Thursday, December 15, 2011

Vindy's 2011-12 Bowl Predictions Part I


DENVER, Colorado (UPI)…What started out as a simple-but-reluctant, inked-skin tribute to an athlete by Juan Contreras, who did so grudgingly after losing a bet, became a lucrative business proposition for the NFL fan and now-entrepreneur, who quickly discovered other fans, bettors and non-sports-types only hoping to establish a rapport with a higher power (Editor’s note: “The Passer, The Son and The Holy Bootleg”?) would pay good money to see him bare the arm displaying his body-art homage and hold photos along with candles or incense lit by those persons while they chanted or prayed, thus becoming a human shrine to Denver quarterback Tim Tebow. Contreras only half-jokingly said he was “available for bar mitzvahs, holiday parties and kids’ birthdays!”

In related news, second-grade teachers to Professor-Emeritus-level English language department heads at prestigious universities predict the addition of the word “Tebowed” to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary by year’s end. The term is defined as an adjective indicating ”the condition resulting from the loss of certain victory during the waning moments of a competitive event in the wake of apparent divine intervention as orchestrated by an athlete of the name ‘Tebow’”!

Meanwhile, in Chicago, weeks of speculation were put to rest with the recently-leaked photos of Lindsey Lohan’s Playboy cover, which show the beleaguered actress sporting only strategically-placed excerpts from…

(Only because Chuck Norris allows them to exist!)

DEC. 17
GILDAN NEW MEXICO (@ Albuquerque, NM): (over/under totals in parentheses)
Temple over Wyoming giving 6 ½ (49):
Much respect to the Cowboys for nice 8-4 SU season (including three outright wins as dogs) behind a balanced offense led by freshman Brett Smith, who boasts 18-8 passing TD-to-INT ratio. Owls, however, have nation’s third-best scoring defense, with only LSU and ‘Bama yielding fewer points-per-game. In fact, Temple let only three opponents get outta’ da’ teens and pitched a pair of shutouts. We’d love to back Wyoming, but all four losses were by double-digits and Owls (8-4 this season, with 3 defeats of 4 or less, including 14-10 loss to Vindy’s alma mater) have something to prove after being snubbed for a bowl last year despite 8-4 record…Temple 34 Wyoming 20

Ohio over Utah State taking 2 ½ (57 ½):
Aggies going to first post-season extravaganza in 14 years… Unfortunately, it turns out to be in Boise, Idaho! Bobblecats went 9-4 SU on the year, with three of those losses by combined 7 points, including a big stop-effort vs. potent Northern Illinois in the MAC title game. USU scored at least 21 in each contest and averaged 34 over last seven tilts that saw a five-game SU win-streak to close out the regular-season. Third straight bowl for Ohio and we’ll take the experience over Aggies squad under a first-year coach and which lost all three of its non-conference games…Ohio 24 USU 21

Louisiana-Lafayette over San Diego State taking 5 (58 ½):
Ragin’ Cajuns going to second-ever bowl, and first since the Apollo 13 launch and Tom Dempsey’s NFL-record boot of 63 yards, on the strength of 8-2 record through initial ten games of the year before losing last two. Lafayette will throw early and often. SDSU stops the pass fairly-well, yielding less than 200 yards per game. ULL cover 8 of its 11 games and averaged 32.3 ppg. Aztecs scored almost 30 per game while allowing less than 20 just three times, so we lean toward the “over”. Cajuns could win this if they can limit several State drives to FG attempts, where Aztecs have hit only 5 of 13 (with 3 makes coming inside 29 yards). Will the Aztecs spend too much time enticing the local N’awlins fauna into showing them their…uh…X’s and O’s????... Cajuns 34 SDSU 32

DEC. 20
Florida International over Marshall giving 4 (51):
Panthers, at 8-4 SU, in second bowl game (beating Toledo last season), while Herd had to beat East Carolina in OT in the regular-season finale to get eligible. Both teams won at Louisville early in the season (FIU by 7, Herd by 4) FIU went thru mid-season 6-game ATS skid before covering last three and suffered only two defeats in conference play…to Sun Belt champ Arkansas State and runner-up Western Kentucky. Marshall was spanked in 5 of its 6 losses (by 20 or more) and International’s good on defense.…FIU 29 Marshall 17

DEC. 21
Louisiana Tech over #16 Texas Christian taking 10 ½ (55 ½):
We expect a motivation problem for the Toads, who’ve landed here despite being Mountain Jest champions and having a lone loss by 2-points to now-ranked Baylor in the opener. TCU has dropped just one other game over the past three seasons. Frogs went just 5-6 against the line this year and though won 5 of last 6 bowls, did not cover the latest three. Only double-digit post-season victory was in ’06 over Northern Illinois. Bulldogs covered 10 of 11 this season and by 2 at CUSA champ Southern Miss, 1 to Houston and 6 at Mississippi State (and beat Ole Miss by 20!). Froggies are packing usual strong offense, scoring over 40 ppg, but the D is down a notch from previous editions, yielding over 21 per game…TCU 37 Weeziana Tech 34

DEC. 22
Arizona State over #8 Boise State taking 14 (65):
After the missed kick that dropped Boise (1 or fewer losses for the 4th consecutive season) from BCS bowl consideration and relegated them to this Vegas trip, Broncos (on current 0-6 ATS slide) could display the apathy we anticipate by the aforementioned TCU team. Devils, who were ranked early but finished just 6-6 overall in a weak PAC-12 conference after allowing 33 ppg to lose four of last six games, provide Boise with another BCS conference team to defeat and the opportunity to showcase Kellen Moore again, but…BSU 36 ASU 27

DEC. 24
#22 Southern Miss over Nevada-Reno giving 6 ½ (61):
“Over” looks good here as both teams sport big offenses …. both in the top 13 in yardage, with Reno scoring 37 or more in more than half its games while SoMiss averaged 41 ppg from Game Three forward this year, covering 8 of last 10. Eagles, who were only club to take down high-flyin’ Houston (holding the Coogs to 28 points) and won CUSA as a result, aren’t terribly impressive vs. non-conference (currently 3-9 ATS), will lose Coach Fedora to North Carolina after the game and might be more-wowed by paradise than Wolfpack club that plays in the Islands every other year. UNR is about fifty-fifty ATS overall, but has dropped 3 of last 4 bowls outright, covering none. ‘Pack will lean slightly toward the run, but if either of its two quarterbacks makes an errant throw, we note USM has returned 8 of 18 picks for touchdowns…SoMiss 41 Reno 33

DEC. 26
Missouri over North Carolina giving 4 ½ (53 ½):
No faith in either side and total is outta’ the question since Tarheels’ scoring has been all over the board. In consecutive weeks, UNC put up 49 on Wake Forest then followed up with a goose-egg vs. NC State. Tigers scoring defense took a step backward, going from 16 ppg in 2010 to 25.6 ppg allowed this year (23+ per tilt factoring in shutout vs. AA Western Illinois). Mizzou beat 3 of 5 ranked opponents. UNC faced three Top 25 teams (all ACC as well) and lost, on the road, to all of ‘em. Tigers are the hotter squad, winning 4 of their final 5 matches, with a 3-point loss at Baylor. UNC started well, grabbing five victories by mid-October, but fell in two of last four. Let’s confuse the issue just a bit more…Missouri has beaten the line just three of last eleven on neutral ground…Mizzou 27 UNC 20

DEC. 27
Western Michigan over Purdue taking 2 ½ (61):
No strong opinion here as Purdue started the year edging Middle Tennessee and losing to Rice, but we suspect it’s another game in which “over” the total makes sense. Western Michigan, even without starting QB Carder for regular-season-ending game vs. Akron, broke 60 in two of last three and only three Purdue foes scored less than 24. Boilers are 0-fer-last seven vs. non-conference teams, though this is a very short line. Boilers won two of last three to get here. Third Big Tenderloin squad WMU has faced on the season, getting blasted at Michigan and losing by 3 at then-ranked Illinois. Not sure why you’d actually watch this one unless you’re an alum of either institution and two days after presents have been opened, the kids have abandoned the Glock Me, Elmo to the dogs, who’ve shredded said-toy beyond all recognition, leaving the shavings of a filed-off serial number and some polyester stuffing as evidence, but if you do, look for Broncos to go for it on 4th Down, having converted 17 of 22 in that situation on the year …WMU 41 Purdue 31

BELK (@ Charlotte, NC):
Louisville over NC State taking 2 ½ (45 ½):
NCSU coach Tom O’Brien has prepared his teams well-enough to win 7 of their last eight bowl games (including six straight seasons at Boston College), by three or more in 6 of those victories, including a 23-7 win last year over West Virginia. That fact is probably driving the money coming in on the Wolfpack to increase the line. Neither team got off to a banner start. Da’ Ville struggled with a lot of new faces on offense and youth on both sides of the ball. State’s only wins in the first five games came vs. two FCS clubs. Cards rallied to win five of six. ‘Pack has been inconsistent all year. We prefer “under” the total, but we’ll say…Louisville 20 NC State 19

DEC. 28
Toledo over Air Force giving 3 (70):
The Flight Platoon does not share the propensity of the Middies to cover as dogs away from the respective academy and as previously-noted, USAF already has its desired hardware. Pilots pounded weaker opponents and improved on both sides of the ball over last five games, but that was against Army and lesser-MWC opponents. Rockets just lost HC Beckman to Illinois, but replaced him with the offensive coordinator. Potent Toledo has as many rushing TDs as passing scores (31) and boasts a 92% success rate in the red zone. Air Force will need to grind it out to have any shot here. Toledo is a nice plus-16 in turnovers. Flyboys broke even in that category …Spacemen 44 Air Force 34

California over Texas taking 3 (47):
Bears haven’t played a true home game this season, playing at AT&T Park when not on the road. Cal won four of last six following three straight excusable defeats to Washington, Oregon and USC and covered 5 of last 6 (only two as a dog). ‘Horns have been inconsistent all season, though we note all five losses came vs. teams who are or were ranked during the year. Steers struggle in the red zone, scoring on just 73.47% of their trips inside the 20, while allowing opponents to do so 86% of the time. Texas is contemplating creation of an “unmanned port of entry”. In our experience, that situation creates one of two things…1) a successful draw play or 2) a sack!...Berkeley 23 Texas 20

DEC. 29
#25 Florida State over Notre Dame giving 3 (61):
Both squads fell off the national radar quickly with early-season losses, but ‘Noles made a furious charge at the ACC Championship that came up a bit short, but saw them beat opponents by an average margin of 16 ppg. Irish got bashed by the better teams they faced and were sloppy with the ball, going -11 in turnover margin in their defeats. Injuns will have to stop ND running game that produced 25 touchdowns, but have more experience than the Catholics and have won 18 of 26 under Jimbo Fisher…Chop 26 Rudy 19

VALERO ALAMO (@ San Antonio, TX):
Washington over #15 Baylor taking 9 (78):
The “over” will likely be a popular wager, with Baylor games exceeding the total in 9 of 11, but Da’ Bears didn’t score nearly as much away from Waco (36+ per game) as they did on the homefield (48-and-change per game). RG# and his teammates on offense wield a big stick, but the stop-squad yields tons to opponents. Huskies have recorded first back-to-back winning SU years since ’01-’02, but went 1-3 ATS vs. ranked teams, losing by 13, 17, 17 and 44 (at Stanford). Bears gave up 24 to anemic Texas team. Heisman Trophy winner Griffin grabs Bears’ 10th outright victory then declares himself eligible as an underclassman for April’s pro draft, but neither team excites us ATS vs. non-conference, so we’ll go with…Baylor 37 UDUB 31


BTW, the Lohan pictures not only gave the world a premature view of the much-anticipated layout for the world-famous gentlemen’s mag, they also provided bettors an early look at Vindy’s post-season predictions and sent sportsbooks scurrying to adjust their lines before the onslaught.

The former child fashion model also explained she does nude pics because it gives her “confidence”. Needing a little self-esteem boost himself, Vindicator is wearin’ nuthin’ but Old Spice as we speak!

Hallmark now makes a recordable storybook. How ‘bout a nice recordable playbook for that special player in your life so they can hear Coach’s voice, “even when he’s gone back to Nevada!????”

For Christmas, Vindicator wants a pair of Freudian slippers, which call out someone else’s name every time you get into them!

Also hopefully finding its way under Weber’s tree…the latest version of a popular military shoot-‘em-up that takes place on campuses from Laramie, Wyoming to Las Vegas to Albuquerque, New Mexico…Call of Duty: MWC!

As the Las Vegas Bowl celebrates its 20th anniversary, we point out that the post-season extravaganza is officially-known as the “MAACO Bowl of Las Vegas”. Given that the entire sponsor-company name is actually MAACO Car Repair and Auto Painting, we understand the use of the shortened version since the extended acronym would be… MAACO CRAP!

The Mountain Jest Conference just sent a letter to the powers-that-be asking for a BCS bid. The letter started out…”Dear Santa...”

We salute the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky, who after going 4-32 SU in first three years of live-fire I-A competition, posted a 7-5 record, including a 6-1 Shun Belt tally that put ‘em in second-place behind only Arkansas State and did not get a bowl bid, while FIU and Weeziana-Lafayette are in post-season tilts on the strength of 8-4 overall records, but finished behind WKU in conference play.

Vegas big-wig Steve Wynn has won his bid this week to build a casino resort in Foxboro, Massachusetts right next to Gillette Stadium. Vindy’s spies indicate gamblers win jackpots if their slot-machines line-up three Tom Brady interceptions!

In April, ex-University of San Diego players and an assistant coach were indicted in a point-shaving scheme and on charges of intent to distribute marijuana (2008 thru early 2010). Hmmm…were those events hyped as “Hoops for Hemp”? “Misses for MaryJane?” “Clanks for Cannabis???!!!” “Air-Balls for Blunts???!!!”

Days before the infamous airing of the “Fab Five” documentary in March, ESPN analyst Jalen Rose was arrested on DUI suspicion. Seems the former Dukie had a few too many Uncle Tom Collins before getting behind the wheel!

Vindy’s Best Part I Bowl Bets: Last Week: 1-0 Season: 34-33-1 (.507)
Louisiana Tech +10 ½ over Texas Christian, Southern Miss-UNR “over” 61, Florida State-Notre Dame “under” 61

We’ll return on or around December 29 with our thoughts on the remaining games, our “lock of da’ bowls” and more holiday “hash”!

We extend our annual holiday greeting to the readership…”Pass on Earth. Goodwill toward linemen.”

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