Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Vindy's Picks Week 13-2013


The spacewalk was going fine a couple of hours in. Then came the message…”Moscow…we have a problem.” Despite efforts by Roscosmos, Russia’s counterpart to NASA, to conceal the error, foreign intelligence, hackers and yes, CB-radio enthusiasts, intercepted the transmission that the Olympic Torch, accompanying the cosmonauts on their current journey, had been bobbled by Sergei Ryazanskiy while hamming it up for Oleg Kotov’s camera, and was quickly swept away by solar winds into the “final frontier”. Embarrassed by the incident, the Soviets launched a rescue-shuttle in hopes of recovering the icon before the start of the Winter Games in February…and more-importantly, before any other member of the international community could do so. NASA officials had no comment on the situation, other than to deny the USS Enterprise was in pursuit of the item or that the Jupiter 2 had radioed that they have visual contact with the torch.

Registering a 10-7 finish for a second straight week and reaching the century-mark in forecast-wins at least a week prior to suffering 100 losses (102-93-4, .523), your humble host was not subjected to hearing, “It’s good to be twerking with you again, Tay” from HAL 9000. Even Major Tom eschewed a chance at “coming home” for one final Earthly-look at…

(Competing for “cutest Weber kid” on that AT&T 4G commercial!)

WED. NOV. 20
#20 Northern Illinois (-2 ½) over TOLEDO:
The lines-makers apparently believe there are still enough folks, sharps and/or public, who think the Huskies could stumble after posting 10 straight wins on the season. Granted, Northern Illinois gave up almost 500 yards of offense to Ball State, was minus-one in turnover ratio and ultimately scored 21 straight points in the 4th Quarter to pull away in a previously-tight game. Cardinals were pass-heavy. Rockets bring a more-balanced offense. These two are statistically-comparable in most areas and Toledo lost respectably by 15 at Mizzou (following a cover in the opener at Florida). Da’ Spaceships have also bested likely MAC-East champ Bowling Green (28-25, wasting a three-TD lead in the process) and lost by 7 at Ball State. NIU defensive end Joe Windsor initially had himself a prized-Black Shirt… signed, sealed and delivered…until the final ticks of the Auburn-Georgia game, for 49-yard INT return for TD that secured a win instead of a potential push on Wednesday night game vs. Ball State. NIU yields just one rushing TD per game. Rockets give up north of two per tilt. We expect that to be the edge NIU needs to carry-on toward a BCS bowl and the ATS-win. Total on this is 70 ½. We like a somewhat more temperate scoring-pace …Dogs 33 Mudhens 27 (Just like last week, this one’s already underway as we go to press)

#17 CENTRAL FLORIDA (-17) over Rutgers:
Knights versus…Knights??!!! Ball-game or jousting tourney???!! Waffled a couple times on this one, but finally settled on the Golden ones. UCF has been in several tight ones, but against better teams. Scarlet Paladins have lost twice in past three contests by 35 points/game and are on 1-4 point-spread slide…Central Florida 38 Jersey Turnpike Exit 9B 17

SAT. NOV. 23
Chattanooga @ #1 ALABAMA:
No line. While ‘Bama stop-squad threw another shutout, Tide’s four turnovers on offense against Mississippi State cost us a four-team teaser parlay! Go Mocs!

Idaho (+57) over #2 FLORIDA STATE: In the past two weeks, Sandals have lost by 16 and 21 at home to FBS newcomers Texas State and Old Dominion, and 45 at Ole Miss in only match-up vs. Top 25, but this is a meaningless non-conference game a week prior to FSU’s trip to the Swamp and merely represents the opportunity to get starters injured. Winston won’t play more than a half…Seminoles 54 Idaho 3

#3 Baylor (-10) over #11 OKLAHOMA STATE: Baylor was apparently toying with Texas Tech, the third-best scoring offense in the Big 12 behind these two squads (though just a FG/game behind OKSU), taking mere 8-point lead into the locker room at the half, then putting the starters in at the start of the 3rd Quarter. BU has better wins over common opponents, with Chafin and Linwood leading the rushing attack in Seastrunk’s absence and, as expected, QB Petty is closing-in on 3000 yards. Bears coach Art Briles just got himself a nice 10-year contract last week and only Kansas State stayed about this close to Da’ Bears…Baylor 51 OKSU 37

Indiana (+33) over #4 OHIO STATE: Buckeyes 51 Hoosiers 24

#5 Oregon (-20 ½) over ARIZONA: Mallards 44 AZ 20

#6 Auburn: IDLE (next vs. Alabama)

Citadel @ #7 CLEMSON: No line.

#8 Missouri (-2 ½) over #24 MISSISSIPPI: Rebels are simply positioning for a better bowl-berth, while Tigers need a victory to stay on track for chance to play in SEC championship match, because South Carolina owns the head-to-head tie-breaker in the conference’s East Division. Ole Miss hopes to enjoy the last of a six (count ‘em, six)-game home-stand and haven’t been tested since edging LSU four games ago. Mizzou regains the services of James Franklin at QB. In all honestly, we salute back-up QB redshirt freshman Maty Mauk for a bang-up job in a relief role the past few games. Tigers haven’t been drawn into a shootout thus far. Advantage Mississippi if that happens. If not…Missouri 24 Old Mist 17

#9 Texas A&M (+4) over #18 LSU: UPSET ALERT. Both were idle last week. Tigers keep finding ways to lose after looking decent early. LSU has now won 25 of the last 26 in Baton Rouge, but Manziel is still the X-Men factor for A&M. Tigers lost to Ole Miss by 3, A&M beat the Rebels by three on the road and LSU’s best-victory to date now looks like 14-point triumph at home over now-#8 Auburn. LSU won 24-19 at College Station in 2012, and has won half of last ten decided by 7 or less, but shows just 2-7-1 ATS in those games…State 34 A&M 33

#10 STANFORD (-32) over California: Best guess for “wish I had it back.” History of this series suggests a much closer game and Cardinal is off upset by USC. Bares lost by 17 at Colorado, now the second-worst team in the conference. Trees haven’t gotten in the zip-code of bashing anybody this badly all year, except neutral-site game vs. Wazzou…Stanford 45 Cal 10

Coastal Carolina @ #12 SOUTH CAROLINA: No line.

#13 Michigan State (-7) over NORTHWESTERN: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Northwestern, last alphabetically and last in the standings of the Legends Division in Big Tenderfoot play, needs to take both of its final pair of games to be bowl-eligible. That’s the only reason to consider backin’ the Wildcats off morale-killing defeat last week. MSU with a victory faces probably Ohio State for post-season visit to Pasadena. N-Dub is winless in conference with 0-6 SU/1-5 ATS spiral, though three of four defeats were by a FG. ‘Cats were favored to beat Michigan…and lost…in triple-OT. Sparty has won last six (5-1 ATS) by 12 or more. Last season’s 10-win Northwestern squad did not face a team that was ranked at the time. It shows this year! We expect somewhat of a three-spree and we’ll say it goes “under 42” as well…MSU 23 NW 9

#14 UCLA (+2) over #19 Arizona State: UCLA 29 ASU 24

New Mexico @ #15 FRESNO STATE: OFF

MINNESOTA (+15 ½) over #16 Wisconsin: We’ll stay with gut-instinct on this one, despite nearly reneging after looking at the numbers, most of which favor Wisky, including margins of victory in Wisconsin’s wins each of last three years in this series…18, 29 and 25. BYU scored with about 3:00 left to keep the final margin at 10 and Badgers won by just 24 at Illinois. The surging Gophers are at least 10 points better than the Illini, especially in Minneapolis. Badgers have just one ATS defeat all year, the result of touchdown-loss in Columbus, but we saw mighty Alabama offense fall on its face last week on the road as well. Gophers are gonna’ need to cover this on defense, because after RB David Cobb (942 rushing yards), the ground game falls off significantly…Cheese-Heads 39 Minny 27

Memphis (+24 ½) over #21 LOUISVILLE: Second choice for “lock”…Cardinal 26 Tigers 10

KANSAS STATE (-3 ½) over #22 Oklahoma: Purple Persians have been tough to figure this year, but we did cash a ticket going against them in Week 12, grabbing double-digits with the Horny Toads as a “best bet” last week. First road-dog role for the Spooners since 2011 edition of “Bedlam”. Not much up for grabs here except bowl-hierarchy. Defense is foremost on both sides. No faith in pickin’ either club and maybe “under” 53 is the first choice, with Oklahoma showing nice rushing numbers and a slightly-better pass D, but…KSU 24 OK 20

COLORADO (+23) over #23 Southern Cal: Troy Boys 27 Bison 7

WAKE FOREST (+5) over #25 Duke: Folks in Winston-Salem gotta’ be thinkin’ “Blue Devils are ranked???!! You gotta’ be sh*ttin’ me!!!” Duke spotted Miami a 10-point lead in the 1st Quarter then proceeded to whoop some boo-tay en route to its 6th consecutive victory. Deacs lost here last season, 34-27, after defeating Duke each year since 2000, and 7 of the last 9 were decided by a touchdown or less. Wake has dented the board for…well…um…a lone three-pointer…in its last two games, but shows home-wins over NC State and Maryland in October. Demon Deacons gotta’ sweep the final two games to take the field in December and Jim Grobe needs one more dubya to have most coaching wins at Da’ Forest in school history…Indigo Incubi 23 Wake 20


BTW, if the torch falls outta’ orbit back into Third Rock’s atmosphere, at least it’ll be lit! If the Russians win the gold for hockey in Sochi, the closest the medals are gonna’ get to space is…resting on a museum display-table next to a Beta-Max version of da’ Jetsons! As to the fate of Comrade Ryazanskiy, Roscosmos played the final moments of Armageddon and Space Cowboys, revealing the movies’ conclusions for Harry Stamper, played by Bruce Willis, and ”Hawk” Hawkins, portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones, on a continuous loop, for him via the vessel’s video-monitor!

And before hitting da’ cutting-room, floor, Star Wars featured a scene in which Obi-Wan Kenobi wields an Olympic torch to stave-off Darth Vader long enough for the rest of the protagonists to board the Millennium Falcon and escape the tractor-beam! (“If you keep me off the medal-stand now, Darth…I shall become more-powerful than you could ever imagine.”)

Given the Steelers’ striped jerseys and socks, along with the plain tan/gold/beige/whatever pants for Sunday’s game vs. Detroit, we can’t decide if they looked more like bumble-bees or Broadway actors awaiting the tail, whiskers and ears to complete the costumes for their roles in the musical “Cats”!!!

The Jaguars’ Jason Babin got a bit more than he bargained for, ending up with a handful of mane on a tackle of Arizona Cardinals Andre Ellington. Said the rookie ball-carrier in a post-contest interview, “Joke’s on Jason, Dude. Those ‘dreads were just extensions!” The Arizona team-trainer did, however, quickly usher Ellington into the locker-room following the play, holding a bottle of Rogaine! After watching the video-replay, Steelers safety Troy Polamalu visibly winced!

In related news, “hair-chalking” became a trend among teenagers…wrapping strands of hair in pastel chalk and sealing the color by running a hot iron thru it???!!! Are faves now known as “hair-chalk”? At Kansas, we will we hear… “Rock, hair-chalk, Jayhawk”?!

As Baltimore continues to struggle this season, we’re reminded that in the days leading up to Super Bowl 47, Ray Lewis adamantly denied using deer-antler spray to enhance his performance. The Ravens LB did, however, cop to using turtle-wax, duck-tape and kitty litter!

Princes Charles, at 65, is still awaiting his pension… and his throne. Having been the heir behind QE II since 1952, he may be better off being a coach-in-waiting to get the head job at Virginia Tech, currently under the 27-year reign of Frank Beamer!

Controversial Toronto mayor Rob Ford, sporting a football jersey, got the cold shoulder every time he opened his mouth at a recent City Council meeting. Just a couple thoughts for Hizzoner…Canada’s national pastime is… HOCKEY, not football, you hoser…and of all the players in the NFL, the uniform you wore proclaimed fandom for… Richie Incognito???!!!

Black Shirt: Was wrenched away from the aforementioned Northern Illinois defender in the blink of an eye by UGA Bulldogs safety Josh Harvey-Clemons, who tipped an Auburn pass on 4th-and-18 with less than half a minute on the clock, into the hands of a Tigers WR for a touchdown…giving Auburn the win, the cover and rescuing Vindy’s “Lock of da’ Week” after War Eagle tanked a 20-point advantage! Honorable Mention to Joja’ coach Mike Richt for drawing an unsportsmanlike-conduct flag after officials ruled simultaneous-possession favoring Auburn, who eventually hit pay-dirt on the drive!

“Locked in a Box?”: Strike up da’ band (just not the one at Delaware State)! Auburn’s “What just happened??!!”- win and cover over Joja’ gives us back-to-back “lock” wins, bumping up the record to 5-6-1 (.454).

Shoppe Talk: The NIU Huskies (1-4, .200) finally gave us a break with very late cover vs. Ball State, as noted above, but it’s Cardinal-under-glass again as our blue-plate special with Stanford now on 1-6 skid and 3-7 for the year so far. On the radar…Clemson (0-4 skid), Oklahoma (1-5 skid) and Ohio State (0-4 skid)!

Vindy’s Week 13 Best Bets: Last Week: 3-3 Season: 38-22-1 (.633)
Navy +1 ½ over SAN JOSE STATE (Fri), Mississippi State -3 over ARKANSAS, East Carolina -6 over NC STATE, Bowling Green -24 ½ over EASTERN MICHIGAN, WYOMING -7 over Hawaii, FLORIDA ATLANTIC -20 over New Mexico State, Vanderbilt +2 ½ over TENNESSEE

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