Friday, December 19, 2008

Vindy's 2008-09 Bowl Picks- Part Deux

DEC. 28
Northern Illinois over Louisiana Tech giving 1 ½ (47): LOCK OF DA’ BOWLS.
Rookie NIU head coach Jerry Kill inherited 20 returning starters and took advantage of that to increase the Huskies points-scored by 6 per game (to average of 25), while lowering points-against by nearly two touchdowns per game (to average of 18). NIU did lose 3 of final 4 SU, but against high-powered offenses of Ball State and Central Michigan. Weeziana Tech can score as well, but big points came at the expense of WAC squads New Mexico State, Idaho and Utah State (38 in an outright loss), while putting up just 7 as one of Army’s trio of straight-up victories. Huskies could throw a shutout, but let’s call it...NIU 23 LT 7

DEC. 29
NC State over Rutgers taking 7 (53):
Best guess for “wish I had it back”. Rutgers was left for dead after an 0-3 SU/ATS start, but covered its final eight games, winning six outright. Lowest rushing yardage totals for University of NJ since 84 ypg in 2004, but Mike Teel has given the Knights a potent air attack. On the other side of the field, Coach O’Brien has ‘Pack returning to the bowls after team went 3-9 just three seasons ago. O’Brien led Boston College to seven straight bowl victories before joining NC State. It’s okay to take a Knight to a gunfight, but we’ll just take the points...Rutgers 24 NCSU 20

#22 Northwestern taking #25 Missouri taking 13 (66):
We like the “over” more than a side here. Wildcats decent defensively, but gave up 45 to Ohio State and 37 to Michigan State. Regular readers know we’ve been lambasting the Tigers “defense” all season. Mizzou crushed Arkansas in a bowl last year following three-TD defeat by Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship en route to third-straight bowl cover (2-1 SU), but we expect NW to light up the scoreboard enough in first bowl under Coach Pat Fitzgerald (and while we’re making another conservative call, the upset would not shock this prognosticator)...Tigers 44 NW 34

DEC. 30
Maryland over Nevada-Reno taking 1 (58):
Curious line, except Terps’ adjustment to a new offensive coordinator this year shows in a 4-ppg decrease in points-scored. Still, we like Maryland’s ACC-caliber D over Reno’s wild-and-wooly WAC offense (which has yielded just a 1-2 SU/ATS result in last three bowls)... Box Turtles 31 UNR 28

Rice over Western Michigan giving 3 (73):
This got lock consideration. Virtually a home game for the Owls, who addition to having a pass-heavy offense, also get it done on the ground. Not good news for WMU team that thrives on just outscoring its opponents. Broncos average turnovers per game. Can’t give the Owls a short field. A french Olympic swimmer and Rice fan (don’t ask) was quoted as saying, “The Mid-Americans? We’re gonna’ smash ‘em. That’s what we came here for.”...Owls 52 WMU 38

#13 Oklahoma State over #15 Oregon giving 3 (76 ½):
Second-highest over/under total of all 34 bowls. At first glance, the total appears justified. But a more in-depth look reveals both teams favoring the rush (though Cowpokes have racked nearly as much passing yardage) and a quickly-moving, lower-scoring game. Ducks beat up on weak Pacifist Ten foes, while State went toe-to-toe with the stellar Big 12 South. Mallards lost at home to Boise. Cowboys lost by 4 in Austin. Cowpokes and the “under” gets the vote...OKSU 38 Decoys 31

DEC. 31
Air Force over Houston taking 2 ½ (64):
Pairing of two squads with completely different philosophies. Cougars live to pass, while the only passing done by the Pilots involves waking past opposing players back to huddle following runs for first-downs! Flyboys won in mid-September 31-28 at Houston. Coogs hung 70 on Tulsa, but are on 0-3 SU/ATS bowl slide...USAF 29 UH-OH 27

#24 Oregon State over #18 Pittsburgh giving 3 (52 ½):
Beavers probably deserving of fave role here since they had been on 8-1 ATS run until losing the RB component of the Rodgers brothers before bad loss to Oregon. Panthers took four of final five outright to get here (though we discount wins over Notre Dame and Louisville, props to Pitt for blowout of Connecticut!) And got points in four of ‘em. How weird it would be if Panthers win, Trojans cover vs. Penn State, who belted the Beavers, who tripped up Southern Cal. Pitt’s ast bowl “appearance” was 35-7 loss to Utah in 2004... Beavers 34 Pitt 20

Boston College over Vanderbilt giving 3 ½ (41):
Another game we ike to go under the total. While failing tio cover the past two, Eagles have won bowls in each of the last 8 seasons. Admirals opened 5-0 straight up, but struggled mightily to get that bowl-eligibility-securing 6th victory (mid-November at Kentucky) and posted 14 just one time in last eight tilts to stumble into first post-season competition since 1982...BC 19 Vandy 7

Minnesota over Kansas taking 10 (57 ½):
gO-Fers offense went seriously-dormant in conference play, but the much-improved defense kept Minny in most of its games (55-0 loss to Iowa in season-ender the obvious exception!). As Todd Reesing’s passing goes, so goes Kansas. Fightin’ Mangones drew horrible conference slate this year, facing Oklahoma in Norman, Texas Tech and Texas. Jayhawks recorded seven wins, but vs... Florida International, Weeziana Tech, I-AA Sam Houston State, at Iowa State (barely) and Colorado. Only option here is to grab the grab the ten-spot...Birds 34 Gilded Gerbils 27

#14 Georgia Tech over Louisiana State giving 4 (50):
If they didn’t do so before, the Bees players (and their foes) now believe in Coach Johnson’s triple-option! Bengals pretty good stopping the run (106 ypg allowed), but went 2-9 against the number, are on 3-15-2 spread death-spiral and almost lost to Troy as 20-point chalk. State seniors have little to play for. ‘Jackets defeated SEC opponents at both ends of the spectrum... Mississippi State and Georgia... Ramblin’ Wreck 20 Paper Tigers 12

JAN. 1 (“Hey look, Mr. Bill....these are all Thursday games!” “Oh, noooooooooooooooooo.....!”)
Iowa over South Carolina giving 3 ½ (43):
Smallish line shows some respect for Gamehens squad that lost three of its last five and turns the ball over almost three times a game! By contrast, Hawkeyes won five of its last six to get here. Steve Spurrier better become the “Ol’ Ball-Protection Coach” or his folks are in trouble vs. Iowa club that’s covered three of last four post-season trips (against the likes of Texas, LSU and Florida ...twice!)...Hawkeyes 27 Chicken Nuggets 9

#16 Georgia over #19 Michigan State giving 7 ½ (54):
What will be the mind-set of the Bulldogs after squandering huge lead in loss to Joja’ Tech? Georgia has been backer-friendly in the bowls, going 7-3 ATS the last 10 years. After hearing how good Hawaii was for a couple weeks last season, Joja’ trashed the ‘Bows. No such hype surrounding State this time, but we like UGA anyway...’Dawgs 38 MSU 19

Nebraska over Clemson taking 2 ½ (55 ½):
Tigers were one of season’s biggest busts (as noted in an earlier forecast, we had a futures wager on Clemson to win it all), but won and covered 3 of last 4. And though Tigers allowed 34 points to ‘Bama and 41 to FSU, no other opponent scored more than 21. Tigers have given points in each of the last three years’ bowls, but won just one and covered none of ‘em! Bo Pelini has returned the Huskers to an eight-win season and coached Big Dread to an OT loss at Texas Tech, but the defense still has issues...Nebraska 31 Clemson 30

#5 Southern Cal over #6 Penn State giving 10 (45):
Oh, the shame! But the pick is more head than heart. Lions just one bad 4th Quarter defensive series away from a title shot in Miami, yet also just a lone Buckeyes turnover from two losses and being completely outta’ the championship conversation. Just two State foes put up more than teens on the scoreboard (24 each by Illinois and Iowa). SoCal is even better, allowing just two opponents more than 10 (23 to Stanford and 27 in only outright loss at Oregon State) and while it lost four of last 6 ATS, none of those saw a spread this low. Trojans won’t likely get anything going vs. State’s run stoppers, but the Lions’ pass defense, especially on 3rd-and-long, is an exploitable weakness. Big Tent-Peg Conference is on 0-4 SU Rose Bowl skid. Trojans have won and covered 5 of last 6 post-season games, and three of last four tries in Pasadena (convincingly!). While we’ll accept a SoCal spread win or an outright victory by the Lions, a State defeat covering the line is of no consolation to this proud, but skeptical alum...USC 29 PSU 14

#12 Cincinnati over #21 Virginia Tech giving 1 ½ (42):
As always, defense is the strength of the Hokies (last five opponents scored in the teens or less and Tech is plus-11 in take-aways). Bearkats need to do better protecting the passer (yielded 30 sacks this season) and the ball itself (minus-5 turnovers). Tech is only 2-5 vs. the number in last 7 bowls (winning two outright), while Cincy has covered just 1 of last 6 post-season tilts. ‘Kats did close the year with five SU victories, have won three straight bowls (though only over Southern Miss, Western Michigan and Marshall) and have revenge factor for 29-13 loss at Virginia Tech in 2006...UC 27 VT 23

JAN. 2
#20 Mississippi over #8 Texas Tech taking 5 ½ (70 1/2):
Yeah, Vindicator has a snowball’s chance of pickin’ the correct side here. The Tarot deck likes Tech, the coin backed Ole Miss 6 outta’ 10. The Magic 8-Ball responded, “You gotta’ be kiddin’ me!” and Auntie Entity’s wheel favored “dismemberment” (but bowl committee members typically look down upon that [though Dick Cheney has recently come out in favor of water-boarding !]). Go! Run! Save yourselves!...Rebels 31 Red Raiders 29

Kentucky over East Carolina taking 2 (42):
This one got “lock” votes. We were seriously hopin’ see the Pirates getting about a touchdown because they’ve won their last five games outright when taking 8 ½ or more points (including last season’s bowl win over Boise State getting double-digits). ECU fizzled a bit after opening upsets over Virginia Tech and West Virginia, following that success with a four-point squeaker over Tulane and three straight losses. Pirates didn’t get the booty as chalk this season, going just 2-6-1. Wildcats had some poor moments, but lost at ‘Bama by a FG...Kentucky 24 East Carolina 17

#7 Utah over #4 Alabama taking 10 ½ (45):
If both defenses dominate they way they can, this will be a close, low-scoring game. Between LSU and his first year at ‘Bama, Nick Saban has gone 4-2 SU/ATS in his last six bowl opportunities, but didn’t lay double-digits in any of ‘em. Key match-up here might be Tide’s rushing game (196.5 ypg) vs. Utes run defense (107.2 ypg allowed). Given that TCU had Utah on the ropes before losing and conspiracy theory noted earlier regarding the BYU game, Utes’ best win of the season mighta’ been 31-28 victory over Oregon State. Senior QB Brian Johnson is a good signal-caller, but Tim Tebow he ain’t. Still, we take Utah as the only BCS bowl doggie we’‘ll back...Tide 23 Utes 17

JAN. 3
Buffalo over Connecticut taking 4 (51 1/2):
Both teams relatively new to I-A post-season play as UConn enters only its third bowl, while Bulls make their bowl debut. Run-heavy Huskies spanked eventual Big Least champ Cincinnati, but crawl into January having dropped 3 of last 4 games outright (beating only Syracuse). Buffalo prefers the air game and its best shot at a victory might be drawing the Dogs into a shootout. Bulls coach Turner Gill interviewed at Syracuse and Auburn, but just signed one year extension for more moola at Buffalo. That should work in Buffalo’s favor. Bulls fans can save plane fare and just skate across Lake Ontario to the Great White North.... UConn 27 Buffalo 24

JAN. 5
#3 Texas over #10 Ohio State giving 9 ½ (53 ½):
There’s more pressure on Texas here to prove the BCS folks made the wrong choice sending Oklahoma to the Big 12 championship game. We think Mack Brown will be more than happy to oblige and will run it up given the opportunity. Buckeyes like playing in Glendale, having won the Fiesta Bowls in ‘02, ‘03 and ‘05, but none of those teams compared to this year’s ‘Horns (except maybe Miami’s then-undefeated 2002 squad) and State is pedestrian 4-5 ATS in last 9 post-season trips. UT no bargain either at 4-6 ATS in last ten bowls. Steers covered two of last three, but did not cover a minus-9 vs. Iowa in 2006...Texas 34 Ohio State 23

JAN. 6
Tulsa over #23 Ball State taking 2 ½ (77):
Well, one sure-fire way to get detractors off your back for criticizing your decision to decline an offer to play another undefeated team in a bowl game is to get trounced in your conference title by your 15-point underdog opponent and prove yourself not worthy to begin with! Not sure what the Cardinals have left to gain with a victory...the perfect season? Gone? MAC title? Gone. Coach Hoke? Gone... to coach San Diego State???!!!. Golden Hurricane forfeited the C-USA crown via seven (count ‘em, seven!) turnovers vs. ECU. First underdog game for Tulsa since 2007 MAC championship match...Tulsa 38 BSU 34

JAN. 8
#1 Florida over #2 Oklahoma giving 3 (72):
Gators beat previously-undefeated Crimson Tide without Percy Harvin and minus a couple of defensive players as well. Sooners faced only one other team with a great defense ... TCU...and blew it out, but Toads didn’t have the weapons on offense that Florida does. Also detracting from Boomer Schooner’s title hopes is that piece of hardware called the Heisman Trophy...won recently by OK QB Sam Bradford. The last three owners of that award failed to lead their teams to a straight-up bowl win. We refer you to...’05 weiner Reggie Bush (USC lost to Texas in the Rose Bowl [Anybody remember some guy named...Vince Young???!!]), ‘06 weiner Troy Smith (Buckeyes lost the BCS National Title to Florida) and (GASP!)...’07 weiner...some kid named Tebow... (Gators lost to Michigan in the Capital One Bowl!). We also lean toward the “over” here. This just in...Sooners star RB (and Las Vegas product) DeMarco Murray will miss the game. Not necessarily a show-stopper, but it definitely hurts Oklahoma...Florida 44 Sooners 33

Oh, the beer in my hand’s delightful,
And Vindy’s Picks sooooooooo insightful.
Even if they’re not in the poll,
Let ‘em bowl! Let ‘em bowl! Let ‘em bowl!

The points show no signs of stoppin’,
Despite all those pads a’poppin’,
The fans really love them so,
Let ‘em bowl! Let ‘em bowl! Let ‘em bowl!

When the last bowl game ends for the night,
How depressed I will be ‘til the Fall.
But if all of Vin’s picks are right,
I can say I at least had a ball.

Painted logos are quickly dryin’,
And the sponsors all hope we’re buyin’.
The scoreboard shows first-and-goal,
Let ‘em bowl! Let ‘em bowl! Let ‘em bowl!

Iiiii’ll be in a bowwwwl....for Chrisssstmassss...if onnnnnly.... innnnn.... myyyyyyy.....dreeeeams!

Just a thought on Brigham Young’s selection to the Las Vegas Bowl over Texas Christian...cue-up the Pink Floyd...”Money, it’s a hit. Don’t give me that T-C-U bullsh*t”. It’s no secret the Cougars are traveling yet-again to our national gambling mecca because they put butts in the stadium seats, but ‘bout a little variety???!!! And the beer vendors have to throw elbows as they try to make an alcoholic buck packed into whichever end zone the BYU opponents’ fans occupy!

OJ Simpson formally became a “guest” at a Southern Nevada correctional facility earlier this month (news flash...the Trojan/Buffalo rushing star is now in more-Northern Nevada grey-bar hotel). Maybe they’ll eventually retire his prisoner number (No. 1027820)! Wonder what his rookie prison year card will fetch! Anybody else out there see the irony in OJ’s role as a cop in the Naked Gun movie series???!!!!

Penn State’s Nittany Lion mascot, James Sheep, is suspended for the Rose Bowl after sustaining a DUI charge not long before PSU blew out Michigan State. Not to worry, he was offered a temp contract to don the Stanford tree costume until he’s reinstated in 2009...and a scholarship by Florida State! BTW, the police report quotes the wayward Sheep as calling out, “Joe Paaaaaaaaahhhhhhh” as he was hauled away in handcuffs by Happy Valley’s finest!

During a farewell appearance earlier this month in Baghdad, President Bush was the target of a pair of shoes, launched by an Iraqi journalist. Dubya tried to make the grab, but couldn’t reel in the footwear. In his defense, however, the shoes were thrown a little behind him and the outbound Commander-in-Chief trotted out of the conference room as the Secret Service sent in the punting unit. Anybody else out there foresee a NIKE commercial/satire to be aired during the upcoming Super Bowl???!! The original play called for Birkenstocks, but the Iraqi checked off at the line of scrimmage to Pradas after looking over the defense. The journalist later apologized for his actions, noting his mistook the president for a member of the Fightin’ Irish football team!

Following up on Vindy’s last discussion of the Army’s “coffee with a soldier” light of the Hudson River Rats 34-0 neutral site loss to Navy, are there latte-lappin’ linemen? Did the motto change to one of the following: “Bean all you can bean”, “I am a cappuccino of one!” or “You make ‘em strong. We make ‘em espresso strong!”

Condi Rice was quoted this week as saying, “Only an idiot would trust Vindy’s pick on the Texas Tech game!” CollegeFootballNews.Com’s Clucko the Chicken selected Ole Miss over Texas Tech with a confidence-point ranking of 28 (1 being lowest confidence, 34 being the highest). BTW, Vindy and Clucko are practically related. The family tree-house suggests third cousins-four times removed (and those are just the incidents that actually made the official police blotter!).

“Wish I Had It Back”: Yeah, we’d like to revisit the Cincinnati -7 ½ over HAWAII pick after questioning the Bearkats’ motivation given the already-accepted berth in the Orange Bowl!

“Locked in a Box”: The Oklahoma Sooners left little doubt about covering the Big 12 Championship game and raised the lock record to 13-2 (.867)!

Vindy’s 2008 Bowl Season Best Bets: Championship Week: 1-0 (One pick?! That wuss!) Season: 38-25-1 (.603)
Rice -3 over Western Michigan, Boston College/Vanderbilt “under” 41, Joja’ Tech/LSU “under” 50, Kentucky +2 over East Carolina

Vindicator offers his annual holiday greetings to all his faithful readers...Pass on Earth, Goodwill Toward Linemen. On top of ‘dat, we extend...Crimson Tidings of Southern Comfort and joy! Be sure to visit us one more time a few days after completion of the BCS Championship game to check Vindy’s bowl recap and publication of his leftover “hash”!

No comments: