Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vindy's 2009-10 Bowl Predictions: Part II

(AP rankings; lines of December 23, over/under totals in parentheses)

JAN. 1
OUTBACK (@ Tampa, FL):
Northwestern over Auburn taking 7 ½ (54 ½):
‘Cats went 5-1 against the number as dogs this season and could post its second straight 9-win season with an upset. Tigers may have left all they had on the field after letting ‘Bama off the hook and may not be able to get up again for this one over a month later. While Auburn has increased its own points production, points-against are also up significantly from the 18 ppg last year. Tigers are run-heavy, while NW will go to the air. Auburn covered only 1 of 4 tries away from home, while Northwestern went 4-1 ATS outside of Evanston, including outright win over Iowa on the road...War Eagles 24 NW 21

CAPITAL ONE (@ Orlando, FL):
#13 LSU over #11 Penn State taking 2 ½ (44):
Oh the shame! (Hmmmm....we opened last season’s USC-Penn State Rose Bowl pick with that same thought!). Lions buckled under the pressure applied by the two solid defenses they faced this year...Iowa and Ohio State. Bengals have been their own worst enemy and are a couple plays away from 11-1 and can bring the same kind of heat that could force PSU into mistakes. Can the Tigers (7-2 SU/ATS the last nine post-seasons) hold a nominal lead in what figures to be low-scoring game dominated by big defensive plays that directly account-for or set-up most, if not all, of the scoring...Bengals 17 Lions 16

KONICA MINOLTA GATOR (@ Jacksonville, FL):
West Virginia over Florida State giving 2 1/2 (60):
The ‘Noles will do their utmost (we think!) to send Bobby Bowden out on a high note. Alas, it is not to be. Injuns, who could be more formidable next season, enter their 28th consecutive bowl game having covered five straight (3-2 SU, including a 30-18 victory over the Mounties in 2004), but equipped with the 107th-ranked rushing defense (allowing 5.3 yards per carry, 205 ypg and 24 rushing touchdowns) and have permitted one more point-against than points-scored on average per game. ‘Noles will throw, but against WVU team that allows just 52.5% completions and 19 passing scores against 17 interceptions. Best hope for State is that the ‘Eers commit turnovers (-6 ratio vs. non-conference teams)...West Virginia 28 FSU 19

ROSE Presented by CITI (@ Pasadena, CA):
#7 Oregon over #8 Ohio State giving 3 ½ (50 1/2):
Nice to see a PAC-10 team other than USC here (“Let the joyous news be spread...The Trojans reign, at last, is dead!” ). But...Oh boy!... Jim Tressel and company get the opportunity to tank a fourth straight BCS bowl (though the Buckeyes have covered 5 of 8 bowl games under the coach, including 3-point defeat to Texas last year). State comes in with #4 total defense, allowing only 12.2 ppg, but faces monster Duck machine that puts up nearly 38 ppg and gets starting RB LeGarrette Blount back, with admirable back-up LaMichael James (#7 in total rushing yardage, 123 ypg, 14 TD) available on the bench. Mallards averaged three rushing touchdowns per game. Buckeyes did go 5-1 outright vs. six other bowl teams (losing only to USC). For those in the mood for something sweet, the menu at Vindy’s Bet & Breakfast will feature the Rose Bowl parade ice cream float...all organic ingredients, but, in a nod to the former sponsor, does require the customer to commit to a two-year phone-service contract with AT&T!....Quack Attack 38 Buckeyes 27

ALLSTATE SUGAR (@ N’awlins, Weeziana):
#4 Cincinnati over #5 Florida taking 10 ½ (57):
Can Tim Team-Spirit and Coach Meyer rally the rest of the troops to focus vs. against a Bearkats team playing with the fury of the perceived betrayal by Coach Kelly’s defection to South Bend? The problem for UC has been a defense that faded from allowing 13 ppg thru the first eight to sleepwalking thru more than 36 ppg over the last four. Florida continued to win, but was never quite the same following Tebow’s concussion. Cincy has a perfect season on the line and will try to throw its way (#6 in total passing yardage, 320 ypg, 22 TD, 6 INT) to the upset. Nifty receiver Marty Gilyard also pulls double-duty, running back kicks, to the tune of almost 32 yards per return. ‘Kats have covered 8 of last 12 vs. ranked teams. Crocs on 19-5 ATS run against non-conference squads...Florida 39 Cincy 34

JAN. 2
INTERNATIONAL (@ Toronto, Canada):
Northern Illinois over South Florida taking 7 (49): UPSET ALERT.
Hmmmm...Bulls going from balmy Tampa to the shadow of the Canadian National Tower in January. Woo-hoo. Can’t imagine a whole lotta’ fans in the stands for this one, but have to figure most of ‘em will side with the Huskies. NIU improved as a road dog again for the second straight year under second-year coach Jerry Kill and despite an 0-2 SU skid coming in (losing to MAC East champ Ohio and perennial conference powerhouse Central Michigan), we think the Dogs can hang with USF squad that dropped three of its last four regular season games and went 4-6 ATS overall. Bulls have good offensive balance. Will they use it? Huskies own the #18 rushing offense (203 ypg, better than two rushing scores per game).They’ll play in a dome, so field conditions will be good, but if it comes down to a late FG, Bulls only converted 52.6% of their three-point tries .. NIU 23 USF 20

AT&T COTTON (@ Dallas, TX):
Mississippi over #21 Oklahoma State giving 3 (50 ½):
With Okie State welcoming the return of QB Zac Robinson, this has track-meet written all over it. State averages nearly 31 ppg, ditto Ole Miss. Special teams plays should be exciting as the Cowboys allow 25 yards per kick return, while the Fightin’ Magnolias allow 23 yards/return. Both teams like the ground game. Rebels have the better scoring defense (less than 19 ppg). State’s okay too at 22 ppg. OKSU got belted by the better teams it faced (Texas, Oklahoma and Houston). Rebels victims included Memphis, UAB and a pair of FCS teams. Mississippi has covered 9 of last 11 vs. ranked opponents. At 32:22 minutes/game, Oklahoma State was 4th in time of possession behind just ‘Bama, Navy and Wisconsin...Ole Mist 31 OKSU 23

PAPAJOHNS.COM (@ Birmingham, AL):
Connecticut over South Carolina taking 4 1/2 (51 1/2):
The Poultry faced five ranked teams and covered against all of ‘em, losing by 10 to Florida and 14 to ‘Bama. Huskies faced three and covered against all of them. Neither team is likely to pass well here and while Connecticut ranks #91 in rushing yardage, it did score 29 touchdowns via the run. Carolina allows 3.8 ypc and gave up 15 scores. Neither team excels from the red zone. Huskies may still carry some emotion from loss of a teammate not long ago. UConn punter Desi Cullen was quoted as noting the new form-fitting unis were “almost like kicking naked”. Yep, can’t wait to see bowl security tackle a streaker that turns out to be said kicker running toward the tee (or whatever the place-kicker uses as a tee!). UConn covered all six road games (five in the dog role). Better ingredients. Better forecast. Vindy’s Picks...South Carolina 17 Huskies 16.

East Carolina over Arkansas taking 7 ½ (63 ½):
Pirates are in preferred role as significant underdogs and stifled Houston’s potent offense enough to pull the upset and win C-USA. ECU is just 1-2 SU heading into its fourth straight post-season, but toppled Boise State in 2007 Hawaii Bowl. Bucs come in on 4-game SU win streak and covered 7 of last 9. ‘Hogs also covered 7 of last 9, losing by 3 at Florida and in OT at LSU. Arkansas, however, has just one cover in last six bowls as chalk. Both teams have decent balance on offense and can light up the scoreboard. Both have return specialists that will make for exciting kickoffs and will potentially give both offenses good field position. ECU definitely worthy of a look on the money line in a shootout...Arkansas 38 ECU 34

VALERO ALAMO (@ San Antonio, TX):
Texas Tech over Michigan State giving 8 (60 ½):
Suspensions for Michigan State here make valid statistical comparisons difficult at best. Sparty dropped 3 of last 5, stumbling into the post-season. We figure there’ll be a lot of reserves for State playing at game-speed, maybe for the first time and even at full-strength, MSU yielded 29 passing touchdowns while grabbing only five picks. The only thing that might slow Tech, the #2 pass offense behind only Houston, is a tendency to commit penalties, tying Arizona State for most yellow laundry dropped (111 flags!)... oh ...and Vindy’s inability to pick TTU correctly against the number (“Danger! Danger...Will Robinson!”)...Red Raiders 34 MSU 17

JAN. 4
TOSTITOS FIESTA (@ Glensdale, AZ):
#6 Boise State over #3 TCU taking 7 (55):
We consider this the “BCS Has Got No Stones” Bowl (and we ain’t talkin’ about the absence of music by Jagger and the boys over the PA system!). We agree with the published comments of a few other folks who think the match-up here is a crock. With nothing but respect for both sides, America doesn’t give a flyin’ rat’s who the best BCS-buster is. We wanted to see each of the two teams wearing the “buster” label face-off vs. teams from the Big Six. The BCS, however, wants no part of that scenario with the possibility of one or both knocking off squads from the money conferences, giving those in favor of a playoff, or at least more availability of the BCS berths to the “little guys”, more ammo. By pitting Boise and TCU against each other, the bowl powers have ensured one less undefeated team will remain and that questions will go unanswered. The BCS would try to bamboozle you with such concepts as travel distance for fans from Ft. Worth and Boise, pairing of the third- and sixth-ranked teams, a match-up of undefeated clubs, yada yada. Either team vs. 12-0 Cincy would’ve gotten that undefeated match-up and fans from either hometown would’ve gladly taken plane, train, automobile or single-seater undersea submersible to get far enough East to see their respective teams play. Should be a great game showcasing two offensive juggernauts and their brick-wall-defensive counterparts. The Broncos took out eventual PAC-10 champion Ducks and dispatched WAC contenders Fresno State and UNR. The Froggies got by ACC runner-up Clemson, as well as now-11-win BYU and 9-win Utah. Horny Toads, who won the Poinsettia Bowl 17-16 over these Broncos last season, will tote the rock about 48 times, while Boise’s Kellen Moore will go up top (39 scores, 3 picks). Unable to decide, Vindy spun a dreidel. It landed on....TCU 21 Boise State 17

JAN. 5
FED-EX ORANGE (@ Miami, FL):
#9 Georgia Tech over #10 Iowa giving 4 (50 ½):
For da’ Bees fans...the Good: Tech’s second-ranked rushing offense, that generated almost four touchdowns per game, the Bad: ‘Jackets’ #111 pass offense results in fewer than 6 catches/game, the Ugly: GT has lost its bowl game outright in each of the last four years (covering just one), including 38-3 last season to LSU. For Iowa fans...the Good: a defense that limited 8 of 12 opponents to 17 points or less, the Bad: head-scratchers like 17-16 over Northern Iowa, 24-21 over Arkansas State and that 17-10 home loss to Northwestern, the Fugly: see “the Good” under “Bees fans”! Hawkeyes have 4 covers in last 5 tries against ranked opponents (but four of ‘em came against fellow Big Tenderfoot clubs). Tech is one-to-two plays from the 7 yards its needs to bust 4000 rushing yards on the year, is first in time-of-possession at 34:17 and punts about 2.3 times/game (converting 100 3rd Downs [53.5%], most in the nation, and almost 58% on 4th Down). Tech is subject to the pass (22 touchdowns allowed, 11 INT), but Iowa’s passing game yielded 17 scores and 19 INT....Bees 34 Iowa 20

JAN. 6
GMAC (@ Mobile, AL):
#25 Central Michigan over Troy giving 3 ½ (63):
If ya like watching both teams march up and down the field and lotsa’ points, have we got a deal for you! First back-to-back bowl trip for Troy (and 4th total in its short I-A history). Trojans were smoked by the non-conference schedule (Bowling Green, Florida and Arkansas), but ran the Fun Belt slate, scoring 40 or more six times. The second best passing yardage total, surprisingly, belongs to Troy QB Levi Brown. Chippies play in their 4th consecutive bowl and put up better than 33 ppg behind senior QB Dan LeFevour. Central Michigan scored 45 or more points five times. In July, images of the famous Rorschach inkblot test found their way to the Web and were posted at Wikipedia. Taking the test, the Weber Kid provided ho-hum, standard answers, such as “a bat”, “a man on a motorcycle” and “two beavers hanging out their laundry in the rain” (OK, that last one ain’t so typical!) to nine of the pics. The tenth image, however, elicited a response of...CMU 44 Troy 34

JAN. 7
#2 Texas over #1 Alabama taking 5 (44 ½):
“Pitching and defense wins championships”. Oh wait...that’s baseball! Tide’s been on the edge a couple times this season, but made disjointed Florida look more like the love-child of Florida State and Florida International in the conference championship game. SEC goes for fourth straight BCS title. Texas goes for second national crown in five seasons. Longhorns are just 3-7 ATS in last ten bowls, but won 7 of last 8 outright. Colt McCoy brings his 70% completion rate and 27-12 TD-INT ratio against the country’s best overall defense (which allowed just 9 TD, with 20 INT). Texas ain’t bad on the stop-side either, allowing just 15.2 ppg and while the rushing defense total of 818 yards might be a bit deceiving, given many large early-game leads that forced many opponents to throw the rest of the way, it could focus on Heisman-winner RB Mark Ingram and make Tide beat them thru the air. We anticipate more points than expected. ‘Bama faced the tougher schedule and was blessed by the college football pantheon to escape unharmed vs. Virginia Tech, LSU, Tennessee and Auburn. Given events in the final seconds of the Big 12 title game, Colt McCoy has been practicing actually hitting objects and other people in beyond the field-of-play, while coaches time those throws with stop-watches. Announcers calling this game will display graphs showing McCoy’s completion rates for left, right, middle and ....stands!...Texas 26 Bama 24

Is it just Vindy or did anyone else out there notice the last four letters of the President’s last name spell...’Bama!?

In June, starting Florida CB Janoris Jenkins was Tasered by police...and still managed to break-up the pass!

Has anybody considered the possibility that athletes pointing skyward following completion of a big play are alerting the crew of the Goodyear Blimp to make sure the video they just shot better make the Sportscenter highlight reel that night as opposed to simply acknowledging their respective higher powers???!!!

Will the teams from that group in the midwest (and central PA) redeem themselves from last year’s debauchery or will it just be another “performance” from the...Big Tent Sale conference???!!!

In honor of 40th anniversary of Woodstock, we take a few creative liberties with a well-known quote from the concert...”what we have in spread picks in-bed...for 400,000"! (BTW, we’re thinkin’ “three days of pizza and glove” helped put companies like Papa John’s and Wilson on da’ map!)

Coming soon to the expanded menu at the bet & breakfast....“The Lamb-eau Leap” (a lovely dish served with mint jelly, but not before the server jumps with it into the crowd at a nearby table or booth!) and the “Delay of Game-Hen” (a tasty poultry number that [thankfully] continues to cook even after the 25-second clock expires!).

Southern Cal’s Joe McKnight was reportedly seen behind the wheel of a Land Rover that doesn’t belong to him. Confronted by school investigators, the running back said he was just rehearsing for a potential part as Marlin Perkins in a remake of Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom”!

“Deck da’ halls with lotsa’ pointspreads...
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la la-la
Beat da’ books and get in their heads.
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la la-la
Winnnn us now our ten-team parlay....
Fa-la-la, la-la-la,
Spennnd da’ cash on hops and barley.

Vindy’s Best Bowl Bets Part II: Penn State-LSU “under” 44, East Carolina +7 1/2 over Arkansas, Central Michigan-Troy “over” 63

Vindicator wishes all his faithful readers a very Mary Carey Christmas (now there’s a holiday TV special we’d like to see)...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 out Vindy’s bowl recap and publication of his leftover “hash”!

“It’s beginning to look a lot like.....bowl season!”

No comments: