Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Vindy's 2007-08 Bowl Recap


SYDNEY, Australia (CNN)....Six-inch barber shears? Check. Twelve ounces of mouthwash? Knock yourself out. A box of matches? Please. Vindy’s picks on the laptop?! Holy crap! Hold da’ phone! Do not pass GO, do not collect $200! An Aussie tourist headed for Las Vegas over the holidays kept a U.S.-bound Qantas flight on the runway in the Outback for several hours after flight attendants caught the passenger perusing Vindy’s Picks on his laptop during pre-flight preparations. Air marshals eventually wrestled the portable computer away from the passenger, but not before he actually placed Internet wagers using some of the picks. The laptop was "secured" in the cockpit and a "random" FAA review of the flight’s black box revealed audio of the captain and co-pilot "knockin’ back a few" while discussing each prediction. Media spies in Sin City let it leak that the co-pilot and original passenger-in-question made tidy profits on Vindicator’s "lock" choice, Virginia +5 1/2!

Meanwhile, back in Gotham was "If you can shred it, they will come". An industrial-strength shredder constructed in Times Square drew thousands from across the nation to New York City recently to symbolically eliminate bad memories of calendar year 2007. They stood in line, some even rival fans standing shoulder-to-shoulder, on December 28 for hours...for the opportunity to cleanse their lives. Athletes, coaches, athletic directors, bettors and yes, the prognosticators and pundits. They shredded photos, box scores, pieces of paper bearing handwritten win-loss records and the names of opponents to whom they lost. For items too big to shred, such as Heisman trophies, jack-hammers were available. (Editor’s note: Vindy was there with all 39 "best bet" picks that didn’t materialize!)

(An annual summary of the family-friendly bowl forecast...Okay, okay...the family of note happens to be the Mansons! Happy now??!!)

Ten bowl games in, Vindicator found himself in a hole...nay..a mineshaft. Vin’s opening 0-5 and 1-9 run would end up being a microcosm of his regular season and left our prognosticator imploring the bookies, "Please don’t Tase me, Bro!" (Or for readers who know Vindicator on a more personal, first-name basis..."Please don’t Tays me, Bro!") and uttering other phrases that landed him on Santa’s "naughty list"! In fact, our fearless forecaster got off to such a cold start that fans attending the NHL’s outdoor Winter Classic in Orchard Park, New York between the Pens and the Sabres, if they looked close enough, could see Vindy’s Picks just below the rink surface!

With his chance at a winning bowl record disappearing faster than a Dice-K gyroball and needing a pep talk, Vindicator got on the cellular Bat Phone and called Peyton Manning, who said, "That’s okay, Vindy. You still got the best arm in the neighborhood...Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood! Take that (forecast) out and paint some flames on it or get a cool decal, like a Number 18 on the side." Heeding the multi-time Pro Bowler’s advice, Vin found himself livin’ La Vida Bowla on December 29, correctly picking the trifecta, including the Lions’ win and cover over A&M, despite ugly officiating (for both teams) and horrible special teams play, en route to an inspired 11-4 rally, but a late Hack-a-Vin strategy by the bookies (that saw an 0-3 slide) put Vin in the position of needing a 4-0 finish to gain the better-than-.500 record, but the Hokies put an end to that chance by turning it over three times in a 24-21 outright defeat to Kansas. Vin watched the Orange Bowl (the Thursday night Orange Bowl!) until Kansas went up 17-0 in the second quarter then tuned into Jeopardy as our weekday-challenged prophet dropped the third of all three Thursday-night bowl affairs!

Vindy finished 14-17 for the bowl season (with Kentucky/FSU "off" at the time his picks were published), but behind the Cavs of Virginia, Weber ran his season "lock" record to 10-5 for the second consecutive year, meaning Vindy’s locks have gone a very profitable 20-10 (66.67%) over the last bi-ennium. (Take that, smart guys!). Vin also called one of the two major upsets, ECU +10 ½ outright over Boise State (despite the Pirates’ multiple efforts to give it away late in the game!).

"It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!" (It did, however, come with a re-gifted JoPa Chia pet!)

Note to self: Do not bet against the Middies in the post-season. Do not bet against the Middies in the post-season. Do not bet against the Middies in the post-season (especially on Thursday night)!

Can the Weber Kid just pin his poor bowl performance on the presence of Jessica Simpson in the stands wearing a jersey with Vindicator’s uniform number as Vindy took the field to prepare his post-season picks???!! (BTW, the Cowboys are -7 ½ over the G-Men this weekend unless Simpson is in the stands, in which case, the line drops to Dallas -3 1/2!

The 2007 Weber-Friendlies recorded two wins (Rutgers [7-2] and Arkansas [6-1-1]) with one loss (Virginia Tech [10-3]), while Flame-Throwers posted two losses {SHOCKER!}(Boston College [3-8] and Hawaii [2-8]) with one win (USC [4-9]). Meanwhile, Vindicator’s conference allegiance of choice, the Big Tenuous, went a disappointing 3-5 SU/2-5-1 ATS, with only Michigan and those Nifty Lions of Penn State both winning outright and covering the line!
Favorites tanked the trend of covering games before Christmas, going only 2-4 ATS.

Had the national title game been played one day later on January 8, Elvis impersonators could have taken the halftime stage to celebrate The King’s birthday and sung "Love Me (Big) Tender" in honor of Ohio State!

In support of the writers’ strike, the presentation of the BCS trophy was actually done in a pre-taped format!

Vindy’s asked the CIA to destroy videotapes showing the methods he uses to arrive at his annual bowl predictions!

Since the 1997-98 season through ‘07-‘08, Vin has posted a bowl record of 133-141-3 (.485).
On the silver screen...a Notre Dame head coach known more for his tailgate parties than his victories on the field gets asked to end the political tensions between Russia and the U.S. in "Charlie Weis’ War", Nick Cage searches for valuable, but mysterious ancient betting tickets in "National Treasure: Sportsbook of Secrets" and a Detroit Lions running back contemplates things he wants to do before he dies in "The T.J. Duckett List".

If The Grinch Who Stole Christmas had been set in Bloomington, Indiana, would there have been a little girl named Cindy-Lou Hoosier? (Hmmmm..."Then he got her a drink [that’s considered "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" in some states] and he gave her the spread..."). Ahhhhhh...another literary classic bites the dust at the hands of the Weber Kid!

Last month, the completion of construction of the largest photovoltaic installation in the North American continent occurred at local Nellis AFB. The installation provides one-quarter of the energy needed to power the base. Mighta’ been more useful to put that sucker in the UNLV locker room to provide all FOUR quarters of the power needed by the Rebels.

Also in local Las Vegas news, with the annual Red Flag exercises underway this week at Nellis AFB, Vindy’s hopin’ to pick up a few tactical pointers on dropping flares from the tail end of his parlay card as decoys for bookies pick-seeking missiles while his forecast flies successful weekend sorties over the sportsbook this coming Fall!

North Korea appears to be behind the power curve on meeting its required timeline for nuclear disarmament. A spokesperson for the Communist nation said it’s official nuke dismantlement team had been busy watching the bowls, but the time between the BCS Championship game and each NFL playoff round would allow workers to likely complete the project by halftime of the Super Bowl!

The dog belonging to Red Sox RP Jonathan Papelbon reportedly ate the ball constituting the final out of the 2007 World Series. The resulting "end product" turned out to be the 2007 season for the Miami Dolphins!

Premiering this month on NBC, watch as seasoned-veteran, steroid-enhanced forecasters nicknamed "Tin", "Glass" and "Chocolate Puddin’" square-off vs. male and female average Joe, forecaster-wannabes in a series of physical contests on American Prognosticators!

UNLV is one of two schools in the nation swapping game tickets for drug tests with local agencies. We smell a scandal brewing!

Among the names named in Jose Canseco’s book and the Mitchell Report: Beethoven, Da Vinci, Christina Ricci, Margaret Thatcher, Verne Troyer, Bill Gates, Charlie Chaplin, Gandhi, Joey Chestnut, Harry Potter and Abe Lincoln (oh the Great Emancipator’s stovepipe hat got that tall on its own?????!!!)

Perusing the latest catalog from What on Earth, Vindy noticed a book titled "23 Ways to Get to First Base". The Weber Kid was both elated and disappointed to learn the tome truly was about baseball!

In political news, the Clinton camp got some heat for deriding Vindicator’s kindergarten letter noting his desire to be a college football forecaster when he grew up! Hillary would eventually finish 3rd at the Iowa caucus. Oddly, she would also finish 3rd in the final BCS poll! On New Year’s Day, Clinton informed hubby Bill that she knows that he truly loves her because he was giving up six (count ‘em, six!) bowl games to go stumping for her that day. Fine. But if Slick Willy had passed on the BCS Championship game to do likewise, we’d had one word for the ex-Commander -in-Chief... "wuss"!

Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware was the only one among ten candidates in Iowa to refuse having a picture taken with a Mr. Potato-Head figure. A former resident of the Blue Hen State himself, Vindicator came to Biden’s rescue and had a photo taken with the nostalgic toy. Biden withdrew from the presidential race following a poor final tally at the caucus, but he was immediately hired by the Miami Dolphins!

New England’s Bill Belichick was recently named the AP NFL Coach of Da’ Year. The Pats hoped to capture the presentation of the award on video, but couldn’t find any tapes that weren’t already full of opponents’ defensive hand-signals!

Last month, 82-year-old Marv Levy threw in the towel as general manager of the Buffalo Bills. Vindy’s spies say Marv is about to replace 81-year-old Joe Paterno as head coach of the Nittany Lions. Nice to see the folks in Happy Valley bringin’ in a little more experience! Gotta’ love a guy who’s been around the block-in-the-back a time or two!

After reported conversations with God, evangelist Pat Robertson has predicted recession and world violence this year. And for a mere $79 donation to the 700 Club, believers can also get his platinum 2008 College Football Plays of the Year package!

BTW, bowls are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy!

Vindicator salutes his alma mater’s women’s volleyball team, as the Lady Lions defeated Stanford to take the national title last month!

Honoring the centennial anniversary of the penning of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", the U.S. Postal Service is releasing a stamp featuring a baseball card. Vindicator recommends the following: Nolan Ryan ("express" mail), and Chuck Knoblauch ("airmail"). Barry Bonds’ rookie card would be fine, but any card in recent years wouldn’t fit on anything smaller than an over-sized package (and that stamp could only feature his head!).

June Jones has left the head coaching spot at Hawaii to take a similar position at SMU. Great. Will the Ponies be bustin’ out the Polynesian War Dance before each game?! Will anybody in Dallas, Texas know what the hell it means??!! "Aloha" shouldn’t be a challenge, but who’s gonna’ help the kiddies in the Mustangs’ summer youth literacy program stumble through pronunciation of "Mele Kalikimaka"???!!!

An entrepreneurial woman has started selling Tasers to women at gatherings that have drawn comparisons to "Tupperware parties". The portable protection devices even come in pink. Make those puppies customizable to include team colors, uniform numbers of favorite players, mascots or team logos and there’s a whole untapped market of sports fans (and officials), pro and college, out there! Picture frat boys tasing each other when home teams score, fans zapping visiting fans when the opponents score, referees using black-and-white striped models to break-up on-field/on-court/on-ice dust-ups between players. The possibilities are endless! Your host even foresees John Madden using the Telestrator to diagram "assessment" of 15-yard personal foul penalties..."The electrodes flew over the defensive end here, around the linebacker there and... right into ...BOOM!..the safety!"

LEFTOVER HASH (Stuff that was available but didn’t find its way into the forecast earlier this season)
A December 2006 e-mail from Lisa Nowak to fellow astronaut and love interest Bill Oefelein read..."First urge will be to rip your clothes off, throw you on the ground and love the hell out of you!" Funny...Vindicator sent that same e-mail to his bookie upon learning he’d hit his first parlay bet of the season!

Dairy Queen will sponsor a new stadium at University of Minnesota. Anybody else out there see the irony in DQ stepping up to support a Gophers team whose defense was as tough as soft-serve ice cream this season?!

Sports agent Scott Bora wants World Series to be best of nine, with two neutral site games prior to the usual 2-3-2 format. Uh oh...can you say...World Series Bowl?

NASA’s recruiting volunteers for a pretend 520-day isolation trip to the "Red Planet" (that’s "Mars" for the non-skill-position players out there!). Given that the fact that Vindicator sat through all 32 bowl games without human contact, we think he’s a shoo-in for this one!

In related news, NASA wants a permanently-staffed station on the da’ moon by 2024. Great. Vin foresees another University of Texas branch campus (we’re thinking serious homefield advantage since zero-gravity and exposure to radioactive particles would be tough to duplicate in practice!) and yet another post-season game, possibly sponsored by millionaire Richard Branson and called the VirginRecords.Com Sea-of-Tranquility Lunar Bowl! We can hear the announcers now..."One small step...outta’ bounds....?!" How ‘bout, "The Eagles have landed" ???!!

A musician claims to have discovered hidden music in DaVinci’s "The Last Supper". Turned out to be the Notre Dame fight song!

Last March, Notre Dame bullied Indianapolis’ Cathedral High School into giving up its use of the Fightin’ Irish leprechaun logo. Unfortunately, that victory didn’t go into the South Bend win-column toward bowl-eligibility!

In July, the U.S. (featuring mostly smaller-college players) participated in the World Cup Football final (yes, sports fans...OUR football), which was previously won in 1999 and 2003 by (GASP!) Japan! The USA beat South Korea 77-0 (or as we’d call it here...SoCal vs. Florida International).

With Dr. Tom Osbourne back at the controls in Lincoln, will Nebraska’s game-plan return to three yards and a cloud of husk?

Peyton Manning got to wave the green flag at last year’s Indy 500...the Colts’ Pro Bowl QB looked over the formation of cars, started flapping his arms and barked audibles while gesturing at specific vehicles, leading to several false starts and autos jumping offsides!

A group of astronomers renamed an asteroid in honor of George Takei for his role in "Star Trek". Likewise, a group of meteorologists renamed a glacier in honor of Vindicator’s "best bets"! (Though the Notre Dame offense was in consideration as well!).

NBA rookie Greg Oden went to the hospital this past summer to allegedly have his tonsils out. Oh sure, wait til next month when he goes in to get treatment for osteoporosis and shingles!

Last spring, the Marines banned large tattoos. Fortunately, Vindicator was a member of Uncle Sam’s Army and continues with impunity to wear his tattoo of blank NCAA Tourney brackets on his back! Hoo-rahhhhhh!!!! (He also fills ‘em in each March with temporary henna tattoos of the 65 tourney team names!).

In related news, among the new incentives to boost recruiting is "creating a more pleasant boot camp environment" or as Army recruiters are calling it...the Oakland Raiders clause!

The bobbies of London will wear cameras strapped to their trademark helmets to capture crime video. If law enforcement personnel in Cincinnati do likewise, Bengals fans can see first-hand video of their favorite players on "COPS".

The December 2006 issue of Playboy noted the International Association for Sport and Phys Ed found 12 states that allow public school students to earn phys ed credits by attending online classes. Vin does a mean virtual sack dance!

The 2007 AFC Championship game (Pats/Colts) drew a Nielsen rating of 28.1, beating the ‘06 Academy Awards by 2%. Vin suggests..."And the Oscar for best supporting lineman goes to..." (BTW, the rating for the ‘07 NFC championship game [between da’ Bears and da’ Saints] was 25.1).

Meanwhile, Arizona quarterback Matt Leinart’s former college squeeze has asked for $30,000 a month in child support. If Matt doesn’t pay up and the Cards don’t cover the number each week, might we see his face on one of those billboards identifying him as a "spread-beat dad"??!! Broncos RB Travis Henry was also ordered to pay child support....has nine children by nine women in four states. It appears he’s more productive on the road than at home.

The Mountaineers of WVU won the 2007 NIT, but the championship T-shirts spelled out "West Virgna". Vndy thnks tht’s bllsht! Guess there’s no I-formation in basketball??!!. Funny, names are also misspelled on the NHL’s Stanley Cup. Same vendor?!

BTW, we’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no "I" in "team" because Ralphie shot it out with his Red Ryder!

Earlier this year, Las Vegas lost out on the 2016 Olympic Summer soccer games. Bummer. Athletes could’ve swapped Olympic poker chips instead of pins, and gone home with souvenir outcall handbills!

Speaking of that other "football", David Beckham has been tabbed to teach Snoop Dogg’s children to play soccer. In exchange, the Doggie-Style artist will teach Becks’ kids to fire an automatic assault rifle!

Last June, Cincy Bengals WR Chad Johnson raced and beat Restore the Roar in 1/8 mile (110 yards) contest for charity. The horse broke from the 8th pole while the wideout took off from the 16th. Let’s see Street Sense run routes and catch passes during two-a-days in August!!

The National Football League prohibited the Chicago Park District from showing last season’s Super Bowl in Soldier Field, with proceeds going to charity, because it would water down ratings. Apparently, NFL stands for "No Free-Loaders"!

Sports Illustrated reported a pregnant woman had agreed to advertise an online auction on her tummy during the Super Bowl in exchange for two tickets to the Big Game. Vin’s not pregnant, but would gladly advertise the BCS Championship Bowl on his beer-belly for a couple of tix to next season’s title tilt!

Producers of the Super Bowl have very few worries of such previous disasters as the "wardrobe malfunction" with 57-year-old Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers doing the halftime gig for this year’s Big Game. Vindicator, however, plans to make an unannounced appearance and hold his parlay card lengthwise at waist-level behind a curtain, no doubt drawing cries of lewdness and obscenity across the nation!

Researchers from Chicago’s Northeastern Illinois Uni found what they believe to be the New World’s oldest brewery at a 2600-year-old site in Southern Peru. Apparently, the Wari Empire made "chicha" from a tree and drank it for ceremonial purposes...which included toasting Da’ Bears!

Last May, Lakers coach Phil Jackson told his players they "have the brainpower of slugs or earthworms". Gotta’ wonder if the folks at UC-Santa Cruz (home of the Fightin’ Banana Slugs) took offense to that.

Vindy’s 2007 submission for the the acronym contest at Elderly Men Enjoy Ranting About Lines Despite Not Understanding The Spread

On the small screen next Fall...Extreme Makeover: Homefield Edition

John Rocker says he took steroids, notably HGH, for medical reasons. Can’t imagine what health condition would necessitate consumption of the "Hate Gays Hormone".

We here at at Vindy’s Picks think Roger Clemens, who adamantly denied accusations of steroid use on a recent "60 Minutes" interview is clean. In April, the Rocket was seen warming up his pitching arm on the roof of Planet Hollywood, some 43 stories above Las Vegas Boulevard,...and his son still managed to homer off him!

The amateur baseball draft was televised for 1st time this past year. Brady Quinn still fell to Day 2 for the Cleveland Indians!

Coming soon to Prime Time, Josh Radnor, with help from Neil Patrick Harris of "Doogie Howser" fame, recounts hooking up with future spouse Alyson Harrigan at the local sportsbook in..."How I Bet Your Mother".

Back in April, Rutgers women’s hoops coach C. Vivian Stringer signed a seven-year contract. Don Imus subsequently apologized because it wasn’t eight years!

Florida hoops coach Billy Donovan likened Gator center Al Horford to Don Corleone. Harford has never seen "The Godfather".A little advice, Al..."Leave the gun. Take the free throws."

The NCAA three-point line was moved back to 20 feet- 9 inches (Let’s call it 7 yards)......Big deal. When the hoopsters can score three from beyond 40 yards with eleven guys coming at them against the wind, we’ll talk.

Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry dove into a crowd, plowing into an elderly woman, then apologized by giving her a kiss. Turns out the "woman" was former Knicks announcer Marv Albert, who immediately whipped off his wig and exclaimed his trademark "Yessssssss!"

If Major League Baseball’s Capitol Beltway team adopts a kosher hotdog as its mascot, would we have the Washington Hebrew Nationals?

If Clubber Lang’s day-job involved working at Sherman-Williams, would one of the famous quotes from Rocky III have been, "My prediction? Paaaaaainnnt."

OK, we’re pushin’ da’ envelope just a bit to fit this one in this column, but so be was recently revealed that Barack Obama and Dick Cheney have a common ancestor. The mutual relative was apparently out sport-hunting when he launched his bone-club into the pterodactyl blind and hit a fellow hunter right in the face!

And finally...Muhammad Ali’s own food line hit five college campuses this past season..Vin recommends the following motto to expand the Greatest’s reach to NCAA students everywhere... "floats like a buttermilk, stings like a beet?"

Until August, sportsfans...."May the road dog rise up to beat you!" (Something like that!)

Post-2007 Records of 3rd Year Coaches

A bit later than promised, but here we are again, checking the results (post-bowls) forged by coaches in their third year with their respective teams....

‘07 3rd Year Coach ‘06 SU/ATS record ‘07 SU/ATS record (Comments)

Les Miles, LSU 11-2/6-7 12-2/5-9 (Nat’l Title win)

Ed Orgeron, Ol Miss 4-8/5-4-2 3-9/6-5 (fired)

Urban Meyer, Florida 13-1/5-7-1 9-4/8-4 (bowl loss)

Steve Spurrier, SC 8-5/9-3 6-6/5-4-2

Ron Zook, Illinois 2-10/5-6 9-4/7-5 (bowl loss)

Mike Gundy, OKSU 7-6/7-4-1 7-6/6-5-1 (bowl win)

Ty Willingham, Wash 5-7/6-5-1 4-9/6-7

Walt Harris, Stanford 1-11/3-9 4-8/5-7

Dave Wannstedt, Pitt 6-6/5-6 5-7/6-4-1

Greg Robinson, Syracuse 4-8/8-4 2-10/3-9

Kyle Whittingham, Utah 8-5/7-4-1 9-4/7-6 (bowl win)

Bronco Mendenhall, BYU 11-2/10-2-1 11-2/6-6 (bowl win)

Mike Sanford, UNLV 2-10/4-6-1 2-10/4-7-1

Mark Snyder, Marshall 5-7/4-7 3-9/4-7

Skip Holtz, ECU 7-6/10-3 8-5/8-5 (bowl win)

Brent Guy, Utah State 1-11/3-9 2-10/7-4-1

Hal Mumme, NMSU 4-8/7-3 4-9/4-7

Dick Tomey, San Jose State 9-4/9-3 5-7/6-5

Charlie Weis, ND 10-3/4-8-1 3-9/5-7

Bill Cubit, W. Michigan 8-5/8-5 4-8/3-6-2

Frank Solich, Ohio U. 9-5/7-6 6-6/6-5

Shane Montgomery, MI-OH 2-10/4-8 6-8/6-8 (MAC title game loss)