Facing Off with a Friend


Jay Posner is a longtime friend. He is an assistant sports editor at the San Diego Union-Tribune who attended UCLA and can recite "Seinfeld" lines with the best of them.

Jay also continues to write the must-read sports media column in San Diego and has been instrumental in elevating the career of Southern California radio personality John "The Coach" Kentera.

Jay is terrific at what he does, but might be in a tad deep this time.

He will encounter, you see, my current 6-2 streak in picking Mountain West Conference basketball games against the spread.

Sure, the overall mark is nine games under .500, but once I got past picking against really tough opponents like the family dog, my confidence just soared.

So with a return to the celebrity guest and a nod to Jay's UCLA roots, we offer today's games:

SAN DIEGO STATE (plus-5) at NEW MEXICO: A Lobo is a wolf. A Bruin is a bear. An Aztec is an Indian, which thousands of years ago probably hunted and ate both. Good enough for me.

My pick: SDSU

Jay's pick: SDSU

TEXAS CHRISTIAN (plus-4) at WYOMING: The Cowboys played UCLA earlier this season and somehow lost by 51 to a team that blows people out as often as Ben Howland forgets defensive drills in practice. Another cool note: As a senior in high school, Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon wrote to Howland (now his good friend and then an assistant at UC Santa Barbara) asking the Gauchos to recruit him. Howland didn't think Dixon was good enough to play in the Big West Conference. So the young Dixon went elsewhere to become an all-league guard — Texas Christian. Amazing.

My pick: Wyoming.

Jay's pick: Wyoming.

COLORADO STATE (pick) at AIR FORCE: The Falcons still run a large chunk of what is known as the Princeton offense. Want to anger any UCLA fan? Just stand real close and whisper these two words: Gabe Lewullis.

My pick: Air Force.

Jay's pick: CSU.

BRIGHAM YOUNG (plus 2.5) at UNLV: Lon Kruger over the last two-plus seasons has led UNLV to the second-most wins out West, behind only UCLA. It's really unfair to compare BYU with the Bruins, given that 59-0 thrashing in football obviously puts the boys from Provo on a much higher echelon.

My pick: BYU.

Jay's pick: UNLV.

OVERALL RECORDS

Me: 19-28.

Guest celebrities:

Matt Youmans, UNLV basketball beat writer for the R-J: 1-2.

Bridget Graney, my 7-year old daughter: 3-1.

Coin flip: 1-3.

Ellie May, the family dog: 2-2.

Adam Hill, UFC beat writer for the R-J and assistant coach to the Irish Rookies of NJB Northwest: 2-2.

Jay Posner, UCLA alum and assistant sports editor for the San Diego Union-Tribune: TBD