Friday, December 19, 2008

Vindy's 2008-09 Bowl Picks- Part Deux

DEC. 28
Northern Illinois over Louisiana Tech giving 1 ½ (47): LOCK OF DA’ BOWLS.
Rookie NIU head coach Jerry Kill inherited 20 returning starters and took advantage of that to increase the Huskies points-scored by 6 per game (to average of 25), while lowering points-against by nearly two touchdowns per game (to average of 18). NIU did lose 3 of final 4 SU, but against high-powered offenses of Ball State and Central Michigan. Weeziana Tech can score as well, but big points came at the expense of WAC squads New Mexico State, Idaho and Utah State (38 in an outright loss), while putting up just 7 as one of Army’s trio of straight-up victories. Huskies could throw a shutout, but let’s call it...NIU 23 LT 7

DEC. 29
NC State over Rutgers taking 7 (53):
Best guess for “wish I had it back”. Rutgers was left for dead after an 0-3 SU/ATS start, but covered its final eight games, winning six outright. Lowest rushing yardage totals for University of NJ since 84 ypg in 2004, but Mike Teel has given the Knights a potent air attack. On the other side of the field, Coach O’Brien has ‘Pack returning to the bowls after team went 3-9 just three seasons ago. O’Brien led Boston College to seven straight bowl victories before joining NC State. It’s okay to take a Knight to a gunfight, but we’ll just take the points...Rutgers 24 NCSU 20

#22 Northwestern taking #25 Missouri taking 13 (66):
We like the “over” more than a side here. Wildcats decent defensively, but gave up 45 to Ohio State and 37 to Michigan State. Regular readers know we’ve been lambasting the Tigers “defense” all season. Mizzou crushed Arkansas in a bowl last year following three-TD defeat by Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship en route to third-straight bowl cover (2-1 SU), but we expect NW to light up the scoreboard enough in first bowl under Coach Pat Fitzgerald (and while we’re making another conservative call, the upset would not shock this prognosticator)...Tigers 44 NW 34

DEC. 30
Maryland over Nevada-Reno taking 1 (58):
Curious line, except Terps’ adjustment to a new offensive coordinator this year shows in a 4-ppg decrease in points-scored. Still, we like Maryland’s ACC-caliber D over Reno’s wild-and-wooly WAC offense (which has yielded just a 1-2 SU/ATS result in last three bowls)... Box Turtles 31 UNR 28

Rice over Western Michigan giving 3 (73):
This got lock consideration. Virtually a home game for the Owls, who addition to having a pass-heavy offense, also get it done on the ground. Not good news for WMU team that thrives on just outscoring its opponents. Broncos average turnovers per game. Can’t give the Owls a short field. A french Olympic swimmer and Rice fan (don’t ask) was quoted as saying, “The Mid-Americans? We’re gonna’ smash ‘em. That’s what we came here for.”...Owls 52 WMU 38

#13 Oklahoma State over #15 Oregon giving 3 (76 ½):
Second-highest over/under total of all 34 bowls. At first glance, the total appears justified. But a more in-depth look reveals both teams favoring the rush (though Cowpokes have racked nearly as much passing yardage) and a quickly-moving, lower-scoring game. Ducks beat up on weak Pacifist Ten foes, while State went toe-to-toe with the stellar Big 12 South. Mallards lost at home to Boise. Cowboys lost by 4 in Austin. Cowpokes and the “under” gets the vote...OKSU 38 Decoys 31

DEC. 31
Air Force over Houston taking 2 ½ (64):
Pairing of two squads with completely different philosophies. Cougars live to pass, while the only passing done by the Pilots involves waking past opposing players back to huddle following runs for first-downs! Flyboys won in mid-September 31-28 at Houston. Coogs hung 70 on Tulsa, but are on 0-3 SU/ATS bowl slide...USAF 29 UH-OH 27

#24 Oregon State over #18 Pittsburgh giving 3 (52 ½):
Beavers probably deserving of fave role here since they had been on 8-1 ATS run until losing the RB component of the Rodgers brothers before bad loss to Oregon. Panthers took four of final five outright to get here (though we discount wins over Notre Dame and Louisville, props to Pitt for blowout of Connecticut!) And got points in four of ‘em. How weird it would be if Panthers win, Trojans cover vs. Penn State, who belted the Beavers, who tripped up Southern Cal. Pitt’s ast bowl “appearance” was 35-7 loss to Utah in 2004... Beavers 34 Pitt 20

Boston College over Vanderbilt giving 3 ½ (41):
Another game we ike to go under the total. While failing tio cover the past two, Eagles have won bowls in each of the last 8 seasons. Admirals opened 5-0 straight up, but struggled mightily to get that bowl-eligibility-securing 6th victory (mid-November at Kentucky) and posted 14 just one time in last eight tilts to stumble into first post-season competition since 1982...BC 19 Vandy 7

Minnesota over Kansas taking 10 (57 ½):
gO-Fers offense went seriously-dormant in conference play, but the much-improved defense kept Minny in most of its games (55-0 loss to Iowa in season-ender the obvious exception!). As Todd Reesing’s passing goes, so goes Kansas. Fightin’ Mangones drew horrible conference slate this year, facing Oklahoma in Norman, Texas Tech and Texas. Jayhawks recorded seven wins, but vs... Florida International, Weeziana Tech, I-AA Sam Houston State, at Iowa State (barely) and Colorado. Only option here is to grab the grab the ten-spot...Birds 34 Gilded Gerbils 27

#14 Georgia Tech over Louisiana State giving 4 (50):
If they didn’t do so before, the Bees players (and their foes) now believe in Coach Johnson’s triple-option! Bengals pretty good stopping the run (106 ypg allowed), but went 2-9 against the number, are on 3-15-2 spread death-spiral and almost lost to Troy as 20-point chalk. State seniors have little to play for. ‘Jackets defeated SEC opponents at both ends of the spectrum... Mississippi State and Georgia... Ramblin’ Wreck 20 Paper Tigers 12

JAN. 1 (“Hey look, Mr. Bill....these are all Thursday games!” “Oh, noooooooooooooooooo.....!”)
Iowa over South Carolina giving 3 ½ (43):
Smallish line shows some respect for Gamehens squad that lost three of its last five and turns the ball over almost three times a game! By contrast, Hawkeyes won five of its last six to get here. Steve Spurrier better become the “Ol’ Ball-Protection Coach” or his folks are in trouble vs. Iowa club that’s covered three of last four post-season trips (against the likes of Texas, LSU and Florida ...twice!)...Hawkeyes 27 Chicken Nuggets 9

#16 Georgia over #19 Michigan State giving 7 ½ (54):
What will be the mind-set of the Bulldogs after squandering huge lead in loss to Joja’ Tech? Georgia has been backer-friendly in the bowls, going 7-3 ATS the last 10 years. After hearing how good Hawaii was for a couple weeks last season, Joja’ trashed the ‘Bows. No such hype surrounding State this time, but we like UGA anyway...’Dawgs 38 MSU 19

Nebraska over Clemson taking 2 ½ (55 ½):
Tigers were one of season’s biggest busts (as noted in an earlier forecast, we had a futures wager on Clemson to win it all), but won and covered 3 of last 4. And though Tigers allowed 34 points to ‘Bama and 41 to FSU, no other opponent scored more than 21. Tigers have given points in each of the last three years’ bowls, but won just one and covered none of ‘em! Bo Pelini has returned the Huskers to an eight-win season and coached Big Dread to an OT loss at Texas Tech, but the defense still has issues...Nebraska 31 Clemson 30

#5 Southern Cal over #6 Penn State giving 10 (45):
Oh, the shame! But the pick is more head than heart. Lions just one bad 4th Quarter defensive series away from a title shot in Miami, yet also just a lone Buckeyes turnover from two losses and being completely outta’ the championship conversation. Just two State foes put up more than teens on the scoreboard (24 each by Illinois and Iowa). SoCal is even better, allowing just two opponents more than 10 (23 to Stanford and 27 in only outright loss at Oregon State) and while it lost four of last 6 ATS, none of those saw a spread this low. Trojans won’t likely get anything going vs. State’s run stoppers, but the Lions’ pass defense, especially on 3rd-and-long, is an exploitable weakness. Big Tent-Peg Conference is on 0-4 SU Rose Bowl skid. Trojans have won and covered 5 of last 6 post-season games, and three of last four tries in Pasadena (convincingly!). While we’ll accept a SoCal spread win or an outright victory by the Lions, a State defeat covering the line is of no consolation to this proud, but skeptical alum...USC 29 PSU 14

#12 Cincinnati over #21 Virginia Tech giving 1 ½ (42):
As always, defense is the strength of the Hokies (last five opponents scored in the teens or less and Tech is plus-11 in take-aways). Bearkats need to do better protecting the passer (yielded 30 sacks this season) and the ball itself (minus-5 turnovers). Tech is only 2-5 vs. the number in last 7 bowls (winning two outright), while Cincy has covered just 1 of last 6 post-season tilts. ‘Kats did close the year with five SU victories, have won three straight bowls (though only over Southern Miss, Western Michigan and Marshall) and have revenge factor for 29-13 loss at Virginia Tech in 2006...UC 27 VT 23

JAN. 2
#20 Mississippi over #8 Texas Tech taking 5 ½ (70 1/2):
Yeah, Vindicator has a snowball’s chance of pickin’ the correct side here. The Tarot deck likes Tech, the coin backed Ole Miss 6 outta’ 10. The Magic 8-Ball responded, “You gotta’ be kiddin’ me!” and Auntie Entity’s wheel favored “dismemberment” (but bowl committee members typically look down upon that [though Dick Cheney has recently come out in favor of water-boarding !]). Go! Run! Save yourselves!...Rebels 31 Red Raiders 29

Kentucky over East Carolina taking 2 (42):
This one got “lock” votes. We were seriously hopin’ see the Pirates getting about a touchdown because they’ve won their last five games outright when taking 8 ½ or more points (including last season’s bowl win over Boise State getting double-digits). ECU fizzled a bit after opening upsets over Virginia Tech and West Virginia, following that success with a four-point squeaker over Tulane and three straight losses. Pirates didn’t get the booty as chalk this season, going just 2-6-1. Wildcats had some poor moments, but lost at ‘Bama by a FG...Kentucky 24 East Carolina 17

#7 Utah over #4 Alabama taking 10 ½ (45):
If both defenses dominate they way they can, this will be a close, low-scoring game. Between LSU and his first year at ‘Bama, Nick Saban has gone 4-2 SU/ATS in his last six bowl opportunities, but didn’t lay double-digits in any of ‘em. Key match-up here might be Tide’s rushing game (196.5 ypg) vs. Utes run defense (107.2 ypg allowed). Given that TCU had Utah on the ropes before losing and conspiracy theory noted earlier regarding the BYU game, Utes’ best win of the season mighta’ been 31-28 victory over Oregon State. Senior QB Brian Johnson is a good signal-caller, but Tim Tebow he ain’t. Still, we take Utah as the only BCS bowl doggie we’‘ll back...Tide 23 Utes 17

JAN. 3
Buffalo over Connecticut taking 4 (51 1/2):
Both teams relatively new to I-A post-season play as UConn enters only its third bowl, while Bulls make their bowl debut. Run-heavy Huskies spanked eventual Big Least champ Cincinnati, but crawl into January having dropped 3 of last 4 games outright (beating only Syracuse). Buffalo prefers the air game and its best shot at a victory might be drawing the Dogs into a shootout. Bulls coach Turner Gill interviewed at Syracuse and Auburn, but just signed one year extension for more moola at Buffalo. That should work in Buffalo’s favor. Bulls fans can save plane fare and just skate across Lake Ontario to the Great White North.... UConn 27 Buffalo 24

JAN. 5
#3 Texas over #10 Ohio State giving 9 ½ (53 ½):
There’s more pressure on Texas here to prove the BCS folks made the wrong choice sending Oklahoma to the Big 12 championship game. We think Mack Brown will be more than happy to oblige and will run it up given the opportunity. Buckeyes like playing in Glendale, having won the Fiesta Bowls in ‘02, ‘03 and ‘05, but none of those teams compared to this year’s ‘Horns (except maybe Miami’s then-undefeated 2002 squad) and State is pedestrian 4-5 ATS in last 9 post-season trips. UT no bargain either at 4-6 ATS in last ten bowls. Steers covered two of last three, but did not cover a minus-9 vs. Iowa in 2006...Texas 34 Ohio State 23

JAN. 6
Tulsa over #23 Ball State taking 2 ½ (77):
Well, one sure-fire way to get detractors off your back for criticizing your decision to decline an offer to play another undefeated team in a bowl game is to get trounced in your conference title by your 15-point underdog opponent and prove yourself not worthy to begin with! Not sure what the Cardinals have left to gain with a victory...the perfect season? Gone? MAC title? Gone. Coach Hoke? Gone... to coach San Diego State???!!!. Golden Hurricane forfeited the C-USA crown via seven (count ‘em, seven!) turnovers vs. ECU. First underdog game for Tulsa since 2007 MAC championship match...Tulsa 38 BSU 34

JAN. 8
#1 Florida over #2 Oklahoma giving 3 (72):
Gators beat previously-undefeated Crimson Tide without Percy Harvin and minus a couple of defensive players as well. Sooners faced only one other team with a great defense ... TCU...and blew it out, but Toads didn’t have the weapons on offense that Florida does. Also detracting from Boomer Schooner’s title hopes is that piece of hardware called the Heisman Trophy...won recently by OK QB Sam Bradford. The last three owners of that award failed to lead their teams to a straight-up bowl win. We refer you to...’05 weiner Reggie Bush (USC lost to Texas in the Rose Bowl [Anybody remember some guy named...Vince Young???!!]), ‘06 weiner Troy Smith (Buckeyes lost the BCS National Title to Florida) and (GASP!)...’07 weiner...some kid named Tebow... (Gators lost to Michigan in the Capital One Bowl!). We also lean toward the “over” here. This just in...Sooners star RB (and Las Vegas product) DeMarco Murray will miss the game. Not necessarily a show-stopper, but it definitely hurts Oklahoma...Florida 44 Sooners 33

Oh, the beer in my hand’s delightful,
And Vindy’s Picks sooooooooo insightful.
Even if they’re not in the poll,
Let ‘em bowl! Let ‘em bowl! Let ‘em bowl!

The points show no signs of stoppin’,
Despite all those pads a’poppin’,
The fans really love them so,
Let ‘em bowl! Let ‘em bowl! Let ‘em bowl!

When the last bowl game ends for the night,
How depressed I will be ‘til the Fall.
But if all of Vin’s picks are right,
I can say I at least had a ball.

Painted logos are quickly dryin’,
And the sponsors all hope we’re buyin’.
The scoreboard shows first-and-goal,
Let ‘em bowl! Let ‘em bowl! Let ‘em bowl!

Iiiii’ll be in a bowwwwl....for Chrisssstmassss...if onnnnnly.... innnnn.... myyyyyyy.....dreeeeams!

Just a thought on Brigham Young’s selection to the Las Vegas Bowl over Texas Christian...cue-up the Pink Floyd...”Money, it’s a hit. Don’t give me that T-C-U bullsh*t”. It’s no secret the Cougars are traveling yet-again to our national gambling mecca because they put butts in the stadium seats, but ‘bout a little variety???!!! And the beer vendors have to throw elbows as they try to make an alcoholic buck packed into whichever end zone the BYU opponents’ fans occupy!

OJ Simpson formally became a “guest” at a Southern Nevada correctional facility earlier this month (news flash...the Trojan/Buffalo rushing star is now in more-Northern Nevada grey-bar hotel). Maybe they’ll eventually retire his prisoner number (No. 1027820)! Wonder what his rookie prison year card will fetch! Anybody else out there see the irony in OJ’s role as a cop in the Naked Gun movie series???!!!!

Penn State’s Nittany Lion mascot, James Sheep, is suspended for the Rose Bowl after sustaining a DUI charge not long before PSU blew out Michigan State. Not to worry, he was offered a temp contract to don the Stanford tree costume until he’s reinstated in 2009...and a scholarship by Florida State! BTW, the police report quotes the wayward Sheep as calling out, “Joe Paaaaaaaaahhhhhhh” as he was hauled away in handcuffs by Happy Valley’s finest!

During a farewell appearance earlier this month in Baghdad, President Bush was the target of a pair of shoes, launched by an Iraqi journalist. Dubya tried to make the grab, but couldn’t reel in the footwear. In his defense, however, the shoes were thrown a little behind him and the outbound Commander-in-Chief trotted out of the conference room as the Secret Service sent in the punting unit. Anybody else out there foresee a NIKE commercial/satire to be aired during the upcoming Super Bowl???!! The original play called for Birkenstocks, but the Iraqi checked off at the line of scrimmage to Pradas after looking over the defense. The journalist later apologized for his actions, noting his mistook the president for a member of the Fightin’ Irish football team!

Following up on Vindy’s last discussion of the Army’s “coffee with a soldier” light of the Hudson River Rats 34-0 neutral site loss to Navy, are there latte-lappin’ linemen? Did the motto change to one of the following: “Bean all you can bean”, “I am a cappuccino of one!” or “You make ‘em strong. We make ‘em espresso strong!”

Condi Rice was quoted this week as saying, “Only an idiot would trust Vindy’s pick on the Texas Tech game!” CollegeFootballNews.Com’s Clucko the Chicken selected Ole Miss over Texas Tech with a confidence-point ranking of 28 (1 being lowest confidence, 34 being the highest). BTW, Vindy and Clucko are practically related. The family tree-house suggests third cousins-four times removed (and those are just the incidents that actually made the official police blotter!).

“Wish I Had It Back”: Yeah, we’d like to revisit the Cincinnati -7 ½ over HAWAII pick after questioning the Bearkats’ motivation given the already-accepted berth in the Orange Bowl!

“Locked in a Box”: The Oklahoma Sooners left little doubt about covering the Big 12 Championship game and raised the lock record to 13-2 (.867)!

Vindy’s 2008 Bowl Season Best Bets: Championship Week: 1-0 (One pick?! That wuss!) Season: 38-25-1 (.603)
Rice -3 over Western Michigan, Boston College/Vanderbilt “under” 41, Joja’ Tech/LSU “under” 50, Kentucky +2 over East Carolina

Vindicator offers his annual holiday greetings to all his faithful readers...Pass on Earth, Goodwill Toward Linemen. On top of ‘dat, we extend...Crimson Tidings of Southern Comfort and joy! Be sure to visit us one more time a few days after completion of the BCS Championship game to check Vindy’s bowl recap and publication of his leftover “hash”!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Vindy's 2008-09 Bowl Predictions- Early Games


LAS VEGAS, Nevada (ITAR-Tass)...Way back in April, construction workers dug up a Red Sox jersey from a new Yankee Stadium service corridor. Buried there as a curse by a Red Sox fan, the David Ortiz uniform top “worked” ...the Bronx Bombers did not even make the 2008 MLB playoffs. Fast-forward several months to December 2008, when the Vegas Vindicator, conducting his annual change of flooring from Italian marble tile to Astroturf in honor of bowl season, uncovered a player jersey from USC, the 2007 Grill-Master Award winner, reportedly hidden in his livingroom by bookies hoping to put a hex on Vindy’s season. But the ploy was a complete bust as Vin’s lock picks hit nearly 87%, “best bets” cashed tickets at a more-than-60% success rate and the Sin City Soothsayer finished a regular season over .500 for first time since Joe Paterno discovered fire! Showing his rapier wit, Vindy responded to the attempted sabotage by quipping “Stuff that in your stocking and smoke it!”, “Yo...Bite me!” and “Curse this!” In fact, given the unprecedented positive results, the Weber Kid hinted at plans to have a Texas Tech jersey entombed under his driveway next season. The famous forecaster allegedly offered the job (and a significant stipend) to a local bookmaker, who declined, but allegedly said he could refer him to an “associate who’s very good with cement”!

A ho-ho-ho....hum...4-5 championship week (125-120-4, 510), prompting an Iraqi sports journalist to hurl platform sneakers, has your sardonic seer diving for cover behind...

(AP rankings; lines of December 18, over/under totals in parentheses)

DEC. 20
Navy over Wake Forest taking 3 (43):
The original moniker for this game was the Congressional Bowl, but that didn’t even last the duration of the first season! Middies have beaten the line 4 straight post-seasons and gone 2-2 SU, missing outright victories by a whisker over Boston College in 2006 and Utah last year. Rematch of late September game in Winston-Salem, won 24-17 by the Boat People. Nothing’s changed to suggest Navy can’t repeat that and the Sailors are on nice 21-11ATS run getting points away from the home harbor. Middies also did not give up a single point in its final two regular season games, neither of which were played in Annapolis. Vindy’s note-to-self in his post-bowl recap last season was akin to “Do not bet vs. the Middies in a bowl!”...Ensigns 20 Deacs 17

Colorado State over Fresno State taking 2 ½ (60 1/2):
Bettors nightmare. This pair combined to go 3-10 ATS away from their respective homefields. Rams did almost beat BYU and how the Bulldogs opened the season beating Rutgers at Exit 9B of the Jersey Turnpike is still a mystery. Fresno’s only cover other than win over the Knights was at San Jose State. Bulldogs bowl resume ain’t bad though...4-1 SU/ATS with victories over Virginia, UCLA and Georgia Tech (twice!)...Fresno 30 Colorado State 28

South Florida over Memphis giving 12 1/2 (52):
A 5-0 SU start for the Bulls quickly unraveled as USF dropped five of its last 7. Have to think junior QB Matt Grothe can pick apart a Tigers defense that played in C-USA conference that did not value defense nearly as much as it valued offensive shootouts. Bulls just 1-2 SU/ATS in short bowl history. They’ll make this one count...South Florida 45 Memphis 19

#17 Brigham Young over Arizona taking 3 (61 1/2):
The Cougar seniors make a 4th straight December trek to Sin City (woo-hoo). The Mormon faithful have made the Vegas Silver Bowl nearly a home atmosphere, but the Cougs have covered only two of their last six bowls. Not sure how well the Wildcats fans will travel given ‘Zonas’s first post-season showing since 1998. BYUsed Me may have lost legitimately to Utah, but the blowout loss leads this forecaster to consider a conspiracy meant to ensure a conference-wide profitable BCS berth for a Mountain West squad...Missionaries 28 Wildcats 25

DEC. 21
Troy over Southern Miss giving 4 (54 1/2):
Trojans went 8-3 against the line this season, including covers at Columbus and at Baton Rouge, in piling up 8 SU victories (and the 9th should’ve come at LSU). Troy allowed a grand total of 19 points over its last three regular games and will show no fear playing a mere C-USA opponent. Eagles also finished strong, winning and covering their last four tilts to get here, but beat only one team that finished with a winning record for the 2008 campaign...Troy 34 USM 20

DEC. 23
#11 Texas Christian over #9 Boise State giving 2 ½ (46):
Two great defenses square off here and both teams can put up points. Both entered the season with thoughts of much bigger things than December visit to San Diego. Boise did its part, going undefeated, including a win in Eugene. Rematch of 2003 bowl, in which Toads covered but lost SU to the Broncos. TCU has covered 5 of 6 bowls under Coach Patterson. Boise is 2-3 ATS in its last 5 bowl games. Best call here might be the “under”...TCU 20 BSU 16

DEC. 24
HAWAII over Notre Dame giving 1 1/2 (48 1/2):
Frightenin’ Irish have been defeated by nine consecutive bowl opponents. Middle-Eastern pilgrims held a symbolic stoning of the devil earlier this month in Saudi Arabia. Funny, fans in South Bend conducted a similar action involving a Charlie Weis effigy (and Vindy’s spies report unhappy alumni in Ann Arbor planning a little soiree for a Rich Rodriguez dummy too!). Warriors had Cincinnati all but beaten, but yielded a 19-point 4th Quarter that cost ‘em an 8th straight-up win. No snowballs in the tropics, but there should be lotsa’ pineapples, coconuts and lava rocks for Catholic “fans” wanting to show off their arms...’Bows 38 Hunchbacks 31

DEC. 26
Florida Atlantic over Central Michigan taking 6 ½ (63):
Owls got hot in the second half of the season vs. not-real potent Sun Belt schedule after dropping 4 of first 5 SU (in their defense, six of first eight were road games) to win five of last six. Chippies bowling for 3rd consecutive season (1-1 SU/2-0 ATS). Only three of CMU’s opponents scored less than 25. Owls allowed 52 at shame in that....but also 50 to Florida International. Chippies gave up 56 to (gasp!) Eastern Michigan...CMU 38 FAU 33

DEC. 27
North Carolina over West Virginia (PK) (44 ½):
Not sure which Carolina team will take the field here, but since Butch Davis took the helm, points-scored are up nearly 10 ppg, while points-against are down 10 ppg. Can’t argue with a 20-point shift on average. First year coach Bill Stewart led Mounties to bowl win over Oklahoma last season after RichRod jumped to Ann Arbor. WVU not scoring as much this year, but have covered three straight bowl appearances, winning two. Butch Davis is no stranger to bowl victories either, having been with solid Miami teams in the late Nineties...UNC 23 WVU 19

Wisconsin over Florida State taking 4 ½ (52 1/2):
No known Injun’ suspensions at this point, but there’s still time before kickoff (that pesky academic requirement thingy could still intervene if the criminals on the team go into Gatorade-bucket defilade!). Seminoles have trumped the bowl spread four straight times (but haven’t been minus points since 2004 season). Badgers imploded during conference play, but had three defeats by combined 6 points...Da’ Chop 23 Varmints 20

California over Miami giving 7 (50):
Bears rush D has declined for third straight season, but Miami will throw more often than run anyway. Cal’s offense became more balanced this year and ‘Canes dropped last pair of regular season games, giving up 89 total points. Bears have yielded a lot of points to the better teams it faced, but Miami isn’t in that caliber. Bears at least playing close to home. Miami’s last bowl resulted in uninspired 21-20 win over Reno. Cal’s won 4 of last 5 bowls (3-2 ATS), though just two by 7 or more... Bears 31 Miami 14

Stop by again in a day or two, when we answering the following burning questions... who gets honors as "lock of da' bowls"? Which teams/totals made the "best bets", Gators or Sooners as national champions? Red Raiders...are they real or are they Memorex?! Boxers or briefs?! (Oh sorry...wrong blog!)

Ya'll come back now, hear???!!!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Vindy's 2008 Championship Week Picks


BOULDER, Colorado (Reuters)...”Those who can, play. Those who can’t, coach. Those who can’t coach, predict.” So goes the old adage. And for less than $150, parents can find out where their child falls in the spectrum. That’s the premise of a new DNA test that analyzes blood for the presence of ACTN3, a gene linked to top-flight athletes. The results purportedly determine if a child, between the ages of 8 and 12, will ultimately succeed as a defensive end, outfielder, goalie, offensive coordinator or even a sports-gambling tout. The test can also separate out doer from picker by detecting high levels of another enzyme, called Phosphoric Iodized Potassium Nitrate, or PIKN for short, often found in high concentrations among top-flight prognosticators. The Gaming Control Board immediately issued a statement pooh-poohing the study, noting consistent accurate prediction of sporting events against the spread involves multiple factors and years of studying trends, injuries and weather effects as well as schedule situations and individual, unit or coaching match-ups. Secretly, however, casino operators fear creation of an army of super-forecasters, which could bring the legal sportsbooks to their financial knees in the span of a single season or two.

And to think...the Vindicator gave up his childhood dream of being a member of the Egyptian Olympic cross-country ski team to instead produce things like Week 14's record of 7-6-1 (121-115-4, 513). While Vindy shakes the desert sand (and a little pyramid dust) out of his Rossignols, take a gander at...


MAC Championship @ Detroit, Michigan
#12 Ball State over Buffalo giving 14 1/2:
Kudos to Bulls coach Turner Gill for turning a moribund football program into a seven-win, bowl-bound squad in just three seasons, but last week’s home loss to the Golden Flushes of Kent State, who had only two wins over I-A teams until that point, shows Buffalo is not ready yet to be the MAC champ. It was competitive in back-to-back losses to Central Michigan and Western Michigan, both of whom Ball State defeated (by 7 and 22, respectively). Bulls lost to the Cardinals at home by 30 in 2006 and 35 at Muncie last year... Ball State 42 Buffalo 20

SEC Championship @ Atlanta, Georgia
#2 Florida over #1 Alabama giving 9 ½:
But there are a couple reasons to like Alabama in its first conference crown game since 1999. Tide has allowed 9 points or less in four of last five games (but did have to go to the bonus round to drop LSU in Baton Rouge) and did something Florida didn’t...beat Ole Miss. First underdog opportunity for ‘Bama since season-opening blowout over Clemson (also on a neutral field). Florida could add to its league-leading five interceptions returned for touchdown (tied with two other teams) by pressuring John Parker-Wilson (even without a couple of injured defenders) and we can’t forget UF smashed Georgia on a neutral site. Straight-up winner has covered 8 of last 10 SEC title matches...Crocs 34 Alabama 20

Big 12 Championship @ San Antonio, Texas
#4 Oklahoma over #19 Missouri giving 17: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK.
Right or wrong, the Sooners got the BCS nod to be here. The South representative has dominated the conference championship of late, winning and covering 5 of last 6, all as chalk. In fact, the straight-up winner has covered at least the past eleven title games and if Missouri pulls the upset, we’re launching a Congressional investigation, spearheaded by Kansas senator Sam Brownback! The Sooners smacked the Tigers here 38-17 last season and look even stronger this year, while Mizzou has been touched for 42, 56 and 40 against Illinois, Texas and Kansas...with two of those games on neutral sites. Have to think Okies could hit the 60's for the fifth consecutive game. Only knock on Oklahoma is allowing a 90-yard kickoff return for touchdown early in the 4th Quarter at Oklahoma State. Maybe the Tigers can figure out a way to have the Sooners kick the ball to them each down instead of taking snaps...Oklahoma 58 Mizzou 24

#5 Southern Cal over UCLA giving 32 1/2: Despite unconfirmed reports suggesting otherwise, we think Trojans likely locked in Charlie Weis’ plane ticket outta’ South Bend last week (and final margin woulda’ been worse had USC not suffered three interceptions). Men of Troy have a very remote shot at the big prize, but will probably face Penn State in Pasadena. We figure they’ll go out swingin’ for the fences and aren’t hesitant about scoring obscene amounts of points. Bruins beat USC 13-9 in 2006 and lost by only 14 last season, but having mustered just 6 in home loss to the Beavers and 9 last week at Arizona State, UCLA could be on the wrong end of a second shutout in 2008 ...USC 41 UCLA 0

#13 Cincinnati over HAWAII giving 7 1/2: Guess there was no reason for the Bearkats to lay the lumber to the ‘Cuse Saturday since Friday’s Pitt win over the Mounties gave UC the Big Fleeced title. Two turnovers and ten penalties didn’t help. Motivation could be an issue for Bearkats team already locked into the Orange Bowl and just enjoying a little Island sunshine. In the shadows of Boise State, Hawaii has quietly compiled nice seven-win season, including victories in six of last eight after slow 1-3 start. ‘Bows 3-2 ATS at home this year and have won four of five outright west of the Mainland. Not bad for a team that brought back just four starters on each side of the ball and introduced a new head coach. ‘Cats have covered 7 of last 9 giving points to non-conference teams...Cincy 31 UH 20

ACC Championship @ Tampa, Florida
#18 Boston College over Virginia Tech giving 1:
Rematch of earlier season game in Chestnut Hill, won 28-23 by the Eagles. Hokies just 2-5 ATS in their past 7 games this year and defeat by BC lowered Tech’s spread record against the Eagles to 2-7. Neither team scoring many points, with VT breaking outta’ the 20's just once (in 35-30 win at Nebraska) and Boston College doing so just three times (once vs. I-AA Rhode Island). Tech having un-Hokie-like year defensively, holding just one FBS opponent (Duke) to single digits. Eagles limited Central Florida to a lone touchdown and pitched shutouts in three other games to-date. BC riding four-game SU win streak. We’ll go with the hotter squad, who also have revenge factor after losing ACC championship 30-16 to these Hokies last year...BC 24 Virginia Tech 20

#23 Pittsburgh over CONNECTICUT taking 2 ½: Panthers would like to return the favor after losing at home by 20 to UConn last season. Pitt just 1-3 SU/ATS last 4 vs. the Dogs, but its only road loss came at Cincinnati (by a TD). Connecticut smoked the Bearkats, but squeaked by Temple and lost to South Florida before last week’s bye. Huskies went one-and-done in only ranked appearance back in Week Six and haven’t impressed the AP voters enough to return since then. They won’t get it done this week either...Panthers 24 UConn 19

C-USA Championship @ Orlando, Florida
East Carolina over Tulsa taking 13 ½:
Third appearance for Tulsa in the very short, now four-year history of the game. The previous two weren’t pleasant as Central Florida won (and covered) both (in ‘05 and ‘07). All three C-USA championships were covered by the favorite, but we think that stops this year. After nice 7-0 SU/6-1 ATS start, Golden Hurricane has slipped to 2-2/1-3 recently, including unsettling 3-point win last week at Marshall. The magic that carried the Pirates to upsets of Virginia Tech and West Virginia in its first pair of tilts of 2008 faded quickly with three consecutive outright losses in mid-October (so did the spread record, which now stands at 4-7-1). ECU is, however, on 14-4 run getting points away from home...Tulsa 35 Arrrrrgh 27

Army over Navy taking 11 (@ Philadelphia, PA): Two of country’s perennial Top Ten rushing attacks square off here. Both also rank in the Top 28 in rush defense, which should be conducive to quick, relatively low-scoring affair. While the Middies have scored 12 more rushing touchdowns than Army, it has faced only one of other option team...Air Force, whom it defeated 33-27 earlier. Keydets have only three straight-up victories, but played hard enough to cover in 16-7 loss to the Falcons and 21-17 loss at Texas A&M (who boasts its own Corps of Cadets). Army owns solid 7-3 ATS record on the season and lost by 3 to Buffalo and 7 to Rice. Middies have won 7 games (including victories over Rutgers, at Wake Forest and shutout at Northern Illinois), but are just 5-4 against the line (1-1 as chalk)...Sailors 20 Ground Pounders 13

It’s a little-known fact that back in the late Sixties, the Sin City Soothsayer participated in highly-classified government experiments, using the aforementioned DNA tests. Vindy’s enzyme profile pegged his only chance at a successful sports career as being one of two specific positions...waterboy for a women’s rhythmic gymnastics team or retail associate at a bobblehead doll concession stand!

Las Vegas is one of five cities where the Army is trying “coffee with a soldier”... recruiting America’s future military leaders at local coffee shops. Now we know where the Keydets get their players. If you look closely, you can see the Starbucks logo on the Black Knights’ Gatorade buckets. Talk about getting “up” for the game! Opening jitters have nothin’ to do with’s the iced coffee in those buckets! (Observant fans and viewers at home will also note little plastic sippy-tops on the cups!). As the signals get sent in from the sideline, the QB checks them against a tiny order-menu chalkboard strapped to his wrist! In fact, upon hearing an unsuspecting civilian rattle off his desire for a “caramel latte venti Ristretto...wet!”, a cadet receiver moonlighting recently as a barista off-campus, went in motion behind the pastry case, took advantage of a nice block by a co-worker and picked up a six-yard gain....without spilling a drop!

Joining the league of ESPN college hoops broadcasters this season is former coach Bobby Knight. Showing he’s still passionate about the game and fresh outta’ chairs, The General launched a folding microphone onto the hardwood following a bad call against Texas Tech last week!

Best Weekly Effort:
Week Seven’s nifty 13-5!

Worst Weekly “Effort”: Week Three’s 5-12-1.

WEBER-FRIENDLIES (Best percentage on the predicted side of the spread; minimum 7 at-bats in the forecast): This season’s “You’re in Good Hands Award” goes to...drum roll, please...the Joja’ Bulldogs at 9-1-1 (.900). Second place to the Florida State Seminoles (6-1, .857; who ironically were on “watch” status following an 0-6 forecast record in 2007) and we have a tie for Honorable Mention between the Florida Gators and the Trojans of Southern Cal, both at 9-2 (.818).

FLAME-THROWERS (Worst percentage on the predicted side of ‘da spread): The bookies loved the smell of napalm in the morning... afternoon ...and night...courtesy of this year’s “Grill-Master Supreme Award” winner Texas Tech (1-9, .100...was there ever a doubt??!!). “Suckin’ Place” goes to the Large, Wooden...Badgers of Wisconsin (1-6, .142) and “Dishonorable Mention” to BYUsed Me (2-8, .250).

Below the official radar, but we’ll be watchin’: Utah (4-7, .363) and...Thursday Night (4-9, .303)!

Shoppe Talk: The Red Raiders close out the regular Shoppe season, joined by their Lone Star brethren, the Texas Longhorns, who currently own a 1-4 forecast slide!

Black Shirt: Gets pressed, starched and hung neatly in the locker of Jayhawks QB Todd Reesing, who tossed a pair of 4th Quarter touchdowns to make good on Vindy’s almost-upset pick of Kansas over Mizzou!

“Wish I Had That One Back”: Vindicator called the Texas Tech-Baylor pick mostly likely for this category!

“Locked in a Box?”: OK, there were a few more points scored than predicted (52 more, to be exact!) In the Joja’-Joja’ Tech game, but Bees made good on Vindy’s upset special and boost the lock record to 12-2 (.851)!

Vindy’s Week 9 Best Bets: Last Week: 2-2-1 Season: 37-25-1 (.597)
(Hey...Vindy was a measly 20-35-1, .363 this time last year!) Slim pickin’s this week...TROY -11 over Arkansas State (and that’s all we’d consider among the unranked match-ups!)

Vindicator now gets a well-earned blow (and not a single rolled-up Benjamin to be found!), but worry not, loyal readers. The Omniscient One will return (with his PIKN genes intact) circa December 18 with this season’s version of his infamous bowl predictions! In the immortal words of game-show host Chuck Woolery...”we’ll be back in two and two!”

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Vindy's Picks Week 14-2008 Regular Edition


DEVILS TOWER, Wyoming (BBC)....The contents of a toolbag thought to be long gone following a spacewalk mishap led to an historic meeting between extraterrestrials and mankind at this northwestern landmark last week. Apparently, grease guns weren’t the only items in the bag that accidentally got away from astronaut Heidemarie Stephanyshyn-Piper during a recent repair mission outside the International Space Station. The aliens recovered the backpack-like container and upon discovering a copy of Vindy’s Week 13 picks (which the Endeavour crewmember hoped to peruse during a mid-spacewalk break) inside, made a bee-line for Earth in hopes of placing a few wagers. The alien craft hovered over the mesa-like rock formation for which the town is named and attempted to communicate with local inhabitants through a repetitive sequence of tones and percussion sounds that bore an uncanny resemblance to the Sportscenter theme. Eventually emerging from the mother ship, the other-worldly creatures made their peaceful intentions known through telepathy, and though quickly returned the lost toolbag and grease guns, the visitors would not part with the college pigskin prognostication!

After Week 13's tally of 5-7-1 (114-109-3, .511), befitting a puny human, it’s “ET phone homefield” to call in....


Western Michigan over #15 BALL STATE taking 11:
What is it with these early-week MAC games?! Are conference teams allergic to Thursdays and weekends or what??!! With Utah now firmly-entrenched as the automatic BCS Buster, the Redbirds are merely playing for the pride of the undefeated season and a post-season trip to Mobile, Alabama or, considering travel arrangements for fans, a cold-weather vacation in either Detroit or Toronto following its first-ever conference title match against the MAC East winner. Ball State has taken three of last four outright from Western Michigan, including 5OT 60-57 game just four seasons ago. Broncos sporting a nine-win record, including a neutral-site triumph over Illinois, have grabbed some Top 25 votes the past few weeks and could conceivably head into the bowls with a ranking if they can pick up their 10th win of the season (after totaling just 13 combined wins the previous two years). WMU unfortunately has only one SU victory in its last three tries against teams with winning records. It does, however, have six covers in its last eight lined affairs (4 of 6 away from Waldo Stadium). Given a passing game that’s produced 33 touchdowns against only 6 interceptions and 11 sacks, Broncos can hang offensively with Ball State, but it may be the defense that keeps ‘em in this one. Broncos have allowed only two opponents more than 28 points (not bad by MAC standards). State had beaten every foe this season by at least 12 until last week. Birds looked a little vulnerable, snagging a red zone INT in the final minute vs. the Chippewas to hang on. And since this isn’t a designated “rivalry” game and BSU obviously isn’t part of the directional-Michigans triumvirate, there’s no real motivation to run-up a score...Ball State 35 Western Michigan 27 (Birds made this prognosticator look like an idiot again, whacking WMU by 23 last night!)

Texas A&M over #4 TEXAS taking 35:
As we celebrate the annual holiday, we’re simply thankful there’s only one ranked game on this Thursday! Steers are fourth in the AP, but first runners-up in the poll that counts after being idle last week and still need some help from Oklahoma State to keep the Sooners from jumping them. Each of the last four games between these two have been decided by less than 10 points and the Aggies won 38-30 in 2007, but lost this year by 28 at Oklahoma State, 38 vs. Oklahoma and 20 at Baylor. A&M has scored at least 21 in all but opening 18-14 loss to Arkansas State...Longhorns 52 Aggies 24

FRI. NOV. 27
#9 BOISE STATE over Fresno State giving 21:
Broncos were one of only two favorites backed by your narrator last week and rewarded the famous forecaster, barely, with one of only five dubyas. Broncos tossed three picks (two of which went for Wolfpack scores) in the 3rd quarter to let Reno back in the game or it would’ve been another blowout victory. Gotta’ figure BSU to be relegated to hosting the Humanitarian Bowl (again!), while Bulldogs simply look to close out a disappointing regular season that was expected to be a BCS run. FSU has seven wins, but picked up its first spread victory since season opener last week. Fresno has a lone cover in past seven games against the Broncos...Boise 48 FSU West 21

Mississippi State over #25 MISSISSIPPI taking 14: Kudos to first-year Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt for taking a squad that went 3-9 in 2007 and recording seven wins (and counting!), including victories over Florida and LSU, while losing by just 4 at now-#1 Alabama. State’s just 1-3 ATS as a road dog coming into this one after going 8-3-1 in that role the previous two seasons and shows a mere 2-6-1 ATS in last 9 Egg Bowl bouts. Bulldogs are home for the holidays regardless of this outcome, but could’ve gone bowling had they not suffered one-point losses to Auburn and Kentucky. State accounted for Vindy’s only “best bet” loss last week, beating Arkansas by 3 after spotting the Pigs a two-touchdown lead in the 1st Quarter and has thwarted the Weber Kid three times in four tries besides that one... Ole Miss 20 MSU 10

SAT. NOV. 28
#1 ALABAMA over Auburn giving 14:
War eagles have taken the Iron Bowl six straight years and could take the sting out of their first bowl-less year in nine seasons with a victory. Only two of Auburn’s defeats this year were by more than five points. Make it three...Tide 23 Auburn 6

#2 Florida over #23 FLORIDA STATE giving 16 1/2: Line must be based on historical results from games played in Tallahassee (covered by the Injuns in five of last six here) because this year, Gators are leaving little doubt about their national title game worthiness by hammering SEC opponents and out-of-conference foes by an average margin of 23 points (BTW, we think Florida’s 10th TD vs. Citadel was caught by the UF team physician, who was open way downfield!). ‘Noles need a cover here or in a bowl to continue three-season streak of exactly six spread wins...Gators 38 Florida State 17

#3 Oklahoma over #11 OKLAHOMA STATE giving 7: Until being manhandled by Texas Tech, Cowpokes’ road record would support taking the points, especially in light of improvements on both sides of the ball this season, but State lost by 36 to the Raiders, who lost by 41 to Oklahoma. No, the final margin here won’t be 77, but gotta’ figure it’s bigger than this line. Cowboys haven’t beaten the Sooners since the turn of the new Millennium, but have losses in Stillwater since then by just 6 and 3. First true road challenge for Oklahoma...Sooners 38 Cowboys 24

#5 USC over Notre Dame giving 30 1/2: The Vatican forgave John Lennon this week for comments a few decades ago about the Beatles exceeding the popularity of Jesus, but insiders say absolution for Notre Dame’s loss to Syracuse ain’t happenin’! Adding to the irony of the timing of that pardon is the presence of a freshman QB on the roster named...Crist!...Troy Boys 52 Leprechauns 10

#6 Penn State: IDLE (next...da’ Rose Bowl)

#7 TEXAS TECH over Baylor giving 20: Following public humiliation by the Sooners, in which Tech allowed not one, but TWO 100-yard rushers, at a clip of over five yards per carry, Raiders could come out unfocused and flat after falling from the AP two-hole, but frankly, we think they’ll just be mad. Bares are 4-3 ATS facing conference teams this year, but lost by 24 at Texas and 32 to Oklahoma. Tech no bargain laying points at home, going just 1-2 in ‘08 and only 9-7 the previous four years. Best guess for “wish I had it back”, but... Guns Up (we mean it this time!) 51 Baylor 27

#8 Utah: IDLE (next...da’ Bowls!)

#10 Ohio State: IDLE (next...da’ Bowls!)

Kansas over #12 Missouri (@ Kansas City, MO) taking 14: Potential upset. Tigers have covered the line in 6 of last 8 neutral site games and won this tilt outright last year (also on a neutral site) by just 8. Have to go back to 2004 to find last time Jayhawks dropped three straight ATS in November and Kansas lost by just 14 in Norman earlier. If the defense plays well, the Birds can win this straight up...Mizzou 31 Maybe We Kansas 28

#18 Georgia Tech over #13 GEORGIA taking 8 1/2: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. UPSET SPECIAL. Bees whacked Miami to take the Coastal Division lead, but can only watch the rest of the ACC games play out and hope they get to the conference title game for a possible BCS berth. ‘Jackets used a monster running game to get to this point and the voice in Vindy’s head is screamin’ “upset” again. Wreck’s last defeat of in-state rivals came in 2000 (between the hedges, no less). Couldn’t pull the trigger on the Kansas-Mizzou game, but we’ll do it here. In OT... Bees 19 ‘Dawgs 16

#14 TCU: IDLE (next...da’ Bowls!)

#16 CINCINNATI over Syracuse giving 22: Congrats to the Orange for extending the length of Sunday’s South Bend confession session with a late rally to post their third outright win on the season. And now back to our regularly-scheduled reality TV. ‘Cuse is probably good for a ten-spot and Bearkats haven’t wandered into the 30's since first week of October. They’ll do so here, wrapping up the Big Ceased conference and the commensurate Orange Bowl bid...Cincy 38 Syracuse 10

#17 OREGON STATE over #19 Oregon giving 3 ½: As good as the Mallards have been, the Beavers have pocketed the last two outright and 4 of last 5 ATS against them. State uses its air attack and enough defense to chug into Rose Bowl rematch of early-September disaster in Happy Valley...OSU 38 Decoys 28

#20 BYU: IDLE (next...da’ Bowls!)

Maryland over #21 BOSTON COLLEGE taking 7: Taking da’ points in ACC match-ups the past two weeks has been a lucrative strategy, with the conference dog winning and covering 4 of the 5 games appearing in Vindy’s forecast. Terps will have to do a better job protecting the ball, however, since BC is +15 this season in turnovers and four giveaways did the Box Turtles in last week during 37-3 loss the ‘Noles...Eagles 20 Maryland 16

#22 Michigan State: IDLE (next...da’ Bowls!)

#24 Northwestern: IDLE (next...da’ Bowls!)

BTW, the space travelers offered up 126, 500 Druzpheks (roughly equivalent to 24 U.S. dollars) and a handful of shiny, but dangerous alien trinkets to buy Manhattan....uh...the university, not the island! The folks in Wyoming politely turned down the bid, but did invite their guests to hang around long enough to watch the Longhorns host the Aggies and the annual Thanksgiving Day NFL fare!

$100, 000 for a toolbag???!!! Who’s makin’ these things for NASA... Gucci???!!! Heidemarie coulda’ got herself a nice one with her favorite team logo on it just for buyin’ a subscription to Sports Illustrated!

Even the pontiff is calling for Charlie Weis’ resignation! (And hey....the Fab Four never lost to the Orange layin’ almost three touchdowns!). There’s no snow in L.A., but Irish “fans” making the flight to the game this week are said to be checking coolers full of snowballs!

Just hours before we posted this week’s picks on the blog, Florida State had two more players hauled off to the hooskow on battery charges. FSU may or may not win the ACC, but they’ll lead the conference in all-perpetrator yards!

Among the pardons granted by President Bush this week....Bill Belichick (Sorry, still no slack for Notre Dame!). In fact, ya know those infamous Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton tapes......??!!!

Black Shirt: Goes to Wazzou kicker Nico Grasu for booting two of his three field goals on the day in OT (with the other coming as time expired in regulation to get there!) of last week’s Scrapple Cup melee to give the Cougars at least twice as many wins as their rivals at UDUB will record this season, regardless of the results of their respective finales this week!

“Locked in a Box?”:The Beavers used a late FG to beat Arizona outright and raise the lock record to 11-2 (.846), besting Vindy’s previous high of 10 lock wins in each of the past two seasons!

Shoppe Talk: Red Raiders bombed again vs. Oklahoma to fall to 1-8, while the Mormons rolled over in the second vs. Utah to go 2-8!

Vindy’s Week 14 Best Bets: Last Week: 3-1 Season: 35-23-1 (.603)
Nevada-Reno -4 over LOUISIANA TECH, NC STATE +1 1/2 over Miami, RICE +3 over Houston, Tulsa -14 over MARSHALL, Florida International +5 over FLORIDA ATLANTIC

Monday, November 24, 2008

Vindy's Picks Week 13-2008 Early Edition

With yet another Tuesday night game interrupting Vindicator's usual forecast workflow, we're announcing our early-week selection....

Western Michigan over #15 BALL STATE taking 11:
What is it with these early-week MAC games?! Are conference teams allergic to Thursdays and weekends or what??!!! With Utah now firmly-entrenched as the automatic BCS Buster, the Redbirds are merely playing for the pride of the undefeated season and a post-season trip to Mobile, Alabama or, considering travel arrangements for fans, a cold-weather vacation in either Detroit or Toronto following its first-ever conference title match against the MAC East winner. Ball State has taken three of last four outright from Western Michigan, including 5OT 60-57 game just four seasons ago. Broncos sporting a nine-win record, including a neutral-site triumph over Illinois, have grabbed some Top 25 votes the past few weeks and could conceivably head into the bowls with a ranking if they can pick up their 10th win of the season (after totaling just 13 combined wins the previous two years). WMU unfortunately has only one SU victory in its last three tries against teams with winning records. It does, however, have six covers in its last eight lined affairs (4 of 6 away from Waldo Stadium). Given a passing game that’s produced 33 touchdowns against only 6 interceptions and 11 sacks, Broncos can hang offensively with Ball State, but it may be the defense that keeps ‘em in this one. Broncos have allowed only two opponents more than 28 points (not bad by MAC standards). State had beaten every foe this season by at least 12 until last week. Birds looked a little vulnerable, snagging a red zone INT in the final minute vs. the Chippewas to hang on. And since this isn’t a designated “rivalry” game and BSU obviously isn’t part of the directional-Michigans triumvirate, there’s no real motivation to run-up a score...Ball State 35 Western Michigan 27

We'll be back in our usual time-slot on Wednesday night with the remainder of the Thanksgiving weekend fare! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vindy's Picks Week 13-2008


LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AP)...Local Sin City TV station KVBC will yank classic Star Trek episode “The Trouble With Tribbles” to spite the Vegas Vindicator just a day before the college football season’s “rivalry weekend” commences. Local bookies want to give no comfort to the Weber Kid and refused to broadcast the famous forecaster’s favorite episode of the cult classic. A similar strategy by a Green Bay station to deny Giants QB Eli Manning the opportunity to view his fave episode of Seinfeld prior to last season’s NFC Championship game blew up in its collective face as New York upset the Packers and went on to win Super Bowl 42. But just as the cast and crew of the popular sitcom hurried to the aid of the NY triggerman by sending him the entire season’s worth of the series on tape, so too rallied Roddenberry Enterprises, which mailed Vindy its whole series on Beta-Max. As Trekkies nationwide rushed to Vindicator’s cause, even Boston Legal star and Priceline Negotiator William Shatner came to the rescue, providing an autographed photon torpedo to the beleaguered seer. Paparazzi trailing Vindy noted a “boot” on his foot...the result of Weber injuring his plant-foot while trying to impress Captain Kirk by flashing the famous “Live long and prosper” sign... with his toes!

Still basking in the glow of his 12-6-1Week Twelve results (109-102-2, .516) , our hero sets his parlay card to “stun” and, boldly going where no bettor has gone before, orders Scottie to “Energize”....beaming down....


WED. NOV. 19
#14 Ball State over CENTRAL MICHIGAN giving 7:
Chippies wasted a late 24-point lead, but beat Northern Illinois in OT last week. CMU has won four straight against the Birds, covering three of them, including last year’s 58-38 romp. Chippewas on a six-game SU win streak, including a victory at Indiana. Nonetheless, we’ll take the stronger offense (and better defense) of Ball State, who oddly turned it over to the stoppers, up just 15 points with about ten minutes left at Miami-O...BSU 38 Central Michigan 27

#23 Miami over GEORGIA TECH taking 4:
Hurricanes’ first visit to the Top 25 in two years is probably gonna’ be a short one. Bees had last week off and have covered 3 of last four vs. Miami. Pelicans doing it on defense throughout their five-game win streak, allowing an average of 11 ppg to everybody except Duke (which scored 31 in Durham). Updating a preseason stat from The Sporting News... Miami QBs have now tossed 102 TD passes and 86 INTs last six years! Tech’s triple-option plus Miami’s defense equals...field-goal fest...Joja’ Tech 19 ‘Canes 16

SAT. NOV. 22
#1 Alabama:
IDLE (next vs. Auburn)

#2 Texas Tech over #5 OKLAHOMA taking 6 1/2: Sooners coverage teams yielded 261 kickoff return yards to Texas A&M. No harm, no foul vs. the Aggies offense, but giving that kind of field-position to the Red Raiders could be a huge problem. Hey, what’s the worst Tech can do...hang a forecast loss on your humble host???!!!...Guns Up 35 Oklahoma 31

Citadel @ #3 FLORIDA: No line.

#4 Texas: IDLE (next vs. A&M 11/27)

#6 USC: IDLE (next vs. Notre Dame)

#17 Michigan State over #7 PENN STATE taking 14: Spartans are 1-4-2 in last 7 as road dogs, but haven’t lost by this many since 2004. Lions had their week to mope over defeat by the Iowa !@%#@!!! Hawkeyes (Oh Vindy’s anger over a small insignificant win vs. the Nitwit Lions two weeks ago showing again??!!) and loss of national title shot. PSU was sloppy and unfocused on offense, yielding three turnovers in blown cover against Indiana. Back to business with Rose Bowl berth on the line. Spartans Javon Ringer will get his yards, but if MSU mounts a passing game, Pasadena could be gone too...Not-As-Happy-As-It-Could-Be Valley 24 Sparty 17

#16 Brigham Young over #8 UTAH taking 6 1/2: Overrated Cougars coulda’ lost to UDUB, UNLV and Colorado State, but only blemish was blowout at TCU. Utes were nearly as bad this season, squeaking by Oregon State, New Mexico and the aforementioned Frogs, each by 3 points, but two of those three will go to nice post-season venues. BYU won 17-10 last year and gets first dog role in last 21 games, including post-season bouts. No choice but to grab the points...Utah 17 BYU 13

#9 Boise State over UNR giving 6: No question, Wolfpack QB Kaepernick and the Pistol offense have momentum, but Reno’s been spanked by the better teams it has gone against this year, while the Broncos have beaten Oregon, Bowling Green and Southern Miss...BSU 45 UNR 35

Michigan over #10 OHIO STATE taking 20 1/2: Big Blew misses the post-season for the first time in 34 seasons, so the question is...will the Wolverines join the fray in earnest vs. the big rival or will UM players be surfing the ‘Net at DitchRich.Com during halftime?! Michigan is 1-3 ATS in last 4 vs. the Buckeyes and State has taken last four outright, but the final margins have been well-within this number. After losses to Illinois and Penn State by 25 and 29 respectively, Wolverines showed a little life in losses to Purdue and Northwestern by 6 and 7, respectively (sandwiched around 23-point win at Minnesota)...Buckeyes 33 Michigan 14

#11 Oklahoma State: IDLE (next vs. Oklahoma)

#12 Missouri: IDLE (next vs. Kansas)

#13 Georgia: IDLE (next vs. Georgia Tech)

Air Force over #15 TCU taking 18: Flyboys actually led the Mormons by 4 at the half last week before disastrous 3rd Quarter and have the ball-control offense to make this a quick game. Frogs off a week of rest, have covered 13 of last 17 spotting points in Ft. Worth and haven’t suffered consecutive spread losses all year...TCU 20 Pilots 10

Mississippi over #18 LSU taking 5: Baton Rouge ain’t what it used to be for the Bengals. Tigers have a great, big goose-egg in the home spread-win column and are a 30-point 4th Quarter rally last week vs. a Sun Belt team away from a mere 4-3 SU home record. Rebels could actually take this outright with a few breaks. LSU now 8-23-4 vs. other SEC squads. The Weber Kid has picked the Bengals correctly in five of seven tries this seasons...LSU 20 Ole Miss 17

#20 Pittsburgh over #19 CINCINNATI taking 5: If the Tech-Oklahoma game becomes a rout in either direction, this one is potentially the best game of the week. Rested Panthers have gone 7-1 straight up since opening loss to Bowling Green and have scored at least 21 in each of those tilts. Bearkats have been kind to this forecaster, going 4-0 in four appearances in the weekly picks, but just played a couple of hard-fought games...Cincinnati 17 Pitt 16

#21 Oregon State over ARIZONA taking 3: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Beavers steaming toward Rose Bowl rematch vs. Penn State if they can win out. Last week’s 10-point loss by Arizona at Oregon wasn’t nearly that close as the ‘Cats scored three touchdowns late against the Ducks scrubs. AZ held the ball more than 40 minutes, but still yielded over 500 yards of offense to the Mallards. UA is 3-0 ATS this year as home chalk, but those wins came vs. Idaho, Toledo and UDUB...Oregon State 30 Wildcats 20

Florida State over #22 MARYLAND taking 1: ‘Noles should be getting back their five wideouts, who were suspended for Boston College game. State hasn’t won outright in College Park since 2002, but ranked ACC teams have struggled in recent weeks. Terps played “keep away” vs. the Tarheels long enough to boot the winning field goal last week...Injuns 23 Box Turtles 19

#24 Oregon: IDLE (next @ Oregon State)

North Carolina State over #25 NORTH CAROLINA taking 11: Wolfpack seems to be getting a better grip on second-year coach Tom O’Brien’s schemes, covering 6 of its last 7 games to-date and riding two-game SU win streak. Not expecting an upset here, but we like the double-digits in a rivalry game...Tarheels 28 NCSU 24

BTW, before transporting your host to the surface, Mr. Scott neglected to mention that without the di-lithium crystals in 3 days, 4 hours and 17 minutes, Vindy’s Picks were all going to die anyway!

The Golden Gophers host the Iowa !@&$*#@!! Hawkeyes (Damn! Sorry...there we go AGAIN!). In the annual battle for the Floyd of Rosedale bronze pig trophy. No word yet on whether a certain former-VP hopeful will be on-hand to apply a bit of lipstick (we heard her schedule’s been freed up recently though!).

Back in February, the Wheeling (West Va.) Wheelers minor league hockey team held a “Shred Rich Rodriguez” promo, providing discount tickets to fans bringing pics or news articles of former WVU football coach. Vindy’s willing to return the tickets and painstakingly tape or glue the shredded photo strips back together if Wolverines manage the cover vs. Ohio State this week!

The Steelers beat the Chargers this past weekend by a first-ever final score of 11-10. Big deal. Bettors wanting to wager on any individual team against the spread see that number everyday in the sportsbook!

Donovan McNabb fessed up this week he didn’t know NFL games could end in ties...but added that although he struggles with the Windsor knot, he’d be sure to keep plenty of the stylish neckwear on the sidelines each week just in case. Vindy had half a mind (had?) to tell the Eagles quarterback that games still undecided after the first OT period actually go to penalty kicks!

Now on the playlist for PA operators at stadiums everywhere across the country (or at least in the blue states) ...”We Will Barack You!”

A professional Japanese baseball league just drafted its first-ever female player... Eri Yoshida. The diminutive 16-year-old knucklerballer aspires to be like BoSox hurler Tim Wakefield. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a couple of Big Tim’s teammates admitted he “does throw like a girl!”

Black Shirt: Goes to Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins for scoring a 1st Quarter safety, allowing the Buckeyes to give Vindy a push rather than a loss vs. the Illini last week!

“Locked in a Box?”: It didn’t happen until late in the game, but the Cincy Bearkats helped Vindy bust a Friday night slide and covered nicely in win over Louisville, raising the lock tally to 10-2 (.833)!

Shoppe Talk: Texas Tech was off, but the Mormons of BYU (2-7) continue to confound Vindicator!

Vindy’s Week 9 Best Bets: Last Week: 1-3 Season: 32-22-1 (.592)
NORTHWESTERN +2 ½ over Illinois, Arkansas +1 over Mississippi STATE, OHIO +3 over Akron, Colorado State -2 ½ over WYOMING

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vindy's Picks week 12-2008 Regular Edition


WASHINGTON, District of Columbia (AP)....A White House transition meeting this week between outbound President Bush and President-Elect Barack Obama will include discussion of resolution of the failing U.S. economy, withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and implementation of a college football playoff for the Football Bowl Subdivision. Not enamored with the current BCS system, Obama hinted he could employ an executive order to bring about the playoff. Speaker of “This is Our House” Nancy Pelosi vowed to help the new Commander-in-Chief reach across conference lines, in particular, to the Big Ten and PAC-10, to achieve the new post-season format. Meanwhile, gun enthusiasts were stocking up, fearing tougher gun laws with the Democratic president and party in power. In fact, team mascots’ weapons-of-choice in college towns such as Lubbock, Laramie and Knoxville are expected to now be Louisville sluggers and light sabers!

Opening 0-3 through Friday’s games and losing picks like U.S Airways loses luggage (2-10 thru the first dozen finals), Vindicator rallied, going 6-2 down the Saturday night stretch and salvaged a final result of 8-12 (97-96-1, .502). With the crystal ball having followed the HD-ready TV out the second story window in the closing seconds of the Penn State game, the Sin City Soothsayer busts out his toolbox and grabs a dartboard, Magic 8-Ball and Aunty Entity ‘s wheel from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome to bring his loyal readers...


#14 Ball State over MIAMI-OHIO giving 17 1/2:
Vindy’s still picking pieces of his Michael Jordan -autographed Hanes out of a deep, dark place following the atomic wedgie he got for picking Northern Illinois to upset Ball State last week, as the Cards ripped the MAC’s premiere defensive team for 45 points while suffering zero turnovers and a like number of flags, and serving up four passing touchdowns to four different receivers. Cardinals are now 7-1 against the spread on the year and still undefeated, but 1-3 ATS the past 4 vs. Miami-Ohio, including last season’s opening 14-13 loss (despite a +2 turnover margin). BSU has won and covered all four road games in ‘08 and updating a stat from Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com, is now 8-1 ATS in the first of back-to-back road games (covering at Akron and Toledo earlier) and looks to go 9-1 in that role with away trip to Central Michigan following this one. Redhawks lost to Buffalo by 20 points despite punting only twice in that game. Miami-O did manage to bottle up a strong Bowling Green offense a few weeks ago to get a nice road win, but are on a 2-4 ATS slide and have already equaled last year’s SU loss total and need to cover this one and remaining two games to improve on the spread record from last season. Redhawks currently minus-10 in turnover ratio and opponents are scoring at better than 91% clip inside the red zone, while averaging only 16 ppg themselves against I-A foes. Miami has yet to cover a home game this season, losing by 21, 18 and 27 points. State still has a remote shot at a BCS bowl should Utah and Boise State falter and will keep pedal-to-metal for now...Ball State 49 Miami-O 17 (This one’s already in the books as a forecast loss as BSU quit pressing with ten minutes left and only won by 15).

FRI. NOV. 14
#22 Cincinnati over LOUISVILLE giving 3 1/2: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK.
Vindy’s 6-13picking weekday games this season, including 0-3 on Friday nights, so consider yourselves advised, but we have a few Euros on this one. Bearkats nearly wasted a 13-point advantage in the final minute of the OT upset over West Virginia, but until the defeat a few weeks ago at UConn, Cincy’s only SU loss was at Oklahoma. Redbirds have won this one straight-up five years running and have taken the money in five of last seven against ranked teams...UC 23 Birds 10

SAT. NOV. 15
Mississippi State over #1 ALABAMA taking 19 ½:
Bulldogs have beaten ‘Bama outright two of the last three and nearly took out Kentucky two weeks ago. State’s on an 0-3 spread run this year, but rewarded bettors 10 of last 13 vs. the Tide. Alabama’s finding its offense more lately, but it was still an interception-return for touchdown that turned around a 14-7 first-half hole at LSU, and Tide kicker missed a pair of field goals as well...’Bama 20 MSU 7

#2 Texas Tech: IDLE (Yeah...and we’re freakin’ crushed about that too!) (next @ Oklahoma)

#3 FLORIDA over #24 South Carolina giving 21: Carolina’s only SU loss in its last seven games was by a touchdown to LSU. The Poultry has gone 5-1-1 in last 7 vs. ranked squads and are on 4-1 spread run. Four of last six in this series were decided by 8 or fewer points, but Gators won by 20 last year. ‘Cocks have recently lost a third player to a bizarre series of scooter injuries. “Scooter” injuries?! Apparently, the automobile has not yet been invented in Columbia, but we have it on good authority that Ford plants in South Carolina will soon be rolling the Model-T off the assembly lines! Just Citadel on-deck for UF, so no need to yank the starters early...Florida 45 Nuggets 20

#4 Texas over KANSAS giving 13: We considered this for lock. Kansas seemingly never fully-recovered from loss at South Florida, in which it had the Bulls on the ropes early. Still, the Fightin’ Manginos are 3-3 ATS vs. the rest of the Big 12 and 15-7 ATS against conference opponents the past three seasons. ‘Horns have dropped three straight against the line (with a commensurate 0-3 forecast tally), but are still in the BCS title game competition. Kansas already has six victories, but has lost three of last four, yielding 45 points or more in the defeats. We like the ‘Horns to end the spread slide and avoid being the guests-of-honor at an upcoming Bobby Flay throw-down event on the Food Network at Vindy’s request this week...Steers 38 Birds 16

#5 Oklahoma: IDLE (next vs. Texas Tech)

STANFORD over #6 Southern Cal taking 22 1/2: The line movement in favor of the Trojans suggests USC will run it up in retribution for last season’s huge upset by Stanford, who got better than 40 points and reflects Troy D that’s been lights-out of late. Problem is that the Trees bring back the highest number of returning starters in over a decade and have been competitive in every game except loss at Arizona State, including a win over Oregon State team that would beat USC a few weeks later. No repeat for the Cardinal, but...USC 31 Stanford 13

#7 PENN STATE over Indiana giving 34: ***CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED*** **CENSORED***...Nitwit Lions 49 Hoosiers 10

#8 Utah over SAN DIEGO STATE giving 28 1/2: Horned Frogs kicker missed two medium-range field goals in the 4th Quarter in a 4-point loss vs. the Utes last week???!!! Check’s in the mail! Nonetheless, Utes need to maintain focus and some style points wouldn’t hurt the effort to keep Boise State at bay in the BCS Buster race. SDSU is just a shadow of the team that lost 23-7 last year at Salt Lake, averaging a mere 9 ppg...Utah 41 Razz-Tecs 6

#9 Boise State over IDAHO giving 34 1/2: Generally stalwart at home when it comes to covering the line, Broncos have also gone 4-0 ATS on the asphalt this season. Last week’s win (and cover) vs. Utah State featured a total of nine turnovers and a combined 237 penalty yards! Idaho on 3-1 spread run, but gave up 45 to San Diego State and lost by 32 at Weeziana Tech. Vandals have already doubled last season’s SU win total (1). Idaho is fairly adept at protecting the football (just 8 TO on the year). That won’t matter here...BSU 51 Idaho 9

#10 Ohio State over ILLINOIS giving 10: Vin watched three quarters of Buckeyes game at Northwestern before turning it off in disgust, as the Wildcats shot themselves repeatedly in the paw with poor tackling and allowing conversion of 3rd-and-holy crap! (BTW, an announcer in that game, after watching freshman QB Terrell Pryor scramble for a big gain, inadvertently said, “Ya can’t coach that. You can only hope to contain it!”. Frankly, if I’m coachin’ the young man...I don’t wanna’ contain him!). State hasn’t covered back-to-back games all season. Illini won 28-21 in 2007 over then-top-ranked OSU. Both teams on interesting spread win-loss-win-loss pattern. Gut reaction was to take State. Fine...Buckeyes 23 Illini 10

#11 Oklahoma State over COLORADO giving 17: Just too many offensive weapons for CU to handle, even in the thinner, colder air. Referencing an earlier “note to self”, we enthusiastically scribe...Do not back the Buffaloes! Do not back the Buffaloes! Do not back the Buffaloes!...Cowpokes 51 Bison 20

#12 Missouri over IOWA STATE giving 26 1/2: A victory sends the Tigers to the Big 12 championship game. State actually won the last meeting (here in ‘06) 21-16. Tigers on 1-4 ATS slide, but if Chase Daniel can quit piling up interceptions, they can cover. An unidentified Cyclones player was overheard quoting a line from the movie “300": “Tonight...we play Hell!”...Mizzou 48 Dust Devils 20

AUBURN over #13 Georgia taking 8: War Eagles haven’t beaten the line since season-opener over Weeziana-Monroe and haven’t recorded an outright triumph since 2-point squeaker in September over now-invisible Tennessee. Still, Aubie can extend its season into December with an upset here or against hated-rival Alabama. Kentucky almost toppled the ‘Dawgs by holding onto the ball nearly 10 more minutes than Joja’. Tigers capable of doing likewise ... Georgia 13 Auburn 8

#15 TCU: IDLE (next vs. Air Force)

AIR FORCE over #16 Brigham Young taking 4: Mormons have dropped six straight against the line and squeakers over UDUB, UNLV and Colorado State give USAF hope that they can win this outright as the Flyboys continue to far-exceed preseason expectations. The Falcons have arranged for Prince William to land his chopper, unannounced, in the middle of the BYU huddle if the game does get outta’ hand!...Pilots 17 Coogs 16

#17 North Carolina over MARYLAND giving 2 1/2: This grabbed initial thoughts for lock too. Even without the 14 points scored off Georgia Tech turnovers, ‘Heels still would’ve beaten the Bees 14-7. UNC is outscoring opponents by an average of 12 ppg, Maryland by just 2 ppg. In a common-foe comparison, North Carolina lost at Virginia 16-13 in extra innings, while the Box Turtles lost in Charlottesville 31-zippo. During a tour of his soon-to-be new digs at the White House this week, Obama discovered a secret garden, a hidden basketball court and a tunnel that leads to the middle of the Terrapins locker room in case of nuclear war!...Carolina 27 Terps 20

#18 Michigan State: IDLE (next @ Penn State)

Troy over #19 LSU taking 19 1/2: We originally had LSU “idle” this week, but this is one’s a make-up of earlier season match postponed by the hurricane. Bengals just fighting to stay ranked at this point and could be flat initially after blowing chance to beat the nation’s #1 team last week. Troy won’t be intimidated by the atmosphere, having lost in Baton Rouge just 24-20 a few seasons back. This is, however, Troy’s seventh road game (though it covered five of the previous six, including game at Ohio State)... Bengals 24 Troy 7

Boston College over #20 FLORIDA STATE taking 7: No confidence in this one as we changed our initial pick a couple times before settling on BC. Eagles have allowed the fewest points of any ACC team (three shutouts over Kent State, Rhode Island and the Frightenin’ Irish will do that!). A victory here would still leave BC a game behind the Injuns in the Atlantic Division. Seminoles tied atop that division and need a win here and a loss by Wake Forest to these same Eagles next week...FSU 24 BC 19

#21 Pittsburgh: IDLE (next @ Cincinnati)

#23 OREGON STATE over California giving 3: Should be a great game. Bears lone FG was enough to cover last week vs. USC and Cal was still in the game until late. Beavers have already beaten the Trojans and only Penn State has kept OSU below 27 points. Not too shabby for a team that returned only 10 starters from 2007. BTW, budget crunches have led the Governator to mandate State employees of California to take a day off each month without pay...and teams within the Cal-State University system to give up a pair of bye weeks each season!...Beavers 17 Bears 13

HOUSTON over #25 Tulsa taking 5 1/2: Hurricane just 2-2 ATS in its last four and only SU loss was at Arkansas just before last week’s bye. Cougars’ D remains a problem and UH needs one more “W” to go bowlin’. They’ve got a better shot to get that victory hosting UTEP next week, but we think they’ll keep this one fun long enough. Track meet...Tulsa 52 Houston 49

The Weber Kid’s Week 11 upset picks, Northern Illinois and Northwestern, got their collective ass handed to them by Ball State and Ohio State, respectively to the tune of 90-24! OUCH!

As we welcome the start of the new college basketball season, Vindy recalls Maryland’s #4 women’s hoops team beating #12 Duke in February’s rematch of the 2006 National Championship game (also won by MD in OT) just hours after Terps coach Brenda Frese gave birth to twin boys. The Box Turtles were so excited that a couple of players climbed a ladder in Frese’s hospital room to cut down the umbilical cords!

There has been much speculation since the election regarding what’s next for Sarah Palin. We think the winsome Alaskan governor takes advantage of her background to spend some time on TV and hosts a show in which beauty pageant contestants lace up the skates and strut their stuff in the neutral zone and between the pipes....“Miss America: Reality Hip-Check!”

Just a thought for Mrs. Palin’s potential presidential campaign motto in 2012...“Tip-drill, Baby, Tip-drill!”

Sarah Palin spent this weekend sorting thru clothing to be returned to the RNC after the party shelled out 150 G’s to re-do her wardrobe. Among the apparel in question were pads, helmets and a Washington Capitals jersey! Maybe she can “accidentally” include the unis for the Oregon Ducks and BYU Cougars??!!

The unclassified code names given to the members of the new first family by the Secret Service were revealed this week. The president-elect and his wife will be “Renegade” and “Renaissance”, respectively while daughters Malia and Sasha were tabbed “Radiance” and “Rosebud”. OK...which agent had the intestinal fortitude to name the youngest sister after a mysterious sled that was the plot centerpiece of the movie Citizen Kane???!! We’d like to bail the young lady out by recommending a change to something more sports-minded, like...”Raven”, “Rocket”, “Razorback”... maybe even...”Radio”! Or at least something cool or in line with her daddy’s code name, such as “Ricochet” or “Rapscallion”. While we’re on the topic, the Vice President’s family all got secret monikers starting with “C”, which means had Mrs. Palin been on the winning ticket, her code name coulda’ been...”Caribou”! (Or acknowledging that country she can see from her home ...”Comrade”).

If customers who skate for half-hour with the NHL’s Canadians while awaiting delivery of Domino’s pizza are captured on tape, could the resulting exercise video be sold as “30-Minute Habs?”

Black Shirt: Vindicator’s highly-coveted ebony tee goes this week to Kansas State WR Brandon Banks for scoring not one, but TWO touchdowns (one receiving, one rushing) in the final 1:11 of the match at Mizzou to bring in one of the Weber Kid’s eight forecast wins in Week Eleven!

“Locked in a Box?”: The Sooners dipped into the sixties to bash A&M and raise Vindicator’s bet-da’-ranch pick record to 9-2 (.818).

Shoppe Talk: Red Raiders maintain their grip on a title shot and on Vindy’s post-season “Grill-Master Supreme” “honors” at 1-7. The Mormons return at 2-6. And dropping by just to mock your putrid prognosticator...Thursday Night (4-7)!

Vindy’s Week 12 Best Bets: Last Week: 3-2 Season: 31-19-1 (.620)
Duke +11 ½ over CLEMSON, SYRACUSE +10 over UConn, NAVY +3 over Notre Dame, UTEP -10 over Southern Methodist

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vindy's Picks Week 12-2008 Special Edition

With A Tuesday night game on tap and unlikely to get the whole enchilada done in time, we offer our thoughts on tonight's match...

#14 Ball State over MIAMI-OHIO giving 17 1/2:
Vindy’s still picking pieces of his Michael Jordan-autographed Haynes out of a deep, dark place following the atomic wedgie he got for picking Northern Illinois to upset Ball State last week, as the Cards ripped the MAC’s premiere defensive team for 45 points while suffering zero turnovers and a like number of flags, and serving up four passing touchdowns to four different receivers. Cardinals are now 7-1 against the spread on the year and still undefeated, but 1-3 ATS the past 4 vs. Miami-Ohio, including last season’s opening 14-13 loss (despite a +2 turnover margin). BSU has won and covered all four road games in ‘08 and updating a stat from Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com, is now 8-1 ATS in the first of back-to-back road games (covering at Akron and Toledo earlier) and looks to go 9-1 in that role with away trip to Central Michigan following this one. Redhawks lost to Buffalo by 20 points despite punting only twice in that game. Miami-O did manage to bottle up a strong Bowling Green offense a few weeks ago to get a nice road win, but are on a 2-4 ATS slide and have already equaled last year’s SU loss total and need to cover this one and remaining two games to improve on the spread record from last season. Redhawks currently minus-10 in turnover ratio and opponents are scoring at better than 91% clip inside the red zone, while averaging only 16 ppg themselves against I-A foes. Miami has yet to cover a home game this season, losing by 21, 18 and 27 points. State still has a remote shot at a BCS bowl should Utah and Boise State falter and will keep pedal-to-metal for now...Ball State 49 Miami-O 17

A heartfelt "Happy Veterans Day" and "Thank you!" from your humble host to all the current and former members of the military for serving your country!

The forecast will return Wednesday night in its full-blown format! Don't touch that dial!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Vindy's Picks Week 11-2008


PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN)....The Obama camp released an eleventh-hour video...Baracky IV, featuring its presidential contender sporting boxing gloves and trunks while reprising the Sylvester Stallone role against Red Army pugilist Ivan Drago as a way of improving Obama’s image on foreign policy, particularly in light of escalating tensions this past year between the U.S. and Russia that threaten to renew the Cold War era, including U.S. plans to establish missile shield bases in eastern Europe within striking range of the former Communist bloc. In the clip, which has become a viral hit on You Tube, the senator from Illinois is seen training “old-school” in the snow of the Russian wastelands, then going the distance against the Communist fighter, to follow-up with quotes from the Italian Stallion’s character in his post-bout diatribe, quipping, “When I got here, I guess yous didn’t like me...and I didn’t like yous much either....but if I can change...and you can change... everybody can change!” In an agreement with the City of Brotherly Love, if Obama actually wins the Keystone State, which has recently seen a World Series champion, Stanley Cup runner-up and potential BCS Title Game contestant, on Election Night 2008, a new statue, dubbed Baracky Balboa, featuring the possible president-elect raising his arms in victory, will be set-up in place of the current bronze tribute just outside the Philadelphia Art Museum!

Closer to the Left Coast, Vindicator grabbed a Thursday night dubya to open Week Ten and hung on in the face of yet another assault by teams at bottom of the Top 25 rankings to post his fourth double-digit win tally in the last five weeks, going 11-7(89-84-1, .514). And for what it’s worth, your humble host spent the night before Halloween watching Baracky Horror Picture Show, starring Tim Curry and a very young Susan Sarandon!

And the only obvious winner of this week’s BCS (Ballot Championship Series) title game between Barack Obama and John McCain is....


Northern Illinois over #16 BALL STATE taking 9: UPSET SPECIAL OF DA’ WEEK #1.
Huskies have lost only two of last nine to the Cardinals and have covered 8 of last 10 lined games back to last season. NIU on 3-0 SU/2-1 ATS run. State’s off a bye week and recorded its first spread loss two weeks ago vs. Eastern Michigan. This is the inaugural battle for the Bronze Stalk trophy. Guess that’s better than Bronze Eye Stalk or Bronze Stalker!... Dogs 24 Birds 21

#11 Texas Christian over #10 UTAH taking 2 1/2:
Toads came into the season winning just once in last six Thursday opportunities, but whacked BYU. They got little resistance from fading UNLV and used a balanced scoring attack in that game to notch four TDs on the ground and three by air. Utes coulda’ been pre-occupied by this one in narrow win at New Mexico. Froggies get to a BCS bowl...TCU 17 Utes 13

#23 Maryland over VIRGINIA TECH taking 3: We just really want a push here. Box Turtles were idle last week and have won five of last six games straight-up. The one loss, however, was 31-0 defeat at Virginia. Tech has been nearly invincible in November, winning 14 of last 15, but is 0-3 ATS thus far in ACC play this year...Terps 24 VT 20

#1 Alabama over #15 LSU giving 3:
Tide’s covered all four games this season away from Tuscaloosa, including SU wins over Clemson and Joja’. Bengals on 1-5 ATS slide and could suffer third blowout loss to a high-quality team this year. Phone cards, tied to a GPS system, inserted in elephants’ collars automatically alert Kenyan rangers when the creatures get too close to village crops. State plans to use similar technology to warn QB Lee when blitzing Alabama linebackers creep up near the line of scrimmage!...Tide 27 Tigers 13

#8 Oklahoma State over #2 TEXAS TECH taking 3: History favors the host in this series, but Cowpokes nearly upended Texas and the two-hole has been a precarious place to be in the rankings again this season. Hot State now 8-0 against the number and has plenty of options running or passing. We considered this for lock, but Ye Olde Taxidermy Shoppe is SRO with Red Raiders..OKSU 38 Tech 34

#3 Penn State over IOWA giving 8: Hawkeyes had beaten the Lions in five straight games beginning in 2000, but lost 27-7 at Happy Valley in 2007. Iowa still needs a victory to become eligible for the post-season. Nifty Lions probably need some style points to stay close to the top in the BCS poll. Three of Iowa’s five SU wins came in September over Maine, Florida International and Iowa State. Lions haven’t shown tendency to be conservative this year when leading, so we’ll call it...Alma Mater 31 Hawkeyes 10

VANDERBILT over #4 Florida taking 23 1/2: Crocs had Joja’ by the cocktail after 45 minutes last week and are showing no quarter since loss to the Rebels, so here’s this week’s choice for “wish I had it it back”, but Boat People got off to a promising start and registered outright triumphs over Ole Miss and South Carolina. Home defeat to Duke before last week’s R&R is puzzling. Commodores have 4 covers in last 6 tries facing the Gators and other than last year’s 27-point loss in the Swamp, five of the six have ended within this number...Crocs 31 Rear Fleet 17

#5 TEXAS over Baylor giving 25 1/2: Vindy only watched the first half of Texas-Texas Tech game with ‘Horns down 22-6 at the break. Steers were victimized by poor execution early, allowing a safety on the UT first play from scrimmage, dropping passes and fielding no 3rd Down defense vs. Red Raiders bombs. Texas could at least start flat after their rally went for naught as Tech scored the game-winner with a second left. Bares come in showing just 6-15 ATS in last 21 Big Twelve games. The coin likes...Texas 52 Baylor 26

#6 Oklahoma over TEXAS A&M giving 24: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Sooners have covered all three road games and likely should’ve beaten Texas at neutral-site Dallas. Special teams continue to improve as OK held the Huskers to a net of zippo return yards last week. Aggies showing some spirit winning back-to-back games outright and on 3-0 spread win run (and 13-7-1 ATS run vs. the rest of the conference), but needed huge 3rd quarter rally to get past the Buffaloes ... Oklahoma 52 Cadets 17

#21 California over #7 USC taking 17: Bears have pocketed four spread wins in last five games, but only road cover came at UDUB. Trojans no great shakes against the line at home, but have allowed no lit light bulbs on opponents’ side of the scoreboard in three of last four games. After 21 months, the final tree-hugger inhabiting and protecting a redwood on the Cal-Berkeley campus finally threw in the towel this September after an agreement was reached with the university. Always a team-player on environmental issues, Stanford invited the tree-sitters to take up residence in its mascot...Troy 27 Bears 19

Utah State over #9 BOISE STATE taking 31: Broncos usually solid gold for bettors when laying points on the cobalt carpet, but have covered only one of three in Boise this year. Aggies celebrating straight up victory over the ‘Bows (acquired by scoring the last ten points of the match). Boise just needs a victory to solidify BSC bowl position...Broncos 34 USU 7

NORTHWESTERN over #12 Ohio State taking 11: UPSET SPECIAL OF DA’ WEEK #2. Buckeyes have had an extra week to ponder the lone turnover that cost ‘em the game against Penn State, and while only 2-3 ATS vs. the Big Ten this season, both covers came on the road. Wildcats would love to avenge 58-7 loss last season at the ‘Shoe. NW back-up quarterback Kafka (hmmm...we gotta’ wonder if he’s related to the famous author of Metamorphosis somewhere in the family tree! [Never let it be said that Vindy doesn’t attempt to bring a little culture to his weekly scribblings!]) ran for over 200 yards in win over the Minny Gerbils. We smell upset...Northwestern 17 OSU 16

Kansas State over #13 MISSOURI taking 26: Fourth away game in five weeks for K-State, who’ve scored less than 28 points just twice all year. Chase Daniels interceptions continue to cost him, and nearly got his team upset by Baylor, who punted only three times in that game. KSU was sloppy with five turnovers early in being routed by Kansas...Mizzou 42 Wildcats 24

KENTUCKY over #14 Georgia taking 11 1/2: Just after New Year’s Day 2008, Kentucky named Offensive Coordinator Joker Phillips as eventual successor to Head Coach Rich Brooks. In related news, Joe the Plumber has been named Vindicator’s heir-apparent. Games against Florida notwithstanding, both defenses are playing reasonably well and the best call here might be the “under”. Third consecutive game outside the Hedges for Georgia. After giving up 26 sacks in last five regular season games of 2007, KY has yielded only 8 sacks thus far...Joja’ 20 ‘Cats 13

#17 BYU over San Diego State giving 36: While allowing average of 34 ppg-against is on par with State’s average from 2007, it’s giving up almost 42 per game vs. conference foes. Aztecs cost Vindy a “best bet” last week, getting smoked by Wyoming, whose only victories to-date had been by 1 over Ohio to open the year and by 3 over AA-squad North Dakota State two weeks later. A recent study suggested holding warm liquids made people more friendly toward strangers than contact with cold beverages. Aztecs might consider having mugs of cocoa (‘cause coffee ain’t gonna’ get it in a Mormon locker room) be delivered to the Coogs just before kickoff...BYU 51 Mini-Marshmallows 10

Purdue over #18 MICHIGAN STATE taking 10: Spartans probably on borrowed time in the rankings this week, having gotten a pair of long FGs in the final 5:16 to squeak by Wisconsin. Badgers had two backs rush for over 100 yards each in that game. Boilers RB Sheets went for 118 yards and four scores last week. State lost five of seven games decided by a touchdown or less last year. It’s won all three SU this year, but covered none of ‘em. Boilermakers need to win-out to be bowl-eligible. Counting on Purdue’s D to keep this close...MSU 21 Purdue 13

#22 Georgia Tech over #19 NORTH CAROLINA taking 3 1/2: Bees getting the most out of their defense, which held the Injuns scoreless for the final six minutes last week to pull the minor upset. Tech holding opponents below an average of 15 ppg. Homecoming for Carolina, who’s rested and looking to avenge 27-25 loss last season. “Heels have covered last four against Tech, but...Joja’ Tech 20 UNC 19

Cincinnati over #20 WEST VIRGINIA taking 8: Mounties on five-game tear since OT loss to the Buffaloes and have allowed no opponent more than 17 points since September 6 game at East Carolina. Bearkats have a lot of seniors on defense and have been kind to backers against ranked squads, going 8-2-1 ATS (1-1 thus year). Possible upset, but conservatively, let’s call it...WVU 20 Cincy 16

#24 FLORIDA STATE over Clemson giving 6 ½: Tigers broke a three-game skid last week, somehow beating Boston College on the road. ‘Noles let one slip away, fumbling into the end zone with under a minute left to lose to Georgia Tech. Clemson’s won and covered last three. State reverses that trend this time...Bowden Sr. 27 Bowden Jr. 17

#25 PITT over Louisville giving 6 1/2: Who are the Cardinals? They beat ranked South Florida one week, then became Syracuse’s only I-A victim of the season the next? Pitt survived a 14-point halftime deficit and four bonus rounds to down the Irish. Panthers have won 6 of last 7 outright this year, covering 3, losing 3 ATS and pushing one, but current ATS streak is 3-1. We’ll take it...Pitt 31 Redbirds 20

BTW, AMC is showing at least one Rocky movie each night this week! No truth to the rumor Obama will also wear a Mohawk and play the role of Clubber Lang in a remake of Rocky III!

Just before Halloween, furniture-mover Jared Retkofsky (hmmm....Jared the Mover??!!) was signed by the Steelers as a long-snapper in response to an injury that left a glaring hole in Pittsburgh’s special teams. Coaches are working feverishly to get him to stop using a dolly to move and position the ball at the line of scrimmage and to stop asking the nose-guard to hold up the other end of the football before snapping it! Jared was also seen stopping a few times to catch his breath and adjust his grip each time he walked up a stairwell carrying a pigskin inside the stadium!
Back in February, Clinton accused Obama of plagiarism. Obama again recently denied the allegations, but added he “couldn’t wait to include passages from Vindy’s Week 10forecast” in his January inauguration speech!

On a weekly basis, in the Shoppe Talk section, we lambast the clubs who most frequently frustrate our efforts to pick them on the correct side of the spread, but for those inquiring minds who want to know which teams have been regularly taking care of the Weber Kid this year, we heap praise upon: Florida (7-1), Joja’ and Penn State (both 6-1-1), Texas (7-2) and the Buckeyes (6-2)

UNLV has given thought to establishing a satellite campus in the United Arab Emirates. Can’t wait to hear the courtside announcer say...”And now...your Kurrrrrrdish Runninnnnnnn’ Rebels!”

This summer, Shaq lost his special deputy’s badge in Maricopa County (AZ) because of language he used in a rap video that mocked Kobe Bryant. The big guy also was asked to turn in the tin he received from Bedford County (southwest Virginia) for his contributions to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Bummer! We were hopin’ for reports indicating Deputy O’Neal had made DUI suspects walk a straight free-throw line!

According to Hillary Clinton’s schedule (released in March this year), the First Lady was home on a half-dozen days when her husband was doin’ the wild thing with intern Monica Lewinsky. Funny...Hillary was also nearby when Vin made his picks from the White House....THAT didn’t make the news!!!????

Black Shirt: goes to Northwestern safety Brendan Smith for returning a pick 48 yards with twelve ticks remaining for the winning touchdown over Minnesota, adding to Vindy’s forecast win total last week. Also getting votes... Spartans kicker Brett Swenson this week for booting two late, long field goals that allowed Michigan State to edge Wisconsin, despite the forecast loss, and stay in the Top 25 another week so maybe the Lions get one more crack at beating a ranked team before the regular season ends!

“Locked in a Box?”: We knew it was too good to last. Tulsa lost outright to Arkansas, hanging only the second lock loss of the season in ten tries on Vindicator (8-2, .800)

Shoppe Talk: Vindy discovered his own personal Kryptonite resides in Lubbock, Texas as the Red Raiders fall to 1-6. Returning to be stuffed again also are the Wisky Badgers at 1-6.

Vindy’s Week 11 Best Bets: Last Week: 1-3 Season: 28-17-1 (.622)
Arkansas +12 over SOUTH CAROLINA, Iowa State +10 over COLORADO, Memphis -1 over SMU, Wyoming +24 over TENNESSEE, UL-LAFAYETTE -10 over Texas-El Paso