Canzano: Going stoic with my Week 4 picks
As Epictetus said, “Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.”
Far as I can tell, the single-most important practice in stoic philosophy is differentiating between the things we can control — and the things we can not.
I couldn’t control, for example, that Cal’s offense didn’t show up in the second half against Notre Dame last week. I could only control my pick. The Bears were a double-digit road underdog vs. the Irish. I foolishly picked them to win the game outright.
As Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius supposedly once said: “How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised at anything which happens in life.”
On that note, I did correctly predict Washington to win big over Michigan State and Oregon to beat BYU. I also had Oregon State and Washington State winning last week and covering the spread. So the week wasn’t a total loss.
My Week 3 record vs. the spread: 4-5.
Week 3, straight-up: 6-3.
My record vs. the spread this season: 17-15.
My straight-up season record: 25-7.
Onto this week’s picks…
UCLA at Colorado (11 a.m. Saturday, Pac-12 Networks):
The Bruins are a 21-point favorite on the road. This game comes down to whether or not the Buffaloes will play for Karl Dorrell’s job. Do they want the embattled coach to stick around? As the stoic philosopher, Seneca, once said, “If a man knows not which port he sails, no wind is favorable.” UCLA wins and covers the 21 points.
The pick: UCLA 35, Colorado 10.
Oregon at Washington State (1 p.m. Saturday, FOX):
The Ducks are favored by 7 points. I think this is going to be a great game. It’s essentially WSU’s disruptive front seven on defense vs. Oregon’s offense. I think QB Bo Nix settled in last week vs. BYU. I think UO wins the game, but I’ll take WSU plus the points at home.
The pick: Oregon 28, WSU 24
Arizona at Cal (2:30 p.m. Saturday, Pac-12 Networks):
I’m jumping off the Cal bandwagon and riding with the Wildcats in Week 4. I like what Arizona has done in the early part of the season. It proved it could win a close game last week. Cal is favored at home by three points, but I think Arizona wins the game outright.
The pick: Arizona 27, Cal 24
USC at Oregon State (6:30 p.m. Saturday, Pac-12 Networks):
I like Oregon State a lot, but this matchup isn’t ideal. If the Beavers can run the ball effectively and get into third-and-short situations, they can stay in this game. If not, they will get beat by double digits. It’s that simple. The Trojans are a 6-point favorite on the road. OSU has won seven straight games at Reser Stadium. Weird things have happened over the years in Corvallis, too. But as philosopher Marcus Aurelius said, “Confine yourself to the present.” As a result, I’ll pick USC to win and — barely — cover.
The pick: USC 31, OSU 24
Stanford at Washington (7:30 p.m. Saturday, FS1):
The Huskies have a great scheme, a dangerous quarterback and good receivers. I like the defense, too. The only missing piece for UW is a bell-cow running back. I think the Huskies stay undefeated and cover the 13.5-point spread.
The pick: Washington 35, Stanford 20
Utah at Arizona State (7:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN):
A lot of times, you’ll see a team come out after a head-coaching change and play terrific. I don’t think ASU is that team. I also think Utah is really good. The stoic philosopher Epictetus once said, “Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.” That’s Kyle Whittingham’s mantra, too. The spread opened at Utah -5.5 points, but ballooned to -15.5 after the firing of Herm Edwards. I think the Utes easily cover.
The pick: Utah 41, ASU 14
I appreciate all who have supported, subscribed and shared my new, independent, endeavor with friends and families. If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing. Your support allows me to get on the road, and go where the stories take us.
This is an independent reader-supported project, with both free and paid subscriptions. Those who opt for the paid edition are providing vital assistance to bolster my independent coverage. Please consider becoming a paid subscriber to have full access to all of my posts.
I’ve had several seniors and others on a fixed budget write to tell me they’d love to enjoy a paid subscription, but can’t afford it. I’ve had others inquire as to whether they might be able to donate a “paid” subscription to a stranger. I’m pleased to announce, you can now do that with this button: