Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Vindy's Picks Week 6-2008


EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (ITAR-Tass)....Shortly after tossing six touchdown passes, tying a Jets’ record set by Joe Namath over three decades ago, in a wild victory over the Arizona Cardinals, Bret Favre reneged on an earlier August statement in which he was quoted as saying, “I’m here for one reason. Not to make commercials. I’m here to help the Jets win.” The former Southern Miss QB and Packers’ legend agreed to reprise Broadway Joe’s role in the now-classic 1970's commercial for Noxema shaving cream, which featured Farrah Fawcett, during the upcoming bye week While several names have been bandied about as co-stars, such as Jessica Simpson, Carrie Underwood, Hannah Montana, Hayden Panettiere and Ashley Olsen, Sarah Palin has offered to “lose the school-marm specs and feather the hair” to lean on her beauty queen past and remake the commercial in an effort to plug the campaign in the Big Apple and the surrounding metro area! The Republican candidate is also rumored to be taking some snaps from a few yards deep behind center two weeks from now at home against the Bengals because the New York front office heard she was good with the shotgun!

Vindy turned in a lackluster 7-7-1 (39-40-1, .493) for Week Five, but his preferred picks (lock of da’ week and best bets) went a profitable 5-1as the canines crooned this week (covering 11 of 14, with one push). Compiled on a short week with more intuition than information, more vermouth than truth and more numbness than numbers, it’s...

(now melamine-free)

#17 BOISE STATE over Louisiana Tech giving 22:
No faith in this pick as Vindy went back-and-forth a couple times before settling on the fave. Broncos have beaten the Bulldogs by at least two touchdowns four years in a row, Tech is abysmal 5-18 against the line getting points away from Ruston. LT is also 1-3 ATS last quartet vs. Boise, but knocked off Mississippi State in the home opener, got shutout 29-0 at Kansas, then beat double-A Southeast Weeziana by 15. Will the real Bulldogs please step forward.! Good guess for “wish I had it back”, but...Broncos 38 Tech 8

#10 SOUTH FLORIDA over Pittsburgh giving 13 1/2:
Panthers had to rally from 11-point 3rd Quarter hole at Syracuse last week and despite 3-1 record, Pitt is only 1-3 against the number. Bulls finally showed signs of being the juggernaut Vindy expected back in August, putting NC State away on the road by halftime... USF 38 Pitt 16

#15 UTAH over Oregon State giving 11 1/2: Utes went up 34-7, then let a couple other guys take turns under center vs. Weber State. Incredible letdown opportunity for the Beavers off second upset of the Trojans in three years but back on the road against a ranked team. State can take advantage of visit by Wazzou next Saturday, but here it’s ...Utah 29 OSU 14

#8 Brigham Young over UTAH STATE giving 30:
Mormons enter this one rested after defeating last two foes by combined total of 103-0. Any questions? BTW, anybody else out there think the “Y” in Yahoo looks conspicuously like the one on the side of Brigham Young helmets?!...Cougars 41 Aggies 3

#1 Oklahoma over BAYLOR giving 26:
One of the trio of faves to actually cover in last week’s forecast was Oklahoma, who likes playing in Waco, missing only one cover in the last half-dozen visits (and only then by 1 ½ points). Bares are competitive in their first season under new coach Art Briles, but just 4-12 ATS vs. fellow Big 12 clubs the past two years. We’re expecting a much better showing from the chalk this week, including this one... Sooners 54 Baylor 14

Kentucky over #2 ALABAMA taking 16 ½: Figuring a slight letdown for ‘Bama off nice upset win over Joja’. Back in Week Two, we ignored a stat, which updated with this season’s numbers, now shows Tide as 3-15 ATS laying points at home. ‘Cats face only four opponents this year who had fewer than 7 wins in 2007 and must improve on the 26 sacks they gave up over final six games last season to have a chance at the victory here. KY doing a nice job defensively, with just one opposing team scoring more than 3 points...Bammy 29 Wildcats 19

#3 LSU: IDLE (next @ Florida)

NEBRASKA over #4 Missouri over taking 11: Coach Pelini called out his team for “bonehead mistakes” after loss to Virginia Tech. In July, the state of Nebraska enacted the “safe haven” law, allowing abandonment of kids as old as 19 at area hospitals without fear of legal consequences. Guess that explains all but the most senior of Huskers players being “accidentally left behind” at the Lincoln Medical Center following Saturday’s shootout defeat!...Tigers 34 Big Redi-Whip 29

#5 Texas over COLORADO giving 13 ½: We thank the Steers, who combined with the Rice Owls to show your host a little Lone Star love and bring home one of Vindicator’s two successful parlay bets last week! Buffaloes pretty much eliminated West Virginia from the national title race a couple weeks back, but fell well-short vs. the Seminoles and we historically get hosed every time we jump on the Bison bandwagon. Three of ‘Horns’ four wins in ‘08 have been by finals of exactly 52-10!...Texas 29 Colorado 14

#6 Penn State over PURDUE giving 12: How good does Penn State’s lashing of the Beavers look right now??!! Lions won every statistical category vs. the Illini (except passing yards, in which they were only two behind). Boilers have now failed to cover five of last six back to last year and were responsible for the only spread loss among Vindy’s Week Five “best bets”. Line’s reasonable given State’s first road trip this year and the Choo-Choos have covered two of the last four years, but assuming a better defensive effort this week, we’ll stay with the blue-and-white. We are...Penn State 30 Purdue 15

KANSAS STATE over #7 Texas Tech taking 7: In view of Wildcats’ loss at Louisville and scant 8-point victory at home over Weeziana-Lafayette, it would be way too easy to lay the points with Tech’s “Air Raid” offense, but TTU hasn’t beaten anybody of note, tripping up Reno on the road and smoking two FCS teams and C-USA bottom-feeder SMU. For all its potency, Texas Tech has only 6 covers in 18 tries as a road fave in last four-plus seasons....Raiders 38 K-State 34

#23 Oregon over #9 USC taking 18: Trojans haven’t suffered back-to-back straight-up defeats since Pete Carroll’s first year as coach in 2001 (when USC actually dropped four in a row!). Decoys are 17-7 ATS taking points away from the Pond since start of 2000 season, though just 5-3 the last two years. The Mallards won 24-17 last year in Eugene. Troy now 9-2 ATS vs. last 11 ranked opponents. After reading an article last week about NASA’s deployment of rubber ducks inside a Greenland glacier to determine how melting water moves through ice, USC coaches elected to forgo the usual film sessions to flood the Coliseum and release 11 rubber ducks of their own to study how Oregon might attack on offense during Saturday’s game..Troy 34 Quack Attack 24.

#11 Georgia: IDLE (next vs. Tennessee)

#12 Florida over ARKANSAS giving 23: Recently, a pig as large as a small pony held a woman hostage in her Australian home for ten days. The mutant porker, who was identified only as “Bruce” and tipped the scales at 176 pounds, apparently spent many evenings banging its head on the woman’s door before running off. Authorities were able to catch the uniform number, however, how the Arkansas player got “down under” to begin with is still a mystery and school officials back in the U.S. aren’t naming names, but given the weight and head-banging behavior, the athlete in question is either a safety or a special teams player...Gators 45 Bacon Strips 13

#19 VANDERBILT over #13 Auburn taking 4: OK...Tigers have four SU wins, a lone spread win and exactly ZERO forecast wins! The Auburn defense is -135 this week to outscore its offensive counterparts! Vandy came into 2008 with 4-9 spread record getting points in Nashville, but won outright in its only home dog role to-date vs. South Carolina. Commodores are 4-0 SU and ATS...and snag the upset...Admirals 17 Auburn 16

#18 WISCONSIN over #14 Ohio State taking 2 ½: Only third time since mid-2003 as a home dog for the Badgers (and they covered the previous two), who haven’t lost a game at Camp Randall under Coach Bielema (now in his third season), but State is only the second ranked team to visit Wisky in the last 28 matches. Buckeyes have yet to hang a “W” in the spread column...Cheeseheads 17 OSU 14

#16 Kansas over IOWA STATE giving 13: Line looks a tad low for a Jayhawks squad that had South Florida on the ropes on the road before a defensive collapse cost it the loss and Cyclones should’ve lost to UNLV. Vin chalks up Kansas’ 24-point win over Sam Houston State to lack of interest...Kansas 34 Dust Devils 14

Western Kentucky over #20 VIRGINIA TECH taking 28: While Tech could be up 14-0 early in the 1st Quarter before the Hokies offense even gets outta’ the tunnel if Hilltoppers gets possession to start the game, we like the defense to dominate while a couple strings of reserves get some reps at home in the middle of four road games that mean more to VT...Beamer Ball 24 Western Kentucky 0

#21 OKLAHOMA STATE over Texas A&M giving 24: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Texas A&M in each of last four seasons, one opponent has played it a lot closer than it should’ve. Arkansas State and Army already qualify this year in that category. Aggies have gone 10-5-1 ATS the last two years against other Big 12 teams, but this year’s group looks seriously out-of-synch under former Green Bay coach Mike Sherman. Courtesy of Marc Lawrence’s Playbook...A&M has covered only twice in last 35 outright losses. Cowpokes definitely enjoying the homefield this year, hitting the 50's in each game. They do so again...OKSU 54 TAMU 24

Hawaii over #22 FRESNO STATE taking 22 1/2: ‘Bows on 4-10 spread run, including 2-6 away from the Islands. Having gone up by three just 90 seconds into the 2nd Quarter, Fresno coach Pat Hill went for 2 following the TD. What the hell was that about?! The failed attempt cost Vindy a loss instead of a push. Bi-polar Bulldogs defense seems to play to level of opponent’s D. Combined, these two have one cover in 7 tries on the season...FSU West 35 Hawaii 20

#24 Connecticut over NORTH CAROLINA taking 7: Huskies rallied from 10 down to score the final 10 points in the last 5 ½ minutes of the game (7 on an INT return for touchdown) to get by Louisville and own a pair of three-point triumphs over also-powerhouses Temple and Baylor. Carolina has covered 7 of last 11 going back to ‘07, but what do the Heels have in the tank following tough games against Virginia Tech and Miami?....Huskies 21 Tarheels 17

#25 Wake Forest: IDLE (next vs. Clemson 10/9)

BTW, fans finding and returning any wayward rubber duckies to the Trojans athletic department can exchange them for a free hotdog and beer at the SoCal home game of their choice!

Having reeled off four straight losses (SU and ATS), the Eastern Michigan Eagles have elected to suspend their 2008 football campaign “until this whole financial crisis thing is resolved!”

Late in the 1st Quarter of the Saints loss to Denver two weeks ago, Martin Grammatica booted a nifty 43-yard FG that split the uprights, but upon further review, referee Ed Hochuli ruled the kick fell short and awarded possession to Denver...at the New Orleans one-yard line!

Native Alaskan Sarah Palin believes her home state’s relative proximity to Russia gives her sufficient foreign policy experience to be vice president. Applying the same logic then, the Republican running mate is also qualified to coach in the Canadien Football League and the NHL!

The UCLA math department whiz kids just found a prime number with 13 million digits. Almost as many as a Peyton Manning audible!

Bruce Springsteen was announced this week as the halftime performer for this season’s Super Bowl. Online responses note the most popular choices for the anticipated four-song set to be “Born to Run “, “Glory Days”, “Cover Me” and “No Surrender”, but Vindicator offers a fifth, albeit lesser-known, selection...”Loose Ends”!

As many as six former NFL players have agreed to donate their brains to science for purposes of concussion research after their demise. Vindicator submits there a few current players who have already done so pre-mortem!

True pigskin fans have realized we’re in the middle of that wonderful time of the season in which there is/was at least one football game, pro or college, each night since Thursday, September 25 through Monday, October 6!

Last Wednesday morning, Dodger Stadium security took a man into custody after he got on the field while impersonating a ball-player. The man could get as much four years behind bars if found guilty. An unidentified front office staffer for Los Angeles, however, told media the Dodgers would seek to trade him for some pitching help or designate him for assignment to its double-A farm team if exonerated!

Trying to break a team batting slump back in May, Chicago White Sox players placed inflatable dolls on a couch and surrounded them with “strategically-placed” bats. It worked...but ironically, the dolls would also collectively finish with a batting average of .314 and nearly 100 RBI.

Black Shirt: the Sin City Soothsayer awards this week’s Black Shirt recognition to....to the Rice Owls for not letting off the throttle vs. the Lean Green while helping Vindy complete one of his first two successful two-team parlays of the season as noted earlier!

“Locked in a Box?”: No tainted ground beef this week as Texas hammered Arkansas and took the lock tally up again to 4-1 (.800). (BTW, loyal readers can refer to Vindy as “MAC Daddy” this week after Mid-Americans Northern Illinois and Bowling Green teamed up to provide the other winning parlay!)

Shoppe Talk: Bama gets off the schnide with a big win over Joja’, but in-state rival Auburn forces Vin to open the aviary wing at 0-5!

Vindy’s Week 1 Best Bets: Last Week: 4-1 Season: 13-7-1 (.650)
MINNESOTA -8 over Indiana, Maryland -14 over VIRGINIA, Northern Illinois +16 ½ over TENNESSEE, Akron -3 ½ over KENT STATE

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vindy's Picks Week 5-2008


HOLLYWOOD, California (MSNBC)....In the aftermath of the writers’ strike earlier this year and as networks pin their hopes for high ratings on returning series and new shows making debuts this week, one thing was clear.... football will be an integral part of this season’s Fall line-up. Perusing the TV Guide, we find...on FOX...a former Penn State linebacker battles another Happy Valley alum-turned forecaster-turned machine who stalks an athlete who could save the future in...”Vindicator: The Dan Connor Chronicles”! Turning to cable fare such as Bravo, it’s... Carson Kressley of Queer Eye For the Straight Guy fame helping quarterbacks feel better about their nude bodies on the gridiron as he hosts...”How to Look Good on a Naked Bootleg” and retired coaches trying to find appropriate on-and-off-the-field companionship for their old playbooks on the game show, “Date My X’s and O’s”. Flipping to ABC...athletes get the joy of playing in their new digs after major renovations to their stadiums in...”Extreme Makeover: Homefield Edition”. But hoping to win the November sweeps, the Peacock will counter its competitors’ drivel by airing “Lipstick Jungle”, which follows the trials and tribulations of the Arkansas Razorbacks; a nostalgic thriller in which The Hof goes back to college as a student at Rutgers University and fights crime with the help of a talking car in...”Scarlet Knight Rider” and its secret weapon...a reality/game show piece with children cheering on their fathers, who enjoy casual sports-betting, as they compete against each other with a handicap in various competitive events on...“My Dad’s Better Than Your Dad...Against the Spread!”

And just because inquiring minds wanna’ know...after posting a 9-7 record for Week Four (32-33-1, .492), the perplexing prophet traversed the red carpet at the Emmys this weekend wearing Converse, Wrangler jeans, Fruit of the Loom and NFL Pro Shop gear! Oh...and Michael Jordan’s underwear...uh...that MJ gave Vindy to wear...while carrying a draft version of....

(Now with “a little Captain” in them!)

OREGON STATE over #1 Southern Cal taking 25:
Trojans coming off second bye already this season and cover better than 75% of the time with a week’s rest (they certainly did against the Buckeyes!). Only concern here is USC’s 7-11 ATS track record last two years against other PAC-10 teams. Beavers have also covered Trojans’ last three visits to Corvallis. State’s new D has had three games together now to gel a bit and this could be a slight trap game with SoCal looking forward to the Ducks. Vindy suffered his first Thursday night loss last week. Will it be two?... USC 27 OSU 7

#24 Texas Christian over #2 OKLAHOMA taking 17 1/2:
Rested Sooners have dented the scoreboard for 52 or more points in all three games to-date. Horny Toads actually won SU 17-10....in Norman, when they last met (2005). Sooners on 11-3 ATS run laying points at home. Frogs have beat the line 8 straight times getting more than a TD out-of-conference. TCU’s number of spread wins has fallen each of the last two years, but it’s 3-0 so far. Looking for the Toads to play enough defense...OK 31 TCU 20

#8 Alabama over #3 GEORGIA taking 7: Joja dodged a couple bullets in narrow victory over South Carolina and really haven’t been challenged otherwise (sorry, iffy Arizona State team that lost to UNLV doesn’t count as a “challenge” at this point). Tide rushed for better than 9 ypc vs. Bumbling Boars of Arkansas and should be able to win this on defense. Your humble narrator has yet to pick Bama on the right side of the spread this season and the Dawgs have beaten the last five ranked squads they’ve faced...four by double-digits. What’s the worst that could happen? This one went to Joja in OT last year...Alabama 24 Georgia 19

Mississippi over #4 FLORIDA taking 23: Vols were sloppy last week and Gators took advantage. Rebels saw the Tebow Show last season and lost by only six with Florida laying more than three touchdowns. Ole Miss also defeated the Crocs on its last trip to the Swamp, 20-17, in 2003. Points here are too good to pass up... Florida 24 Mississippi 16

Mississippi State over #5 LSU taking 24: Last year’s 45-0 loss to the Bengals, failure to cover ten of last eleven against LSU and total of 19 points scored in three lined games this season do not bode well for the Bulldogs here, yet they seem to play more inspired ball in conference games, going 15-17 ATS the last four-plus seasons vs. the SEC... Tigers 27 MSU 9

#6 Missouri: IDLE (next @ Nebraska)

#7 TEXAS over Arkansas giving 27 1/2: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Back in Week Three, Vin had the Steers tabbed to cover this one before Mother Nature forced a change of plans and nothing’s happened since then to make him rethink that choice, especially in light of Hogs embarrassing loss to Bama last weekend. Tide had four scoring plays of 62 yards or more...two on defense. Good news for Razorbacks seniors who don’t get selected in this Spring’s NFL draft...they can always star in make-up commercial between rounds...’Horns 51 Pigs 17

#9 Wisconsin over MICHIGAN giving 6 ½: Badgers ended Big Blew’s eight-game winning streak late last year and haven’t eaten a spread loss against Michigan since 1999. Wolverines are 10-4-2 ATS the past two years against the Big Tentative conference, but just 0-2-1 playing Wisky. Smallish line is either reflection of Badgers’ defensive struggle at Fresno or indication Michigan hasn’t been ruled out as a player in the conference...yet...Badgers 28 Michigan 16

#10 Texas Tech: IDLE (next @ Kansas State)

#11 BYU: IDLE (next @ Utah State 10/3)

#12 PENN STATE over #22 Illinois giving 14: Something has to give. Illini are just 6-10 ATS getting points on the road the last four years and have a suspect defense. Nifty Lions have covered only four of last 16 conference matches. Illinois is off a bye following 20-17 squeaker at home over...UL-Laugh-At-Us?...The Alma Mater 42 Illinois 20

NC STATE over #13 South Florida taking 8 ½: UPSET SPECIAL. Bulls have won their last three FBS games by 7, 3 and 8...all spread losses. Wolfpack has to feel good about beating ranked East Carolina team last week after otherwise poor start to this season. Big Least squads have definitely shown some vulnerability to lesser opponents ...NCSU 24 USF 21

Minnesota over #14 OHIO STATE taking 18: This game got “lock” consideration. Golden Gerbils seemingly have solved some problems on defense after yielding almost 100 yards per game more than in 2006 and have limited two stout offenses, Bowling Green and Florida Atlantic, to nominal points en route to current 4-0 SU record this season. Minny covered its first game vs. State in five tries last year...barely. Beanie’s back for the Bucks, but not 100%...OSU 29 Gophers 24

#15 AUBURN over Tennessee giving 6 ½: Tigers had the LSU game in-hand and let it get away...and Vindy watched the debauchery unfold in the second half. While Aubie looked good on defense, special teams play was horrific with the Tigers missing two opportunities to recover two muffed punts by the Bengals and two dismal punts of their own in the third and fourth quarters. Auburn can’t afford another conference loss. In a rematch of the 2004 SEC title game (won by Auburn 38-28), we like...War Eagles 24 Rocking Chair Top 14

#16 WAKE FOREST over Navy giving 15 1/2: Deacons are not-real-inspiring 4-10 ATS laying points at home last four-plus years, while the Ensigns are 12-6 as a road dog over the same time frame. Wake converted four of seven FG tries to beat Florida State last week. GOP candidate John McCain was on-hand to watch the Middies topple Rutgers last week while attending a class reunion. The senator was overheard reminiscing about his days at the Academy, wearing animal furs and iron helmets with horns while exploring the seas off Annapolis in ships powered by a dozen guys wielding oars in the water!...Wake Forest 29 Admirals 6

Weber State @ #17 UTAH: No line (and no relation!)

#18 Kansas: IDLE (next @ Iowa State)

#19 Boise State: IDLE (next at Louisiana Tech 10/1)

Maryland over #20 CLEMSON taking 11 ½: Tigers appear to be losing support quickly based on continuing drop of this line in favor of the Terps. Box Turtles already have one upset as a double-digit dog this season. We don’t think it’s gonna’ be two, but at 0-2 ATS plus a pair of wins over double-A teams, Tigers’ “Thunder & Lightning” is starting to look more like “Thumbellina & Light Weight”...Clemson 21 Maryland 15

#21 Vanderbilt: IDLE (next vs. Auburn)

#23 EAST CAROLINA over Houston giving 10 ½: This game also got some initial thoughts for “lock” by your host. Pirates were only 1-4 ATS as chalk in 2007 and are already 0-2 in that mode this year. Still, we prefer the Buckos’ season history that includes two ranked victims over that of the Houston Cougars, who, in a “best bet” role last week for Vindicator, not only failed to cover, they failed to even win against Colorado State squad whose most significant achievement to-date was a 23-20 squeaker over FCS team Sacramento State!...ECU 34 Houston 17

#25 Fresno State over UCLA giving 7: Bulldogs were out-gained 598-410 on offense in double-OT win over Toledo, and only snatched the victory when the Rockets failed on a 2-point conversion. Bruins are in disarray and scored their only touchdown on a one-yard fumble return last week in loss vs. Arizona. If Fresno D that held Wisconsin under two TDs shows up, UCLA could be shutout for second time in three games...FSU 20 UCLA 10

BTW, the latest reality show being shot in Vegas is... “Paris Hilton: BFF”...In the texting world, that’s Betting Friends Forever

And in a statement NOT made up by Vindicator, the man who was tasked to transform the “Knight Rider” movie into a TV series said it could potentially “go three (episodes) and out”!

In recognition of this week’s UNLV-UNR game, Vindicator bypasses the usual word-processing computer program this week and will just transmit the picks via text message on a State-funded gubernatorial cell-phone!

Analysis of the Irish intern’s laptop that was removed from the Notre Dame coaching booth this weekend over concerns of cheating revealed it was only used during the game to visit Facebook, My Space and World of Warcraft!

Last January, Britt Reid (son of Eagles coach Andy) pleaded guilty to DUI stemming from Aug 07 incident in which Reid drove his car into a shopping cart. Fortunately, the cart’s operator sustained only minor injury when the front and side airbags deployed!

Anticipating the foul stench of the performance of their teams this season, fans of the Detroit Lions, North Texas Eagles and Idaho Vandals conducted preseason tailgate practices in Beijing!

During the Simpson trial this week, jurors heard tape of a recorded phone call in which OJ was whistling the Wizard of Oz staple “If I Only Had a Brain” in the background. Alleged victims on the night of alleged (BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!) robbery were also heard asking “Are you a good witch...or a bad witch?” Personally, we think the former running back didn’t really give a damn about the jerseys, rookie cards and family photos, but was simply after the ruby cleats ....uh...we mean....slippers...um...whatever.

Correction: Last week’s lead story made reference to Charlotte’s Web pig Wilson. The actual name of the porker in that story was Wilbur. We take solace in noting at least we had a sports tie-in since Wilson was the volleyball companion of Tom Hanks in Castaway! Wilson was actually available for comment...but made none!

Black shirt: Vindy awards his Black Shirt this week to the Pilots of Air Force for hanging tough (and just close enough for Vindy to get the spread win) against Utah last week.

“Locked in a Box?”: The Mormons appropriately blew out Wyoming, pushing the lock record up to 3-1 (.750).

Shoppe Talk: Vindicator pours a nice, big glass of Chinese milk for the Crimson Tide, who is now 0-4 and a major front-runner for post-season “honors” as “Grill-Master Supreme”! Several War Eagle beaks now adorn an entire Shoppe wall as Auburn also burned your fab forecaster for the fourth straight time in as many tries!

Vindy’s Week 5 Best Bets: Last Week: 1-2-1 (ouch!) Season: 9-6-1 (.600)
Northern Illinois -6 1/2 over EASTERN MICHIGAN, Purdue +2 over NOTRE DAME, Bowling Green -3 1/2 over WYOMING, SAN DIEGO STATE -11½ over Idaho, RICE -18 over North Texas

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Vindy's Picks Week 4-2008


FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas (AP)....Doing some damage control this week and potentially at the loss of support from the traditionally-Democratic local city, the Obama camp put out word that the Illinois senator’s comment about putting “lipstick on a pig” was actually an inadvertent reference to the Arkansas Razorbacks football team in a momentary lapse of concentration, not an attack on Republican candidate Sarah Palin. Apparently, in the midst of Obama’s criticisms of the McCain economic policy, the radio frequency on his earpiece accidentally picked up a sports program broadcast noting the Razorbacks escape with a mere 28-27 victory at home over Louisiana-Monroe last week, distracting the Democratic presidential hopeful, who now can’t even so much as order a strip of bacon or...Heaven forbid...”pigs in a blanket” at a Denny’s restaurant without political ramifications, long enough for him to mutter the disparaging comments about the team. Seizing the opportunity for product exposure throughout the college football world, representatives from make-up giant Revlon contacted the SEC school and offered an endorsement deal. University officials quickly accepted the contract terms. Obama, said if I really meant to insult her, I would’ve simply said things like ‘When Palins fly’, ‘Palin in a poke’ or “In a Palin’s eye!’”. Barack did, however, continue on to note the Republicans do “live high on da’ hog!” Babe, Porky Pig, Pig Pen , Piglet and Wilson from Charlotte’s Web did not immediately return media phone calls.

In January, an asteroid originally thought to be on a collision course with Mars missed, but it did circle back and crash into...Vindy’s Week Three picks (5-12-1, 23-26-1, .469), resulting in his first sub-.500 week of the season! Vindicator dons tin foil underwear, a la the movie Signs, to keep the bookies from reading his..uh...mind! (Although wearing the bra on his head a la Weird Science has been effective in the past too!)

(co-sponsored this week by...Max Factor and Maybelline)

#21 West Virginia over COLORADO giving 3:
Before the bye, Buffs and their very young offense defeated I-AA squad Eastern Washington by a touchdown and are 3-6 ATS as a home dog the last four years. Mounties are 9-5-2 as chalk away from Morgantown and have had two weeks to stew about horrible performance in 20-3 loss to ECU. Earlier this summer, WVU QB Pat White criticized the school’s baseball coach for not pursuing more black athletes. He later apologized. Being a stand-up guy, Coach Greg Van Sant accepted the apology, but not before having the quarterback crouch behind the plate and field a few heaters from the staff ace...sans catcher’s mitt...’Eers 19 Bison 9

#1 USC:
IDLE (next 9/25 @ Oregon State)

#2 Oklahoma: IDLE (next vs. TCU)

#3 Georgia over ARIZONA STATE giving 7: ‘Dawgs must be livin’ right considering they got a critical fumble and a late pick that got ‘em past a pesky South Carolina team. Devils were basically equal with or slightly better stat-wise than UNLV except in one category...TOP. Rebels held the ball five minutes more than ASU. Expect more focus from State this week, but Devils are just 3-8 ATS in last 11 vs. ranked teams, including blowout by Texas in last year’s bowl game...Joja’ 27 ASU 14

#4 Florida over TENNESSEE giving 7 1/2: Vols are 4-0-1 ATS getting points at home the past two years, but the Gators own three straight outright wins over Rocky Top (2-1 ATS), including last year’s 59-20 drubbing. Crocs seem to be just below the radar while quietly dismantling their first two opponents. This summer, Vols punter Britton Colquitt pleaded guilty to drinking and driving and leaving the scene of an accident. Colquitt hit another parked car and a tree during the February incident. He was suspended for the first five games of the ‘08 season. However, he did manage to drive the car outta’ bounds inside the 20, and neither the parked car nor the tree could manage a return... Crocs 20 Vols 10

#5 MISSOURI over Buffalo giving 34: Bulls, who return 18 starters, are now 10-5 ATS under Coach Gill, but lost by 11 at struggling Pittsburgh and had difficulty getting past Temple at home last week. Meanwhile, the Tigers piled up 651 yards of offense and ran their non-conference spread record to 9-1 with romp over the Wolfpack. Mizzou gets a week off next before Big 12 play starts...Tigers 48 Bulls 10

#10 AUBURN over #6 Louisiana State taking 2 1/2: We’re about to find out if the Tigers were worthy of one of Vindy’s BCS Championship futures bets this August. Auburn’s covered last three vs. the Bengals with final margins of 3, 4 and 6 (with the only SU win being 2006 at Auburn). State is paltry 6-16-4 ATS in conference tilts over the last three seasons. Was the scoreboard at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville down to its last lightbulb at kickoff last Saturday??!! Given Tigers’ 3-2 win over Mississippi State, we’re thinking Coach Tuberville lifted starter QB Codi Burns and brought in Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz in the bottom of the 4th quarter to save the win!...Auburn 10 LSU 9

#7 TEXAS over Rice giving 30: Third straight away game for the Owls, whose thoughts may be back home in Houston. Rice has covered only 1 of last 5 vs. the Steers, but have beaten the line in five of last seven back to last season and have won 3 of 5 SU as a dog. Texas got an unscheduled week off to prepare... Horns 48 Owls 13

#8 Wisconsin: IDLE (next @ Michigan)

ARKANSAS over #9 Alabama taking 9 1/2: Under provisions of the Revlon deal, freshmen players must actually wear the lipstick (shade of their choice) during all Arkansas home games, while all others simply have to sport the Rocky Horror Picture Show lips logo on the backside of their uniform pants. Hopin’ Arkansas will be Vindy’s “cover” girl...Tide 19 Pretty in Pink... uh...”pig”.. .er...16

Massachusetts @ #11 TEXAS TECH: No line.

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL over #12 South Florida taking 28: Bulls off wild win over Kansas. Panthers are now 1-25 straight up in last two-plus seasons, but are 4-5-1 ATS as home dogs and lost heartbreaking 21-20 game in only other meeting vs. South Florida back in 2006 as dogs of nearly three touchdowns...USF 28 FIU 3

Troy over #13 OHIO STATE taking 21: Tough to determine psyche of the Buckeyes here following nationally-televised stinker at USC on heels of previous stinker vs. Ohio, and the conference slate looming. Troy beat a Middle Tennessee State club that knocked off a Maryland squad that tripped up Cal. OK, the logic may be flawed, but the Trojans ARE 5-2 ATS in last 7 vs. BCS teams...Ohio State 30 Troy 13

#14 BYU over Wyoming giving 28 1/2: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Cougars reiterated message that they are BCS-worthy by steam-rolling UCLA. Cowpokes nearly brought Vindy’s I-AA upset alert last week to fruition, but rallied from a 13-0 hole to boot a FG with 4 seconds left to defeat the North Dakota State Bison...at home! Mormons are 16-8 ATS vs. the Mountain West last three years, while Wyoming is just 5-19-1...BYU 51 Wyoming 7

#15 East Carolina over NC STATE giving 7: First of a four-game homestretch for the Wolfpack, who still appear to be struggling with Coach O’Brien’s new playbook, having scored a total of 9 points vs. two FBS opponents. Pirates turned it over four times and had to rally to beat Tulane last week. We’re setting sail again...ECU 27 NCSU 10

#16 PENN STATE over Temple giving 28: Lions have beaten the Barnyard Birds two years running, including 31-0 in Philly in 2007, and aren’t shying away from putting points on the board vs. weaker opponents this season. State has also now covered 9 of last 11 vs. non-conference teams. We salute former JoePa assistant and now-Temple head coach Al Golden for nice job done making a longtime doormat competitive in the MAC Conference, but the Owls have no shot at an outright victory here unless they’re from the Shaolin Temple...Lions 51 Grasshoppa 9

#17 OREGON over Boise State giving 11: Geez...AGAIN with the quarterback injury for the Ducks! After covering all four non-conference games in 2006, Broncos have fallen to 1-4 ATS vs. non-WAC foes since the start of 2007. Mallards were sloppy, turning it over four times, in OT win over Purdue, but we think there’s enough depth and the Decoys don’t often miss the cover as faves on the Pond...Oregon 38 Boise 20

#18 Wake Forest over #24 FLORIDA STATE taking 4: ‘Noles have only one winning spread record in past seven seasons. Hard to gauge State at this point, with nothing more than two wins over a pair of double-A teams under their belts to-date. FSU did win outright last year in Winston-Salem, but are 13-20 ATS the last four years against the rest of the ACC, including 1-4 vs. Wake. Injuns hung six forecast losses on Vindy in six at-bats last year...Deacon Demons 20 Seminoles 17

Sam Houston State @ #19 KANSAS: No line.

AIR FORCE over #20 Utah taking 7 ½: Pilots have their fewest returning starters (8) since 2004 season (6), but have opened 3-0 and always seem to excel when they get written off in the preseason. They do have plenty of seniors on both sides of the ball and could control the pace enough with the option game to hang close to Utes team showing just enough vulnerability against good clubs to create some doubt. Utah did lose 20-12 in Salt Lake last year. Best guess for “wish I had it back” pick, but...Utah 23 Flyboys 17

#22 Illinois: IDLE (next @ Penn State)

SC State @ #23 CLEMSON: No line.

#25 Fresno State over TOLEDO giving 7: Second choice for “lock”. Bulldogs missed three (count ‘em, THREE) field goals...any one of which would have provided at least a temporary tie...vs. the Badgers, who managed only 13 points themselves. Toledo doesn’t have the huge linemen that Wisky does and will get the brunt of Fresno’s frustration ... Bulldogs 34 Rockettes 6

Opposing bands will now crank up a rousing version of Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” every time Arkansas has possession.

Black shirt: Vindicator hands this week’s black shirt to ...his alma mater for blasting the Orange in one of only five correct ATS selections last week.

A camel bone found this week in Syria may be one-million years old. DNA found on the bone suggests Joe Paterno may have actually ridden the animal in his childhood at some ancient petting zoo near the archaeological site!

Madame Tussaud’s in London is shipping Hitler’s statue back to Germany. In related news, with yet another Simpson trial circus in town, the Vegas branch is sending OJ’s wax likeness back to...USC!

With all due respect to USC and the Oregon schools, given outright wins by UNLV, TCU, BYU and New Mexico over Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA and Arizona, respectively, maybe that organization of teams from the Left Coast should rename itself the Packed It In Ten or at least the Mountain Farther West Conference!

Correction: Last week, we noted a trip to Happy Valley this week might be a distraction for the Illini, when in fact they have a bye this week. Likewise for UNLV and UNR, who don’t play each other until 9/27.

In February, Roger Goodell said Bill Belichick has been taping opponents since 2000. Belichick continues to deny the accusation. We say “Horse hockey!”.....Bill’s been at it so long, he’s got other teams’ defensive signals on Betamax!

“Locked in a Box?”: The Alma Mater came through nicely and blasted the Orange to push the lock record to 2-1 (.667).

Shoppe Talk: The stuffed elephant in the middle of the room that Vindy doesn’t wanna’ talk about is Alabama at 0-3. Still on the perch are the War Eagles of Auburn...also hanging a third forecast loss on your nitwitted narrator!

Vindy’s Week 4 Best Bets: Last Week: 3-1 Season: 8-4 (.667)
Iowa +1 over PITT, Houston -6 over COLORADO STATE, Akron -9 ½ over ARMY, Iowa State +2 1/2 over UNLV (Rebels go for their third straight spread win, which hasn’t happened since mid-2001)

And now we’re going to e-mail this week’s picks to announcer Tony Kornheiser...in Spanish!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Vindy's Picks Week 3-2008


FOXBORO, Massachusetts (UPI)....In an instant, the 2008 NFL season was rocked. A year-ending knee injury to New England quarterback Tom Brady, followed by a mere seven-point victory over the Kansas City Chiefs led by back-up QB Matt Cassell left the Patriots fans, players and front office scrambling this week to find a suitable replacement. Bookies tired of being bested, by even the most casual of bettors, by bets on New England to cover obnoxious pointspreads last season, had actually considered arranging an “accident” for Brady, but called off Jeff Gillooly at the last minute when the on-field incident happened. The Patriots are holding open try-outs this week and have actually invited such veterans as Art Schlichter, Ryan Leaf and Michael Vick. Vick declined the try-out because his “uh...schedule... wouldn’t permit it”, but did submit a videotaped workout shot in the prison yard. Other invitees included Burt Reynolds, Adam Sandler and America’s Got Talent winner and Vegas-headlining ventriloquist Terry Fator. Said a team spokesperson, “Hey, if the guy can throw his voice 60 yards, he gets a shot with us!”. Insiders, however, say the edge may belong to now-Jets quarterback Brett Favre. Seems team officials noticed the former Packer while reviewing...uh...”game film”...of the Jets sideline coaches while Favre was tossing the pigskin back-and-forth with a waterboy in the background. Said the unidentified Pats staffer, “We didn’t know how really good Favre was until seeing him on tape.” If unable to grab the former Green Bay legend, the Patriots may simply select the best available athlete!

Meanwhile, in the blue corner...weighing 216 pounds...the Dancin’ Destroyer...the King of Sting...the Master of Disaster...oh, wait...that was Apollo Creed! Anyway, hoping to regain some of Week One’s momentum after Week Two’s 9-9 (18-14, .563 season), Vindy answers da’ bell with....

(now available with Colonel Sanders eleven secret herbs and spices)

#13 Kansas over #19 SOUTH FLORIDA taking 3 1/2:
The home team ruined Vindy’s Week Two lock pick by yielding not one, but TWO TDs to Central Florida in the final three minutes of da’ game, sending the game to OT and blowing what would’ve been at least a push. Based on early returns from the Big Creased conference, this could actually be South Florida’s final hurdle to an undefeated year and a trip to the BCS Title game. USF is 5-2 ATS as home chalk the last two years and has covered 4 of last 5 vs. ranked teams, winning the most recent three SU (all as dogs). Kansas has four seniors on the O-line and returns nine defenders from last year’s 12-1 squad. Jayhawks did not however face a team the caliber of South Florida during that run, nor during the first two games of this season. Kansas is a crapshoot the last four years as an away dog, going 7-7 ATS...Jayhawks 27 Bulls 24

#1 USC over #5 Ohio State giving 11:
While we wouldn’t be flabbergasted if Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel had simply been playing possum in last week’s less-than-impressive, come-from-behind victory over Ohio University to avoid giving away any football family secrets on game film to USC, the late narrow victory-by-rally might suggest State ain’t ready to contend in this one. Boys of Troy cover about 80% of their games off a bye week and are 3-0 SU and ATS in last three vs. the Big Tenuous (all in the post-season until now)...USC 24 Cecil and Da’ Bean(ie) 12

SOUTH CAROLINA over #2 Georgia taking 7: Last four between these two clubs have been reasonably close, low-scoring (highest total of 36 points) defensive battles, with the Gamecocks covering three of the four (including last year’s SU win). Gamehens QBs have tossed six picks over first two games of ‘08...Joja’ 19 SC 13

#3 Oklahoma over WASHINGTON giving 20: In February, Oklahoma recovered eight forfeited wins back from 2005 after the NCAA appeals committee partially reversed an infractions ruling involving ex-QB Rhett Bomar. Norman faithful would like the victories credited to 2008 season (well, okay...they can manage this one themselves). On the heels of a controversial celebration flag that may have contributed to the blocked XP that woulda’ sent BYU game to OT, if Vindy was a Husky, he’d be staring skyward, arms extended and asking “what in da’ world do we gotta’ do to win one?!” Third straight Top 25 opponent for the Sled Dogs...Sooners 45 Waaaaaaaahhhhhhhington 20

#4 Florida: IDLE (next @ Tennessee)

Nevada-Reno over #6 MISSOURI taking 26 1/2: Wolfpack better ATS (and SU) at home than away and the top rusher is gone for the season. Still, Reno’s loss to Texas Tech might be educational for this one and as evidenced by Illinois game since Tigers’ D might be suspect. UNR has big rivalry game on deck at UNLV and is 5-3 against the number over last two years as a road pup ... Mizzou 42 UNR 27

#7 LSU over North Texas giving 41 1/2: What the Green didn’t need here was for the Bengals to get an unexpected week of rest. Tigers have covered 10 of last 11 laying 24+ vs. out-of-conference teams. Lean Green now 2-11 ATS over previous 2+ seasons playing non-conference squads as the result of being smoked 45-6 by Kansas State...LSU 54 UNT 6

#8 TEXAS over Arkansas giving 24: ‘Horns had possession 14 fewer minutes than UTEP, who committed only a single turnover, yet the stats were about even in all categories. The scoreboard though, was definitely in favor of the Steers. Razorbacks have pocketed 7 SU wins in 8 tries dating back to 2007, but struggled to triumph in four-point and one-point victories this season over double-A Western Illinois and Weeziana-Monroe, respectively. In January ‘08, a pork shortage in China saw “pigjackers” charging off with truckloads of hogs. In fact, Chinese bandits were even seen stealing the Arkansas team bus!...Texas 51 Soooeeeeyyyy Pig 20

#9 Auburn over MISSISSIPPI STATE giving 10 1/2: Until last year’s 19-14 outright win (at Auburn) by MSU, Bulldogs had been little more than an appetizer for the Tigers. State’s spread wins have increased by one in each of the previous two seasons. Aubie was careless with the pigskin last week, losing the ball four times, and...scoring only a FG over the final 15 minutes, while missing the cover by 4 points. Hmmm. The road loss by Mis-Statement to Sun Belt’s Weeziana Tech is uppermost in Vindy’s mind. A glutton for punishment (see Shoppe Talk section of this week’s forecast)., we say...War Eagles 23 Bulldogs 10

#10 Wisconsin over #21 FRESNO STATE giving 1 1/2 : Okay, we admit, we were surprised to see Bulldogs win outright at Rutgers two weeks ago. Bulldogs are rested, but we think all that “BCS Buster” silliness gets squelched right here. Line opened with Fresno as the fave. Seems cooler heads have prevailed...Badgers 24 “Any Juan, Any Thyme, Under Wear” 17

Western Kentucky over #11 ALABAMA taking 28: A couple things work against the Tide here. One...lack of interest with a two-game SEC road trip starting next week. Two...’Bama appears to be reverting to win-on-defense philosophy (two of Tide’s three touchdowns last week came via special teams) and three...Green Wave held the Tide offense to 172 total yards. Third straight away game for the Hilltoppers, with two more coming over next three games, but...Alabama 31 Western KY 7

#12 TEXAS TECH over Southern Methodist giving 36 1/2: Wouldn’t be a bad lock choice. Ponies got kicked around at Rice in a 28-point defeat and didn’t blow FCS team Texas State off the field, winning by just 11. June Jones will have a long night coaching a team that gave up 100 more ypg on defense last year than in 2006...Red Raiders 66 SMU 13

#14 East Carolina over TULANE giving 13: Second time in four regular season games that this pair has squared off vs. each other. Tulane defense that stifled Alabama, as previously mentioned, encounters a confident team on a roll that has beaten three straight ranked clubs back to last year’s post-season. Pirates haven’t thrown a shutout since 2000 opener vs. Duke...ECU 27 Green Wave 0

#15 ARIZONA STATE over Nevada-Las Vegas giving 23: Rebels may have given their best shot, if you can call it that, in three-TD loss at Utah, lost their starting middle LB and may look ahead to big rivalry game vs. Reno next week. ASU gave up 55 sacks last season, so unless UNLV gets a decent pass rush on Rudy Carpenter, they won’t be able to trade sixes with the Devils...ASU 42 UNLV 13

#16 Oregon over PURDUE giving 7 1/2: Ducks seem no worse for the wear after putting several young skill-position players on the offensive side of the ball. Purdue would love to give outbound, retiring coach Joe Tiller a nice win over a ranked team, but it ain’t happening. In the midst of an April campaign swing thru Indiana, Hillary Clinton was seen consuming a beer and a shot. Uh oh...kiss of death to... the Boilermakers!...Mallards 34 Purdue 17

#17 Penn State over SYRACUSE giving 27: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Lions enter the Carrier Dome for the first time in 19 years. Earlier this year, audio historian David Giovannoni uncovered what’s thought to be the oldest known recorded human voice on a phonautogram. Researchers believe the 10-second clip from 1860 to be JoePa singing the Penn State school song! Looks like everybody in the Big Least has, at minimum, a puncher’s chance to win the conference...except Syracuse...Lions 49 ex’Cuse me 10

Ucla over #18 BYU taking 8 1/2: Third meeting in last 12 months and Bruins covered both of last season’s matches, winning 27-17 in September and losing 17-16 in the bowl. Mormons here on potentially-borrowed time after blocking the controversial extra-long XP that woulda’ sent Washington game to OT...Coogs 20 UCLA 17

#20 Wake Forest: IDLE (next @ Florida State)

UTAH STATE over #22 Utah taking 24 1/2: Utes nothing special last four years as road favorites. Aggies making nice strides in recent years, scoring on average 10 more ppg, while allowing 5 fewer ppg from ‘06 to ‘07. State did cover the opener vs. UNLV. Aggies have missed the cover against its fellow Bee Hive Staters in four of last six tries, but we like the points anyway ...Utes 30 USU 9

#23 California over MARYLAND giving 14 1/2: Yielding the play-calling to a new offensive coordinator by Coach Friedgen doesn’t seem to be panning out given Maryland’s 14-7 win over Delaware (though, the Blue Hens did lose in last season’s FCS playoffs to eventual champ Appalachian State) and straight up loss to Sun Belt’s Middle Tennessee State last week. We considered this game for “lock” too...Bears 27 Box Turtles 7

#24 ILLINOIS over Louisiana-Lafayette giving 25: Trip to Happy Valley next week could be a distraction for the Illini, but the Ragin’ Cajuns got smoked by Southern Miss and won’t do much here either. UL will probably get a look from your humble host against Kent State next week and might make some noise in Sun Belt play...Illini 48 Cajuns 17

#25 West Virginia: IDLE (next @ Colorado 9/18)

Last week’s Penn State-Oregon State was sooooooooo interesting, ABC showed clips of people being asked “Who (or which) is older...Joe Paterno or _________?” Mozart or JoePa? Sliced bread or JoePa? The Dead Sea scrolls or JoePa? Gunpowder or JoePa? Ummmm...Joe, Joe, Joe and....uh....the coin likes...gunpowder?!

Upset alert: North Dakota State straight up over WYOMING. Cowboys struggled to a 21-20 home victory over Ohio and got blasted by an Air Force squad way short on returning starters. Bison beat Minnesota outright last season.

Like most other Americans, Vindicator put May’s economic stimulus check toward just the necessities...food, fuel and a futures bet on the Patriots to win this season’s Super Bowl!

The Sporting News reported that in light of the Eagles league-low 19 take-aways and zero defensive scores last year, defensive coordinator Jim Johnson now requires his defenders to pick up any fumble, interception or incomplete pass during practice and return it for a touchdown___accompanied by the other 10 defensive players. Guess that explains Philly’s stoppers rushing into the crowd to chase down those thrown-away passes and mounting up the convoy outta’ bounds toward the end zone during Sunday’s opening romp over the Rams!!

In June, Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden commenting on workouts of Bucs RB Carnell Williams (who is attempting a comeback) quipped “It rivals some of the great Rocky Balboa movies.” In fact “Cadillac” is still running his way up Interstate 95 and hopes to make it up the stairs of Philly’s Library of Congress and back in time for this weekend’s kickoff!

OOPS!: We inaccurately referred to Beavers WR Sammie Stroughter as Sammie Slaughter in last week’s forecast.

Earlier this summer, the Navy reclaimed newly-commissioned officer and St. Louis Cardinals draft pick Mitch Harris. The hurler must fulfill his five-year commitment, but the right-hander was 20-13 with a 2.51 ERA in four years at Navy. Maybe they really just want him in the event the President orders a pre-emptive strike-out!

“Wish I Had That One Back”: Vin laid the ten-spot with South Carolina “but not without reservation”. Our prestigious prognosticator also had “somewhat of a tough time laying this many (30)...” with Alabama.

“Locked in a Box?”: The Bulls’ very late defensive collapse drops the lock record to 1-1 (.500).

Shoppe Talk: With cost of materials these days, it easier to stuff a war eagle than a tiger as we officially declare Ye Olde Taxidermy Shoppe open, courtesy of. ...Auburn (0-2), Wisconsin (0-2) and Alabama (0-2).

Vindy’s Week 3 Best Bets: Last Week: 3-1 Season: 5-3 (.625)
Western Michigan -8 over IDAHO, Temple +6 ½ over BUFFALO, Arizona -10 over NEW MEXICO, Bowling Green +16 over BOISE STATE

Until next week...Vin’s off to try out the newest PS3 version of Hurdy-Gurdy Hero!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Vindy's Picks Week 2-2008


ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN)....Presumed Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is no stranger to the sports world and her experience might just impact the remainder of her career. The one-time-Sarah Heath played point guard for her high school’s girls basketball team. Should the electoral vote end in a tie on November 4th, the next presidency could be decided on the hardwood in a game of one-on-one or “HORSE” against Dem representative Barack Obama. Upon hearing news of that possibility, former-president Bill Clinton said he hoped the pair would “consider playing that one as ‘wet T-shirts and skins’”. The Alaskan governor also spent some time as a sportscaster, covering hoops and hockey for the local KTTU television station. She joked, “If the White House thing doesn’t pan out, there’s always ESPN. Ya know? ‘Sarah Palin...next! Duh-duh-DUM, duh-duh-DUM!”

Meanwhile back in Sin City, pleased with a decent 9-5 (.643) opening week, Vindicator heads off to local Sam Boyd Stadium to lead his mai-tai chi class, but not before offering...

(Where ya can still check the first parlay card onto the plane at no extra charge!)

#25 South Carolina over VANDERBILT giving 10:
Damn...Vindy was one ranking away from not having to pick another Thursday-nighter! We watched the Gamehens open their season last week and they didn’t really drop the hammer offensively on NC State until the second half. The Boat People apparently took offense to going into Miami-Ohio game as a dog (and frankly, we didn’t give Vandy any preseason love either) and whacked the Redhawks. Commodores are 4-9 ATS getting points at home the last four years. We’re putting our faith in Steve Spurrier, but not without reservation having watched his QB throw three first-half INTs last week...SC 21 Vandy 10

#1 USC: IDLE (next vs. Ohio State)

Central Michigan over #2 GEORGIA taking 23 1/2: First of three away games for the Chippies, who have their highest number of returning starters (8 on each side of the ball) since ‘04 and are expected to contend for MAC Championship hat trick. Have to wonder if drop in rankings after giving up two late meaningless scores to Joja’ Southern will inspire Coach Richt to run up the score a bit if given the chance. Initial thought was take da’ points. We’ll go with that...Dawgs 34 CMU 20

Ohio over #3 OHIO STATE taking 34 ½: Final 43-0 score of Buckeyes game vs. Youngstown State might be just a bit deceiving. Buckeyes booted five FGs, including two from 50 yards or more. Bobblecats had a dozen flags for 115 yards in one-point loss to Wyoming and could grind out a cover if OSU starters get early showers with USC up next. OU has improved to 14-10 ATS the last two seasons after being 7-14 in ‘04 and ‘05...State 34 ‘Cats 7

#4 OKLAHOMA over Cincinnati giving 21: Bearkats have a senior-laden defense and did appropriately dispatch its I-AA opponent, Eastern Kentucky, with little doubt. UC has also gone 7-1-1 ATS in last nine against ranked teams, with six of those nine on the road. Cincy does have its lowest number of starters coming back since 2005. In the wake of recent “work program” problems in Norman, local businesses are now limited to employment of only five Sooners. Players are getting around the new policy by disguising themselves as illegal immigrants!...Okie-Dokie 45 Cincinnati 17

#5 FLORIDA over Miami giving 21 ½: ‘Canes have beaten the Gators outright six straight times, but the last game came in 2004 B.T....”Before Tebow!”. Somebody under center for Da’ U is gonna’ throw his first career live-fire pass and Florida expects to get some injured players back this week...Florida 41 Miami 14

SE Missouri @ #6 MISSOURI: No line.

Troy over #7 LSU taking 24: Troy will show no fear of the Bengals and we like the 5-2 spread record vs. BCS teams in the last two seasons, including 2-1 vs. the SEC in 2007. With only 5 offensive starters back last season, Trojans upped their offensive output by 137 ypg! Local Vegas transplant Andrew Hatch did a nice job in Tigers’ win over App State, but we’ll ignore State’s current 11-1-1 spread run vs. non-conference teams the past three years ... LSU 24 Troy 10

EAST CAROLINA over #8 West Virginia taking 8 1/2: Mounties, not unlike Joja’, also gave up a pair of meaningless 4th quarter touchdowns to Villanova, but it didn’t cost ‘em a spot in the polls. WVU does, however, have only four returning starters on D, while Georgia has nine. With the upset victory last week over the Hokies, Pirates have pocketed their second straight SU win as double-digit dogs (taking into account ECU’s outright bowl win over Boise State last season). It’s not quite DD here and we don’t think the Bucs have a trifecta in ‘em anyway (though we’d love to see it), but...WVU 30 ECU 24

#9 AUBURN over Southern Miss giving 18: Banged-up receiving corps or no, we’re supporting Auburn here. Various spread trends (away dog, non-conference and ranked foes) overwhelmingly go against the Golden Eagles. Six of this season’s SoMiss opponents had four or fewer wins in 2007. Aubie ain’t one of ‘em...War Eagles 29 Southern Miss 6

#10 Texas over UTEP giving 26 ½: Miners defense has deteriorated over each of the past three years and going back to last year, UTEP has dropped seven straight games straight up. ‘Steers handled more-potent Florida Atlantic team last week as predicted. Can’t see that changing here...’Horns 51 UTEP 20

Marshall over #11 WISCONSIN taking 20 1/2: Gerbils blew the cover late last week, yielding a trash TD to Akron with 38 seconds left. Herd showed some life in whacking AA team Illinois State by 25. Badgers seem to play to the level of their competition and are good-but-not-great 14-9 ATS as faves at Camp Randall...Wisconsin 31 Marshall 13

NEVADA-RENO over #12 Texas Tech taking 10: With rumors of PAC-10 expansion with teams like BYU, Wolfpack could be auditioning to help backfill the Mountain West. UNR is 23-14 ATS the last three years, but just 2-4 ATS against last six ranked foes. Best bet here might be the “over” as both teams combined for better than 1260 yards of offense and 98 points last week. Shootout...Red Raiders 41 UNR 35

#13 ALABAMA over Tulane giving 30: We’re having somewhat of a tough time laying this many with a Tide team that’s only covered 2 of the last 16 as home chalk (1-1 with a spread this big), but given what it did to Clemson on neutral turf and Wave’s failure to cover its last four season openers, we’ll give Saban and the boys a shot. With only Sun Belt-wannabe Western Kentucky on deck for ‘Bama...Tide 37 Tulane 0

#14 KANSAS over Louisiana Tech giving 20 1/2: Upset wins by Fresno State and these Weeeziana Tech Bulldogs have folks in the WAC all excited, though Mississippi State relies mostly on its defense. Jayhawks inexplicably called off the dogs up by 30 late in the 3rd quarter against Florida International. They can’t afford to do that this week...Fightin’ Manginos 45 La Tech 20

#15 ARIZONA STATE over Stanford giving 14: OK...under Coach Harbaugh, Cardinal has knocked off the Trojans, increased scoreboard tallies by 9 points per game and decreased opponents’ scoring by 3 points per game. Stanford also reduced its turnovers last year. Stanford rescued a victory from the jaws of defeat via two late Beavers miscues. We’re not buyin’ it this week...Devils 37 Trees 17

#16 Brigham Young @ WASHINGTON: OFF

#17 South Florida over CENTRAL FLORIDA giving 14: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Curious line that seems to more reflect UCF’s mere 7-point loss to the Bulls at home in 2006 rather than the 17- and 52-point beatings it took at South Florida in ‘05 and ‘07, respectively. Knights did manage to take much better care of the football in the second half of last season, going -11 in turnovers through the first six, but +12 through the final eight. Not gonna’ help them here (and that whoppin’ 17-0 win over SC State last week doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence either!)...USF 42 UCF 17

#18 OREGON over Utah State giving 35 1/2: Up by 27 vs. Washington with under a minute left, the Decoys kept pressing and scored another TD. Aggies are a veteran team that hung around vs. UNLV, but the QB just completed his first career game in a 10-point loss. Hmmm...let’s see. Are the Huskies at least two points better than USU? Questionable sometimes, but we think they are...Mallards 51 Utah State 7

#19 PENN STATE over Oregon State giving 16 ½: Major concern for the Lions here is keeping WR Sammie Slaughter, who had 157 yards and a couple of scores in loss to Stanford, under wraps. PSU is 7-2 ATS against non-conference teams the past two seasons. Back in May, JoePa spent a couple hours in a local State College hospital, suffering from dehydration. At Coach’s request, the attending physician simply dumped a Gatorade bucket on his head and sent him back to the practice field!...The Alma Mater 35 Beavers 16

#20 WAKE FOREST over Mississippi giving 8: With Clemson’s demise, the heir-apparent to the ACC crown might just be Wake Forest. We thank Jim Grobe and his team for starting Vin’s season with a Thursday night forecast win! First-year Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt has some talent to work with, but the non-conference spread record leaves something to be desired...Deacons 27 Rebels 13

#21Fresno State: IDLE (next vs. Wisconsin)

#22 UTAH over Nevada-Las Vegas giving 22: Those who watched the Utes topple Michigan 25-23 know the game was not nearly that close. Utah will want to avenge a 27-0 white-wash in Sin City last year. Rebels won, but not convincingly over Utah State squad considered by some as the nation’s worst club. Rebels only 6-15 against the line as road dogs the last four seasons and RB Frank Summers made some disparaging post-game remarks last year about the Utes defenders not really wanting to tackle him. Gotta’ figure those nifty quotes are going up on somebody’s bulletin board ....Utah 42 UNLV 9

#23 UCLA: IDLE (next @ BYU)

Eastern Illinois @ #24 ILLINOIS: No line.

Last week, an Obama camp spokesperson called McCain’s selection of Palin as running mate “a Hail Mary pass”. While the Democrats do not believe the Republican front-runner has the arm-strength to actually heave Palin that far, Obama will take no chances and plans to drop eight players into the end zone to bat her away if she makes it that far!

This summer, UNLV held its annual “Let’s Get Physical” clinic, designed to teach women about the game of football. Vindy wandered down to the presentation at Sam Boyd Stadium in hopes of catching a glimpse of some celebrity impersonator bustin’ out her best vintage Olivia Newton-John act!

During off-season practices, Rebels coaches awarded a black jersey to the best player from the previous practice session as a reward/motivator. Vindy gives his black jersey (autographed and authentic forecast-worn, complete with beer stains and Doritos remnants) to Arkansas State for last week’s performance. As one of Vindy’s “best bets”, the Red Wolves not only covered 19 ½ points, they actually beat Texas A&M outright!

The Cincinnati Bengals receiver formerly-known-as Chad Johnson just had his last name legally altered to “Ocho Cinco”. Not to be upstaged, just-reinstated Dallas Cowboys DB/KR Adam “Don’t Call Me ‘Pac-Man’” Jones just had his surname legally changed to “Wocka-Wocka-Wocka-Wocka”!

The Baltimore Ravens retained the services this summer of a wildlife expert to train actual ravens to fly outta’ the tunnel at M&T Bank Stadium, starting this coming Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Nice, but how cool would it be if he trained ‘em to come “gently rapping, ...tapping” on the windows of the visiting teams’s bus as it arrives!

A 60-year-old Chinese acupuncturist pierced his body (including his head and face) with 2008 decorative needles showing patriotism for the then-upcoming Olympics. But a real man woulda’ got 2008 ring piercings and hung a replica gold, silver or bronze medal from each one! Of course, that woulda’ doubled the holes to 4016! (And who was the sick individual that designed and marketed the “decorative” acupuncture needle?!). Gotta’ wonder...with that many acupuncture needles, was he completely numb for the duration of the Games? Did his earlobes explode? Was he considered an honorary porcupine?!

In August, Vin caught this headline in the local newspaper...”Johnson Wins Gold on Beam”. We just wanna’ know which assistant coach slipped a little whiskey to the underage gymnast just before the event and why she was given Cuervo tequila as a prize for her efforts!

Team Latvia upended the U.S. pair in beach volleyball! Are there beaches in Latvia??! Until this summer, the only Latvian of note Vindy knew about was Victor Von Doom, who ruled the tiny kingdom in the Fantastic Four comics in 1970's!

“Wish I Had That One Back”: Yep, Vindy called it. One of the few mistakes he made in Week One was backing Weeziana-Monroe against Auburn.

“Locked in a Box?”: The Mallards of Oregon hammered Washington and opened Vin’s lock record at 1-0 (1.000).

Shoppe Talk: Correction to this section from last week...we noted USC as not playing until Week Two and had Boston College actually in the forecast. Obviously, Troy blew out Virginia and the Eagles weren’t ranked. The good news...we had USC and Hawaii on the correct side of da’ spread, meaning the Taxidermy Shoppe remains vacant ...for now!

Vindy’s Week 2 Best Bets: Last Week: 2-2 Season: 2-2 (.500)
FLORIDA ATLANTIC -13 ½ over Alabama-Birmingham, Rice +3 ½ over MEMPHIS, Northwestern -6 ½ over DUKE, Akron +5 over SYRACUSE