Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Vindy's 2011-12 Bowl Predictions Part II


DENVER, Colorado (Reuters)…Until now, the Broncos’ masterful miracles were often attributed to favor from On High, but a recent interview with the New York Post revealed Tim Tebow’s success in leading late comeback victories is more Gibson than God. The quarterback noted during the Q&A session that his flick-of-choice is “Braveheart” and subsequently busted out his best impersonation of Mel Gibson’s performance as outlaw William Wallace during Denver’s home game versus New England earlier this month. Meeting the referee and Patriots team captains at mid-field for the pre-game coin-toss on horseback, Tebow wore a kilt and Scotland’s national colors on his face while proposing “…Denver’s terms. Lower your flags. Tell your coach he has to cross the field, present himself before this team, put his head between his legs and kiss his own arse. Then, march straight back to New England, stopping at every Broncos fan’s home he passes by to beg their forgiveness for 100 seasons of oppression and tyranny.” Later in the 4th Quarter, decked out in the same 14th Century regalia and wielding a Claymore sword, Tebow was seen riding up and down the Broncos sideline, yelling, “They may take our linemen …but they’ll never take…our FREEDOMMMMMM!”

Spoiler-alert! Denver lost the New England game and Gibson gets beheaded at the end of said-movie for failing to quell his people’s uprising and not swearing allegiance to…

(Now with their own parade float)

DEC. 30
Brigham Young over Tulsa giving 1 ½ (55):
Cougars were locked into this bowl from the preseason (assuming eligibility) and the previous-MWC membership wouldn’t have gotten them anything more exciting, given the post-season destinations of Boise and TCU. An early-season change in quarterbacks lit a fire under a stagnant BYU offense that had posted all of 40 total points in the first three games (1-2 SU/ATS), going on to win seven of eight, losing only vs. TCU at Jerry World, and covering 6 of the last 7. Golden Hurricane ripped off six straight victories and five consecutive covers before falling badly to Houston. Tulsa’s won 4 of previous 5 bowls (4-1 ATS) by substantial margins. Coogs would snag double-digit SU win total again after missing in 2010 for first time in 6 seasons. Defensive advantage goes to BYU, who held 8 of 12 opponents to 20 or less. Unless USU transfer Riley Nelson goes all Charles Nelson Reilly (raise yer hand if ya watched Match Game and/or Lidsville in 1971) and leads the Mormons astray, we like…BYU 37 Tulsa 24

Iowa State over Rutgers taking 1 ½ (44 ½): LOCK OF DA’ BOWLS.
Bowl history and location favor the Paladins, with Rutgers winning its post-season matches in each of the past four years and likely garnering the favor of a preponderance of the fans at Yankee Stadium. Knights were also good on defense, giving up just 16.8 ppg until a weak UConn squad hit ‘em for 40 in the finale. Still, we’ll back the ‘Clones, who battled better opponents all year than Rutgers faced in Big Least league that barely crowned a conference champion. State ruined Oklahoma State’s national title hopes as a nearly-four-TD dog and Twisters’ coach Paul Rhoads just got himself nice 10-year contract extension. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie once applied for a job as a coordinator or assistant coach at Maryland because he heard he’d be working with “The Fridge!”. He also once sought out former Bears star William Perry for the same reason! “Under” is a pretty good guess and we’ll give the victory to…Iowa State 20 Rutgers 17

Mississippi State over Wake Forest giving 6 ½ (47 ½):
Deacs looked to be having a special season, winning five of first seven, with one of the losses in OT and a truckload of returning starters, but faded fast after that and had to beat a weak Maryland squad to close the regular season to get eligible. The Forest is younger at the skills than MSU and giving up almost 31 ppg on defense. Bulldogs dropped three of their last six…a pair vs. two of the best teams from the best division of the best conference in football. State, though outscoring opponents by an average of just 6 ppg, blasted Michigan in last year’s bowl and have a poor FG unit (just 11 of 18) that will likely mean going for it on 4th Down a few times, thus we like the “over” here as well…Mississippi State 37 Wake 20

INSIGHT (@ Tempe, AZ):
Iowa over #19 Oklahoma taking 14 (58):
Hawkeyes have won and covered bowls each of last three seasons, including two wins in the dog role, vs. South Carolina, Georgia Tech and Mizzou. No telling what Sooners frame of mind will be after losing to Baylor and Oklahoma State…badly (if ya don’t buy the conspiracy theory that Sooners threw that one). OK whacked opponents by 15 or more seven times. Hawkeyes lost by that many only to Michigan State. “Under” is feasible, with Oklahoma allowing 22.8 ppg and Iowa spotting opponents 23.3. Hawkeyes can be had through the air, giving up 20 scores with just 9 picks. Sooners passing game shows a 28-15 ratio. Second ho-hum post-season venue in last three years for OU, who’s used to playing in much better bowls…Okie-Doke 29 Iowa 17

DEC. 31
Northwestern over Texas A&M taking 10 (66 ½):
Wildcats have lost three straight bowls (two in extra frames) , but covered all of ‘em, losing by no more than 7. Dan Persa at QB always gives them a chance. Aggies have lost last five bowls SU and ATS and while they succeed in the red zone about 98% of the time, a minus-eight turnover ratio (-10 in losses) has hampered the chances for bigger things. Five of NW’s victories came over nobody in particular but sixth win came at ranked Nebraska and ‘Cats scored thru the air 25 times with just 9 interceptions. Could be a track-meet….Aggies 41 NW 37

HYUNDAI SUN (@ El Paso, TX):
Georgia Tech over Utah giving 3 (50 ½):
After early difficulty transitioning to its new conference, Utah seemed to be building momentum with late four-game SU win streak, but was shocked by Colorado at home as three-score chalk. Utes were lowest total-yardage team to make the post-season and face the #4 rushing yardage team in Joja’ Tech. Utah is however #7 in rush defense, allowing just six touchdowns on the ground and unlike many teams that could’ve been here, at least has experience defending the option, having played Air Force all those years in the Mountain Jest. GT has been lousy bowl bet, losing five straight years and covering just one. Wildlife officials in Utah use robotic deer to catch poachers. Maybe the Utes, 4-1 SU in their last five bowls (3-2 ATS), could strategically-place a few of the bogus-Bambis on the field to divert Tech’s attention…’Jackets 31 Utes 24

Vanderbilt over Cincinnati giving 1 ½ (48 ½):
First bowl for the Commodores since 2008 and just second since ’82. Senior-heavy Vandy went 4-0 SU/3-0 ATS vs. non-SEC teams, as the favorite in all of them. Money’s been coming in on Cincy after announcement that senior quarterback Zach Collaros is returning from ankle surgery he had over a month ago. All six of Vanderbilt’s defeats came at the hands of other bowl squads (scoring 21 or more in four of them). UC posted 9 SU wins and allowed only 20 ppg. ‘Cats lost to West Virginia by 3 at home and were pounded by Tennessee and Rutgers. While neither team’s stats scream “offensive juggernaut”, we think the total goes “over” and we prefer Vandy’s balanced offense…Admirals 29 Cincinnati 24

Illinois over Ucla giving 2 ½ (47):
This got “lock” consideration. Illini are young on offense and it showed badly in current six-game SU losing streak (UI didn’t top 17 in any of those six). That demise also sent The Zooker packin’. On the other sideline, we don’t see the departure of Rick Neuheisel, who will call plays in this one, from yet-another coaching stint on heels of 24-26 record, motivating 6-7 Bruins, who are only here because USC was prohibited from post-season activities, and who struggled to keep opponents outta’ the end zone (permitting 38 points or more to half their slate). Three of UI’s wins came by exactly 3. Four of the defeats, maybe even five, were excusable. We seriously-question the 20-point loss at Minnesota to end the regular season though. After being introduced this month as UCLA’s new head coach, Jim Mora, Jr., answering his first media question, quipped “Playoffs???!!! Ya kiddin’ me??!! Playoffs??!!!! I just hope we can win a game!!!”…Illinois 20 UCLA 10

CHICK-FIL-A (@ Atlanta, GA):
Virginia over Auburn taking 3 (49):
In what should be no surprise, last season’s National Title winner fell to a pre-January tilt in a rebuilding year. Auburn allowed the 3rd-most sacks (31) in the SEC and was next to last in the conference in scoring D at 29.3 ppg. Tigers were also last in stopping the pass, allowing 21 touchdowns, while snaring 10 interceptions. Cavs pass offense ain’t stellar at 15-15 ratio. Virginia got hot, taking five of last six on the year, with victories over then-Top 25 Georgia Tech and Florida State. Aubie barely dodged Utah State and lit the scoreboard only in the teens in five of last seven…Cavs 19 Worn Eagle 17

JAN. 2
TICKETCITY (@ Dallas, TX):
#20 Houston over #24 Penn State giving 6 ½ (56 ½):
Nearly hung the “lock” label on this one. It ain’t a BCS game, but unlike Boise’s demise, this wasn’t the result of a single missed kick and Case Keenum won’t wanna’ go out with back-to-back losses in his final two college games. It is a chance for the C-USA runner-up to dredge a BCS conference squad in the form of Nittany Lions club reeling from blow-out at Wisconsin, off-season issues that have scrubbed the usual stellar bowl-prep provided by Joe Paterno, one known locker room scuffle between players and that is hampered by a third-and-long pass D that has been a handicap throughout the year as it gets ready to take on the country’s top air game. State’s offense isn’t built to swap sixes here and we don’t think it’ll sustain enough long drives to hang within the short number. The alma mater was the lowest-scoring team to get a bowl bid. Cheer with yer heart. Bet with yer head!… Houston 34 PSU 24

OUTBACK (@ Tampa, FL):
#12 Michigan State over #18 Georgia taking 3 ½ (50):
Taking on SEC title game loser Joja’ should eliminate any letdown issues for Sparty after dropping 3-point decision in Big Ten championship game to Wisconsin. Bulldogs had won and covered 4 straight bowls prior to losing last season’s 10-6 stinker vs. Central Florida. State QB Kirk Cousins was just a freshman when Georgia won the 2008 bowl pairing 24-12. We like him over sophomore Aaron Murray for the ‘Dawgs. Both teams were excellent on defense….Michigan State 22 UGA 20

CAPITAL ONE (@ Orlando, FL):
#10 South Carolina over #21 Nebraska giving 2 ½ (46 ½):
Despite a tumultuous year that saw losses of Marcus Lattimore to injury and starting QB Stephen Garcia to suspension and eventual dismissal, Poultry could still finish with a 10-win season. Big Dread has gone 2-1 SU/ATS in bowls the past three years, losing outright in 2010 to Washington as disinterested two-touchdown fave. Chickens have been poor 0-3 SU/ATS in each of last three post-seasons. Carolina did finish strong with wins over Florida, Citadel and Clemson and held 7 opponents to 20 or fewer on the year. Huskers didn’t top 17 against any of the better defensive teams they faced and sophomore Taylor Martinez can be streaky. Nebraska has a shot if they can get the running game going…Gamehens 24 Corncobs 19

TAXSLAYER.COM GATOR (@ Jacksonville, FL):
Ohio State over Florida taking 2 (44):
First non-BCS bowl for State in 6 years and while OSU had much bigger plans entering 2011, the suspense has been gone for quite a while. Gators’ best outing may have been five-point triumph over rising Vandy in the Swamp, their only I-A victory after September [and only opponent against whom they scored more than 16). Buckeyes limp in on three-game losing skid, but at least have some offensive pop and made Michigan work for its victory. They better make the most of this one ‘cause the NCAA has just banned ‘em from next year’s post-season, including the 2012 Big Tenor Championship game for the whole memorabilia/tattoo/car thing. Jets coach Rex Ryan showed up at August training camp sporting a calf-length tribal tattoo. Ho-hum. We wanna’ see the ink on his spouse’s instep that declares props for “Columbus Chevrolet” or “’Da ‘Shoe Subaru”! Ya think anyone would notice if UF slipped Tim Tebow into a Crocs uni? (Or maybe a certain Lethal Weapon star is available!)….OSU 24 Florida 17

#9 Wisconsin over #6 Oregon taking 6 (72):
Nice match-up of running games between LaMichael James for the Mallards and the Montee Ball/Russell Wilson contingent for the Badgers, as well as a big defensive line for Wisconsin that allowed few points, would seem to portend an “under” here. Last three neutral site games for the Ducks have ended in defeats, including last season’s BCS Title match. Coach Bielema has taken the Badgers to the postseason in all six of his years at the helm, but shows just two wins and three covers. First dog role for UW since 2010 bowl, but 10th straight year its gotten points in the bowls…Drakes 34 Varmints 30

#3 Oklahoma State over #4 Stanford giving 3 ½ (74):
OKSU went 9-3 ATS behind its powerful offense. The D was still a hindrance, but showed flashes of brilliance. Cowpokes have gone 4-1 SU/ATS vs. 12-PAC foes the past four years, but the loss came vs. Oregon in 2008 bowl game. Cardinal also packs a big punch and sports a better scoring-defense, but only two their last eleven ranked opponents came out-of-conference. We think Brandon Weeden and Andrew Luck both have good days vs. the respective defenses. The Fiesta committee could’ve ultimately been asked to take a powder from the BCS in the wake of misappropriated funds by then-president John Junker, including hoity-toity golf club memberships, car allowances and treks to a Phoenix gentlemen’s club. However, after the trial, the game kept its certification, but lost its sponsor and starting next year, must be held before New Year’s Day…and be forever known as the Discover Card “Peggy” Bowl!...State 44 Stanford 38

JAN. 3
ALLSTATE SUGAR (@New Orleans, LA):
#13 Michigan over #17 Virginia Tech giving 2 ½ (51):
Hokies were Euro-ripping 3-9 ATS, but suffered only two SU losses, both to inconsistent Clemson squad. Both teams hopin’ to erase memories of bad losses in 2010 post-season, run the ball well and limit opponents’ scoring opportunities (VT and Michigan ranked 8th and 9th respectively in points-against). Tech gets advantage in the passing aspect. Hokies have won only two of last five post-season outings and it’s been a good start to the Brady Hoke era in Ann Arbor, averaging almost 35 ppg and covering 9 of 12. We’ll take Denard Robinson and RB Shaw to drag out a few scoring drives and keep Frank Beamer’s defense on the field longer than it wants to be…Big Blue 27 VT 20

JAN. 4
#14 Clemson over #23 West Virginia giving 3 ½ (60 ½):
No confidence in a side or a total here (though we lean very slightly toward the “under”). Conference tie-ins pretty much doomed this bowl and though we’ve opposed the BCS-buster vs. BCS-buster match-ups of bowls-past, we’d rather have seen Boise State face Houston here than this snoozer-pairing of iffy “champions” from the ACC and Big East. Soap-box sermon over, now back to our regularly-scheduled analysis…Mounted Ears have dropped last two bowls by 12 and 16. WVU’s last four regular-season games were decided by 3 or less, with ‘Eers winning last three SU. We don’t know what to make of Clemson, but Tigers did win four of five SU/ATS vs. the ranked teams they played this year. Both squads come in currently 8-12 ATS vs. non-conference. West Virginia touts Gino Smith’s arm at quarterback and almost 460 passing yards per game. Clemson throws for almost 441 yards per tilt. Tigers, though scoring no more than 17 in losing 3 of last 5, looked good throughout most of the year. West Virginia never got much traction until November…Clemson 31 WVU 27

JAN. 6
AT&T COTTON (@ Arlington, TX):
#11 Kansas State over #7 Arkansas taking 7 ½ (62 ½): UPSET PICK OF DA’ BOWLS.
Wildcats are back in preferred role as sizable ‘dogs and the only two outright defeats came at the hands of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. With lotsa’ juniors on this squad, watch out for K-State next season! KSU can win the lowest-scoring, tight defensive battle or the shoot-out (with a bias toward the latter), playing to the level of its competition. ‘Cats covered 9 of 11 this season and while this is not a true “road” game, the Feral Felines have covered 14 of last 18 getting points outside Manhattan. Pigs score bunches, but not unlike Oklahoma State, feature a porous defense and have gone 1-3 ATS, with only SU bowl win coming vs. East Carolina in OT after 2009 campaign. Bacon managed a 4-point neutral site win over Texas A&M earlier this year…Kansas State 37 Arkansas 34

JAN. 7
BBVA COMPASS (@Birmingham, AL):
Pittsburgh over Southern Methodist giving 3 ½ (47):
Given Louisville’s 7-point bowl loss to NC State, 6-6 Panthers’ best “win” mighta’ been the 1-point loss at West Virginia during Thanksgiving. Pitt QB Tino Sunseri has a lot of fellow-seniors on the O-line to protect him vs. sawbuck-shredding Ponies, who went just 3-9 ATS, including current 0-6 demise and a loss to Army while laying a TD. SMU also lost 4 of last 6 SU, scoring no more than 17 in any of ‘em. We like what June Jones has done for the program and Mustangs boast a road win over TCU on the resume, but…Pitt 23 SMU 14

JAN. 8
GODADDY.COM (@ Mobile, AL):
Northern Illinois over Arkansas State taking 1 ½ (63):
A minor bowl taking place well-after most of the big ones are done, but it still matches conference champions…ASU out of the Fun Belt and Huskies from the MAC. First bowl for State since 2005. Middle of Red Wolves defensive line is young and that could be a problem vs. potent NIU rushing game. The remainder of the D is, however, experienced. Sun Belt winners are solid on both sides of the ball and ran the conference table following non-conference losses at Illinois and Virginia Tech. NIU scored total of 41 points over last games after exceeding that in nearly any single game prior to that. Both sides have been in shootouts. ASU went 9-2 ATS, NIU just 4-7, but…Huskies 44 ASU 37

JAN. 9
#2 Alabama over #1 Louisiana State taking 1 (40):
Long before kickoff, this one will have analyzed and probably criticized to death, but the only stats that matter here are the 9-6 OT win in Tuscaloosa by the Bengals and the two mssed Tide FGs that got ‘em that victory. Pressure’s on LSU to prove it deserved the win, but like last year’s national champ Auburn, a little luck is always part of the formula to win it all. Nothing since that game suggests this game won’t stay “under” the total and kicking troubles continued for ‘Bama after the first meeting. If we was Les Miles, we’d talk the ref into callin’ timeouts during pre-game practice kicks just to get inside the Tide kicker's head and would burn more everytime he lined up for so much as a kickoff or an XP. As we noted earlier this year, LSU’s only bowl defeat in six previous seasons under Miles came vs. Penn State. ‘Bama’s won three of their four, clobbering #2 Texas in the ’09 BCS Title game. Both teams are deserving of the crown and we’re just hopin’ for another great game…Reauxll Tide 17 Bengals 15

BTW, scientists recently suggested they think they’ve isolated the “God particle”. We weren’t aware they’d been studying Tebow’s DNA!

After throwin’ four picks in the loss to Buffalo, suddenly-Tinier Tim said, “…Hopefully, we can get in the tournament.” At this pace, we see the Broncos makin’ the Big Dance as a 14-seed and goin’ one-and-done!

We offer a few apologies to Bruno Mars and take a few liberties with the lyrics to “Grenade”, crooning…“What ya don’t understannnnd is…. I’d get Brett Favre in a traaaaaaaade fer ya…..ride the bench ‘til he plaaaaayed fer yaaaaa….We’d stop the Rose Bowl paraaaaaade fer ya….oooh-oooh-oooh-ooooooh…I would go through alllllll this paaaaaainnnnn… watch my parlay go downnn the draaaaaaaain…. Yes, I would die for ya, baaaaaaaby…but you won’t do the same…If my forecast was on fiiiiiire….oooooooh, you’d watch it burn down in flame…You said you’d bet, but you’re a liar ‘cause you never…ever..everrrrrrrrrdid, Baby!”

Hell…we’d even spray Vindy’s Picks with some *Glaaaaaaade* fer ya…

U.S. credit got lowered in August from AAA to AA. The football team, however, now faces FCS squads such UMass and Appalachian State and with a little luck, at this pace, could be a provisional I-A WAC team facing the likes of Colorado State in the San Diego Federal Credit Union Bowl in the 2013 post-season! The Little Sisters of the Poor have already made it clear they don’t play Boise State, but they might sign just put U.S. Credit on the schedule!

An April 2011 edition of the Penn State Alumni newswire included a blurb entitled “$10M gift endows dean’s chair, ethics director”. By golly, this proud alum is happy (Valley???!!!) that we have a well-endowed dean’s chair and similarly-enhanced individual overseeing the Ethics Department! The visual, however, really haunts your humble host! (Yeah, yeah! Save the hate-mail. This item came out well-before revelations of the current troubles in State College!).

Given the difficulties of Heisman Trophy winners at the next level, we predict the absence of the highly-coveted hardware from the display case of LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu means a long and prosperous NFL career for the Homey…Hominy Belcher…Honey…Hyundai Bender???!!!.

The Monday-night Steelers-Niners game in San Francisco earlier this month suffered a couple of lengthy blackouts. We think that’s taking “candlestick” a bit too far, don’t you? Big Ben tossed a pair of early picks in that game. That’s what happens when ya wrap the ankle and the ball with phosphorescent tape! There’s a proposal afoot to build a new venue for the home team in Santa Clara. The Broncos, who shut down their gridiron squad in 1993, might have somethin’ to say about that.

Last January, Jets strength & conditioning coach and part-time special teams…er…um…”contributor”…Sal Alosi, who tripped an opposing punt-returner, resigned. Historians have learned that ancestors of the deposed mentor stood near the track and used their knees to cause the wheels to come off opposing chariots during races in ancient Rome!

On the boob tube...bettors wager on the total number of days it’ll take a crack renovation crew to turn a dumpy apartment into a rad pad in “Extreme Make-Over/Under: Home Edition”!

Madonna will play this season’s Super Bowl halftime. In honor of the Material Girl, kick-returners wanting to signal a fair-catch, instead of raising their arms above their heads, must…vogue!

Texas Governor Rick Perry said he hopes he’s the “Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses.” We’re not sure he could lead his camp to victory after being behind in the 4th Quarter, but we figure he’ll complete at least as many passes as the Broncos quarterback!

Much ado was made over North Korea’s ability to hide the death of Kim Jong Il from the world for two days. So what???!!! Some NFL teams don’t release injury information. The communist nation coulda’ broadcast footage of “Dear Leader” bein’ carted off the field and probably kept the whole Western world in the dark for another week! Can you say “Weekend at Kim Jong Il’s”???!!!!

Oh sure. Your fave team’s linemen can run-block and pass-block, but can they…writers’ block?! Yeah…we didn’t think so! Wussies!

Vindy’s Best Bowl Bets (Part II): Part I: 1-1 (with FSU-ND total TBA) Season: 35-34-1 (.507)
Illinois-UCLA “under” 47, Virginia-Auburn “under” 49, Houston -6 ½ over Penn State, Kansas State +7 ½ over Arkansas

C’mon back one more time a few days after completion of the BCS Title tilt as we offer our bowl recap and our “leftover hash”! Vin’s now off to try out the new video game he got for Christmas....Booty-Call of Duty!

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