Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Vndy's Picks Week 2-2015

MANHATTAN, Kansas (UPI)…The performance didn’t quite go according to the triple X’s and O’s. Kansas State marching band director Frank Tracz offered up a mia culpa following a botched effort that was supposed to simply depict a Kansas Jayhawk mascot squaring-off vs. the USS Enterprise during halftime of the North Dakota game. The resulting formation turned out to be, as interpreted by at least some, a little too little “starship” and a bit too much quarterback’s “sack”! Trying to lighten the mood a bit, Tracz invoked Captain Kirk, quipping, “Scotty…I need a scoring-drive in 15 minutes or we’re all gonna’ die!”, leading one reporter to respond with, “I am now…and always shall be….your frenulum.”

Meanwhile, Vindy had a chance to record double-digit forecast wins, but the Buckeyes wouldn’t cooperate on Labor Day, firing a photon-torpedo into the hull of the picks,  leaving our narrator with an opening volley of 9-9 (.500).
Our humble host now heads to da’ sportsbook wearin’ his Eastern Illinois Jimmy Garoppolo jersey (autographed by fellow EIU Panthers alum artsy-craftsy Tony Romo), despite the imminent-presence of Tom Brady in Da’ Patriots backfield this coming Sunday, in an effort to keep movin’ da’ selfie-sticks with…

                                                     (Penalized for “running uninflated to the quarterback”!)

#24 UTAH (-13 ½) over Utah State: Da’ Aggies’ special teams/offense took a major hit when an All-Conference punt-returner/pass-catcher got kicked to da’ curb in the preseason for….yep…an “undisclosed rules-violation”. That loss became more-important when da’ Aggies needed (and got) a late-game punt-return for TD (despite the return of Senior QB Chuckie Keeton), along with the 2-pt return of a missed extra-point by the Thunderbirds to pull out a 12-9 win. Da’ Utes made it look easy on their game-openin’ drive vs. Michigan, but da’ Wolverines had little resistance on most of its offensive drives until three INTs took ‘em out. Da’ U played 7 games in 2014 in which the final margin was 6 (six of which were by 4 or less). Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com notes USU’s defeats have been by more than 7 just five times since 2011 and have beaten 3 of 5 Top 25 foes in the past 3 years…Utah 29 USU 13

Hawaii (+38) over #1 OHIO STATE: ‘Bows probably saved Norm Chow’s job for another few weeks with the upset of the visiting Buffaloes. Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com recommends wagering against the previous season’s national title-holders off a straight-up victory and playing out-of-conference, especially if laying 6 or better and UH hasn’t lost by this many since mid-2012. If this one goes bad, we’re throwin’ Mr. Lawrence under da’ bus… Buckeyes 44 Islanders 14

#2 ALABAMA (-34 ½) over Middle Tennessee State: ‘Bama returns just three starters on offense but used a balanced attack to eventually pull away from Wisconsin in the second-half. Defense is still the calling card though, allowing just 17 points to the Badgers. Blue Raiders haven’t played a Top 25 opponent since a 45-3 loss in mid-2012 to Mississippi State. That said, ‘Bama has not fared well ATS in non-conference games (last week notwithstanding), especially when laying this many and MTSU put up 70 on Jacksonville State to open the year. Over the summer, the EPA transferred its mobile radiation-monitoring laboratory from Sin City to Montgomery, Alabama, to which we respond…”Glow Tide!”…Red Elephants 37 Blue Raiders 0
Stephen F. Austin @ #3 TCU: No line.

Lamar @ #4 BAYLOR: No Line.
#5 MICHIGAN STATE (-3 ½) over #7 Oregon: Obviously, this week’s “Game of Da’ Week” and potentially, perhaps one of the season’s “Games of Da’ Year”. Ducks QB Vernon Adams was efficient enough throwing the ball while also helping the ground game roll up 485 against his former team. Not-So-Mean Green D did little to stop Eastern Washington until the 4th Quarter of the 61-42 win. This one also shapes up to be a high-scoring game with Spartans averaging 43 ppg last year and 5th-year senior QB Connor Cook being protected by 4 returning starters on the O-line. Mallards have been good facing ranked opposition, winning and covering 7 of their last 9. Oregon also accounted for 1 of 2 outright loses for State in 2014…MSU 40 Drakes 30

Jacksonville State @ #6 AUBURN: No line.
Idaho (+43) over #8 USC: Best guess for “Wish We Had It Back”. Tater-Heads have given up huge numbers to ranked opponents in the past three years (though faced no Top 25 squads last season). Inebriated and medicated (?) Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian was lambasted for spouting off at the mouth at a preseason alumni function and making disparaging remarks about fellow conference teams. Supporters say Coach was unable to finish his thought that “(those other teams)…they all suck….the life outta’ opposing defenses!” Others in Coach’s corner suggest he was praising rival pass-rushers and meant to say “they sack!”…USC 49 Idaho 9

#9 Notre Dame (-10 ½) over VIRGINIA: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Apparently, the linesmakers weren’t moved by Notre Dame’s 35-point win over Texas. Irish are on 2-5 road-fave skid the last two seasons. Leprechauns, while improving scoring from 26 ppg to 33 ppg over the last three years have also been more generous, going from 12.8 points-allowed in 2012 to 29.2 points-allowed in 2014 (…though coughed-up only 3 to Texas). Irish have covered just one of its last four vs. ACC teams, winning just one outright as well and closed 2014 regular season by absorbing 4 straight defeats before edging LSU in the Music City Bowl. Cavs improved nicely on offense and defense last year and went 3-0 getting points in Charlottesville, but return just five starters on each side of the ball…Our Lady 31 Cavs 13
#10 Georgia (-20) over VANDERBILT: Second choice fer “lock”. The good news in Week One for the Commodores? They held a team that scored an average of 44+ points per game last year to…14. The bad news??!! Vandy hit the board for 12 points against a team that allowed nearly 40 per game last year!...Joja’ 42 Admirals 10

South Florida (+27 ½) over #11 FLORIDA STATE: Okay…da’ Bulls saddled I-AA Florida A&M with 51 points last week, but to a team that averaged about 17 ppg in 2014, that has to be encouraging. ‘Noles did not cover a single non-ACC game last year, but Irish transfer Everett Golson got off to a nice start in his new digs, throwing for 300+ yards and four scores while getting plenty of support from his running backs. State visits Boston College next on a short-turnaround…FSU 31 USF 7
Appalachian State @ #12 CLEMSON (“Over 58 ½” ): Tigers 41 Mountaineers 27

UNLV (+28) over #13 Ucla: On paper, Bruins look dominant with 18 starters back from last year’s 10-win squad. In the Rebels’ favor, however, are the facts that UCLA also gave up 28 ppg to opponents and went just 1-3 ATS vs. non-12-PAC teams  last year, and failed to cover vs. Virginia [see our “Black Shirt” item below]) to christen 2015, leading us to quote Bruce Lee in Enter Da’ Dragon…”Clip-boards…don’t hit back.” The hometown heroes had even more problems guarding the red zone, handing over 38 ppg in 2014 and covering just 4 of its last 11 non-conference matches (including NIU, which also recorded 38 points) since the start of 2012! And…what’s the mindset of UNLV, which led for basically three quarters…over a team favored by more than three touchdowns… only to go down to defeat in the final stanza?!...UCLA 38 Rebels 13
#25 MISSISSIPPI STATE (+4) over #14 Louisiana State: If Oregon, who let FCS squad EDUB hit the scoreboard fer 42, turns out to be just a bunch of accessories in Ernie’s bathtub against Michigan State, this one becomes the most-intriguing match-up on the board. Bulldogs ended 2014 losing three of last four games, including bowl match-up with Joja’ Tech, but do welcome back QB Dak Prescott. Bengals played a truckload of true freshmen last year and went 0-3-1 ATS on the road. Outside Prescott not much returning and MSU cost us a “best bet” selection, failing to cover vs. Southern Mist…Bengals 16 Bulldogs 13

#15 GEORGIA TECH (-28 ½) over Tulane: Ramblin’ Wreck 41 Tulane 6
Ball State @ #16 TEXAS A&M (“Under 63”): Aggies 41 Ball State 14

#17 MISSISSIPPI (-28) over Fresno State: Ole Miss 45 Fresno 14
Toledo (+21 ½) over #18 Arkansas (@ Little Rock, AR): Pork Chops 38 Rocket Men 20

#19 Oklahoma @ #23 TENNESSEE (“Over 61”): Vols discovered a big ground game vs. Bowling Green, racking up almost 400 yards. That should come in handy this year vs. the Sooners, who held Rocky Top to 112 yards on 33 totes in last season’s 34-10 win. OK was favored in all four games it played last season vs. members of the Top 25…winning and covering…none of them. The line on this one is “pick ‘em”. We can’t decide either, so we’ll make a call on the total…Tennessee 37 Oklahoma 34
BYU (+2 ½) over #20 Boise State: BYU 23 Broncos 20

#21 Missouri (-11 ½) over ARKANSAS STATE: Tigers 31 Red Wolves 17
NEVADA (+11 ½) over #22 Arizona: UPSET ALERT. Wildcats lost every statistical category vs. UTSA except turnovers and needed two defensive scores to pull out the win. Dr. Saturday reported AZ coach Rich Rodriguez didn’t talk to freshman QB Anu Soloman for two weeks after Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise State. After the mere 10-point shootout victory vs. Texas-San Antonio that cost us a Week One forecast-victory, we ain’t talkin’ to Soloman either…or RichRod for that matter…AZ 28 Reno 24

BTW, we were definitely-amused by a piece of satire published by SB Nation from that involved the K-State Wildcats being dismissed from the conference! Check it out.

This season, the Fightin’ Irish will be the focus of a documentary akin to “Hard Knocks”. We think that’s appropriate given that “Knocks” is a composite of Knute Rockne’s!!!!
“Hooray for Da’ “Little Guy” Part II…in match-ups of FBS vs. ranked-FCS teams this week, we again offer our predictions on upsets that are most-likely, fitty-fitty and won’t happen. Most-Likely: #21 Indiana State @ PURDUE; Fitty-fitty:  #19 Eastern Kentucky @ NC STATE; Won’t: #6 Jacksonville State @ #6 AUBURN and  #13 Liberty @ WEST VIRGINIA. Last week, South Dakota State beat Kansas and Fordham downed Army. Villanova got within 5 of UConn and Y-Town State finished 8 points behind Pitt. Other notable FCS wins over FBS teams include Portland State over Wazzou and North Dakota over Wyoming. Southern Illinois just missed toppling Indiana, falling 48-47.

Piggy-backin’ on our thoughts in Week One about a certain piece in Popular Mechanics (as opposed to Poplar Mechanics, which provides articles about fixing trees…but enough about Stanford and Indiana State!), Vindy’s spies report several bakeries in the Salt Lake City area provided free boxes of cupcakes to Utes-faithful to be lobbed at the Michigan sideline, even at the risk of drawing a flag for un-Mormon-like conduct!
Speakin’ of Pigs, we thank Arkansas for not only bringin’ in a forecast-win, going over the total, but also for ending the game with an exact score of 48-13 over UTEP, as we predicted!

Per Gaming Today contributor Chris Andrews back in May, sleepers this year (based on poor performance last season and returning starters for 2015) include San Jose State, Purdue, FIU and Akron. We liked Purdue and Akron. San Josie and Florida International? Not so much! Spartans crushed FCS #7 New Hampshire (…be afraid UNLV fans!). The Panthers upset Central Florida. The Zips got smoked at Oklahoma (though conference-play looms) and the Boilermakers failed to cover in a 10-point loss to Marshall.
The Alma Mater gave up ten (count ‘em, TEN!) sacks to Temple in the 27-10 loss! Protecting the quarterback was a major issue for Penn State last year too. We didn’t see the game, so we aren’t sure if the problem lies with the O-line or with Christian Hackenberg  or both. In July, in order to provide an ongoing spark under his offense, James Franklin implored the conference media to publish some seriously-unkind things about the O-Line! We think Coach won’t need to prod the media much to get that that article now. In fact, wouldn’t be shocked to see a scathing op-ed piece in the local paper scribed by Franklin himself!

ESPN’s Adam Schefter suggested he knew an NFL punter or long-snapper that carried a paper-clip to deflate footballs on a few occasions. In response, paperclip sales have been banned by the league in any city hosting an pro football team. Manufacturers have countered by making clips too big to fit in the air-holes of a standard-pigskin and attached labels reading “NFL-approved”!
Judge Richard M. Berman, lesser-known brother to Chris Berman, overturned Tom Brady’s suspension last week, settin’ da’ quarterback, back, back, back, back…free to play vs. the Steelers this Sunday!

NBC News anchor Brian Williams recently recanted his story about grabbing the pick in the end zone against Russell Wilson to give the Super Bowl 49 victory to the New England Patriots!
“Wish We Had That One Back”: Yep, we called it…and went against the little voices in our head anyway, choosing Arizona to cover 32 vs. UTSA.

“Locked in a Box?”:  Our selection of the ASU Spun Devils last week was an epic fail and begins the “lock” record at 0-1 (.000).      
Black Shirt (awarded to the team or player(s) whose performance or “performance” grabs us a forecast dubya!): This season’s inaugural ebony tee goes to…Beyonce…because Kanye West believes she deserves it over…Virginia RB Taquan Mitchell, who had 100 receiving yards, including a TD-catch with less than 3:30 to play that allowed the Cavs to cover and bring in a dubya for Vindy! Honorable mention to Western Michigan CB Darius Phillips for a 100-yard kickoff return for a score vs. Michigan State.

Shoppe Talk: Da’ Boomer Shroomers of Oklahoma (0-1, .000) become the first inhabitants of Ye Olde Taxidermy Shoppe of the 2015 campaign , having beaten your fab forecaster now 12 times in the last 16 tries (.250)!
Vindy’s Week 2 Best Bets:  UCONN -7 ½ over Army, Minnesota -6 over COLORADO STATE, Eastern Michigan +13 ½ over WYOMING, San Jose State +7 ½ over AIR FORCE  Last Week: 2-2 (.500) (BTW, we were smart enough to parlay the two winning best bets, Temple +7 and NC State -26, to cash a ticket!)

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