Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Vindy's Picks 2016 Championship Week


LAS VEGAS, Nevada (REUTERS)…Less than 48 hours following revelation of the nickname for Sin City’s new pro-hockey franchise, the remaining NHL clubs released their lists of players who, for contract reasons, are exempt from selection in the expansion draft to fill the roster for the Vegas Golden Knights. Local fans cheered loudly when they recognized the Vegas Vindicator was not on any of those documents. Renowned for his ability to shatter plates during the annual pre-All-Star Game skills-competition (not for accurately firing the puck at dishes secured to the corners and center of a net, but simply for smashing mass-quantities of dinnerware sets into the boards), Vindicator said he learned to play the goaltender position by repeatedly-watching Jean Claude Van Damme’s save between-the-pipes for the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Playoffs during a brief on-ice appearance in the flick “Sudden Death”.
Getting’ no love from last week’s AP Top 11 (0-9-1 with #7 Oklahoma and #10 Oklahoma State on byes), we crawled to a 6-10-1 finish (112-118-5, .487), including 1-fer-4 on “over-unders” (though both winning “best bets” selections came via totals) over the holiday-weekend. Bustin’-up da’ good china like a boss, it’s…
(Lasting slightly-longer than Aretha Franklin’s crooning of da’ National Anthem prior to da’ Vikes-Lions game on Thanksgiving!)

PAC-12 Championship (@ Santa Clara, CA)

#4 Washington (-7 ½) over #9 Colorado: It’s almost (emphasis on “almost”) like someone opened a time-capsule and found a late-Eighties Colorado team that often fought Nebraska for B12 supremacy and factored in the National Championship picture, but loss to USC and close-wins over a down 12-PAC suggest they’re not quite there. UDUB has threatened the past few seasons. Looks like they get over the hump with a tenuous-chance at the playoffs… Huskies 37 Buffaloes 24
MAC Championship (@ Detroit, MI)

#13 Western Michigan (-19) over Ohio: Currently at 8-4, da’ Bobblecats get a decent bowl, but…Broncos 35 Ohio 13
AAC Championship

#20 NAVY (-3) over Temple: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. We plunked-down some pesos on this one Monday, well-ahead of our usual Thursday/Friday wagering. Middies get the home-port advantage by way of the better record between the two teams. Owls, with under-the-radar 9-3 SU/10-1 ATS (Boy, did we miss the bus on those!) and making their first appearance in da’ Picks this season, were in this spot last year too, but lost at Houston by 11. Temple’s American Idol Athletic Conference-best scoring-defense has been excellent of late, coughing-up just 23 total points over the past four games, throwing a pair of shut-outs along the way to a 5-1 “under” run, but Sailors’ AAC second-best offense also yields north of 30 ppg. and accounts for current 7-3 “over” tally. Navy is perfect 5-0 outright in Annapolis (2-1-1 ATS by our numbers). First Top 25 opponent for TU, who entered the season 5-1 ATS vs. ranked foes, losing all five, by 3 at home twice. We look for an Admiral-able (Okay, feel free to boo that one), high-scoring contest, going to...Ensigns 42 Temple 31

SEC Championship (@ Atlanta, GA)
#1 Alabama (-24) over #15 Florida: Rematch of 2015 SEC Title game, won 29-15 by ‘Bama. We mentioned it not-long-ago and we’ll repeat it here…Florida ain’t got the offensive-prowess to keep-up vs. the Tide and Gators injury-hampered defense faces third straight Top 25 opponent. ‘Bama will wanna’ put this away early, needing just a victory to stay in the playoffs, but will pile-on to secure the top-seed. Elephants allowed 9 of Auburn’s 12 total points last week following turnovers. We expect better ball-security here. Early-season 10-point defeat at Tennessee nor three-TD loss at Arkansas inspire much confidence in Crocs’ ability to cover, much-less manage a tremendous upset. Tide had beat the line in five consecutive outings before pushing last week (or six straight if ya had at -17 ½ at game-time)…Pachyderms 45 Florida 13

ACC Championship (@ Orlando, FL)
#3 Clemson (-10) over #19 Virginia Tech: Tigers 34 Hokies 16

B10 Championship (@ Indianapolis, IN)
#8 Penn State (+2 ½) over #6 Wisconsin: First…kudos to both head coaches James Franklin and Paul Chryst for sharing accolades as Big Tentacle Coach of Da’ Year! The Alma Mater slapped us not once, but twice for calling the spread-loss to Michigan State, scoring a pair of 4th Quarter TDs to not only cover minus-12 ½ but also slipping the final score into the “over” category (though Sparty’s 12-10 edge at the intermission was lookin’ mighty good!). Andre Robinson appears to be a nice complement to Saquon Barkley at RB. Wisconsin lost by 7 to each of the two teams ahead of it in the standings (at Michigan, vs. the Buckeyes) and looked vulnerable before rallying last week to beat da’ Gophers. Can’t argue with State’s 8-0 SU/7-0-1 ATS run…Nifty Lions 19 Badgers 16

Oklahoma State (+11) over #7 OKLAHOMA: Won’t be stunned by an upset, but…Sooners 41 State 34
Baylor @ #14 WEST VIRGINIA (“Over 68 ½”): Best guess for “wish we had it back”. Minus mere 7 allowed to NCAA tournament blue-blood-but-FCS-worthy football-school Kansas, Bares have conceded almost 44 ppg over last 5 games, while scoring less than 24 all year just twice (vs. defense-minded K-State and vs. TCU). ‘Eers gave up 19 to Iowa State last week to deny our “under” pick and have gone “over” in three of last four games…WVU 47 Baylor 27

Conference USA Championship
Louisiana Tech (+9 ½) over WESTERN KENTUCKY: Hilltoppers tied Old Dominion for best conference-record at 7-1, but beat the Monarchs convincingly earlier this year and look for some payback for 55-52 October  loss to the Bulldogs in Ruston. WKU has scored at least 44 nine times this year. LT has scored that many or more in eight contests. Don’t know what happened to the Canines last week in bad home upset-loss to Sudden Mist, but we look for more focus here. ‘Toppers returned just nine starters this year for coach Skip Holtz. They’ll get the revenge, but they’ll work for it. WKU has already played three overtime sessions, could be another one here…Western Kentucky 48 LT 42

Mountain West Championship
WYOMING (+6 ½) over San Diego State: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK (again!) WTH!!!! Both sides were clobbered by inferior opponents last week. So, this one features Cowboys-Aztecs: Da’ Sequel after Wyoming’s 34-33 win over State just two Saturdays ago. Sudzu, with an early-season shot at a New Year’s-Six game, has little to play for, outside a conference championship in back-to-back seasons, which lands it in one of two December-locales…Vegas vs. Mississippi State, if it’s lucky, otherwise vs. a 5-7 squad that gets the berth for good academics… or in its own backyard in the Poinsettia Bowl (unless the bowl committee tags Boise State instead of the MWC champion). On the other sideline, Wyoming has to be stoked to be in-line to potentially grab a conference crown and its first bowl since 2011 following its second winning-record in past six years…Laramie Lassoes 38 SDSU 34

To provide some perspective on how, not only this season, but life-in-general, has gone in 2016…we were 121-110-3 (.523) at this juncture last year.

This weekend, we’ll be blaring Tommy James & Da’ Shondells from the 8-track ahead of the SEC title game. Sing it with us…”Crimmmm-son and o-verrrrr….o-verrrrr and o-verrrrrr!”
Immediately following its victory over rival Rebels, players from UNR painted “FUNLV” on the trophy Fremont Canon. What the players from Reno have specifically-against North Las Vegas is still a mystery! It’s all about spacing. Maybe they meant to portray “Fun, Las Vegas!”

Domino’s pizza…there in 30 minutes (Minions?) or less or it’s free-safety!”
If da’ Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference is represented by the Pirates in the 2017 Big Dance, will we see a subsequent flick entitled “Straight Outta’ Hampton”??!!!

Since July, Shaq’s been hawkin’ car insurance through Da’ General. Will we see a commercial featurin’ the former-NBA star’s father imploring him to…”Take da’ Rocket’ to da’ hole, Shaquille”???!!!

Best Weekly Effort:  Week Eight’s stellar 13-4 (.765), which resulted in Vindy drawing an unsportsmanlike- conduct hankie for a “choreographed demonstration” with several members of his pre-season forecasting strategy team!
Worst Weakly “F”-fort:  We’re still undergoing concussion-protocol for Weak Five’s 7-12-2 (.368; which might also explain Week 13’s dismal results)!

WEBER-FRIENDLIES (Best percentage on the predicted-side of the spread; minimum 7 at-bats in the forecast): This year’s Allstate “Yer in Good Hands” award goes to (drumroll, please)…da’ Bengals of Weeziana State (7-2, .778). Second-Place to Oklahoma State (5-2, .714), while Honorable-Mention went to Boise State (6-3, .667).
FLAME-THROWERS (Worst percentage on the predicted side-of the spread; again, minimum 7 at-bats in the forecast): Grill-Master Supreme award-winner…Clemson (3-8, .272), Suckin’ Place is presented to West Virginia (2-5, .285) and a tie for Dishonorable Mention, going to Alabama (3-7-1, .300) and Texas A&M (3-7, .300).

Didn’t make da’ cut, but we’ll be watchin’: Joja’ at 1-4-1 (.200)! BTW, the Puppydogs were in a similar-spot last year at 2-4, putting them at 3-8-1 (.272) over past two seasons!
Thanks for playing: Western Michigan at 5-1 (.833) and Stanford/Miami (both at 4-1, .800 each)!

“Wish We Had It Back”:  Guess we’d like to go back and support da’ Alma Mater vs. Michigan State, knowing Sparty had spent itself in one-point loss to Ohio State and noting teams in close-wins or close-losses do not fare well ATS in the subsequent game. BAMA-Auburn also falls into this category after we changed our original choice on that one.
“Locked in a Box?”:  The Chicken Nuggets got deep-fried by Clemson (we’re shocked), lowering the record to a very-forgettable 7-6 (.538). 

Shoppe Talk: We’re wall-paperin’ Da’ Shoppe with Wolverine-skins as Michigan, who won’t leave with any post-season awards or “awards”, but has hosed Da’ Picks five times in six weeks after opening 4-2 through the first half-dozen!
Black Shirt: We’re mass-producing the ebony tee for each member of the Air Force defense that stuffed Boise State four times at the goal-line to keep our “upset pick of da’ week” intact! Honorable mention to Irish RB Dexter Williams for a failed attempt to convert a two-point run vs. USC to keep the final margin at 18 and allowing Troy to cover!

Vindy’s Championship Week Best Bets:  Last Week:  2-6 (5-13, .278 the last three weeks) Season: 34-38 (.472)
Limited selection this week, but we’ll take…Temple @ NAVY “over” 62 ½, New Mexico State +11 ½ over SOUTH ALABAMA, IDAHO -7 over Joja’ State, Weeziana Tech @ WESTERN KENTUCKY “over 81 ½”, Penn State-Wisconsin “under 47”

On-deck, our annual thoughts on…Army-Navy!

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