Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Vindy's 2012-13 Bowl Predictions (Part II)


BRISTOL, Connecticut(CNN)…Beating the predicted Mayan apocalypse, ESPN still has some work to do to resolve what insiders are referring to as the “Bristol Cliff”. The World Leader is in negotiations with CBS, NBC and FOX Sports to avoid automatic budget cuts and increased spending that would lead to fewer affordable commentators and even the plummeting of the network headquarters, itself, into monetary ruin, in the wake of reduced capacity to provide the same level of sports coverage, should some sort of compromise not be reached by the time the ball drops on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve! In a symbolic move, ESPN negotiators have acquired parachutes and bunji-cords for visual impact!

Hillary Clinton suffered a concussion in early December when she fell and hit her head on…

(“Historically disproportionate!”)

DEC. 28
ADVOCARE V100 INDEPENDENCE (@ Shreveport, Louisiana)
Ohio (+7) over Weeziana-Monroe (60 ½): UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK.
First-ever bowl for Monroe. Bobblecats usurped the bowl spot that woulda’ went to high-powered Weeziana Tech had it not failed to beat the Independence-venue clock while awaiting a better offer. Bobcats’ 7-0 start, including fortunate victory in Happy Valley, had some of us whispering “BCS-buster”, but it wasn’t to be as a three-game losing streak in da’ MAC ended the regular-season. Turnovers put Ohio in early 21-0 hole in finale at Kent State, and Bobcats went 2-2 SU but 0-4 ATS away from Athens. Some teammates will remember 48-21 beat-down by another Fun Belt team, Troy, in the 2010 post-season. Warhawks “shocked” Arkansas in Fayetteville then lost by 3 at Auburn to begin the year, but those results don’t look so impressive these days. We’ll credit ULM with 5-point shootout loss at home to Baylor (also in September, following the aforementioned games), but it was clobbered by a couple of the quality squads in conference-play and finished 3-4 ATS after nice 5-0 start…Ohio 24 ULM 21

Rutgers (+2 ½) over Virginia Tech (41 ½):
Nine of RU’s games finished under this total and we quote another article we saw previewing this game…“First one to six points wins”. Knights challenged most of the season for the Big Least championship and fell three points short in de facto conference title game to Louisville. Rutgers dropped three of last five, including that contest vs. the Redbirds, to end up here rather than the Sugar Bowl, in part due to Gary Nova’s 11 INT in that span. Hokies not full of momentum either, but took final pair vs. Boston College and Virginia to get eligible. Tech tipped the ATS scales at 3-8 on the year, getting pounded away from Blacksburg by Pitt, Clemson and Miami. Paladins beat four of five non-conference opponents in 2012, and 18 of last 22. Rutgers was a Big East doormat when VT bolted for the ACC. Hokies won’t like the early-look at the new-and-improved member of its conference… Round Table 19 Virginia Tech 16

Minnesota (+12) over Texas Tech (57):
Normally, we indicate “no faith in this pick”, but we’ll temper it a bit and merely say “not a lotta’ faith”. Minny needed three overtimes to beat three-win UNLV in Sin City. Red Raiders are crapshoot vs. non-conference and only 1-4 ATS in last five post-season games, winning SU by no more than 10 (and 3 of the four victories by 7 or less). First call is “over”, even though spread speaks to Gilded Gerbils scoring more than 17 just one time after mid-September and generally limiting opponents to less than 24 on average. Conversely, TTU scores 38 and gives up 31. Maybe that’s why a 6-1 SU start crumbled in Big 12 play, resulting in a lone win over Kansas…by 7…in Lubbock…over final five games. Tommy Tuberville has left the Red Raiders in somebody else’s hands. QB Seth Doege completes about 70% of his throws. Gophers boast #9 pass D nationally. Raiders’ tendency to be flagged and be on the wrong end of the turnover-ratio costs ‘em a cover here …”Guns Up” 35 Gerbils 31

DEC. 29
Air Force (-1 ½) over Rice (61):
The tendency for both to rush fairly-well (USAF #3 nationally) but defend the run not-so-well lends itself to a quick-paced game and points less than the proposed total. We think the bowl title supports motivation to the Academy to represent, as do outright losses in the only games that truly matter to USAF…Navy and Army. Owls surged in the second half of the year, winning and covering five of final six in C-USA. Points-against average for Rice (31 ppg) is a bit deceptive since only two of last seven opponents posted more than 24 (and four show final tallies in the teens). Return gifts to Wal-Mart or make reservations to watch the antenna-ball drop at Jack-in-da’ Box a few days later. Three yawns and a cloud of dust…Flyboys 24 Owls 20

KRAFT FIGHT HUNGER (@ San Francisco, CA)
Navy (+14 ½) over Arizona State (56):
Army’s would-be winning-drive over the Popeyes was stopped by a fumble at Middies’ 15-yard-line. Devils, who covered only-pair of double-digit spreads on the year (both around 22 points) bombed non-conference opponents early, but suffered a four-game SU losing streak prior to trampling hapless Wazzou at home and edging rival Arizona. ASU has a middlin’ rush D and Devils’ scout-team will have difficulty replicating the triple-option in practices leading up to this. Sailors can and will put it in the air too. The new faces on Navy’s offense have had a whole season to gel. Middies have a safety named Wave Ryder. The junior defensive back is from Hawaii and we can’t help but wonder if his teammates call him “Five-O” or at least…“Point-Break ”!!... Pitchforks 30 Yacht Club 24

West Virginia (-4) over Syracuse (73 ½):
Though the Orange are more defensive-minded, relatively-speaking, yielding about 26 ppg, our first thought is the “over”, because only Weeziana Tech gave up more passing yardage to opponents on average than West Virginia, and Mounties, whose mantra is also “Stop ‘em??!!! Hell no! Just outscore ‘em!!!”, were also near da’ bottom in points-against (38 per game). WVU scores an average of 41.6 ppg and features Geno Smith, one of four QBs in the country with more than 4000 passing yards, and shows a 40-6 passing TD-to-INT ratio. ‘Cuse quarterback Ryan Nassib ain’t too shabby at 3600+ yards and 24-9 tally. SU’s best win, acquired in season-ending 5-1 SU/ATS streak, was a 19-point home victory over then-ranked Louisville. As former conference members of the Big Least, there’s some history, including last season’s 49-23 win by the ‘Eers in New York. University officials told the Morgantown mascot to keep his game-day powder wet after baggin’ a real-life bear with the same weapon he brandishes on the gridiron. Heads-up, Orange fans…the Mounties mascot got himself a musket…and he knows how to use it!...West Virginia 44 Syracuse 37

VALERO ALAMO (@ San Antonio, TX)
#15 Oregon State (-2) over Texas (57):
Sophomore QB Sean Mannion has led the Beavers to a #15 ranking and a similar spot in national passing yardage. State did lose three of its final five, but two road losses at UDUB and Stanford by combined 7 points are acceptable. On the other sideline, there’s nothing about the quarterback situation/controversy, late-season ball-security issues and new offensive coordinator that inspires us to take very few points with eight-win ‘Horns, and Dam-Builders seniors would love to erase painful memory of 44-20 loss in most recent bowl (2009) to BYU. Wouldn’t be a bad “lock” choice...Oregon State 38 Steers 20

Texas Christian (-2) over Michigan State (41):
Spartans opening win over Boise State should’ve signaled the continuation of solid play from the 11-3 campaign in 2011. It didn’t. State’s defense was stout most of the season, but got no help from a new bunch on offense, which scored less than 20 on seven occasions and absorbed tough defeats by Ohio State, Michigan and Northwestern. Six of TCU’s games finished with totals under 41, four in the low thirties, leading us to prefer the “under” here. Sixth consecutive bowl appearance for MSU, which lost four straight post-season outings until beating Joja’ 33-30 in triple-OT last year. Frogs have become a fixture in the bowls, but have lost four straight to the spread, while winning three outright…TCU 20 Sparty 16

DEC. 31
NC State (+7) over Vanderbilt (52):
‘Dores won last six regular-season games, with best win perhaps being 27-26 at rising Ole Miss. Vandy is solid on defense, allowing just 18 ppg. Admirals do have what’s basically home-field edge playing in Nashville and have more experience on both sides of the ball. Wolfpack’s third-straight bowl appearance sent coach Tom O’Brien to the unemployment line, but State boasts the #9 passer in yardage with senior Mike Glennon. Vanderbilt’s pass defense is 8th-best in the country. Almost looks too easy to lay the we won’t. Vandy hasn’t won a post-season match-up by this many since 1955 Gator Bowl…Vandy 24 NC State 20

Georgia Tech (+10) over Southern Cal (64):
At 6-7, Bees had to get a hall-pass from the governing body of college sports just to be here???!!! Coincidentally, the NCAA was last nationwide in defending da’ hall-pass! We know it’s all about conference tie-ins and stuff, but couldn’t we have pushed da’ envelope enough to get 9-3 Louisiana Tech instead???!!! ‘Jackets parlayed the “undeserving” tag into a spread-win and narrow outright loss to Florida State in the ACC title match. We can see them doing likewise here vs. Trojans, including QB Matt Barkley, who didn’t forgo the 2012 NFL Draft to play a December bowl in west-freakin’-Texas! A running game of military-academy proportions should let Tech stay in this one long enough. Gotta’ figure the disgraced, ex-USC grad assistant is now taking a few PSI off the sumo-unis we mentioned in Part I for some NFL squad to give the special-teams an edge!...Troy 34 GT 27

Tulsa (PK) over Iowa State (51 ½):
Sequel to season-opening 38-23 home-win over the Golden Hurricane by Iowa State. Tulsa lost only two more games after that, going 6-2 SU/ATS down the stretch, beating Central Florida twice in three weeks for the CUSA title and the Liberty berth. Dust Devils floundered late, beating only Kansas between losses to Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia. Lead-rusher Shontrelle Johnson will sit for Iowa State, though he accounted for just two rushing scores. Hurricane has better offensive balance, but was second in rushing yardage in the conference. Starts too early to watch the Big Apple ring-in 2013 in Times Square, but maybe there’s some quality college hoops on other channels or zombie-themed marathon on Syfy…Tulsa 27 Cyclones 24

CHICK-FIL-A (@ Atlanta, GA)
#9 Louisiana State (-3 ½) over #14 Clemson (58 ½):
A fine match-up to close-out the calendar year. Unfortunately, neither squad expected to be playing the post-season on the wrong side of New Year’s Day! The good news? LSU’s presence here means we ain’t gonna’ watch two clubs from the same division of the same conference vie for national title honors in January. The bad news? Clemson’s appearance here means our futures bet on those Tigers is officially toast! CU has gone 0-fer-last two bowls and gave up (GASP!) 70 to West Virginia last year. Only two of Bengals’ victories came by less than 4 points and only one of their I-A contests finished above this total. What’s scary for 2013 season is State has only 10 seniors on this this season’s version, with only a couple actually starting. Both teams have just two SU losses. LSU’s came barely at the Swamp and at home vs. ‘Bama. Clemson was beaten by FSU and South Carolina, by 12 and 10, respectively. At Liberty University’s May 2012 commencement ceremony, Mitt Romney said his “campaign comes to a sudden stop when we spot a Chick-fil-A”. Ironically, SWAG at this season’s bowl of the title sponsor includes dogs fer strappin’ to car roofs and a pair of barber shears!…LSU 24 Clemson 14


BTW, we originally thought “Bristol Cliff” was some reference to men falling off Sarah Palin’s daughter! (The former vice-presidential candidate also said she could “see her dropping off my front porch”).

Weeziana Tech’s bowl options were apparently (mis-) handled by the same folks that caused the Minnesota Vikings to forfeit a first-round selection in the 2003 NFL Draft!

For all the derision we heaped upon the West Virginia defense above, we note the Mounties allowed a total of just 34 points over its final two regular-season games vs. Iowa State and Kansas. We’re guessin’ a couple of bored ‘Bama redshirt-freshmen went lookin’ fer some live-fire action and slipped into the ‘Eers locker room unnoticed in back-to-back weeks! (And BTW, we thought we recognized mascot Jonathan Kimble in a remake of “Full-Metal Jacket”, chanting “This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless…”. Come to think of it…anybody seen the Baylor mascot lately???!!!

Bears WR Brandon Marshall says Viagra is being used by NFL players for on-field purposes. (Readers know what’s comin’, right?!). That’s one way to get up fer a game! Statistical categories now include, pass D, run D and…ED?! That poke in the eye a player just got was not necessarily the result of a finger thru the facemask!? If also used by college athletes, would there be a Big Ten-inch Conference record???!! “In the event of deflections lasting longer than four hours…(You know how the rest of that goes!)” Gives a whole new meaning to “stiff-arm”!!! And if da’ “chain gang” suddenly needs to replace a broken yard-marker, well…

Thee UNLV hoops team recently hosted Division III La Verne. The Shirley thing has been done, so given that the Rebels won by about fitty, we’ll just ask…were Lenny and Squiggy in the backcourt for the Leopards?

For a while there, Vindy thought the arc marking the “restricted zone” for college hoops teams was actually the one-point line! Or maybe the crease for floor-hockey games!

Vindy’s Bowl Best Bets Part II: UL-Monroe-Ohio “under” 60, Navy +14 ½ over Arizona State, Air Force-Rice “under” 61, Oregon State -2 over Texas

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