Thursday, December 17, 2015

Vindy's Picks 2015-16 Bowl Predictions Part I


EL SEGUNDO, California (AP)…Despite demands on Mattel to have a two-way conversational doll, advocates implored the toymaker to throw in the towel on plans for this holiday season’s “Hello Barbie”. Those warnings went ignored and recently, it was voted the Worst Toy of 2015. The doll, long a staple of popular culture, encompasses artificial intelligence and speech-recognition software to “talk” with kids and send recordings of the conversations to the Cloud, keeping them for up to two years. Eavesdropping officials can analyze and tweak responses based on those verbal interactions. Seeing yet-another method of marketing, sports-handicapping outfits, individual touts and even sportsbook-directors in Sin City have gone all-in on the toy, buying access to the data and creating appropriate comebacks, on top of the 8000 originally-developed ones, that encourage kids to get one or both of their parents to drop a few dollars on sports wagers! One anonymous bookie said he envisioned exchanges going something like…Child: “Barbie, do you like to play with teddy bears?” Barbie: “I love da’ Bears…plus 7! I think your Daddy does too! You should tell him to call me at 1-888-BET-HERE and give us some money to prove to you just how much he likes Bears!”  
Havin’ correctly called Army’s cover vs. Navy last Saturday, we’re hopin’ to be rescued from the I-formation of Misfit Toys by…
(Still undergoing NFL concussion-protocol in the wake of the Championship Week disaster!)
DEC. 19

NEW MEXICO (+9) over Arizona: Motivational angles favor the Lobos. 4th–year coach Bob Davie’s charges play beyond the regular-season for first time since 2007, also first time since that year New Mexico has tallied more than 4 SU wins. Davie can now build on that momentum. Across da’ field, 6-6 ‘Cats battled Boise State in the Fiesta this time last year and get little joy opening the season’s bowl-parade, showing only a victory over then-ranked Utes as lone triumph in last six games.  A loss here would not only result in an extended cold-shoulder for QB Anu Solomon by Coach RichRod, it would likely result in the need for said-QB’s transfer to Northern Arizona or some other nearby I-AA institution, but…Arizona 34 Lobos 31

Brigham Young (+3) over Utah: Initial reports alleged neither team wanted this match-up and reportedly, da’ Coogs-backers hoped for the Hawaii Bowl because the hoops-team was on the hardwood in the Islands for a tourney coinciding with the gridiron contest.  But days-later, the bowl committee scored the coup. With both sides’ excellent travelling fan bases, the real winner here is any given casino’s hotel reservations desk! Sadly, other factions of the community will see nary a penny dropped in a machine or at the bar! Both squads finished 9-3 SU. BYU’s best victory mighta’ been 33-28 at now 5-7-but-bowling Nebraska. Utes breezed along to start the year, but lost QB Travis Wilson and suffered 18-point defeat at USC, then later edged Colorado by 6 in late November. In another edition of Da’ Holy War, we like…Utah 17 BYU 16

Appalachian State (-7 ½) over Ohio: Mountaineers 41 Bobblecats 29

Georgia State (+3) over San Jose State: Takin’ the Spartans, who were expected to be better this year and are one of the hat-trick-worth of 5-7 squads playing in the post-season, would be just too easy.  San Josie wasn’t horrible in non-conference play, losing by 14 each to Oregon State and Auburn, while absorbing a mere one-point defeat to BYU, but put four of final six-pack in the “L”-column and covered just 2 of 6 away from home. Panthers on the other hand, turned out to be quite the pleasant surprise, snagging a bowl-berth just a year removed from a dismal 1-11 FBS debut that saw State concede 43 ppg. Initially, it looked like “Here we go again”, with Joja’ State giving Charlotte its lone-FBS victory and falling to I-AA Liberty. But GSU ended on a four-game SU win streak, including stunning road-upset of Joja’ Sudden…by 27 points! Panthers covered 9 of 11 overall and the scoring-defense was reasonable (48 at Arkansas State notwithstanding). Why, you ask, are we even offering coverage/analysis/breakdown of this contest? Because Washington Post writer Patrick Stevens, in ranking the TV-watchin’-worthiness of each post-season melee, had the Automated Curad Bowl dead-last among the forty tussles. Somebody’s got give a little recognition to the clubs-in-question. Yer welcome!…GSU 31 SJSU 27

Louisiana Tech (-2 ½) over Arkansas State: Bulldogs 48 Arkansas State 37

DEC. 21

South Florida (+3) over Western Kentucky: Bulls looked doomed again, following two seasons and a total of six SU wins under a new coach, then beginning 2015 at 1-3, but took 7 of the final 8, including a beat-down of then-ranked Temple. ‘Toppers’ only defeats came at Indiana and at LSU. We think former-Hilltoppers coach Willie Taggart, now on the South Florida sidelines, will have some thoughts on how to slow-down prolific Western KY QB Brandon Doughty, who’s thrown an average of more than three scoring tosses per game…USF 28 WKY 27
DEC. 22

Akron (+6 ½) over Utah State: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. Aggies won just a single game away from Logan, beating a poor Fresno State club and covered just 2 of the 6 games-in-question, losing QB Chuckie Keeton to early-season injuries…again. Despite Kent Myers 14-3 passing TD-to-pick ratio, State won only six games while losing an equal number. Zips ended last season 1-5 SU/ATS slide, but come in here having won four consecutive games. Outside allowing 41 at Oklahoma and 59 at Bowling Green, the Akron scoring-D has been good. Zips in first postseason since 2005 and should be primed to hang with Aggies, whose 12-9 opening victory over FCS Southern Utah was an apparent omen of the overall 2015 campaign…Akron 27 Utah State 24

Temple (-1) over Toledo: Temple’s proven themselves, without a doubt, a season after being bowl-eligible but getting zero invites. With a 10-win campaign already in-hand, we think Philly Fowl send a clear message that 2014 snub was in error…Owls 24 Rockettes 20

DEC. 23

Northern Illinois (+8) over Boise State: Broncos appear to be still gettin’ lines-maker-love based on achievements of yore, despite falling outright in 3 of last 5 contests entering the postseason, including losses on the blue-field to New Mexico and Air Force. BSU’s won 2 of last 3 year’s bowls, but covered just one and probably ain’t crushed to see a non-PAC 12 opponent on the other side of the field. Huskies outlasted 3-win UNLV 38-30 and lost final two games to Western Michigan and da’ Bee Gees in MAC title match, but we like their road-upset of then-ranked Toledo and September near-miss at da’ Shoe more than we like State’s 16-13 season-opening win at home vs. UDUB, which seems so far ago now…NIU 31 Boise State 28

Bowling Green vs. Georgia Southern (“over” 66): Falcons 44 Joja’ Sudden 34
DEC. 24

Western Michigan (-3) over Middle Tennessee State: Broncos 37 MTSU 27

HAWAII BOWL (@ Honolulu, HI)
Cincinnati (PK) over San Diego State: Tough backin’ a Bearkats team that seemingly lost a game every other week because…well…they did! Cincy did not suffer back-to-back defeats this season, but managed consecutive wins just once…at home vs. UConn (who played better as the season progressed) and Central Florida (who apparently quit right from the git-go). Mountain Jest champion Aztecs played extremely-well on D in conference, allowing more than 14 points just twice (17 at Colorado State and 24 vs. the Flight Platoon in the MWC championship game). SDSU did, however, lose all three FBS non-conference games, forking-over an average of better than 35 ppg. UC faced stiffer competition week-in and week-out as part of the AAC, yielding 33 or more in 7 games, so we also considered “over 58” here…Bearkats  34 SDSU 30

BTW, for the Rocky Horror fans out there, Vindy tried out one of the cutting-edge dolls, asking, “Barbie…who do you think will win da’ National Title?”. The doll eerily-responded, “I see you shiver with antici---pation.” And for the regular horror-genre fans, we say, “Hi! My name’s Barbie…and I’ll beat your Ken to the end! Heidi-ho!”

As has been pointed out by a local sports-writer, victor in the Las Vegas Bowl gets the distinction of being first four-time winner at the venue. We’re not entirely sure that’s something to be proud of, but…
“Then he slunk to da’ sportsbook. He took parlay cards. He deleted Who-wagers, then slipped past da’ guards. He took all da’ book’s jerseys…and souvenir pucks. Why, that Vin even drank…the last cup of Starbucks!” Then what happened next…at the sportsbook they say…was that Vindy’s small heart…grew three point-spreads that day.

Cindy-Lou-Hoo Dat’ say dey gonna’ beat dem’ Saints???!!!
The Middies donned special helmets featuring hand-painted depictions of famous naval vessels and submarines. Vindy has commissioned that same artist to create similar headgear featuring da’ USS Minnow and da’ Titanic!

In early 2015, BYU issued its first guidelines on when students may grow beards without violating its rule that students must be clean-shaven. Allowable: medical conditions, religious cases (Sikh and Muslim), theatrical production requests from the Church of Jesus Christ LDS media & drama departments…oh…and if the Cougars make the NHL Playoffs…until they win the Stanley Cup or are eliminated, whichever comes first! (Which also led us to contemplate the outcome if bubble-gum [in da’ facial-hair] met a certain motto…met a famous trading-card company…”Fleer da’ Beard”?!)
Bizarre random thoughts…”Diesel a fuel of my fa-vor-ite things!” And…Tinsel Me, Elmo?!

If a player hits another player on the posterior side of the body with a Lego piece from behind, is it an “Illegal building-block to da’ back”???!!!
There are forty (count ‘em, forty!) bowls this season and three feature teams with losing records (5-7), while yet-another paired two clubs from the Mountain Jest Conference! Let’s hear it for the “These Two Teams Weren’t As Bad As Their Records Suggest Bowl”!!!! Or for the folks in the readership who remember the TV series-in-question…the Maxwell Smart “Missed Postseason-Eligibility By That Much…But We Did Really Well Academically” Bowl!

Black Shirt: Again, we’re sharing the coveted-cloth this week, awarding it to Army WR Edgar Poe for the fitty-yard punt-return setting up a FG on Army’s first possession. Honorable mention to Keydets freshman QB Chris Carter for converting several third-down passes and to Sailors’ DE Amos Mason for drawing an “illegal hands to da’ Face(book?)” flag that furthered Army’s second possession, resulting in a touchdown!
Bowls Part I Best Bets: Last Week: 0-0   Season: 41-34-1 (.546)

Weeziana Tech-Arkansas State “over” 66
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 Christmas Day with Part II!









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