Sunday, January 08, 2017

Vindy's Picks National Championship Prediction and Bowl Recap

MOSCOW, Russia (ITAR-Tass)…Amidst sanctions brought this week against the former-USSR by the Vegas Vindicator for online-tampering that resulted in a sub-.500 regular-season for his picks and mediocre finishes for his “lock of da’ week” and “best bets” records, including dismissal of Russian members of his forecasting-strategy team for being moles, Vladimir Putin will stand-pat, at least for now, stating he would not fire-back by ousting American handicappers in his country. The Russian president also rebuffed the penalties as “simply a sad effort to justify a poor betting-year” for the prestigious prognosticator.
Boasting more total-starts this season than several-pressed-into-service quarterbacks combined in the 2017 NFL Playoffs, it’s…
(Leading the league in scoring-possessions inside…da’ Twilight Zone!)
#1 Alabama vs. #3 Clemson (“over 50 ½”): Great. Yet-another opportunity to excel, picking a game involving season-long forecast-Achilles Heel Clemson. We tanked the over/under for last year’s match, officially calling “under 50 ½” in light of a second-half track-meet that saw 40 points-scored and an ultimate 45-40 decision. Tide laid 6 ½ last time and appear to be doing so again. ‘Bama ain’t facin’ Sophomore QB Jake Browning this week and Tide drew 11 flags in that game, mostly-untimely ones on offense. Senior QB Deshaun Watson lit-up ‘Bama’s much-ballyhooed defense for 405 passing yards and four touchdowns (though the last of those came with 12 seconds left and cut the deficit from 12 to 5, permitting the Tigers to cover) and he won’t just sit-back and manage the game while expecting his defense to do the heavy-lifting. Across the field, Jalen Hurts is a true frosh under center but Tide quarterbacks generally bring upperclassman-skills from the git-go and new suddenly-new OC Steve Sarkisian can’t really hurt given that ‘Bama’s scoring-prowess is predicated on field-position via special teams and defense, who have a combined 15 touchdowns thus far and will probably contribute 10-17 points of their own to the scoreboard in this one. North Dakota State, dubbed “FCS Alabama” did not play for the I-AA crown for the first time in six seasons, with James Madison toppling Y-Town State for that trophy. Will its FBS-namesake falter as a result? Naaahhhh. ‘Bama’s taken the hardware four times in as many tries since 2009, covering three straight until nearly-wasting a huge-lead vs. the Tigers last season and recording three “overs” (all three easily “over” this number). Not as many spares and strikes as last year’s iteration and collectively, this pair registered five shut-outs in 2016, but Pachyderms incurred several untimely flags on offense during game vs. UDUB. We like…Elephants 34 Tigers 30
2016-17 BOWL RECAP
“A tale of two halves” comes to mind when describing our bowl season efforts, as we struggled outta’ da’ gate early in each “week”, hitting skids of 2-4, 2-5 and 2-3…leading Vindy to steal a line from Hillary Clinton and quip the “Picks may have short-circuited.” But after those slow-starts, we closed-out strong, posting finishes of 5-0-1, 6-1 and 5-2-1, respectively resulting in all three “weeks” ending up over .500 and an overall bowl-season of 22-15-1, a very-profitable .595! ‘Bama’s narrow-cover vs. da’ Huskies assured us of a no-worse-than-.500 finish ahead of the ball-drop in Times Square and the Florida-Iowa “under” secured the overall winning-record regardless of the rest of the January 2nd outcomes. Our upset-selections, whether “of da’ week” or “minor” fizzled at 2-5, including the confidence we put in da’ Alma Mater to beat Sudden Cal in the Rogue One……Rose Bowl (necessitating the replay of the Tourniquet of Roses parade for the Lion-faithful). We do take a little solace, knowing two of three “lock” choices came through. Our conference-of-choice…da’ Big Tenderized…in 10 post-season opportunities, produced 3 outright victories (just one by the Top Four, with Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan falling and Wisky edging Western Michigan and upsets by Minnesota and Northwestern), a 4-5-1 spread-record and 5-4-1 for Da’ Picks. Overall, chalk took 25 of the 40 contests outright (meaning underdogs pulled upsets an outrageous 37.5% of the time), but went public-bettor-meager-though-sportsbook-joyous 13-26-1 (.333) against the spread. This season’s bowl-parade featured lower-scoring affairs, with 24 (60%) finishing below da’ total. More than half those “unders” bookended the bowls, going 6-0 from December 18 through December 19 and 7-1 from New Year’s Eve through January 2. In related news, Vindy fared better making side-selections, posting a meh 10-8 on totals as official picks and 4-4 as “best bets”.

BTW, Vindy alluded to a possible undercover cyber-attack of his own, potentially infecting “komrade-komputer systems” with 2014’s Week One Forecast, which finished 3-12, ultimately leading Vindicator to abruptly-end that campaign for the duration of the season following a sub-par Week Two.

Tide wide-out Gehrig Dieter was named after Yankees-great Lou Gehrig and has brothers Nolan (named after Astros’ fire-baller Nolan Ryan and currently under-center at Bowlin’ Green) and Thurman (after Bronx Bombers’ catcher Thurman Munson). Therefore, presumably, daddy Derek Dieter was so-called in honor of “The Captain” Derek Jeter or Fresno State/Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr and…er…uh…oh, wait! In any case, we anticipate Gehrig carrying-on the family-tradition and bestowing his first-born male child with the moniker “Uecker” Dieter, as a tribute to National League journeyman- catcher, one-time league-leader in passed balls and eventual Miller Lite-commercial pitch-man Bob Uecker!
Apparently, ‘Bama has also signed the nation’s top high-school long-snapper Thomas Fletcher, outta’ IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Da’ Fletch proved his worthiness last Sunday, filling-in on special-teams to help Da’ Iggles beat Dallas, launching 10 perfect snaps on three FG-tries, three PATs and four punts!

Errata: we incorrectly calculated South Carolina +10 ½ over South Florida as a loss, when, in fact, the Poultry grabbed the spread-win, losing by just 7 in extras, making the Part II tally 8-6, not 7-7 (including our predicted minor upset by Okie State over Colorado, which wasn’t final at publication of our Part Three forecast).
Is it just us or does USC quarterback Sam Darnold look like the love-child of Sean Astin and Jon Gruden???!!!

Bacon Strips’ tight end Jeremy Sprinkle got himself benched just-ahead of the Belk Bowl for attempting to apply the “five-finger discount” eight times at the game-sponsor’s brick-n-mortar in Charlotte. Projected as the 7th-best guy at his position for the upcoming NFL Draft, one anonymous pro-coach said “We admire his persistence and belief in the old proverb…’If at first, ya’ don’t succeed, try, try again.”
Fans of Florida State RB Dalvin Cook in the student-section at the Orange Bowl sported chefs-hats. If those same folks met Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, would we hear the Russian boxer say…’If he diced…he diced”. If the whole football-thing doesn’t pan out, he can always make appearances on Iron Chef, Chopped and…Hell’s Kitchen??!!

The playoff-bound NY Giants were penalized in mid-December for using a walkie-talkie. Apparently, the No Fun League prefers teams forego modern technology and communicate via smoke signals, Morse code or sending a raven!
“With the first pick of the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, the Vegas Golden Knights select The Running Man’s *Subzero*!”

The Weber Kid joined Match.Com over the holidays…and he “New York Mets someone”!
Mariah Carey committed a gaffe during her New Year’s Eve outing. We here at Vindy’s Picks can sympathize, having experienced untimely glitches in our own performances over the years! (BTW, both of us are hopin’ for a presidential-pardon before Obama leaves office!)

“Wish We Had It Back”: In retrospect, we’d like to revise our choice of Michigan -7 over Florida State after noting…”Uncle Mo seems to side with da’ Noles…while Big Blew was on the wrong-end of the final score in two of last three and have been the wrong side ATS in 6 of last 7 games decided by a TD or less”.
“Locked in a Box?”:  Joja’ (+1 ½ [and +2 on game-day]) pulled off the predicted SU win over TCU to put the final lock record in the black at 9-8 (.529).

Black Shirt: Our last ebony tee of 2016 goes to…WMU K Butch Hampton for missed PAT that allowed da’ Badgers to “push” rather than lose ATS. Honorable-mention to Bulldogs’ RB Nick Chubb for posting 142 yards on 17 totes, including a late TD to salt-away the aforementioned Joja’-victory over da’ Horny Toads! An iron-on tattoo (raise yer hand if yer old-enuff to remember those!) proclaiming “Black Shirt” to PSU WR Chris Godwin for 9 catches for 187 yards, including a pair of scores vs. Sunken Cal to gain the cover.
Shoppe Talk: Clemson…duh! After opening the season with back-to-back forecast wins, the Tigers have taken the Picks behind the woodshed going 1-10 (.090) the rest of the way. The Wolverines join the club with 5 straight losses (.000) and a lone win in last 6 overall (.142). Da’ Chop comes in on 1-5 skid (.167), while the Vols show up at 3-6-1 (.333)!

Vindy’s Bowl Recap Best Bets: Last Week:  2-2-1 Bowl Season: 6-5-1 (ZZZZZ-worthy .545) Season: 43-44-1 (.494)
LEFTOVER HASH (Yes, we know it’s redundant. Vindicator now conducts the annual “emptying of the clip” and expends all the stuff he had in the arsenal throughout the season that didn’t previously find its way into the forecast…until now.)

Car racing meets Pittsburgh/Youngstown State…Penguins of MadaNascar?
For the music-fest fans out there, apparently Ohio State’s X’s and O’s against Clemson were drawn up by Coachella!

In February, Caitlyn Jenner announced a new MAC lipstick partnership. We weren’t aware that the Mid-America Conference had rights to a brand of make-up!
Two Junes ago, UAB reinstated football, rifle and women’s bowling after originally disbanding those programs. The football -program will likely start up again in 2017. Meanwhile, da’ Blazers will have to be content shooting at women’ bowling balls at the intra-mural level until further notice!

On the telly…Food Network’s Guy Fieri checks-out NFL stadium-cuisine in da’ Bay Area…”Niners, Dive-Plays and Drives”. Or cruisin’ around campus at UTEP…”Miners, Dive-Plays and High-Fives”??!!
One of the Mizzou players boasted “capturing” former Tigers coach Gary Pinkelchu while on a hunt for Pokemon Go creatures!

In August, ex-UCLA WR Cordell Broadus, offspring of rapper Snoop Dogg, bolted the Bruins (again!), in hopes of, among other things, a career in movies. Can’t wait to watch him reprise his papa’s role in…”Hood of Horror”!
In related news, forget “under center”…da’ Bruins garnered a $280M deal from “Under Armour”! (Meanwhile, your humble host negotiated a $28 sponsorship deal with Underoos!

Starting last season, NFL officiating crews humped the approved-supply of footballs in knapsacks on and off the field to prevent team-tampering! Casino security-staff will now schlepp Vindy’s Picks in and outta’ da’ sportsbook fer similar reasons!
Multiple choice: NFL teams can win on… A) “Any Gibbon Sunday” B) “Any Gimli Sunday?!” C) “Any Kiffin Sunday???!!!” or D) All da’ above!

Walter Scott said it best when he penned, “What a tackled web we weave, when first we practice to receive.”
Because of Twitter, Vindy can’t see fans’ signs in da’ stands anymore without translating them as “D-at-at” or “D- hashmarks”!

If Michael Jordan helps reserve private rooms/homes/apartments for vacationers online, is it…His Airness B&B??!!!
LeBron & company were fitty-point chalk vs. Venezuela during the Olympic Games in Rio, but won by just 44. Slackers! We demand Mike Krzyzewski’s resignation as coach of the Olympic hoops squad. (Oh wait….!)

The NCAA announced that the potential overall #1 seeds for da’ Big Dance will get to select the city in which it faces its first pair of Tournament opponents. Gotta’ figure they’ll ask for sites closest to home, though we’d really like a contender such as Villanova or Kansas express preference for Munich, Germany; Honolulu, Hawaii; Green Bay, Wisconsin or the Bahamas!
In light of Vindy’s NHL Draft eligibility and previously-noted legalization of private-residence use of marijuana effective January 1st, he’s compelled to rename a segment of his weekly forecast to Between the Hash-pipes!

If Vindicator saves 15% by switchin’ to GEICO, do we see a certain commercial noting “Vindy King of Sportsbook… Vindy know…where Vindy go!”
And finally…as we head off to complete our bachelor’s degree in interpretive end zone dance and vie for one of those highly-coveted spots on “Carpool Karoake”, we leave the loyal readership with our annual Irish blessing… ”May da’ road-dog rise up to beat you.” (Sumthin’ like that!)

Air Forecast One has gone wheels-up!




Thursday, December 29, 2016

Vindy's Picks 2016-17 Part III

WASHINGTON, District of Columbia (AP)…It wasn’t over when the Vegas Vindicator finished Election Night in a third-place tie with Jill Stein. It wasn’t over when the Electoral College confirmed Donald Trump’s win on December 19. Quoting a Yogi Berra-Game of Thrones mash-up, the Weber Kid quipped, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s Hodor.” Supporters of the world-famous forecaster have besieged outgoing-Vice President Joe Biden with phone calls, texts, e-mails and social-media comments to not certify the Electoral College outcome, clamoring to see their hero occupy the key-seat in the West Wing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Vindicator, who ran on the “Peace thru superior parlay-power”-platform, hopes that Biden, hailing from Delaware…Weber’s old stomping-grounds… in his role as President of the Senate, will throw the red challenge-flag, even at the cost of not only da’ challenge, but da’ time-out as well.
A 2-5 start to Part II beckoned us to recruit currently-suspended Duke-hoops Junior-guard Grayson Allen to trip the bookies as the forecast started to go south. A perfect 4-0 result on December 28 gave us life, but a 0-2 tally (with Colorado-Okie State just underway as we go to press) leaves us at an unsatisfying 6-7 on the “fortnight”. Comin’ to ya during a sleep-over at the local IKEA, it’s…
(More toxic than water in Corpus Christi!)

DEC. 30
Georgia (+1 ½) over Texas Christian: LOCK OF DA’ “WEEK”. Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill hasn’t been all that profitable fer the Frogs, putting 15 TD-passes and a Baker’s Dozen picks in the history books. Joja’ s won and covered three of last four post-season efforts, including touchdown-victory over da’ Alma Mater in last year’s TaxSlayer Bowl. UGA FR QB Jason Eason   served up 14 scoring-throws, sending just 8 to the wrong-colored jersey. Joja’ had unremarkable 4-4 SU in unremarkable SEC East. Still, Aggies won 24-23 at Kansas…Bulldogs 27 TCU 16

North Carolina vs. #16 Stanford (“under 54 ½): Cards’ new supporting-cast has had a whole season to get in-sync with RB Christian McCaffrey on offense. SU has won 3 of 4 nonconference tilts each season since 2011 and has already recorded the hat-trick thus far in 2016, besting K-State, Our Lady and Rice by 13, 7 and 24, respectively. Stanford has seven games “under” this total altogether on da’ campaign. We foresee UNC, who boasts a pair of outright victories over FCS clubs, movin’ da’ ball, but coming away with three-pointers instead of sixes…Trees 27 ‘Heels 19

South Alabama (+14) over Air Force: First time since 2010 that all three service-academies play in the bowls. Flyboys went 0-fer-five against the number givin’ double-digits in 2016…Pilots 30 Jags 23

#24 Nebraska (+6) over Tennessee: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK #1. Both sides looking to end the year on a higher-note after poor-showings in regular-season finales. SEC East has been a major disappointment (nice-improvement of Vanderbilt, who took out Rocky Top by 11 in aforementioned finale, notwithstanding). Vols have lost a single non-conference game in each of the previous three seasons and haven’t dropped one in four tries thus far. Huskers are equally adept, going 3-0 to-date and 11-4 coming into this season. NU has been betting-gold in the post-season of late, winning two of three outright and beating the spread in all three, getting points in the whole trio. Huskers could hit 10 dubyas for first time since 2012 with the victory…Corn Flakes 29 Vols 23

#6 Michigan (-7) over #10 Florida State: For all his exploits, ranging from a Spring-training game stint as first-base coach for the Detroit Tigers to climbing a tree with a recruit, Jim Harbaugh’s team didn’t quite meet betting-public expectations (Sports Illustrated asserted ESPN’s David Purdum noted the Wolverines grabbed more preseason wagers than any other club to win da’ National Title, dropping the odds from 15-to-1 to 7-to-1. Still, the Orange Bowl ain’t a bad launching-pad for 2017 campaign that will see him have all of his signees on the field. “Uncle Mo” seems to side with da’ Noles, who posted four consecutive triumphs to close out the regular-season, while Big Blew was on the wrong-end of the final score in two of last three and have been the wrong side ATS in 6 of last 7 games decided by a TD or less, but Wolverines trashed Florida off defeat by Ohio State in 2015…Michigan 37 FSU 24

DEC. 31

#19 Louisiana State vs. #15 Louisville (“under 59”): Second-choice fer “lock”. Eighteen of combined two-dozen culminated as “under” this total. From 2009 thru 2012, Heisman Trophy-winning teams won and covered each of their post-season contests. The outright-victory trend continued since 2013 with qualifying-squads winning 3 outta’ 4 (two of those gained by last season’s Bama’s National Champions), but tanking against the line in 3 outta’ 4.   Heisman-also-ran RB Leonard Fournette will be absent for this contest in order to “focus on the NFL”???!!! Love him or hate him for that decision, we respect the honesty…LSU 26 Da’ Ville 16
TAXSLAYER BOWL (@ Jacksonville, FL)

Kentucky vs. Georgia Tech (“over 61 ½): Bees 38 Wildcats 34

#1 Alabama (-14) over #4 Washington: First semi-final fer the CFP Championship. Tide gains nothing but psychological-edge with big win here vs.  UDUB, needing no style-points, just more points on the board at the end to vie for third national title in six years against Buckeyes-Tigers victor. Having a freshman under center means little because freshmen that start in Tuscaloosa play at upperclass-experience levels. ‘Dogs QB Jake Browning and his merry-band of receivers line-up across from best defense they’ve faced, while many of ‘Bama’s players have experienced play-offs/BCS outings before. Packiderms grudgingly-allowed 34 total points over final five and 58 over last seven tilts. Sled Dogs have zero margin-of error. Cher will perform at halftime with the Huskies’ band and sing….”If I could turnnn-back Tiiiiide…”…Alabama 42 UDUB 24

#2 Ohio State (-3) over #3 Clemson: Gridiron sports-betting version of the “ugly sweater” contest. Collectively, the Buckeyes and Tigers beat the spread 4 times in last 15 joint--tries. Clemson has walked off the field in victory four times in last five bowls, winning ATS in all of ‘em. State won and covered each of last three bowls and topped all three ranked-opponents on the year (though covered just once). Winner faces Peach Bowl-victor for the National Title. Heisman-bridesmaid Deshaun Watson was quoted as saying “I’m the best player in the country.” Nothin’ wrong with a little self-confidence, but there’s gonna’ be a QB on the other sideline vying to out-perform him and a defense across the line-of-scrimmage wanting to eat his lunch given that bulletin-board material!...Buckeyes 29 Clemson 24
JAN. 2

#20 Florida vs. #21 Iowa (“under 40 ½): Gators come in on crutches, having lost 3 of last 4 and are still prone to nightmares over last season’s Citrus Bowl 41-7 pasting by Michigan. Iowa ended regular-season on three-game win-streak, including the defeat of said-Wolverines and can-of-whoop-ass on Nebraska, yielding 26 total points over that span, and limited 6 of 9 Big Tent-Peg opponents to 17 or less. Birds already had a dozen victories this time last year and will add a 9th to this season’s win-tally…Hawkeyes 17 Crocs 13

#8 Wisconsin (-8) over #12 Western Michigan: Badgers have had far too much time to  about  major-collapse vs. Penn State in the Big Tentacle Conference Championship and will look to score early-and-often vs. Western Michigan, who had a great year, but permitted a lotta’-points-against in conference play. Wisky faces first non-Power Five squad since 21-19 loss to upstart Horny Toads in 2010 post-season, who joined the Big 12 a couple seasons later.  Broncos have beaten the line six times in as many chances vs. ranked-opponents, but WMU’s only Top 25 foe in 2016 was fellow-MAC’er Northern Illinois and shows 2-4 ATS record vs. B10 in past four years, with the four losses coming by 9 or more. Badgers are covering two of every three non-conference games over the last four campaigns…Varmints 34 Westy 17

#5 Penn State (+7) over #9 Southern Cal: UPSET PICK OF DA’ “WEEK” #2. The veteran-readership knows from experience that we don’t back the Lions in a ‘dog-role on the money-line lightly. Selection of the Alma Mater to win outright here isn’t just alum-loyalty or false-bravado. We truly believe the Lions have the talent, RB Saquon Barkley #22 in rypg at 100.2 with 16 scores and #14 QB Trace McSorley at 258.5 ypg and 25-5 TD-to-pick ratio,  to take out the Trojans…and gettin’ almost a full touchdown to-boot is a bonus. Meanwhile, a closer-look at Troy’s eight-game win-streak reveals two victories over teams with winning-records…by 4 at home vs. 10-win Colorado and 12-win Washington. Much respect for those dubyas. The remainder came vs. two clubs with five wins, three squads with four wins and 3-win Arizona. If the lengthy lay-off hasn’t impacted the Happy Valley momentum and Lions’ special-teams don’t revert to early-season form...WE ARE 24 USC 20

#7 Oklahoma (-3) over #17 Auburn: War Eagle has toppled 16 non-SEC opponents in 19 opportunities over the past four seasons. Three of those victories came against nobody-special this year but a 19-13 home-loss to CFP #3 Clemson is respectable. That said, Auburn lost by 13 to A&M, 7 at Joja’ and 18 in the Iron Bowl. Boomer Schooner, after an auspicious 1-2 beginning, tore a swath a mile-wide through the entire conference slate behind QB Baker Mayfield. Oklahoma has lost badly to Clemson in each the last two post-seasons. They face a different group of Tigers here…Sooners 42 Aubie 36

BTW, when Vindy got the results of the Electoral College vote, it was not “how Antonio Brown must feel when he’s dancing in the end zone.” In related news, Vindy stated he’s also in-line for the recently-vacated honorary United Nations Ambassador of Empowerment for Women & Girls after the sudden ouster of Wonder Woman!

As part of his New Year’s resolutions, Vindy will be purchasing a Pokemon-gym membership!
Da’ Big 12 is looking into getting’ a channel on the telly dedicated to its own conference (last of the Power Five to do so). Found somewhere on your TV Guide between Shakespearean-fare Big Twelfth Night and season holiday programming called the Big Twelve Days of Christmas!

If an infamous Game of Thrones marriage-sequence had been filmed in Lincoln, Nebraska, would it have been known as the “Big Red Wedding”???!!!
Donald Trump during his campaign said he “plans to drain Da’ Swamp”. We wonder how the folks in Gainesville feel about that!

Vindy’s Picks…a world-leader in fake news!
Is it wrong that while we watched Ben Hur on Christmas Day, a particular scene of horse-drawn chariots circling the track to take their starting-positions just-ahead of the beginning of the race made us of think of the grounds-crews that cover the baseball-diamond with tarp during rain-delays?! And that the subsequent race-sequence flashed-us back to Danny Zuko beating Leo Balmudo on “Thunder Road” in Grease???!!!

Bizarre random thought…would a film about the Marines’ bowling team be entitled “Full Kegel Jacket”???!!!
“Locked in a Box?”:  Maryland-Boston College unexpectedly soared “over” the 44-point total, moving us back to 8-8 (.500).   

Black Shirt: The coveted-undergarment is gladly bestowed upon Texas A&M QB Trevor Knight for the pass that fell short on a late 4th-and-8 conversion try, preserving our Kansas State (+3) upset pick of da’ week!
Shoppe Talk: Da’ Iggles of Boston College (0-4, .000) hosed us for the fourth time in as many chances, while Wazzou betrayed the Picks for a fourth-consecutive outing after opening the year at 2-0 (.333).

Vindy’s Bowl Predictions Part III Best Bets:       Last Week:  2-1 Season: 41-42 (.494)
Georgia-Texas Christian “under 49 ½”, Stanford -2 over North Carolina, Michigan-Florida State “over 51 ½”, Weeziana State -3 over Louisville, Iowa +3 over Florida 

Don’t touch that dial. We’ll back by January 8 with our pick for the National Championship game, annual bowl- recap and…leftover “hash”!!!! (And there’s no app for ‘dat!)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Vindy's Picks 2016-17 Bowl Predictions Part II

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (CNN)…Even as the Atlantic Coast Conference levies fines on Louisville and Virginia Tech for passing-along game-plans leaked by ex-Demon Deacons assistant coach Tommy Elrod, the Vegas Vindicator made the trip East to come forward, saying he, too, got some Wake Forest X’s and O’s on the down-low. The fab forecaster defined the clandestine-communications as “interesting-reading”, but will dodge NCAA sanctions because he did not field a team against the Deacons in 2014. In fact, Vindicator pressed counter-charges vs. the former-aide because Sin City bookies revealed they received picks and strategies ahead of Vindicator’s weekly picks, resulting in a collective 9-20 tally through Weeks One and Two of 2014, ultimately-leading Vindy to abruptly-terminate his campaign for the remainder of that year.
We opened Part I with just two correct choices through the first half-dozen bowls, generating a “here we go again” mentality, but we went 5-0-1 the rest of the way to finish at a good 7-4-1 (125-128-6, 494), including our “lock” and “upset” picks (though the “minor-upset pick” did not materialize). Nicely-wrapped with ribbon and a bow, right next to the basket of Hatchimals, Ken Bone red-cardigan sweater (with white tie and black-rimmed glasses accessories!), flammable Galaxy S-7 phone and tandem You Can Be Anything Barbie and Love2Learn Elmo Attack-Drones… while pickin’ “in fog as thick as peanut-butter” …and makin’ its way through the sportsbook in the “Chair of Cheerleaders”, it’s…
(“It came without ribbons…it came without tags…it came without ‘packages’, box-scores or flags!”)

DEC. 26
ST. PETERSBURG BOWL (@ St. Petersburg, FL)

Mississippi State vs. Miami-Ohio (“under 57 ½”): Bulldogs 31 Redhawks 16

Maryland vs. Boston College (“Under 44”): LOCK OF DA’ “WEEK”. We expect an ugly grinder between two teams that offer pretty-good defense against mediocre opponents and little in the way of scoring in-general (though Turtles hung fitty on Purdue and recorded 36 at nominal-D Indy). Over/under on drives ending in FG-attempts is seven. First team to 15 wins…Terps 16 BC 13

Vanderbilt (+5 ½) over NC State: Wolfpack 23 Admirals 21
DEC. 27

Army (-10) over North Texas: A rare bowl-rematch of a contest that happened during the regular-season. Congrats to Army for breaking Navy’s death-grip on that annual clash, though had Middies been able to put a couple of injured-starters on the field, it’s likely Annapolis woulda’ prevailed again for the 15th time in a row.  Nonetheless, the Platoon will be brimming with confidence for this one as the result. Assuming better ball-security, West Point could get its 8th victory and best SU win total since 10-2 season in 1996. UNT, completing the hat-trick of clubs with sub-.500 win-loss records (Hawaii was the first at 6-7) to bowl this year, makes first postseason since belting UNLV at this same venue in 2013. BTW, penalties against the Soldiers for also receiving Deacon-plays in advance are TBA.  Doin’ push-ups ‘til da’ bookies get tired, but gettin’ revenge for late-October 35-18 demise at Denton… Black Knights 31 Mean Green 13

Temple vs. Wake Forest (“under 41”): Deacons make first bowl since 2011, but youth on offense is painfully-obvious, in particular during 1-5 SU skid to end the year, scoring 14 or less in 5 of ‘em. Owls more-veteran D allowed cumulative 33 points over final five contests (all “under”, though three were “over” this minimal total)… Barnyard Fowl 27 Wake 7

Minnesota (+10) over Washington State: Coogs 23 Gophers 17

Boise State (-8) over Baylor: By our numbers, this duo posted a joint, wallet-wilting 6-16-1 record vs. the point-spread.  Broncos have the better defense, and while no longer an unknown-threat, Broncos should hem-in Bears, whose most-recent victory came on October 15 vs…Kansas, long-enough. Improved-times await first-year coach Jim Croce…(sing it with us…”If Iiiiiii could save tiiiiiiiime-outs…in a bot-tlllle…the First Down that I’d like to doooo…”)…um…Grobe…next season. For now, it’s “Motel 6…we’ll leave da’ light-beer on for ya!”…BSU 34 Ursines 20

DEC. 28
NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL (@ Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY)

Northwestern (+5 ½) over #22 Pittsburgh: Full disclosure? Ahead of line-publication, we were gonna’ back whichever club was gettin’ points here.  First ranked-team takes the stage on the bowl-season. Part of us applauds the renewal of the Pitt-Penn State rivalry series, while the other nine-tenths hopes the Wildcats mop da’ gridiron with da’ Panthers, who basically cost da’ Alma Mater a CFP-berth with three-point win at Heinz Field in early September. Wildcats lost by 4 at Columbus, while Pitt owns Clemson’s lone demise in 43-42 win. NW yielded more than 24 points just twice and held powerful Western Michigan to 22. Won’t shocked by the upset, but we’ll call it…Pittsburgh 23 Northwestern 20

Miami (-2 ½) over #14 West Virginia: Tough call given the pairing of squads that are combined 1-4 straight-up and 0-fer-five against the spread in their collective past ten bowls. Mounties’ only losses came to Oklahoma and at Oklahoma State. Scoring D was better-than-sufficient minus those two matches and 35-32 win over defense--minded BYU. “Mo” seems to minimally-favor da’ Canes, who won four consecutive conference games coming in over Morganbillies, who took four of final five Big Twelve games, but that record included a pasting of Kansas and narrow-victories over fading-clubs Texas and Baylor. Da’ U posted decisive-wins against fellow-bowlers Pitt and NC State. Pelicans QB Brad Kaaya was 5th-best QB in the ACC and showed worthy 23-7 TD-pass-to-INT ratio… Coral Gables 27 West-by not-da’ Godfather 21

Indiana vs. Utah (“under 54”): Hoosiers held Michigan to 20 points at Ann Arbor as one of seven games that finished below this total and just missed “under” this at Columbus, losing 38-17. Fer those of ya old-enough to remember the commercials-in-question (and the oil-can-like containers) “Fawster’s…Australian fer beer!”…Utah 24 Indy 23

Kansas State (+3) over Texas A&M: MINOR UPSET PICK OF DA’ “WEEK” #1. Part II best guess for “wish we had it back”, but in OT, we like…Purple Persians 30 Aggies 27
DEC. 29

BIRMINGHAM BOWL (@ Birmingham, AL)
South Carolina (+10 ½) over South Florida: Seriously-considered an “upset pick of da’ week” here as Gamecocks went 6-6 vs. a much-toucher schedule. USF’s coach has left da’ building (once more) for da’ five-point, greener pastures of Oregon. Sing it with us…”On da’ road again. It’s me, Willie Taggart, and I’m on da’ road again…”…Bulls 26 Poultry 21

BELK BOWL (@Charlotte, NC)
Arkansas (+7) over #18 Virginia Tech: UPSET PICK OF DA’ “WEEK”. Bacon Strips 29 Hokies 27

#13 Oklahoma State (+3) over #11 Colorado: MINOR UPSET PICK OF DA’ “WEEK” #2. Potentially the best of the pre-New Year’s Eve games. Previously, we made reference to 1980’s Colorado team, which was, of course, part of the Big Eight rather than da’ Big 12, which came-about in the mid-Nineties. Our bad. Cowpokes could post third 10-win season in four campaigns, while Bison get first bowl-appearance since 2007 and first opportunity to win a bowl since 2004. Buffs, who were chosen by respected-tout Phil Steele, to finish in a last-place tie with Arizona in the 12-PACK South (though nearly made his “most-improved” list) won ten games outright, covering nine (though 3 ATS defeats came over final five contests). Might come down to turnover-margin. Both sides throw fairly-well, but OKSU QB Mason Rudolph shows the edge at 25 touchdown passes vs. 4 INTs over collective CU 21-10 ratio, with starter Sefo Liufau garnering 11 scoring-throws and 6 picks.. Cowboys won three of five SU in the underdog-role (two vs. Top-25 opponents in Stillwater). Kicking-game definitely favors OKSU, with Bison nailing FGs at about 68% and having missed three-PATs. Steele suggested Colorado was a year-away from bowl-contention. We’ll tweak that slightly and say CU was a season-removed from a post-season triumph…Stillwater 31 Buffaloes 28

BTW, the former Wake Forest aide-in-question denied responsibility for the leak, blaming Russian hackers, Chinese hackers and Hillary Clinton’s personal e-mail account instead.

Continuing to take a few creative-liberties with one of our favorite Christmas TV shows/movies…”He parlayed and parlayed ‘til his forecast was sore. Then Da’ Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means running-up da’ score.”. “Then what happened next…down in Whoville, they say…was the Grinch’s hard-count drew three off-sides that day!”
A Canadian vendor in Anchorage, Alaska sells boots with button-activated, retractable spikes in the heels. Several NFL teams have contacted the salesman to inquire about applying the technology to pads and helmets!

On the big screen this weekend, Macaulay Culkin resurrects his role in…”Home-Game Alone”!
Pulling da’ string on da’ classic “See ‘N Say” toy (raise yer hand if ya had one of these back in the day!), we hear…”The referee says…’Upon further review, the call on the field tree-stands.’”

President-elect Trump, this week, appointed Florida Panthers team-owner Vincent Viola as Secretary of the Army. The former West-Pointer said his first priority would be to equip players and soldiers alike with camouflage hockey-sticks that included night-optical devices, grenade-launchers and selector-switches for single-shot or full rock-n-roll!
All Vindy wants fer Christmas is a highly-coveted spot on Carpool Karoake to sing Muskrat Love, Disco Duck, MMM-Bop and Dust In Da’ Vin!!

Bizarre random thought…if cheap pasta meets Olympic grappling…is it “Greco-Ramen wrestling”?!
“Locked in a Box?”:  Arkansas State (+5 ½) came through nicely, toppling UCF, lifting da’ lock tally to 8-7 (.533)    

Black Shirt: A seasonal “ugly sweater” version goes to Wyoming WR Tanner Gentry for a pair of late 4th-Quarter TD-catches that let the Cowboys (+8 ½) cover vs. BYU.
Shoppe Talk: The Houston Cougars get a holiday-berth for tagging us with fourth straight forecast loss (0-4, .000)

Vindy’s Bowl Predictions Part II Best Bets:       Last Week:  2-2   Season: 39-41 (.488)
Northwestern-Pitt “under 65 ½”, Indiana +7 over Utah, South Carolina-South Florida “under 61 ½”.

To all our loyal readers, we offer the annual Yuletide greeting…”Pass on Earth. Goodwill toward linemen.” And “have yerself a Vindy little Christmas.” We’ll back around December 29 with Part III of da’ bowl picks.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Vindy's Picks 2016-17 Bowl Predictions Part I

PASADENA, California (ITAR-Tass)…Following the successful appearance of its inflatable tanks, jets and mobile missile-launch systems, which Moscow-insiders claim  help keep foreign governments and intelligence agencies guessing about the true quantity and capability of its aging arsenal, in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, which President Vladimir Putin’s propaganda-machine hailed as a “show-of-force on American soil”, just in front of Santa’s traditional arrival at Herald Square, Russia will enter a similarly-designed float in the 2017 Tournament of Roses parade ahead of the USC-Penn State gridiron-clash in the 103rd Rose Bowl. Currently, the Soviet float-committee is working feverishly with FTS to acquire enough of the required-floral material to create the participant-platform in time.  
Basking in the correct double-pick of Army +6 over Navy and “under 47” last week and little left to lose facing a 118-124-5 (.487) deficit on the season, we’re pickin’ to the whistle, with…
(The preferred forecast of Russian hackers)

DEC. 17

Texas-San Antonio (+7) over NEW MEXICO: Lobos, who needed minor upset of Wyoming to end the regular-season to get here after losing 3 of first 4 this year outright, including road-defeats at New Mexico State and Rutgers, but going 5-1 in Albuquerque, play second bowl since 2007 and 4th straight in their own backyard. UNM boasts best rushing game in the nation, exceeding even Army and Navy.  We think Roadrunners would be competitive against all of New Mexico’s home-opponents except maybe Boise State (Lobos’ lone loss). UTSA posted 6 wins, including a pretty good Middle Tennessee State squad and lost by just 13 at Texas A&M. San Antone’s rush-defense ain’t bad at #48 in the country, allowing 157.8 yards per game, 4 yards per carry and just 18 touchdowns. Host-team shows just a pair of wins by more than 7…Wolves 38 Beep-Beep 34

Houston vs. San Diego State (“over 54”): Minus 16-point outing at SMU, Houston’s offense has been potent, while the Coogs also gave up a lotta’ points away from home. Aztecs lit it up too all season (17-3 win at Fresno too notwithstanding). Sudzu’s defense was stout most of the year, but allowed a combined 97 to Colorado State and Wyoming in late November, as well as 42 at South Alabama earlier. Houston can post back-to-back double-digit SU wins seasons by taking this…Cougars 37 State 34

Toledo (PK) over Appalachian State: Mudhens’ only defeats came to the two teams that played for the MAC Championship. Sing it with us, Elton John-fans…”She packed my baaaags last niiiight…pre-flight” 27 App State 24

Arkansas State (+5) over Central Florida: UPSET PICK OF DA’ BOWLS #1. Home-town, but not home-field advantage for da’ Knights, who went winless in 2015, limp-in after consecutive two-TD losses to Tulsa and South Florida. Red Wolves opened the year putting four straight in the “L” column, but tore-up the Fun Belt, going 7-1. On paper, it’s pretty-much even. If ASU can win the turnover-battle, they can carry out the hardware. In any case, we’ll take points…Arkansas State 28 UCF 24

R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL (@ New Orleans, LA) (Superdome)
UL-Lafayette (+4 ½) over Southern Miss: MINOR UPSET PICK OF DA’ “WEEK”. Phil Steele’s preseason choice to win the CUSA West fell short. Golden Iggles bookended sweet victories at Kentucky and against Louisiana Teck around 4-6 SU campaign. Ragin’ Cajuns garnered respect from Phil Steele, claiming #3 most-improved team in his preseason-mag ratings. Fifth straight appearance the Nawlins’ Bowl for Laugh-At-Us…whose won and covered the entire quad to-date…UL-Lafayette 31 Sudden Mist 23

DEC. 19

Central Michigan (+11 ½) over Tulsa: Golden Wave 34 CMU 24
DEC. 20

BOCA RATON BOWL (@ FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL)
Western Kentucky (-5) over Memphis: ‘Toppers’ D in most cases is serviceable. Western Kentucky hasn’t dented the board for less than fitty since late-September near-miss vs. Vandy. Tigers, who upset Houston in regular-season finale, have yielded 42 or more five times…WKU 49 Memphis 34

DEC. 21

Wyoming (+8 ½) over Brigham Young: We’ve stood behind the Cowboys most of the season. Not gonna’ stop now. Mormons entered the year having lost four straight neutral-site contests and did little to help that number, splitting games vs. Arizona and West Virginia on common-ground. BYU has been staunch on defense, going 7-4 “under”. Cougars haven’t bested their bowl-opponents or the line in each of the last three years. Wyoming has sent 10 games “over” this total and is 6-1 ATS as the ‘dog, winning five outright…BYU 26 Wyoming 21
DEC. 22

Idaho (+13 ½) over Colorado State: LOCK OF DA’ “WEEK”. Vandals have one more season after this one before takin’ it down a level and now they come to play? First post-season opportunity for Idaho since 2009 and second since 1998??!! We note that at 8-4 outright, Spuds recorded just 2-2 SU/1-2 ATS in non-Sun Belt play, but losses came in consecutive outings at CFP-contestant UDUB and Wazzou. Rams beat no one special until surprisingly-knocking-off New Mexico and San Diego State to finish out the slate. Only caveat on this pick is Idaho’s 21-point loss vs. Troy, but it came after tight 3-point road -win at UNLV…CSU 42 Idaho 34

DEC. 23

Old Dominion (-4) over Eastern Michigan: Virtually no bowl game experience in this match-up. ODU makes inaugural bowl since joining FBS. Iggles see first post-season berth in damn-near half-a-century (last showing up in 1987 California Bowl). Eight-win Panthers entered season covering just once in eight non-conference tries and did nothing to reverse that trend, going 1-2 ATS in other-than-CUSA-play in 2016 and come in off puzzling two-score loss to Florida International in finale, but…Old Denomination 34 EMU 27

Louisiana Tech vs. Navy (“over 66”): With Middies QB Will Worth in da’ line-up, this woulda’ been an easy “over”. Without him, it’s just a tad-bit more in doubt and Zack Abey won’t get any more prep than the usual week since Middies played Army last Saturday. Nonetheless, Ensigns have advantage in their opponents’ relative-unfamiliarity with the option, with LT last facing Army in early 2013. In addition, even with Worth under center, Navy’s ground-game wasn’t grinding-out low-scoring wins vs. the more high-powered offenses they faced. Meanwhile, Bulldogs are not anywhere near the same defensive-mindset as Temple or Army. In da’ broadcast-booth of the Army-Navy classic, the Donald quipped …“I don’t know if it is necessarily the best football…”. Accurate or not, gotta’ figure that quote’s been plastered all over da’ Sailors’ (and Soldiers’) bulletin-board since loss to Army. Boat People’s 3-0 SUATS tally in past three years’ bowls prohibits us from making LT -3 ½ the official selection… Weeziana Tech 41 Swabbies 34

Troy (-3 ½) over Ohio: Best guess for “wish we had it back”. Despite a 35-3 loss mid-November home-defeat by streaking-Arkansas State club, we like Troy’s 6-point road loss at now-CFP #2-seed Clemson over Bobblecats’ 9-point road-loss at now-AP Poll vote-less Tennessee and 6-point defeat by Western Michigan in MAC Title game because season-opening 3OT 56-54 boo-boo vs. Texas State to start the year still haunts us (and hey, a couple of faves have to come through, right??!!!). Game-contestants get 15 minutes to wander through said-sponsor’s brick-and-mortar and grab everything they want off the shelves as bowl-swag!…Troy 24 Ohio U. 19
DEC. 24

HAWAI’I BOWL (@ Honolulu, HI)
Middle Tennessee State @ HAWAI’I: OFF (Taking a few liberties with a ring-side sequence from Rocky IV…Rocky:I see three of ‘em out there”. Paully…”Hit da’ one in da’ Middle Tennessee State”.)

BTW, U.S. military forces will ensure local parade-goers, as well as fans of both teams will be armed with spray-bottles of bleach or salt & vinegar in the event the float-in-question becomes a threat to national security! Meanwhile, classified intel indicates the former USSR will try to infiltrate the Grand-Marshal spot, attempting to replace Olympic gold-medalist swimmer Janet Evans with…Anna Kournikova!

Given injuries to starting and back-up players at the position, Vindicator has battled TE Trey Burton all week for the right to be the long-snapper for the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Baltimore!  Coach Pederson said it’ll be a game-time decision!
With all-apologies to LifeLock…”Vindy’s not a handicapper. He’s a handicap-monitor. He only alerts sports-gamblers when there’s a point-spread…’There’s a point-spread.’”

Seven turnovers in an Army-Navy game? Surprising. What’s not surprising?...How much money Vindy saved by switchin’ to GEICO.
Just after the 2016 New Year, North Korea issued a statement saying it “could wipe out Manhattan”. The Jaspers hoops team quickly responded, saying “Bring it on!”

Black Shirt: Goes to Army QB Ahmad Bradshaw, whose three turnovers killed an equal number of Cadets’ drives and led to only seven Navy-points, helping keep the final score under 47.
Vindy’s Bowl Predictions Part I Best Bets:       Last Week: 0-0 Season: 37-39 (.487)

Texas-San Antonio-NEW MEXICO “over 62 ½”, Southern Mist-UL-Lafayette “under 58”, Idaho-Colorado State “over 64 ½”, Troy-Ohio “under 48 ½”.