INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (REUTERS)...Inebriated astronauts at lift-off?! Yep. NASA thought common sense would apply to pre-flight substance consumption, then had to explicitly bring that concept to the forefront. Why then couldn’t there feasibly be coked-up coordinators, looped linebackers or soused safeties come game time? The NCAA has considered the possibility and now implemented a minimum 12-hour pre-game, no-substance use policy similar to NASA’s "bottle-to-throttle" rule. College insiders are calling the new regulation "wine-to-sideline". Several new nicknames have since popped up on the Internet, including some tailored to specific positions or substances, such as "crack-to-sack", "grass-to-pass" and "weed-to-read".
Having spent this spring and summer squandering his drive-thru gym membership and fresh from completion of summer practices at Daddy Two-A-Day Camp with his pre-season forecasting strategy team of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Barack Obama, Ghost Rider, Sanjaya, deposed astronaut Lisa Nowak, "Scooter" Libby, voice-over guy Don LaFontaine; the Rutgers women’s hoops team, Hannah Montana, that guy who dumped Carmen Electra in the TV commercial, Borat, Daniellynn Stern, former Army Surgeon General Kevin Kiley, Fergie, Brett & Garrett Reid; former MIT dean-of-admissions Marilee Jones and NBA referee Tim Donaghy; our prestigious prognosticator is off-and-running with the bat on crack (somethin’ like that ) and presents...
THE WEBER KID’S 2007 WEEK 1 FORECAST
(now with 0% trans fat)
THURS. AUG. 30
#2 Louisiana State over MISSISSIPPI STATE giving 18: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Hmmm...scary line, but Bulldogs did beat ‘Bama away last year and nearly defeated Joja’ between the hedges. Still, the return of former starter Matt Flynn at quarterback for the Bayou Bengals should take the sting outta’ losing JaMarcus Russell to the pros...LSU 35 MSU 7
Murray State @ #10 LOUISVILLE: No line.
#16 RUTGERS over Buffalo giving 32: Bulls return 18 starters for the first time this century and should bolster the ATS record if not the actual straight-up win-loss record, but not here. Knights open the season ranked for the first time in their history. Buffalo actually toppled Rutgers in the not-so-distant past, but that was against the 2002 squad that went 1-11.... Paladins of Piscataway 44 Bulls 7
Weber State @ #24 BOISE STATE: No line.
SAT. SEPT. 1
#1 USC over Idaho giving 46: Trojans take on only three opponents that had losing records in ‘06. This is one of ‘em. "Citizens of Los Angeles...there is no cause for alarm. That ice floe appearing across the field from USC in the Coliseum is simply the five returning offensive starters for the Potato-Heads". USC has won last two openers by combined score of 113-31... Troy 55 Curly Fries 3
#3 WEST VIRGINIA over Western Michigan giving 23 1/2: It’s its 2006 opener, Vindy seriously underestimated WVU following the Marshall "Spy Gate" scandal. We won’t do that again here. Only concern might be the pass defense. Mounties are 7-1-1 ATS in last 9 matches in Morgantown. Half of our projected title game pairing wins going away...’Eers 42 WMU 13
Arkansas State over #4 TEXAS taking 40 ½: Indians are 3-1 ATS last four against ranked clubs. Excluding nifty 11-2 in 2005, Steers have covered only 30 of 63 since start of 2001 campaign. Assuming Arkie State can’t run effectively, they can put up enough through the air to stay within this line (even though 236 passing ypg allowed by UT last year was somewhat skewed by the 519 posted by Texas Tech) . Sophomore jinx for Mr. McCoy? ...’Horns 38 ASU 14
Appalachian State @ #5 MICHIGAN: No line.
Western Kentucky @ #6 FLORIDA: No line. (Tough spot for I-A’s newest entry against last season’s national champ.)
#7 WISCONSIN over Washington State giving 14: Badgers have lofty expectations to live up to this year. Rather smallish line suggests Wisky will rely on clock-eating running game and defense with a new man under center. Coogs have covered 8 of last 10 non-conference road tilts...Varmints 28 Wazzou 7
North Texas over #8 OKLAHOMA taking 40 1/2: Cue Kermit the Frog, who will entertain the visitors with a rousing version of "It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Mean Green"!...Sooners 44 UNT 10
East Carolina over #9 VIRGINIA TECH taking 24: Pirates are 18-6 against the number the last two years, though they only have 5 returning starters on offense (and 4 of ‘em are linemen). Taking the field should be cathartic for the Hokies, who will have a nationwide "12th Man" all season long. Huge game at LSU next for Tech...VT 27 ECU 6
Youngstown State @ #11 OHIO STATE: No line.
#12 CAL over #15 Tennessee giving 5 ½: Nice. A match-up of ranked teams right outta’ the gate. Bears were on wrong end of unexpected thrashing in Knoxville last year. There’ll be 13 Cal starters looking for some payback. Vols haven’t posted a winning ATS campaign since the ‘99 regular season...Cal 28 Rocky Top 16
Oklahoma State over #13 GEORGIA taking 6 ½: Like a lot of other folks out there apparently (this line opened at at 9), we’re thinking the Cowpokes offense will continue to be explosive under one of those third-year coaches, Mike Gundy, that Vin noted in an earlier post. State manages first upset on the season against Joja’s reasonably new defense...OKSU 31 UGA 30
#14 Ucla over STANFORD giving 17: Cardinal takes the field with its fourth coach in last seven seasons. Bruins traditionally have problems putting Stanford away, but did win by 21-0 and 31-0 in ‘04 and ‘06, respectively. UCLA is not-real-impressive 3-9 against the line in last dozen as road chalk...Bruins 24 Trees 0
#17 PENN STATE over Florida International giving 38: Good bet for the opening "wish I had it back" selection since multiple Lions suspensions for an off-season assault problem and JoPa’s tendency to not run it up on weak opponents makes this a risky pick. We’ll rely on the State defense to keep FIU off the board... THE ALMA MATER 42 Gilded Panthers 0
#18 AUBURN over Kansas State giving 13 ½: We prefer the Warhawks squad that belts teams it should traditionally over Wildcats team that typically debuts asleep at the wheel as evidenced by last season’s holy-crap-we-just-beat-I-AA-Illinois State 24-23. Some of KSU’s previous season opening victories weren’t real stellar either ... Tigers 41 K-State 20
#20 NEBRASKA over Nevada-Reno giving 21: Wolfpack’s a much better play at home than away. Nonetheless, we considered taking Reno and the points initially. UNR features sophomores at QB and RB and have covered only three of last dozen on the road. Big Red is 4-1 ATS in last 5 lined openers. A cover here would go a long way toward building respect and hopes for the Nebraska season many expect...Children of the Corn 38 Reno 14
Troy over #21 ARKANSAS taking 24: Trojans got an ugly September sked this year that includes two SEC teams on the road and a visit from Oklahoma State. We’ll ignore the whole "off-season issues distraction" thing, but we like the ‘Hogs to just handoff to Heisman-hopeful RB McFadden and thwart Troy on D...Arkansas 24 Troy 6
Baylor over #22 TCU taking 21: Bears have exactly zero bye weeks in ‘07, so they better take advantage of the energy they have for now. Only recent meeting of these two was last year’s 17-7 win by the Frogs. Toads are the chic pick to be this season’s BCS-buster. With trip to Austin on deck, we figure them to be conservative... Ribbit 21 Bares 7
#23 Hawaii: IDLE (next @ Louisiana Tech)
Montana State @ #25 TEXAS A&M: No line.
MON. SEPT. 3
#19 Florida State over CLEMSON giving 3: No faith in this pick and frankly...we’ll just take a push. Historical trends side with Tigers at home in general and as host vs. the ‘Noles. The elder Bowden broke out the broom and cleaned house of his assistants in the off-season. Can’t be any worse on offense. State has its highest number of returning starters (14, including the QB) since the ‘03 season. It’ll need the speed on defense to slow down Tigers running game. FSU goes in with revenge after Clemson took last two (and three of last four) outright. Combined, these clubs have been victorious in 34 of last 37 season premieres. Somethin’ has to give...so we’re givin’ the nod to the... Injuns 17 Clemson 12
BETWEEN THE HASHMARKS
By the way, NCAA officials are applying the 12-hour policy to practice days as well, leading at least one anonymous coach to dub the ruling, "swill-to-drill"!
As a result of the aforementioned off-season, off-campus incident, JoPa will ensure the entire Lions team will be cleaning Beaver Stadium every Sunday following each game in Happy Valley. Coulda’ been worse. They coulda’ been tasked to change JoPa’s Depends every Sunday!
According to the May 7th ish of ESPN: Da’ Mag, a Florida woman got de-cleated from her personal water-craft by a leaping sturgeon. Said fish has since been offered a scholarship to play defensive back at Florida International!
This Fall’s must-see TV...America Ferrera stars in a dual role as both pitcher and catcher (No...not that kinda’ pitcher and catcher) for the local minor league baseball team in... "Ugly Battery". Also on ABC, Ferrera brings her glasses and braces into the sportsbook to make a few wagers on..."Ugly Bettor"!!!
Shoppe Talk: Vindy hopes to stave off last season’s Grill-master Supreme Award-winner, Notre Dame, who thwarted Vindy’s Picks nine times in a dozen opportunities!
Vindy’s Week 1 Best Bets: Last Week: 0-0 Last Season: 35-30-3
BYU -5 ½ over Arizona, WEEZIANA-MONROE +5 ½ over Tulsa, Virginia -4 over WYOMING, FLORIDA ATLANTIC -2 ½ over Middle Tennessee State
Up next...Vindy’s Picks welcomes back the NFL, "salutes" Michael Vick and recaps more events of the off-season!