Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Vindy's Picks 2013-14 Bowl Recap

FOXBORO, Massachusetts (FOX)…Call it “Spygate: The Next Iteration”. Christmas aficionados everywhere were dismayed to learn this week their beloved “elf on a shelf” had actually been part of domestic and international surveillance programs dating back to the days of McCarthyism. Particularly-disturbing however was the revelation that New England coach Bill Belichick had actually utilized the elf to swipe signs from opposing teams and watch closed-practices. An observant fan noticed the pointed hat jutting out from beneath a hoodie-clad elf at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium The Patriots blew-out the Ravens to clinch the NFC North and whacked the Bills later in December, securing a first-round bye. Belichick, previously found guilty of illegally-acquiring data to be used against other teams, adamantly denied the accusations, saying “all”, he “did was place a ‘sprite on da’ upright’…for decorative, seasonal purposes only”!

The mythical creature noted above is traditionally rumored to be strategically-moved nightly to gather intelligence for Santa, about who was naughty or nice. Vin did likewise and ran outta’ room on the list of bowl teams that were scheduled to get stockings full of coal following an 0-7 start, which became insurmountable in his quest to finish over .500 for the bowls. Vindy floundered to a 7-16 record as the Big Apple dropped the ball and edible, banana-flavored confetti on visitors to Times Square to close out 2013. Concurrently, stadium operators were apparently blaring AC/DC over the PA systems at post-season venues across the nation because the bowls were seriously “under-struck”, with just 7 of the first 23 contests finishing “over” the game-day totals. Vin rebounded to go 5-1 on New Year’s Day, forcing him to be perfect the rest of the way. The suspense would be over quickly as the Crimson Trype bungled its way thru the first-half vs. Oklahoma en route to a two-TD loss, dooming your narrator to a losing bowl record and ultimately a very “Keep Yer Day-Job”-worthy 14-21 (.400) finish, completing the overall season-record at 141-134-4 (.513).   
On a happier note, scientists did not move the minute-hand any closer this year to Midnight on the Doomsday Shot-Clock! We’re not convinced the same can be said for…

(Still cleaning up post-holiday tinsel, pine needles and broken balls as we speak!)

BTW, in an effort to avoid a repeat of this season’s bowl-predictions snafu, we’ve already replaced our elf-on-da’-shelf with a… tramp-on-da’-lamp! The elf is often portrayed cradling its knees….no doubt the result of an injury incurred via an illegal block below da’ waist! The elf can also be named by its owner. Belichick called his “Vinatieri”! The Patriots coach also blamed a rising plethora of injuries this year on new NFL rules reducing the amount of offseason practice time. Can’t get data on opponents if ya can’t be there for lengthy practices, now can ya, Bill??!!
Statistically speaking: The ‘Dogs went full-blown Cujo -mode, covering 18 of the 35 contests…taking 16 of ‘em outright, not just pulling upsets, but winning most of ‘em decisively. And as we alluded to above, the “under” finished 22-12-1. In addition, “Discount Daaaahhble-Check”-digit favorites won just half of their eight games and covered just two!

Not surprisingly, the SEC fared the best among the conferences, going 7-3 SU/6-4 ATS (honorable mention to the 12-PACK for going 6-3 SU/ATS), while da’ Mediocre Athletic Conference, collectively, went 0-5 SU/ATS in five post-season tries! For the Star Wars fans who, like Vindicator, pledge allegiance to the Big Taun-Taun Conference, those teams lost 5 of 7 bowls, covering just 4.
During the days leading up to the Miami Heat’s Christmas Day victory over the Lakers, LeBron James whined about the sleeved-jerseys the league made the players wear for the holiday contests. Obviously, the special clothing didn’t prevent the King and his teammates from grabbing a win, but we’ll point to havin’ to wear that kinda’ attire as the root-cause of our poor post-season too! (Either that or “Vinatieri” hacked our blogsite and changed our picks!)

Speaking of Christmas…anybody else out there think the Rankin/Bass production of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” would be more entertaining if one of the characters was…Bob Uecker Cornelius???!!!
Our method for picking post-season contest results this year was sooooo medieval (altogether now… ”How… medieval….was it???!!), it was so medieval…we got a pre-bowl-forecast visit from the crew of College Game Day of Thrones!

In related news, ESPN has forbidden use of the word “sucks” by its broadcasters. Nonetheless, Kirk Herbstreit uttered “Vindy’s bowl forecast…suh…er..um…was insuff…mmm…has been sub…oh to hell with it...’sucks’!!!”
After seeing the final prediction tally, the players at Champion Baptist College (off a 116-12 defeat by Southern’s hoops team in December for those of you who were among the fitty-two passengers recently rescued from the ice-locked Akademik Shokalskiy Russian research vessel, who maintained warmth and morale by laughing at Vindy’s 2013-14 Bowl Predictions) said, “Even we didn’t lose that badly!” BTW, Vindy’s Picks extends an invitation to the CBC Tigers to be part our 2014 pre-season forecasting strategy team!

On the plus-side, your tenacious-if-not-tepid tout did call the exact score of Marshall’s 31-20 win over Maryland in the Military Bowl, and just missed a couple others, calling Ole Miss 24-17 over Joja’ Tech (25-17 actual) and Michigan State 26-20 over Stanford (24-20 actual).
The Little Caesars Bowl entered uncharted waters this year by having not one, but two females on the officiating crew. As part of the trade-off for the historic move, the first penalty flag hadda’ be thrown in thirty minutes or less …or it was a free-play for the offense! (Yeah, yeah! We know the motto-in-question belongs to some other pizza company! Work with us here!)

For those who saw the singing of the National Anthem just ahead of the Stanford-Michigan State Rose Bowl clash…did anybody else out there think the guitarist accompanying the female singers looked an awful lot like…Howard Stern???!!!!
Charles Barkley was in attendance at the BCS Title game. Had Prince Charles played football, rather than hoops for his alma-mater, would he have been known as “The Round-Mound of Intentional-Grounding”???!!!

On the small screen…Errol Flynn reprises his role as Robin Hood and hits the Texas-prep gridiron at the end of each work-week in…”Friday Night Tights!”
Also in the Lone Star State…a Los Angeles jury elected to let Ryan O’Neal retain possession of an Andy Warhol portrait of longtime main-squeeze Farrah Fawcett, who reportedly bequeathed the painting to the University of Texas. O’Neal was pleased with the verdict, but said he’d happily loan the creative endeavor to the school for the duration of any contract it would offer him to replace Mack Brown as head coach!

In November, the rubber duck was granted a spot (“induck-ted”?) into in the Toy Hall-of-Fame. Queue-up Sesame Street’s Ernie and sing it with us…”Rubber Duckie, you’rrrre the one…that makes our halftime lottttsa’ fun!” BTW, the PAC-12-Man video game was also nominated, but didn’t garner enough votes to make da’ cut! Folks in Eugene put on a carnival every year, in which patrons can pay a buck to turn over an Oregon player floating in an inner-tube and win a prize corresponding to the number on the bottom of the player’s uniform!
Comin’ soon to MTV and You Tube, Imagine Dragons meets the Wake Forest football team in a video called… “(It’s where my) Deacons (hide)!”

The torches made for the relay leading up to the Sochi Games were created in Siberia by a company that normally manufactures ballistic missiles for the Soviet submarine corps. Due to a UPS mix-up, relay runners have had to act collectively to tote their Olympic symbols, while Russia’s underwater vessels will battle-carry torches in their silos and torpedo-tubes!!!
Courtesy of Miley Cyrus, a new medal-event has been approved for the Summer Games in the weightlifting competition …da’ “clean-and-‘twerk’”!

Black Shirt: Our loyal readership knows we’ve already officially awarded the coveted undergarment, but we’ll offer Honorable Mention to…da’ Big 12 zebras who continued to toss yellow hankies at Stanford, while missing penalties, or at the very minimum, deciding on “good no-calls” vs. Michigan State during our predicted Sparty-upset of the Trees in the Rose Bowl!
 “Locked in a Box?”: The Wazzup?! Cougars squandered a 22-point advantage…and lost outright…to Colorado State in the bowl-season opener to send our “lock” pick down in flames (6-7, .462) and portend the way the rest of our bowl season would go!

Shoppe Talk: The Spooners of Oklahoma upset ‘Bama and will definitely be scrutinized by Vindy heading into next season at 3-10 (.231)! “Watch”-team Clemson will provide us with some Tiger-skin rugs in the offseason after its upset of Ohio State, finishing the forecast campaign at 3-8 (.273)!
Vindy’s Bowl Best Bets:       Parts I, II & III: 6-6        Season: 54-35-1 (.607)

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.)
Then-Eastern Michigan head coach Ron English jumped out of a perfectly-good airplane last May to raise the money to repair/renovate the EMU locker room bathrooms. At least he had an appropriate place to keep his game-plans!

Last summer, starting Florida LB Antonio Morrison got arrested for the second time in five weeks after barking at a police dog. He merely spent the first two games ridin’ the pine to start Florida’s 2013 season. He should consider himself lucky. Had he done the Gator “chomp” within reach of said-canine instead, it woulda’ cost him a few digits, if not part of an arm! BTW, his earlier trip downtown with Gainesville’s finest was the result of punching a bouncer and shouting “I am Antonio!” The dumbass defender might as well have spewed “I am Cornholio! I need TD for my bunghole!”
At the cinema, the Children of Da’ Corn horror-film series meets a certain college football stadium and makes reference to…”He Who Walks Behind the Rose Bowl!”

Seeking certification for 2014’s post-season…Tyson Fun Nuggets “Picky Eaters” Bowl! If ya haven’t seen the commercials, the product-in-question features dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. Among the associated-gifts for game-participants would be movie-tickets to see 10,000 BC, Land of Da’ Lost or Jurassic Park! Surely, da’ bowl parade Grand Marshal would have to be…Jeff Goldblum!!!!
Our holiday order from the Harriet Carter catalog included a baking pan that creates EZ Pockets! Just add quarterback???!!! We also await delivery of another kitchen-accessory that promises to make “the perfect pancake-block every time!”

Bruno Mars will do the halftime honors at this year’s Super Bowl. He’s expected to open with a rousing version of “When I Was Your Manziel”! Vindy’s spies say the set also includes a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Lineman in the Mirror”!
With a nod to our Week One lead-story regarding Notre Dame’s marketing of school-related fragrances, we offer a few more thoughts…Wake Up the Echoes De Toilette and (in one last cheap-shot) “Imaginary”…endorsed by Manti Te’o! Channeling a certain Saturday Night Live skit….Bordeaux De Toilette?! It’s perfume! It’s a wine! It’s both!!!! Elsewhere, BYU has produced Provo de Toilette? And find a discount coupon in the Fitty Shades of Gray paperback for…Oh my de Toilette!

Despite his popularity overseas, the new pope is not filling pews in the U.S. The NCAA has noted this and mandated more butts in the seats to reach the minimum-required attendance averages or Catholicism could be eliminated as a program at the religious schools failing to do so!
A clueless Barney Fife-type from Tennessee stopped a car near Memphis last February, mistaking the Ohio State buckeye leaf (signature “O” with a leaf) on a bumper-sticker as a symbol of the herb-superb. Our first thought… Rocky TOP rolling papers!

The NCAA severed ties with EA Sports in July, forbidding da’ game-maker to use any images or logos associated with the college organization. Having recently released NCAA Football ’14, EA Sports is now in talks with Coleco Electronic Football Game and Super-Jock!
Must-see TV…Tom Selleck has a say in which teams get sent to da’ Big Dance by the NCAA Tournament selection committee as “Magnum, RPI”

Horror-genre satire “Army of Darkness” meets Ohio State basketball and ‘Bama football, yielding the phrase, “Klaaatuu…Thad-Matta…Nick too!” BTW, Thad’s lesser-known brother, Stig Matta, is an assistant coach under Nick Satan in Tuscaloosa!
On the big screen…Stanley Kubrick graphically follows raw Marine recruits thru Parris Island and Viet-Nam as they experience the pressures of making correct NCAA Tournament picks in….”Full Metal Bracket”!!! Spoiler alert…Private Pyle wins his platoon’s pool on his last night on the Island, right before…er…um….well, you know!!!!

The Catholic Seven college basketball collective ceded last April from its original conference and will be henceforth known as the “Big Easter”??!!
The folks that serve on the committee that chooses the NCAA Tournament teams are reportedly treated to ice cream each night as part of the process. Guess the dessert-in-question would be a… “Selection Sundae”??!! Pope Benedict abdicated the position last spring, forcing the Conclave to choose the new pope in mid-March. No truth to the rumor that the Cardinals also helped Notre Dame secure a #7 seed.

If the current Commander-in-Chief shifts his allegiance from Oregon State to a certain team from the Big 12, will we hear…“*Barack, Chalk, Jayhawk???!!!”
In the wake of a probation violation, Chad Ochocinco bought himself a month in the slammer last summer after smackin’ his attorney on the rear-end in response to Judge Kathleen McHugh’s question about his satisfaction with his representation. The sentence ended early after his apology to the court. Ironically, Vindy would also spend some gray-bar hotel time after he swatted his bookie’s derriere following a similar query by Her Honor!

Last May, Keyshawn Johnson pursued a wayward Justin Bieber, exceeding the posted-limit, to the young pop-star’s residence, annoyed with his speed, and commanded the youthful singer to “Just gimme the damned keys!” 
Da’ Bears recently retired Coach Ditka’s number “89” jersey. In related news, “answer” you probably won’t see under “Sports Before & After” category on Jeopardy: “Magic Mike Ditka”!

Prior to last season’s NFC Championship game, just outside the Georgia Dome, stood a statue of Niners QB Colin Kaepernick getting a wedgie by a Falcons player. Following his 0-7 start, one of the local casinos hasda statue of Vindicator suffering a similar fate at the hands of a bookie!
Also on the silver screen…”Two linemen enter. One lineman leaves!” in…“Mad Max Beyond Superdome

With the NFL playoffs already underway, we’ll remind readers that a 2012 season playoff game went to double-OT. Double-overtime???!!! Howza’ bout we adopt a FG shoot-out if tied after da’ first extra-frame???!! Best of five kicks from fitty??!!!
St. Hat Trick’s Day!!!! St. Hat-Trick is the patron saint of hockey players who score three goals in a single game (and Vindy when he hits a three-game parlay in any given week!)

Following the end of the NHL lock-out, the L.A. Kings raised their Stanley Cup championship banner last January after a rousing, but shortened version of “Black Parade”. We get the connection to the uniform color, but those familiar with the popular tune by My Chemical Romance know the song, in its entirety, ain’t exactly happy and celebratory!
In June, MLB announced the 2014 season-opener between the Dodgers and da’ D-Backs will be played in Sydney, Australia (two-game series). Both teams will, of course, fly QANTAS to-and-from the field and da’ first-pitch will be thrown out by…Ray Babbitt! “Four minutes to (Billy) Wagner”??!!

A guffaw by officials at Augusta last April let Tiger Woods, who took a drop two feet away from where it shoulda’ been, off da’ hook with a mere two-stroke penalty rather than the DQ prescribed by the rules. This came after officials levied a penalty on 14-year-old Guan Tianlang for slow-play. Didn’t know golf had a shot-clock! What, like, the ball must hit at least the rim of the cup within 24 seconds or the opponent gets possession???!!!
Okay, we been holdin’ this one a longer time than usual, but…during the 2012 Summer Games, the North Korean women’s soccer team refused to occupy da’ pitch for a match vs. Columbia after Glasgow stadium attendants showed the South Korean flag while noting the North Korean starting roster! Gotta’ side with da’ Communists on this one. That would be like Ohio Bobcats’ players being announced with the Buckeyes logo on the big screen (or the New Mexico State Aggies taking the sidelines under the shadow of the Lobos’ insignia! Or even…dare we say it….the Ohio State team venturing onto the field as the Michigan colors flapped prominently in the breeze!)

About a year ago, ABC produced “Celebrity Diving”. Turns out, the show was about well-known personalities doin’ triple-sommies with a half-twist into da’ pike position, but our initial thoughts had more to do with folks like Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robert DeNiro and the whole deep-sea thing in “Men of Honor”. (And frankly, we think Katherine Webb would rock the Jacques Cousteau (who thought she was a beauty too!)/Nautilus/Calypso in any case!)
In the same week Lance Armstrong admitted to using PEDs on Oprah, 85-year-old Tony Zerrilli claimed he knows where Jimmy Hoffa’s buried. Under their seats that week, Oprah’s audience members found samples of illicit substances and maps to the final resting place of the aforementioned infamous individual.

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”!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Vindy's 2013-14 Bowl Predictions Part III


(Gnarly or nice?! You decide!)

JAN. 1
TAXSLAYER.COM GATOR (@ Jacksonville, FL)

Nebraska (+9) vs. #23 Georgia (60): Rematch of last season’s 45-31 Joja’ victory ovr Big dread in the Capital One Bowl, but these are two different teams this year. Both are down to back-ups at QB. Hutson Mason played in 3 of UGA’s final 4, all victories. Ron Kellogg helped NU win 3 of its last 5, but the losses were in Lincoln by double-digits to Michigan State and Iowa. Both will likely defer for the most part to a pair of excellent running backs…Todd Gurley for the Bulldogs (averaging 100.3 ypg) and Ameer Abdullah for the Huskers (1500+ rushing yards). Gurley, who also has five scoring catches, will need a good day to help Georgia cover. Children of the Corn have been hampered by a minus-12 turnover ratio, but both defenses are young and points should be plentiful. Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com noted all 10 college teams associated with Bo Pelini have posted nine or more victories in each of his seasons with them. Da’ Corn Pops enter this bowl with an 8-4 record…Joja’ 38 Nebraska 34

North Texas (-6 ½) over UNLV (55): First post-season reward for the Rebels since 2000 and first bowl beyond the borders of the Silver State in three decades. Rebels were picked by the media to finish fifth, ahead of only Hawaii, in MW West Division. Senior RB Tim Cornett, who has been a difference-maker, equated that ranking to a diss of the team. LB Tim Hasson said it provided motivation.  Sin City finally solved some of the road woes that traditionally plagued the team, winning 3 of 5 away from Sam Boyd, but those victories came vs. New Mexico, Air Force and Reno, who went collective 9-27 SU on the year. Mean Green upgraded from the Stun Belt to CUSA this year and led the conference in scoring D at 18.1 ppg (also good for 9th in the country). UNT is solid on offense as well…North Texas 41 UNLV 27

CAPITAL ONE (@ Orlando, FL)
#8 South Carolina (+1) over #19 Wisconsin (51): Gamehens  lost second-best WR Byrd to a knee-injury. Badgers had been a spread-covering machine and coulda’ finished with just one Big Tentacle conference loss, but shockingly yielded a road-victory to Vindy’s alma mater in the finale as 25-point chalk! Wisky has dropped three Rose Bowls in as many years. Gamehens had their “WTH?”-loss at Tennessee and only other defeat between da’ hedges in Athens. It’s a good thing Wisconsin is a bit ground-heavy because QB Joel Stave will throw into ball-hawking SC secondary. Badgers potent offense has been slowed somewhat by the better defensive teams on the slate. Poultry can pass (Connor Shaw has 21 TDs and 1 pick) and runs above-average with Mike Davis. “Under” looks good here too with Chicken Nuggets holding 5 of last 7 opponents to 17 or less and Badgers limited 8 foes to 17 or less…Scrappy Squab 24 Cheese-heads 20

OUTBACK (@ Tampa, FL)
#14 LSU (-8) over Iowa (48 ½): LSU QB Zach Mettenberger is out, forever, after requiring surgery for a knee-injury incurred during win over Arkansas. The next most-experienced QB on the depth chart piled up all of 99 pass yards this year. RB Jeremy Hill will test Iowa’s stout run-defense, that’s allowed just five ground scores, and maybe open up some play-action for whoever lines-up under center for the Bengals. Nice turnaround for the Hawkeyes, who won just 4 games in 2012. Birds covered 7 games in 11 tries so far, but we’ll watch this one just to see what kinda’ trickeration Les Miles pulls out. After no-show in 21-0 BCS Title game loss in 2011 and 25-24 loss to Clemson in last year’s Chick-fil-A, we’ll back…LSU 23 Iowa 13

#4 Michigan State (+4 ½) over #5 Stanford (43): UPSET PICK OF DA’ BOWLS #3. If ya didn’t watch the game, Spartans D recorded Ohio State’s first three-and-out on the Buckeyes’ opening-possession all season, but State will be without senior LB Max Bullough, who accounted for 76 tackles, including 9.5 behind the line of scrimmage, after he violated team rules (BYW, anybody else out there hate the “unspecified violation of team rules” coach-speak! Come on, guys! Air the dirty laundry! Inquiring-minds wanna’ know!). We mentioned MSU’s demise at the hands of ‘Bama previously, but Sparty took Georgia to triple-extras, winning 33-30 and beat TCU 17-16 last year, playing the ‘dog-role in all three. Cardinal dropped a 6-point decision at Utah and lost by 3 at resurgent USC for its only pair of defeats. SU also gets this berth again after holding ASU to about a third of its usual scoring output for the 12-PACK crown. From Rocky Horror Picture Show Floor Show- “Rose Bowl tint my world…to save me from the trouble and Peyton Manning!” Despite Max BUHL’-uh’s Day Off, we like…Michigan State 26 Stanford 20

#15 Central Florida (+17) over #6 Baylor (69):  Bears enjoying first (and last) BCS bowl berth.  Bryce Petty and company saw the Baylor QB record a 30-2 TD-to-pick ratio. UCF probably won’t get enough pressure upfront, so it’ll need to play good coverage downfield. Kudos to Knights coach O’Leary for superior season results with paltry number of returning starts and little depth to take the American Idol Athletic Conference and a BCS bowl. Central Florida fare equally as well in defensive outings as it does in track-meets (as verified by high-scoring wins vs. Louisville, Penn State and Temple). Even if tenacious UCF stop-squad lets Bears dictate the pace, we still see the total falling below the posted number. UCF’s only outright defeat came by 3 vs. currently-#8 South Carolina. Given that stat and our bowl-picks results to-date, we’re not inspired to back…da’ Bad Muse Bears 34 Golden Knights 23

JAN. 2
ALLSTATE SUGAR (@ New Orleans, LA)

#3 Alabama (-15 ½) over #11 Oklahoma (51): Looks like Old Scratch finally came to collect on a certain coach’s debt…in the form of the Auburn Tigers! Nonetheless, Nick has a good thing going in Tuscaloosa and will hang around, but we’re not sure what else he needs to prove in the SEC. Following its previous loss to Auburn in 2010, Tide crushed Michigan State 49-7 in the Capital One Bowl. Only A&M and surprisingly, Mississippi State finished this close to ‘Bama. Dishonorable-Mention-winning Sooners tacked on another forecast loss by beating Okie State. OU improved the rush defense nicely from last year, but allowed 255 each in bad losses to Texas and Baylor. During last year’s BCS Title game, Brent Musburger made a few too many comments/compliments of ‘Bama QB AJ McCarron’s girlfriend, Katherine Webb, who was in the stands. We think he was channeling Joe Namath, and as a result, Webb garnered a spot as a pre-Super Bowl correspondent for Inside Edition. What…Brent Musberger’s personal attaché position was already filled??!!!...Crimson Bridesmaid 37 Oklahoma 16
JAN. 3

#7 Ohio State (-3) over #12 Clemson (68): It’s not da’ BCS Championship…it’s not even da’ Rose Bowl, but let’s face it…the Orange contest ain’t a bad consolation-prize for an Ohio State squad that went undefeated for almost two straight seasons. Neither side comes in with much momentum…Buckeyes dropped Big Tenuous title to Michigan State, while Tigers absorbed a two-TD loss at rival South Carolina to close out the regular season. Collectively, the duet shows a 4-9 ATS tally in their last 13-combined games, though State was facing much bigger spreads. CU has gone 2-2 SU/ATS in the last four post-seasons under Dabo Sweeney, including 25-24 win over LSU last year, in which Clemson outgained the Bengals by 226 yards of offense. Buckeyes, making first bowl under Urban Meyer, went 11-2 ATS in past 13 vs. ranked opponents and the pressure to stay perfect is off.  An opportunistic shutterbug got a pic of Meyer drowning his post-conference-championship-loss sorrows eating a slice of pizza in a golf-cart below Lucas Oil Stadium after the game. Vindy’s spies say the CU coaching staff already requested entire pies and buckets of Titleist balls be delivered during the Buckeyes’ pre-game locker room speech! ...Ohio State 34 Tigers 24

AT&T COTTON (@ Arlington, TX)
#9 Missouri - #13 Oklahoma State (PK) “over” 62: Again, we’ll make an official call on the total instead of choosing a side. Tigers hit the board for 39 ppg and five of their six tilts outside Columbia ended up above this number. Cowpokes average almost 40 points per contest, while permitting give up just 20 ppg, but faced only one team with this kinda’ firepower (Baylor). A Cowboys’ cheerleader got heat for putting out a foot in a tripping-motion as a rival Sooners player enjoyed his victory-securing score in the end zone. Woody Hayes woulda’ been proud, but somebody please tell the kid that “OSU” in Stillwater stands for Oklahoma State, not Ohio State! The Lindy’s Sports 2012 college football preview mag noted Mizzou had won 19 of 28 (with one tie) vs. SEC squads (with sub-.500 records vs. only Kentucky and Joja’). Same periodical quoted a student at LSU as saying Missouri, then-entering its first year in the SEC, would be akin to the conference’s “new Vanderbilt”. Wonder how the Commodores-faithful feel about that. A preponderance of this year’s bowls have finished “under” as we go to press, but because “bigger” is bettor… Missouri 41 OKSU 33

JAN. 4
BBVA COMPASS (@ Birmingham, AL)

Vanderbilt (-2 ½) – Houston “under” 53: Admirals’ starting QB Austyn Carta-Samuels had surgery for a torn ACL and will be out for this one. That’s a loss of almost 2300 pass yards and puts the game in the hands of sub-QB Robinette, who has 488 on the year. That leaves RB Jerron Seymour to step-up a running game that has been an afterthought at best to move the ball, though had he two more touchdowns rushing than Carta-Samuels had throwing. A new quarterback also portends turnovers. Houston’s a gaudy plus-25 in that area! On the Owl sideline, QB John O’Korn completes about 60% of his tosses and has excellent 26 TD-to-8 INT ratio. Commodores won 5 of last 6 coming in. Coogs, who score about 34 ppg., dropped 3 of last 4, suffering the wrong end of tough low-scoring affairs at UCF, at Louisville and to Cincinnati before SMU laid a goose-egg in the finale. All four finished below this number. In addition, the FG game has been a misadventure for both sides …Houston 24 Vandy 21
JAN. 5

GoDADDY.COM (Mobile, AL)
Ball State (-8) over Arkansas State (64):  Another bowl that doesn’t heighten the crescendo leading up to the one that awards the one trophy to rule them all. Changed our initial pick here. Red Wolves hit the Shun Belt Conference championship trifecta this season, owning or sharing the conference title in each of the past three years. Third straight GoDaddy appearance for ASU, who also sees the third straight coach who got it here in the regular-season abandon it by kickoff. Red Wolves will take the field under former Tarheels OC Blake Anderson. UNC posted 32 ppg, in 2013, but gotta’ figure these ain’t ACC-caliber athletes and they’re playing under a new system. Third-year coach Pete Lembo has his Cardinals 8-3 ATS and 10-2 SU. If Da’ Birds ever figure out how to knock-off Northern Illinois (0-5 last five years), they could improve the venue of their post-season outings. Senior QB Keith Wenning leads a pass-heavy offense that saw 40 ppg and hopes to change BSU’s bowl results…0-5 since 1993. Red Wolves offense won’t be able to keep up despite more equality in play options…Redbirds 38 ASU 17

JAN. 6

#2 Auburn (+8 ½) over #1 Florida State (66 ½): UPSET PICK OF DA’ BOWLS #4. Seminoles comprise this season’s juggernaut, but a look at the schedule doesn’t really warrant this many points. FSU’s opponents ultimately went 71-74 (prior to any bowl games), while Auburn’s slate finished 88-57 (even factoring in Auburn’s lone defeat by 9-3 LSU, Tigers still beat a combined 77-54). Tigers won against three teams that will play on or after New Year’s Day (actually 4, but the other is GoDaddy.Com bowler Arkansas State). Only Clemson plays in January after being part of the ‘Noles line-up. True, Auburn’s on borrowed time, but they wore the rabbit’s foot en route to 2010 National Championship too and every time we write off Gus Malzahn and his War Eagle, we pay the price. Gus (also the nickname of our tank-crew’s “loader” during a stretch of our armor-battalion tenure in Germany some 30 years ago) was Auburn’s OC for that campaign. Tribe’s best victory came vs. Clemson, who took itself outta’ the game early with miscues. Both teams made money for bettors…Auburn at 10-2 ATS, State at 10-1-1 (by our numbers). Eleven teams have taken the previous fifteen BCS titles. Tribe’s won and covered bowls in each of the last seasons, only by less than double-digits. Make it 12 of 16? Not! Noles’ QB Jameis Winston will turn 20 years old the same day he takes the field here. Nice birthday gift if he can pull it off, but in the final “Booty-Call Series” championship game, it’s…Auburn 39 FSU 34

ESPN ranked the Rebels-Mean Green match-up as the worst among the 35 bowl games. In all honesty, we’d have a bit more interest in UNLV’s post-season contest if it featured one of our celeb-crushes and was called the Melissa Joan-Hart of Dallas Bowl.
BTW, UNLV, as the result of this year’s post-season expenses, actually expects to incur a financial loss of as much as $200K…or what Vindy considers “a couple of poorly-planned parlay bets!”

In mid-December, Crimson Tide officials sold their souls to the devil…er…um…Nick Saban…again, signing him to a multi-year contract. We think he was Max Von Sydow’s understudy in Stephen King’s “Needful Things”? The Devil Wears a Headset? Close Encounters of the Third Kind was of course filmed at Saban’s Tower in Wyoming. Saban with the Blue Dress On? Found in every SEC school library outside Tuscaloosa….”Nick Saban and Daniel Webster”?! On the stadium operator’s play-list….Van Halen’s “Runnin’ With Nick Saban”???!!  Anybody remember the Rolling Stone’ “Sympathy for Nick Saban”?!  Fer fans of “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “Army of Darkness”… ”Klaaatuu… verata…(cough) Nick Saban!” And yet-another reference from Rocky Horror Picture Show- “We’ll you got…caught with a *flat*…well…how ‘bout *that*?…Well, babies, don’t you panic! …By the light of the night, it’ll all seem alright…I’ll get you…a Sabanic-..mechanic.”
Jadeveon Clowney was stopped in December for the second time in three weeks for speeding. Reportedly, those who cop to exceeding the limit by 25 mph or more get six points. Maybe the Gamecocks defender thought he’d be credited with a touchdown???!!! Clowney was caught on dash-cam telling the officer “I’m late”. What the Carolina player was doing with a pregnancy-test is still a mystery!

Fed up last May with prez Gordon Gee’s ongoing history of controversial comments, OSU officials finally told the old man to keep his thoughts to himself…or simply-put… to “Shut the Buckeye up!” (Gee subsequently announced his retirement).
Not long after blowing multiple attempts to put threes on the scoreboard in Tide’s loss at Auburn, ‘Bama kicker Cade Foster received a letter of support from George Dubya Bush. The handwritten correspondence read the following…”There’s an old saying in Alabama…I know it’s in Texas…probably in AlabamaMiss da’ kick once, shame on you. Miss da’ kick twice, shame on…uh…you can’t get field-goaled again!”

Jesse Palmer performed the Heimlich Maneuver on Chris Fowler to dislodge a piece of chicken sandwich from Fowler’s throat during halftime of the Pinstripe Bowl. Occasionally, “coughing it up” can be a good thing!
Alright, movie-geeks…repeat after us…”Buhl-uh?... Buhl-uh?... Buhl-uh?!”

Stat That Makes Ya’ Go “Huh???!!!”: Florida State is #2 in passing yardage defense, behind only….Florida Atlantic???!!!
Trying to beat the extended deadline for acquiring mandatory health insurance, thousands of Americans logged-on to HealthCare.gov earlier this month. The bad news? The majority were unable to sign-up. The good news?…nearly all of ‘em were re-routed to…Vindy’s Picks!

Shortly after Christmas, Miley Cyrus helped open the current-run of “Beacher’s Madhouse” in Vegas, known for its use of little people in its shows, and was joined by a mini-Miley. Vindy’s spies say the former Hannah Montana’s companion “came in like a beer-pong ball!” (That’s our last “Wreckin’ Ball” reference for the season…we promise!)
Finally, a couple in Anadalusia, Alabammy named their newborn “Krimson Tyde” Steele, settin’ up said-daughter for an avalanche of teasing by her peers outside of Tuscaloosa. Mighta’ been worse though…she coulda’ got the moniker “Krypton Mannov” Steele!

Black Shirt: We embroidered the official Vindy’s Picks logo on this week’s ebony tee for Utah State safety Brian Suite who recovered a pair of Jordan Lynch turnovers to help USU knock-off Northern Illinois as predicted and staunch the bleeding after Vin opened the bowl year 0-fer-7!
Vindy’s Bowl Best Bets Part III:       

North Texas -6 ½ over Unlv, South Carolina +1 over Wisconsin, South Carolina-Wisconsin “under” 51, Ohio State -3 over Clemson
As we warn 2013 to not let the door hit it in the ass on its way out, we ask our loyal readership to tune in one more time a few days after completion of the National Championship for our bowl recap and leftover “hash”!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Vindy's 2013-14 Bowl Predictions Part II

(Squirtin’ more tears than Dez Bryant!)
DEC. 28


#25 Notre Dame (-14) over Rutgers (52): The spread-outcome basically comes down to Irish motivation. This venue is a far-cry from last season’s BCS Title game. ND lost two of three games coming in (at Pitt, at Stanford). Knights were clobbered by Louisville, Central Florida and UConn before hammering South Florida to get their qualifying victory and the invite. The Bronx ain’t far from the Jersey Turnpike, so Knights should have decent number of fans in the stands. The Leprechauns are young this year, but should be able to throw freely, as only three teams gave up more pass yards than RU (who allowed 31 passing TDs, while picking-off opposing QBs just 8 times). Knights have a 27-13 win over Iowa State and a 3-point loss to Virginia Tech in the past two post-seasons…Shamrocks 27 Rutgers 6
BELK (@ Charlotte, NC)

Cincinnati (+2 ½) over North Carolina (56 ½): Bearkats had a chance to share the AAC crown until conference-champ UCF beat SMU. A win would give UC its third-straight 10-3 season and provide Tommy Tuberville with a good debut in his first year as coach. QB Brandon Kay leads strong air-attack, including an O-line that has allowed just 12 sacks, and Cincy shows #16 scoring D in the country. Special teams are the weakness, converting just 40% of field-goal attempts and allowing 13 yards per punt–return. UNC has four punt-returns for touchdowns and isn’t horrible on either side of the ball, but its best win looks to like 34-27 victory at Pitt in mid-November. Despite swirling accusations last spring, there’s been no proof that IRS agents in Cincinnati were targeting tax-exempt status applications noting the words “kicking-tee party” for extra scrutiny!...Cincinnati 27 ‘Heels 19

#18 Louisville (-3 ½) over Miami (56 ½): ‘Hurri-cons opened at #26 in the AP preseason poll and rose to #7 before losing stud-RN Duke Johnson. Pelicans can still post first double-digit SU victory-season since 2003 with a win over what could be a potentially over-rated Louisville team, whose only defeat came by 3 at home vs. AAC-champ UCF. Junior QB Teddy Bridgewater didn’t quite meet BCS-bowl expectations for Da’ Ville (though 28 aerial score with just 4 picks works fer us!), but could improve his 2014 Heisman stock here. UM might be motivated to do well here after keeping themselves off the bowl-grid for two years. Eight of the Redbirds’ games finished “under” da’ total, with an ninth going “over” only because of extra innings. Queue-up AC ‘cause we’re…”under-struck”!… Cardinals 27 Da’ U 17

Kansas State (-4 ½) over Michigan (56 ½): Nothing about the overall play of either side excites us. Wildcats lost by 10 to most of the ranked teams it played. Big Blew whacked Notre Dame back in September and had the Buckeyes on the ropes late in the season-ender. State was surging in the second-half, winning five of last six, while UM dropped 4 of last 5 (though by 4 or less in all four defeats) in the Big Tin Man conference and will probably not have the services of starting QB Devon Gardner (turf toe). One of KSU’s outright losses came to North Dakota State, who will play again in the FCS Championship game. This week at the cinema… Channing Tatum stars as a back-up offensive lineman who appeared to be headed for graduation without ever having his chance to protect QB Jamie Foxx during his career, but while at concession stand with his daughter, Michigan Stadium comes under siege by a visiting defense, leaving Tatum as Ann Arbor’s only hope in…Big House Down!...Purple Persians 37 Michigan 27
DEC. 30

Middle Tennessee State (+6) over Navy (55 ½): The NCAA reversed an initial preseason decision to prohibit former-Marine Steven Rhodes from taking the field for the Blue Raiders because he played in what amounted to an intra-mural military league while serving his country. We smell movie, featuring Clint Eastwood reprising his (Shot)Gunnery-Sergeant Highway role in “Heartbreak Ridge”! No word as to whether Rhodes will be able to wear a “Full-Metal Flak Jacket” under his uniform. The Middies’ blowout of Army moved West Point to fire Coach Ellerson, who went O-fer in his five-year stay on the Hudson River vs. Navy, earlier this month and garnered yet-another Commander-in-Chief’s trophy for the Sailors. Navy is, of course, a top-five rushing team, but Raiders’ senior-heavy defense yields just 186 rushing ypg and are better-balanced on offense. As expected, Middies draw less than 3 flags/game, but State won’t beat itself either, incurring less than 5 hankies/match…Yacht Club 28 MTSU 24

Mississippi (-3) over Georgia Tech (57): Bees used their #6 running game to score 45 rushing touchdowns (though nearly a third of those came vs. FCS Elon and Alabama A&M). Tech’s defense has us leaning toward the “under” as well, defending both the run and pass with proficiency. Rebels fizzled again under the pressure of playing in I-A’s toughest division, losing at ‘Bama, at Auburn and to A&M by 3 in back-to-back-to-back weeks. Ole Miss went undefeated (and 3-0 ATS) in non-conference play this year, including romp over Texas, while ‘Jackets accounted for Duke’s only regular-season loss…Mississippi 24 GT 17

VALERO ALAMO (@ San Antonio, TX)
Texas (+13 ½) over #10 Oregon (67): Mack Brown will coach his last game for the Steers. Academic problems cost Texas one of its multi-purpose stars RB Jalen Overstreet and OT Kennedy Estelle, lost to injury, after starting the previous eight contests. Nonetheless, Longhorns, despite tumultuous season that saw the DC let go after poor defensive outing in loss to BYU and weekly speculation about Coach Mack’s future, lost two of their last three games, but held powerhouses Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor well-below their season scoring averages. Steers crawled into the previous two post-seasons as well, yet won both tilts, beating Cal 21-10 and Oregon State 31-27. Okay, Mallards ain’t da’ Bares or da’ Beavers, but defense-minded Stanford contained the Quack Attack. Jameis Winston got to keep quarterbacking the ‘Noles while facing allegations of sexual assault, but Drakes tight-end Pharoah Brown gets caught throwin’ snowballs at cars and has to watch this one from his dorm room?!...Oregon 32 Cattle 24

#16 Arizona State (-14) over Texas Tech (71): Sun Devils, who ripped most of their opposition, had a shot at the Rose Bowl, but fell in a rematch with Stanford in the 12-PAC championship. Red Raiders, long a thorn in Vindy’s side but who grabbed honorable-mention in the Weber-Friendlies category at 7-2, were in the Top 25 for seven weeks but were apparently overrated and got blasted during 0-5 SU/ATS spiral in the second-half of the schedule. Devils will ride the big arm of QB Taylor Kelly, but will keep TTU defense honest with senior RB Marion Grice, who should get the 4 yards he needs to hit the 1K mark for the year on his first carry…ASU 44 Texas Tech 23

DEC. 31
ADVOCARE V100 (@ Shreveport, LA)

Boston College (+7) over Arizona (57 ½): UPSET PICK OF DA’ BOWLS #2. Two of the top six rushers in the country take the field here…Andre Williams for BC and Ka’Deem Carey for the Wildcats, who dropped three of four coming in, but surprised Oregon at Tucson. Eagles had won four straight to finish third behind Florida State and Clemson in the ACC Atlantic, but unexpectedly lost to Syracuse in finale. Both give up very little on the ground to opponents, but Eagles allowed 24 passing scores while getting just 9 interceptions. If it comes down to a late FG, BC kickers are perfect in 18 attempts on the year…Boston College 34 Arizona 30

#17 UCLA (-7 ½) over Virginia Tech (48): Key match-up here will be Bruins’ pass offense against the Hokies’ #3-ranked pass defense. UCLA staggered into last year’s bowl off consecutive losses to Stanford and floundered vs. Baylor. Perpetual-bowler Tech doesn’t possess the scoring-power of the Bears and will need to make UCLA work for its points. VT O-line did not protect QB Logan Thomas well, allowing 29 sacks vs. the team and leading to a 16 passTD-to-13 INT ratio. Hokies gave up just 10 scoring throws and pulled in 19 picks. If Bruins can jump out early, Tech isn’t prepared to catch-up. Hokies post-season tilts went to OT in each of the last two seasons (losing by 3 to Michigan in the 2011 season Sugar Bowl and beating Rutgers by 3 last year). This one won’t…UCLA 34 Beamer Ball 24

Rice (+7) over Mississippi State (52): Charles Smith leads Rice’s potent rushing game, contributing an average of 114 yards/game to team average of 240. Rice pummeled Air Force in last year’s bowl and could see its first double-digit win tally since 2008. Owls converted 90% of their red zone opportunities into points (39 TDs, 7 FGs). Bulldogs did little in the SEC this year, but made its season by beating rival Mississippi for the third time in four seasons to be bowl-eligible. State won all four games in which it was favored in 2013, but covered just two. Owls went 8-5 against the line this year…MSU 27 Rice 24
CHICK-FIL-A (@ Atlanta, GA)

#20 Texas A&M (-12 ½) over #22 Duke (74 ½): Not sure we’d consider this season a “sophomore-jinx” for Johnny Manziel (33-13 ratio, 170+ QB rating and over 3700 passing yards), but the top three teams he beat last year exacted some revenge in 2013, leaving Aggies at 8-4 SU. As expected, 10-win Blue Devils flamed out vs. Florida State in ACC title game and will be without top rusher Jela Duncan, who got da’ boot for some kinda’ academic violation. Duke took home the prize for the 2013 men’s NCAA lacrosse tourney this past May. Already sporting pads and helmets with facemasks, given its success this year, maybe the Blue Devils gridiron squad just needed to be allowed to tote wooden sticks with small nets on ‘em onto the football field!!!...A&M 51 Duke 31

If a famous statue on the South Bend campus were holding a certain type of pillow, would it be “Goose-Down Jesus”??!!
A Notre Dame signee published videos of himself flushing ‘Bama recruiting letters down the john last summer, making him a pariah to all SEC schools except maybe Auburn, who would gladly have the young man change his mantra from “Play Like A Champion Today” to “War Eagle”. The appropriate response from Tuscaloosa, of course, would be a like-video showing one of the Tide’s newest members flushing a leprechaun or at least one of those Fightin’ Irish finger-puppets!

Regarding the above Armed Forces Bowl…are Navy-backers pleading…Fleets don’t fail me now! Go brig or go home!
Last January, Maria Sharapova was reportedly pullin’ in big bucks on a half-million dollar investment in Sugarpova candy. Great. Another future corporate bowl-sponsor.

Prior to last week’s Hawaii Bowl, Boise State sent QB Joe Southwick packin’ from the Islands for violating teams rules (Southwick later claimed to be innocent of urinating off a hotel balcony, but saw another player do so. His claim was backed up by a polygraph test). Alone on one of those outrigger-catamarans, Joe oughta’ be just-about  reachin’ the West Coast in time to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve!
In June, the Cowboys replaced OC Jason Garrett with Bill Callahan. Given the results, we wonder if it’s closer to Brad Garrett being replaced by Harry Callahan!!!

Anybody else out there wanna’ see Mike Myers reprise his British-spy role and go undercover as a pro-hockey net-minder between da’ pipes to thwart Dr. Evil’s plan to destroy the NHL in…”Austin Powers in Goaltender”.
Vindy’s Bowl Best Bets Part II:       

Louisville-Miami “under” 56 ½ , Mississippi-Georgia Tech “under” 57, Texas +13 ½ over Oregon, Texas A&M-Duke “over” 74 ½
We'll be back before the ball drops on New Year's Eve with Part III



Friday, December 20, 2013

Vindy's 2013 Bowl Predictions Part I


As employment of drones shifts from military to commercial purposes, Governor Brian Sandoval has the Silver State established as a research-site for use in the sports-arena. Nevada-Reno, UNLV and Vegas high-school powerhouse Bishop Gorman will all try out drones in an officiating capacity during their games next season. The plan allows referees, back-judges and other officials to view the field via the airborne vessels while also maintaining a safe distance from the playing field. NCAA and Nevada high school sports administrators are excited about the opportunity, but do admit difficulties in training officiating crews to operate and fly the unmanned vehicles, noting a few unfortunate incidents involving collisions with the uprights during field-goal attempts and extra-point tries, in addition to one unsuccessful effort by a side-judge to get his assigned drone to retrieve an order of nachos from the concession-stand during a TV time-out!

Navy never trailed vs. Army in snowy Philadelphia, but didn’t secure the cover until late 4th Quarter before tacking on one more TD in the closing minute, improving our season record to 127-113-4 (.529). In related news, the NSA and other worldwide agencies reportedly have the capability to bust any given cellphone encryption, but they’ll never break our Captain Marvel secret-decoder ring version of…

(Stockpiling “indisputable video surveillance evidence” as we speak!)

DEC. 21
GILDAN NEW MEXICO (@ Albuquerque, NM) (over/under in parentheses)
Washington State (-4 ½) vs. Colorado State (66): LOCK OF DA’ BOWLS.
Coogs covered 9 of 11 in FBS competition (though just three times as chalk) behind a huge passing game (nearly 4200 aerial yards for starting QB Connor Halliday alone and #4 nationally as a team). Rams are balanced on offense, but only 7 teams yielded more passing yards than CSU and only three of their wins suggest a big-enough lead was secured early enough for opponents to give-up on the run. Second-year coach Mike Leach’s Air-Raid offense has da’ Cougars bowlin’ for first time since 2003. Also-sophomore-coach Jim McElwain has taken CSU to their first post-season op since 2008, despite 7 tilts away from the friendly-confines, and toward their first 8-or-more victory campaign since Rams recorded 10-4 in 2002. We don’t normally make ourselves lock-vulnerable this early in the bowl-season, much-less right from da’ git-go, but…Cougars 44 Rams 27

#21 Fresno State (+6) over Southern Cal (62): UPSET PICK OF DA’ BOWLS #1.
We wonder if the Bulldogs have taken solace in knowing that Northern Illinois didn’t get a BCS bowl either. Troy can’t be too disappointed to be here after the tumultuous season that has them taking the field under their third coach in nine games (with Steve Sarkisian’s reign yet-to-come). USC won 9 of 13 outright, but was a coin-toss ATS. We salute the Trojans for being one of the few teams that did not face at least one AA-squad. They’ve lost 5 of previous 6 vs. the Top 25, surprising Stanford but faltering badly vs. rival Bruins. Fresno’s covered 3 of last 4 after horrible 1-6 ATS start and have just the one ugly defeat that kept them from a much bigger bowl. That said, we note FSU’s only BCS conference foe this season was Rutgers, whom it beat 52-51 in OT to begin the 2013 campaign. Senior QB Derek Carr would like to finish his NCAA career with a good showing, but State’s been schooled by SMU and NIU in its previous pair of post-season outings. Both teams will draw fans to Sin City from destinations not far-away, but think of the seats they’d fill if this venue was the… Royal “Purple Drank” Bowl Presented by Jolly Rancher! Best guess for “wish I had it back”, but covering-underdogs tend to win a bunch of bowls SU…Fresno 38 USC 34

Buffalo (-1) over San Diego State (53):
Buffaloed by turnovers the past four seasons, the Bulls, who put da’ kibosh on Northern Illinois’ shot at BCS-buster, have gotten the breaks they needed and enter this game at +16! Confirming that statistical-turnaround is a defense ranked #27 nationally and 2nd in da’ MAC Conference, yielding about 22 ppg (including 40 by the Buckeyes and…GASP!...70…by Baylor) and limiting opponents to less than 73% success in the red zone. Offensively, Bulls showcase RB Brandon Oliver, with over 1400 rushing yards and QB Joe Licata, with more than 2600 pass yards and a 21-7 pass TD-to-INT ratio. The lone standout for the Aztecs, who lost their season-opener to FCS Eastern Illinois 40-19 (Panthers did enter Championship Division playoffs as the #2 seed with 12-1 SU record, losing only at Northern Illinois by 4, but fell in the quarter-finals to #7 Towson) and could’ve de-railed UNLV’s bowl-journey to end the regular-season, but lost by 26, is RB Adam Muema, who eclipsed 1000 ground yards and accounted for 12 scores. The knock on Buffalo is the FG-unit, which produced only a dozen threes in 19 tries…Bulls 27 Sudzu 17

TULANE (-2) over Louisiana-Lafayette (49):
Green Wave will host this one on its homefield. Cajuns shared the Stun Belt title with Arkansas State, but stagger in here off back-to-back losses…to Weeziana- Monroe and South Alabama (in poor, turnover-prone outing leading to 30-8 defeat). UL-Laugh-at-us tore-up tickets regularly, going lousy 3-8 ATS in I-A competition and yielded 30 or more to 7 opponents. Nonetheless, conference commish Karl Benson proudly proclaimed the Sun Belt went 6-1 outright in 2013 vs. teams from C-USA, Mountain Jest and Big MAC conferences. Tulane put just two games in the dubya-column last year, but conversely has rewarded backers to tune of 8-2 (7-0 run) and will try to exact some revenge for 2012’s 41-13 drubbing. Wave lost by 4 at C-USA champion Rice in latest 1-3 SU skid and is cashing tickets with a stout-D (#19 nationally) because the offense ranks in the 90’s, ahead of just 4 bowlers in passing and just 6 bowlers in rushing yards. It’s been noted that the past eight Nawlins Bowls have finished above the total. Lafayette lit the lamp for an average of 39 ppg (ignoring 14 point tally in opener at Arkansas and 70 vs. AA Nicholls State the following week) prior to aforementioned game vs. USA Jaguars. Using Benson’s comments as bulletin-board material, we see the win and cover going to…Tulane 34 UL-That French Guy 24

DEC. 23
Ohio (+13 ½) over East Carolina (61 ½):
Bobblecats will need a big day from sack-leader freshman Tarell Basham (6.5 sacks) vs. QB Tyler Tettleton, who leads a pass-first offense for da’ Buccos. ECU averages 40+ points per game, and despite a November power-outage that saw just 16 points in a bad three-game loss-sequence at Buffalo, at Bowling Green and vs. Kent State, OU still hit the board for 28 per contest. Both feature experienced backfields and neither will beat itself via penalties or turnovers. Both sides limit opponent-scoring, but we lean toward a slight “over”. ECU was rolling until losing by 31 vs. conference-runner-up Marshall. ‘Cats beat the Herd at home 34-31. Keep calm and Carolina-on, but…Arrrrrgh 34 Bobblecats 30

DEC. 24
Boise State (+2 ½) over Oregon State (65):
We’d rather just watch this one than pick it, in fact you’ll see the “over” noted as one of our best bets. Broncos went “mere” 8-4 SU with just 9 total returning starters, including opening 38-6 loss at UDUB. Perhaps that game was a harbinger of Chris Petersen’s recent departure, following 7 straight years of double-digit win-seasons. Broncos have won four consecutive post-season outings, covering 3 and are in good hands with either Joe Southwick or capable back-up Grant Heddick. Beavers enter this one on the back of a tow-truck, having lost five straight games to close the year. QB Sean Mannion leads pass-heavy offense with over 4400 yards and own Biletnikoff Award-winning WR Brandin Cooks, but tossed 11 picks in the aforementioned demise. Beavers also allow almost 200 ground yards/game and BSU runs for almost 5 ypc and 32 scores. ORSU succeeded in the red zone only 78% of the time and BSU is one of the least penalized teams in the country…Boise State 41 Oregon State 34

DEC 26
Bowling Green (-5) over Pittsburgh (51):
Panthers were expected to accomplish little in inaugural year of their new conference…and did. Despite a few scattered losses, Falcons kept Northern Illinois from a big-money bowl and while young on offense/experienced on the stop-squad, BeeGees’ 19 returning starters continued to reward bettors, beating the line in nine of a dozen attempts in I-A competition (15-4 ATS the past two seasons). MO belongs to BGU, on 5-0/5-0 run since 3-point home loss to Toledo and they’ll revel in banging a floundering team from an AQ conference. “Under” is the first choice here as Bowlin’ Green comes in at #6 nationally in scoring D, giving up less than 15 ppg (an accomplishment of note given high-scoring MAC)…Birds 24 Pitt 7

Utah State (+1 ½) over #24 Northern Illinois (57 ½):
Huskies were seriously looking for fans to throw somethin’ other than pizza-crusts on the field following MAC Championship and expected better bowl SWAG than free extra-toppings on their post-bowl slices! Quoting Robin Thicke’s hit Blurred Lines …it always works for meeeeee…DeKalb down to Decatur”. USU has more to prove, though engaged sloppy Fresno State in a defensive battle. We could easily see USU luring NIU into a similar web unless dual-threat QB Jordan Lynch wants to improve his draft-status here, but he’ll have a couple of Blue-Grey/East-West bowls to impress NFL scouts. Sled Dogs, in sixth straight post-season appearance, have won just two of last five bowl chances...Utah State 27 Northern Illinois 24

DEC 27
Marshall (-2 ½) over Maryland (61 ½):
Second choice for “lock”. Terps, who were inconsistent all season, don’t have the physical running game that Rice used to upset Herd in the CUSA title match. Marshall fields a QB with over 3500 pass yards, who’s just a junior and played in all 13 games, as well as a RB with 1000- yards and a WR over 100 yards. Collectively, the two teams allow about 48 ppg total, so we’d lean a bit toward an “under”. Turtles QB CJ Brown threw for over 200 yards but shows middlin’ 11 TD-to-6 INT ratio and is also the team’s second-leading rusher. Maryland’s playing in an in-state venue, but we don’t anticipate much of a partisan-crowd advantage, given 7-5 SU record and 5th-place finish in its division. Herd gets redemption for conference- championship failure by belting an ACC also-ran…Herd 31 Terrapins 20

TEXAS (@ Houston, TX)
Minnesota (-4 ½) over Syracuse (47):
Gophers have seemingly drawn strength from ill-stricken coach Jerry Kill en route to solid 8-4 SU season (4-4 in the Big Tentacle Conference), including a healthy four-game mid-season win-streak. Gilded Gerbils have also been kind to betting-supporters, beating the number 9 times in 11 tries vs. the I-A schedule. On the downside, Minny scored a total 10 points over final pair of regular-season games in losses to Wisconsin and conference-champion Michigan State. They do however take on a Syracuse team that posted its best victory in 34-31 home win over Boston College to get eligible for the post-season, but struggled behind a new offense, scoring less than 16 ppg in ACC play. Minnesota went 4-0 ATS this year as the favorite…Gophers 24 Orange Peels 12

FIGHT HUNGER (@ San Francisco, CA)
Brigham Young-Washington (-3) “under” 60:
Sorry, Sportsfans! We just can't commit to a side, so we’ll rest our helmets on a total. After winning four consecutive games, Sled Dogs have gone 3-4 (1-5-1 ATS in that slide). Mormons have won and covered four straight post-season trips, twice as underdogs. Huskies boast senior QB Keith Price and junior RB Bishop Sankey in the backfield, showing excellent 24-7 pass-TD to-INT ratio and 243 rush yards per tilt. But UDUB hasn’t faced a really-good D. While putting up more than 31 ppg itself behind great rushing offense (almost 3300 total, average of 275 per game), defense is BYU’s calling card, allowing just 9 rushing scores to-date and 18 passing scores, while snaring 12 picks…Washington 24 BYU 21


BTW, officials will no longer blow whistles to stop play, but rather will launch Hellfire missiles onto the gridiron, leading coaches to instruct their athletes to “play to the sound of the explosion!” And with the press of a button, the drones will drop penalty flags from high above the stadium, creating yet-another hazard for players, coaches and fans below!

Somehow, we neglected to include these in our Army-Navy prediction, so…Army…“It’s all about the Private Benjamins!” and…

This past summer, former Iraq War vet-turned-Arizona Cardinals-cheerleader, Megan Walter, was accused of opening up a can of whoop-ass on her boyfriend. We’re told the ex-2nd Lieutenant “Cable Platoon Leader”/still-U.S. Army reservist called-in an artillery-strike on her ex-beau’s residence, right after cancelling his access to pay-channels like HBO and Showtime!

Larry, Moe and Curly take-on the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future in “The Three Scrooges”!

Miley Cyrus was a featured artist at the iHeartRadio’s Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden on Friday, December 13. Did she come in “like a wreckin’ basketball”??!!! Robin Thicke also performed his hit “Blurred Lines”. Anybody else think this could be a prime music-video for hockey games…during mandatory reviews of all goals scored?… “I always wanted a good goallllllllll!”. “The way you touch me…must wanna’ get nasty…come on, get at me…(players fighting/dropping gloves)”. “Can’t let it get past me…” (Goalies making save…or not). “I feel so lucky…ya wanna’ puck me…what rhymes with puck me?!” “Baby, can ya Breeeeeathe (video of someone wearin’ a goalie-mask)?...I got this in Jamaica…It always works for meeeeee…Dearborne to Decatur…”

NCAA officiating crews who’ve had all they can stomach of the commercialization of the Christmas season will invoke a fictitious Seinfeld holiday and replace goal-posts and yard-markers with plain, undecorated aluminum Festivus poles!

Not really trying to be clever or humorous here…just us wondering aloud how Major League Baseball plans to reduce the chances of injuries due to home-plate collisions. We’d foresee either some line, etc., at which the base-runner would have to initiate a slide or be automatically called out (enforced by laser or time-machine portal?) or perhaps some NHL-like trapezoid, in which contact with the catcher is taboo and getting in the way of the runner beyond that perimeter instantly concedes a run-scored?

Black Shirt: We sent this week’s tee to the Quartermaster Corps to include some nice steam-pressed creases for Army DL Robert Kough for drawing one of three (count ‘em, three!) very-uncharacteristic personal-foul penalties for unnecessary-roughness, with Navy facing a 3rd-and-6, which extended the drive, resulting in a Middies touchdown, en route to the Ensigns’ eventual 34-7 win!

Vindy’s Bowl Best Bets Part I:
Last Week: 0-0 Season: 48-29-1 (.623)
Buffalo -1 over San Diego State, Oregon State-Boise State “over” 65 ½, Bowling Green-Pitt “under” 51, Marshall -2 ½ over Maryland

It’s da’ mossssssst wonderbowl tiiiiiime of…da’ yearrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!! To all our loyal readers, we extend the annual holiday greeting…”Pass on Earth. Goodwill toward linemen.” And “have yerself a Vindy little Christmas …!”

We’ll be back around December 27 with Part Deux of da’ bowl picks!

Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re gonna’ try to determine which of the gift-wrapped presents under our tree contains the highly-coveted bearded Duck Dynasty Barbie and da’ Big Hugs Elmo Chia-Pet, before poorly-decorating one of our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action-figures in an effort to win the local “ugly Shredder contest”! (Oh wait…!)