Friday, December 20, 2013

Vindy's 2013 Bowl Predictions Part I


As employment of drones shifts from military to commercial purposes, Governor Brian Sandoval has the Silver State established as a research-site for use in the sports-arena. Nevada-Reno, UNLV and Vegas high-school powerhouse Bishop Gorman will all try out drones in an officiating capacity during their games next season. The plan allows referees, back-judges and other officials to view the field via the airborne vessels while also maintaining a safe distance from the playing field. NCAA and Nevada high school sports administrators are excited about the opportunity, but do admit difficulties in training officiating crews to operate and fly the unmanned vehicles, noting a few unfortunate incidents involving collisions with the uprights during field-goal attempts and extra-point tries, in addition to one unsuccessful effort by a side-judge to get his assigned drone to retrieve an order of nachos from the concession-stand during a TV time-out!

Navy never trailed vs. Army in snowy Philadelphia, but didn’t secure the cover until late 4th Quarter before tacking on one more TD in the closing minute, improving our season record to 127-113-4 (.529). In related news, the NSA and other worldwide agencies reportedly have the capability to bust any given cellphone encryption, but they’ll never break our Captain Marvel secret-decoder ring version of…

(Stockpiling “indisputable video surveillance evidence” as we speak!)

DEC. 21
GILDAN NEW MEXICO (@ Albuquerque, NM) (over/under in parentheses)
Washington State (-4 ½) vs. Colorado State (66): LOCK OF DA’ BOWLS.
Coogs covered 9 of 11 in FBS competition (though just three times as chalk) behind a huge passing game (nearly 4200 aerial yards for starting QB Connor Halliday alone and #4 nationally as a team). Rams are balanced on offense, but only 7 teams yielded more passing yards than CSU and only three of their wins suggest a big-enough lead was secured early enough for opponents to give-up on the run. Second-year coach Mike Leach’s Air-Raid offense has da’ Cougars bowlin’ for first time since 2003. Also-sophomore-coach Jim McElwain has taken CSU to their first post-season op since 2008, despite 7 tilts away from the friendly-confines, and toward their first 8-or-more victory campaign since Rams recorded 10-4 in 2002. We don’t normally make ourselves lock-vulnerable this early in the bowl-season, much-less right from da’ git-go, but…Cougars 44 Rams 27

#21 Fresno State (+6) over Southern Cal (62): UPSET PICK OF DA’ BOWLS #1.
We wonder if the Bulldogs have taken solace in knowing that Northern Illinois didn’t get a BCS bowl either. Troy can’t be too disappointed to be here after the tumultuous season that has them taking the field under their third coach in nine games (with Steve Sarkisian’s reign yet-to-come). USC won 9 of 13 outright, but was a coin-toss ATS. We salute the Trojans for being one of the few teams that did not face at least one AA-squad. They’ve lost 5 of previous 6 vs. the Top 25, surprising Stanford but faltering badly vs. rival Bruins. Fresno’s covered 3 of last 4 after horrible 1-6 ATS start and have just the one ugly defeat that kept them from a much bigger bowl. That said, we note FSU’s only BCS conference foe this season was Rutgers, whom it beat 52-51 in OT to begin the 2013 campaign. Senior QB Derek Carr would like to finish his NCAA career with a good showing, but State’s been schooled by SMU and NIU in its previous pair of post-season outings. Both teams will draw fans to Sin City from destinations not far-away, but think of the seats they’d fill if this venue was the… Royal “Purple Drank” Bowl Presented by Jolly Rancher! Best guess for “wish I had it back”, but covering-underdogs tend to win a bunch of bowls SU…Fresno 38 USC 34

Buffalo (-1) over San Diego State (53):
Buffaloed by turnovers the past four seasons, the Bulls, who put da’ kibosh on Northern Illinois’ shot at BCS-buster, have gotten the breaks they needed and enter this game at +16! Confirming that statistical-turnaround is a defense ranked #27 nationally and 2nd in da’ MAC Conference, yielding about 22 ppg (including 40 by the Buckeyes and…GASP!...70…by Baylor) and limiting opponents to less than 73% success in the red zone. Offensively, Bulls showcase RB Brandon Oliver, with over 1400 rushing yards and QB Joe Licata, with more than 2600 pass yards and a 21-7 pass TD-to-INT ratio. The lone standout for the Aztecs, who lost their season-opener to FCS Eastern Illinois 40-19 (Panthers did enter Championship Division playoffs as the #2 seed with 12-1 SU record, losing only at Northern Illinois by 4, but fell in the quarter-finals to #7 Towson) and could’ve de-railed UNLV’s bowl-journey to end the regular-season, but lost by 26, is RB Adam Muema, who eclipsed 1000 ground yards and accounted for 12 scores. The knock on Buffalo is the FG-unit, which produced only a dozen threes in 19 tries…Bulls 27 Sudzu 17

TULANE (-2) over Louisiana-Lafayette (49):
Green Wave will host this one on its homefield. Cajuns shared the Stun Belt title with Arkansas State, but stagger in here off back-to-back losses…to Weeziana- Monroe and South Alabama (in poor, turnover-prone outing leading to 30-8 defeat). UL-Laugh-at-us tore-up tickets regularly, going lousy 3-8 ATS in I-A competition and yielded 30 or more to 7 opponents. Nonetheless, conference commish Karl Benson proudly proclaimed the Sun Belt went 6-1 outright in 2013 vs. teams from C-USA, Mountain Jest and Big MAC conferences. Tulane put just two games in the dubya-column last year, but conversely has rewarded backers to tune of 8-2 (7-0 run) and will try to exact some revenge for 2012’s 41-13 drubbing. Wave lost by 4 at C-USA champion Rice in latest 1-3 SU skid and is cashing tickets with a stout-D (#19 nationally) because the offense ranks in the 90’s, ahead of just 4 bowlers in passing and just 6 bowlers in rushing yards. It’s been noted that the past eight Nawlins Bowls have finished above the total. Lafayette lit the lamp for an average of 39 ppg (ignoring 14 point tally in opener at Arkansas and 70 vs. AA Nicholls State the following week) prior to aforementioned game vs. USA Jaguars. Using Benson’s comments as bulletin-board material, we see the win and cover going to…Tulane 34 UL-That French Guy 24

DEC. 23
Ohio (+13 ½) over East Carolina (61 ½):
Bobblecats will need a big day from sack-leader freshman Tarell Basham (6.5 sacks) vs. QB Tyler Tettleton, who leads a pass-first offense for da’ Buccos. ECU averages 40+ points per game, and despite a November power-outage that saw just 16 points in a bad three-game loss-sequence at Buffalo, at Bowling Green and vs. Kent State, OU still hit the board for 28 per contest. Both feature experienced backfields and neither will beat itself via penalties or turnovers. Both sides limit opponent-scoring, but we lean toward a slight “over”. ECU was rolling until losing by 31 vs. conference-runner-up Marshall. ‘Cats beat the Herd at home 34-31. Keep calm and Carolina-on, but…Arrrrrgh 34 Bobblecats 30

DEC. 24
Boise State (+2 ½) over Oregon State (65):
We’d rather just watch this one than pick it, in fact you’ll see the “over” noted as one of our best bets. Broncos went “mere” 8-4 SU with just 9 total returning starters, including opening 38-6 loss at UDUB. Perhaps that game was a harbinger of Chris Petersen’s recent departure, following 7 straight years of double-digit win-seasons. Broncos have won four consecutive post-season outings, covering 3 and are in good hands with either Joe Southwick or capable back-up Grant Heddick. Beavers enter this one on the back of a tow-truck, having lost five straight games to close the year. QB Sean Mannion leads pass-heavy offense with over 4400 yards and own Biletnikoff Award-winning WR Brandin Cooks, but tossed 11 picks in the aforementioned demise. Beavers also allow almost 200 ground yards/game and BSU runs for almost 5 ypc and 32 scores. ORSU succeeded in the red zone only 78% of the time and BSU is one of the least penalized teams in the country…Boise State 41 Oregon State 34

DEC 26
Bowling Green (-5) over Pittsburgh (51):
Panthers were expected to accomplish little in inaugural year of their new conference…and did. Despite a few scattered losses, Falcons kept Northern Illinois from a big-money bowl and while young on offense/experienced on the stop-squad, BeeGees’ 19 returning starters continued to reward bettors, beating the line in nine of a dozen attempts in I-A competition (15-4 ATS the past two seasons). MO belongs to BGU, on 5-0/5-0 run since 3-point home loss to Toledo and they’ll revel in banging a floundering team from an AQ conference. “Under” is the first choice here as Bowlin’ Green comes in at #6 nationally in scoring D, giving up less than 15 ppg (an accomplishment of note given high-scoring MAC)…Birds 24 Pitt 7

Utah State (+1 ½) over #24 Northern Illinois (57 ½):
Huskies were seriously looking for fans to throw somethin’ other than pizza-crusts on the field following MAC Championship and expected better bowl SWAG than free extra-toppings on their post-bowl slices! Quoting Robin Thicke’s hit Blurred Lines …it always works for meeeeee…DeKalb down to Decatur”. USU has more to prove, though engaged sloppy Fresno State in a defensive battle. We could easily see USU luring NIU into a similar web unless dual-threat QB Jordan Lynch wants to improve his draft-status here, but he’ll have a couple of Blue-Grey/East-West bowls to impress NFL scouts. Sled Dogs, in sixth straight post-season appearance, have won just two of last five bowl chances...Utah State 27 Northern Illinois 24

DEC 27
Marshall (-2 ½) over Maryland (61 ½):
Second choice for “lock”. Terps, who were inconsistent all season, don’t have the physical running game that Rice used to upset Herd in the CUSA title match. Marshall fields a QB with over 3500 pass yards, who’s just a junior and played in all 13 games, as well as a RB with 1000- yards and a WR over 100 yards. Collectively, the two teams allow about 48 ppg total, so we’d lean a bit toward an “under”. Turtles QB CJ Brown threw for over 200 yards but shows middlin’ 11 TD-to-6 INT ratio and is also the team’s second-leading rusher. Maryland’s playing in an in-state venue, but we don’t anticipate much of a partisan-crowd advantage, given 7-5 SU record and 5th-place finish in its division. Herd gets redemption for conference- championship failure by belting an ACC also-ran…Herd 31 Terrapins 20

TEXAS (@ Houston, TX)
Minnesota (-4 ½) over Syracuse (47):
Gophers have seemingly drawn strength from ill-stricken coach Jerry Kill en route to solid 8-4 SU season (4-4 in the Big Tentacle Conference), including a healthy four-game mid-season win-streak. Gilded Gerbils have also been kind to betting-supporters, beating the number 9 times in 11 tries vs. the I-A schedule. On the downside, Minny scored a total 10 points over final pair of regular-season games in losses to Wisconsin and conference-champion Michigan State. They do however take on a Syracuse team that posted its best victory in 34-31 home win over Boston College to get eligible for the post-season, but struggled behind a new offense, scoring less than 16 ppg in ACC play. Minnesota went 4-0 ATS this year as the favorite…Gophers 24 Orange Peels 12

FIGHT HUNGER (@ San Francisco, CA)
Brigham Young-Washington (-3) “under” 60:
Sorry, Sportsfans! We just can't commit to a side, so we’ll rest our helmets on a total. After winning four consecutive games, Sled Dogs have gone 3-4 (1-5-1 ATS in that slide). Mormons have won and covered four straight post-season trips, twice as underdogs. Huskies boast senior QB Keith Price and junior RB Bishop Sankey in the backfield, showing excellent 24-7 pass-TD to-INT ratio and 243 rush yards per tilt. But UDUB hasn’t faced a really-good D. While putting up more than 31 ppg itself behind great rushing offense (almost 3300 total, average of 275 per game), defense is BYU’s calling card, allowing just 9 rushing scores to-date and 18 passing scores, while snaring 12 picks…Washington 24 BYU 21


BTW, officials will no longer blow whistles to stop play, but rather will launch Hellfire missiles onto the gridiron, leading coaches to instruct their athletes to “play to the sound of the explosion!” And with the press of a button, the drones will drop penalty flags from high above the stadium, creating yet-another hazard for players, coaches and fans below!

Somehow, we neglected to include these in our Army-Navy prediction, so…Army…“It’s all about the Private Benjamins!” and…

This past summer, former Iraq War vet-turned-Arizona Cardinals-cheerleader, Megan Walter, was accused of opening up a can of whoop-ass on her boyfriend. We’re told the ex-2nd Lieutenant “Cable Platoon Leader”/still-U.S. Army reservist called-in an artillery-strike on her ex-beau’s residence, right after cancelling his access to pay-channels like HBO and Showtime!

Larry, Moe and Curly take-on the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future in “The Three Scrooges”!

Miley Cyrus was a featured artist at the iHeartRadio’s Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden on Friday, December 13. Did she come in “like a wreckin’ basketball”??!!! Robin Thicke also performed his hit “Blurred Lines”. Anybody else think this could be a prime music-video for hockey games…during mandatory reviews of all goals scored?… “I always wanted a good goallllllllll!”. “The way you touch me…must wanna’ get nasty…come on, get at me…(players fighting/dropping gloves)”. “Can’t let it get past me…” (Goalies making save…or not). “I feel so lucky…ya wanna’ puck me…what rhymes with puck me?!” “Baby, can ya Breeeeeathe (video of someone wearin’ a goalie-mask)?...I got this in Jamaica…It always works for meeeeee…Dearborne to Decatur…”

NCAA officiating crews who’ve had all they can stomach of the commercialization of the Christmas season will invoke a fictitious Seinfeld holiday and replace goal-posts and yard-markers with plain, undecorated aluminum Festivus poles!

Not really trying to be clever or humorous here…just us wondering aloud how Major League Baseball plans to reduce the chances of injuries due to home-plate collisions. We’d foresee either some line, etc., at which the base-runner would have to initiate a slide or be automatically called out (enforced by laser or time-machine portal?) or perhaps some NHL-like trapezoid, in which contact with the catcher is taboo and getting in the way of the runner beyond that perimeter instantly concedes a run-scored?

Black Shirt: We sent this week’s tee to the Quartermaster Corps to include some nice steam-pressed creases for Army DL Robert Kough for drawing one of three (count ‘em, three!) very-uncharacteristic personal-foul penalties for unnecessary-roughness, with Navy facing a 3rd-and-6, which extended the drive, resulting in a Middies touchdown, en route to the Ensigns’ eventual 34-7 win!

Vindy’s Bowl Best Bets Part I:
Last Week: 0-0 Season: 48-29-1 (.623)
Buffalo -1 over San Diego State, Oregon State-Boise State “over” 65 ½, Bowling Green-Pitt “under” 51, Marshall -2 ½ over Maryland

It’s da’ mossssssst wonderbowl tiiiiiime of…da’ yearrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!! To all our loyal readers, we extend the annual holiday greeting…”Pass on Earth. Goodwill toward linemen.” And “have yerself a Vindy little Christmas …!”

We’ll be back around December 27 with Part Deux of da’ bowl picks!

Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re gonna’ try to determine which of the gift-wrapped presents under our tree contains the highly-coveted bearded Duck Dynasty Barbie and da’ Big Hugs Elmo Chia-Pet, before poorly-decorating one of our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action-figures in an effort to win the local “ugly Shredder contest”! (Oh wait…!)

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