Saturday, December 24, 2016

Vindy's Picks 2016-17 Bowl Predictions Part II

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (CNN)…Even as the Atlantic Coast Conference levies fines on Louisville and Virginia Tech for passing-along game-plans leaked by ex-Demon Deacons assistant coach Tommy Elrod, the Vegas Vindicator made the trip East to come forward, saying he, too, got some Wake Forest X’s and O’s on the down-low. The fab forecaster defined the clandestine-communications as “interesting-reading”, but will dodge NCAA sanctions because he did not field a team against the Deacons in 2014. In fact, Vindicator pressed counter-charges vs. the former-aide because Sin City bookies revealed they received picks and strategies ahead of Vindicator’s weekly picks, resulting in a collective 9-20 tally through Weeks One and Two of 2014, ultimately-leading Vindy to abruptly-terminate his campaign for the remainder of that year.
We opened Part I with just two correct choices through the first half-dozen bowls, generating a “here we go again” mentality, but we went 5-0-1 the rest of the way to finish at a good 7-4-1 (125-128-6, 494), including our “lock” and “upset” picks (though the “minor-upset pick” did not materialize). Nicely-wrapped with ribbon and a bow, right next to the basket of Hatchimals, Ken Bone red-cardigan sweater (with white tie and black-rimmed glasses accessories!), flammable Galaxy S-7 phone and tandem You Can Be Anything Barbie and Love2Learn Elmo Attack-Drones… while pickin’ “in fog as thick as peanut-butter” …and makin’ its way through the sportsbook in the “Chair of Cheerleaders”, it’s…
(“It came without ribbons…it came without tags…it came without ‘packages’, box-scores or flags!”)

DEC. 26
ST. PETERSBURG BOWL (@ St. Petersburg, FL)

Mississippi State vs. Miami-Ohio (“under 57 ½”): Bulldogs 31 Redhawks 16

Maryland vs. Boston College (“Under 44”): LOCK OF DA’ “WEEK”. We expect an ugly grinder between two teams that offer pretty-good defense against mediocre opponents and little in the way of scoring in-general (though Turtles hung fitty on Purdue and recorded 36 at nominal-D Indy). Over/under on drives ending in FG-attempts is seven. First team to 15 wins…Terps 16 BC 13

Vanderbilt (+5 ½) over NC State: Wolfpack 23 Admirals 21
DEC. 27

Army (-10) over North Texas: A rare bowl-rematch of a contest that happened during the regular-season. Congrats to Army for breaking Navy’s death-grip on that annual clash, though had Middies been able to put a couple of injured-starters on the field, it’s likely Annapolis woulda’ prevailed again for the 15th time in a row.  Nonetheless, the Platoon will be brimming with confidence for this one as the result. Assuming better ball-security, West Point could get its 8th victory and best SU win total since 10-2 season in 1996. UNT, completing the hat-trick of clubs with sub-.500 win-loss records (Hawaii was the first at 6-7) to bowl this year, makes first postseason since belting UNLV at this same venue in 2013. BTW, penalties against the Soldiers for also receiving Deacon-plays in advance are TBA.  Doin’ push-ups ‘til da’ bookies get tired, but gettin’ revenge for late-October 35-18 demise at Denton… Black Knights 31 Mean Green 13

Temple vs. Wake Forest (“under 41”): Deacons make first bowl since 2011, but youth on offense is painfully-obvious, in particular during 1-5 SU skid to end the year, scoring 14 or less in 5 of ‘em. Owls more-veteran D allowed cumulative 33 points over final five contests (all “under”, though three were “over” this minimal total)… Barnyard Fowl 27 Wake 7

Minnesota (+10) over Washington State: Coogs 23 Gophers 17

Boise State (-8) over Baylor: By our numbers, this duo posted a joint, wallet-wilting 6-16-1 record vs. the point-spread.  Broncos have the better defense, and while no longer an unknown-threat, Broncos should hem-in Bears, whose most-recent victory came on October 15 vs…Kansas, long-enough. Improved-times await first-year coach Jim Croce…(sing it with us…”If Iiiiiii could save tiiiiiiiime-outs…in a bot-tlllle…the First Down that I’d like to doooo…”)…um…Grobe…next season. For now, it’s “Motel 6…we’ll leave da’ light-beer on for ya!”…BSU 34 Ursines 20

DEC. 28
NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL (@ Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY)

Northwestern (+5 ½) over #22 Pittsburgh: Full disclosure? Ahead of line-publication, we were gonna’ back whichever club was gettin’ points here.  First ranked-team takes the stage on the bowl-season. Part of us applauds the renewal of the Pitt-Penn State rivalry series, while the other nine-tenths hopes the Wildcats mop da’ gridiron with da’ Panthers, who basically cost da’ Alma Mater a CFP-berth with three-point win at Heinz Field in early September. Wildcats lost by 4 at Columbus, while Pitt owns Clemson’s lone demise in 43-42 win. NW yielded more than 24 points just twice and held powerful Western Michigan to 22. Won’t shocked by the upset, but we’ll call it…Pittsburgh 23 Northwestern 20

Miami (-2 ½) over #14 West Virginia: Tough call given the pairing of squads that are combined 1-4 straight-up and 0-fer-five against the spread in their collective past ten bowls. Mounties’ only losses came to Oklahoma and at Oklahoma State. Scoring D was better-than-sufficient minus those two matches and 35-32 win over defense--minded BYU. “Mo” seems to minimally-favor da’ Canes, who won four consecutive conference games coming in over Morganbillies, who took four of final five Big Twelve games, but that record included a pasting of Kansas and narrow-victories over fading-clubs Texas and Baylor. Da’ U posted decisive-wins against fellow-bowlers Pitt and NC State. Pelicans QB Brad Kaaya was 5th-best QB in the ACC and showed worthy 23-7 TD-pass-to-INT ratio… Coral Gables 27 West-by not-da’ Godfather 21

Indiana vs. Utah (“under 54”): Hoosiers held Michigan to 20 points at Ann Arbor as one of seven games that finished below this total and just missed “under” this at Columbus, losing 38-17. Fer those of ya old-enough to remember the commercials-in-question (and the oil-can-like containers) “Fawster’s…Australian fer beer!”…Utah 24 Indy 23

Kansas State (+3) over Texas A&M: MINOR UPSET PICK OF DA’ “WEEK” #1. Part II best guess for “wish we had it back”, but in OT, we like…Purple Persians 30 Aggies 27
DEC. 29

BIRMINGHAM BOWL (@ Birmingham, AL)
South Carolina (+10 ½) over South Florida: Seriously-considered an “upset pick of da’ week” here as Gamecocks went 6-6 vs. a much-toucher schedule. USF’s coach has left da’ building (once more) for da’ five-point, greener pastures of Oregon. Sing it with us…”On da’ road again. It’s me, Willie Taggart, and I’m on da’ road again…”…Bulls 26 Poultry 21

BELK BOWL (@Charlotte, NC)
Arkansas (+7) over #18 Virginia Tech: UPSET PICK OF DA’ “WEEK”. Bacon Strips 29 Hokies 27

#13 Oklahoma State (+3) over #11 Colorado: MINOR UPSET PICK OF DA’ “WEEK” #2. Potentially the best of the pre-New Year’s Eve games. Previously, we made reference to 1980’s Colorado team, which was, of course, part of the Big Eight rather than da’ Big 12, which came-about in the mid-Nineties. Our bad. Cowpokes could post third 10-win season in four campaigns, while Bison get first bowl-appearance since 2007 and first opportunity to win a bowl since 2004. Buffs, who were chosen by respected-tout Phil Steele, to finish in a last-place tie with Arizona in the 12-PACK South (though nearly made his “most-improved” list) won ten games outright, covering nine (though 3 ATS defeats came over final five contests). Might come down to turnover-margin. Both sides throw fairly-well, but OKSU QB Mason Rudolph shows the edge at 25 touchdown passes vs. 4 INTs over collective CU 21-10 ratio, with starter Sefo Liufau garnering 11 scoring-throws and 6 picks.. Cowboys won three of five SU in the underdog-role (two vs. Top-25 opponents in Stillwater). Kicking-game definitely favors OKSU, with Bison nailing FGs at about 68% and having missed three-PATs. Steele suggested Colorado was a year-away from bowl-contention. We’ll tweak that slightly and say CU was a season-removed from a post-season triumph…Stillwater 31 Buffaloes 28

BTW, the former Wake Forest aide-in-question denied responsibility for the leak, blaming Russian hackers, Chinese hackers and Hillary Clinton’s personal e-mail account instead.

Continuing to take a few creative-liberties with one of our favorite Christmas TV shows/movies…”He parlayed and parlayed ‘til his forecast was sore. Then Da’ Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means running-up da’ score.”. “Then what happened next…down in Whoville, they say…was the Grinch’s hard-count drew three off-sides that day!”
A Canadian vendor in Anchorage, Alaska sells boots with button-activated, retractable spikes in the heels. Several NFL teams have contacted the salesman to inquire about applying the technology to pads and helmets!

On the big screen this weekend, Macaulay Culkin resurrects his role in…”Home-Game Alone”!
Pulling da’ string on da’ classic “See ‘N Say” toy (raise yer hand if ya had one of these back in the day!), we hear…”The referee says…’Upon further review, the call on the field tree-stands.’”

President-elect Trump, this week, appointed Florida Panthers team-owner Vincent Viola as Secretary of the Army. The former West-Pointer said his first priority would be to equip players and soldiers alike with camouflage hockey-sticks that included night-optical devices, grenade-launchers and selector-switches for single-shot or full rock-n-roll!
All Vindy wants fer Christmas is a highly-coveted spot on Carpool Karoake to sing Muskrat Love, Disco Duck, MMM-Bop and Dust In Da’ Vin!!

Bizarre random thought…if cheap pasta meets Olympic grappling…is it “Greco-Ramen wrestling”?!
“Locked in a Box?”:  Arkansas State (+5 ½) came through nicely, toppling UCF, lifting da’ lock tally to 8-7 (.533)    

Black Shirt: A seasonal “ugly sweater” version goes to Wyoming WR Tanner Gentry for a pair of late 4th-Quarter TD-catches that let the Cowboys (+8 ½) cover vs. BYU.
Shoppe Talk: The Houston Cougars get a holiday-berth for tagging us with fourth straight forecast loss (0-4, .000)

Vindy’s Bowl Predictions Part II Best Bets:       Last Week:  2-2   Season: 39-41 (.488)
Northwestern-Pitt “under 65 ½”, Indiana +7 over Utah, South Carolina-South Florida “under 61 ½”.

To all our loyal readers, we offer the annual Yuletide greeting…”Pass on Earth. Goodwill toward linemen.” And “have yerself a Vindy little Christmas.” We’ll back around December 29 with Part III of da’ bowl picks.

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