MONTE CARLO, Monaco (CNN)....Facing a permanent transcript of the worst preferred-picks record of his career, the Vegas Vindicator this week did what any reasonable forecaster in his (or her) position would do... throw a deposed track-and-field legend under the bus. Citing a regular-season "best bets" tally of 20-35-1, the Sin City Soothsayer went to the International Association Athletics Federation claiming Marion Jones was an active member of his forecasting team, hoping the sports-governing body would annul Vindy’s 2007 record from the history books, just as it recently did to not only Jones, but to the records of athletes who joined her during Olympic relay races.
Those "bounties" from last week musta’ been really good because the bookies stacked eight in Pandora’s box score, daring Vindy to throw and leaving our flustered forecaster on the wrong end of a season-worst 5-12 record for Week 13 (106-124-5, .461). Raising the bar..tab...one last time before da’ bowls, it’s....
THE WEBER KID’S 2007 CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK FORECAST
SAT. DEC. 1
Pittsburgh over #2 WEST VIRGINIA taking 28: Mounties FB Ryan Mundy was recently asked "if your sport had at-bat music, what song would you choose?". Ryan said he favors oldies, but those couldn’t be used for used for that purpose. Challenging that assertion, Vindy suggests the following: Backfield in Motion (1969), Ballroom Blitz (1975) or maybe Born to Run (also 1975; and those are just choices from very early in the alphabet!). Should WVU lose here, the choice might be 96 Tears (1966)! Mountaineers have covered 4 of last 5 vs. Pitt. Panthers are 1-5 ATS in last 6 against ranked teams, but the one spread win was also a straight-up victory over Cincinnati this season. Despite recent success, West Virginia is still actually 22 games under .500 in this Backyard Brawl. Team Morgantown just needs a win to play for the big one...’Eers 34 Pitt 17
#13 ARIZONA STATE over Arizona giving 7: Wildcats have put together a three-game win streak (SU and ATS). Devils are struggling through 1-2 SU/0-3 ATS slide. State has gone 4-1-1 vs. the number in Tempe this year. We’ll take Rudy Carpenter over Willie Tuitama... barely....Pitchforks 26 ‘Cats 17
Ucla over #8 USC taking 20: Bruins are 29-18 against the number over the past four seasons, including 6-4 this year even with rash of injuries they’ve suffered. USC has covered 4 of last 5, but are only 4-4 against the PAC-10 this season. Have to look for a single-digit Trojans win or outright loss...Troy 24 UCLA 17
#11 HAWAII over Washington giving 14: UH obviously has a lot to play for. ‘Dogs have only a long Seattle winter ahead. Hawaii’s players reportedly do a haka dance on a regular basis, as does the Jefferson High School team in Portland. Oregon’s high school association considers it taunting. The high schoolers dance anyway and just eat the accompanying 15-yard penalty. Las Vegas bookies do likewise when Vindy turns in his wagers each week and simply absorb a 15-point adjustment to one of Weber’s "best bets"!...’Bows 38 UDUB 21
Oregon State over #18 OREGON taking 4 1/2: It’s painfully obvious the Mallards miss their Heisman-calibre quarterback....Beavers 16 Decoys 15
#21 Brigham Young over SAN DIEGO STATE giving 15: This one got rescheduled from original late October date as result of California’s wildfires. Aztecs can’t be feelin’ too good about themselves after tanking early 17-0 lead over the Horny Toads to not only lose, but also to blow a cover. Vin liked the Coogs as preseason BCS-buster and figures State won’t hold off the Mormons, who shoulda’ lost to Utah...BYU 30 SDSU 13
MAC Championship @ Detroit, Michigan
Miami-Ohio over Central Michigan taking 4: Chippies are 6-1 SU vs. other MAC teams in 2007, but home losses to Eastern Michigan and FCS division North Dakota State are troublesome. On the other side of the field, Redhawks are on 0-3 ATS spiral. Three-point win over Akron and 7-0 squeaker over Buffalo at home before road loss to Ohio inspire no confidence either. No choice but to take the points and hope for a FG decision either way...CMU 27 Miami-Ohio 24
ACC Championship @ Jacksonville, Florida
#Virginia Tech over #12 Boston College giving 5: WR/KR Eddie Royal will need to avoid the mistakes he made early last week, but we can’t pass on Hokies squad that’s getting Weber-Friendly honors (see SEASON RECAP below) and showing six covers in last seven games of what should be a 7-0 SU streak. Tech is 1-6 ATS over last 7 playing the Eagles, but should be motivated to pull out the trickery and put this away early after blowing this match late a few weeks ago...VT 28 BC 17
SEC Championship @ Atlanta, Georgia
#14 Tennessee over #5 Louisiana State taking 7 ½: Following Tigers’ other triple-OT defeat, LSU won but did not cover vs. Auburn in Baton Rouge. In fact, Bengals’ only spread win in last nine tilts was blowout over Weeziana Tech. If Vols can keep it close for four quarters, they can win it outright, but what does Rocky Top have left on the heels of 4OT game last week? UT won SU in ‘05 and pushed as a dog in ‘06. We think they bring enough to ATL... Tennessee 29 Down on the Bayou 28
Big 12 Championship @ San Antonio, Texas
#9 Oklahoma over #1 Missouri giving 3: Short-handed Spooners had little problem dispatching high-powered in-state rival Okie State and get the edge on defense here. Tigers would like to make amends for regular-season 10-point loss in Norman. Mizzou has already posted winning covers twice on neutral turf this year (vs. Illinois and Kansas). Ohio State to the BCS title game?...Okie-Dokie 40 Didn’t Quite Show-Me State 35
C-USA Championship @ Orlando, Florida
Central Florida over Tulsa giving 6 ½: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Golden Hurricane was embarrassed last month by the Knights in Orlando. We don’t see much different here. UCF beat NC State, nearly knocked off Texas and subsequently bulldozed its way through the conference...Central Florida 45 Tulsa 24
A Guess at Da’ Rest:
Rutgers +2 ½ over LOUISVILLE: Who woulda’ thought both teams would be unranked at this point?...Knights 24 Cards 20
Fresno State -13 ½ over NEW MEXICO STATE: Bulldogs not the feared world-beaters of yore, but plenty potent enough to get by NMSU...Bulldogs 27 Aggies 10
Army +14 over Navy: Vindy takes a rare leap against the Boat People here. Cadets win-loss record doesn’t really reflect it, but the Knights have been more competitive this season than in recent years. Middies are down a notch and the USN defense seems to be yielding more points than previous seasons, even as the air game has opened up a tad for the offense. Look for a high-scoring game...Sailors 34 Soldiers 30
Louisiana Tech +8 over NEVADA-RENO: Winner has decent shot at a bowl berth. While we sincerely thank the boys from north of Vindy’s locale for being one of his personal-record 19 bowl-forecast wins last year, we give the nod to the visitors. La Tech 38 Wolfpack 30
California -13 ½ over STANFORD: Surely, even the injury-riddled, tree-huggin’ Bears of Berkeley should grab a cover en route to the win sending ‘em to the post-season over Cardinal team that apparently is resting on its laurels since the upset over USC. Any club that loses outright to this year’s Eggos...er..um..."echoes"...of Notre Dame is not worthy of a vote here. On the 25th anniversary of "Da’ Play", we like...Bears 27 Team Harbaugh 3
Florida Atlantic +15 ½ over TROY: Owls could grab a tie for the Sun Belt conference with an upset and a surprise appearance in the New Orleans Bowl...Trojans 24 FAU 21
North Texas -2 ½ over FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL: No fan of the Mean Green by any stretch, but FIU is just a bad, bad ballclub. The Panthers were competitive maybe twice all season and first-year coach Mario Cristobal will have all winter to figure out what to do with the leftovers he inherited...UNT 17 FIU 6
BETWEEN THE HASHMARKS
Vindicator blames his poor record this season on a previously-undisclosed torn ACL (antique crystal-ball ligament)! It was all Vin could do to keep that piece of information outta’ Dennis Franchione’s weekly secret newsletter!
Army and Navy are the least-penalized teams in the country (at 4.2 and 4.3 per game, respectively). Vindicator sets a prop bet on the over/under for total flags this weekend at 8 ½!
After every season, one special player receives the Vincent dePaul Draddy Award for the best combo of schoolwork, on-field play and service to the community. The obvious question, then, to the award voters is..."Who’s Your Draddy??!!"
Defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday of the now 0-11 Miami Dolphins recently quipped, "Who’s the guy from Charlie Brown who has the gray cloud following him around? Pig Pen? We’re like Pig Pen." Can’t wait to see an updated version of A Charlie Brown Christmas in which Pig Pen says, "We’re like those guys from the NFL with the gray cloud following them around? The Miami Dolphins? We’re like the Miami Dolphins."
Said New England Patriots offensive lineman of Philly’s NFL team, "There’s a reason they call them the Screaming Eagles.". Screamin’ Eagles? Hmmm...when Donovan and da’ boys pack their own chutes and jump outta’ perfectly good airplanes into hot landing zones a la the 101st Airborne, we’ll talk!
The Miami Heat’s senior dance team, the Golden Oldies, are celebrating their 4th season with the NBA club. Did anybody tell Greg Oden he’s finally got cheerleaders of his own generation to date??!!
Best Weekly Effort: Right outta’ the gate...Week One’s 11-6 (In like a lineman....).
Worst Weekly "Effort": Vin saved the worst for last, going 5-12 in Week 13 (...out like a lamp!).
WEBER-FRIENDLIES (Best percentage on the predicted side of the spread; minimum 7 at-bats in the forecast): This season’s "You’re in Good Hands Award" goes to...drum roll, please...the Scarlet Nuts of Rutgers at 6-1 (.857). Second place to the Arkansas Razorbacks (5-1-1, .833) and Honorable Mention to those Hokies of Virginia Tech (9-2, .818).
FLAME-THROWERS (Worst percentage on the predicted side of ‘da spread): The bookies loved the smell of napalm in the morning...afternoon...and night...courtesy of this year’s "Grill-Master Supreme Award" winner Southern Cal (2-9, .182). "Suckin’ Place" goes to surprise guest Boston College (2-7, .222) and "Dishonorable Mention" to the ‘Blows of Hawaii (2-6, .250).
Below the official radar, but we’ll be watchin’: The FSU Steamin’ Holes (0-6, 000) and the Spooners of Oklahoma (3-8-1, .272).
"Locked in a Box?": Nothin’ like havin’ your +11 "lock" team lose by forty-!@%$#@!!-five!!! The Oklahoma State Cowpoked registers Vin’s first back-to-back lock losses and drop the record to 8-5 (.615)
Shoppe Talk: Trojans thwart Vindy’s Thursday night try again! The Gators return after brief (very brief) hiatus!
Vindy’s Championship Week Best Bets: Last Week: 0-fer-fugheddaboutit Season: 20-35-1 (.363)
Louisiana Tech +8 ½ over NEVADA-RENO, North Texas -2 ½ over FLORIDA INT’L
Vindy now takes a much-needed TV time-out to heal the aforementioned injury and clear the cobwebs. But fear not, loyal readers, your hero will return circa December 15 with his infamous bowl predictions! Don’t touch that dial!