Monday, December 30, 2013

Vindy's 2013-14 Bowl Predictions Part III


(Gnarly or nice?! You decide!)

JAN. 1
TAXSLAYER.COM GATOR (@ Jacksonville, FL)

Nebraska (+9) vs. #23 Georgia (60): Rematch of last season’s 45-31 Joja’ victory ovr Big dread in the Capital One Bowl, but these are two different teams this year. Both are down to back-ups at QB. Hutson Mason played in 3 of UGA’s final 4, all victories. Ron Kellogg helped NU win 3 of its last 5, but the losses were in Lincoln by double-digits to Michigan State and Iowa. Both will likely defer for the most part to a pair of excellent running backs…Todd Gurley for the Bulldogs (averaging 100.3 ypg) and Ameer Abdullah for the Huskers (1500+ rushing yards). Gurley, who also has five scoring catches, will need a good day to help Georgia cover. Children of the Corn have been hampered by a minus-12 turnover ratio, but both defenses are young and points should be plentiful. Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com noted all 10 college teams associated with Bo Pelini have posted nine or more victories in each of his seasons with them. Da’ Corn Pops enter this bowl with an 8-4 record…Joja’ 38 Nebraska 34

North Texas (-6 ½) over UNLV (55): First post-season reward for the Rebels since 2000 and first bowl beyond the borders of the Silver State in three decades. Rebels were picked by the media to finish fifth, ahead of only Hawaii, in MW West Division. Senior RB Tim Cornett, who has been a difference-maker, equated that ranking to a diss of the team. LB Tim Hasson said it provided motivation.  Sin City finally solved some of the road woes that traditionally plagued the team, winning 3 of 5 away from Sam Boyd, but those victories came vs. New Mexico, Air Force and Reno, who went collective 9-27 SU on the year. Mean Green upgraded from the Stun Belt to CUSA this year and led the conference in scoring D at 18.1 ppg (also good for 9th in the country). UNT is solid on offense as well…North Texas 41 UNLV 27

CAPITAL ONE (@ Orlando, FL)
#8 South Carolina (+1) over #19 Wisconsin (51): Gamehens  lost second-best WR Byrd to a knee-injury. Badgers had been a spread-covering machine and coulda’ finished with just one Big Tentacle conference loss, but shockingly yielded a road-victory to Vindy’s alma mater in the finale as 25-point chalk! Wisky has dropped three Rose Bowls in as many years. Gamehens had their “WTH?”-loss at Tennessee and only other defeat between da’ hedges in Athens. It’s a good thing Wisconsin is a bit ground-heavy because QB Joel Stave will throw into ball-hawking SC secondary. Badgers potent offense has been slowed somewhat by the better defensive teams on the slate. Poultry can pass (Connor Shaw has 21 TDs and 1 pick) and runs above-average with Mike Davis. “Under” looks good here too with Chicken Nuggets holding 5 of last 7 opponents to 17 or less and Badgers limited 8 foes to 17 or less…Scrappy Squab 24 Cheese-heads 20

OUTBACK (@ Tampa, FL)
#14 LSU (-8) over Iowa (48 ½): LSU QB Zach Mettenberger is out, forever, after requiring surgery for a knee-injury incurred during win over Arkansas. The next most-experienced QB on the depth chart piled up all of 99 pass yards this year. RB Jeremy Hill will test Iowa’s stout run-defense, that’s allowed just five ground scores, and maybe open up some play-action for whoever lines-up under center for the Bengals. Nice turnaround for the Hawkeyes, who won just 4 games in 2012. Birds covered 7 games in 11 tries so far, but we’ll watch this one just to see what kinda’ trickeration Les Miles pulls out. After no-show in 21-0 BCS Title game loss in 2011 and 25-24 loss to Clemson in last year’s Chick-fil-A, we’ll back…LSU 23 Iowa 13

#4 Michigan State (+4 ½) over #5 Stanford (43): UPSET PICK OF DA’ BOWLS #3. If ya didn’t watch the game, Spartans D recorded Ohio State’s first three-and-out on the Buckeyes’ opening-possession all season, but State will be without senior LB Max Bullough, who accounted for 76 tackles, including 9.5 behind the line of scrimmage, after he violated team rules (BYW, anybody else out there hate the “unspecified violation of team rules” coach-speak! Come on, guys! Air the dirty laundry! Inquiring-minds wanna’ know!). We mentioned MSU’s demise at the hands of ‘Bama previously, but Sparty took Georgia to triple-extras, winning 33-30 and beat TCU 17-16 last year, playing the ‘dog-role in all three. Cardinal dropped a 6-point decision at Utah and lost by 3 at resurgent USC for its only pair of defeats. SU also gets this berth again after holding ASU to about a third of its usual scoring output for the 12-PACK crown. From Rocky Horror Picture Show Floor Show- “Rose Bowl tint my world…to save me from the trouble and Peyton Manning!” Despite Max BUHL’-uh’s Day Off, we like…Michigan State 26 Stanford 20

#15 Central Florida (+17) over #6 Baylor (69):  Bears enjoying first (and last) BCS bowl berth.  Bryce Petty and company saw the Baylor QB record a 30-2 TD-to-pick ratio. UCF probably won’t get enough pressure upfront, so it’ll need to play good coverage downfield. Kudos to Knights coach O’Leary for superior season results with paltry number of returning starts and little depth to take the American Idol Athletic Conference and a BCS bowl. Central Florida fare equally as well in defensive outings as it does in track-meets (as verified by high-scoring wins vs. Louisville, Penn State and Temple). Even if tenacious UCF stop-squad lets Bears dictate the pace, we still see the total falling below the posted number. UCF’s only outright defeat came by 3 vs. currently-#8 South Carolina. Given that stat and our bowl-picks results to-date, we’re not inspired to back…da’ Bad Muse Bears 34 Golden Knights 23

JAN. 2
ALLSTATE SUGAR (@ New Orleans, LA)

#3 Alabama (-15 ½) over #11 Oklahoma (51): Looks like Old Scratch finally came to collect on a certain coach’s debt…in the form of the Auburn Tigers! Nonetheless, Nick has a good thing going in Tuscaloosa and will hang around, but we’re not sure what else he needs to prove in the SEC. Following its previous loss to Auburn in 2010, Tide crushed Michigan State 49-7 in the Capital One Bowl. Only A&M and surprisingly, Mississippi State finished this close to ‘Bama. Dishonorable-Mention-winning Sooners tacked on another forecast loss by beating Okie State. OU improved the rush defense nicely from last year, but allowed 255 each in bad losses to Texas and Baylor. During last year’s BCS Title game, Brent Musburger made a few too many comments/compliments of ‘Bama QB AJ McCarron’s girlfriend, Katherine Webb, who was in the stands. We think he was channeling Joe Namath, and as a result, Webb garnered a spot as a pre-Super Bowl correspondent for Inside Edition. What…Brent Musberger’s personal attaché position was already filled??!!!...Crimson Bridesmaid 37 Oklahoma 16
JAN. 3

#7 Ohio State (-3) over #12 Clemson (68): It’s not da’ BCS Championship…it’s not even da’ Rose Bowl, but let’s face it…the Orange contest ain’t a bad consolation-prize for an Ohio State squad that went undefeated for almost two straight seasons. Neither side comes in with much momentum…Buckeyes dropped Big Tenuous title to Michigan State, while Tigers absorbed a two-TD loss at rival South Carolina to close out the regular season. Collectively, the duet shows a 4-9 ATS tally in their last 13-combined games, though State was facing much bigger spreads. CU has gone 2-2 SU/ATS in the last four post-seasons under Dabo Sweeney, including 25-24 win over LSU last year, in which Clemson outgained the Bengals by 226 yards of offense. Buckeyes, making first bowl under Urban Meyer, went 11-2 ATS in past 13 vs. ranked opponents and the pressure to stay perfect is off.  An opportunistic shutterbug got a pic of Meyer drowning his post-conference-championship-loss sorrows eating a slice of pizza in a golf-cart below Lucas Oil Stadium after the game. Vindy’s spies say the CU coaching staff already requested entire pies and buckets of Titleist balls be delivered during the Buckeyes’ pre-game locker room speech! ...Ohio State 34 Tigers 24

AT&T COTTON (@ Arlington, TX)
#9 Missouri - #13 Oklahoma State (PK) “over” 62: Again, we’ll make an official call on the total instead of choosing a side. Tigers hit the board for 39 ppg and five of their six tilts outside Columbia ended up above this number. Cowpokes average almost 40 points per contest, while permitting give up just 20 ppg, but faced only one team with this kinda’ firepower (Baylor). A Cowboys’ cheerleader got heat for putting out a foot in a tripping-motion as a rival Sooners player enjoyed his victory-securing score in the end zone. Woody Hayes woulda’ been proud, but somebody please tell the kid that “OSU” in Stillwater stands for Oklahoma State, not Ohio State! The Lindy’s Sports 2012 college football preview mag noted Mizzou had won 19 of 28 (with one tie) vs. SEC squads (with sub-.500 records vs. only Kentucky and Joja’). Same periodical quoted a student at LSU as saying Missouri, then-entering its first year in the SEC, would be akin to the conference’s “new Vanderbilt”. Wonder how the Commodores-faithful feel about that. A preponderance of this year’s bowls have finished “under” as we go to press, but because “bigger” is bettor… Missouri 41 OKSU 33

JAN. 4
BBVA COMPASS (@ Birmingham, AL)

Vanderbilt (-2 ½) – Houston “under” 53: Admirals’ starting QB Austyn Carta-Samuels had surgery for a torn ACL and will be out for this one. That’s a loss of almost 2300 pass yards and puts the game in the hands of sub-QB Robinette, who has 488 on the year. That leaves RB Jerron Seymour to step-up a running game that has been an afterthought at best to move the ball, though had he two more touchdowns rushing than Carta-Samuels had throwing. A new quarterback also portends turnovers. Houston’s a gaudy plus-25 in that area! On the Owl sideline, QB John O’Korn completes about 60% of his tosses and has excellent 26 TD-to-8 INT ratio. Commodores won 5 of last 6 coming in. Coogs, who score about 34 ppg., dropped 3 of last 4, suffering the wrong end of tough low-scoring affairs at UCF, at Louisville and to Cincinnati before SMU laid a goose-egg in the finale. All four finished below this number. In addition, the FG game has been a misadventure for both sides …Houston 24 Vandy 21
JAN. 5

GoDADDY.COM (Mobile, AL)
Ball State (-8) over Arkansas State (64):  Another bowl that doesn’t heighten the crescendo leading up to the one that awards the one trophy to rule them all. Changed our initial pick here. Red Wolves hit the Shun Belt Conference championship trifecta this season, owning or sharing the conference title in each of the past three years. Third straight GoDaddy appearance for ASU, who also sees the third straight coach who got it here in the regular-season abandon it by kickoff. Red Wolves will take the field under former Tarheels OC Blake Anderson. UNC posted 32 ppg, in 2013, but gotta’ figure these ain’t ACC-caliber athletes and they’re playing under a new system. Third-year coach Pete Lembo has his Cardinals 8-3 ATS and 10-2 SU. If Da’ Birds ever figure out how to knock-off Northern Illinois (0-5 last five years), they could improve the venue of their post-season outings. Senior QB Keith Wenning leads a pass-heavy offense that saw 40 ppg and hopes to change BSU’s bowl results…0-5 since 1993. Red Wolves offense won’t be able to keep up despite more equality in play options…Redbirds 38 ASU 17

JAN. 6

#2 Auburn (+8 ½) over #1 Florida State (66 ½): UPSET PICK OF DA’ BOWLS #4. Seminoles comprise this season’s juggernaut, but a look at the schedule doesn’t really warrant this many points. FSU’s opponents ultimately went 71-74 (prior to any bowl games), while Auburn’s slate finished 88-57 (even factoring in Auburn’s lone defeat by 9-3 LSU, Tigers still beat a combined 77-54). Tigers won against three teams that will play on or after New Year’s Day (actually 4, but the other is GoDaddy.Com bowler Arkansas State). Only Clemson plays in January after being part of the ‘Noles line-up. True, Auburn’s on borrowed time, but they wore the rabbit’s foot en route to 2010 National Championship too and every time we write off Gus Malzahn and his War Eagle, we pay the price. Gus (also the nickname of our tank-crew’s “loader” during a stretch of our armor-battalion tenure in Germany some 30 years ago) was Auburn’s OC for that campaign. Tribe’s best victory came vs. Clemson, who took itself outta’ the game early with miscues. Both teams made money for bettors…Auburn at 10-2 ATS, State at 10-1-1 (by our numbers). Eleven teams have taken the previous fifteen BCS titles. Tribe’s won and covered bowls in each of the last seasons, only by less than double-digits. Make it 12 of 16? Not! Noles’ QB Jameis Winston will turn 20 years old the same day he takes the field here. Nice birthday gift if he can pull it off, but in the final “Booty-Call Series” championship game, it’s…Auburn 39 FSU 34

ESPN ranked the Rebels-Mean Green match-up as the worst among the 35 bowl games. In all honesty, we’d have a bit more interest in UNLV’s post-season contest if it featured one of our celeb-crushes and was called the Melissa Joan-Hart of Dallas Bowl.
BTW, UNLV, as the result of this year’s post-season expenses, actually expects to incur a financial loss of as much as $200K…or what Vindy considers “a couple of poorly-planned parlay bets!”

In mid-December, Crimson Tide officials sold their souls to the devil…er…um…Nick Saban…again, signing him to a multi-year contract. We think he was Max Von Sydow’s understudy in Stephen King’s “Needful Things”? The Devil Wears a Headset? Close Encounters of the Third Kind was of course filmed at Saban’s Tower in Wyoming. Saban with the Blue Dress On? Found in every SEC school library outside Tuscaloosa….”Nick Saban and Daniel Webster”?! On the stadium operator’s play-list….Van Halen’s “Runnin’ With Nick Saban”???!!  Anybody remember the Rolling Stone’ “Sympathy for Nick Saban”?!  Fer fans of “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “Army of Darkness”… ”Klaaatuu… verata…(cough) Nick Saban!” And yet-another reference from Rocky Horror Picture Show- “We’ll you got…caught with a *flat*…well…how ‘bout *that*?…Well, babies, don’t you panic! …By the light of the night, it’ll all seem alright…I’ll get you…a Sabanic-..mechanic.”
Jadeveon Clowney was stopped in December for the second time in three weeks for speeding. Reportedly, those who cop to exceeding the limit by 25 mph or more get six points. Maybe the Gamecocks defender thought he’d be credited with a touchdown???!!! Clowney was caught on dash-cam telling the officer “I’m late”. What the Carolina player was doing with a pregnancy-test is still a mystery!

Fed up last May with prez Gordon Gee’s ongoing history of controversial comments, OSU officials finally told the old man to keep his thoughts to himself…or simply-put… to “Shut the Buckeye up!” (Gee subsequently announced his retirement).
Not long after blowing multiple attempts to put threes on the scoreboard in Tide’s loss at Auburn, ‘Bama kicker Cade Foster received a letter of support from George Dubya Bush. The handwritten correspondence read the following…”There’s an old saying in Alabama…I know it’s in Texas…probably in AlabamaMiss da’ kick once, shame on you. Miss da’ kick twice, shame on…uh…you can’t get field-goaled again!”

Jesse Palmer performed the Heimlich Maneuver on Chris Fowler to dislodge a piece of chicken sandwich from Fowler’s throat during halftime of the Pinstripe Bowl. Occasionally, “coughing it up” can be a good thing!
Alright, movie-geeks…repeat after us…”Buhl-uh?... Buhl-uh?... Buhl-uh?!”

Stat That Makes Ya’ Go “Huh???!!!”: Florida State is #2 in passing yardage defense, behind only….Florida Atlantic???!!!
Trying to beat the extended deadline for acquiring mandatory health insurance, thousands of Americans logged-on to earlier this month. The bad news? The majority were unable to sign-up. The good news?…nearly all of ‘em were re-routed to…Vindy’s Picks!

Shortly after Christmas, Miley Cyrus helped open the current-run of “Beacher’s Madhouse” in Vegas, known for its use of little people in its shows, and was joined by a mini-Miley. Vindy’s spies say the former Hannah Montana’s companion “came in like a beer-pong ball!” (That’s our last “Wreckin’ Ball” reference for the season…we promise!)
Finally, a couple in Anadalusia, Alabammy named their newborn “Krimson Tyde” Steele, settin’ up said-daughter for an avalanche of teasing by her peers outside of Tuscaloosa. Mighta’ been worse though…she coulda’ got the moniker “Krypton Mannov” Steele!

Black Shirt: We embroidered the official Vindy’s Picks logo on this week’s ebony tee for Utah State safety Brian Suite who recovered a pair of Jordan Lynch turnovers to help USU knock-off Northern Illinois as predicted and staunch the bleeding after Vin opened the bowl year 0-fer-7!
Vindy’s Bowl Best Bets Part III:       

North Texas -6 ½ over Unlv, South Carolina +1 over Wisconsin, South Carolina-Wisconsin “under” 51, Ohio State -3 over Clemson
As we warn 2013 to not let the door hit it in the ass on its way out, we ask our loyal readership to tune in one more time a few days after completion of the National Championship for our bowl recap and leftover “hash”!


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