Thursday, January 15, 2015

Vindy's Picks 2014-15 Bowl Recap


COLLEGE PLAYOFF TO ABSORB TRAVEL COSTS
ARLINGTON, Texas (CNN)…The College Football Playoff has agreed to foot the bill for travel expenses incurred by up to two family members per player who attend the National Championship game, to a maximum of $1250 each. Following that announcement, an anonymous pilot snickered, saying, “Just twelve-fitty?! On our airlines, that’d buy the plane ticket, one trip to da’ potty, half-a-can of Coke, a pillowcase and a defective oxygen mask falling in the event of sudden-loss of altitude!” The charitable move, however, comes with some caveats.  Passengers must fly QANTAS or Lufthansa and endure multiple changeovers in Melbourne, London, Toronto and Mexico City before settling into hotel accommodations at Motel 6. The small print also suggests they’ll “leave the light on for ya” but that’s not included in the reimbursement!

Meanwhile back in Vegas…even Ickey Woods won’t celebrate…
THE WEBER KID’S 2014-15 BOWL RECAP

(Relying on North Korean proxy servers to hide its true identity!)
We finished the season the same way we started it…poorly. Bowl picks record…2-2 in Part I, 2-4 in Part II (which included Penn State punishing this disloyal alum, winning outright by takin’ it to Da’ House That Ruth Buzzi Built vs. Boston College) and 0-fer-5 in Part III ahead of the contest for the crown. Tack on the wrong side-selection in the championship game and the final tally is 4-12 (.250). Layin’ 6 ½ with Oregon, the Ducks effortlessly took the opening possession deftly down the field, despite a pair of near-fumbles, to score a touchdown, making us look like a genius and led to the silver “feathers” on Oregon’s helmets eliciting images of Dexter’s kill-knives or at least Freddy Krueger’s weapons-of-choice. But by halftime, the Mallards receiving-corps would drop several passes and the D was unable to stop the Buckeyes’ ground game, leaving the Quack Attack down 11 and their headgear logos more-reminiscent of a 5-year-old’s hand-traced turkey template! When the game ended, the Drakes’ vaunted “tempo” turned out to be little more than a watered-down “tempera” paint-job. BTW, the Lions basketball  team piled-on, losing twice as small faves at Rutgers and in Happy Valley vs. Michigan after we put money down backin’ the Alma Mater in both of those contests! PSU did however cover +7 in a 3-point loss at Indiana this week, which coupled with Virginia Tech’s 15-point defeat at Louisville as a 22-point ‘dog allowed us to cash another hoops parlay. If yer scorin’ at home, the underdogs went 24-15 ATS for the bowl season, winning 21 outright, not unlike last year’s 18-17 ATS, with 16 SU victories. After being made the underdog 11 times in as many bowls, including Ohio State +6 (+5 ½ at some ‘books around town) in the championship game, went 6-5 straight up, covering 7 of ‘em! Also as mentioned, the SEC was 14-7 SU coming into this postseason, but went just 2-2, with Wisconsin avenging its early loss to LSU by beating Auburn in OT and Missouri getting payback for a defeat by Indiana, knocking off Minnesota (along with OSU’s win over ‘Bama and Tennessee’s victory vs. Iowa).

BETWEEN THE HASHMARKS
(The preferred reading-material of Aaron Wroggers and alleged-assassin/former Kurt Busch squeeze Patricia Driscoll!)

After notchin’ the semi-final triumph vs. the Crimson Bridesmaid, Urban Meyer vowed to get a tattoo if his guys won the title. Inquiring minds wanna’ know what design he’s getting done and more-importantly, the location of said tramp-stamp. Given the talent on the OSU roster, Coach could end up lookin’ like Robert DeNiro’s “Max Cady” from Cape Fear by the end of the decade!
A classic James Bond flick meets the college football postseason in “Bowled-finger” (featuring an evil henchman named “Odds-Job”!)

In a reference back to last week’s lead story about M&Ms…if fans find specially-marked free-throw mix packages devoid of any candy-pieces bearing hoops symbols or team logos, will they chant “Airrrrr balllll….airrrrrrrrr… ballllllllll…airrrrrrr balllllllll……”?!
BTW, Hans und Franz wanted to replace Aaron Rodgers with Vindy! They may want to rethink that as our fab forecaster rehearsed…Vindy wants to pump you up. Vindy wants to pump you up. Vindy wants to pump you up.

A late 4th Quarter penalty vs. the Ravens flashed on the TV screen as “Block in the Back- 36 Miles”. “36 Miles” was, in fact, simply the uni number and last name of the offending player, but we initially thought that after the yardage was marked off, down-and-distance for Baltimore was gonna’ be…1st-and-Cape Cod!

It had been suggested that a key to the Dallas Cowboys’ post-season success was team-stretching via use of ballerina bars (those long rails in front of mirrors, as featured in such film-classics as “Saturday Night Fever”). While “America’s Team” thrived early based on “Romo & Juliet* and Don Quixote’s “Lineman of La Mancha”, ultimately, they ended up in Green Bay with…”The Nutcracker”!
Serena Williams credits a recent comeback in a tennis match after dropping the initial 6-zip to courtside cup o’ Joe during a break. Given the multitude of crazy rallies during the bowls, we think baristas covertly changed the beverage in the Gatorade buckets to from the sports-drink to Starbucks java!

We predict, in a rare #1 seed vs. #2 seed match-up, the Patriots will upend the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX
We also think that on February 2, Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow, portending 6 more weeks ‘til March Madness!

We caught the following Reuters headline in an edition of the Las Review Review-Journal earlier last month… ”Sweeping changes in store for Olympics”, but enough about the curling events! BTW, the South Point Casino is leading the charge to get the Nevada Gaming Control Board to approve betting on Olympic events. If the change is approved, Vindy’s gonna’ be first-in-line to place a futures wager on the Columbian women’s hockey team to bring home da’ gold!
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.)

Football meets a certain improv-comedy show…”Whose Offensive Linemen Is It Anyway?!”
In August, Syracuse got the label of #1 party-school in the U.S by The Princeton Review. “Orange is Da’ New Jack Daniels Black???!!!”

Katy Perry has been tabbed to do the halftime show of 2015 Super Bowl and will be joined by Robin Thicke for a rousing version of “Blurred Lines of Scrimmage”. The underdog, will, of course, request “Dark Horse”…and one of the two teams involved will end up singing “The One That Got Away”! If she breaks into “Last Friday Night”, will we hear her say “I think we passed, but I forgot…”?
This summer, Chad Johnson debuted with his new team in CFL…the Montreal Alouettes. “Chad Ontario Cinco”??!

ESPN sportscaster Dick Vitale was spotted at one of Elton John’s gigs in April at Caesar’s Palace. Sensing a waning in the headliner’s performance, Dickie V quipped…”better call a *T.O*, Blue-jean babiiiiiiiiiiiiie!”
On April 23, 2014, venerable Wrigley Field turned 100, which was also the Vegas over/under on number of games Da’ Cubbies would put in the loss-column this past season!

Sin City hopes to eventually build a downtown arena that will be home to a Major League Soccer club. We think “Vegas Vuvuzela Horns” has a nice ring!
Uruguay star striker Luis Suarez said “I lost my balance” as the excuse for biting the shoulder of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during World Cup play in June. Third time he’s been penalized for biting. Vindy offered a similar reason for biting his bookie following Week One’s disaster! We’re wonderin’ if Suarez trains with…Mike Tyson???!! Does he get a pre-match meal???!!

Mid-November saw the District of Columbia host the National Championship of Lady Arm Wrestlers. For fans of a certain Sly Stallone film…had the event been held here in Vegas, we suspect it woulda’ billed as “Over the Topless”!
A snowflake failed to morph into an Olympic ring during the Winter Games opening ceremonies in February. Similarly, Vindy’s Picks failed to materialize at the beginning of the 2014 season! (It was supposed to mutate into a giant parlay card!)

BTW, the Sochi Games unveiled the debut of “team figure skating”. We’d been more likely to tune-in had it been “tag-team” figure skating!
“Don’t just visit Vindy’s Picks…Visit Tripadvisor Vindy’s Picks!”

Lake Superior State University (a projected #16 seed in the upcoming 2015 NCAA Tournament….NOT!) released its 40th annual list of words that should be banned from da’ Queen’s English “for overuse, misuse and general uselessness”. Among the terms-in-question are…”curated” (which we think was actually a misspelling of “carotid” [as in artery] or CURAD [what’s the beef with ouchless-bandaids???!!!]), “takeaway” (Really?! Somebody objects to references to turnovers?!), “swag” (known by tabloid-reading fans of “the beautiful game” around the globe as an acronym for “soccer wives and girlfriends” and as slang for gifts given to college football postseason players by bowl game sponsors), “hack” (Basketball fans unite! Who didn’t love a broadcast-commentary about “Hack-A-Shaq” or at least “da’ hoop and da’ hack”!?) and maybe closest to home…some sports team-hyphenated “nation” reference???!!! Being perfectly-honest, we have never uttered or typed “Vindy-Nation”….but we’re grateful to those of you who might have!!!!
Despite the 2014-15 campaign results, we plan to return next season with our regular full-blown format, so with all apologies to Meghan Trainor, sing it with us….”Because we’re all about dat’ Tays, ‘bout dat’ Tays…no trouble… we’re all about dat’ Tays, ‘bout dat’ Tays…no trouble … we’re all about dat’ Tays, ‘bout dat’ Tays…no trouble… we’re all about dat’ Tays, Tays, Tays, Tays..…we’re bringin’ Vindy baaaaaaaack!!” (Still better than bein’ all about da’ taze!). Or if ya remember a diminutive Boston College QB well-known for a famous Hail Mary touchdown… ”We’re bringin’ Flutie baaaaaaaaaaaaack!”

And with that, Sportsfans…we leave you, until August, with our traditional Irish blessing…”May the road ‘dog rise up to beat you.” (Somethin’ like that!)

Air Forecast One has gone “wheels up”!

 

 

 

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Vindy's Picks 2014-15 National Championship Prediction


GRIDIRON GIG DRAWS HARDWOOD FANS TO CANDY-MAKER
MC LEAN, Virginia (Reuters)…The M&Ms gimmick package, known as the “touchdown mix”, showcasing the traditional M-symbol surrounded by footballs, goal-posts and helmets, and can be customized to show logos and names of 32 NFL teams, became so popular that fans have petitioned the company into doing something similar for college hoops. The candy giant is planning a “free-throw mix”, featuring basketballs, backboards and three-point arcs, including a special 2015 NCAA Tournament edition. While employees are currently developing proto-types of the candy bearing emblems of all 351 Division I-A men’s basketball squads, the real challenge comes on Selection Sunday. Staff will be on standby as the brackets are announced to add teams’ respective seeds for the 68 clubs that make it, then separate those into the special limited-time only bags, because after-all, the “M’s” in M&Ms actually stand for “March Madness”!

THE WEBER KID’S 2014-15 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP PREDICTION
                                                    (Featuring some science and a little…Kentucky windage!)
#3 Oregon (-6 ½) over #5 Ohio State (75): Under the now-defunct Bowl Concubine Series, Da’ Seminoles, as the only regular-season undefeated Power Five conference team would likely be facing one-loss ‘Bama for the crown, while the Ducks and Buckeyes would’ve already played in the Rose Bowl. But both the Tide and FSU have been dismissed. Buckeyes carryin’ the banner fer the Big Tempura, but a State victory would change the conference moniker to Bling Ten! Somewhere in da’ City of Brotherly Love, former Drakes coach Chip Kelly is smiling at the success of a program he helped to become prominent. Ducks continue to go fer two on opening TDs, which makes us crazy and shouts “arrogance” (or what the talkin’ heads call “swagger”!). From a more objective view, it says “if we’re successful, pressure’s on you and even if we fail on the two-point conversion, we also have enough belief in our team that we’ll still out-score yer a$$!” History doesn’t favor either side, as collectively, the two contestants have failed to secure a victory in their last three combined trips to the title match (Buckeyes lost following the 2006 and 2007 campaigns by double-digits, while Oregon lost 22-19 to Auburn after the 2010 season). Both also represent their conference’s most-recent opportunity to win it all. We’re just happy we ain’t watchin’ yet-another game for the whole enchilada includin’ one or more SEC teams! Shaun King of Yahoo Sports said following State’s defeat of Alabama…”Urban Meyer pulled a rabbit out of his hat.” We’re not convinced that a hat was the location from which Coach extracted said-bunny. In fact, we think Meyer is fresh outta’ hares and headgear! A 3rd-string QB, who’s done naught but led his squad past Wisconsin and the Tide, takes on Oregon’s Heisman-winner. Ducks will have to slow OSU’s running-threat and carry-on the “bend-but-don’t-break” philosophy on D. Buckeyes need to avoid penalties and burn clock. Jones has to continue just managing the game as he has been (4 passing TDs, 1 INT, no lost fumbles, 70% completion rate vs. Wisconsin, 51% vs. ‘Bama). Money comin’ in hot on the “over” (opened 71 ½, now 75), though 4 of the last 6 went “under” the total and just 2 of the last 12 have equaled or exceeded this number. In fact, the other 10 weren’t even in grenade-range of this total. Two of the last 4 were decided by 3 points, while 6 of the last 8 were decided by double-digits. Title game favorites have won 6 of the last 7, covering 5 of ‘em. We seriously wanna’ go with our conference-allegiance and let the B1G 10 freak-flag fly, but…Donald & Friends 43 Brutus 31
BETWEEN THE HASHMARKS

BTW, rumor has it MARS, the parent-company of M&Ms, plans to take a page from the old 1970’s and 1980’s trading-card marketing strategy by implementing foil-embossed and hologram “chase” pieces with images of players, coaches and cheerleaders as collectors’ items. In addition, each piece will contain part of a scene on the backside and will form a picture of The Partridge Family’s David Cassidy if ya line ‘em up altogether right! Collect ‘em all!!!
Asked about his prediction for the big game, Sir Mix-A-Lot said…“I like..big…ducks and I cannot liiiiie… baaaaaby… got… quaaaaaack!”

Nebraska was one of the few bright spots for us since bowl season began, almost upsetting USC in the Nazgul University Holiday Bowl!
The Florida State band played Beyonce’s “Single-Ladies” at halftime of da’ Rose Bowl. ‘Noles were down just five at the break, but it was “all da’ Seminole ladies” that took the field in the second half! And State liked it so much, they put a bathtub ring on it!!!

Happy Nude Year?! Given the success of 2014’s Discovery Channel’s “Naked and Afraid”, TLC’s “Buying Naked”, VH1’s “Dating Naked”….in 2015, Vindy’s gonna’ debut …“Pickin’ Nekkid”!
On the big-screen, or at least on Netflix and pay TV,…(for a limited-audience only)…the CIA enlists a couple of idiots to pick-off a pass by Kim Jong Un in…“The Interceptionview!”…

In the days leading up to Christmas, a man claiming to be Kris Kringle worked the sportsbook at the Westgate Las Vegas casino resort, formerly the LVH (AKA Las Vegas Hilton), but directed bettors to other casinos if they had a better line, saying it was all about winning enough money to get the presents that made the kids happy! Impact was so great, Westgate, subsequently known as “da’ sportsbook with a heart”, seriously-increased its patronage! The Santa-wannabe (might-be???!!!)  even spoke Dutch to re-route a tourist from Holland who spoke no English to a more-beneficial casino!
BTW when Vindy thought about you, he touched his elf!

Tune-in one last time a couple days following completion of the National Title game for our final Bowl Recap and leftover “hash”!

 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Vindy's Picks 2014-15 Bowl Predictions Part III


HIDDEN PERK IN AIRPORT SCANNERS BENEFITS SCOUTS
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AP)…Once the stuff of sci-fi books, films and TV, iris scans are now operational in nearly a dozen airports across the nation. But not only do they verify the identity of the traveler, they detect, predict and record information about players’ likelihood to succeed or fail, including Wonderlic scores, graduation possibilities, tendencies toward scoring or turnovers and potential off-the-field issues. College recruiters are already saving a bundle on costs of transportation and hosting of athletes by meeting them at the airport security areas prior to boarding. NFL scouts are planning to implement similar strategies ahead of April’s draft!

THE WEBER KID’S 2014-15 BOWL PREDICTIONS (PART III)
                                                           (Takin’ more people “for a ride” than Uber!)

JAN. 1
COTTON BOWL (@ Arlington, TX)

#4 Baylor-#7 Michigan State “under” 69 ½: A pairing of Bears’ top-ranked scoring offense (48.8 ppg) and Spartans #7 scoring offense (43.1 ppg) makes this an easy “over”, right?! Wrong-o!!! Mark Dantonio knows a track-meet spells doom for his Spartans, so they’ll have to play keep-away from Bears’ Bryce Petty and company to have any shot to win this. Both defenses played reasonably-well much of the year. State faltered badly only in the 4th Quarter at Oregon (yielding a game-long total of 46) and vs. Ohio State (giving up 49), while da’ Bears were touched for 58 by TCU, 41 at West Virginia and 46 against Texas Tech. Baylor’s last three post-season outings have produced three final scores exceeding this total (125, 75 and 94), but Spartans will play their 8th consecutive bowl, with just one surpassing this number (combining with Texas Tech in 2009 for 72 points). The MSU defensive coordinators will study film of Baylor’s contests vs. the Longhorns and Mountaineers, who both held the Bears’ production to mid-20’s, and da’ Bears OC has moved on to Tulsa, leaving Art Briles’ son calling the plays on offense…Baylor 34 Michigan State 24

CAPITAL ONE BOWL (@ Orlando, FL)
Minnesota +4 ½ over #16 Missouri: We wrote-off Mizzou back in late August and all the Tigers did was win the SEC East behind inconsistent-but-sufficient sophomore QB Maty Mauk and reeled off six straight victories before bad loss to ‘Bama in conference title match. In each of Coach Jerry Kill’s four years, Golden Gerbils have increased scoring and decreased opponent-scoring (though they regressed 1 ppg this season that area). Gophers won 8 games in the regular season, including 28-24 at Nebraska sandwiched between competitive losses to Ohio State and at Wisconsin. Minny is run-heavy, while Tigers ((12-4 ATS vs. non-conference the past 4 years) show more balance (though still rank 82nd in passing yards). Neither club will show much confidence in the FG units (collectively just 27 of 40, 67.5%), so expect multiple efforts to go for it on 4th Down (combined, the two teams converted 19 of 23, 82.6%). Mizzou, having won their post-season outings in 2011 and 2013, go for the hat-trick, but we anticipate a better effort for Minnesota, trying to stop an 0-6 bowl-game skid dating back to 2005, and we won’t make it an official pick, but think the “under” 48 is also worth considering (Tigers finished this season 3-8-1 “under” the totals). What’s in yer Wahlburger?!…Mizzou 23 Minnesota 20

ROSE BOWL (@ Pasadena, CA)
#2 Florida State +8 ½ over #3 Oregon: Inaugural CFP semi-final #1. In all honesty, we won’t be droppin’ dollars on this one or on the Sugar Bowl prediction later in this forecast, but with the significance of both games, we’ll propose our best guess for each one. No question, Oregon possesses the best offense State will have faced this season and FSU went a wallet-wilting 3-9 against the spread while looking very vulnerable much of the year. But as long as Houdini, Penn & Teller, Criss Angel and MacGyver are wearin’ chinstraps on the Seminoles sideline, there’s a chance they’ll walk away with the win. The Chop has put 29 straight games in the victory-column (and 34 of last 35), Fisher just got a nice shiny new contract extension and Winston’s wearin’ a Dungeons & Dragons-worthy cloak of invulnerability vs. legal issues after being cleared in a code-of-conduct hearing, so State, who’s won six straight bowls (covering 5), should be focused if Jameis doesn’t escape his 24-hour guard by climbin’ out a window, shimmyin’ down the lattice-work and commandeerin’ a parade-float for a joy-ride before pre-game warm-ups.  Ducks avenged their only loss of year by blowing out Arizona to win the PAC-12 and Marcus Mariota will audition for his already-secured spot on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ roster…FSU 34 Quack Attack 31

SUGAR BOWL (@ New Orleans, LA)
#1 Alabama-#5 Ohio State (under 58): Crimson Typhoid has lost exactly one game to a non-SEC opponent in the last six seasons (to Oklahoma in last year’s Sugar Bowl; and had won four consecutive bowls by double-digits until that defeat as well). Despite Buckeyes going 11-2 to the “over” thus far this season, we note State is down to its 3rd-string QB…making his second-ever start. OSU has allowed an average of a little more than 21 ppg, while ‘Bama has given up just over 16 ppg, even accounting for unusual 44 to Auburn. Buckeyes bring 8th-best rushing offense while Tide sports 28th-best. Much like above-mentioned Gophers-Tigers match, neither team here will readily trot out their kickers for FG-attempts with any regularity and will more-likely punt the ball away and play field-position. Given State’s last three bowl defeats by 3, 7 and 5 and factoring the decreased-importance of style-points for ‘Bama, we’ll also take an unofficial gander at the ‘dog with the points. Meanwhile…“Puttin’ on the Ritz” meets Alabama’s Heisman-candidate wide receiver…”…tryin’ hard to look like Amari Coooo-ooper!?” and one need not look any further than…Tide 14-13 over Arkansas,  20-13 over LSU and 25-20 over Mississippi State as precedents for… Alabama 27 Ohio State 20

JAN. 2
ALAMO BOWL (@ San Antonio, TX)

#11 Kansas State (-1) over #14 Ucla: Just a major gut-feelin’ here, and one that’s been gnawing at us from the git-go. Purple Persians have posted 8 or more spread-wins in each of the last 4 years and would make it 9 for the first time since 2011 with the win and cover here. State absorbeEve d early 6-point defeat to Auburn off tougher than expected win at Iowa State in September, and late November losses at TCU (by..OUCH!...21) and at Baylor (by 11). Back-to-back home-losses to Utah (by 2) and Oregon (by 12) took the Bruins outta’ CFP discussion in early October. Bruins did win all three non-conference games on the 2014 campaign…edging Virginia on the road, Memphis at home and Texas on a “neutral” field. While not generally among the nation’s leaders in passing yardage, UCLA QB Brett Hundley shows a nice 21-5 TD-to-Pick ratio. The problem? Sacked 35 times! KSU went “over” this total (59) in nine games this season. Bruins surpassed this number six times. We’d lean toward an “over” as well…Kansas State 38 UCLA 33
BETWEEN THE HASHMARKS

With some of the New Year’s contests still undecided, we’ll offer more details on our cumulative bowl picks record in our next post, but we’ll note we suffered the baddest beat of the postseason thus far backing Western Kentucky -3 ½ over Central Michigan. If ya haven’t seen it/read about it… the Hilltoppers, up 49-42 late, won 49-48 following a redonkulous Hail Mary/hook-and-ladder hybrid TD by CMU with the last tick left on the game clock at its own 25 in the Popeye’s BOHICA Bowl!
Apparently some butter was originally gonna’ be among the pilfered items by Jameis Winston along with the seafood during the April shoplifting incident. But the ‘Noles QB said he decided not to take the butter and put it in a sales bin rather than return it to the dairy cooler. However, he was not outside the tackle box and drew a flag for intentional grounding.

In a late June ish of Gaming Today, Rich Saber noted that SEC teams have defeated Big Tent-Peg opponents outright in 13 of the last 19 contests from 2011-2013. Thus far in 2014 regular-season…Louisiana State edged Wisconsin 28-24 and Indiana beat MISSOURI 31-27 to make it 14 SEC victories in 21 tries, suggesting statistically, one more Big Tinnitus member could manage a straight-up triumph in the remaining four match-ups (Wisconsin-Auburn, Minnesota-Mizzou, Ohio State-‘Bama and Iowa-Tennessee).
Auburn’s preparing to face Wisconsin in da’ Outback Bowl…to which we say… “No rules, just wide-right!” BTW, the 50th Anniversary ish of Sports Illustrated  earlier in 2014 featured the Barbie doll, but red-blooded American males woulda’ been more-drawn to photos of Outback’s “Shrimp on da’ Barbie”!

Stay tuned! We’ll back before January 12th with our opinions on the national championship game!

 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Vindy's Picks 2014-15 Bowl Predictions Part II


PRESIDENT RUES PROGNOSTICATOR’S EARLY OPT-OUT
WASHINGTON, District of Columbia (TMZ)…After addressing Sony’s initial decision to scuttle the cinematic-release  of “The Interview”, President Obama said he was also taken aback that  the Weber Kid did not consult him prior to pulling the plug on the full-blown version of Vindy’s Picks for the year in September following two poor weeks to start the season! The Commander-in-Chief noted that it set a bad precedent to let a couple of sub-par outings dictate the season’s prediction-efforts as at least a handful of readers, including the First Family, eagerly-anticipated the weekly top 25 forecast and considered those selections in-depth before making their own NCAA pigskin wagers! Ironically, Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin joined Obama in solidarity on this topic!

Bust out the bowl of Witch-hazel nuts, cue-up Little Janitor-in-a-Drummer Boy on the Victrola and figure out which presents under the tree contain the “I Am Groot” plush toy, the highly-coveted Fisher-Price Tickle Me Olaf LEGO set and…

THE WEBER KID’S 2014-15 BOWL PREDICTIONS (PART II)
(An essential part of every Stovetop Stocking Stuffer!)

DEC. 26
HEART OF DALLAS BOWL (@ Dallas, TX)

Illinois +6 over Louisiana Tech: Certainly a more-intriguing contest than last year’s North Texas-UNLV match-up in this venue. We respect Weeziana Tech, who opened the year playing four of first five on the road, winning two, but the Bulldogs step-up in class just a bit and  face a perhaps-underrated Illini team that was competitive in throughout the year other than blowout losses at Nebraska and Ohio State. Tech hung with Marshall most of the way in a 26-23 CUSA Championship game loss, but also shows outright defeats by I-AA Northwestern State and Old Dominion. Big Tenderizer got no love from the lines-makers, with all nine B10 bowlers tabbed as underdogs. We see this as one of the best chances for the conference to notch a straight-up win…Illinois 34 LT 31
DEC. 27

PINSTRIPE BOWL (@ Bronx, NY)
Boston College -3 over Penn State: Hanging our head in shame, we confess this was the first post-season bowl-wager we made when the initial lines came out and had BC at -2 ½.  Lions’ Christian Hackenberg got praise early-on about perhaps being the best quarterback in the Big Tentacle conference, but a promising 4-0 start fizzled to a 6-6 finish and a 2-5-1 ATS record over the final 8. Steve Addazio improved the Eagles by 8 ppg on offense and 1 ppg on D in his rookie season last year as head coach, and this year helped his club go 3-1 SU/2-1 ATS in non-conference play, including a home-win over USC. BC also took CFP #3-seed Florida State to the brink before dropping a 20-17 decision. Our only concern with this choice is the recent bulletin-board material tweeted by BC, directly addressing the bowl game’s hardware and noting it would soon make a home in the trophy case on campus in Chestnut Hill …Eagles 17 Nittany Lions 10

Boston College-Alma Mater “under” 40: There are reasons that this is the lowest over/under of all 38 bowls. With a few notable exceptions, neither offense has been able to consistently drive the ball down the field without gettin’ help from ride-sharin’ company Uber! Meanwhile, Penn State boasts the nation’s best rush D (allowing 84.8 ypg and 12 rushing touchdowns allowed). Eagles just two spots lower at #3 (95.5 ypg and 14 ground scores). Neither squad has been jumpin’ out to big leads early and forcing opponents to abandon the run. Lions went 8-4 “under” the total in the regular season. BC allowed 30 or more four times, but averaged just north of 14 ppg in the other seven games. Factor in the cold weather at Yankee Stadium and again, we call…BC 17 PSU 10
HOLIDAY BOWL (@ San Diego, CA)

#25 Nebraska +7 over #24 Southern Cal: Despite loss of their head coach (as we noted last week), who’s now drawin’ up X’s and O’s for Grimace and da’ Hamburglar , Huskers have enough on offense with RB Ameer Abdullah (4th best rusher in the Big Tentative Conference) , dual-threat QB Tommy Armstrong (#13 rushing yards in the B10) and 700+ receiving yards from WR Kenny Bell (an option that will help keep Trojans’ D honest) to keep this one close enough or even to allow NU to post third 10-win season in five years. USC will feature WR Nelson Agholor, who has 97 catches for over 1200 yards (#10 in the nation), but gave up 30 sacks. The offenses will face defenses that excel against each other’s strengths, so both sides will need to reduce penalties, with both teams averaging almost 9 hankies a game. Three of Southern Cal’s four SU defeats came on the road. Corncobs struggled to 1-2 finish, going to OT to beat Iowa and avoid a three-game swoon, but have knocked off  15 of its last 19 non-conference opponents…Troy 28 Big Dread 24
DEC. 31

FIESTA BOWL (@ Glendale, AZ)
#12 Arizona -3 ½ over #21 Boise State: These ain’t yer Daddy’s Broncos. They pummeled their way through a Mountain Jest Conference on a down-year and this much lines-maker love is the result of historical results (see 2009 Fiesta Bowl win over then-#3 TCU). The ‘Cats went into Eugene in early October to hand Mallards only defeat on the year, but paid the price in revenge-game for Pac-12 title. AZ also shoulda’ beaten USC, but ended pre-conference title game season on 4-0 SU run, including a demolition of Utah in Salt Lake. Broncos opened the year with a 22-point loss to Ole Miss and later fell to Air Force by two touchdowns. State’s best win on the slate might be 37-24 victory over Colorado State…Arizona 31 Boise State 24

ORANGE BOWL (@ Miami Gardens, FL)
#10 Georgia Tech +7 over #7 Mississippi State: We think this one’s a matter of motivation. While the Orange Bowl ain’t a bad consolation prize, it ain’t the playoff spot the Bulldogs had been eye-ballin’ all year until the loss in the Egg Bowl, forcing them to watch SEC West rival ‘Bama play for the big one…again! Bees will use nation’s second-best rushing game to try and keep the ball outta’ Dak Prescott’s hands. State lit-up the weaker defenses on the schedule to reach its first 10-win season since 1999, but was held to 20 points or less in three of final five games. Tech narrowly-missed the ACC title, losing by 2 vs. Florida State. Bees, 13-6-1 ATS in last 20 facing non-conference clubs, went money-makin’ 9-3 ATS overall this this season, took out one SEC team in the road-win over Joja’ and are drooling at the prospect of making it two!...MSU 31 GT 28

BETWEEN THE HASHMARKS
BTW, Mickey’s D’s is currently removing eight items from its menu, so it appears Coach is already dismissing the slackers! Meanwhile, not to be outdone, Burger King has brought back the YumBo Pelini sandwich!

Santa’s makin’ a list…and hip-checkin’ it twice!
Yes, Vindy is the kinda’ person you should give underwear to this Christmas!

Utah WR Kaelin Clay, who infamously dropped the ball before breaking the plane on what woulda’ been a TD reception vs. Oregon, did not score in the Utes’ rout of Colorado State in the Las Vegas Bowl, but had he found himself again with a clear path to pay-dirt, Clay planned to secure the ball across the goal line, out the back of the end zone, into the tunnel and up the stairs to the Mezzanine-level of Sam Boyd Stadium before relinquishing possession!
Vindy doesn’t always watch the New Orleans Bowl, but when he does, it’s played in increments of French quarters!

Johnny Manziel was spotted cuddlin’ with a TCU student in July. Apparently a Horned Frog has found her prince?! Nevermind the blasphemy of a former-Aggie canoodling with someone from a different in-state school…fast-forward to December and unfortunately, the Browns can’t say likewise following Manziel’s recent starts for Cleveland.
As Texas gets ready to take on Arkansas in the December 29 Texas Bowl following another disappointing season at 6-6 (lowest win-loss record since 2010’s 5-7), in Charlie Strong’s first year at the helm, we note the state name was  misspelled in da’ Longhorns media guide as “texsasports.com”, the Steers went 0-fer-da’ NFL Draft in April…the first goose-egg since 1937… and the Lone Star State decided to stop requiring Algebra II in its high school curriculums. Thank goodness! Understanding X’s and O’s is tough enough without having to solve for X first!

Wunderdog Sports Picks notes that since 2006, conference title game runners-up have finished 20-2 “under” the total when playing their post-season match in December. Potential 2014 qualifiers in this category: Bowling Green (finished “over” 53 in its minor upset win 33-28 against South Alabama), Fresno State (59, vs. Rice), Weeziana Tech (58, vs. Illinois), Arizona (68, vs. Boise State) and Joja’ Tech (61, vs. Mississippi State).
Don’t touch that dial-up Internet…we’ll be back before the ball drops in Times Square (at least on the West Coast!) with our calls on some of the January contests…and more “hash”!

 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Vindy's Picks 2014-15 Bowl Predictions Part I


DEPOSED COACH BOON FOR ‘GOLDEN ARCHES’
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (MSNBC)…One AD’s trash is another CEO’s treasure. During a post-pink slip team meeting diatribe, during which, he turned the air blue, lambasting Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst, former Huskers coach Bo Pelini said he’d “rather f*****’ work at McDonald’s than work with some of those guys. Not that there’s anything wrong with working at McDonald’s.”. Fans of the Y-Town State Penguins expecting to see the new head coach around campus actually encountered Pelini taking drive-thru orders at a local Mickey D’s. Given Pelini’s record as a proven winner, leading his team to at least nine wins in each of his seven seasons and as many bowl appearances, the announcement of his hire by the fast-food giant immediately sent stocks in the company soaring.  

Farther west, the real reason Sony Corp was unhappy with the hack by North Korea is that it exposed sensitive e-mails detailing the company’s plan to produce a film about…
THE WEBER KID’S 2014-15 BOWL PREDICTIONS (PART I)
(Consciously-uncoupling bettors from their money on a weekly basis!)
DEC. 20

GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL (@ Albuquerque, NM)
Texas-El Paso +10 ½ over Utah State: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. Behind a big rushing attack and a scoring D that improved from more than 38 points per game through their first six contests to just over 20 ppg over the last six, Miners will make the post-season for first time in four years. We cashed a few tickets with UTEP this year and according to an article by SB Nation.Com, the Miners tied three other teams for most-overachieving ball-club, reaching 4 ½ more outright victories (7) than the opening Vegas over/under (2 ½ ). USU has beaten 8 opponents already by double-digits (though over no one special, save for Air Force) and may look to erase the 50-19 pounding it got in the Mountain Jest title game by Boise State, who made a statement that contributed to its Fiesta berth. The two scoring offenses are within a point of each other and UTEP shows a decent 12-5 passing TD-to-INT ratio as well. Over the past few bowl seasons, ‘dogs who cover the game also win SU more than 50% of the time. Don’t be shocked to see UTEP do so here…UTEP 31 Aggies 28

DEC. 23
BOCA RATON BOWL (@ Boca Raton, FL)

Marshall-Northern Illinois “over” 66: Have to admit, Marshall’s scoring defense was stellar, minus the previously-noted 67 points it yielded to Western Kentucky, but none of its other foes were offensive powerhouses and Herd lit up the board for at least 41 points in all but three games in 2014 and are 5th nationally in scoring behind four of the CFP’s top six squads.  Huskies gave up 34 at UNLV, 52 at Arkansas, 34 to Central Michigan and 41 to Miami-Oh-No! Additionally, Northern Illinois +11 might be a feasible choice. Herd hadda’ know it was never truly under consideration for a playoff spot, but one of the other big New Year’s Day outing would’ve been likely with a perfect season. Instead, Marshall is relegated to early December “Rat’s Mouth” Bowl” (actually, the translation is “Thieves Inlet”, but Herd doesn’t care!). NIU went 12-0 in road dog spot coming into this season and went 6-2 ATS away from DeKalb this year too. Sled Dogs have 11 victories for fifth consecutive time and would hit even dozen with the upset…Marshall 41 NIU 32
SAN DIEGO COUNTY CREDIT UNION POINSETTIA BOWL (@ San Diego, CA)

Navy +2 ½ over SAN DIEGO STATE: Rematch of the 2010 Poinsettia Bowl (won 35-14 by State) and yep, Aztecs play a post-season contest in their backyard…again (Z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z). Not sure if Army-Navy game just 9 days prior to this one will help the Middies (live-action execution of game-plan) or hurt them (bruised and battered off tough 17-7 win vs. very-physical Cadets). We think the former. State’s no stranger to option-football, facing Air Force in conference-play yearly (and beating the Flight Platoon 30-14 this season as part of a four-year win-streak) and Aztecs held 7 opponents or 21 or less while all five defeats came when the other team scored at least 24. “Under” 54 would also be worth a look. Sudzu went 6-0 SU during the regular-season here. However, the nearby naval base negates any homefield-edge the Aztecs might otherwise have…SDSU 21 Swabbies 20
DEC. 24

POPEYES BAHAMAS BOWL (@ Nassau, Bahamas)
Western Kentucky -3 ½ over Central Michigan: Chippies’ video-taped response to learning they were headed here instead of Ford Field in Detroit for the Quick Lane Bowl went viral. If you’ve seen it, you know it looks like they made the field of 68 for March Madness as an at-large #11 seed playing its first game in-state! Hilltoppers come into this one happy for a different reason. Western Kentucky finished the year triumphant in five of their last six contests, including the wild 67-66 upset of then-undefeated Marshall…on the road…and shows a solid 3-1 ATS record vs. non-conference teams this year (10-4 over the last three). 7-5 Chippewas played well against MAC bottom-feeders, but the defense will be outmatched here vs. Western Kentucky scoring O that’s #6 in the country (#3 in passing offense with 44 aerial touchdowns and just 10 picks-against) …WKY 41 CMU 24

BETWEEN THE HASHMARKS
BTW, there’s no truth to the rumor that McDonald’s new motto would change to “You deserve a broken-play today!”

Iggy Azalea meets Hanukkah meets the Commodores football team…”LaChaim… so…*Vannnnndyyyy*”!
Navy’s three-and-outs on  its first three possessions (despite the blocked punt return for TD by Army) was a harbinger that the game would finish well-under the total (56) instead of “over” as we predicted, ending up just 17-7.

Steelers’ top receiver Antonio Brown showed up for the game at Cincinnati earlier this month sporting a suit from the classic flick “Tron”. Shortly afterward, Penn State coach James Franklin came out in favor of throwback alternate unis. Cool. Can’t wait to see the Lions take the field wearing the raccoon outfit from Super Mario Brothers or dressed as Link from Legend of Zelda or Scorpion from Mortal Kombat! Pittsburgh got a three-TD road win over the Bengals, so maybe an NFL QB will don a big yellow Pac-Man outfit (which would, of course, require the use of the words “Wocka-wocka-wocka-wocka” during signal-calling for at least one play on each offensive possession!)
Speaking of throwback, “remember how excited you were the first time you got Vindy’s Picks in yer stocking??!!!”

As a follow-up to last week’s lead story for those familiar with “Army of Darkness”, can anybody else out there see LeBron standing atop a desk at the local S-Mart quipping, “Name’s ‘James’…Not-in-My-Housewares.”
In the errata department, we incorrectly referred to Kate Middleton as “Princess” when in fact her title is Duchess. Oops. Beggin’ the royal pardon!

Back next week around Christmas Day with more bowl predictions!

 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Between Da' Hashmarks 2014 Army-Navy


NBA STAR COMMITS ROYAL FOUL, STIRS BRITISH ANGST
BROOKLYN, New York (BBC)…It was a harmless photo-op. One LeBron James has done countless times. But a collective gasp was heard from across the Atlantic when, ahead of the Cavs’ game vs. the Nets, James put his arm around Kate Middleton, who was in town with her royal hubby, Prince William, and thereby violating some unwritten English-equivalent to the NFL’s old “halo” rule. Princess Kate appeared unfazed, while the prince tried to maintain his composure but was caught on microphone mumbling something about landing one of his search-and-rescue helicopters on the court in the midst of LeBron’s next pre-game shoot-around.  

Likely to create our own international incident, it’s…
THE WEBER KID’S 2014 ARMY-NAVY FORECAST
Army-Navy “over” 57 (@Baltimore, MD): While our one concern for this selection is Army’s mere six-point production at home vs. an Air Force team that otherwise yielded an average of 26.8 ppg., the Cadets overall allowed more than 33 ppg (not including 49 to Yale), and the Midshipmen gave up an average of 31.5 ppg. We’ll pass on choosing a side, but here’s how it breaks down: Army looked good on paper with 16 returning starters and 59 lettermen. Scoring D improved from 35 to 31 ppg last year and the turnover margin went from minus-8 to 0 in 2013. Phil Steele made West Point his #10 Most-Improved Team, led by 1st year head coach Jeff Monken, who probably wishes he’d stayed at now 9-3 Sun Belt champion Joja’ Southern, where he coached for the previous four seasons. Not to say there wasn’t some improvement. Soldiers’ SU win totals were 3, 2 and 3 coming into this campaign. Army has put 5 games in the win-column thus far (but is assured of a losing season with 7 defeats already, including an OT loss at I-AA Yale). One of the wins came recently vs. I-AA Fordham, who at least made the second-round of the FCS playoffs. As usual, two of the top six rushing attacks will square-off, which of course, means the country’s two worst passing games meet as well. Navy shows an edge on defense, giving up just 17 rushing scores. Army’s version of the passing game is an average of 4 throws per contest. Neither side will put a lot of faith in their FG units (54.5% success rate for Amy, 58.3% for Navy). Both teams lost to Air Force (Navy by 9 at Ft. Collins, Army by 17 at home), who owns the Commander-in-Chief trophy. Swabbies qualified for the Poinsettia Bowl with six SU victories and went 5-5 ATS vs. FBS competition. Middies are 1-4 ATS in their five tries as double-digit chalk over the past three-plus seasons, with the only spread-dubya coming in last year’s 34-7 romp over…Army. Navy beat only I-AA VMI and Georgia Southern by more than 15 this season, both in the home-harbor. Long Fitty Shades of Grey Line gets spanked (Oh my!), but we’ll say…Boat People 38 Ground-Pounders 24

BETWEEN THE HASHMARKS
BTW, it coulda’ been worse. The NBA baller coulda’ dipped the princess fer a smooch, channeled his inner-Elvis or inner-Ash (for fans of “Army of Darkness”) and said, “Hail to the King, baby!” James was ultimately whistled for the contact and Kate subsequently air-balled a pair of shots from the charity-stripe, while LeBron went to the bench with four fouls and returned to action with just three minutes remaining in the royal visit!

Given the QB issues in Cleveland, LeBron will stay loose on the Browns sideline in case of injury to Johnny Manziel this Sunday, with lame-duck Brian Moyer gettin’ demoted to third-string!
Our Week 15 picks went 2-1, with nice covers by Weeziana Tech (+13 ½), who beat Marshall outright and cashed our only wager on the week, and Fresno State (+20 ½) over Boise State. The lone miss came by Houston (+6 ½) who lost by 7 at Cincinnati, robbing us of the hat-trick yet-again!   

Then-#18 Oklahoma lost to unranked rival Oklahoma State last weekend, 38-35 in the extra-frame. Two words…”Boomer Shroomer!”
If ya listen closely, Peyton Manning, in a certain currently-running car-insurance commercial, is actually humming “Vinnn-dy’s Picks are on your siiiiiiide.”

Next week….more LeBron, and some analysis and predictions for a few of the early bowl games!

 

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Between Da' Hashmarks Week 15-2014


OUR LADY DELAYS FORECASTER’S CANDY SHOWER
LOS ANGELES (UPI)…Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch has his “Beast Mode”. Vindy’s Picks has led to a plethora of prayers, and was thus dubbed “Priest Mode”!!! In related news, Lynch professed his preference for Skittles. Meanwhile, fellow bettors have been awaiting the opportunity pelt the Sin City Soothsayer with Necco wafers should he actually hit a winning three-team parlay bet! In a late decision this past holiday weekend, the fab forecaster put NC State (+6) over NORTH CAROLINA, Washington (-3 ½) over WASHINGTON STATE and what he thought was the strongest call of the attempted hat-trick…Fightin’ Irish  (+7) over USC…on the same ticket. The Wolf Pack crushed the Tarheels outright, UDUB had no problem winning the Apple Cup by double-digits at Wazzou, but the Catholics of Notre Dame got their Mass handed to them in a 49-14 road loss, putting the celebratory barrage-of-sweets on-hold yet again!

BETWEEN THE HASHMARKS
(Hotter than a Lindsey Lohan court outfit!)

BTW, apparently Manti Te’o’s fictional girlfriend led the Leprechauns fictional football team vs. the Trojans in the above-noted contest!
The Hustler strip club here in the world’s gambling-Mecca has applied for a sports book license! Will there be complimentary lap-dances throughout the games for customers with proof of a $20 parlay or $50 straight-bet???!!!! Dancers wearing little-more than cleats and eye-black will also gyrate atop a faux goal-post rather than pole-dance!! Maybe they’ll adopt the Downtown Vegas casino dealer-tainers concept and women will dance atop the counters between shifts of taking bets!

After seein’ the commercial several times over the weekend, we’ve decided…Old Spice has made a man of our waterboy!
The College Football Pantheon (the true meaning of the CFP acronym, as opposed to College Football Playoff, as ESPN would have us believe!) was basically kind to your humble host in Week 14. Western Kentucky +21 over MARSHALL (Fri) pulled the upset, Ball State (+9 ½) also took home a straight-up triumph over BOWLING GREEN (Fri) in conjunction with Nebraska (+1) over IOWA (Fri), while  Cincinnati (-7) beat TEMPLE by 8 and Joja’ Tech (+12 ½) also toppled JOJA’ to cash three of our four wagers. Our remaining Week 14 selections went 2-1. We even cashed our first attempted college hoops bet, getting covers from Valpo (-1 ½, won by 15) over Portland and Monmouth (+14 ½, lost by an even dozen) against SMU. Slim pickin’s this week with only a few remaining regular-season finales and a handful of conference championships on-tap, but we prefer: Houston +6 ½ over CINCINNATI (We‘re grateful for Cincy’s marginal-cover vs. the Owls last week, but Bearkats have been inconsistent); Weeziana Tech +13 ½ over MARSHALL (Herd had been annihilating the competition in a paper-thin C-USA conglomerate until it met a solid team of Hilltoppers and dropped a wild 67-66 OT tilt on Friday. Tech is a live-dog and flags could be huge, with Bulldogs suffering just half as many hankies and for about half the penalty-yardage as Marshall) and Fresno State (+20 1/2) over BOISE STATE in a battle for the Mountain Jest crown (Fresno started slowly but is on a three-game SU win-streak, including a 20-point battering of Reno on the road. Boise’s not going to benefit from style-points and simply needs a victory to reach 11 wins and secure a Fiesta Bowl berth. Bulldogs not getting any respect and represent a down West division, but will play loose in an effort to avoid 1st potential losing-season since 2011).

BTW, we think ‘Bama kicker Adam Griffith (12 of 18, 66.7%) suited-up fer the NY Jets on Monday night!
How bad is Wake Forest’s basketball squad this year???!!! Da’ Forest (Gump?!) lost back-to-back home games to Minnesota by 15 and Delaware State (our old stompin’ grounds) by 7 to go 2-4 in last 6???!!! Gonna’ be a tough season for the Deacs!

We caught the following AP headline in Sunday’s paper…”Obama buys 17 books on ‘Small Business Saturday’”.  Looks like he’s planning to handle a boatload of sports-wagers when his time in the White House comes to an end!
And finally…the football program at Alabama-Birmingham (AKA UAB) just got a pink-slip and FBS rookie-turned-Stun Belt Champion Joja’ Southern will not get a post-season berth despite a 9-3 overall record and 8-0 conference tally. The Grinch is alive and well in the NCAA!

Back next week with some thoughts on Army-Navy!