Thursday, December 18, 2014

Vindy's Picks 2014-15 Bowl Predictions Part I

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…
(Consciously-uncoupling bettors from their money on a weekly basis!)
DEC. 20

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

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

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

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…
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

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

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!

(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!




Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Between Da' Hashmarks Week 14-2014

MIAMI BEACH, Florida (TMZ)…His team was on a bye. He was inebriated early on a Sunday morning. He was arrested. But his efforts to acquire to items at a hotel retail shop by offering bubble-gum in place of actual money invoked memories of a 1960’s vintage TV ad featuring a young lad at the boardwalk who empties his pockets of change and ultimately offers up a marble to successfully purchase a box of Crackerjacks. Officials at Wrigley’s, Bazooka and Chiclets saw the nostalgic value of the event and have reportedly offered endorsement deals to Jacksonville defensive back  Dwayne Gratz. The cashier at the store, who eventually had the persistent Jaguars player arrested, said, “I mighta’ cut him a break if hadn’t actually been chewing the gum to begin with!”

With the UNLV-UNR annual Battle for the Cannon on-deck this Saturday, we note Miss Nevada, Nia Sanchez, was crowned Miss USA this past June, despite the inability to correctly identify the Silver State capital! The capital is, of course, Johnny Carson City?! We question the beauty queen’s residency! Sanchez thrice unsuccessfully ran for Miss California, but knew Nevada’s nickname was the “Paddleboard State”!

As expected, USC balcony-jumper Josh Shaw finally saw some action on D and special teams vs. UCLA. Defensive coaches drew up a play in which he leapt from the uprights to stop a Bruins dive during an attempted goal-line stand by the Trojans.
Ahead of UNLV’s game at Hawaii, Coach Hauck elected to stay at a hotel just 30 minutes from Aloha Stadium to more closely-simulate and a get in and get out contest as opposed to previous years in which the team was housed at least an hour away. Considering the last-minute, referee-assisted 37-35 defeat to da’ Bows, Hauck plans to pitch team pup-tents along the fitty-yard line inside the venue during the next visit to the Islands!

Our Week 13 wagers went three-and-ouch! Utep (+8 ½) got whacked by RICE. Air Force-SDSU “over” 50 ½ ended up 4 points “under”. WYOMING (+12 ½) was trashed by Boise State, wasting a perfectly-good upset win by Maryland (+4 ½) over MICHIGAN, and Boston College’s (+19) upset bid over FLORIDA STATE went for naught as Marshall (-20) edged UAB. The remaining games we considered in Week 13 went 4-3. The final reasonably-full slate of games has us already putting money on Western Kentucky +21 over MARSHALL (Fri), Ball State +9 ½ over BOWLING GREEN (Fri), Nebraska +1 over IOWA (Fri), Cincinnati -7 over TEMPLE and Joja’ Tech +12 ½ over JOJA’. We also like…Boston College -10 over SYRACUSE, Rutgers +8 over MARYLAND, FLORIDA STATE -8 ½ over Florida and  Notre Dame +7 over USC
Last week’s Jets-BILLS game was postponed and moved to Ford Field in Detroit after snowfall left Ralph Wilson Stadium uninhabitable. Players, coaches and staff were transported on snowmobiles to the airport. Vindy’s spies, however, saw a lone cheerleader and her young son actually taking a Snowcat, with an axe-wielding Jack Nicholson in hot pursuit! Which reminds us….back in April, Niagara Falls was beiing considered as a new venue for the Buffalo team, with games temporarily being played in St. Catharine’s (Ontario, Canada) in the meantime. Great…cheerleaders woulda’ included da’ MacKenzie Brothers…and two-point conversions woulda’ involved use of a barrel, cascading water and serious heights!

During the Eagles-Packers game not long ago, we learned that communication between coach and NFL QB headsets abruptly ceases with 15 seconds left on the play-clock. Sooooooo….is there suddenly nothin’ but silence or is it up the individual stadium operator to randomly pipe-in Muzak? Opera? Books-on-tape? Rosetta Stone lessons? Duck calls? What?!
During the Sunday-nighter between the Cowboys and da’ Giants, the referee ruled, despite replay clearly showing Odell Beckham Jr. was hit outta’ bounds, the receiver “took a flop” and there was “no foul on the play”. Flop?! In other major sports, that woulda’ drawn a technical foul on the wide-out, sending an opposing player to the charity stripe to shoot two or put Beckham in the penalty box for two minutes for embellishment!

Jose Canseco’s claim that his reattached middle finger (shot off while cleaning his gun) fell off during a recent poker tourney turned out to be a hoax. Thank goodness! We were thinkin’ “Boy, when Jose goes “all-in”, he means it!!!!” But takin’ no chances, Wendy’s has filed a restraining order to keep the former slugger at least 500 feet away from their chili!!!
Speaking of the fast-food giant… Hannah Pavlov, track-and-field athlete at nearby Faith Lutheran here in Vegas, was awarded the Wendy’s High School Heisman for the state of Nevada last week. Apparently her competitors were too busy drooling at sound of a bell to pose a challenge!

To the faithful readership….here’s hopin’ this holiday weekend finds your favorite team stuffin’ more runs than turkeys!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Between Da' Hashmarks Week 13-2014

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas (MSNBC)…As if going against the wind wasn’t difficult enough, football teams on offense now have other obstacles to consider. The NCAA apparently still needs to work a few procedural bugs out of its strategy to defend college sports venues against unwanted drone presence after issues arose during the Razorbacks 17-0 win over LSU on Saturday. Acting upon the Vegas Vindicator’s suggestion to house air defense artillery units inside the stadium, the implementation quickly took a wrong turn when an overzealous crew, fresh out of the Army’s ADA school at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma peppered a drone with rounds from a Humvee-mounted Vulcan, showering the stadium with gears, chopper-blades and other shards of metal, which spilled drinks, splattered nachos and sent players, coaches and spectators scurrying for cover during the 1st Quarter. Happy with the outcome and taking no chances, the young soldiers continued their efforts to impress, shooting-down several punts, field goal attempts, kickoffs and even a late Hail Mary pass. Similar incidents occurred during Hawaii’s 13-0 victory at San Jose State, which was also piloting the security project.

(Leading Dorothy and her companions down da’ yellow flag road!...”They’re off to see da’ Wizarrrrrrds…the Washington Wizards of Ozzzzzzzzz!” )

BTW, the errant live-fire displays left bewildered-officials at both locations wondering whether to call touchbacks, flag teams for unsportsmanlike conduct, issue bench-warnings to both sidelines or simply mark changes-of-possession at the point where kicks were disintegrated out-of-bounds! Meanwhile, terrified cheerleading squads discontinued pyramid routines and aerial stunts for fear of sending their companions too high into the air!
Kudos to da’ Virginia Tech Lil’ Smokies for pulling the upset over Duke. VT admittedly got some help from the zebras and the Blue Devils themselves, but also saw a handful of pretty nifty catches from its wide-receivers in key-situations.

No good betting week goes unpunished. We got a nice parlay win from Mizzou (+4 ½, winning outright over A&M) and UTEP -6 ½ over North Texas, but East Carolina (-2 ½) got whacked Thursday night at Cincinnati and Temple (+10 ½) held its own in Happy Valley for three quarters before losing by 17 to the Alma Mater, wasting a blowout win by Western Kentucky (-10) over Army. The other games we considered last week went a ho-hum 6-4. Pesos are already down on Texas- El Paso +9 ½ over RICE (Fri), Boston College +19 over FLORIDA STATE, Marshall -20 over UAB, Maryland +4 ½ over MEEESHIGAN and WYOMING +13 over Boise State. Still grabbing our attention… North Carolina +6 over DUKE (Thurs), Air Force +4 ½ over SAN DIEGO STATE (Fri), Air Force-SDSU “over” 50 ½, Mizzou +3 over TENNESSEE, Vanderbilt +30 over MISSISSIPPI STATE, Northwestern -3 over PURDUE, Oregon State +6 ½ over WASHINGTON and Cincinnati -10 over UCONN
Bizarre random thought…Star Wars meets the Washington NFL team’s QB…RG-3PO???!!!

NFL visiting teams’ medical personnel were interviewed by DEA agents this past weekend to gauge compliance after allegations by ex-players regarding mishandling of prescription drugs. Our first thought?...”Calling Dr. Fieldgooooooood”. And while we’re at it…somebody queue-up other Motley Crue hits Wild Sidelines, Kickoff My Heart and the immortal classic…Smokin’ in the Lockerroom!
Is it us or did anyone else out there watch the Eagles-Packers tilt and immediately flashback to “Rollerball” upon seeing Green Bay’s uniforms?!

Elsewhere…on da’ final frontier…NASA parked the Philae probe last week on a moving comet. In related news, Bears QB Jay Cutler actually hit a moving receiver with a pass for a touchdown! Cam Newton and Eli Manning are allegedly seeking advice from Mission Control!
In August, a White House official quoted Obama as saying, “If a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”  Last week, the NBA baller-in-question set the record for missed FG-attempts, not connecting on 10 of 26 vs. the Grizzlies, bringing the career total to 13421!!! So, yes, Mr. President…if a jayvee team puts on Lakers unis, yes, it could indeed make them Kobe Bryant!

Next week…bubble-gum, headsets and Miss USA!




Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Between Da' Hashmarks Week 12-2014

NEW YORK (Reuters)The inmate, who spoke to media on conditions of anonymity for obvious reasons, finally blew the whistle on various personnel at Ryker’s Island. The unnamed snitch said, ”Booze…drugs….sharp instruments?…Okay.  Vindy’s Picks?! Hey, Man…I may be a jailbird, but I have standards.” The subsequent investigation revealed a system-wide epidemic of misconduct. The resulting inquiry led to revelation of massive corruption and correctional officers on the take, smuggling in contraband in exchange for major “bank”. The infamous forecaster’s prognostications were not banned entirely, but were allowed solely post-Saturday for entertainment-purposes only!

(More distracting than Katarina Sreckovic!)

On the heels of Veterans Day, saluting our servicemen and servicewomen around the world again, we propose “Stripes” meets football as we hear Bill Murray’s character,  graduating Basic Training, say...”Back-to-back sacks!”
We downloaded the Domino’s Pizza app to our smart-phone…Wasn’t long before the conversation went like this…”What’s the spread on ‘BAMA-Mississippi State, Dom?” “How ‘bout I spread some tomato sauce on your pizza, Vin?” “Dom, what do you think of Vindy’s Picks? We don’t put pickles on…pizza. “How do I beat da’ bookies, Dom?”. “Why don’t you boogie on down to Domino’s for some pizza?!”

We remember why we threw in the towel pickin’ Top 25 games this season, going just 1-4 in the tilts we analyzed and forecast. In happier news, our 8 other predictions went a nice 7-1, with only Joja’ Southern -11 over TEXAS STATE failing to cash, and allowing us to win a pair of 2-teams parlays. Why in the world we tried a three-teamer featuring Iowa State -3 ½ (lost by 20???!!!) at KANSAS, Utep +7 ½ (lost by 8) at WESTERN KENTUCKY and DA’ IGGLES -6 (won by 24) vs. Carolina, none of which wee among those eight selections, is still beyond us! Rubles already down this week on…East Carolina -2 ½ over CINCINNATI (Thurs), Temple +10 ½ over da’ NIFTY LIONS, WESTERN KY -10 over Army, Missouri +4 ½ over TEXAS A&M and UTEP -6 ½ over North Texas. Still getting’ a good, hard look… Cal +14 over USC (Fri), NC STATE -14 ½ over Wake Forest, ILLINOIS +5 ½ over Iowa, , RUTGERS -7 ½ over Indiana, UTAH STATE -17 over New Mexico, MIAMI +1 ½ over Florida State, CENTRAL MICHIGAN -15 over Miami-Ohio, Memphis -11 over TULANE, Mississippi State +7 ½ over ALABAMA, Texas -2 ½ over OKLAHOMA STATE,
Anybody else out there notice two major sport teams from Philly both played the Panthers last week?! The Flyers played the Florida Panthers (winning 4-1) Thursday night on the ice, while Da’ Iggles blasted Carolina 45-21 (as noted above)  in a Monday Night Football home-game that wasn’t even that close!

Speaking of the Panthers-EAGLES contest, we heard Jon Gruden reference “Escape from L.A.” protagonist Snake Plissken. Said hero also saved the mayor of New York in the original flick of the series “Escape From New York”. During that movie (set in1997), the mayor’s character was forced to say…”*Duke*…Aaaa-Number One!” Not even close at the time, but the Blue Devils have gotten competitive since then!
With college hoops underway this week, we note Dickie V gushed on Twitter about his fandom of Lionel Richie and the Commodores. Just wonderin’ if any of Vitale’s pre-game/halftime speeches he gave included, “Nobody comes into our BrickHouse…and pushes us around!” On a related thought, after a string of sports-betting ties, does a sportsbook manager gather his folks and tell ‘em, “Nobody comes into our house and ‘pushes’ us around!”???!!!

On the small screen….a TLC reality show about bridal apparel meets Joja’ Tech’s college hoops squad in…”Say ‘Yes’ to Da’ Press: Atlanta!” Until next week…happy pickin’, Sportsfans!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Between Da' Hashmarks Week 11-2014

NEW YORK, New York (AP)…Museums are wooing new patrons with adult sleepovers. The American Museum of Natural History provides champagne, dinner and live jazz. Adult visitors can snooze in sleeping bags beneath the famous 94-ft-long blue whale hanging from the ceiling of the spacious Milstein Hall of Oceanic Life. Also, the Big Apple’s Rubin Museum of Art allows sleeping under works of art and having their dreams interpreted when they awake. Meanwhile, bettors can get some shut-eye under the world’s largest parlay card while having nightmares about…

(Legally wearing equestrian nasal strips)
Virginia (+18) over #2 FLORIDA STATE: Given the weekly necessity to rally for the victory, we’re not sure any contest on the schedule qualifies as a “trap game” for the ‘Noles, but if there is one, this is it. Off the huge comeback at Louisville and a road-trip to vastly-improved rival Miami up next, State might very well look past a decent Cavaliers squad that beat the aforementioned Cardinals in September. Minus last year’s National Title run, FSU finds a way to fall in a game it shouldn’t. This could be it…though we think Boston College is a better candidate for that role, should the Tribe get past Miami. Neither side’s terribly-attractive ATS. Wahoos on 0-3 SU/0-4 ATS dive while State notched just its second spread-win in seven tries this year (including one home fave cover in three attempts). It’s Homecoming in Tallahassee and Jimbo Fisher is pooh-poohing worries over Winston’s bad wheel. Virginia won 4 of its first 6 games (doubling the outright win total from 2013) and needs two more in final three to be bowl-eligible…FSU 27 Virginia 13

#14 LSU (+6) over #4 Alabama: Tide, though generally a coin-toss ATS overall and in the SEC, has traditionally been betting-gold at Death Valley. Nonetheless, Bengals have taken the money in 3 of last 4, home or away, facing Alabama. Elephants won 21-17 here in 2012 and beat the Tigers by three touchdowns last season. ‘Bama has lost exactly one conference game in each of the previous three years. Ole Miss is already an SEC game in the “L” column. State has a slight advantage passing, but also gives up 4.5 yards per carry on the ground. Tide averages 5.1 yards a tote. Last 3 contests here in this series have been decided by 6 or less. Crimson Trype responded, finally, after loss to the Rebels and near-miss at Arkansas by smoking A&M and besting the Vols by 14. The real question here is… in which quarter will Les Miles bust out da’ trickeration and will the play go for a first-down or maybe even a touchdown???!!! LSU meets an Olivia Newton-John Grease tune meets Weird Al Yankovic…”Hopelessly Revolted Bayou”?!...Tide 17 Tigers 16
#8 Notre Dame (+2) over #11 ARIZONA STATE: Pitchforks won a tight defensive battle in extras against Utah, while Irish survived Navy after looking like they were gonna’ blow the Middies out early. Only second true road game of the season for the Leprechauns, who probably should’ve beaten Florida State in the first one. Haveta’ figure both sides will be happy to see opponents that throw the ball this week after ND weathered 60 triple-option carries by Navy and State saw Utah basically abandon the passing game despite a close contest throughout the tilt. Despite returning just two starters on D and a paltry number of lettermen back, Todd Graham has ASU competing for a conference championship. The Beelzebubs have yielded just 36 total points over the last 3 games, but State shows a19-5 pass TD-to-INT ratio and Irish show 22-7, leading us to believe this one goes “over” the total. The difference might be Irish pass D, which has given up 11 aerial touchdowns and snagged 12 picks. Devils D has permitted 10 passing scores with just 4 interceptions…Rudy 38 ASU 31

#7 MICHIGAN STATE (-3) over #13 Ohio State: Rematch of 2013 Big Tentacle Conference Championship, won 34-24 by Sparty. Buckeyes bombed turnover-prone Illini while MSU was on a bye. OSU has posted seven straight games “over” the total, hitting the board for 50 or more in 5 of last 6. Spartans defense is holding up nicely (only 3 opponents have scored more than 17 points) despite losing six starters from last year’s squad. Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com shows Buckeyes covering 13 of last 13 with revenge against a better-than-.500 foe. Gotta’ think Spartans loss to CFB #4 Oregon appears more attractive than OSU’s early defeat by fading VirginiaTech. One thing’s for certain…there won’t be any stake-planting Buckeyes (now 20-1 SU in conference play the past 2+ seasons) to antagonize Michigan State, who has dropped just five games in November under now-7th-year coach Dantonio …MSU 31 OSU 27
#9 Kansas State (+6) over #6 TCU: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. Purple Persians have quietly moved into the AP Top Ten (#7 in the Selection Committee poll) and should they win out, they would have an argument to make the Fab Four, with their only defeat coming by 6 points to Auburn, should it win out or lose a nail-biter vs. ‘Bama). Maybe the Universe evened the score for the Froggies, who got a last second FG in Morgantown (and five West Virginia turnovers) last week to edge the determined Mountaineers 31-30, for the earlier 61-58 loss at Baylor. The Tadpoles might want some payback for last year’s 33-31 loss (though revenge doesn’t really apply to a team that got just four victories all season). ‘Cats have covered 9 of last 11 vs. ranked opponents and have a bye week next. Frogs saw their scoring production fall steadily from 2010’s 41 ppg to 2013’s 25 ppg, but are currently a bridesmaid to only Baylor, at 48 ppg. The scoring defenses are comparable on both sidelines and KSU held Auburn to 20 points (Tigers currently averaging almost 39 ppg).. Do TCU players while warming-up/stretching before each practice or actual game sing…”Heaaaaad, shoulders… knees and toads, knees and toads!”???!!! Or maybe it’s really… “Heaaaaaaad coaches, knees and toads, knees and toads!”…Wildcats 24 TCU 20

Meanwhile, CFB Selection Committee #1 Mississippi State and #11 Ole Miss host I-AA middle-of-the-packers UT-Martin and Presbyterian, respectively. In early November???!!! We know football schedules are set at least a few years in advance….but who puts an FCS squad on the slate in November???!!! We’d lump ‘Bama in  here as well, but we’ll give a little slack (emphasis on little) for hosting I-AA Western Carolina the week before the Iron Bowl vs. Auburn because the Catamounts are 6-3 overall, 4-1 in conference and challenging for the SoCon title. Though upon further review, WCU, while losing its opener respectably by 5 at South Florida, lost last week 51-0 to conference front-runners UT-Chattanooga (Mocs are currently #11 in the FCS Poll and opened the year with a 4-point defeat at Central Michgan)! We withdraw our “slack”!

If yer a fan of both college and pro football, yer in Heaven right now, in da’ midst of 27 straight days featuring at least one NCAA or NFL contest, starting last Thursday (10/30) and running thru 11/25 (da’ Tuesday before Thanksgiving)!
QB Jameis Winston was accused of shoplifting crab-legs and crawfish from a grocery store, leading to suspension from FSU’s baseball team. Eye-witness accounts  noted  Winston “appeared to pause to avoid walking in front of a deputy before leaving a Tallahassee supermarket without paying…”. Yep, he made a “defender” miss in the open check-out line!

Shortly after the New Year, Bobby Petrino was signed to his second shot at the helm of the Louisville Cardinals, but following his Arkansas snafu, his contract includes prohibitions vs. riding a motorcycle or even viewing Easy Rider, Sons of Anarchy, any of the Mad Max/Road-Warrior flicks, Magnum Force or…Wild Hogs!
Daylight Savings Time occurred in the wee hour of Sunday mornin’. We’re wonderin’ how many NCAA football teams would like to turn back da’ clock 60 minutes (or less) following Saturday’s results!

This week’s AP rankings had FCS club North Dakota State with 4 votes…tying Stanford and 3 more than SEC squads Florida (1) and Texas A&M (1).
Over the summer, Ron Artest…AKA Mensa Worm Priest…er…um…Metta World Peace…changed his name again…to The Pandas Friend…after getting’ a gig with a Chinese Basketball Association squad! Can some other sappy moniker swap such as UNICEF Care Bear be far down the pike???!!!

At the sportsbook counter…Arizona (+6 ½) lost by 10 to UCLA, costing us a three-team parlay that featured covers by Utah (+5 ½, losing by 3 in OT at ASU as noted above) and the Philly Beagles (-2 ½) over HOUSTON (Texans lost by 10). We were smart enough to park North Carolina +17 (lost by 20) at MIAMI and Illinois +28 ½ (lost by 41) at OHIO STATE on the same ticket, but Utah State -3 won by three touchdowns at HAWAII to cash the straight bet and Colorado State -7 (-6 ½ at time of last week’s blog) pushed at SAN JOSE STATE to turn UTEP -6 ½ (won by 21 over Southern Mist) into a straight bet. The remaining selections we looked last week at but didn’t play went 2-2. Money down this week on Weeziana Tech -3 ½ over UAB, Duke -3 over SYRACUSE, Air Force -6 over UNLV and  FRESNO STATE -2 ½ over San Jose State. Still catchin’ our eye…Utah State -7 over WYOMING (we ain’t buyin’ the blow-out upset of Fresno State), Wisconsin -16 ½ over PURDUE, Joja’ Sudden -11 over TEXAS STATE and Weeziana-Lafayette -15 over NEW MEXICO STATE.
Rocky Horror Picture Show meets the SF Giants World Series MVP…”Say!…any of you guys know how to… Madison Bumgarner?!”

Next week…a few thoughts on college hoops!