Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Vindy's 2013-14 Bowl Predictions Part II

(Squirtin’ more tears than Dez Bryant!)
DEC. 28


#25 Notre Dame (-14) over Rutgers (52): The spread-outcome basically comes down to Irish motivation. This venue is a far-cry from last season’s BCS Title game. ND lost two of three games coming in (at Pitt, at Stanford). Knights were clobbered by Louisville, Central Florida and UConn before hammering South Florida to get their qualifying victory and the invite. The Bronx ain’t far from the Jersey Turnpike, so Knights should have decent number of fans in the stands. The Leprechauns are young this year, but should be able to throw freely, as only three teams gave up more pass yards than RU (who allowed 31 passing TDs, while picking-off opposing QBs just 8 times). Knights have a 27-13 win over Iowa State and a 3-point loss to Virginia Tech in the past two post-seasons…Shamrocks 27 Rutgers 6
BELK (@ Charlotte, NC)

Cincinnati (+2 ½) over North Carolina (56 ½): Bearkats had a chance to share the AAC crown until conference-champ UCF beat SMU. A win would give UC its third-straight 10-3 season and provide Tommy Tuberville with a good debut in his first year as coach. QB Brandon Kay leads strong air-attack, including an O-line that has allowed just 12 sacks, and Cincy shows #16 scoring D in the country. Special teams are the weakness, converting just 40% of field-goal attempts and allowing 13 yards per punt–return. UNC has four punt-returns for touchdowns and isn’t horrible on either side of the ball, but its best win looks to like 34-27 victory at Pitt in mid-November. Despite swirling accusations last spring, there’s been no proof that IRS agents in Cincinnati were targeting tax-exempt status applications noting the words “kicking-tee party” for extra scrutiny!...Cincinnati 27 ‘Heels 19

#18 Louisville (-3 ½) over Miami (56 ½): ‘Hurri-cons opened at #26 in the AP preseason poll and rose to #7 before losing stud-RN Duke Johnson. Pelicans can still post first double-digit SU victory-season since 2003 with a win over what could be a potentially over-rated Louisville team, whose only defeat came by 3 at home vs. AAC-champ UCF. Junior QB Teddy Bridgewater didn’t quite meet BCS-bowl expectations for Da’ Ville (though 28 aerial score with just 4 picks works fer us!), but could improve his 2014 Heisman stock here. UM might be motivated to do well here after keeping themselves off the bowl-grid for two years. Eight of the Redbirds’ games finished “under” da’ total, with an ninth going “over” only because of extra innings. Queue-up AC ‘cause we’re…”under-struck”!… Cardinals 27 Da’ U 17

Kansas State (-4 ½) over Michigan (56 ½): Nothing about the overall play of either side excites us. Wildcats lost by 10 to most of the ranked teams it played. Big Blew whacked Notre Dame back in September and had the Buckeyes on the ropes late in the season-ender. State was surging in the second-half, winning five of last six, while UM dropped 4 of last 5 (though by 4 or less in all four defeats) in the Big Tin Man conference and will probably not have the services of starting QB Devon Gardner (turf toe). One of KSU’s outright losses came to North Dakota State, who will play again in the FCS Championship game. This week at the cinema… Channing Tatum stars as a back-up offensive lineman who appeared to be headed for graduation without ever having his chance to protect QB Jamie Foxx during his career, but while at concession stand with his daughter, Michigan Stadium comes under siege by a visiting defense, leaving Tatum as Ann Arbor’s only hope in…Big House Down!...Purple Persians 37 Michigan 27
DEC. 30

Middle Tennessee State (+6) over Navy (55 ½): The NCAA reversed an initial preseason decision to prohibit former-Marine Steven Rhodes from taking the field for the Blue Raiders because he played in what amounted to an intra-mural military league while serving his country. We smell movie, featuring Clint Eastwood reprising his (Shot)Gunnery-Sergeant Highway role in “Heartbreak Ridge”! No word as to whether Rhodes will be able to wear a “Full-Metal Flak Jacket” under his uniform. The Middies’ blowout of Army moved West Point to fire Coach Ellerson, who went O-fer in his five-year stay on the Hudson River vs. Navy, earlier this month and garnered yet-another Commander-in-Chief’s trophy for the Sailors. Navy is, of course, a top-five rushing team, but Raiders’ senior-heavy defense yields just 186 rushing ypg and are better-balanced on offense. As expected, Middies draw less than 3 flags/game, but State won’t beat itself either, incurring less than 5 hankies/match…Yacht Club 28 MTSU 24

Mississippi (-3) over Georgia Tech (57): Bees used their #6 running game to score 45 rushing touchdowns (though nearly a third of those came vs. FCS Elon and Alabama A&M). Tech’s defense has us leaning toward the “under” as well, defending both the run and pass with proficiency. Rebels fizzled again under the pressure of playing in I-A’s toughest division, losing at ‘Bama, at Auburn and to A&M by 3 in back-to-back-to-back weeks. Ole Miss went undefeated (and 3-0 ATS) in non-conference play this year, including romp over Texas, while ‘Jackets accounted for Duke’s only regular-season loss…Mississippi 24 GT 17

VALERO ALAMO (@ San Antonio, TX)
Texas (+13 ½) over #10 Oregon (67): Mack Brown will coach his last game for the Steers. Academic problems cost Texas one of its multi-purpose stars RB Jalen Overstreet and OT Kennedy Estelle, lost to injury, after starting the previous eight contests. Nonetheless, Longhorns, despite tumultuous season that saw the DC let go after poor defensive outing in loss to BYU and weekly speculation about Coach Mack’s future, lost two of their last three games, but held powerhouses Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor well-below their season scoring averages. Steers crawled into the previous two post-seasons as well, yet won both tilts, beating Cal 21-10 and Oregon State 31-27. Okay, Mallards ain’t da’ Bares or da’ Beavers, but defense-minded Stanford contained the Quack Attack. Jameis Winston got to keep quarterbacking the ‘Noles while facing allegations of sexual assault, but Drakes tight-end Pharoah Brown gets caught throwin’ snowballs at cars and has to watch this one from his dorm room?!...Oregon 32 Cattle 24

#16 Arizona State (-14) over Texas Tech (71): Sun Devils, who ripped most of their opposition, had a shot at the Rose Bowl, but fell in a rematch with Stanford in the 12-PAC championship. Red Raiders, long a thorn in Vindy’s side but who grabbed honorable-mention in the Weber-Friendlies category at 7-2, were in the Top 25 for seven weeks but were apparently overrated and got blasted during 0-5 SU/ATS spiral in the second-half of the schedule. Devils will ride the big arm of QB Taylor Kelly, but will keep TTU defense honest with senior RB Marion Grice, who should get the 4 yards he needs to hit the 1K mark for the year on his first carry…ASU 44 Texas Tech 23

DEC. 31
ADVOCARE V100 (@ Shreveport, LA)

Boston College (+7) over Arizona (57 ½): UPSET PICK OF DA’ BOWLS #2. Two of the top six rushers in the country take the field here…Andre Williams for BC and Ka’Deem Carey for the Wildcats, who dropped three of four coming in, but surprised Oregon at Tucson. Eagles had won four straight to finish third behind Florida State and Clemson in the ACC Atlantic, but unexpectedly lost to Syracuse in finale. Both give up very little on the ground to opponents, but Eagles allowed 24 passing scores while getting just 9 interceptions. If it comes down to a late FG, BC kickers are perfect in 18 attempts on the year…Boston College 34 Arizona 30

#17 UCLA (-7 ½) over Virginia Tech (48): Key match-up here will be Bruins’ pass offense against the Hokies’ #3-ranked pass defense. UCLA staggered into last year’s bowl off consecutive losses to Stanford and floundered vs. Baylor. Perpetual-bowler Tech doesn’t possess the scoring-power of the Bears and will need to make UCLA work for its points. VT O-line did not protect QB Logan Thomas well, allowing 29 sacks vs. the team and leading to a 16 passTD-to-13 INT ratio. Hokies gave up just 10 scoring throws and pulled in 19 picks. If Bruins can jump out early, Tech isn’t prepared to catch-up. Hokies post-season tilts went to OT in each of the last two seasons (losing by 3 to Michigan in the 2011 season Sugar Bowl and beating Rutgers by 3 last year). This one won’t…UCLA 34 Beamer Ball 24

Rice (+7) over Mississippi State (52): Charles Smith leads Rice’s potent rushing game, contributing an average of 114 yards/game to team average of 240. Rice pummeled Air Force in last year’s bowl and could see its first double-digit win tally since 2008. Owls converted 90% of their red zone opportunities into points (39 TDs, 7 FGs). Bulldogs did little in the SEC this year, but made its season by beating rival Mississippi for the third time in four seasons to be bowl-eligible. State won all four games in which it was favored in 2013, but covered just two. Owls went 8-5 against the line this year…MSU 27 Rice 24
CHICK-FIL-A (@ Atlanta, GA)

#20 Texas A&M (-12 ½) over #22 Duke (74 ½): Not sure we’d consider this season a “sophomore-jinx” for Johnny Manziel (33-13 ratio, 170+ QB rating and over 3700 passing yards), but the top three teams he beat last year exacted some revenge in 2013, leaving Aggies at 8-4 SU. As expected, 10-win Blue Devils flamed out vs. Florida State in ACC title game and will be without top rusher Jela Duncan, who got da’ boot for some kinda’ academic violation. Duke took home the prize for the 2013 men’s NCAA lacrosse tourney this past May. Already sporting pads and helmets with facemasks, given its success this year, maybe the Blue Devils gridiron squad just needed to be allowed to tote wooden sticks with small nets on ‘em onto the football field!!!...A&M 51 Duke 31

If a famous statue on the South Bend campus were holding a certain type of pillow, would it be “Goose-Down Jesus”??!!
A Notre Dame signee published videos of himself flushing ‘Bama recruiting letters down the john last summer, making him a pariah to all SEC schools except maybe Auburn, who would gladly have the young man change his mantra from “Play Like A Champion Today” to “War Eagle”. The appropriate response from Tuscaloosa, of course, would be a like-video showing one of the Tide’s newest members flushing a leprechaun or at least one of those Fightin’ Irish finger-puppets!

Regarding the above Armed Forces Bowl…are Navy-backers pleading…Fleets don’t fail me now! Go brig or go home!
Last January, Maria Sharapova was reportedly pullin’ in big bucks on a half-million dollar investment in Sugarpova candy. Great. Another future corporate bowl-sponsor.

Prior to last week’s Hawaii Bowl, Boise State sent QB Joe Southwick packin’ from the Islands for violating teams rules (Southwick later claimed to be innocent of urinating off a hotel balcony, but saw another player do so. His claim was backed up by a polygraph test). Alone on one of those outrigger-catamarans, Joe oughta’ be just-about  reachin’ the West Coast in time to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve!
In June, the Cowboys replaced OC Jason Garrett with Bill Callahan. Given the results, we wonder if it’s closer to Brad Garrett being replaced by Harry Callahan!!!

Anybody else out there wanna’ see Mike Myers reprise his British-spy role and go undercover as a pro-hockey net-minder between da’ pipes to thwart Dr. Evil’s plan to destroy the NHL in…”Austin Powers in Goaltender”.
Vindy’s Bowl Best Bets Part II:       

Louisville-Miami “under” 56 ½ , Mississippi-Georgia Tech “under” 57, Texas +13 ½ over Oregon, Texas A&M-Duke “over” 74 ½
We'll be back before the ball drops on New Year's Eve with Part III



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