GRIDIRON GUESSES: When an upset is not really an upset

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Maybe because I am not among the “long-suffering Washington State football fans” — a redundancy in itself — I wasn’t shocked to see WSU beat USC last week.

Yes, it’s USC, but these Trojans aren’t the same quality as the Pete Carroll/Matt Leinart/Reggie Bush Trojans of a decade ago. A good team, yes, but one that showed its flaws in nearly losing to Cal, and struggling to beat Texas.

And WSU is really good.

It was also the only game Jason Elliott and yours truly differed on last week — Jason picked USC.

I went 8-1 last week and took a one-game lead in the overall standings after six weeks at 41-15. Jason was 7-2 and is 40-16 overall.


All games at 7 p.m.

Lewiston (4-2) at Coeur d’Alene (4-2)

NELKE: Last year, these teams played an instant classic in Lewiston, with the Bengals scoring the game’s last 14 points en route to a 55-51 victory which propelled them to the 5A Inland Empire League title. But most of those Lewiston players are gone to graduation, and the coach stepped down as well. This year’s Bengals have played pretty well and have the same record as Coeur d’Alene, but the similarities end there — the Vikings have faced much stiffer competition.

Coeur d’Alene, 49-7

ELLIOTT: Coeur d’Alene’s defense was lights out last Friday night and the offensive lit up that new scoreboard.

Coeur d’Alene, 56-14

Lake City (2-3) at Post Falls (6-0)

NELKE: A few weeks ago, this was shaping up as a blowout. But Lake City has gotten its act together, just in time for 5A IEL play to start. Still, no one has stopped Post Falls yet.

Post Falls, 42-21

ELLIOTT: There’s something special about this group of Trojans in 2017.

Post Falls, 50-21

Moscow (2-4) at Lakeland (2-4)

NELKE: Some believe Moscow is the best team in the 4A Inland Empire League. I still remember two seasons ago, when a winless Lakeland team beat Moscow to advance to the state playoffs.

Lakeland, 28-21

ELLIOTT: Moscow finds a way to get it done.

Moscow, 22-20

Kellogg (3-2) at Timberlake (0-5)

NELKE: Timberlake hasn’t lost an Intermountain League game since 2008, when the Tigers fell to Orofino — a team no longer in the IML. Could that streak end this year at the hands of Kellogg, off to a pretty good start?

Timberlake, 24-18

ELLIOTT: Both teams lost to St. Maries, with Timberlake losing by a little less to the Lumberjacks.

Timberlake, 24-21

Grangeville (4-2) at St. Maries (4-2)

NELKE: St. Maries’ run to the 2A Central Idaho League title started last year against Grangeville, with an 8-0 win on the road. This year’s Lumberjacks were supposed to be down a bit after being hit hard by graduation. Try telling that to the four teams in the 3A Intermountain League, who all lost to St. Maries this year.

St. Maries, 8-0

ELLIOTT: After watching these two teams play each other a couple of times at St. Maries in recent years, they’ve always been a fight. This one is no different.

St. Maries, 14-12

Kootenai (2-2) at Kendrick (5-1)

NELKE: Kootenai is a pretty good team ... but Kendrick is REAL good.

Kendrick, 54-8

ELLIOTT: Umm ...

Kendrick, 48-20


Boise State (2-2) at BYU (1-4)

Friday, 7:15 p.m.

NELKE: Boise State is struggling, but had a bye to work on what is ailing the Broncos. Still, BYU is in worse shape, coming off a seven-turnover performance in a 40-24 loss to Utah State last week. If BSU can’t get better this week ...

Boise State, 43-14

ELLIOTT: Playing in Provo makes this a closer game than it maybe should be.

Boise State, 27-20

Louisiana-Lafayette (1-3) at Idaho (2-2)

Saturday, 2 p.m.

NELKE: Idaho was picked to finish sixth in the Sun Belt this year. Two of the teams Idaho beat last year were picked to finish ahead of the Vandals this year. One was South Alabama, which lost to the Vandals at home two weeks ago. The other was Louisiana-Lafayette.

Idaho, 35-21

ELLIOTT: The Vandals might be set for a nice run here ...

Idaho, 38-24

Washington State (5-0) at Oregon (4-1)

Saturday, 5 p.m.

NELKE: Despite Oregon being forced to start its backup quarterback after the starter was injured last week, this will still be a tough game for the Cougars. This year’s Ducks are better than the team WSU whacked 51-33 in Pullman last year. But the Cougars are better, too.

WSU, 37-31

ELLIOTT: Washington State quarterback Luke Falk could start some Heisman buzz for himself with a big road win in the Pac-12.

WSU, 48-42

Eastern Washington (3-2) at UC Davis (3-2)

Saturday, 6 p.m.

NELKE: Dan Hawkins, the Boise State coach when the Broncos began their run to prominence, is in his first season as UC Davis head coach. It’s Division I football!

EWU, 43-35

ELLIOTT: Eastern Washington continues to climb in the Big Sky Conference.

EWU, 45-35

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