Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vindy's Picks Week 5-2007


QUANTICO, Virginia (AP)....Military officials here anxiously watched their radar screens as sorties from the former Soviet Union flew unescorted in the skies over Notre Dame during training exercises this past week. The Russians have fired up their air force lately in an effort to resurrect their international image as a global military power, setting off scrambles by British and other European interceptors in the past few months. In a bolder move, the Communist aircraft veered into U.S. territory this week and were quickly met by fighter pilots, but when the MiGs and bombers headed toward South Bend, U.S. pilots broke contact, saying, "Awwwww, let the comrades have some fun!" and did not pick the Russian planes up again until they resumed flight further south toward Louisville. Spectators say even the Touchdown Jesus statue headed for cover.

Displaying the kind of lateral mobility usually reserved only for NHL Playoff goalies, Vindicator diverted questions about Week Four’s disastrous forecast that saw him go 2-10 through the first dozen finals en route to a 7-12 week (33-39-1, .458) then offered only "Ummm....clean-up on Aisle Six" for the media before stealing off to his Man-Cave to produce...


#5 West Virginia over #18 SOUTH FLORIDA giving 7:
Contrary to the Weber Kid’s Week Four thoughts, neither side looked ahead enough to this one to fail against the line. Mounties would sure like to avenge loss to Bulls that sent ‘Eers to the Gator instead of a potential second-straight BCS bowl. WVU was first team this year to reach 4-0 ATS and is 13-4 as road chalk over the past four-plus seasons. USFs 28-13 home final vs. Elon just keeps wandering to the forefront of Vindy’s consciousness...Mountaineers 27 Souffle 13

#1 Southern Cal over WASHINGTON giving 21:
UDUB looked early on like it was gonna’ finally get off the schnide with a pair of outright wins, then tumbled in the face of a difficult schedule. It won’t get any better hosting the top-ranked Trojans and their 79 returning lettermen...USC 54 Huskies 19

#2 Louisiana State over TULANE giving 40: Oklahoma didn’t succumb at Tulsa. Tigers won’t tank a cover in New Orleans (at least not THIS week). Tulane’s 21-point loss to Mississippi State and mere 8-point win over I-AA Southeast Weeziana suggests it has no shot. Is the "Green Wave" environmentally-friendly?! ...LSU 45 Toodles 0

#3 Oklahoma over COLORADO giving 22 1/2: Homecoming for the Bison, who cost Vindy a best bet pick by trouncing Miami-Ohio last week. Sooners are on probation because players got paid for work they didn’t actually do at a local car dealership. Apparently, in Norman, FORD is really just an acronym for "Faking Our Responsibilities, Dude!"...OK 51 Buffaloes 17

Auburn over #4 FLORIDA taking 18 ½: Gators suffered 127 penalty yards on 14 flags vs. Mississippi. UF also out-gained the Rebels by better than 100 yards on offense, but Tigers haven’t been blasted by the Gators since 2000. Auburn defense keeps ‘em in it...Florida 23 Auburn 20

#11 OREGON over #6 California giving 5: Huge game for both teams. Ducks 17-6 SU on the Pond since beginning of 2003 season. Gang Green defense ain’t quite what it once was and Berkeley will put up some points without question. Mallards get the nod based on what it did in Ann Arbor...Quack Attack 42 Cal 35

Kansas State over #7 TEXAS taking 15: UPSET SPECIAL #1. Tough to really gauge this year’s ‘Cats at the moment, but last three games between these two have been decided by 3, 4 and 3 points, including last season’s 45-42 shootout won by State in Manhattan. Steers were #4 team at the time. Longhorns have had a half-dozen players arrested on various charges since June. One more and UT at Austin becomes the official "farm team" of the Cincinnati Bengals!... Kansas State 30 Horns 27

#8 Ohio State over MINNESOTA giving 23: Buckeyes continue to show the strength of their reserve depth and answered lackluster effort vs. Akron earlier in September with solid covers over Washington and Northwestern. Minny is probably the best offense State has faced. It’s also likely the worst defense it’s faced. The +18 turnover ratio from 2006 is catching up to the Gophers...Ohio State 43 Gerbils 16

Michigan State over #9 WISCONSIN taking 7 1/2: UPSET SPECIAL #2. Badgers look less-than-invincible and may be ripe for the upset here. State actually toppled Wisky in 2004. It also opened 2005 at 4-0 SU and 2006 at 3-0 SU before the wheels fell off. Could happen again here under first-year commander Mark Dantonio. Spartans are 1-4-1 ATS in games against ranked teams. Who believes in trends?...Michigan State 29 Badgers 27

Maryland over #10 RUTGERS taking 16: We thought about this one for "lock". Terps D folded like a beach umbrella with Wake Forest game seemingly well in-hand only to lose in extra frames. First real test for the Knights after warming up vs. Buffalo, Navy and Norfolk State. This time last year, Box Turtles went on a 6-1 straight-up run, all decided by 6 or less...Rutgers 24 Maryland 20

Massachusetts @ #12 BOSTON COLLEGE: No line.

#13 Clemson over GEORGIA TECH taking 3: Recent history favors Clemson. Bees were quickly exposed, while Tigers are off to 4-0 start, with two conference victories already under their belts. ‘Jackets haven’t forgotten last year’s 31-7 thrashing by the Tigers in Carolina...
Clemson 24 Wreck 17

#14 KENTUCKY over Florida Atlantic giving 23: After years of fearing any team nicknamed "Owls" (i.e. Temple and Rice), our forecaster finds himself smitten by Florida Atlantic. The only two tickets Vin has cashed on the season have both been covers by FAU.. Despite a couple of crummy overall weeks, we take solace in calling the back-to-back upsets by Kentucky. Going back to last season, ‘Cats have been the play in 8 of last 9, so we go to the bluegrass well again ... Wildcats 48 FAU 20

#15 GEORGIA over Mississippi giving 15: In May, pictures of Bulldog QB Matthew Stafford holding a beer keg over his head while allegedly attending a NASCAR race appeared on the ‘Net. School officials said the photos could’ve been altered (Uh...YEAH...that keg coulda’ been EMPTY!). Can’t see Rebels duplicating last week’s home effort in cover against the Gators. Joja’ needs to press that advantage to make another statement akin to nice opening triumph over Oklahoma State...Dawgs 27 Ole Mist 8

Mississippi State over #16 SOUTH CAROLINA taking 14: Freshman Chris Smelley steps in to replace Cocks’ 5th-year senior QB Blake. Bulldogs aren’t world-beaters, but are playing well enough to post 3-1 outright record and have sufficient defenders to keep it close. Caught between a Gamecock and a hard place, we call... South Carolina 17 MSU 6

North Carolina over #17 VIRGINIA TECH taking 17 ½: Tarheels handed South Florida four interceptions and held the Bulls to three FGs for a decent stretch spanning the second- and third quarters. It would just be too easy to lay the juice with Tech, so we won’t...VT 20 UNC 7

#19 Hawaii over IDAHO giving 26 1/2: For a fleeting moment, we contemplated taking the points. Potato-heads looked more like the Idaho team we expected this season, as extremely rare I-A chalk role, in loss to Northern Illinois than team that covered opener vs. Southern Cal. Vandals’ previous opponents rushed as part of the game plan. The only running Idaho’s gonna’ see the ‘Bows do is to and from the tunnel!...Hawaii 49 Idaho 20

#20 Missouri: IDLE (next vs. Nebraska)

#21 Penn State over ILLINOIS giving 3: Some folks during the pre-season said this one had upset written all over it. Had the Lions actually won in Ann Arbor, we might’ve agreed. State dodged an early bullet on reversal of what Vindicator thought was a Lion turnover in 1st Quarter of Michigan game, but the third-down pass D was nowhere to be found....Lions 24 Illinois 16

#22 Alabama over FLORIDA STATE taking 2 ½: Tide’s played the tougher schedule. Injuns have logged more travel miles. State’s offense is not significantly better now than it was this time last year despite massive major coaching changes. On a "neutral" site in Jacksonville, it’s...’Bama 17 ‘Noles 16

#23 Arizona State over STANFORD giving 14 ½: Another choice we considered for lock pick. What in the world is with all the r-e-s-p-e-c-t the Cardinal’s getting of late from the lines-makers? When Coach Harbaugh pulls the strap that tightens his headband does he go all ninja or gain super-human strength or what? OK, certain trends favor Stanford. It’s covered 7 times in last 9 tries here. Alas, the Trees have allowed 45 to UCLA and 55 to the Mallards. First road game for Devils and fact that ASU has held only 5 opponents to 13 or fewer and 11 foes under 20 since start of 2004 campaign are Vin’s only remote clues to this spread...Arizona State 42 Stanford 19

#24 Cincinnati over SAN DIEGO STATE giving 14: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. In honor of the late-great Marcel Marceau, we’ll just act out our choice on this game. (Oh...ummm....for those not fluent in "mime"...that was a simulation of the ol’ "Aztecs-trapped-in-a-box").... Bearkats 31 SDSU 3

Iowa State over #25 NEBRASKA taking 22: A Nebraska soccer mom so upset with daughter’s game performance, left her on along the side of I-80. Big Red coach Bill Callahan had similar thoughts following Huskers’ 41-40 win over Ball State (in which the Cardinals blew an extra point and missed a 55-yard FG with 15 seconds left), but drove the Blackshirts somewhere near Des Moines, Iowa first!..Nebraska 24 ISU9

BTW, Vindicator was listening on the Russian radio frequency and thinks he heard one of the pilots quip, <<Talk to me, Goosekov!>>

This month’s ish of MAXIM delineates the "10 Worst 2007 BCS college football teams". In order from 10th-worst to worst: #10 Notre Dame, #9 Vandy, #8 Indiana, #7 Baylor, #6 Iowa State, #5 Mississippi State, #4 Washington, #3 Syracuse (who has toppled Louisville since that article was published!), #2 Stanford and the #1 team...are ya ready?...Raise yer hand if ya know this one...No surprise....Slap yerself if ya missed it...Duke!

In February, JoPa inked a deal with Pittsburgh-based R Super Foods to allow his likeness on boxes of Super Donuts and cinnamon Super Buns. Unknown to Coach Paterno, his Lions pass defense apparently signed on to make the cover of the brand’s package of donut holes!

Teams that are perfect or "perfect" in four lined opportunities thus far: Oklahoma, Oregon and West Virginia (4-0 ATS); Navy and Notre Dame (0-4 ATS); dishonorable mention to the Gilded Gerbils of Minnesota (0-3-1). Meanwhile, perennial doormats Duke and Temple are a combined 6-2 (.800)!

On a serious note for a moment, we tip our helmets to the New Mexico State University Aggies for being "tough enough" to don pink ribbons on their helmets and pink socks to promote breast cancer research during this week’s tilt against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Vindy walked 3 ½ miles last year in support of the same cause.

Britney Spears was seen chucking a baby bottle at paparazzi in August. After reviewing the video of that incident, Charlie Weis has been secretly allowing Spears to run the scout team during practice sessions and announced he will start the pop star under center this week at Purdue! (She might start under THE center as well, but that’s whole other story!)

The NY Jets trained with Mike Tyson’s first coach, Teddy Atlas, during the off-season. At 1-3, the Gliders ain’t tearing up the NFL, but they are proficient at biting ears and eating other people’s children!

George Clooney is recovering from injuries sustained recently during a motorcycle accident in Palisades, New Jersey. Not to worry, Ladies...Big George will be up and throwing touchdown passes for the Steelers in no time!

And finally....the National Champion men’s and women’s rifle teams from University of Alaska-Fairbanks recently were guests of President Bush in D.C. The shooters attributed at least part of their success to practices involving identification of targets as "friend or fowl"...a routine they refer to as the "Cheney Drill"!(BTW, shooting a teammate in the face is a mandatory two-tenths deduction during national competitions!)

"Wish I Had That One Back": The Florida-Mississippi game...just because Vindy is an idiot and typed the choice in wrong (we had Florida laying 21) despite favoring Ole Miss in the write-up and the score prediction.

"Locked in a Box?": The Mighty Ducks of Eugene boost the lock record to 3-1with an offense-filled, but defense-less cover against Stanford!

Shoppe Talk: Vindicator stocks the dental hygiene supplies at the Shoppe with anti-freeze-laden toothpaste from China for the Buckeyes, Huskers, Aggies and Gators...all with three forecast losses!

Vindy’s Week 5 Best Bets: Last Week: 3-1 Season: 7-9 (.437)
Temple +6 over ARMY, Buffalo +16 1/2 over BALL STATE, MIAMI-OHIO +2 over Syracuse, OHIO +1 over Kent State, VIRGINIA -7 over Pittsburgh, Washington State +2 1/2 over ARIZONA

Hey...despite the overall carnage, Vindicator’s preferred plays (lock pick and best bets) hit on four outta’ five (80%)! Now if you’ll excuse him, our perplexed prognosticator needs to go wipe the Domino’s oreo dessert pizza mustache off his...forecast!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Vindy's Picks Week 4-2007


FT. HUACHUCA, Arizona (CNN)...Teams, both pro and college, are lining up to schedule training here at the U.S. Army’s military intelligence school in the wake of the NFL’s latest scandal involving spying on the opposition. An anonymous "spook" talking from behind a curtain and electronically altering his or her voice let it be known that all participants attending classes here would learn basic and advanced techniques for not only detecting the presence of spies, such as the bogus equipment manager, the "art student" sketching "harmless pictures" of the game or even infiltrations known to former Get Smart actor Don Adams as "the old fake cheerleader with the bug hidden in the pom-poms trick" (often foiled by recognition of excess facial razor-stubble, Adam’s apple and...uh...Brazilian bikini sacks!), but also tried-and-true methods of defeating spies, such as reflecting sunlight off watches, bracelets, tongue-piercings and other shiny objects into the eyes of photographers; installing trapdoors under stadium seats likely to be holding spies; exploding candy-grams and the ever-popular "dropping bombs from paper airplanes on your opponents" (as detailed by the Spy Vs. Spy cartoon in monthly issues of Mad Magazine!).

Satisfied with just achieving a stable, kissing-your-sister-like 8-8-1 for Week Three (26-27-1, .490), we crank it up again with...


#20 Texas A&M over MIAMI taking 3:
Two teams trying to re-establish themselves as contenders (again!)... neither doing so impressively. Sooners racked up better than twice as many passing yards as rushing yards. Aggies’ tendency to stay on the ground gives ‘Canes a fighting chance. Miami sleep-walked past Florida International 23-9. No choice but to take the points...A&M 27 Coral Gables 24

#4 Oklahoma over TULSA giving 22:
Sooners have yielded all of 26 points in three games to-date this year and have covered 2 of the last 3 vs. Golden Hurricane. Can’t see the Okies looking ahead to flailing Buffaloes in Big 12 opener since Tulsa is the more-dangerous foe. Despite what the home team did to BYU last week...OU 44 Tulsa 13

#1 USC over Washington State giving 25 ½:
Trojans are less-than-exciting 10-14 ATS playing conference teams, but blew out Nebraska despite sloppy game (5 fumbles [1 lost] and 100+ penalty yards on 10 flags). Coogs lost by 21 at possibly-over-rated Wisky...Troy 48 Wazzou 17

#2 LSU over #12 South Carolina giving 16: These two squared off only twice previously in the last 10 years, with Bengals winning and covering both. First try for Steve Spurrier as a Gamecock. Tigers only 16-12-1 ATS over last 4+ seasons in Baton Rouge, but they’ve smoked the two teams they should have...and one they shouldn’t have! Even if Perrilloux makes only his second start in place of injured State QB Flynn, we still the D to keep the poultry far enough away... LSU 31 SC 13

#3 Florida over MISSISSIPPI giving 21: First meeting since 20-17 win by Florida over 12-point dog Ole Miss. At least one trend favors the Rebels in the revenge mode. Rebels seem to save their best games for ranked teams, going 13-4 against the line in last 17, and they return 15 starters from the 2006 squad that played LSU to a three-point decision in Baton Rouge. Crocs piled it on last week against the Vols, scoring 24 points in the 4th Quarter...Florida 38 Mississippi 20

East Carolina over #5 WEST VIRGINIA taking 24 1/2: Pirates have covered last five when getting double-digits, including last two years against West Virginia. WVU has squeaked by the last two lines by combined total of 1 ½ points. Big conference trip to South Florida on-deck for the Mountaineers. ECU played Virginia Tech tough...WVU 41 ECU 20

#6 CAL over Arizona giving 16 ½: We’ll take the potent Bears offense over an Arizona stop-squad that’s just not showing the experience of the 10 returning upperclassmen starters from last season. Cal also has revenge factor for last year’s 24-20 defeat...Berkeley 42 AZ 19

Rice over #7 TEXAS taking 39: Longhorns regain the services of three previously-suspended players. Owls have been horrible thus far, even losing to AA Nicholls State en route to three straight defeats and an 0-2 spread record. Well off its historical rushing yardage, Owls have also allowed 12 sacks in three games. Vindy just can’t bring himself to spot this much here...Steers 42 Rice 9

Northwestern over #8 OHIO STATE taking 22: Wildcats have been betting gold for 14 straight years prior to facing the Wolverines, with most of those spread wins coming against Penn State, Iowa and Wisconsin. ‘Cats owe it to themselves and their fans to show up this week after outright loss to (GASP!) Duke!...OSU 24 NW 13

Iowa over #9 WISCONSIN taking 8: From 2003 to 2006, Hawkeyes went from 10 spread wins to 10 spread losses in a season. Badgers aren’t really playing like a Top 10 squad of late. An upset here wouldn’t be a shocker given this season’s early results...Wisky 21 Iowa 19

#10 Penn State over MICHIGAN giving 3: The latest ish of ESPN: Da’ Mag says the Lions are using PS3 to train their quarterbacks. Buffalo musta’ had its own Madden ‘08 program going and got hold of a cheat-code book given the three 4th Quarter touchdowns it scored in Happy Valley last Saturday! Does blasting of Fight-less Irish mean Big Blew is back?! We think not. Lions did give up 10 more points to Notre Dame than Michigan did though...State 23 Michigan 16

#11 Rutgers: IDLE (next vs. Maryland 9/29)

#13 Oregon over STANFORD giving 16: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Ducks are only 20-13 ATS over the last four seasons against fellow PAC-10 teams, but have owned the Cardinal. Only one of the past three Stanford coaches posted a spread win over the Mallards. Jim Harbaugh fails in his first try as Ducks trek into the 50's again... Quack Attack 52 Trees 20

#14 BOSTON COLLEGE over Army giving 29: Which Hudson River U. platoon shows up? The one had to beat Rhode Island at home 14-7 in OT or the one that just dropped a heart-breaking 2-point decision at Wake Forest as a three-TD dog? President Bush said he would veto any legislation that included a time-frame for withdrawal of the Keydets from the playing field...BC 41 West Point 7

#15 Clemson over NC STATE giving 7 ½: Wolfpack still adjusting to new coach Tom O’Brien. Tigers would be 2-0 ATS if not for last minute trash-time TD by Weeziana-Monroe. Assuming the starters play all four quarters...Clemson 27 NCSU 14

#16 ALABAMA over #22 Georgia giving 3 ½: The Bulldogs are closing off this week’s practice sessions to the public. For a nominal fee, however, Tide players, coaches and alumni can view the video, up-linked via satellite by Bill Belichick...’Bama 20 Joja’ 13

William & Mary @ #17 VIRGINIA TECH: No line.

#18 LOUISVILLE over Syracuse giving 37: Orange catches Redbirds in Louisville at a bad, bad time. ‘Cuse, whose skill levels rank maybe a notch above Murray State, becomes first I-A squad to hit 0-4 against the number this year... Cards 56 Orange 10

Charleston Southern @ #19 HAWAII: No line.

#21 Kentucky over ARKANSAS taking 6 1/2: ‘Cats #11 rushing game faces ‘Hogs #4 rushing game. Arkansas only #105 in passing though and possibly drained by ‘Bama’s last minute win. Down 21 early, Arkansas got back in the game vs. ‘Bama when Tide missed a 37-yard FG and ‘Bama QB Wilson coughed up the football twice in the 4th Quarter. It would’ve been useful to know ahead of time that Tom Donaghy was a Razorbacks fan!...Kentucky 24 Arkansas 23

North Carolina over #23 SOUTH FLORIDA taking 14: Who’s hungry for a Bull sandwich? USF is caught between last week’s overtime victory against Auburn and looking forward to Big East opener vs. West Virginia ...South Florida 17 Tarheels 7

#24 NEBRASKA over Ball State giving 22 ½: State’s been a crap-shoot as a road dog last four-plus years (12-12 ATS). Third consecutive away game for the Cardinals. Huskers lost badly to Southern Cal last season and followed that up by crushing Troy 56-Zippo!...Big Red 45 Little Redbirds 13

Illinois State @ #25 MISSOURI: No line.

BTW, a former Chinese ambassador to North Korea has been accused of giving up secrets about the communist country to its Democratic neighbors to the South. Boy, that Patriots cameraman gets around, doesn’t he???!!!

Allegations have to come to light that Pats defensive linemen were wired to intercept Jets offensive signals during the opener on September 9th. A New England spokesperson has dismissed those rumors, saying the linemen were simply using the helmet transmitters to listen to the Red Sox-Orioles broadcast that day!

On the telly...starters, coaches and parents match wits on academic topics against reserves way down the depth chart on..."Are You Smarter than A Fifth-Stringer?!"

OJ Simpson was arrested for involvement in robbery of memorabilia here in Sin City. One recovered item of note was an 8x10 picture of Juice with J. Edgar Hoover. Items at the crime scene included a bloody 5x7 frame. Said Johnnie Cochran, "If the frame don’t fit, you must acquit!"

The February 26th ish of ESPN Da’ Mag reported a Brazilian soccer referee pulled red panties instead of a red card out of his pocket during a match. Hmmmm....can we get the NFL to issue red challenge panties and other lacy under-things to coaches starting next season and have something a la "the AT&T first call to the bullpen" like, "This first coaches’ challenge brought to you by....Victoria Secret!?"

Vindy noticed an AP article recently about a 17th Century diary in Switzerland that details weather "so cold, the communion wine froze". Funny...that exact same thing happened this past Sunday as the Irish football team filed past the altar at the Notre Dame chapel!

One of the reasons given for Britney Spears’ flop at the recent MTV Video Music Awards here in Vegas was that she showed up three hours late to rehearsal, holding frozen margaritas. A staffer close to the Michigan football team reassured media that the margaritas consumed by the Wolverines before playing Oregon were finished at least 12 hours prior to kickoff!

Well-known baseball card manufacturer, Topps Company, is in the business of selling out to an investment company controlled by former Disney head man Michael Eisner. Following the takeover, foil "chase"cards featuring players wearing Mickey Mouse ears will be inserted in random packs.

Is Vindicator the only one expecting some savvy guy in charge of stadium music to crank up Secret Agent Man or The Spy Who Loved Me over the loudspeaker the next time Bill Belichick steps foot onto an opponent’s home-field??!! As part of his punishment for the whole spy thing, Belichick must pay $500K, only refer to himself as "007" during all post-game interviews and must make a cameo appearance in the next "Austin Powers" movie!

"Wish I Had That One Back": The only tilt from Week Three that Weber had pegged as a possible "wish" pick was Nebraska and da’ points over USC after questioning Huskers’ ability to run on the Trojan D.

"Locked in a Box?": We rebound nicely to post a 2-1 lock record behind "upset-special" Boston College’s outright victory over the Bees!

Shoppe Talk: Several possible teams here following deluge of back-to-back forecast losses, but one of those teams has a history of haunting this column...those Florida Gators!

Vindy’s Week 4 Best Bets: Last Week: 2-2 Season: 4-8 (.333)
Miami-Ohio +14 over COLORADO, Uconn +9 over PITT, KANSAS -31 over Florida International, Florida Atlantic -6 over NORTH TEXAS

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Vindy's Picks Week 3-2007


HOUSTON, Texas (ITAR-Tass)...The Vegas Vindicator was in town this week at the Johnson Space Center to talk with NASA engineers about options for repairing a sizable gouge in his Week Two forecast. Scientists suspect the damage was first done during launch of Vindy’s Picks on Thursday night in Louisville by a piece of foam insulation that fell from the fearless forecaster’s beer cozy, creating a divot in the underbelly of the prognostication. Initially, just 3 1/2-by-2 inches, the gouge got larger as the picks orbited the rest of the country on Saturday, leading to Vindy’s 7-13 results (18-19, .486 season), a blown "lock of da’ week" pick and all four incorrect "best bet" selections! Possibilities for patching the hole include sending the forecast up on one of those zero-gravity jets, enabling astronauts to make a simulated spacewalk and bolt on a plastic sheet from a box of Shrinky-Dinks, simply painting the hole black or filling it full of Gummy Bears, which would set nicely under the heat of re-entry! No word was available on the final solution, though sources close to NASA say a deal may have been brokered offering the services of Lisa Nowak.

As Jewish football fans everywhere this week prepare to celebrate Rush Hashanah and your humble host heads off to watch illegally-shot videotape of bookies’ hand-signals, it’s...


MARYLAND over #4 West Virginia taking 16:
Vin watched this game last year and the final score was deceiving as Terps moved the ball at will on the Mounties D, but kept turning it over...’Eers 31 Box Turtles 21

#14 NEBRASKA over #1 Southern Cal taking 10:
Nothing would tickle Vindicator more than seeing Trojans fall here. Not sure Huskers can run on USC defense, but former ASU gunslinger Sam Keller occupies the Nebraska backfield and has sufficient guys to throw to. Could be a "wish" pick as we can easily see a SoCal romp, but we like the defenses to dominate on both sides...USC 17 Nebraska 14

#2 LSU over Middle Tennessee State giving 40: Bengals haven’t faced covering a line this big since wrecking North Texas 56-3 in mid-season 2005 as 44-point chalk. Third straight away game for the Blue Raiders. We didn’t think Cal would let down after important victory over the Vols, but it did. We’ll stick with our initial instinct here though...Tigers 52 MTSU 3

#3 OKLAHOMA over Utah State giving 46: A missed extra point late in the UNLV game cost the Aggies (and Vindicator) the lead at the time and an ATS win. Maybe that shoulda’ been our first clue to taking State instead of Wyoming last week, costing our flabbergasted forecaster a "best bet" loss and the accompanying wager! Sooners seem to be rolling...OK Until Proven Otherwise 56 Aggies 5

#22 Tennessee over #5 FLORIDA taking 8: Other than back-to-back spread losses by Tennessee in ‘04 and ‘05, the ATS pattern for these two has been win-loss-win-loss. If the trend holds, the cover goes to the Gators. Florida’s pair of returning defensive starters fared well against provisional I-A newcomer Western Kentucky, but 31 points allowed by Sun Belt’s Troy can’t be comforting to Coach Meyer....Tennessee 23 Crocs 21.

CENTRAL FLORIDA over #6 Texas taking 19: Despite a 10-0 halftime edge, TCU played a sloppy, sloppy game against the Longhorns, yielding four turnovers and hitting the century mark in penalty yards on 13 flags. UCF bombed in Year Three under George O’Leary, but is off to a healthy start, winning outright at NC State as a 9-point doggie. Knights welcome former MIT dean of admissions Marilee Jones, who padded her credentials, as an assistant coach!... Steers 31 Central Sunshine State 14

Citadel @ #7 WISCONSIN: No line.

Louisiana Tech over #8 CAL taking 34: With Tennessee hangover done, Bears return to form and wallop Bulldog club off three-OT loss to the Aggies and traveling half-way across country. Bears defense is a concern though, giving up 14 points in last two minutes to the Rams to make the game interesting last week. Cal won win or cover many while allowing almost 30 ppg....Bears 37 LT 7

KENTUCKY over #9 Louisville taking 7: Cards have covered six of last eight in this series. ‘Cats face only four opponents this season who won less than 8 games last year and have covered 6 of last 7, going back to ‘06. KY was plus-4 in turnovers and out-rushed by about 60 yards in Kent State game. Wildcats got five rushing TDs against the Golden Flashes. Cardinals gave up 9.1 yards per carry to Middle Tennessee State. Hmmm...Redbirds 37 KY 34

WASHINGTON over #10 Ohio State taking 4 ½: Sled Dogs held mighty Boise O scoreless in the second half. Good sign for Huskies team that allowed 30.6 and 26 points-per-game-against in Coach Willingham’s first two years in Seattle. UDUB 24 Buckeyes 20

#11 Ucla over UTAH giving 13 ½: We considered this game for "lock". Utes came into 2007 having gone 32-16 ATS over the previous four seasons, but have already lost back-to-back games outright and against the line. Important match next week for Bruins versus the Huskies...UCLA 24 Utes 0

#12 PENN STATE over Buffalo giving 34: Weber’s alma mater is conducting its annual "Huddle with the Faculty" lecture series, in which Happy Valley professors present a topic before each home game. This week’s topic has something to do with race and ethnicity. If tied to the Lions’ weekly opponents, it coulda’ been a culinary discussion entitled, "The Ecology of the Perfectly-Grilled Spicy Wing!" JoPa showed little mercy against Florida International, allowing State to roll up a 59-0 lead before finally calling off the dogs with 14:05 left to play...Lions 48 Bulls 6

Norfolk State @ #13 RUTGERS: No line.

#21 Boston College over #15 GEORGIA TECH taking 7: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. UPSET SPECIAL. Golden Eagles appear no worse for the wear in wake of losing longtime coach Tom O’Brien to NC State, having won and covered both games to date (and both against conference opponents)! Bees flattened youthful Irish club then hammered a double-A team, so they really haven’t been tested...until now...BC 24 ‘Jackets 20

ALABAMA over #16 Arkansas giving 3: Razorbacks let Weeziana-Monroe score a virtually-meaningless touchdown with about two minutes left to play and blew the cover (costing Vindy a forecast win). ‘Hogs have also beaten ‘Bama straight up in three of last four (and three of those four). New Tide coach Nick Saban beat Arkansas 5 of 7 seven times while coaching LSU, covering five of those seven as well. Alabama has held a Top 25 ranking only a total of 9 weeks in last 4+ seasons. They’ll do so again after this one ends...Tide 20 Arkansas 16

South Carolina State @ #17 SOUTH CAROLINA: No line.

Ohio over #18 VIRGINIA TECH taking 20: Tech posted three consecutive spread losses in 2006, but hasn’t opened a season with three ATS defeats in over a decade. Maybe thrashing in Baton Rouge will provide the fire to get Hokies on the right track. Maybe not. Too much doubt in this forecaster’s mind to lay three scores yet, even in Blacksburg...VT 23 Bobblecats 6

#19 OREGON over Fresno State giving 16 : Ducks successfully broke out the "Statue of Liberty" play not once, but twice against Michigan... once for real and once as a fake. One play lead to a first down, the other to a TD. Bulldogs covering better than 80% getting more than a FG. Ducks have broght home the money in 8 of last 10 on the Pond. Annoyed by players’ banter and celebration of the win over the Wolverines on the Ducks’ flight home, Samuel L. Jackson stood up and said, "I’ve had it with these !@#*@$#*!! Drakes on this !@#*@$#*!! plane!"... Mallards 41 Fresno 20

Furman @ #20 CLEMSON: No line.

Western Carolina @ #23 GEORGIA: No line.

#24 Hawaii over UNLV giving 17 1/2: ‘Bows now 6-14 ATS over last 4+ seasons in games on the continental United States. Hometown Rebels have managed to go 1-0-1 against the number thus far this year, but might be beaten up after playing physical Badgers squad. UH flew to-and-from Weeziana, and now flies Eastward again this week. Wisconsin didn’t put it up nearly as often as Hawaii will...UH 44 Ve-gassed 20

Louisiana-Monroe over #25 TEXAS A&M taking 24: After going up 19-0 at the half, Aggies allowed Fresno to hang around longer than Sanjaya on this season’s American Idol! Might be a few too many to lay with inconsistent A&M. Not that it’s gonna’ come down to a winning FG try by Monroe, but if it did, in a parallel universe or the Twilight Zone,...ULM’s kicker Cole Wilson hasn’t missed in his last 14 attempts! ...TAMU 24 ULM 6

BTW, if Bowser and his band-mates from their 1950's doo-wop musical group suited up and took the field, could we call the holiday...Rush Ha-Sha-Na-Na??!!!

Anybody else out there wonderin’ how the folks at NASA, who might show up maybe once a season in Vindy’s Picks, are feelin’ about their second appearance in a span of three weeks???!!!

Given the success of the woman selling Michael Vick doggie-chewed cards on E-Bay, Vin wants to take it step or two further and offered cards that have been chewed, swallowed, uh... "processed"...and collected by the folks at Pooper Scooper! (And let’s face it...there are folks out there that would pay good money for those, even if just for the purpose of putting them in a paper bag outside quarterbacks door, setting it aflame, ringing the doorbell and yelling, "Fire!")

"Big Tentative?"- Of the 10 Big Ten conference squads in action against other I-A teams, 7 did not cover the point-spread! Hats off to Penn State, Iowa and (GASP!) Indiana for preserving some dignity!

Glad we ain’t pickin’ this one: Notre Dame and Michigan play this week with a collective record of 0-4 SU and 0-3 ATS! The only real question in this match-up is which "can-da’-coach" website gets more hits following the game... "SendCarrAfar.Com" or "PutWeisOnIce.Com"!!!!

Insiders say Rebel-backing gamblers this week contemplated knocking out the lights themselves at Sam Boyd Stadium in the 4th Quarter a la the 2002 "Blackout Bowl" just to preserve their winning tickets! Vin has it on good authority however, that the power in 2002 was actually cut by a confused Phillies fan who was trying to slow his team’s march toward 10,000 losses! Come to think of it, the Temple Owls tried the same tactic early in the first quarter of their 42-7 loss to Buffalo!

It’s only the third week of the season and we’re already showcasing some of those big, traditionally-heated rivalries, such as Michigan-Notre Dame, Florida-Tennessee, ‘Bama-Arkansas, Kid Rock-Tommy Lee (Oh wait...that Vols-Gators match ain’t that heated!). Hey... Vindy wouldn’t mind having that Pamela Anderson trophy on his mantle either...know what we mean?!

"Wish I Had That One Back": The Weber Kid noted in last week’s write-up that he changed his initial pick on the Buckeyes-Zips tilt!

"Locked in a Box?": The lock record drops to 1-1 as the ‘Bows still seem to be bothered by that whole Mainland thing!

Shoppe Talk: Vindy rips up the linoleum floor of the Shoppe and lays down a couple of nice tiger-skin rugs as both Clemson and Auburn each posted a 2nd forecast "L". No worries this week though as Bowden Jr. takes on a AA team and Aubie ain’t ranked! Hopping in late...the Froggies of TCU, who also finished on the wrong side of Vindy’s Picks in back-to-weeks! Thankfully, the Toads don’t possess a "#" this week either!

Vindy’s Week 3 Best Bets: Last Week: 0-4 (OUCH!) Season: 2-6 (.250)
Ball State +7 over NAVY, WASHINGTON STATE -26 over Idaho, Utep +6 over MINNESOTA, ARIZONA STATE -28 over San Diego State

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Vindy's Picks Week 2-2007

Pro Team-Wear Flops On Dark Continent

SIERRA LEONE, Africa (BBC)....An annual act of kindness blew up in the collective face of the NFL recently when it received an unexpectedly returned shipment of preseason shirts and caps bearing the emblems of the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions following what embarrassed officials are calling "a grievous clerical error". The National Football League donates nearly 300 pieces of "Super Bowl champions" logo-wear from the Big Game’s runner-up each year to underprivileged areas in Africa, including local villages here and those in Uganda and Niger. Speaking through an interpreter, one tribal elder said "our people, offended by the gear this year, repackaged it, pooled their ‘forever stamps’....and sent it back!" Tribesmen did hang onto one jersey, however, long enough to burn Randy Moss in effigy!

After a nifty 11-6 (.653) for the opening week, we torch our own Moss doll (Yeah, we know he doesn’t play by the Bay anymore. Work with me here!) and offer...

(sponsored by Pamela Martin & Associates...for about $300 an hour)

#8 LOUISVILLE over Middle Tennessee giving 39:
The Weber Kid thanks the soon-to-be-black-and-Blue Raiders for bringing home one of Vin’s best bets of Week One by losing substantially at Florida Atlantic! It’s all about the money, Honey as MTSU follows up that visit to a Sun-of-a-beyotch Belt champion contender with road tilts here and again next week in Baton Rouge. Cards probably not gonna’ reach 70's again, but trek into high 50's or 60's is not outta’ the question...Louisville 58 Middle Earth State 13

#15 RUTGERS over Navy giving 15 1/2:
Knights have won and covered 5 of last 6, though none of those spreads were double-digits. The failed cover vs. the Omnipotent Owls leads Vin to side with the State Uni of NJ. Since the Sopranos vacated the premises earlier this summer, Knights players and coaches have been studying game-film in a backroom at the Bada Bing!...
Garden State Parkway Paladins 31 Middies 13

#1 USC:
IDLE (next @ Nebraska) ( guys just sit in that corner and THINK about what you didn’t do last week!)

#9 Virginia Tech over #2 LSU taking 12: The only certainty here is defense, defense, defense. Vin has watched this line fluctuate from 13 to 8 to 12. Yikes! Hokies managed all of 33 net rushing yards vs. the Bucs of ECU. Brandon Ore grabbed 70 on 23 carries and eight other rushing plays yielded some serious negative yardage. Tech likely won’t turn it over three times again. Huge game for both sides...Bengals 19 Hokies 13

#3 West Virginia over MARSHALL giving 23 ½: Second choice for "lock" pick. See Vindicator’s Week One write-up on WVU/Western Michigan. Mighty Mounties continued to press by scoring 10 points in the last 5 minutes of the game when they already had 52 points and a comfortable lead on the board ...’Eers 48 Herd 13

Troy over #4 FLORIDA taking 26 ½: Trojans beat the number last week on a touchdown as time expired (and those of us here at Vindy’s Picks thank them for that effort!) against run-first, grind-it-out Arkansas squad. Hogs turned it over three times as well. Crocs might just let Tebow run 50 times too. Sun Belt gets the nod anyway... Florida 42 Troy 20

#5 (tie) Wisconsin over UNLV giving 23 1/2: Volunteer UNLV coach Shane Steichen is just 12 credit hours short of a journalism degree and battled current Rebels QB Rocky Hinds for the position last year. Can’t ya just imagine Burgess Meredith, in his former film role as "Mickey", encouraging Hinds on the practice field, yelling "Eye of typewriter, Rock! Eye of the typewriter!"...Badgers 34 UNLV6

#5 (tie) OKLAHOMA over Miami giving 10 1/2: Local Las Vegas product RB DeMarco Murray certainly had his way against North Texas, scoring five touchdowns for the Okies in the first half. We think we also noticed the Sooners’ water-boy toting the rock late in Oklahoma’s 79-10 win. It’s a new dawn in Coral Gables, but.....Still OK 30 Miami 16

#19 Texas Christian over #7 TEXAS taking 9 ½: Auspicious start for the Steers, who were out-first-downed, out-rushed, out-passed and out-time-of-possessioned (we’ll look for that word in next year’s Webster’s Dictionary!) by Arkansas State. Toads got lotsa’ preseason love as this year’s edition of Boise State. We’re not sold on that, but we’ll grab the points anyway...’Horns 21 TCU 17

#10 California over COLORADO STATE giving 14: Possible letdown spot for the Bears. Cal QB Longshore overthrew wide-open receivers in the end zone on three straight plays at the end of the first half vs. Tennessee. State let rival Colorado off the hook late and lost in the extra period. Rams actually beat Cal 23-21 at Berkeley in ‘03. With loss to Buffaloes outta’ the way, Rams will focus more on upcoming Mountain Jest season...Bears 35 CSU 12

South Carolina over #11 GEORGIA taking 6: OK, we missed badly on Week One’s Oklahoma State upset call. Gamecocks owe Georgia for 2006 shutout in Columbia. A second consecutive forecast loss here by the Bulldogs and they become the season’s first guest at Vindy’s Ye Olde Taxidermy Shop! Geez, we’re stubborn, aren’t we???!! South Carolina 19 Joja’ 17

#12 OHIO STATE over Akron giving 28 ½: Your flustered forecaster changed his initial pick (never a good sign!), but Akron has a bunch of new linemen on both sides of the ball and turned in its first losing SU record in four years last season with one of those third-year coaches at the helm and 16 returning starters...Buckeyes 42 Zips 8

Brigham Young over #13 UCLA taking 7 ½: One of two games for each team that stands between it and an undefeated season. Cougars will probably need the same strong defensive play they got against Arizona. Hopin’ for a classic... Bruins 28 Mormons 24

#14 PENN STATE over Notre Dame giving 17 ½: Irish offense is so young (On three now..."Howwwww younnnnng issss ittt?").. Irish offense is so young...Britney Spears’ baby was seen driving a blocking sled at practice sessions earlier this week in South Bend! Lions avenge last year’s 24-point defeat... State 29 ND 7

#16 Nebraska over WAKE FOREST giving 7 ½: Great spot for Huskers to fall on their faces, but Deacons better hope the five new guys on D can slow down the rushing juggernaut that ran 70 plays on the ground for 400+ yards against Reno. If Big Red doesn’t look ahead to USC...Nebraska 34 Wake 14

#17 AUBURN over South Florida giving 7: Bulls’ lackluster 28-13 "victory" over I-AA Elon doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. Given that final score, we could surmise South Florida a) was looking ahead to this one, b) was playing possum to not reveal too much for this week’s game-plan, c) was over-rated or d) believed there was a 10-point "mercy rule" in effect when playing Football Championship Division teams...Warhawks 21 USF 10

#18 Arkansas: IDLE (next @ Alabama)

#20 Hawaii over LOUISIANA TECH giving 28: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Vindicator apologizes for listing Hawaii as "idle" here last week when, in fact, the Islanders were actually beating the bejeezus outta’ Northern Colorado. With a weak schedule, ‘Bows know they have to garner votes with style points. Only two Bulldogs opponents scored less than 31 points last season.. Ten folks from that mean..."staunch" defense return...UH 61LT 24

Samford @ #21 GEORGIA TECH: No line.

WASHINGTON over #22 Boise State taking 3: We’ll just hope for a push here, but Huskies opened year with promise by taking care of business and whacking Syracuse. We heard UDUB has arranged for soon-to-be-former- Idaho Senator Larry Craig to meet the Broncos in the men’s room shortly after they debark at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport...Sled Dogs 28 Boise State 25

#23 TEXAS A&M over Fresno State giving 17: Gee, could the Aggies finally being playing up to the expectations we thought they’d play up to when Uncle Fran first took over as HC? Bulldogs first cover in ‘07 will equal its season total of spread wins from ‘06! In each of the past three seasons, A&M has had one lower opponent play it much closer than it should have. Might happen again this year, but not this week...Aggies 27 FSU 7

#24 TENNESSEE over Southern Miss giving 11: Erik Ainge played a mighty fine game in a gutsy effort vs. Cal considering he has a few broken digits! That’s a good sign for a nice Rocky Top comeback and victory over the Eagles...UT 27 USM 14

#25 CLEMSON over Louisiana-Monroe giving 24 1/2: No anticipated falter here for Clemson as the Tigers have won and covered three of last four tilts that followed the annual Bowden Bowl. ULM is still Vindy’s choice to take the Sun Belt conference, but it’s still just an appetizer for the Big Six squads...Clemson 41 Monroe 7

Revisiting last week’s lead story, we offer the following 12-hour rule possibilities for college hoopsters: "joint-to-point", "snort-to-court" and "merlot-to-freethrow" ("Paging Mr. O’Neil. Mr. Shaquille O’ the white courtesy phone, please."). BTW, drunken astronauts certainly gives new meaning to "I’ll buy, if you fly!"

During the Colorado State spring game, 4-year-old Caden Thomas wandered into the end zone, got tangled up with the receiver and broke up a potential TD pass. The referee ruled "incidental contact" on the play and the young man is probably headed for a future spot on the cover of a Madden video game!

Let’s hear it for the little guys! Sure, everybody’s heard about App State’s upset of Meeeechigan. How many of ya knew Rice fell to I-AA Nicholls State and I-A Bowlin’ Green toppled Minnesota as a 16-point doggie???!!!! The crowd chants, "E-lon, E-lon, E-lon, E-lon...!"

After the New Year, Michael Vick surrendered a water bottle with a compartment that contained a "small amount of dark particulate and pungent aroma closely associated with marijuana" to security at Miami International Airport We’re thinking he coulda’ got an endorsement deal for Evian bottled bong water!

In June, NIKE initially stood by its endorsement deal with Vick despite allegations of involvement in illegal canine activity. However, there’s no truth to the rumor the company was actually planning to change its motto to "just dog it".

Come to think of it, the NIKE swoosh does kinda’ look like a tail, doesn’t it???!!!

Also in June, Bjorn Borg withdrew from a tennis match after suffering injuries incurred while breaking up a fight between his golden retriever and a German shepherd. Big Mike reportedly had a couple of grand on the shepherd!

Later that month, shortly after reading Patriots QB Tom Brady’s quote likening receiver Wes Walker to a "Labrador", Michael invited the New England wideout to his home in Virginia!

When Mike gets incarcerated, the folks at Westminster can rest assured that his fellow inmates will vote him "Best of Show(er)"!

During a November interview, Meat Loaf told Rolling Stone that his performance style is "like a football team with music." Can’t wait for the singer/actor, known for his role in Rocky Horror Picture Show, to put out an album featuring such tunes as "Buckeyes By the Dashboard Light","Bat Outta’ Bucknell", "It’s All Come Running Back to Me Now" and the classic "I Would Do Anything for Lovey (Smith)"

In May, Texas Rangers 3B Hank Blalock agreed to undergo surgery to remove a rib. Uh oh...the last time some notable guy gave up a rib, we got...WOMAN!

On July 16, the Philadelphia Phillies recorded the 10, 000th loss in franchise history; the first pro team to do so. In addition to the dubious distinction, players, coaches and other team personnel received a set of steak knives and discount coupons for local businesses around the City of Brotherly Love!

"Locked in a Box?": The lock of da’ week record is off to a fine 1-0 start following LSU’s demolition of Mississippi State.

Vindy’s Week 2 Best Bets: Last Week: 2-2 Season: 2-2 (.500)
WYOMING -24 over Utah State, EAST CAROLINA -4 over North Carolina, VIRGINIA -16 over Duke, Toledo +3 ½ over CENTRAL MICHIGAN