Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Vindy's Picks 2011 Week 2


PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (Reuters)....Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger, who tied the knot in July, responding to queries from spectators, gave fans attending the final home practice prior to the team’s 2011 season-opener at Baltimore this week, a huge surprise. Huddling up with his wife of less-than-seven weeks, and in a break from the usual marriage-tradition, Big Ben re-enacted a key moment of his summer wedding, tossing the bouquet himself. Observers say Roethlisberger, with the pocket collapsing and the Matron-of-Honor draped all over him, calmly went through his progressions, then settled on a check-down, delivering a nifty touch-pass toward the sideline, which got hauled-in nicely by a bridesmaid, who laid-out to make the catch before she went outta’ bounds. Video-replay confirmed the receiver got both feet down, dragging her nine-inch stiletto heels along the turf to validate the reception!

A nifty 2-0 Thursday night (3-0 if ya count our Bowling Green best bet) got whacked by a poor Saturday night and left our hero on the wrong end of a 7-9 record and needing both of Sunday’s faves to break even on the weekend. The Aggies won big, but the premature, weather-shortened outing in Morgantown kept West Virginia from extending its lead and sent our noxious narrator to Week One’s disappointing 8-10 (.444) finish.

Hoping to exact a little payback on a well-known, climatological female entity, Vindy snatches Thor’s hammer and thrusts the mighty Mjolnir into the air (Correct-a-mundo, Sportsfans! Your fab forecaster has been deemed worthy of wielding the legendary weapon!), forcing the skies inside the sportsbook to darken just before raining down thunder, lightning and….

(You betcher’ Asgard!)

Arizona over #9 OKLAHOMA STATE taking 14:
‘Cats have dropped 8 straight to the spread after posting 35 or more points the previous week (41 vs. NAU), Stanford on-deck and zippo starters coming back from last season’s offensive line, but we just can’t put our hopes on a Heisman-candidate QB and still-weak Cowboys defense that combined to give up 34 points to a weak-sister of the Sun Belt. ‘Zona also has a revenge factor, losing to Okie State by 26 in 2010 Alamo Bowl. Defense continues to be a perennial issue for OKSU. Arizona’s last I-A victory came prior to last Halloween…Oklahoma State 31 Arizona 28

#21 Missouri over ARIZONA STATE taking 7 ½:
Presence of a new man under center replacing Blaine Gabbert for the Tigers showed in Missouri’s 17-6 victory over Miami-Ohio. Sun Devils are 9-2-1 ATS in Tempe the past 2 seasons, though just 7-6 SU. Rushing and total yards are up in each of the past two seasons for ASU, but it is now the hunted in this one after losing (but covering) all three games last year vs. ranked opponents…State 24 Mizzou 20

#1 Oklahoma:
IDLE (next @ Florida State)

Northwestern State @ #2 LSU: No line.

#23 PENN STATE over #3 Alabama taking 9 ½: The good news? Rob Bolden, who started under center of this one last year as a true frosh, is back to lead the Lions again. The bad news? So is the then-very-young ‘Bama defense he faced at the time. Now-departed Heisman winner Mark Ingram didn’t even play in the 2010 version. Turnovers killed State last year, with interceptions deep in Tide territory in the 1st- and 3rd Quarters, keeping PSU outta’ the end zone for the first time in three seasons. Lions have won 27 of last 32 non-conference games outright, but have covered only one of last seven facing Top 25 opponents. Tide’s last SU loss to a non-SEC squad was 2008 post-season bowl vs. Utah. Tide is just 4-4 ATS vs. ranked foes of late. Only six of ‘Bama’s last 29 saw a final margin in the single digits, though Tide lost 2 outta’ 3 of those SU last season (and failed to covered any of ‘em). ‘Bama 7-1 ATS in last 8 road games. Lions did not yield a sack in last year’s match…’Bama 19 Lions 13

#4 Boise State: IDLE (next @ Toledo 9/16)

Charleston Southern @ #5 FLORIDA STATE: No line.

#6 Stanford over DUKE giving 21: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Blue Devils are one of two FBS teams in this week’s picks which fell outright to a I-AA club to open the year (more on that topic in “hashmarks”). Heisman-probable Andrew Luck and company gave no quarter to San Jose State and we can’t believe the QB won’t pad a few stats vs. Dukies, who were blown out last year only by VirginiaTech and ‘Bama, but all except three opponents scored 27 on the Devils and all of ‘em scored 21 or more. Duke is a half-point from being 1-5 ATS in last six vs. the Top 25 and on 3-14 non-conference death-spiral…Cardinal 49 Duke 14

#7 Texas A&M: IDLE (next vs. Idaho)

Oregon State over #8 WISCONSIN taking 22: Beavers off shocking upset by FCS squad Sacramento State, who came in at #30 in the preseason FCS poll (one notch behind upcoming UNLV opponent, Southern Utah. Be afraid, Rebels fans…be very afraid!) Badgers showed some weaknesses against the run and on kick coverage in the opener. State took a major step backward last year in points-scored (down 8 ppg) while allowing 2 more points-against per match leading to current 1-5 SU/1-4 ATS skid. Still, Beavers are 7-3 against the line facing ranked foes the last two years …Varmints 37 State 19

Fresno State over #10 NEBRASKA taking 28: Big Dread 38 Fresno 17

#11 Virginia Tech over EAST CAROLINA giving 20: Hokies, who quickly erased its nightmarish start from last year by dismantling Appalachian State 66-13, also have some our hard-earned Euros riding on a BCS title bid. Pirates turned it over five times and gave up a huge punt-return for a Gamecocks’ score and still covered. Tech on 14-3 spread run going back to November 2009, but is just 5-14 in last 19 non-ACC bouts…Tech 51 ECU 20

#12 South Carolina over GEORGIA giving 3: All My Chicken 17 Joja’ 10

#13 OREGON over Nevada-Reno giving 27: Mighty Ducks paid the price for being sloppy in the second-half vs. LSU and will welcome their own partisan crowd to spur them on in Eugene against Wolfpack squad, not only playing its first game of the year, but also fielding a whole new backfield. UNR covered its past two vs. ranked opponents, but both were against Boise and saw now-NFLer Colin Kaepernick at quarterback. First of four straight road tilts for Reno, who’s beaten the line just once in last 8 tries getting double-digits outside da’ WAC. Mallards have opened with back-to-back ATS losses just once since 2001 (did so in 2009)…Quack Attack 56 UNR 24

#14 ARKANSAS over New Mexico giving 36 (@Little Rock, AR): Second choice for lock. Hogs coach Bobby Petrino recently took a playful shot at the Big Ten, noting the way to secure a National Title was to draw “one of those slow teams from the north”. We’re not sure if he was alluding to speed or IQ, but we’ll certainly be keepin’ an eye on which of the Big Ten-Point-Two-in-the-Forty or Big Can’t-Count-to-Ten clubs board the team bus and which hop on the team “short bus”! Lobos, in a spread-covering loss to Colorado State, helped us cash a parlay ticket last week and even scored their first touchdown in six season-openers, but they’re toast here. Razorbacks are solid bet at home…. Sooooeeeeey Pigs 48 New Mexico 7

#15 OHIO STATE over Toledo giving 19: Rockets were dismal road dogs until going 3-2 ATS last season. Line’s a bit smaller than we expected, but perhaps that’s a nod to Toledo’s scoring offense, which has been strong in recent years (though mustered nada in 41-2 home loss to Arizona in 2010) and hung 58 on FCS #10 squad New Hampshire last week. People magazine says a newly-seen “T” tat atop Bristol Palin’s right tootsie represents her son, male siblings and daddy…Tripp, Trig, Track and Todd. Horse hockey! Columbus insiders report the skin-art really honors Terrell Pryor and Jim Tressel!...OSU 42 Toledo 20

#16 Mississippi State over AUBURN giving 7: MSU 29 Auburn 17

Florida Atlantic over #17 MICHIGAN STATE taking 32 ½: Spartans 41 FAU 13

#18 FLORIDA over Alabama-Birmingham giving 23: Gators 38 UAB 14 (Vindy can’t bring himself to buck Crocs’ current 13-1 ATS record laying double-digits vs. non-conference teams and the knowledge that this is the first live-action game for the Blazers, but that little voice in our head is screamin’ take da’ Owls and da’ points. Could be our first “wish I had that one back” pick of 2011. Stay tuned.)

Norfolk State @ #19 WEST VIRGINIA: No line.

#20 Baylor: IDLE (next vs. Stephen F. Austin)

Ball State over #22 SOUTH FLORIDA taking 20: USF 23 Miami-O 13

#24 TEXAS over Brigham Young giving 7: Coogs are on borrowed time following late Ole Missed fumble that let BYU off the hook and eke out the win. We thank Texas for coming through (albeit barely) as one of our Week One best bets. Steers finished -12 in turnover ratio last year in a season that saw UT drop more SU games (7) than in the previous three years combined (5). QB Garrett Gilbert, after throwing 17 picks last season and at times, looking more like Gilbert Grape or Gilbert Gottfried directing the ‘Horns offense, was error-less vs. Rice. ‘Horns were 2-7 ATS vs. non- Big 12 squads and 3-8 as chalk in Austin the past two years. We expect them to hold serve here…TX 24 Mormons 14

#25 Texas Christian over AIR FORCE giving 2: We anticipated a slow start from the Frogs offense, but we think the Rebels had a layover in Waco on their way back from Madison and suited-up on defense for TCU. Toads can take heart in knowing USAF won’t put in the air anywhere near the times that Baylor did. In fact, the Pilots threw 9 passes vs. South Dakota, completing 4 of ‘em (6 of ‘em if you include the two that were caught by Coyotes defenders) while rushing 61 times. TCU won by 29 last year, but the past two meetings in Colorado Springs were each decided by a FG. Vin recently switched his home-owners’ insurance to State Farm. They bought him… a Falcon! (He’s a nice kid too. Lotsa’ potential as a fighter pilot!)…TCU 20 USAF 16

BTW, Roethlisberger and his wife actually busted-out a little trickeration during the original ceremony, with the blushing bride taking the handoff a few steps toward the line-of-marriage before wheeling-around and pitching the flowers back to Big Ben, in a nod to the classic flea-flicker!

First, Green Lantern, now Thor?…Vindicator sure gets around da’ superhero universe, doesn’t he???!!!

It’s a little-known fact Mother Nature was a ticket-writer and sportsbook director long before discovering her weather-control powers and gaining her current notoriety! (Insiders at The Weather Channel say the windy wench had wagers on Marshall and Western Michigan!)

We had a blast watchin’ that lucky sousaphone player dot the “I” in “Script Buick” as part of the Ohio State band’s performance at halftime of the Akron game. We think it’d be worth the penalty flag to taunt Da’ U next week by dotting the “I” in a “Script Shapiro”, don’t you???!!!

Folks besides Cameron Jordan who were apparently drunk-dialed by members of the Cleveland Browns organization in April and wrongly-informed they had been drafted by the club: American Idol alum Jordin Sparks, Cameron Diaz, Michael Jordan, Kirk Cameron, James Cameron and Jordan-Hare Stadium (BTW, the Auburn Tigers’ football venue later told media that it was “thrilled” with the selection by the Browns!).

And just FYI, anagrams of Nick Saban include “I Scan Bank” and “Cabin Snak” (which, depending on the pronunciation, could be “Cabin Snack” or “Cabin Snake”!). The ‘Bama coach is also one vowel away from “Sick Banana”!!!! (Why are you lookin’ at us like that???!!!)

Uh…did we say “we really like the ‘under’” on Week One’s TCU-Baylor game???!!! What we truly meant was “Bet da’ ranch on da’ ‘over’! This baby’s gonna’ close-in on the century mark!”

Eagle-eyed veterans among in the readership will have noticed a slight format change. We had a couple of extra weeks to contemplate spreads for Week One, but here-to-fore, we will continue to provide spread picks and score predictions, but will limit analysis and commentary to ten lined games each week instead of all of them (Yeah, we know there’s 12 this week! Put the damn abacus down!).

Nothing personal against the Maryland state flag, but those unis sported by the Terps on Monday night weren’t just ugly, they were fugly! (Yeah, yeah…we know….’Does Vindy place bets for his mother with that mouth????!!!’). BTW, the pattern and color-scheme leads us to propose a team name change to the…Maryland Harlequins! Frankly, we’d rather just see a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle emblazoned on the helmet.

As we noted above, it appears the Division I-A teams better bring their I-A game to the field when playing FCS teams, especially when the “lower” division folks are ranked. No surprise to see Duke fall to Richmond (#19), but Oregon State’s demise certainly wasn’t expected. Here are the other “Whew! We just dodged a bullet!” matches from Week One (with FCS poll rankings noted in parentheses)…Washington 30 (#1) E. Washington 27, Iowa State 20 (#7) Northern Iowa 19, Kansas State 10 (#33) E. Kentucky 7 and UTEP 31 (#37) Stony Brook 24 (OT)!!!!!

Back in March, London’s giant clock tracking the official countdown to the city’s 2012 Olympic Games stopped briefly. The Brits, however, had used all their time-outs and were hit with a technical foul. But after reviewing video, referees did, in fact, reverse the call and put enough time back on the clock to allow a catch-and-shoot.

Cirque du Soleil acrobat Gabryel Nogueira da Silva threw out the first pitch of a June Padres home game. The aerial contortions involved made MaryLou Retton jealous, and while not getting de Silva an opportunity to regularly toe-the-rubber for the Friars, they did garner the Vegas performer a Rollerball contract worth several million dollars!

Rollerball???!!! Now there’s a sport worthy of Olympics consideration! (Okay, OKAY…picture thisLingerie Rollerball!!!!! Genius, right???!!!)

Meanwhile, in that other “football”…. Real Madrid signed 7-year-old Argentinian Leonel Angel Coira, who claims Spongebob Squarepants as his idol (Squidward Tentacles and Sandy Cheeks were on-hand to help recruit the youngster). Vegas is setting odds on which will occur first? “Leo” taking a corner…or being sent off by the referee to stand in one!

Black Shirt (awarded weekly to the person[s] whose effort or “effort” benefitted Vindy’s Picks in some way): The coveted ebony tee goes to Badgers kicker Kyle French for missing the point-after on Wisconsin’s second TD, allowing Vindy to open the year with a forecast dubya (BTW, UNLV coaches awarded a game-ball to the left upright that deflected what woulda’ been a third-straight FG miss for the Rebels through the goalposts for Vegas’ first score of the season!)

“Locked in a Box?”: Vin starts out 0-1 as the Okie State Cowpokes offense helped out a weak Lafayette team by throwing a pair of INT-for-TDs.

Shoppe Talk (candidates for stuffing at Ye Olde Taxidermy Shoppe as the result of repeated forecast losses):
The Buckeyes open the Shoppe after pitching the shutout against Akron (we’re shocked!).

Vindy’s Week 2 Best Bets: Last Week: 4-1 (.800) Season: 4-1 (.800)
Rutgers +10 ½ over NORTH CAROLINA, Tulsa -13 ½ over TULANE, Temple -14 ½ over AKRON, Utah +9 ½ over USC


Friends of Sachse Library said...

WOW!!! Baylor moved up in the rankings after their win over the Horned Frogs. By my count, that puts five of the "former" South West Conference teams in the rankings. Am I showing my age or what???

misterreereeder said...

This past week I watched one of the games of two unranked teams. One of the teams in the match was the University of Houston - my Alma Mater. It brought back some memories for me. It was fun to actually sit there and watch the game and some of the things fans would do during the game. I'm older now and do not have the interest to sit out there again - I'll leave that to those of a younger age. But it is fun watching on the screen and seeing flashbacks reminicent of those earlier days.