Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Vindy's Picks Week 2-2009


LAS VEGAS, Nevada (BBC)...
As professional football players start to take the field in earnest and fans enter stadiums around the country to watch games that count in the standings this week, a sign on the door of a small, local shop reads, “Welcome to Vindy’s Bet & Breakfast”. Nope, that’s not a typo. No overnight stays, but patrons can enjoy flapjacks and a cup of Frightenin’ Irish coffee or a tall glass of Syracuse Orange juice while placing their wagers each morning. Think IHOP with a sportsbook. Previewing some of the menu items, we note the 3rd-and-short stack, a blue plate full of pancake blocks, some Arkansas Sooooeeey Pigs-in-a-Blanket with a side of Cleveland Hash Browns and “The Belichick”...any number of dishes made from recipes illegally acquired from videotapes of chefs at other restaurants! Restaurant-goers can keep their options open with “The Peyton Manning” (the customer can change the order at the last minute after quickly looking over the staff in the kitchen!), but should beware of “The Audible” (the chef has the option to change your order just before the server brings it out to you after surveying the people at your table). Truly adventurous eaters can request “The Safety”...what the order really becomes after the original meal is fumbled by the cook in his own kitchen and he falls on it himself or kicks it out the back of the restaurant before anyone else takes possession (By the way, the cook then gets to make whatever he wants from his own 20-yard line without pressure from the receiving customer!). Vindicator said if all goes well with the new endeavor, he plans to campaign for an eventual spot on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” on the Food Network!

Following Week One’s 9-6 (.600) to kick-off the year, Vindy avoids having to go to detention and clap erasers. Meanwhile, principals around the Vegas Valley this week agreed that students not wanting to listen to Obama’s 18-minute “back-to-school” speech could move into the cafeteria, where they would participate in an alternative class assignment, do other homework or improve their vocabulary and literacy skills by reading.....

(shovel-ready and still awaiting stimulus funds)

#15 GEORGIA TECH over Clemson giving 5:
Seven of last ten between these squads have been decided by 10 or less (six of ‘em by 5 or fewer). OK, RB C.J. Spiller returns for Coach Sweeney’s first full campaign at the helm, but Tech’s won four of past five, going 3-2 ATS. Tigers gotta’ do something about last season’s overall minus-20 sack differential. Bees 24 Name That Bowden (oh wait...) 17

#1 FLORIDA over Troy giving 36:
Trojan defense made some nice strides last season stopping the run. Unfortunately, the offensive production fell too. UF has had little trouble covering vs. out-of-conference foes in the Swamp (or anywhere else for that matter), going 7-1 ATS in the last 8 and 16-4 against the line since 2004. Troy, as the flagship of the Sun Belt in recent seasons, is an inspirational 5-2 ATS vs. ranked teams over the last three seasons (but lost to a MAC to open 2009). Volunteers up next for UF, but we like...Crocs 52 Troy 10

#2 Texas over WYOMING giving 33 1/2: Sixteen starters return for the Cowpokes, but Wyoming is dismal 4-18-1 against the number the past two seasons, have new faces at head coach and offensive coordinator and have gone 0-fer-four ATS against the Top 25. ‘Horns allowed a meaningless TD to Weeziana-Monroe last week with about three minutes left to give up the backdoor cover. It ain’t that cold in Laramie yet...Steers 45 Wyoming 7

#8 OHIO STATE over #3 Southern Cal taking 7: As always, this week’s Game of Da’ Year. Troy embarrassed State in 35-3 rout last year at the Coliseum. USC is 11-1 ATS in last dozen facing non-PAC-10 opponents. Terrell Pryor showed good touch on most of his passes and for three-quarters, State always seemed to be one step away from blowing it open. SoCal will, however, field bigger and better tacklers on defense than Navy did and contrary to Weber’s Week One analysis, the Sailors did uncharacteristically turn the ball over three times to give more State additional touches on offense. The pressure will be on the USC true freshman QB in his first big game on the road on national TV. That might be enough for the Buckeyes to turn the tables. ESPN will be trying out a 3D broadcast of the game at theaters in LA, Dallas and Columbus. Nice. If it works out, you’ll eventually be able to experience being sacked by a defensive end, catching a bag of peanuts tossed by a vendor in the stands and having cheerleaders fall from the top of da’ pyramid into your lap while shaking their...uh...pom-poms...right in your own livingroom! Let’s hope one of the two teams doesn’t end up being one-dimensional...USC 29 OSU 24

Florida International over #4 ALABAMA taking 34: In Coach Mario Cristobal’s second outing, Golden Panthers beat the line in 8 outta’ 12 and have covered a five of last eight tries against Big Six clubs in the month of September. Might be a letdown spot and too much to ask from Tide facing rising , run-first FIU....’Bama 35 Florida International 7

#5 OKLAHOMA STATE over Houston giving 15 ½: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Cougars D, never a strength to begin with, took a step backward in Kevin Sumlin’s first year, but the offensive production, almost always a positive aspect for the team, increased. State’s gotten the money in 9 of last 11as home chalk. Houston hadn’t squared off against a Top 25 team in over three seasons before meeting...and beating...then-#23 East Carolina (by 17 away) and then-#25 Tulsa at home (by [GASP!] 40!)...Cowboys 45 Coogs 20

#6 Mississippi: IDLE (next vs. SE Louisiana)

#7 PENN STATE over Syracuse giving 28 1/2: Lions won 55-13 last season at the Carrier Dome and ‘Cuse has one cover in six tries against ranked foes over the past two years. New Orange coach Doug Marrone came from the NFL. We know how well that transition works, don’t we??!! Former Blue Devil hoopster Greg Paulus managed to keep his team in the game despite a negative assist-to-turnover ratio by apparently hitting all ten of his free-throws in the OT loss to Minnesota! Happy Valley faithful breathed a sigh of relief after Obama recently reassured them that under his proposals for healthcare reform, he “wouldn’t pull da’ plug on JoePa”!...Lions 42 ‘Cuse 7

#9 Brigham Young over TULANE giving 17 1/2: After getting blasted by Tulsa, Green Wave is carrying a 2-8 spread-loss slide. Tulane is another club that floundered to 2-10 SU record in 2008 and gets starting RB Andre Anderson back from injury (Wave managed decent 4-3 ATS prior to losing him). Tulane brings the A-game for Top 25 opponents, covering last five tries over past three seasons. Coogs just 3-6 ATS vs. non-Mountain Best teams over past two years. Yeah, it’s a letdown spot for the Mormons, but BYU gets a chance to show-off that explosive offense this week...Cougars 40 Green Waifs 10

Eastern Washington @ #10 CAL: No line.

Vanderbilt over #11 LSU taking 14 1/2: Early conference match-up for these two. Bengals have been seriously ugly 8-22-4 ATS facing other SEC squads, while Commodores have been mighty respectable 17-5 getting points on the road and have 18 guys back from team that beat Boston College outright in a bowl last season. Tigers didn’t exactly put the big hurt we predicted on UDUB, yielding almost 500 yards of offense in the 8-point victory...LSU 27 Commodores 13

#12 BOISE STATE over Miami-Ohio giving 36 1/2: Broncos were sloppy, but got the win and the cover against an ineffective Oregon offense. Redhawks coming off opening whitewash loss to Kentucky following last season’s 2-10 disaster. Miami-O plays six of its first seven away. Ugghh!...BSU 48 Miami-Oh, nooooooo 3

Idaho State @ #13 OKLAHOMA: No line.

#14 VIRGINIA TECH over Marshall giving 20 ½: Herd has yet to post more than 4 spread wins in any of Coach Snyder’s four season’s at the helm (and more than four straight-up victories more than once). Marshall is horrible as a dog away from home coming off an SU win and not real impressive getting points on the road altogether (6-15 ATS). Hokies won’t be happy about yielding Tide rally to lose the opener...VT 27 Marshall 0

#16 Texas Christian over VIRGINIA giving 11: We looked at this for “lock”. Toads are down to four returning defensive starters after making seriously-good strides on that side of the ball in 2008, but have lotsa’ lettermen back to provide some depth. TCU was idle in Week One and Cavs have covered seven of last ten getting points at home. Cavs try to rebound on heels of 12-point loss to FCS club William & Mary. Froggies travel cross-country and struggle thru first quarter of first game, then it’s...TCU 28 Virginia 9

#17 Utah over SAN JOSE STATE giving 14: This got major consideration for “lock”. Utes were minus-2 in turnovers and got a fight from in-state rival Aggies. SJSU will open 0-3, but will be in decent shape for WAC play. Per Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com, Utah, who has a trip to Eugene on-deck, is 17-3 against the number after playing Utah State. Gotta’ figure opening game jitters are gone for Utah QB Terrence Cain and even if SJSU holds Utah to half what it granted USC and triples its own points-scored, it’s still...Utes 28 Sparse 9

MICHIGAN over #18 Notre Dame taking 3 1/2: Here’s this week’s “no faith” selection and another good candidate for “wish I had it back”. Wolverines just 5-13 ATS the past four-plus seasons vs. non-Big Tepid clubs. While RichRod gets 10 of 11 offensive starters back in his second year as coach, the newbie is....taking snaps under center! UM did hammer Western Michigan team in the opener, while the Catholics pitched the goose-egg vs. pretty good Reno offense. One of the Big Blew’s nine (count ‘em, NINE!) straight-up defeats in ‘08 came in South Bend. A little ball-security this year would go a long way in avenging that loss.... Leprechauns 13 Wolverines 10

CONNECTICUT over #19 North Carolina taking 5: We flipped-flopped a couple times on this one. Third-year head coach Davis gets to work with a seasoned defense, but has a whole new offensive backfield. Huskies just 2-4 ATS last six vs. ranked teams, but are solid 8-2 versus the line in home dog role. Tarheels won it 38-12 last season, laying 7 ½ (and belted Rutgers in NJ taking 6). Sled Dogs brought home Weber’s only “best bet” victory last week, though not decisively. One more thought...UNC was involved in six games decided by 5 or fewer last season...UNC 19 Dogs 16

#20 Miami: IDLE (next vs. Joja’ Tech 9/17)

South Carolina over #21 GEORGIA taking 7: Another early SEC pairing. Games have been decided by a TD or less in four of the last five years (with average margin of 4.25 points). Dawgs have won four of those outright, but covered just one. Joja’ owns one winning spread season in past five despite DD SU victories in six of last seven years. Gamehens have a winning spread season in last seven. Something has to give. Pick yer poison. Even though, the Wolfpack had a TD pass dropped in the end zone and another deflected late in loss to SC, we’ll take KFC and da’ points. BTW, Sandra Bullock in “All About Steve” took a backseat at the cinema to “Final Destination” over the Labor Day weekend. We’re thinking box-office gold coulda’ been raked-in had the title been “All About Steve Spurrier” (or for the UDUB fans out there, “All About Steve Sarkisian!”)!....’Dawgs 17 Poultry 13

Arkansas State over #22 NEBRASKA taking 23 ½: Senior-heavy Red Wolves won’t be intimidated by the Chitlins of the Corn having upset Big Twelve’s Texas A&M, 18-14, on the road last year and losing just 21-13 at then-#4 Texas in 2007...Not-Quite-Big-Enough Red 30 ASU 20

SE Missouri State @ #23 CINCINNATI: No line.

#24 Kansas over UTEP giving 11: Miners are a crapshoot ATS, but with just a dozen returnees last year, they missed a cover in Austin by just a field goal. The Weber Kid has a futures bet on the Jayhawks, led by senior QB Todd Reesing, to win the National Title at 150-1 (yes...we know that means beating Texas and Oklahoma, then likely knocking off one of those two again in the conference championship game just to get a shot. We ain’t oblivious, just aware of the fact that college pigskin happens!)...Kansas 31 UTEP 10

Bowling Green over #25 MISSOURI taking 18 1/2: Tigers got 110 more passing yards and two more turnovers than Illinois in 37-9 win with all other categories being mighty close. Falcons also coming off nice dog win by more than two scores over favored Troy and have covered twelve of last 15 road games. Not a lotta’ returning starters on the stop-squad, but a ton of ‘em are seniors..QB Sheehan has also been around and led the Bee Gees to an upset of then-#25 Pitt in the Keystone State last season’s debut...Mizzou 34 BG 20


And the Sylvester Stallone boxing fans on a diet who patronize Vindy’s fining dining establishment can order da’ “Rocky”, so they can “eat lightning...and crap thunda’” no extra charge!!!!

Yeah, Vindy had “quarterback scrambled eggs” too, but since the actual IHOP folks did the commercial with Eagles QB Donovan McNabb first, we’ll concede THAT one!

Let’s Hear It for Da’ “Little Guys” (FCS/I-AA squads that made da’ “big guys” reconsider their choices to schedule them this past week)...”YOU DA’ MEN”: Richmond 24-16 over DUKE (“Mr. Paulus...Mr. Greg the white courtesy phone!), Villanova 27-24 over TEMPLE and William & Mary 26-14 over VIRGINIA. “SERIOUS ACCOLADES” in light of: EAST CAROLINA 29-24 over Appalachian State (no shame in this one!), HAWAII 25-20 over Central Arkansas, INDIANA 19-13 over Eastern Kentucky, IOWA 17-16 over Northern Iowa (whom we know for hoops more than gridiron), KANSAS STATE 21-17 over UMass, MARSHALL 31-28 over Southern Illinois (see our reference to Northern Iowa above), SMU 31-23 over Stephen F. Austin (yep, free throws, not free safety!) and WYOMING 29-22 (yet-another team we associate more with hardwood than hard-count). Honorable-mention to...WEST VIRGINIA 33-20 over Liberty!

In addition, we salute the service academies for stellar performance last weekend....Army, getting points, beat Eastern Michigan 27-14 on the road, Air Force strafed FCS Nicholls State 72-0 and the Ensigns of Annapolis nearly netted a major upset over Ohio State in a 31-27 loss1

Vindy just missed an opening week perfect-score call as the Utes beat Utah State 35-17 (your fab forecaster said 34-17) and didn’t mss the Penn State-Akron tilt by much, calling 31-10 (31-7 actual)!

The NCAA is promoting pre-game exchange of handshakes. Florida State and Miami simply exchanged pre-game handcuffs on Labor Day!

In the “Sorry, no relation” department....some guy named Weber kicked five field goals and five XP for Arizona State...and earlier in the day led the Golden Gophers to the aforementioned victory in extra frames over Syracuse by throwing for 248 yards and a pick. (And while we’re at it....Kansas has a reserve QB named “Pick”. Yeah...THAT’S da’ guy Vindy wants slingin’ da’ rock!!!!

A June 09 ish of Sports Illustrated indicated Matt Leinart was training in mixed martial arts. Great. The first blitzing safety that puts Leinart on his back will experience the Arizona QB’s full-butterfly guard followed by a guillotine choke until he submits by tapping out! Matt won’t be leading his teammates outta’ the huddle...he’ll be leading them outta’ the Octagon!

Comcast viewers in Arizona caught 30 seconds of porn during the 4th quarter of last season’s Super Bowl. Steeler fans laying the points, to include your humble host, thought the two final-period touchdowns by Larry Fitzgerald were obscene enough! (But Vin is considering uploading half-a-minute of sex-on-film to his blog site just to expand the readership!).

This summer, the four major sports leagues filed and eventually won an injunction to prevent Delaware from implementing sports betting. Two thoughts...1) betting is allowed only on a parlay of at least 3 NFL games. So, we can plunk down a mortgage payment on da’ Raiders, Lions and Niners, but an attempt to drop a Jackson on any given individual side results in “security” launching said bettor thru a pane-glass window????!!! Wussies! 2) Industry-insiders say opponents of the sports-betting legislation have stirred-up a (Del State) Hornets’ nest and da’ First (Half) State ain’t goin’ down without a (University of Delaware) Fight(in’ Blue Hen!)!!!!!

Thoughts on Michael Phelps (Part One of a Three-Part Miniseries): In February, a pic of Phelps smoking a bong while visiting the University of South Carolina was published by British tabloid News of the World, causing sponsor Kellogg’s to dump him. Kelloggs did, however, donate the already pre-printed boxes to a food bank (thank goodness all that cereal wasn’t wasted...even if the guy pictured on the box was!), but passed up the opportunity to target an unusual market by putting Mike on their box of Rice Krispies with Smack, Crackhead and Puff. (BTW, Rice Krispies treats are handy when those attacks of the munchies occur...or so we’re told!). Fellow sponsor Rosetta Stoned stock increased as thousands bought the language software to learn how to utter a few words while holding in their smoke and how to say, “Dude, pass the roach” in various dialects. Phelps claimed he had water in his ears and thought someone at University of South Carolina offered to show him his “stroke”. Playing on his iPod right now? War’s “Why Can’t Weed Be Friends?”

Black Shirt: The highly-coveted ebony tee given to the individual(s) for most outstanding performance on Vindicator’s behalf the previous week goes to....the officiating crew that changed the momentum of the Ohio State-Navy tilt by not calling a blatant Middies face-mask penalty that would’ve extended a late Buckeyes drive into the red zone with State already leading 29-15 and could’ve cost Weber a forecast win and lock of da’ week pick! “Honorable Mention” to Crimson Tide RB Mark Ingram, who rushed for 150 yards and caught the spread-win-deciding 18-yard touchdown pass vs. Virginia Tech!

“Locked in a Box?”: Following last year’s 13-3 lock record, Vindy opens 1-0 behind the Ensigns’ near upset of Ohio State!

Shoppe Talk: Ye Olde Taxidermy Shoppe remains closed this week as last season’s forecast troublesome Red Raiders of Texas Tech (2-9 in 11 forecast appearances) and Wisky Badgers (1-7) did not enter the season ranked (but we’ll be watchin’!), while BYU (2-9) came through with the nice upset (despite Vindy’s Week One note that Coogs were “not BCS-busters”).

Vindy’s Week 2 Best Bets: Last Week: 1-3 (OUCH!) Season: 1-3 (.250)
UAB -12 over Southern Methodist, Stanford +2 1/2 over WAKE FOREST, Ohio -3 over NORTH TEXAS, NAVY -7 ½ over Weeiziana Tech

Next week...more on (moron???!!) Mr. Phelps and a look at Vindicator’s expanded menu! (Meanwhile, it’s “no shirt, no shoes, no spreads!”)

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