesto is taking salsa lessons out in the Atlantic, the Cougars can keep it close – and if they can keep it close – who knows? Butch takes Wazzu to cover.
USC (-8.5) at Arkansas
Tommy: Tommy thinks this game ain't gonna be pretty for Trojan fans to watch. The new quarterback is named after a butt, and when last we saw the USC defense, they were road kill, stampeded by a Longhorn. Still, does 70-17 mean anything to ya? SC will cover late in an ugly game. Bootylicious-24, We'll Definitely Come Within 53 Points This Time-13.
Butch: Payback is a female dog – is that how the saying goes, Tommy? USC has offensive questions, like, uh, how's Jarrett's apartment holding up and is Dirty Sanchez over his barf bag nightmares? The one thing about hillbillies is – they sure do like the pork rinds and they got long memories. Okay, that's two things but ever hear about that Hatfield-McCoy barnburner, Tommy? Butch picks the Razorbacks to win and cover in their pig pen.
BYU at Arizona (-6.5)
Tommy: The Cats finally have a QB, and the Cougars haven't been good since Norm Chow left the building. I smell a whoopin. Maybe Mike Stoops will be less of a red-ass than usual. I'm With Stoop-id-31, How Dare They Arrest Warren Jeffs-20.
Butch: Yeah, that's about as likely to happen as Stoops making it all the way through a game tantrum-free. Arizona is 0-2 as the home favorite against Division I opponents and BYU under Bronco Mendenhall has never won a non-con game against a D-1 school. Somebody is gonna get their first win and it will probably be Arizona, but Butch picks BYU to cover.
Tommy's Non-Conference Noogies
Florida State at Miami (-3)
Tommy: This game will no doubt be ugly as a skid row hooker, but the 'Noles have stunk in Coral Gables, and there won't be any muffed FG snaps this year to save Bowden and Co.
Butch: What is this – the annual Prosecution Bowl between the Miami Misdemeanors and Felon State University? Cripes, Tommy, you really are depressed over last year's Butch battering, aren't you? ESPN is so enthralled with this match-up, they decided to put it on their mobile service so Willie Williams could pick it up in L.A. ['cuz Missy didn't have four bars] – wasn't that sweet of them? Butch takes the Misdemeanors to put up bail and cover.
Kentucky at Louisville (-22)
Tommy: The Cards won their home games last year by an average of 40. UK on the other hand lost on the road to Indiana and Ole Miss. Good luck, Cats. You're gonna need it.
Butch: Where's Eastern Washington when you need them? Oh yeah, playing Oregon State. Well, Kentucky is almost as good. Butch takes the Sluggers to win and cover.
SMU at Texas Tech (-26.5)
Tommy: Nobody, I mean nobody, runs up the score like Mike Leach and the Red Raiders. This is a team that scored 199 points in their first three games of last season. I'm sure they'll be up five TDs late in the fourth, and they'll still be throwing.
Butch: Gee, if only Butch could muster up the appropriate amount of indifference to care about this game like he does the Arizona State-Northern Arizona game. It's not okay to be a Lumberjack this week – that probably holds true for Mustangs too. Butch takes Tech to smush SMU and cover.
Last Year: 27-37-1
Last Year: 34-30-1
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