HOUSTON, Texas (ITAR-Tass)...The Vegas Vindicator was in town this week at the Johnson Space Center to talk with NASA engineers about options for repairing a sizable gouge in his Week Two forecast. Scientists suspect the damage was first done during launch of Vindy’s Picks on Thursday night in Louisville by a piece of foam insulation that fell from the fearless forecaster’s beer cozy, creating a divot in the underbelly of the prognostication. Initially, just 3 1/2-by-2 inches, the gouge got larger as the picks orbited the rest of the country on Saturday, leading to Vindy’s 7-13 results (18-19, .486 season), a blown "lock of da’ week" pick and all four incorrect "best bet" selections! Possibilities for patching the hole include sending the forecast up on one of those zero-gravity jets, enabling astronauts to make a simulated spacewalk and bolt on a plastic sheet from a box of Shrinky-Dinks, simply painting the hole black or filling it full of Gummy Bears, which would set nicely under the heat of re-entry! No word was available on the final solution, though sources close to NASA say a deal may have been brokered offering the services of Lisa Nowak.
As Jewish football fans everywhere this week prepare to celebrate Rush Hashanah and your humble host heads off to watch illegally-shot videotape of bookies’ hand-signals, it’s...
THE WEBER KID’S 2007 WEEK 3 FORECAST
THURS. SEPT. 13
MARYLAND over #4 West Virginia taking 16: Vin watched this game last year and the final score was deceiving as Terps moved the ball at will on the Mounties D, but kept turning it over...’Eers 31 Box Turtles 21
SAT. SEPT. 15
#14 NEBRASKA over #1 Southern Cal taking 10: Nothing would tickle Vindicator more than seeing Trojans fall here. Not sure Huskers can run on USC defense, but former ASU gunslinger Sam Keller occupies the Nebraska backfield and has sufficient guys to throw to. Could be a "wish" pick as we can easily see a SoCal romp, but we like the defenses to dominate on both sides...USC 17 Nebraska 14
#2 LSU over Middle Tennessee State giving 40: Bengals haven’t faced covering a line this big since wrecking North Texas 56-3 in mid-season 2005 as 44-point chalk. Third straight away game for the Blue Raiders. We didn’t think Cal would let down after important victory over the Vols, but it did. We’ll stick with our initial instinct here though...Tigers 52 MTSU 3
#3 OKLAHOMA over Utah State giving 46: A missed extra point late in the UNLV game cost the Aggies (and Vindicator) the lead at the time and an ATS win. Maybe that shoulda’ been our first clue to taking State instead of Wyoming last week, costing our flabbergasted forecaster a "best bet" loss and the accompanying wager! Sooners seem to be rolling...OK Until Proven Otherwise 56 Aggies 5
#22 Tennessee over #5 FLORIDA taking 8: Other than back-to-back spread losses by Tennessee in ‘04 and ‘05, the ATS pattern for these two has been win-loss-win-loss. If the trend holds, the cover goes to the Gators. Florida’s pair of returning defensive starters fared well against provisional I-A newcomer Western Kentucky, but 31 points allowed by Sun Belt’s Troy can’t be comforting to Coach Meyer....Tennessee 23 Crocs 21.
CENTRAL FLORIDA over #6 Texas taking 19: Despite a 10-0 halftime edge, TCU played a sloppy, sloppy game against the Longhorns, yielding four turnovers and hitting the century mark in penalty yards on 13 flags. UCF bombed in Year Three under George O’Leary, but is off to a healthy start, winning outright at NC State as a 9-point doggie. Knights welcome former MIT dean of admissions Marilee Jones, who padded her credentials, as an assistant coach!... Steers 31 Central Sunshine State 14
Citadel @ #7 WISCONSIN: No line.
Louisiana Tech over #8 CAL taking 34: With Tennessee hangover done, Bears return to form and wallop Bulldog club off three-OT loss to the Aggies and traveling half-way across country. Bears defense is a concern though, giving up 14 points in last two minutes to the Rams to make the game interesting last week. Cal won win or cover many while allowing almost 30 ppg....Bears 37 LT 7
KENTUCKY over #9 Louisville taking 7: Cards have covered six of last eight in this series. ‘Cats face only four opponents this season who won less than 8 games last year and have covered 6 of last 7, going back to ‘06. KY was plus-4 in turnovers and out-rushed by about 60 yards in Kent State game. Wildcats got five rushing TDs against the Golden Flashes. Cardinals gave up 9.1 yards per carry to Middle Tennessee State. Hmmm...Redbirds 37 KY 34
WASHINGTON over #10 Ohio State taking 4 ½: Sled Dogs held mighty Boise O scoreless in the second half. Good sign for Huskies team that allowed 30.6 and 26 points-per-game-against in Coach Willingham’s first two years in Seattle. UDUB 24 Buckeyes 20
#11 Ucla over UTAH giving 13 ½: We considered this game for "lock". Utes came into 2007 having gone 32-16 ATS over the previous four seasons, but have already lost back-to-back games outright and against the line. Important match next week for Bruins versus the Huskies...UCLA 24 Utes 0
#12 PENN STATE over Buffalo giving 34: Weber’s alma mater is conducting its annual "Huddle with the Faculty" lecture series, in which Happy Valley professors present a topic before each home game. This week’s topic has something to do with race and ethnicity. If tied to the Lions’ weekly opponents, it coulda’ been a culinary discussion entitled, "The Ecology of the Perfectly-Grilled Spicy Wing!" JoPa showed little mercy against Florida International, allowing State to roll up a 59-0 lead before finally calling off the dogs with 14:05 left to play...Lions 48 Bulls 6
Norfolk State @ #13 RUTGERS: No line.
#21 Boston College over #15 GEORGIA TECH taking 7: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. UPSET SPECIAL. Golden Eagles appear no worse for the wear in wake of losing longtime coach Tom O’Brien to NC State, having won and covered both games to date (and both against conference opponents)! Bees flattened youthful Irish club then hammered a double-A team, so they really haven’t been tested...until now...BC 24 ‘Jackets 20
ALABAMA over #16 Arkansas giving 3: Razorbacks let Weeziana-Monroe score a virtually-meaningless touchdown with about two minutes left to play and blew the cover (costing Vindy a forecast win). ‘Hogs have also beaten ‘Bama straight up in three of last four (and three of those four). New Tide coach Nick Saban beat Arkansas 5 of 7 seven times while coaching LSU, covering five of those seven as well. Alabama has held a Top 25 ranking only a total of 9 weeks in last 4+ seasons. They’ll do so again after this one ends...Tide 20 Arkansas 16
South Carolina State @ #17 SOUTH CAROLINA: No line.
Ohio over #18 VIRGINIA TECH taking 20: Tech posted three consecutive spread losses in 2006, but hasn’t opened a season with three ATS defeats in over a decade. Maybe thrashing in Baton Rouge will provide the fire to get Hokies on the right track. Maybe not. Too much doubt in this forecaster’s mind to lay three scores yet, even in Blacksburg...VT 23 Bobblecats 6
#19 OREGON over Fresno State giving 16 : Ducks successfully broke out the "Statue of Liberty" play not once, but twice against Michigan... once for real and once as a fake. One play lead to a first down, the other to a TD. Bulldogs covering better than 80% getting more than a FG. Ducks have broght home the money in 8 of last 10 on the Pond. Annoyed by players’ banter and celebration of the win over the Wolverines on the Ducks’ flight home, Samuel L. Jackson stood up and said, "I’ve had it with these !@#*@$#*!! Drakes on this !@#*@$#*!! plane!"... Mallards 41 Fresno 20
Furman @ #20 CLEMSON: No line.
Western Carolina @ #23 GEORGIA: No line.
#24 Hawaii over UNLV giving 17 1/2: ‘Bows now 6-14 ATS over last 4+ seasons in games on the continental United States. Hometown Rebels have managed to go 1-0-1 against the number thus far this year, but might be beaten up after playing physical Badgers squad. UH flew to-and-from Weeziana, and now flies Eastward again this week. Wisconsin didn’t put it up nearly as often as Hawaii will...UH 44 Ve-gassed 20
Louisiana-Monroe over #25 TEXAS A&M taking 24: After going up 19-0 at the half, Aggies allowed Fresno to hang around longer than Sanjaya on this season’s American Idol! Might be a few too many to lay with inconsistent A&M. Not that it’s gonna’ come down to a winning FG try by Monroe, but if it did, in a parallel universe or the Twilight Zone,...ULM’s kicker Cole Wilson hasn’t missed in his last 14 attempts! ...TAMU 24 ULM 6
BETWEEN THE HASHMARKS
BTW, if Bowser and his band-mates from their 1950's doo-wop musical group suited up and took the field, could we call the holiday...Rush Ha-Sha-Na-Na??!!!
Anybody else out there wonderin’ how the folks at NASA, who might show up maybe once a season in Vindy’s Picks, are feelin’ about their second appearance in a span of three weeks???!!!
Given the success of the woman selling Michael Vick doggie-chewed cards on E-Bay, Vin wants to take it step or two further and offered cards that have been chewed, swallowed, uh... "processed"...and collected by the folks at Pooper Scooper! (And let’s face it...there are folks out there that would pay good money for those, even if just for the purpose of putting them in a paper bag outside quarterbacks door, setting it aflame, ringing the doorbell and yelling, "Fire!")
"Big Tentative?"- Of the 10 Big Ten conference squads in action against other I-A teams, 7 did not cover the point-spread! Hats off to Penn State, Iowa and (GASP!) Indiana for preserving some dignity!
Glad we ain’t pickin’ this one: Notre Dame and Michigan play this week with a collective record of 0-4 SU and 0-3 ATS! The only real question in this match-up is which "can-da’-coach" website gets more hits following the game... "SendCarrAfar.Com" or "PutWeisOnIce.Com"!!!!
Insiders say Rebel-backing gamblers this week contemplated knocking out the lights themselves at Sam Boyd Stadium in the 4th Quarter a la the 2002 "Blackout Bowl" just to preserve their winning tickets! Vin has it on good authority however, that the power in 2002 was actually cut by a confused Phillies fan who was trying to slow his team’s march toward 10,000 losses! Come to think of it, the Temple Owls tried the same tactic early in the first quarter of their 42-7 loss to Buffalo!
It’s only the third week of the season and we’re already showcasing some of those big, traditionally-heated rivalries, such as Michigan-Notre Dame, Florida-Tennessee, ‘Bama-Arkansas, Kid Rock-Tommy Lee (Oh wait...that Vols-Gators match ain’t that heated!). Hey... Vindy wouldn’t mind having that Pamela Anderson trophy on his mantle either...know what we mean?!
"Wish I Had That One Back": The Weber Kid noted in last week’s write-up that he changed his initial pick on the Buckeyes-Zips tilt!
"Locked in a Box?": The lock record drops to 1-1 as the ‘Bows still seem to be bothered by that whole Mainland thing!
Shoppe Talk: Vindy rips up the linoleum floor of the Shoppe and lays down a couple of nice tiger-skin rugs as both Clemson and Auburn each posted a 2nd forecast "L". No worries this week though as Bowden Jr. takes on a AA team and Aubie ain’t ranked! Hopping in late...the Froggies of TCU, who also finished on the wrong side of Vindy’s Picks in back-to-weeks! Thankfully, the Toads don’t possess a "#" this week either!
Vindy’s Week 3 Best Bets: Last Week: 0-4 (OUCH!) Season: 2-6 (.250)
Ball State +7 over NAVY, WASHINGTON STATE -26 over Idaho, Utep +6 over MINNESOTA, ARIZONA STATE -28 over San Diego State