Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Vindy's Picks 2012 Championship Week


LONDON, England (UPI)...While Congress tries to reach a compromise on the looming “fiscal cliff” and other domestic issues, the White House finds itself take-a-knee-deep in unexpected conundrums abroad. President Obama made an unscheduled stop at Buckingham Palace in an effort to convince Prime Minister David Cameron…and the royal matriarch, Queen Elizabeth…to allow the British Isle, contemplating a split from the European Union, to fill the void in the Big East left by the departure of Rutgers to the Big Ten. Elsewhere, Hillary Clinton made a hasty trip south-of-the-border after learning President Felipe Calderon wants to change his country’s moniker from Estados Unidos Mexicanos to just…Mexico. The Secretary of State is expected to recommend, and extol the international advantages of, a name with more pizazz, ie. “Ron Mexico”, and was quick to point-out that the national flag, itself, of our North American continental neighbor, includes…an eagle.

We’re hopin’ to carry the momentum of Week Thirteen’s 12-7 (112-120, .483) into the post-season. The election is long-over, but the Commander-in-Chief recently said Mitt Romney is still shovelin’…

(“It’s only weird if it doesn’t work”)

FRI. NOV. 30
PAC-12 Championship
#17 Ucla (+8 ½) over #8 STANFORD:
Yup, we saw this same contest less than a week ago! Bruins had no kinda’ running game in that 18-point loss (that wasn’t even really that close!). Conversely, Cardinal’s Stepfon Taylor should lock-up the school career rushing-yardage record before the 2nd Quarter (needing just 36 yards) begins! UCLA didn’t help itself discipline-wise either, taking a page from the Gators’ playbook with 12 hankies for 135 yards, and a minus-one turnover ratio. Stanford has won and covered four straight times now vs. UCLA, but is just 1-4 ATS in five tries as home chalk on the season. First DD-dog role for Bruins since getting blasted by Oregon in 2011 conference championship. Cubbies did win only road dog game this year, 45-43 at Arizona…Birds 23 UCLA 16

MAC Championship (@ Detroit, MI)
#19 Northern Illinois (-6) over #18 Kent State:
Sled Dogs snuck, virtually unnoticed, into the rankings. Both teams wasted little time putting away last week’s opponents, though Flashes did so with a pair of 1st Quarter defensive scores, and we suffered the consequences for changing our original decision in that one. Third consecutive MAC title game for the Huskies (1-1 SU/0-2 ATS). NIU now with 8 covers in 11 tries vs. FBS, but no signature wins (lest ya count 30-23 victory over 1-10 Kansas) and a one-point neutral site defeat to Iowa. As we noted previously, State lost badly at Kentucky, then later toppled Rutgers by almost two touchdowns in the Garden State. Northern Illinois won 40-10 last year in only meeting over previous 3 seasons. Canines have only one MAC spread-loss on the year and are 18-7-1 in the MAC over the past 2+ seasons, showing a 33-6 SU record overall in last 39 games. The victory would allow Kent to surpass its best season-ending run of 2004. Two of the top eleven rushing offenses will go head-to-head. Huskies are stingy on D, giving up just 17.5 points a game. We wanna’ cheer Kent here, but..NIU 37 Kent State 27


#1 Notre Dame: IDLE (next…da’ bowls!)

SEC Championship (@ Atlanta, GA)
#2 Alabama (-7) over #3 Georgia:
Last meeting was 41-30 ‘Bama victory in Athens in 2008, so only Coach Richt remains from that contest. Tide playing without a top receiver, Kenny Bell, due to injury, but always have the excellent running game in place with numerous options to tote the rock. The Iron Bowl turned into da’ Tin Bowl with Auburn crumpling up like so much aluminum in our predicted shutout (thang ya…thang ya very much!). ‘Dawgs weren’t distracted by this one in 42-10 rout of Joja’ Tech. UGA’s on nice 5-0 SU/4-0 ATS run, with four laughers following mistake-filled Cocktail Party win over Florida. Georgia’s past six tilts have finished “under” the total, as have three of Tide’s last four. Elephants have ruled last half-dozen on neutral ground and Aaron Murray ain’t Johnny Football…’Bama 27 Joja’ 13

#4 Ohio State: IDLE (next…2013 regular season)

#5 Florida: IDLE (next…da’ bowls!)

#6 Oregon: IDLE (next…da’ bowls!)

#7 KANSAS STATE (-11) over #23 Texas: David Ash reverted to form in outright loss to TCU, committing multiple turnovers, and will get afternoon wood on da’ bench, as Case McCoy gets the start at QB in this one. While da’ ‘Cats were resting after only SU loss (52-24 at Baylor….OUCH!) Oklahoma somehow, without leading in regulation, managed the OT win. The BCS berth for the TBA Big Twelve champs is still up for grabs. ‘Cats, 7-3 ATS vs. I-A clubs, are lookin’ for first 11-win season since 2003. State’s beaten the line last five times vs. Steers, (though were underdogs in all five) and is 4-1 ATS as home fave (missing only nearly-four score spread vs. North Texas). Texas has lost each of last two years (by 4 last season and by…25….here in 2010). Disappointing finish for ‘Horns team that acquired some of our preseason money on a futures bet to earn a national title. Two of Cattle’s three SU defeats are by 7 or less…KSU 31 Texas 14

#9 LSU: IDLE (next…da’ bowls!)

#10 Texas A&M: IDLE (next…da’ bowls!)

#11 South Carolina: IDLE (next…da’ bowls!)

#12 Oklahoma (-6) over TCU: Lucky Sooners, who got an 81-yard punt return for a score in the 4th Quarter and a TD with 4 seconds to play in regulation and eventual Bedlam victory vs. Okie State, could win or at least share the conference crown with a win. A loss here sends K-State to the big money game. Toads jumped on early Longhorns miscues to pull the upset, but regardless of the outcome here, will finish below double-digit SU wins for the first time in six seasons. OK throws well and defends the pass well. Froggies excel at stopping the run, but beat Texas with a pair of INTs near their own end zone and limited Texas to field goals until late in the game. Sooners have won 4 of last 5 games on the year, but covered just one and are coin-toss worthy laying points on the road…OK 29 TCU 21

ACC Championship (@ Charlotte, NC)
#13 Florida State (-14) over Georgia Tech:
Bees backed into this one after Al Golden fell on his sword again for the future greater-good by imposing yet-another bowl-ban on his Miami squad. We’ve already noted Tech’s failure-to-appear last week. Anybody outside Atlanta wanna’ see a 7-6 conference “champion” go to a BCS bowl?! Wreck is mere 6-5 ATS, 6-6 outright and had been on 3-0 SU/ATS roll until meeting in-state rivals. The Buzz took most-recent pairing, 49-44, in Tallahassee (2009). Four of Insects’ defeats in 2012 have come by more than this many. Accounting for two scoring runs of 30+ yards, Florida still managed almost 4 ypc vs. State. GT still top-four in rushing-yardage, but that got it little vs. Georgia and now faces top-four rush defense, allowing south of 98 ypg and just 9 scoring runs all year, but maybe a little distraction on the State sideline with DC Mark Stoops moving on to coach…Kentucky? … FSU 37 Wasps 19

Big Ten Championship (@ Indianapolis, IN)
Wisconsin (+3) over #14 Nebraska:
Tell us the Huskers weren’t any more-motivated than mere 7-point win over incompetent Iowa team to get to the Big Tennyson Conference title contest. Really? Dare we utter the “f-bomb” ...”fix”????!!!!! Rose Bowl officials would rather send two-loss Huskers through to Pasadena than five-loss Badgers, but Cheese-Heads defense might just be enough to disappoint them. Badgers played valiantly in losses to the Buckeyes and at the alma mater, and get the championship-shot only because both those clubs are in figurative NCAA 9-by-12 jail-cells until next September. Not a lot of momentum for UW though, having lost three of previous four contests overall. Big Dread is clearly the hotter squad, showing only a single defeat…at Columbus. Children of da’ Corn edged Wisky 30-27 in Lincoln to close out September. Badgers should neutralize Rex Burkhead. Can NU stop Montee Ball? One of the don’t-belongs this week will be successful. Over Joja’ Tech, we’ll take…Wisconsin 21 Nebraska 20

#15 Clemson: IDLE (next…da’ bowls!)

Nicholls State @ #16 OREGON STATE: No line. (Rescheduled from weather-postponed 9/1 date)

#20 Utah State: IDLE (next…da’ bowls!)

#21 Michigan: IDLE (next…da’ bowls!)

#22 Northwestern: IDLE (next…da’ bowls!)

#24 Oklahoma State (-4) over BAYLOR: Can you say…”over the total”???!!!! Both teams are bangin’ da’ boards for Arena League-like numbers. Last three totals (before considering OT scores) for Da’ Bears…76, 76 and 90. Last four totals for State…74, 89, 80 and 90!!! Cowboys’ only outright defeat in current 5-1 SU/ATS run was at Kansas State, a team whose season came to sudden-stop at the hands of Baylor two weeks ago. Bears have also covered 5 of last 6 contests, but won just three. OKSU has had their way with Baylor, even during the RGIII years, covering the last six seasons. Cowpokes were seriously-efficient vs. Oklahoma in narrow OT loss, scoring 48 points with less than 24 minutes TOP. Two-points per minute vs. Schooners team that, even accounting fer 49 to West Virginia, was permitting just 22.5 ppg until then.???!!! Oregon-light??!...State 51 Bears 44

NEVADA-RENO (+8 ½) over #25 Boise State: Wolfpack got blown-out here earlier this month by Fresno State, but Broncos are doing it more on defense, leading the Mountain Jest in all defensive categories and ranking 8th nationally in total D, with the third-best pass D. Only two Broncos opponents posted more than 17 points. “That school up north” has seven victories on the year, but covered only two games overall (at Cal and at Hawaii, both in September) and just 3 of last 15 (with a pair of pushes). Reno could have nine wins, but let South Florida and San Diego State off the hook late to suffer one-point losses to both. Despite UNR offense accumulating better than 500 yards per game behind 142 yards per game on the ground by RB Stefphon Jefferson, we think Broncos will dominate on D and lead State to a share of the MWC title. Nonetheless, we’ll back the ‘dog for ATS win…Boise State 21 UNR 17

C-USA Championship
TULSA (-1) over Central Florida: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK.
Rematch of recent 23-21 home-win by Tulsa. Both clubs are 7-1 SU in C-USA and 9-3 on the year. Gilded Gusty-Winds have scored a bit less and given-up a bit more than defense-minded UCF Knights, whose totals are 8-2 “over” since 15-point loss (and cover) at Ohio State. Despite middlin’ 6-6 record vs. the line, Central Florida’s only other outright losses came by 5 and 2. Tulsa’s no sure-thing with-or-without the handicap, going just 6-5 ATS to-date. Hurricane lost at ISU to start the year and lost by just 4 at Arkansas in early November. Tulsa will keep it on the ground for the most part, behind 12th-ranked rushing offense. Tulsa has lost just one of last eleven tilts on the home-field…Tulsa 24 UCF 20


BTW, officials in England this summer renamed the Clock Tower of Britain’s Parliament, AKA “Big Ben”, after the Queen Mum, acknowledging her 60-year reign. We’ve been watchin’ Pittsburgh games all season, just hopin’ to hear the first broadcaster refer to a certain Steelers’ quarterback as… “Elizabeth Tower”!!!! (And frankly, following the three-pick performance of back-up Charlie Batch (not all his fault) in Sunday’s 20-13 loss to…[GASP!] da’ Browns, Steel City fans would likely welcome somebody named Elizabeth Tower at quarterback next weekend!)

In related news…the Jacksonville Jaguars will play one “home” game in each of the next four seasons at London’s Wembley Stadium. Nothin’ says Royal Family and bangers & mash quite like Jacksonville football!!! Nonetheless, fans who’ve already done Madame Tussaud’s and Stonehenge can always take in the changing of the right and left guard, Windsprint Castle and the ever-popular Albert Haynesworth Hall!

The May 2012 ish of the PSU Alumni Insider said the alma mater was jockeying to win a Google-sponsored contest to be first to safely park a privately-owned spacecraft on the moon, take pics of the moon’s surface and “mooncast” ‘em back to da’ home planet. Anybody else out there contemplating a remake entitled “Star Trek III: Da’ Search for Paterno”, in which a renegade landing party on Genesis locates a rapidly-aging JoePa alive-and-well and quipping, “I have been…and always shall be…your coach.” ????!!!!

While we expect Lehigh’s college basketball season to be closer to “float like a buttermilk, sting like Aunt Bea”, when last year’s Patriot League rep was droppin’ Duke like a charge, did anybody else out there envision Howard Cossell on the Mountain Hawks sideline yelling, “Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!”???

Army of Darkness meets VCU hoops…”The name’s AshSporting Goods. Shaka Smart…Shaka S-Mart!”

If the NHL labor dispute isn’t settled soon, Eric Idle and company might have to produce another flick…called…Monty Python & the Goalie Grail!


Best Weekly Effort: Tie between Weeks 2 & 13, both at 12-7.

Worst Weakly “F”-fort: No contest…Week (Strych)Nine’s 4-15 (Uggghhhhh!!!)

WEBER-FRIENDLIES (Best percentage on the predicted side of the spread; minimum 7 at-bats in the forecast): This year’s Allstate “Yer in Good Hands” award goes to (drumroll, please)…the Spooners of Oklahoma at 8-2 (.800). Second-Place to Ohio State (8-4, .667) and Honorable Mention to Notre Dame, Clemson and LSU…all at 7-4 (.636)

FLAME-THROWERS (Worst percentage on the predicted side of the spread): On the basis of the tie-breaker for most appearances, USC takes the not-so-coveted Grill-Master Supreme award (3-9, .250). Suckin’ Place to runners-up…UCLA and West Virginia (both at 2-6, .250). And Dishonorable Mention to the Seminoles of Florida State (3-7, .300).

We remind readers, however, that dat’ Rod Hubble guy from the State-Farm Discount-Double-Check commercials says “trophies are fer people with self-esteem issues”! (“Raahhjjaaaahhhs!”)

Didn’t make da’ cut, but we’ll be watchin’: Cal (1-4, .200), Nebraska (3-6, .333) and Arizona (2-4, .333)

Thanks for playing: Stay in touch next season…Mississippi, Mizzou and Okie State…each at 4-1 (.800)

Black Shirt: We’re doling-out another pair of titanic tees to kickers Kyle Brindza of Notre Dame and Basil Drew of the Buckeyes for nine combined FGs, two from 50+ at the first-half gun, helping their respective teams meet the predicted chalk-covers.

“Locked in a Box?”: We knew we’d shouldn’t have gone back to the well with Rutgers, who got pummeled by Pitt, dropping the record to 3-10 (.230).

Shoppe Talk: Almost closed Ye Olde Taxidermy Shoppe fer the holidays, with all the usual suspects ending up on the foreseen side of the number, but we left the light on for the aforementioned Corn Meal of Nebraska (3-6, .333)!

Vindy’s Championship Week Best Bets: Last Week: 6-1 Season: 35-30-1 (.538)

Slim-pickin’s, but…Pitt -6 over SOUTH FLORIDA, FLORIDA ATLANTIC +9 over UL-Lafayette, Middle Tennessee State +10 over ARKANSAS STATE

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