Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Vindy's 2011 Championship Week Picks


DETROIT, Michigan (ITAR-Tass)…A joint task force of officials from the various professional sports, as well as those from the amateur ranks, has sent out a cry to the country to submit suggestions for more-easily crooned pre-game songs after former American Idol contestant Lauren Alainas, at the Thanksgiving Day football game between the Packers and Lions, became the latest in a string of performers to muck-up the lyrics to the National Anthem. Reminiscent of Christina Aguilera’s muffed attempt before February’s Super Bowl, Sammy Haggar’s blown effort preceding the San Francisco Giants’ World Series ring ceremony in April and a multitude of similar blunders in years past by famed celebrities such as Michael Bolton, Steven Tyler and…Hillary Clinton, Alainas’ slip-up was the last straw for those wanting to restore the dignity of the nation’s theme song. Responses have poured in from around the globe, including such repetitive staples as Los Lobos’ “La Bamba”, the “Macarena”, “99 Bottles of Beer”, even “867-5309 Jenny” from Tommy Tutone and the Iron Butterfly classic…“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.”

In related news, Vindicator (7-8-1 last week, 100-132-2, .432 season) was in da’ Big Apple helpin’ Justin Bieber forget the words to “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” during his live Turkey Day performance on the “Today” show. After the program ended, Mother Nature came forward and accused the 20-year-old pop star of fathering not only her two sons, Snow-Mizer and Heat-Mizer, but also of siring…

(Still wiping off the pepper-spray from that Black Friday door-buster adventure at the sportsbook!)

#22 West Virginia over SOUTH FLORIDA (PK): LOCK OF DA’ WEEK.
Big Least teams have been knocking each other off much of the year and South Florida’s numbers ain’t exactly chopped liver, ranking in the 30’s nationally on offense and defense, but perhaps the 52nd in points-scored explains some of the 1-5 SU record in conference play. West Virginia thrives behind Geno Smith’s passing, tops in the conference. Bulls have a middlin’ pass D. Oddly, Mounties’ one SU/ATS Big Least road loss came at Syracuse, a team the Bulls smoked 37-17. USF has won and covered just one of three weekday games on the season, just 3 of 13 altogether recently…West Virginia 27 USF 20

PAC-12 Championship
#8 OREGON over Ucla giving 31 ½:
Ducks get the home Pond by virtue of having the best conference record. Bruins backed their way into the title game because Utah lost to Colorado and the Trojans are forced to sit in the corner of the locker room, facing the wall, until next season. Rick Neuheisel has been given his walking papers and UCLA did not dent the scoreboard in 50-0 loss to USC. The positive note is that the Bruins will face a monster rushing attack instead of the monster passing game they saw last week. Uclans have covered one of the six roadies this season and are 4-7 ATS overall. After September ended, Mallards beat just one team this badly. Until 2010’s 60-13 thumping by Oregon, the prior five games were decided by 16 or less…Quack Attack 48 UCLA 13

MAC Championship (@ Detroit, MI)
Ohio over Northern Illinois taking 4:
Third MAC championship game appearance for each team. Total conference titles between ‘em?…Zero! Offensively, these two put up gaudy yardage, surpassed in conference only by Toledo. Huskies are run-heavy and score about 8 ppg more than Bobblecats, who are well-balanced with a slight lean to the air game. Defensive edge goes to Ohio, with NIU holding only Kent State, Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan in the teens. EMU may have provided the defensive blueprint, limiting Northern Illinois to 18 points last week. ‘Dogs have a lot of senior starters and have won 10 games. ‘Cats have good depth, leading to 9 victories. Both come in at unimpressive 5-6 ATS…Ohio 34 Northern Illinois 31

SEC Championship (@ Atlanta, GA):
#1 Louisiana State over #12 Georgia giving 13:
The only comparable game Joja’ played this year was 14-point neutral site loss to Boise to open the season. Tigers continue to win the turnover battle to pull away by double-digits. No reason to expect anything different here. Damn-good thing LSU won the West outright on Friday. Given the CBS poll that left no doubt the fans did not want a three-way tie-breaker being decided by the BCS rankings, the next step was to send the matter to Washington to be settled by…the Supercommittee! Bengals secure a National Title game berth for not only themselves, but also for the Crimson Tide…Tigers 27 Dawgs 12

#2 Alabama: IDLE (next…da’ Bowls!)

#13 Oklahoma over #3 OKLAHOMA STATE taking 3 ½: De facto Big Twelve championship game. We changed our initial choice here. The teams are evenly-matched, but we’ll lean toward the Sooners, who’ve won eight straight years in the Bedlam series (covering last six, including 47-41 win as 2 ½-point dog last year) and have more wins over ranked clubs by greater disparities than the Cowpokes. “Over” the total would likely be the best wager … State 41 OU 39

#4 Stanford: IDLE (next…da’ Bowls!)

ACC Championship (@ Atlanta, GA)
#5 Virginia Tech over #21 Clemson giving 8:
Tigers are floundering badly and were held to 153 yards in loss to the Chicken Nuggets. We saw this demise by Clemson last year too, as it dropped four of its final six, including the bowl. Not a true road game, but CU has been outscored in last three games away from home by margin of 102-43. Hokies have four wins by 7 or less this season, but also have revenge factor for earlier 20-point loss to Clemson at Blacksburg. Tech made good Virginia team look more like New Mexico, winning 38-0 last week…VT 27 Clemson 13

#6 Arkansas: IDLE (next…da’ Bowls!)

CUSA Championship
#7 HOUSTON over #24 Southern Miss giving 13:
Coogs, one of two remaining unbeatens, are another club hosting a championship match as the result of the better overall regular-season record. Houston opened its home season by edging UCLA by 4, but nobody else has come close to the Cougars at Robertson Stadium. Best scoring-offense SoMiss has faced was Navy, whom the Eagles beat significantly in Annapolis. USM also took out Virginia on the road and has covered 9 of last 11. Defense is a concern however, as the Birds give up 24 ppg. Houston has surprisingly held last four opponents to 17 or less, but even if there’s a return-to-form and SoMiss grabs…let’s say…34ish, UH could still hit high-40’s or early 50’s with current average output of obscene 52.7 ppg. Bet against Case Keenum and his ‘mates at yer own risk…Houston 45 USM 28

#9 (tie) BOISE STATE over New Mexico giving 49: This has backdoor-cover written all over it and the Taters haven’t beaten the spread since mid-October, but did previously defeat Fresno and Colorado State each by fitty in back-to-back road games. Lobos haven’t faced Boise, but lost by 49 at Arkansas, 46 to Texas Tech, 42 to both Reno and Air Force and 69 at TCU. UNM has nothing to play for. Neither does Coach Lockley, who won’t need to board the plane home to Albuquerque after the game having won three matches in as many years…BSU 54 Lobos 3
#9 (tie) USC: IDLE (next…um…er…2012 regular-season!)

Big Tennyson Championship (@ Indianapolis, IN)
#11 Michigan State over #15 Wisconsin taking 9 ½:
Michigan State is #14 in rushing defense, but a reasonable day here would put Wisky RB Montee Ball in a spot to tie or bust Barry Sanders’ season-TD record in the bowl game. Sparty won the regular-season match-up 37-31…and last year’s meeting as well, but both were in East Lansing. State’s gone just 2-2 ATS in previous dog roles in 2011. Badgers’ only win this close was 11-pointer at Illinois. MSU needs another big effort from QB Kirk Cousins, who launched the last-second heave that gave Spartans the upset back in late October and is second in the Big 10 in passing yardage and third in TD-to-INT ratio at 21-6. Local writer Ron Kantowski, like many others, made sport of the names of the Big Ten’s two divisions… ”Leaders” and “Legends”. Frankly, we’d go with “Floyd of Rosedale Division” and “Little Brown Jug Division”! ...Cheese-Heads 28 MSU 24

#14 South Carolina: IDLE (next…da’ Bowls!)

Iowa State over #16 KANSAS STATE taking 10 ½: Not supporting a lot of dogs this week, but we definitely like ISU in this spot. Cyclones seem to get up for the big ones (four straight covers vs. the Top 25), beating Oklahoma State and enjoying a three-game SU win-streak before falling Saturday to the Sooners, while holding them to 26 points. After a lengthy term getting points, pressure’s now back on K-State to perform as a double-digit fave. ‘Cats did cover both DD chalk opportunities vs. Kent State and Kansas. We think the bye may break enough of KSU’s momentum…KSU 24 ISU 17

#17 Michigan: IDLE (next…da’ Bowls!)

Nevada-Las Vegas over #18 TCU taking 39: UNLV has lightened (?) its non-conference line-up by adding Utah State, Weeziana Tech, Wazzou and…Minnesota. (We think this was a ploy by the Golden O-fers to actually make their own slate easier by adding the Rebels to eliminate those annual losses to one of the double-A Dakota schools!). Horny Toads are 1-3 ATS at home, gain zilch with a blow-out and scoring only in the 30’s the past four games. If the Rebels display any effort at all, they should cover this…Froggies 42 Rabbles 10

#19 BAYLOR over Texas giving 2 ½: BU QB Robert Griffin da’ Third returns from injury, but even if he can’t go the whole way, all his back-up, Nick Florence, did in the second half vs. Texas Tech was go 9-fer-12 for 151 yards and two touchdowns…oh and…run for another score! Baylor D will make Steers’ offense look better than it has been and ‘Horns managed to rally to beat rival A&M, but they won’t keep up here…Baylor 41 Texas 31

#20 Nebraska: IDLE (next…da’ Bowls!)

#23 Penn State: IDLE (next…da’ Bowls!)

#25 Florida State: IDLE (next…da’ Bowls!)


BTW, Ms. Aguilera belted out, ”What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last reaming,”. If ever there was good cause to lip-synch, we’d certainly recommend that tactic for celebrities who get tabbed to sing this particular tune in front of a global audience! “Mr. Vanilli…Mr. Milli Vanilli…to the white courtesy phone, please.”

Ironically, Bieber would simply end up repeating the line, “He’s makin’ a list and bettin’ it twice..”!

Goshen College removed the “Star-Spangled Banner” off the school band’s playlist due to lyrical references to war and defense of the nation via military power. We suppose Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” and Green Day’s “American Idiot” are outta’ da’ question as well!

The chalk rebounded hard this week, covering 12 of 16, after the dogs owned the line in Week 12.

The secret to a winning season for UNLV might simply be to reduce the game from 60 minutes to 30 as the Rabbles wasted another solid first-half, that saw them up 14-0 on San Diego State, then watching the Aztecs reel off the next 31 unanswered points to blow the win and force Rebel-backers (both of ‘em) to rip up their tickets for the first time in four home games.

Dallas tight end Jason Witten tackled Cowboys cheerleader Melissa Kellerman as he rumbled outta’ bounds during the 4th Quarter of the game vs. the Dolphins. Witten mistakenly thought the winsome woman had grabbed yet-another interception by QB Tony Romo. (And replay officials up in the booth, after reviewing the play, ruled Kellerman got both pom-poms down inbounds and awarded her possession of the ball anyway!)

Next gig for Lions’ Ndamukong Suh? How ‘bout a starring role in the remake of…”Stomp the Yard”???!!!

If the band for a college hoops team is struggling during the halftime performance, would Dick Vitale recommend calling “a T.O., Bayy-beeeeeee!”??????!!! Or for a player on parole...”You better call your P.O., Baaay-beeeeee!!!!”

Congrats to the Runnin’ Rebels hoops team for toppling then-#1 North Carolina on the hardwood. Nice to know the sizable wins over Morgan State and Cal Poly-San Pepto-Bismol weren’t just teasers setting up locals for a major letdown!

Ballers Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul took part in a Chinese opera mask dance. Ho-hum. They’ll never compare to Shaq’s Jabbawockeez performance. But when Charles Barkley, Yao Ming or Dirk Nowitski slaps on the mime face-paint and performs the invisible box (and one?!) illusion, call us!

Herman Cain this week said, “9-9-9. We’re doing fine.” But we’re guessing that when the Republican nominee for president is chosen in the near-future, we’ll hear “9-9-9. Cain rides da’ pine.” and “6-6-6. It’s back to bread stix.”

Despite the poor year overall, we note that our preferred selections (“lock” picks and “best bets”) combined to go 14-9 (.608) the past four weeks, 11-6 (.647) over the last three! And the best thing about bein’ here at Vindy’s Picks is that no matter how dismal the regular-season record, we always go bowlin’!!!

Best Weekly Effort:
Week Four’s 10-8 (.555) barely edged Week Twelve’s 11-9 (.550).

Worst Weakly “Effort”: No contest here…Week Eight’s 5-13 (.277)!

WEBER-FRIENDLIES (Best percentage on the predicted side of the spread; minimum 7 at-bats in the forecast): Slim-pickins, but the 2011 Allstate “Yer in Good Hands” award goes to…the Florida Gators (6-1, 857). Second Place to the Cornbread of Nebraska (7-4, .636) and Honorable Mention to the Wolverines of Big Blue (5-3, 625).

FLAME-THROWERS (Worst percentage on the predicted side of the spread): There were waaaaaayy too many candidates vying this season, but this year’s “Grill-Master Supreme” trophy goes to…Michigan State (0-8, .000). “Suckin’ Place” lands squarely in the lap of VirginiaTech (1-10, .091) and Dishonorable Mention to a somewhat surprise-contender…the Mounted Ears of West Virginia (2-7, .222)!

Didn’t make the cut, but we’ll be watchin’: Ohio State and Joja’ Tech, both at 2-6 (.250), Oklahoma State and Wisconsin, both at 3-8 (.272) and Clemson (3-7, .300).

Thanks for playing: Houston fell just one win or loss short of going home with some hardware at 5-1 (.833) and the O-fers of Minnesota make our Christmas card list at 4-1 (.800).

“Locked in a Box?”: Wyoming hung in at Boise State and raises the record to 6-7 (.461)

Shoppe Talk: Michigan State 0-8, .000), VirginiaTech (1-10, .090), Badgers tie idle Oklahoma State at 3-8 (.272)

Vindy’s Championship Week Best Bets: Last Week: 3-2 Season: 31-32-1 (.493)
Wyoming -5 ½ over COLORADO STATE, Weeziana-Monroe -7 ½ over FLORIDA ATLANTIC, BAYLOR -2 ½ over Texas

Everybody…sing! “Headddddd…shoulders, knees and toes! Headddddd…shoulders, knees and toes!”

Stay tuned. We'll be back next week with thoughts on Army-Navy!

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