Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vindy's 2009-10 Bowl Predictions: Part II

(AP rankings; lines of December 23, over/under totals in parentheses)

JAN. 1
OUTBACK (@ Tampa, FL):
Northwestern over Auburn taking 7 ½ (54 ½):
‘Cats went 5-1 against the number as dogs this season and could post its second straight 9-win season with an upset. Tigers may have left all they had on the field after letting ‘Bama off the hook and may not be able to get up again for this one over a month later. While Auburn has increased its own points production, points-against are also up significantly from the 18 ppg last year. Tigers are run-heavy, while NW will go to the air. Auburn covered only 1 of 4 tries away from home, while Northwestern went 4-1 ATS outside of Evanston, including outright win over Iowa on the road...War Eagles 24 NW 21

CAPITAL ONE (@ Orlando, FL):
#13 LSU over #11 Penn State taking 2 ½ (44):
Oh the shame! (Hmmmm....we opened last season’s USC-Penn State Rose Bowl pick with that same thought!). Lions buckled under the pressure applied by the two solid defenses they faced this year...Iowa and Ohio State. Bengals have been their own worst enemy and are a couple plays away from 11-1 and can bring the same kind of heat that could force PSU into mistakes. Can the Tigers (7-2 SU/ATS the last nine post-seasons) hold a nominal lead in what figures to be low-scoring game dominated by big defensive plays that directly account-for or set-up most, if not all, of the scoring...Bengals 17 Lions 16

KONICA MINOLTA GATOR (@ Jacksonville, FL):
West Virginia over Florida State giving 2 1/2 (60):
The ‘Noles will do their utmost (we think!) to send Bobby Bowden out on a high note. Alas, it is not to be. Injuns, who could be more formidable next season, enter their 28th consecutive bowl game having covered five straight (3-2 SU, including a 30-18 victory over the Mounties in 2004), but equipped with the 107th-ranked rushing defense (allowing 5.3 yards per carry, 205 ypg and 24 rushing touchdowns) and have permitted one more point-against than points-scored on average per game. ‘Noles will throw, but against WVU team that allows just 52.5% completions and 19 passing scores against 17 interceptions. Best hope for State is that the ‘Eers commit turnovers (-6 ratio vs. non-conference teams)...West Virginia 28 FSU 19

ROSE Presented by CITI (@ Pasadena, CA):
#7 Oregon over #8 Ohio State giving 3 ½ (50 1/2):
Nice to see a PAC-10 team other than USC here (“Let the joyous news be spread...The Trojans reign, at last, is dead!” ). But...Oh boy!... Jim Tressel and company get the opportunity to tank a fourth straight BCS bowl (though the Buckeyes have covered 5 of 8 bowl games under the coach, including 3-point defeat to Texas last year). State comes in with #4 total defense, allowing only 12.2 ppg, but faces monster Duck machine that puts up nearly 38 ppg and gets starting RB LeGarrette Blount back, with admirable back-up LaMichael James (#7 in total rushing yardage, 123 ypg, 14 TD) available on the bench. Mallards averaged three rushing touchdowns per game. Buckeyes did go 5-1 outright vs. six other bowl teams (losing only to USC). For those in the mood for something sweet, the menu at Vindy’s Bet & Breakfast will feature the Rose Bowl parade ice cream float...all organic ingredients, but, in a nod to the former sponsor, does require the customer to commit to a two-year phone-service contract with AT&T!....Quack Attack 38 Buckeyes 27

ALLSTATE SUGAR (@ N’awlins, Weeziana):
#4 Cincinnati over #5 Florida taking 10 ½ (57):
Can Tim Team-Spirit and Coach Meyer rally the rest of the troops to focus vs. against a Bearkats team playing with the fury of the perceived betrayal by Coach Kelly’s defection to South Bend? The problem for UC has been a defense that faded from allowing 13 ppg thru the first eight to sleepwalking thru more than 36 ppg over the last four. Florida continued to win, but was never quite the same following Tebow’s concussion. Cincy has a perfect season on the line and will try to throw its way (#6 in total passing yardage, 320 ypg, 22 TD, 6 INT) to the upset. Nifty receiver Marty Gilyard also pulls double-duty, running back kicks, to the tune of almost 32 yards per return. ‘Kats have covered 8 of last 12 vs. ranked teams. Crocs on 19-5 ATS run against non-conference squads...Florida 39 Cincy 34

JAN. 2
INTERNATIONAL (@ Toronto, Canada):
Northern Illinois over South Florida taking 7 (49): UPSET ALERT.
Hmmmm...Bulls going from balmy Tampa to the shadow of the Canadian National Tower in January. Woo-hoo. Can’t imagine a whole lotta’ fans in the stands for this one, but have to figure most of ‘em will side with the Huskies. NIU improved as a road dog again for the second straight year under second-year coach Jerry Kill and despite an 0-2 SU skid coming in (losing to MAC East champ Ohio and perennial conference powerhouse Central Michigan), we think the Dogs can hang with USF squad that dropped three of its last four regular season games and went 4-6 ATS overall. Bulls have good offensive balance. Will they use it? Huskies own the #18 rushing offense (203 ypg, better than two rushing scores per game).They’ll play in a dome, so field conditions will be good, but if it comes down to a late FG, Bulls only converted 52.6% of their three-point tries .. NIU 23 USF 20

AT&T COTTON (@ Dallas, TX):
Mississippi over #21 Oklahoma State giving 3 (50 ½):
With Okie State welcoming the return of QB Zac Robinson, this has track-meet written all over it. State averages nearly 31 ppg, ditto Ole Miss. Special teams plays should be exciting as the Cowboys allow 25 yards per kick return, while the Fightin’ Magnolias allow 23 yards/return. Both teams like the ground game. Rebels have the better scoring defense (less than 19 ppg). State’s okay too at 22 ppg. OKSU got belted by the better teams it faced (Texas, Oklahoma and Houston). Rebels victims included Memphis, UAB and a pair of FCS teams. Mississippi has covered 9 of last 11 vs. ranked opponents. At 32:22 minutes/game, Oklahoma State was 4th in time of possession behind just ‘Bama, Navy and Wisconsin...Ole Mist 31 OKSU 23

PAPAJOHNS.COM (@ Birmingham, AL):
Connecticut over South Carolina taking 4 1/2 (51 1/2):
The Poultry faced five ranked teams and covered against all of ‘em, losing by 10 to Florida and 14 to ‘Bama. Huskies faced three and covered against all of them. Neither team is likely to pass well here and while Connecticut ranks #91 in rushing yardage, it did score 29 touchdowns via the run. Carolina allows 3.8 ypc and gave up 15 scores. Neither team excels from the red zone. Huskies may still carry some emotion from loss of a teammate not long ago. UConn punter Desi Cullen was quoted as noting the new form-fitting unis were “almost like kicking naked”. Yep, can’t wait to see bowl security tackle a streaker that turns out to be said kicker running toward the tee (or whatever the place-kicker uses as a tee!). UConn covered all six road games (five in the dog role). Better ingredients. Better forecast. Vindy’s Picks...South Carolina 17 Huskies 16.

East Carolina over Arkansas taking 7 ½ (63 ½):
Pirates are in preferred role as significant underdogs and stifled Houston’s potent offense enough to pull the upset and win C-USA. ECU is just 1-2 SU heading into its fourth straight post-season, but toppled Boise State in 2007 Hawaii Bowl. Bucs come in on 4-game SU win streak and covered 7 of last 9. ‘Hogs also covered 7 of last 9, losing by 3 at Florida and in OT at LSU. Arkansas, however, has just one cover in last six bowls as chalk. Both teams have decent balance on offense and can light up the scoreboard. Both have return specialists that will make for exciting kickoffs and will potentially give both offenses good field position. ECU definitely worthy of a look on the money line in a shootout...Arkansas 38 ECU 34

VALERO ALAMO (@ San Antonio, TX):
Texas Tech over Michigan State giving 8 (60 ½):
Suspensions for Michigan State here make valid statistical comparisons difficult at best. Sparty dropped 3 of last 5, stumbling into the post-season. We figure there’ll be a lot of reserves for State playing at game-speed, maybe for the first time and even at full-strength, MSU yielded 29 passing touchdowns while grabbing only five picks. The only thing that might slow Tech, the #2 pass offense behind only Houston, is a tendency to commit penalties, tying Arizona State for most yellow laundry dropped (111 flags!)... oh ...and Vindy’s inability to pick TTU correctly against the number (“Danger! Danger...Will Robinson!”)...Red Raiders 34 MSU 17

JAN. 4
TOSTITOS FIESTA (@ Glensdale, AZ):
#6 Boise State over #3 TCU taking 7 (55):
We consider this the “BCS Has Got No Stones” Bowl (and we ain’t talkin’ about the absence of music by Jagger and the boys over the PA system!). We agree with the published comments of a few other folks who think the match-up here is a crock. With nothing but respect for both sides, America doesn’t give a flyin’ rat’s who the best BCS-buster is. We wanted to see each of the two teams wearing the “buster” label face-off vs. teams from the Big Six. The BCS, however, wants no part of that scenario with the possibility of one or both knocking off squads from the money conferences, giving those in favor of a playoff, or at least more availability of the BCS berths to the “little guys”, more ammo. By pitting Boise and TCU against each other, the bowl powers have ensured one less undefeated team will remain and that questions will go unanswered. The BCS would try to bamboozle you with such concepts as travel distance for fans from Ft. Worth and Boise, pairing of the third- and sixth-ranked teams, a match-up of undefeated clubs, yada yada. Either team vs. 12-0 Cincy would’ve gotten that undefeated match-up and fans from either hometown would’ve gladly taken plane, train, automobile or single-seater undersea submersible to get far enough East to see their respective teams play. Should be a great game showcasing two offensive juggernauts and their brick-wall-defensive counterparts. The Broncos took out eventual PAC-10 champion Ducks and dispatched WAC contenders Fresno State and UNR. The Froggies got by ACC runner-up Clemson, as well as now-11-win BYU and 9-win Utah. Horny Toads, who won the Poinsettia Bowl 17-16 over these Broncos last season, will tote the rock about 48 times, while Boise’s Kellen Moore will go up top (39 scores, 3 picks). Unable to decide, Vindy spun a dreidel. It landed on....TCU 21 Boise State 17

JAN. 5
FED-EX ORANGE (@ Miami, FL):
#9 Georgia Tech over #10 Iowa giving 4 (50 ½):
For da’ Bees fans...the Good: Tech’s second-ranked rushing offense, that generated almost four touchdowns per game, the Bad: ‘Jackets’ #111 pass offense results in fewer than 6 catches/game, the Ugly: GT has lost its bowl game outright in each of the last four years (covering just one), including 38-3 last season to LSU. For Iowa fans...the Good: a defense that limited 8 of 12 opponents to 17 points or less, the Bad: head-scratchers like 17-16 over Northern Iowa, 24-21 over Arkansas State and that 17-10 home loss to Northwestern, the Fugly: see “the Good” under “Bees fans”! Hawkeyes have 4 covers in last 5 tries against ranked opponents (but four of ‘em came against fellow Big Tenderfoot clubs). Tech is one-to-two plays from the 7 yards its needs to bust 4000 rushing yards on the year, is first in time-of-possession at 34:17 and punts about 2.3 times/game (converting 100 3rd Downs [53.5%], most in the nation, and almost 58% on 4th Down). Tech is subject to the pass (22 touchdowns allowed, 11 INT), but Iowa’s passing game yielded 17 scores and 19 INT....Bees 34 Iowa 20

JAN. 6
GMAC (@ Mobile, AL):
#25 Central Michigan over Troy giving 3 ½ (63):
If ya like watching both teams march up and down the field and lotsa’ points, have we got a deal for you! First back-to-back bowl trip for Troy (and 4th total in its short I-A history). Trojans were smoked by the non-conference schedule (Bowling Green, Florida and Arkansas), but ran the Fun Belt slate, scoring 40 or more six times. The second best passing yardage total, surprisingly, belongs to Troy QB Levi Brown. Chippies play in their 4th consecutive bowl and put up better than 33 ppg behind senior QB Dan LeFevour. Central Michigan scored 45 or more points five times. In July, images of the famous Rorschach inkblot test found their way to the Web and were posted at Wikipedia. Taking the test, the Weber Kid provided ho-hum, standard answers, such as “a bat”, “a man on a motorcycle” and “two beavers hanging out their laundry in the rain” (OK, that last one ain’t so typical!) to nine of the pics. The tenth image, however, elicited a response of...CMU 44 Troy 34

JAN. 7
#2 Texas over #1 Alabama taking 5 (44 ½):
“Pitching and defense wins championships”. Oh wait...that’s baseball! Tide’s been on the edge a couple times this season, but made disjointed Florida look more like the love-child of Florida State and Florida International in the conference championship game. SEC goes for fourth straight BCS title. Texas goes for second national crown in five seasons. Longhorns are just 3-7 ATS in last ten bowls, but won 7 of last 8 outright. Colt McCoy brings his 70% completion rate and 27-12 TD-INT ratio against the country’s best overall defense (which allowed just 9 TD, with 20 INT). Texas ain’t bad on the stop-side either, allowing just 15.2 ppg and while the rushing defense total of 818 yards might be a bit deceiving, given many large early-game leads that forced many opponents to throw the rest of the way, it could focus on Heisman-winner RB Mark Ingram and make Tide beat them thru the air. We anticipate more points than expected. ‘Bama faced the tougher schedule and was blessed by the college football pantheon to escape unharmed vs. Virginia Tech, LSU, Tennessee and Auburn. Given events in the final seconds of the Big 12 title game, Colt McCoy has been practicing actually hitting objects and other people in beyond the field-of-play, while coaches time those throws with stop-watches. Announcers calling this game will display graphs showing McCoy’s completion rates for left, right, middle and ....stands!...Texas 26 Bama 24

Is it just Vindy or did anyone else out there notice the last four letters of the President’s last name spell...’Bama!?

In June, starting Florida CB Janoris Jenkins was Tasered by police...and still managed to break-up the pass!

Has anybody considered the possibility that athletes pointing skyward following completion of a big play are alerting the crew of the Goodyear Blimp to make sure the video they just shot better make the Sportscenter highlight reel that night as opposed to simply acknowledging their respective higher powers???!!!

Will the teams from that group in the midwest (and central PA) redeem themselves from last year’s debauchery or will it just be another “performance” from the...Big Tent Sale conference???!!!

In honor of 40th anniversary of Woodstock, we take a few creative liberties with a well-known quote from the concert...”what we have in spread picks in-bed...for 400,000"! (BTW, we’re thinkin’ “three days of pizza and glove” helped put companies like Papa John’s and Wilson on da’ map!)

Coming soon to the expanded menu at the bet & breakfast....“The Lamb-eau Leap” (a lovely dish served with mint jelly, but not before the server jumps with it into the crowd at a nearby table or booth!) and the “Delay of Game-Hen” (a tasty poultry number that [thankfully] continues to cook even after the 25-second clock expires!).

Southern Cal’s Joe McKnight was reportedly seen behind the wheel of a Land Rover that doesn’t belong to him. Confronted by school investigators, the running back said he was just rehearsing for a potential part as Marlin Perkins in a remake of Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom”!

“Deck da’ halls with lotsa’ pointspreads...
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la la-la
Beat da’ books and get in their heads.
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la la-la
Winnnn us now our ten-team parlay....
Fa-la-la, la-la-la,
Spennnd da’ cash on hops and barley.

Vindy’s Best Bowl Bets Part II: Penn State-LSU “under” 44, East Carolina +7 1/2 over Arkansas, Central Michigan-Troy “over” 63

Vindicator wishes all his faithful readers a very Mary Carey Christmas (now there’s a holiday TV special we’d like to see)...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 out Vindy’s bowl recap and publication of his leftover “hash”!

“It’s beginning to look a lot like.....bowl season!”

Friday, December 18, 2009

Vindy's 2009-10 Bowl Predictions: The Early Games


WASHINGTON, District of Columbia (BBC)...Shortly after telling Oprah Winfrey that the achievements of his first eleven months in office were worthy of “a solid B-plus”, the president responded to the talk show diva’s query about what marks he would give the Vegas Vindicator’s efforts over the same period by noting “a passable C-minus”. While the Commander-in-Chief acknowledged the fab forecaster’s overall profit-netting 54.3% (140-118-2), he pointed out there was “still work to be done on ‘lock of the week’ picks and ‘best bets’. Let’s face it...those babies doubled the national deficit this year.” Chiming in on cue, even First Pooch, Bo, gave the Sin City Soothsayer a “paws-down”. In wrapping up the holiday interview at the White House, Oprah rolled some footage of the classic TV show moment from last January in which Vice President Joe Biden shushed his wife, Jill, after she let it slip that her hubby had been given a choice of placing his wagers with the Weber Kid or with well-known tout Phil Steele under the new administration.

By the way, the above-mentioned, year-old Portugese water dog (who was reportedly named after Michelle Obama’s father [nicknamed Diddley], though we contend he was really named for two-sport star Bo Jackson and/or former Wolverines coach Bo Schembechler) got excited and piddled all over Vindy’s jersey after getting a look at....

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

DEC. 19
NEW MEXICO (@ Albuequerque, N.M.):
Wyoming over Fresno State taking 11 (54 ½):
This one might come down to turnovers and enthusiasm. Fresno’s attack features RB Ryan Matthews, who was second in total rushing yards behind only Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart. If the Cowpokes get down big early, they’re not built for a major comeback with the nation’s 112th-ranked passing offense. Having said that, FSU allows 28 ppg, while Wyoming allows 27. Wyoming will be happier to be here and playing in its first post-season since 2004 and second since 1992. Bulldogs in 4th straight bowl (1-2 SU/ATS)...FSU West 28 Wyoming 23

ST. PETERSBURG (@ St. Petersburg, FL):
Rutgers over Central Florida giving 2 ½ (44 ):
Fifth straight bowl for the Scarlet Knights, who stumbled into the post-season having fallen in 2 of last 3, including game at Syracuse. The Golden Knights, on the other hand, won 5 of last 6, losing only at Austin. Both teams are nearly identical in rushing stats and both defend the rush well. Rutgers boasts the country’s #18 receiver, Tim Brown, who reels in about 88 yards per game. Rutgers has made a living on turnovers against non-conference teams, with a +16 margin. UCF went 9-2 against the line this year and Coach O’Leary fired up his team this season by showing them film of Muhammad Ali in his glory days. Funny, Vindy showed his forecasting team that same footage, but focused on the champ’s opponents. Anybody remember Howard Cossell’s call of “Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!”?????!!!!...Parkway Paladins 24 UCF 20

DEC. 20
R&L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS (@ N’awlins, Weeziana):
Southern Miss over Middle Tennessee State giving 3 ½ (58):
Blue Raiders went 9-3 SU/ATS, including nice 6-0 run against the spread to close out the regular season. State owns outright wins over Memphis and Maryland...not top-flight teams in their respective conferences, but still outside the Sun Belt. Golden Eagles lost a shootout at Houston and have won and covered 4 of their last 5 bowls. MTSU held nifty 37-18 edge in sacks against its opponents, but averaged just over 27 minutes/game in time of possession. The extra plays should benefit USM enough to beat the number against pesky Raiders...SoMiss 30 MTSU 24

DEC. 22
MAACO LAS VEGAS: (@ Vegas, Baby!)
#16 Oregon State over #15 BYU giving 2 ½ (59):
Almost made OSU the lock of da’ bowls. Possible showcase for senior QB Max Hall, but Coach Mendenhall already made it known earlier in the year that he didn’t want to play in Vegas again. Can’t wait to hear that pre-game motivational talk...”Yo guys...I know what I said, but hey...we’re here again, so...let’s make the best of it, okay?”. Beavers return to the scene of near-crime in which they almost lost to the hometown Rebels. New OSU defense (just three returning starters) settled in nicely late in the season as only the Ducks managed more than 21 points over the last five games. Beavers will hope for improvement over last season’s 3-0 stinker over Pitt. We’ve been lauding Jacquizz Rodgers (20 rushing scores, nearly 115 ypg) and brother James (83 receiving ypg, 9 scores) all season. We’ll do it again here. QB Sean Canfield is no slouch, with 21-6 passing TD to INT ratio, either. Coogs just 2-6-1 ATS in last 9 vs. non-conference teams...Oregon State 34 BYU 24

DEC. 23
#23 Utah over California taking 4 (52 ½):
This isn’t where either team hoped to be in the pre-season when Cal was touting RB Jahvid Best for the Heisman and Utes were coming in off BCS-buster win over Alabama in last year’s Sugar Bowl. Bears have been whacked by the better teams on their slate, though covered 2 of 3 vs. the ranked squads. Sophomore RB Vereen was okay, but not great (10 touchdowns, 69.17 ypg) spelling the injured Best. Utes have plenty of defense and averaged nearly 30 ppg.. Good news for da’ Utes and da’ Bears...both of last year’s Appointment-Setter Bowl contestants went undefeated in 2009 and square-off in the Fiesta this January..Utes 27 Cal 23

DEC. 24
Southern Methodist over Nevada-Reno taking 15 (73 1/2):
Kudos to second-year SMU coach June Jones, who after suffering thru the school’s second straight 1-11 SU season last year, has his Ponies in their first bowl since the NCAA “death penalty” days of the 1980's. Mustangs won 4 of their last 5 to get here and went 4-2 ATS away from home. Reno defeated 8 consecutive opponents before covering-loss at Boise (7-2 ATS in that span). Reno will run early and often, but also has 20 passing touchdowns with just 5 picks. SMU will respond with WR Emmanuel Sanders (101 yards per game), but will have to step-up its pass protection to stay within a couple touchdowns...UNR 41 SMU 30

DEC. 26
Ohio over Marshall giving 2 (49 1/2): LOCK OF DA’ BOWLS.
Herd sports the better running game (139 ypg, 16 touchdowns to Ohio’s 120 ypg and 9 scores), but the Bobcats own the passing edge with a 22-12 ratio and Marshall’s just the 97th best pass defense. Ohio bombed a pretty good Temple team on a neutral site to win the MAC and are dangerous in the kicking-return, bringing four punts back to the house. Might be a low-scoring match since OU is successful from the red zone just 72% of the time and Marshall is just north of 79%. Marshall’s bowling for first time since ‘04, Ohio’s making first post-season trip since ‘06. Bobcats won 9 games (8-4 ATS overall). Herd’s best win of its six came at home vs. SMU. Good turnaround for Ohio team that won just 4 games in 2008...Ohio 27 Marshall 13

MEINEKE CAR CARE (@ Charlotte, NC):
#17 Pittsburgh over North Carolina giving 3 (44 ½):
The only thing the ‘Heels have going here is a 7-0 ATS run vs. ranked teams, but after last season’s 31-30 bowl loss to West Virginia, it’ll be up to the defense to keep UNC in the game (allows less than 17 ppg) vs. Pitt’s Dion Lewis (#3 in rushing yards, #10 in rushing TDs) and WR Jonathan Baldwin (#10 in receiving yards, 90 ypg). Panthers play some D too, allowing just 20 ppg. Like the aforementioned Beavers, Pitt will want a better showing than 2008's post-season “game”...Pitt 23 UNC 16

EMERALD (@ San Francisco, CA):
Boston College over USC taking 9 (43 ½):
This one might be a reach, but Eagles aren’t bad defensively and it’s the first bowl for USC young freshman QB Barkley, topping off a failed season by USC standards. We expect (and so do the linesmakers) a low-scoring game given unimpressive passing games on either side of the field. BC’s Montel Harris provides 113 yards per game on the ground. Trojans will run too, shortening the game and giving the underdog Eagles a chance to cover. BC dropped its first bowl in nine tries last year, losing 16-14 to Vanderbilt. USC, at 3-9 ATS, dodged bullets vs. Ohio State and Notre Dame this season and could easily be 6-6. Eagles have not covered last three bowls, but were giving 5 to 7 in each of those (winning a pair by 1and 3 points before last year’s 2-point loss)...Trojans 20 BC 16

DEC. 27
Kentucky over Clemson taking 7 (52 ½): UPSET ALERT.
This will likely feature another pairing of running teams as Clemson and Kentucky rank #16 and #17, respectively against the pass. Kentucky’s scoring defense improved a bit as the season progressed, going from 32-points per game against in Games 2 thru 4 (following opening whitewash of Miami-Ohio) down to 20 ppg-against over the final seven. If the game is close, Tigers will be at major disadvantage given 5 missed PATs and just 68% success on field goals (21 of 31). Tigers lost two close games to Joja’ Tech, but C.J. Spiller can be contained and Clemson is 0-4 ATS in last four bowls, losing the past three outright. Oh what the hell...we’ll call it...Kentucky 27 Clemson 24

DEC. 28
INDEPENDENCE (@ Shreveport, LA):
Georgia over Texas A&M giving 7 (65 1/2):
No faith in this pick since initial gut-reaction was to take A&M and da’ points, but subsequent review resulted in a change toward the favorite. Two of the year’s most-penalized teams take the field here (‘Dawgs tied for 3rd with 99 hankies, Aggies drew 92 flags...good for a 9th-place tie). That fact and Georgia’s proclivity for turnovers (minus-17 overall, though just minus-5 vs. non-conference teams) could allow high-scoring A&M to make this a track meet. But only the win over Texas Tech was significant, given the remaining dubyas were against New Mexico, Utah State, UAB, Iowa State and Baylor... all in College Station. It’s all or nothin’ for TAMU once they cross midfield because the Aggies manage to score less than 77% from the red zone and only 67% on threes. Joja’ fell outta’ the Top 25 following loss to LSU, but won 4 of last 6, including victory over ACC champ Joja’ Tech to regain some momentum. Georgia’s won and covered bowls each of the last 3 years and at least covered 7 of the last 10. The double-digit SU win streak is over, but we like the bowl trend to continue...UGA 37 A&M 27

DEC. 29
EAGLEBANK (@ Washington, DC):
Temple over UCLA taking 4 (46 1/2):
Owls coach, and former JoePa disciple, Al Golden should be up for Coach of Da’ Year honors for giving Temple its first post-season berth since the 1979 Garden State Bowl and a shot at a 10-win season just a year after TU suffered back-to-back 1-11 campaigns. Bruins had an interesting season, wrapping three-game win-streaks around a five-game loss skid. Owls are run-heavy behind RB Bernard Pierce’s 119 yards per game and put up 30.3 on the scoreboard. UCLA finds itself as the #98 scoring team at 21.6 ppg. Temple holds a slight red zone advantage. Bruins are better kicking field goals. Both teams convert less than 37% on 3rd Down. Not many points. That’ll favor the Birds....UCLA 21 Temple 20

CHAMPS SPORTS (@ Orlando, FL):
#14 Miami over #24 Wisconsin giving 3 (58):
We think the offenses will out-play the respective defenses. Badgers prefer the ground game with #9 rusher John Clay. Pelicans will rely on sporadic QB Jacory Harris. Both offenses average better than 410 ypg each. Wisky can record 10 wins for first time since 12-1 record in 2006, but didn’t beat anyone special to get here. UW bowl record isn’t special either... just 3-4 outright, getting smoked by Florida State in ‘08 and losing to Tennessee in ‘07. ‘Canes have taken 4 of last 5 bowls (3-2 ATS). Both excel in time-of-possession. Cheeseheads score from the red zone almost 91% of the time, but Miami could take advantage of Badgers poor special teams, especially the field-goal and kick-coverage units enough to prevail...Miami 34 Wisky 29

DEC. 30
Bowling Green over Idaho giving 1 ½ (68 ½):
Only five I-A teams have fewer total rushing yards than the Falcons. Idaho, a great story this season, has a decent semblance of a running game at 160 ypg to go with its preferred mode of throwing as well. Idaho’s #113 ranking in pass D might be a bit skewed since they played Boise State, Reno and Fresno, all of whom own a Top 14 passing offense. Birds in second bowl in five years, while the Potato-Heads are in first since 1998. Falcons on 16-5 ATS run away from home and beat the weaker teams convincingly while winning and covering 4 of last 6 to finish the regular season. Defenses in the MAC aren’t great. Defenses in the WAC just aren’t!...BGU 41 Idaho 31

#20 Nebraska over #22 Arizona taking 1 ½ (40):
Huskers have to feel snake-bitten after letting the Texas game (and the accompanying Big 12 crown) get away, much like the Virginia Tech game did early in the year. Big Red will stay mostly on the ground and let its defense do the heavy-lifting against ‘Cats passing attack. Nebraska allowed 11.2 ppg, second behind only Alabama (tempered by three games against the Sun Belt in non-conference play, but still nothing to sneeze at). AZ can run as well at about 162 ypg, but Huskers allow just 2.8 ypc and less than 96 rushing yards/game. Wildcats only 2-3-1 ATS outside of Tucson this year and though 11-3 ATS the last four years against ranked teams, they’re only 4-4 SU over last 8...Children of the Corn 19 ‘Zona 12

DEC. 31 (Uh-oh! These are Thursday games! You’ve been warned!)
Houston over Air Force giving 4 ½ (62 ½):
The irresistible force meets the immovable object in a rematch of last year’s Armed Forces Bowl, won 34-28 by Houston. Cougars are runners-up in total offense to Boise State. Case Keenum takes his big arm (71% completion rate, 43 TD passes and 419 ypg) back to Dallas to face Air Force’s #4 rushing attack. Army and Navy have fewer passing yards than the Pilots...and that’s all folks! Flyboys held TCU to 20 points in Colorado Springs, but UH can play some D too, holding five opponents to the teens or less. Cougars have taken it up a notch since 2008. Air Force hasn’t. Keenum has not one, not two, but three very capable receivers. Tyson Carrier, alone, has as many catches per game as Air Force has throwing attempts per tilt. Should be good amount of points since collectively, these two combine for only 7 punts per game. Unless Aim High can force turnovers (+17 on the season), the result is about the same as last year...Houston 37 USAF 27

BRUT SUN (@ El Paso, TX):
#19 Stanford over Oklahoma taking 8 (56):
Certainly not the spot Oklahoma expected for the post-season, but injuries and tough-luck losses to BYU and Miami derailed any shot at a title. Heisman bridesmaid Toby Gerhart racked up almost 200 more rushing yards in one less game than winner Mark Ingram. Special teams could be Oklahoma’s undoing here as Stanford’s Chris Owusu averages 32.5 yards per kick return. Sooners tallied only 17 rushing scores despite having talented runners in DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown. Trees should keep it close (and would be worth a look for an upset) in their first bowl since 2001. Sooners have been bowl-poison for backers, going 1-5 SU/ATS over last six years...Oklahoma 27 Stanford 24

TEXAS (@ Houston, TX):
Navy over Missouri taking 6 (52 ½):
Middies bumbled their way to a push against Army, who was in the game until a late interception put it outta’ reach. We expect a better performance this time and hopefully the Ensigns have shored-up the kick coverage that gave the Black Knights good position throughout the game. Navy’s third-ranked ground attack produced more than three rushing touchdowns per match this year. They’ll need to continue to grind it out (averaging nearly 33 ½ minutes per game in TOP) because Mizzou can score quickly through the air behind QB Blaine Gabbert (275 ypg, 23 scores, just 7 INT) and his favorite target WR Damario Alexander (137 receiving ypg). Tigers held opponents below 97 rushing yards per game. Navy gave up just 11 touchdown passes while posting 15 interceptions. Sailors are just 2-4 SU in their last 6 bowls, but covered four of ‘em, including losses by 1 and 3 to BC and Utah, respectively before last year’s 10-point defeat to Wake Forest. On the big screen.... players discover the ability to make farm animals faint by gazing intently at them and test their newfound powers on the Middies’ mascot in...”Linemen Who Stare at Goats”...Mizzou 24 Navy 21

INSIGHT (@ Tempe, AZ):
Iowa State over Minnesota taking 2 ½ (48):
Best call here is probably “under” the total as the second- and fourth-lowest scoring teams in the nation get paired in this snoozer. Gerbils were shutout twice (though by stalwart defenses of Iowa and Penn State). ISU Cyclowns come in at the 101st-ranked offense, lowest among this season’s bowl participants other than Wyoming. State, at least, has a 9-7 win over Nebraska. Ughhhhhh....ISU 19 Minny 13

CHICK-FIL-A (@ Atlanta, GA):
Tennessee over #12 Virginia Tech taking 5 (49):
We considered Vols on the money line, but Hokies outright win record on Thursday nights is the stuff of legends (16-5, though only 1-1 in only two tries of ‘09)! While both clubs combine to score an average of 62 ppg, the total is a nod to the defenses, which combine to allow just 37 ppg. Both sides will run first and throw as an after-thought. The Lane Kiffin era at Rocky Top got off to a tough start, but Vols did cover against all three ranked opponents and five of last seven on the year (also winning five outright). Hokies have won and covered just 4 of their last 10 post-season trips. A victory gives Tech its sixth consecutive season with at least 10 wins...VT 22 Tennessee 19

Last winter, Washington fessed-up to a secondary recruiting violation by new pigskin coach Steve Sarkisian, who, with Nick Holt, met with two high school seniors at a hair salon and coffee shop in LA (prior to the allowable timeframe). Hey he was just improvising on Army’s “coffee with a soldier” plan, calling his recruiting campaign...“Coffee and a Perm with a Husky”

After learning Joe Montana’s son would play for UDUB, Coach Sarkisian took a few creative liberties with a certain commercial involving “Babe” Ruth, and asked the Hall-of-Fame quarterback’s prodigy, “...You don’t happen to know any kids named ‘Rice’, do ya???!!!”

As Tom Brady and super-model Gisele Bundchen welcome their first child, Vindy flashes back to an episode of the short-lived 1970's animated series Where’s Huddles, in which center Bubba McCoy is incorrectly diagnosed as being in a “family way” and his teammates go outta’ their way to protect him on the field. (Raise yer hand if yer old enough to remember Where’s Huddles!....And if yer not.... Google it!)

The New England Patriots mascot was swept up in a sex-sting operation in Rhode Island earlier this month. Given the Pats’ 8-5 record, we're just happy somebody on the team is scoring! But we just really wanna’ know how Tiger got his hands on the costume to begin with! Hey, looks like New Hampshire’s reviewing a repeal of its adultery laws. Yo Tiger...road trip! (Oh wait...maybe he’d better just fly or “go Amtrak” or something!). Wanna’ take bets on how many of those recently-found 22 million “lost” e-mails from the Bush administration were between Tiger and a bevy of White House interns???!!!

The No Fun League has finally relented on its previous policy and is now permitting airing of Vegas advertisements during game telecasts. But still banned are any images of gambling, gambling products, pics of the Strip or casinos themselves. Hmmmm....let’s see. That would leave just...ummm...cactus, hookers and desert tortoise habitats as viable promos for Sin City!

Vindy’s 2009 Bowl Season Best Bets (thru New Year’s Eve):
Oregon State -2 ½ over BYU, Ohio/Marshall “under” 49, Stanford +8 over Oklahoma

Stay tuned. We’ll be back before ya can finish unwrapping that Zhu Zhu Hamster gift under yer tree with da’ rest of the games, Vin’s thoughts on the BCS Fiesta Bowl conspiracy, his pick for national champion, more “best bets” and, of course,.... more holiday “hash”! Meanwhile, we leave you with one of our host’s favorite holiday-tune stanzas...

“With lotsa’ beer pouring,
And all those teams scoring,
And hot chicks who cheeeeeeeeerrrr...
It’s da’ most wonderbowl tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimmme
Of...da’ yearrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!”

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Vindy's Picks 2009 Army-Navy

Navy over Army giving 14 (@ Philadelphia): The only thing that gives us cause for pause is Navy’s still-inexplicable outright loss at Hawaii. No disrespect to the ‘Bows high-octane passing game and we acknowledge Navy’s 119th-vs.-the-pass ranking , but this IS a Middies squad that coulda’ toppled Ohio State and did, in fact, beat Notre Dame (albeit a flaky one). While this annual clash of military academies was likely moved to this week from its previous spot on Championship Weekend to give both squads more national exposure and while our proud Army officers-of-tomorrow would never grumble about it publicly, we gotta’ wonder what the Black Knights, playing under first-year coach Rich Ellerson, think about their berth in the EagleBank Bowl being handed to Temple or UCLA when a victory over the Midshipmen (unlikely, but possible) would’ve given Army its sixth win and made it automatically eligible for the game being played in D.C...their first post-season trip since 1996. Middies are already locked into the Texas Bowl, but Navy could post its first double-digit SU win record since 1905. Only one team was worse against the pass than Navy....yep....the Cadets of Army! The Ensigns went just 4-5-2 ATS this season, but have gone 9-1 SU and 8-2 ATS facing Army. The Soldiers beat the line just 3 times in 10 tries (3-4 ATS getting points) and were defeated at West Point by now 3-9 Tulane. The Middies strength, as always, is the ground game, which ranked third in the nation behind Nevada-Reno and ironically, Georgia Tech, now led by former Navy mastermind Paul Johnson. Army on the other hand, once a regular in the top five for rushing yards, has fallen to #20. The Sailors use the running backs to do most of the...if the Middies will pardon the phrase....”grunt work”, but both sides will have to look for the opposing QB when they near the goal line as both quarterbacks lead their respective teams in touchdowns scored. Freshman Trent Steelman is also the leading rusher for Army. Middies are slightly better (by 35 ypg) stopping the run. Few punts (collective average of 10 per game) and even fewer penalties (combined average of 9 hankies per match) should make for fast-moving game that we’ll give to...The Poop Deck 27 Not Quite Beaten All They Can Be Beaten 9

The Championship Week saw Vindicator open 2-0, hitting the Thursday nighter and Friday nighter, before struggling to finish 5-5 (140-118-1, .543) during a fortnight that had the underdogs taking at least 8 of the 10 games (9 if ya had West Virginia getting rather than giving points vs. Pitt)..

Even the usually very-reliable Boise State Broncos turned coat, winning by just 35 over New Mexico State, dropping the lock record to 5-9 (.357...a nice firearm, but a lousy betting percentage).

Vindy split his pair of “best bets” last week to move the season tally to 27-31 (.466)

In July, the Pentagon said it wouldn’t ban tobacco products in war zones. In related news, the NCAA won’t prohibit consumption of dehydrated pork patties from MREs (meals-ready-to-eat) in the huddle during Army football games!

Former West Point footballer Caleb Campbell, who got shut outta’ the NFL because of his military obligation, will get a shot at being brakeman for the U.S. Olympic bobsled team in 2010. He’s also qualified to return fire via the onboard 50-calibre machine-guns in the event of attack by hostile athletes from other nations during sled runs!

In May, Army Spc. Zachary Boyd got kudos from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for joining the fray vs. the enemy in Afghanistan wearing a K-pot, body armor and pink boxers bearing the phrase “I Love New York”. Vindy did likewise sporting Nittany Lion boxers during his service time in the 80's in Germany (OK, it was during a peace-time field exercise and we were actually wearing Bob the Builder Underoos).

We’ll back in about 10 days with the first set of bowl selections. Coming soon....Vin will also give his reasons why the TCU-Boise State bowl pairing is a conspiracy by the BCS! Stay tuned!

Now if you’ll pardon our hero, he’s off to swindle a co-worker outta’ some money as part of the office holiday grift exchange (and he’s still pondering what to buy for that whole “Secretion Santa” thing!)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Vindy's Picks 2009 Championship Week


CHICAGO, Illinois (Reuters)...Throw out the records. Shred the polls. New Mexico State versus Louisiana-Lafayette for the National Title?! It could happen. Fed up with the current system and having the blessing of President Obama, longtime champion of the underdog and advocate of a college football playoff, Oprah Winfrey will alter the post-season landscape two years from now by giving away berths to the five BCS bowls during the final airing of her talk show in 2011. The most powerful woman in the U.S., and arguably the world, has purchased the rights to the BCS and in the wake of what’s being dubbed the “HARPO Championship Series”, head coaches from all 120 Division I-A teams, as well as assistants and coordinators who could be at a team’s helm by then, lined up immediately to buy spots in the audience for the daytime diva’s finale. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch hailed the decision as “a significant blow struck on behalf of the little guys”. One of the show’s producers said there was hope of seeing a joyous coach pull a “Tom Cruise” and jump up and down on Oprah’s sofa.

Vindicator never really got any traction last week, slipping and sliding to a mere 7-11 (135-113-1, .544). (The only week in which we had less than 9 forecast victories). No doubt, the result of fatigue. After all...Vindy won’t get a bye until after...


#13 Oregon State over #7 OREGON taking 10:
The PAC-10's Rose Bowl spot up for grabs here. Ducks hung 65 on State (at Corvallis) last year and now have just five defeats on the Pond in as many seasons. Beavers almost lost at UNLV, but are 4-1 ATS (5-0 SU) on the road this season, with three of those wins as dogs. We expect an exciting game featuring State’s Rodgers brothers keeping it close against Decoys’ rushing game. The NCAA pooh-poohed a recently-done rap song touting the Mallards, but how can ya not like a song that includes “Holy Moly”, “Masoli” and “ravioli” in the same stanza???!!!...Oregon 31 Beavers 29

MAC Championship @ Detroit, Michigan
Ohio over Central Michigan taking 13 1/2:
Chippies’ only two losses came at Arizona and at Boston College, and got a nice upset win over Michigan State getting two touchdowns, then posted its first-ever perfect conference regular season tally (8-0). Only two of CMU’s opponents have held it under 20 points in any game. First appearance in the picks this season for both teams as neither has faced a ranked foe, but it’s the third trip in four years to the conference title game for Central Michigan and second in three years for Ohio. CMU beat the Bobblecats 31-28 last year at home and 31-10 in 2006 MAC Championship. OU, 9-3 outright and on 7-2 spread run, knocked off Temple 35-17 last week in a minor upset to get here and we remember Buffalo’s upset of heavily-favored Ball State this time last year...CMU 29 Ohio 24

SEC Championship @ Atlanta, Georgia
#1 Florida over #2 Alabama giving 5 1/2:
No surprise that a pair of Heisman candidates meet up in this one...Tim Tebow and Mark Ingram, who was as much a factor in ‘Bama’s win over Auburn as Mike Vick has been in Eagles games. Gators could take a page from the Tigers ground game to effectively chew up yardage. In addition, poor punting and even poorer punt coverage by Auburn allowed Tide to come back from early 14-point deficit in the Iron Bowl. Gators just 3-4 ATS in past seven this season, though have gone 2-0 the past pair. Florida beat the Tide 31-20 last year and 28-13 in 2006. UF has 3 covers in eight SEC games, but all of those lines were much bigger than this one. First dog role for ‘Bama in 2009. Gators barely beat the line in only other tilt vs. a ranked foe (LSU, 13-3). Tide 1-1-1 in three tries vs. the Top 25. Vindy joins readers who offered tongue-in-cheek “compliments” to Tim Tebow at this week, noting “Tim Tebow is so awesome...(altogether now...HOW AWESOME IS HE?!)...he’s the one who got uninvited couple, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, past security at the recent White House dinner event.” ...Crocs 20 Elephants 10

Big 12 Championship @ San Antonio, Texas
#3 Texas over #21 Nebraska giving 13 1/2:
We think the Steers were looking ahead, letting A&M hang around long enough to get the cover (and it could’ve been closer had Texas not managed a mid-4th Quarter kickoff return for a 95-yard score!) and yielding (GASP!) 532 yards to the Aggies. Children of the Corn are mired in 2-5 ATS slide, but have won five consecutive games since ugly 9-7 home loss to Iowa State. Last meeting was 2007's 28-25 victory by the ‘Horns in Austin over nearly-three-TD underdog Nebraska. A comparison of the two squads vs. common Big 12 opponents shows significant edge to Texas, who edged Oklahoma by 3 on a neutral field, beat Texas Tech by 10 and hammered Baylor, Kansas and Mizzou. Big Dread dropped the Sooners at home by 7, lost by three scores to Tech, beat Baylor by 10, Kansas by 14 and the Tigers by 15. While the Steers can play for the big crystal with a one-point victory, there IS that pesky Heisman thing for Colt McCoy. The (Big 12) North shall rise again...someday...Longhorns 34 Nebraska 17

#5 Cincinnati over #14 PITT giving 1 1/2: De Facto Big East championship game. While Pitt RB Lewis outdid his West Virginia counterpart, Noel Devine, 155-134 in rushing yards, the remainder of Devine’s teammates chipped in and helped WVU beat the Panthers in last week’s field goal party, while the Illini got basically a backdoor cover vs. Cincy with a very late touchdown. Pitt had won three straight vs. the Bearkats before Cincinnati’s 28-21 win in 2008. ‘Kats have kept most of their opponents’ scoring in the teens, but gave up 45 to UConn (no shame in that) and 36 to the Illini (?????!!!!!). Cincy beat could-be-PAC-10 champion Oregon State by 10 on the road. Pitt’s best victory might’ve been over Navy by 13 at home. Bearkats’ secret weapon could be former QB-turned-WR Guidugli, who re-emerged last week with a couple scoring catches at WR...Cincinnati 27 Pitt 20

#6 BOISE STATE over New Mexico State giving 48: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Our apologies to the Broncos as we erroneously noted last week that Boise State’s spread record this season was 6-5, when in fact, that record belonged to last week’s opponent, Nevada-Reno (BSU actually stands tall at 8-3). Fresh off acquiescing to Vindy’s predicted ATS loss vs. the aforementioned Wolfpack, Broncos get back to the regularly-scheduled opening of “a can” on the Aggies in one final effort to impress BCS pollsters enough to garner an at-large spot in one of the big dollar games. Aggies have been on the business end of back-to-back shutouts by Boise, to the tune of 107-0 and has scored 7or less five times this season vs. lesser competition... Boise State 56 NMSU 3

C-USA Championship @ Orlando, Florida
#18 Houston over East Carolina giving 2 1/2:
This is an awful lotta’ love being given to the Pirates and it could be based on a couple of things: ECU’s ability to knock off ranked teams last year as a dog (but lost SU and ATS in both opportunities this season vs. Virginia Tech and North Carolina), ECU’s conference title game victory in 2008 over Tulsa as a big dog and maybe Houston’s one-point win at Tulsa this season. Houston will break the 7000 yard mark on offense with the first two yards it gains this week. Coogs only two defeats came at UTEP and at Central Florida. Neutral field here may give the Bucs some hope, but they’ll have to do it on D because they won’t win a shootout vs. this powerful offense...Houston 31 ECU 24

WASHINGTON over #19 California taking 7: With its once-promising season now in the tank, Huskies at least got the satisfaction of 30-0 triumph over rival Wazzou (costing Vindy a “best bet” wager). Bears smoked UDUB in Berkeley last year, 48-7. On the plus-side for Washington (or at least its betting backers)...the Sled Dogs are 4-2 ATS near the Space Needle (including upsets of USC and Arizona) and though Cal’s won five of its last six coming in, Bears have not covered one-touchdown spreads in three tries to-date. Last Spring, Joe Montana’s son, Nick, committed to Washington, where he’ll compete at QB. In related news, Nick’s sibling, Hannah Montana, still a junior, will also play ball on scholarship at UDUB and will vie for the starting spot at free safety!...Cal 20-17

Arizona over #20 USC taking 7: ‘Cats are off hard-fought, last-second win over Arizona State for just their second road victory in five away games. AZ defends the run well enough to force Matt Barkley into making some plays with his arm. Cats could be tired starting third road tilt in four weeks. Trojans won 17-10 last year and 20-13 in 2007. Including bowls, USC has covered 6 of last 7 following the UCLA game, but are 2-6 ATS vs. the PAC-10 in 2009 and 12-22-1 the past four years. Whatever the outcome, at least there won’t be any of that silliness that nearly led to an on-field melee between the Trojans and Bruins...Troy 20 AZ 14

ACC Championship @ Tampa, Florida
#21 Georgia Tech over #25 Clemson giving 1:
Both come into this game suffering outright defeats at the hands of SEC rivals, with both favored to win those games. The Gamehens allowed CJ Spiller to rip off the opening kick for an 88-yard score then held him to 37 total rushing and receiving yards the rest of the way. Wanna’ bet GT was studying THAT game-film???!!! The Bees have won four of last five against the Tigers, covering three of those wins. Second trip to the conference title game for Tech, who lost 9-6 to Wake Forest in 2006. Clemson busts its ACC championship cherry this year. Tigers 49th vs. the rush, but have yielded just six TDs on the ground...’Jackets 30 Clemson 27

New Lincoln pennies were minted and the USPS released four new Lincoln stamps in 2009...and none of ‘em honored the Huskers!

Who needed tryptophan when Thanksgiving viewers could watch the somnambulistic offenses of Detroit, New York and Oakland, who collectively scored 25 points on Turkey more than the lowest-scoring winning NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys (24).

Chad Ochocinco jokingly sought a job application for the off-season at Target last week. Maybe he should try Walmart for the highly-coveted “greeter” position. Oh wait...that’s already been promised to Brett Favre!

Over the holiday weekend, at least one report had Tiger Woods’ wife, Elin Nordegren, taking a golf club to the windows or windshield of the golf icon’s car in the aftermath of a domestic quarrel. Against the advice of her caddy, she used a five-wood rather than a nine-iron, but the ball took a favorable bounce and she saved par when it dropped off the hood onto the road and rolled down the nearby street drain!

In light of the Ducks-Beavers pairing this week, we note that some members of Oregon’s Ultimate Frisbee team dropped trou, and the unmentionables as well, during an April match at Oregon State, whose players went shirtless. The violations eventually cost UO its season, but not before the game in question was dubbed as “Peeking Duck vs. Topless Beaver”!!!!

Best Weekly Effort:
Week Eight’s nifty 15-7

Worst Weekly “Effort”: In July, astronaut Koichi Wakata spent a solid month aboard the International Space Station sporting a single pair of high-tech, odor-less undies. His crewmates reportedly had nary a clue. In a recent follow-up study, the famous forecaster did likewise, but was ferreted out after just a few days. Seems the quickly-detected foul aroma wasn’t emanating from Weber’s experimental Underoos. It was coming from his Week 13 picks!

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 Boise State Broncos, who at 10-1 (.909) did not disappoint Vindicator the rest of the regular season after posting an “L” for the season-opening Oregon game. We have a tie for bridesmaid between Alabama and TCU (both at 8-3, .727). Sharing Honorable Mention, it’s Mississippi and Georgia (who took home the Good Hands hardware last season), both whom reached post-season award eligibility with their respective 7th appearances last week to finish at 5-2 (.714).

FLAME-THROWERS (Worst percentage on the predicted side of ‘da spread): This year’s “Grill-Master Supreme Award” winner is Ohio State (3-9,.250) A surprising “Suckin’ Place” to Nebraska at 2-5 (.286). Big Dread sneaked in undetected while we were busy lamenting the aforementioned Suckeyes and “Dishonorable Mention” recipient, LSU (4-8, .333)

Didn’t make the cut, but we’ll be watchin’: the Pelicans of Miami (4-7, .364) and longtime Vindy PITA....Texas Tech, who posted four losses and a push in five tries this year, a little short of qualifying for post-season ass-colades, following the much-maligned 2-9 last season.

Thank you for playing: The Vandy Commodores went 5-0 in as many at-bats for your humble host!

Black Shirt: This week, we present the great garment to Nevada-Reno WR Tray Session for grabbing the Wolfpack’s covering touchdown pass with a buck-sixteen on the clock vs. Boise State.

Shoppe Talk: The Florida Gators, South Carolina Gamehens and West Virginia Mounties have burned Vindy three straight times each!

“Locked in a Box?”: We can’t buy a lock this year as North Carolina fell outright to NC State, lowering the lock tally to 5-8 (.385).

Vindy’s Championship Week Best Bets: Last Week: 1-3 Season: 26-30 (.464)
UCONN -7 ½ over South Florida, USC-Arizona UNDER 49 1/2

Vin takes a breather and heads out to water the Shaqtus before logging on to World of Warcraft in search of his free Night-Elf mohawk grenade! Not to worry....we’ll return circa December 18 with our infamous bowl predictions (and we might even provide some bonus coverage this time next week with our thoughts on the Army-Navy game!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Vindy's Picks Week 13-2009


NEW YORK, New York (UPI)...After banning the Captain Morgan pose recently, it turns out the National Football League is not anti-alcohol, but anti-maritime. The discovery of a secret rule book at NFL headquarters has led to revelations about the league’s objections to all references to sea-faring things. Forbidden in any stadium or promotion of any team are references to Sinbad or Popeye, the showing of film clips of Johnny Depp in his role as Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Cap’n Crunch on the teams training tables and the playing of such songs as ”In the Navy” by the Village People, “Brick House” by the Commodores or “Muskrat Love” by the Captain & Tennille. The book even outlaws whistling the Old Spice theme tune. There were also plans to covertly pressure the Raiders and Buccaneers into changing their objectionable team monikers. One anonymous official said if current members of the Nautical Fuggheddaboutit League oversaw the Massachusetts Port Authority at the time, the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria would’ve never landed on American shores!

A 2-0 record before Saturday’s games kicked off helped our hero overcome a pair of bad beats and propelled the pretentious prognosticator to 11-9 (128-102-1, .557) in Week 12. A local fisherman, while cleaning out his nets today, threw back an old tire, some license plates and a small chest full of gold doubloons, but held on to....

(Official picks of the Spanish Armada and the Harvard-Yale Regatta)

#3 Texas over TEXAS A&M giving 21:
Steers are in good shape at the #3 spot in the BCS and need to stay healthy for the Big 12 title game. UT has covered four of last five games in ‘09, but while points-scored has increased over the last three (35-47-51), points-allowed has also gone up (3-14-20). Aggies have covered 4 of last 5 vs. Texas in College Station and while having covered five of last six games this year, including easy SU win at Texas Tech, A&M has been clobbered by the better teams on its schedule. ‘Horns won 49-9 last year and recorded another blow- out in ‘03, but the games in-between have been decided by 13 or less. Colt McCoy logged almost 400 yards vs. Kansas. The Heisman trek continues... Cattle 41 A&M 17

FRI. NOV. 27
AUBURN over #2 Alabama taking 10:
Tigers have seven SU wins on the season and would love nothing more to register the eighth at the expense of Iron Bowl rival ‘Bama. We see this as another OSU-Michigan, with the favorite winning, but the dog taking home the moolah. Other than last year’s 36-zippo Tide win, the previous six years were won SU by Aubie, by 10 or fewer. Tigers in rare home dog spot and have covered 2 of the last three as such. Two of Auburn’s four defeats this year were by 21, while the other pair was by 7...Alabama 21 Auburn 12

#5 CINCINNATI over Illinois giving 20 ½: After last week’s bye, Tony Pike is expected to start this week at QB (following a couple of cameo appearances in which he came in deep on a couple drives vs. West Virginia and accounted for 14 of Cincy’s 24 points). Bearkats blew the cover in the game via an early lost fumble (first on the year) and a missed FG. Illini don’t have much to play for, while UC is trying to surpass TCU in the BCS poll. Illinois did not cover vs. Penn State or Ohio State. ‘Kats can bang the scoreboard...Cincy 38 Illinois 13

Nevada-Reno over #6 BOISE STATE taking 13 1/2: Broncos have kindly faltered when Vindy has previously predicted a spread loss. We’re hopin’ they oblige once again. State needs a big win (and probably unlikely outright losses by TCU and/or Cincinnati) to grab a BCS berth. BSU has 7 covers, a push and a loss in last 9 vs. Reno. Broncos giving up 4 more points per game than last year. Wolfpack has topped 50 in five games already and has three players over 1000 yards each, but has failed in its last 7 vs. ranked teams. Tater-Heads are just 6-5 ATS this year...BSU 38 UNR 33

#8 Pittsburgh over WEST VIRGINIA (PK): Panthers seem to finally have it all together and will counter Mounties’ RB Joel Devine with their own workhorse, RB Dion Lewis (129 ypg). Pitt’s only outright loss came surprisingly at NC State in late September. West Virginia looks to payback close 19-15 loss in last season’s edition of the Backyard Brawl...Pitt 24 WVU 20

SAT. NOV. 28
Florida State over #1 FLORIDA taking 24 1/2:
Earlier this summer, the NCAA Committee on Infractions responded to Florida State’s appeal of sanctions, but kept its answer classified, allowing the school 15 days to respond . Dick Cheney wasn’t responding to media calls and Nancy Pelosi said the CIA misled her on that too! Tebow played into the 3rd Quarter of rout vs. FIU before giving way to his back-up, Brantley. How long will he go this week with SEC title game next? Gators have won each of the last two years by at least 30...Crocs 38 ‘Noles 16

#4 TCU over New Mexico giving 44 1/2: Almost locked the Amphibians for a second straight week. Toads covered and landed Vindy’s first lock win in five tries last week, but need to take it up a notch to hold paper-thin lead over Cincinnati in the BCS rankings. In September, the FDA verified that remains found in a can of Diet Pepsi belonged to a frog or a toad....and officials in Ft. Worth still ain’t talkin’ ...TCU 54 Low-bos 6

#7 GEORGIA TECH over Georgia giving 7: Rested Bees are looking to post their first 11-win season since 1990's National Co-Champion squad, while ‘Dawgs, who wasted a 20-7 halftime lead and lost by 7 to Kentucky last week, are potentially going to have worst SU win total since 1996's 5-6 campaign that was led by Mike Bobo at QB. Joja’ has three covers in ten games on the year and this is only the second time in six seasons that UGA isn’t ranked for this match-up...GT 28 Georgia 7

#9 Ohio State: IDLE (next...da’ Rose Bowl)

#10 Oregon: IDLE (next vs. Oregon State 12/3)

#11 Oklahoma State over OKLAHOMA taking 9 1/2: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. QB Zac Robinson is expected to return from the injury that knocked him outta’ Texas Tech game and start the 2009 Bedlam. Even if he doesn’t or can’t go the distance, 3rd stringer Brandon Weeden can keep the pressure on the Sooners D. OU will start a new center this week. That’s got “botched snap” written all over it. Shootout that should give State its first Bedlam cover in five years and its first outright victory since 2002...Cowpokes 34 Sooners 31

#12 Penn State: IDLE (next...da’ Bowls)

#13 Iowa: IDLE (next...da’ Bowls)

#14 Virginia Tech over VIRGINIA giving 15 1/2: Hokies haven’t beaten the Cavs by this many since 2006, but are on 3-0 SU/ATS run since losing to North Carolina, giving up a total of 22 points in those tilts. Tech RB Williams went for 120 rushing yards and three scores, with WR Boykin pitching in 164 yards on 6 catches. Virginia won’t be able to throw effectively vs. stout VT pass defense if it gets down early...Tech 28 Cavs 10

#15 Clemson over SOUTH CAROLINA giving 3: Gamehens got a much-needed bye last week following 10-point loss to Florida and are floundering in 2-4 ATS skid after opening 4-0. Tigers won 31-14 at home in ‘08, but won only 13-9 and 23-21 the past two visits to Columbia. Clemson building a head of steam as it rolls into the ACC Championship game next week having won six straight following defeat by the Terps. Can Steve Spurrier gameplan for CJ Spiller? (We are, however, rather puzzled by Tigers’ sudden lack of scoring, taking a 13-point lead into the 4th Quarter vs. Virginia, who had 21 points of their own. Did Cavs defense suddenly come to play? Did Clemson elect to put the game in the hands of its own D? Did someone in Vegas make a phone call to the sideline?). It’s a rivalry, so Clemson won’t be looking ahead...Clemson 20 Poultry 13

#16 Oregon State: IDLE (next @ Oregon 12/3)

Arkansas over #17 LSU taking 3 1/2: No faith in the Tigers since they can’t seem to get out of their own way of late, losing two of three SU and scraping by Weeziana Tech. Hogs take their busload of super sophomores and their scoring machine (48.5 ppg over last four) into Not-Quite-Dead-Yet Valley...and win for the second straight season (Pigs took it 31-30 in 2008)...Arkansas 27 LSU 24

#22 Utah over #18 BYU taking 7 1/2: Coogs got four uncharacteristic turnovers from Air Force, making your humble host look like a Nostradamic ninny for tagging the Flyboys as his upset pick of da’ week. Winner is likely off to Sin City for the post-season and the key match-up should be Max Hall’s passing (300 yards per game) against Utah’s pass defense (100 yards per game). Utes won 48-24 last season and have permitted just two opponents to score more than 17 (Oregon and TCU, both on the road)...BYU 20 Utah 17

#19 Miami over SOUTH FLORIDA giving 6: We looked at this for lock status. Okay, this pits a bunch of former Sunshine State high school teammates (and rivals) against each other, but again, we reference USF’s resume. Yes, they’ve won 7 of 10 games straight-up to-date, but have just a lone cover in last five. ‘Canes did give up 300 passing yards to Duke, but it was a 73-yard INT return for TD by Miami that kept Devils’ defeat closer to three touchdowns than to mere 4 points. As long as Jacory Harris doesn’t toss a couple to the guys in the wrong-colored unis...Miami 27 USF 17

MISSISSIPPI STATE over #20 Mississippi taking 8: Rebels stole one last week. Bulldogs’ strength is the defense. We’re hopin’ to see the one that helped State lose by 10 vs. Florida, not the one that helped ‘Bama win by 28. Rebels 2-2 SU/ATS on the road this year, losing at South Carolina and at Auburn. Bulldogs have the running game to burn the clock even if they don’t score often. We wouldn’t be surprised by an upset, but let’s just say...Ole Miss 13 MSU 9

#21 California: IDLE (next @ Washington 12/5)

#23 North Carolina over NC STATE giving 6: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Wolfpack won this one 41-13 in 2008, but are 2-6-1 ATS this season and were crushed at home by Duke and Clemson. ‘Heels currently on nice 4-0 SU/ATS run that includes victories vs. Miami and at Virginia Tech, both of whom were ranked. Tarheels’ defense is on par with, if not better than, Virginia Tech’s, in most categories. Hokies got 4 turnovers from State last week, holding the Wolfpack below 20 points for first time since opening 7-3 loss to South Carolina....UNC 27 NC State 13

Ucla over #24 USC taking 13: We ain’t crushed about USC’s conference dynasty finally tumblin’ down. Trojans have had the extra week to think about thrashing by Stanford. Bruins are 3-5 ATS vs. the PAC-10 this season, but 3-1 the last 4. Rick Neuheisel already has two more wins than he had all last year when he took over UCLA and has his team bowl-eligible. Bruins have covered the last three vs. USC, but only SU win in last 10 years came in 2006 at UCLA...Southern Cal 23 UCLA 12

Rice over #25 HOUSTON taking 29 ½: Another cross-town rivalry like USC-UCLA above. The Owls, who’ve had a down year after doing good things in ‘08, have four covers in five tries vs. the Coogs, including last year’s 56-42 win and 56-48 loss in ‘07. Rice finally showing some oomph, winning back-to-back games and losing by just 3 at SMU after the first eight matches of 2009 saw the Hooters on the wrong end of an average margin of 46-15... Houston 48 Rice 24


BTW, draft-eligible players from the Navy Midshipmen and the Vandy Commodores are planning to boycott the NFL Combine this Spring.

Gator fans are expected to wear eye black, with or without messages, in honor of Tim Tebow, known for sporting bible verses on his, during Saturday’s Florida State game. Vindy plans to don the facial accouterment bearing the words “Love Boat” during Sunday’s trip to the sportsbook, just to spite the NFL!

In reporting on Sarah Palin’s recent book-signing, Fox News said the ex-vice presidential candidate was “continuing to draw huge crowds”, showing “live” video of the alleged crowds. Unfortunately, the film in question was actually from her campaign more than a year ago. In a related story, Fox blew it again last week, showing a game reel of Michigan’s last victory over the Buckeyes in 2003, while in fact State was beating the Wolverines on Saturday.

On the big screen, an adaptation of a book by Maurice Sendak in which a young boy named Max escapes a disappointing home life and finds himself in the middle of a trademark Miami Dolphins offensive formation in...”Where the Wildcat Things Are”. (In related news, Vin grabs bottle of whiskey and draws up X’s and O’s to run the Wild Turkey formation!)

A judge threatened to let Cincy QB Nick Collaros spend a little post-season time in the pokey if he didn’t finish a court-ordered program after flashing a fake ID at a bar near the UC campus. The ID looked so authentic, defenders on the Bearkats scout team tackled a cardboard cutout with the card glued to it while Collaros himself lined up unnoticed at wide receiver during practice last week.

Cleveland head coach Eric Mangini has levied charges of faking injury (which he has since recanted) against the Detroit Lions late in last Sunday’s game, won barely by Detroit. Uhhhh....Cleveland squandered a 27-6 lead, so we’re thinking the Browns were faking being a pro football team!

After hobbling thru mid-season, Vindy’s preferred picks (lock choices and best bests) have gone a collective 8-3 the past two weeks.

Black Shirt: goes this week to Connecticut Huskies RB Andre Dixon, whose 4-yard touchdown run in 2OT gave UConn the upset victory over Notre Dame and Vindy one of his Week Twelve best bet wins.

“Wish I Had That One Back”: Vindy wishes he’d put a little more confidence in Virginia’s ability to lose by less than three touchdowns over the past three years following the Cavs’ cover at Clemson.

“Locked in a Box?”: The Horny Toads of TCU stop the bleeding and raise the record to 5-7 (.417)

Shoppe Talk: The Miami Hurricanes remain off the coast and below the radar and the Weeziana State Tigers get a weekend pass for shoulda’-been win over Ole Miss, but the OSU Buckeyes have now dropped nine forecast picks in the past 10 appearances!

Vindy’s Week 13 Best Bets: Last Week: 4-1 Season: 25-27 (.481)
Central Florida -3 over ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM, Southern Methodist -17 ½ over TULANE, Washington State +24 1/2 over WASHINGTON, Navy -9 over HAWAII

Now if you’ll excuse the Weber Kid, he’s off to do some holiday shoppin’ at one of his favorite stores...Tays-R-Us!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Vindy's Picks Week 12-2009


MANHATTAN, New York (ITAR-Tass)....As Bernie Madoff’s estate continues to get sold off this month, noted items up for bid include a boogie board bearing the disgraced investor’s name, a baseball mitt, a Wayne Gretsky action figure and....copies of Vindy’s Picks! In a twist of fate, the Ponzi scheme felon who bilked investors out of billions, was himself taken to the cleaners as recently-discovered records indicate Madoff gambled away tons of money wagering on Vindy’s 2009 lock of the week choices and his best bet selections, which have combined to go just 25-33 (and falling). As his thirst for the outrageous spiraled out of control, an opportunistic bookie duped Madoff into believing he was betting with the advice of nationally-known touts such as Phil Steele, Jim Feist and Marc Lawrence. The soon-to-be jailbird even went so far as to wear an exorbitant replica chronograph watch, used by German POWs to time prison patrols for possible escape attempts, to ensure he placed his already-doomed bets by kickoff!

The Sin City Soothsayer posted just his second losing effort on the season in Week Eleven, going 9-13 (117-93-1, .557) and pulled a Mike Singletary by dropping trou in the locker room in an effort to get his assistant prognosticators to focus on....


Colorado over #12 OKLAHOMA STATE taking 17 ½:
Bisons’ rushing defense has gotten worse each year since Dan Hawkins took over as coach (allowing 4.4 ypc last season and currently around 4.1 ypc this year). Not good news against Oklahoma State team running for better than 200 yards per game. CU just playing out the string, having only three outright wins. State defense had three INTs last week to turn away Texas Tech. Six of Colorado’s 10 foes have put up at least 30, while the Buffs have scored in the teens or less in three of last four. Still, Cowpokes can be streaky and yield more points than expected...OKSU 33 Colorado 18

FRI. NOV. 20
#6 Boise State over UTAH STATE giving 23:
Okay, both of Boise’s ATS defeats came on the road and Utah State is 7-2 ATS on the year, including covers at in-state rivals BYU and Utah. “In-state rivals” may be the key words here. Aggies boast nice 15-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio, but have also given up 26 sacks. Boise’s QB Kellen Moore has a 32-3 ratio. USU is 21-10-2 ATS in last 33 overall games, but we just can’t pass up the Broncos right now....BSU 48 USU 20

SAT. NOV. 21
Florida International over #1 FLORIDA taking 45:
FIU covered smaller lines at ‘Bama and at Rutgers. Crocs, en route to 9-0 ATS run as double-digit faves vs. non-conference teams, blew out Troy 56-6. In May, the Dalai Lama donated $100K to Florida International after getting a letter from a friend on the FIU staff requesting assistance. Officials quickly dumped the contribution into the financially-strapped Department of Religious Studies, but the religious leader quickly responded, saying “No, no, NO! That money goes toward scholarships for the Panthers gridiron team!”...Florida 48 FIU 6

Tennessee-Chattanooga @ #2 ALABAMA: No line.

#3 TEXAS over Kansas giving 27 1/2: KU’s pass offense behind Todd Reesing hangs around the nation’s Top 10 and the Jayhawks ain’t bad in total offense either, but those positives did not translate into a BCS title shot as Vindy (and folks in Lawrence) hoped. Steers allowing less than 100 passing yards per game, have covered 6 of latest 7 in this series and won 35-7 last year. Kansas still seeking an elusive sixth win toward the post-season...UT 45 KU 14

#4 Texas Christian over WYOMING giving 32: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Cowboys’ only spread losses in 9 lined tilts came in shutouts at Colorado and BYU. Wyoming’s been whitewashed in two of its last three, somehow rallying last week at SDSU from a three-touchdown deficit. Toads left no doubt they’re on a mission by annihilating Utah. Wyoming is near the bottom of the conference in most offensive categories and fair-to-middlin’ defensively...Frozen Frogs 42 Wyoming 7

#5 Cincinnati: IDLE (next vs. Illinois 11/27)

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

#8 Pittsburgh: IDLE (next @ West Virginia 11/27)

#9 Ohio State over MICHIGAN giving 12: Big Blew’s on 1-6 ATS skid and only outright win in past seven games came at the expense of Vindy’s first college venue, I-AA Delaware State. Buckeyes, already locked into the Rose Bowl, could be flat. Then again, they may want embarrass freshman QB Forcier in his first taste of this rivalry and rub a little salt in the gaping Wolverine wounds. Bruce Springsteen mistakenly greeted his recent Michigan concert audience with “Hello, Ohio!” and uttered a few more references to that state to the East before being advised of his boo-boo. Motor City’s Ted Nugent plans revenge by going into Bruce’s hometown of Asbury Park, NJ and opening with “How ya doin’, Philadelphia!”...OSU 27 Michigan 10

#10 Louisiana State over MISSISSIPPI taking 4: Bengals still struggling to cover vs. SEC squads, but got the shaft in ‘Bama game. The switch at QB to former starter Jarrett Lee did not go overly-well in mere 8-point home win over Weeziana Tech, but while the last 3 games between the Bengals and Rebels in Baton Rouge have been decided by 3 or less, Tigers belted Ole Miss in Oxford by 17 in 2007 and by 33 in 2005. All things considered, Fightin’ Magnolias’ best win might actually have been the 30-17 triumph over Arkansas rather than 25-point victory vs. Rocky Top in Week Eleven. If State can put the same D on the field that stymied the Tide most of the game, they’ll win here...LSU 16 Mississippi 13

ARIZONA over #11 Oregon taking 6: ‘Cats should be hungry after letting Cal score on a 61-yard run with 90 seconds to play to lose the game. Ducks have lost the money four of their last five tries prior to facing the Beavers, but have two weeks before that game. AZ is 9-3 ATS in last dozen vs. Top 25 teams. Mallards win a close one... Decoys 30 Arizona 27

#13 Penn State over MICHIGAN STATE giving 3: Turnovers continue to plague the alma mater. Four giveaways were off-set only by Navarro Bowman’s 73-yard pick-six that kept feisty Indiana from taking a third quarter lead. Sparty’s biggest loss was by 8 at Notre Dame and MSU stayed within 2 of Iowa here in East Lansing. Holy cow! Lions actually playing outside Happy Valley! Lions have won and covered the previous three away treks by average of 21 points. In that case, we gotta’ lay da’ points and hope for a New Year’s Day berth for...Penn State 28 Michigan State 12

#14 STANFORD over California giving 7: Do back-to-back upsets by the Cardinal mean they beat the letdown curse that foiled PAC-10 brethren Arizona and Oregon or does it mean Stanford’s twice as likely to fall on its face here? Bears have won six of last seven battles outright vs. the Trees. Cardinal has hit the board for better than fitty each of the last two weeks. Tiger Woods will be an honorary captain on the Stanford sideline this week and plans to quietly chip or drive golf balls into Cal players to induce offside penalties or procedure calls during third-and-short situations!... Stanford 31 Cal 20

Minnesota over #15 IOWA taking 10: The line’s droppin’ like a rock in favor of the Gophers, who edged FCS squad South Dakota State 16-13 in Week Eleven. Golden Gerbils have lost four of last seven this year, going 2-4 ATS over that span and got blown out 55-0 at home last year by Iowa. Yet, the betting public (and perhaps the sharps out there) continue to distrust the Hawkeyes laying double-digits. The loss to the Buckeyes ended the Rose Bowl hopes and though there’s a remote shot of an at-large spot, Iowa can basically only look forward to some non-Orange Bowl game in Florida around the New Year. Minny no bargain vs. ranked teams, going 0-3 SU/ATS, losing by 13, 20 and 31...Iowa 20 Vermin 12

NC State over #16 VIRGINIA TECH taking 21: Disappointing year for NC State team that Vindicator expected to flourish in Tom O’Brien’s 3rd year as coach. How did these guys beat Pitt earlier?! Maryland’s only six vs. Tech came via a fumble in the end zone. These clubs haven’t met since 20-16 Hokies win in 2006. Tech just 3-2 ATS in Blacksburg and little voice in your host’s head is screamin’ take da’ points...Tech 28 Wolf Pack 13

NORTHWESTERN over #17 Wisconsin taking 7: Wildcats in midst of 3-2 SU/ATS run that includes straight-up wins over Iowa and Illinois. Badgers lousy as road favorites, covering just 4 of last 15. NW is making it happen on defense, but they haven’t posted more than 17 points in 4 of last 6 games...Wisky 20 NW 16

#18 CLEMSON over Virginia giving 20 ½: C.J. Spiller looks to be rolling for the Tigers after rushing for almost triple-digits and reeling in a pair of scoring catches last week. Cavs on 0-3 ATS slide after being battered by bi-polar Hurricanes. Clemson has four wins by 20 or more. This would be only 5th loss by three touchdowns or more in almost three full seasons for the Cavaliers...Clemson 34 Virginia 10

Air Force over #19 BYU taking 10: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. WTH?????!!!! Mormons managed just a 5-point win at New Mexico???!!!! Lobos kicker James Aho drew nothin’ but iron on two field goal tries and a PAT or BYU woulda’ had itself another one in the loss column. The Flight Platoon lost to TCU by 3 and to Utah by 7 in extra innings and have covered 16 of their last 22 MWC contests. Mormons have beaten the line the past five tries against the Pilots, handling USAF rather easily. Cougars are minus-three in turnover ratio. USAF is +18 and recovers better than two of every three balls put on the ground by their opponents. BYU’s only two SU defeats this season came at Provo. We’re callin’ for the hat trick...Flyboys 19 BYU 17

#20 Oregon State over WASHINGTON STATE giving 30 ½: More of a vote against Wazzou than for the Beavers, who’ve covered 5 of last 6 games on the season (though four of those came while getting points). Looks like a lot to lay, but Cougars made even Notre Dame look good on a neutral field. Replay of last week’s BYU-New Mexico debauchery? Naaaaaaahhhhh. Beavers tally half-a-hundred...OSU 52 WSU 13

Duke over #21 MIAMI taking 19 1/2: These ain’t your father’s Blue Devils, who own a win-loss record equal-to or better than six other ACC teams. Pelicans have beaten only I-AA Florida A&M (who?) by this many. ‘Canes followed up loss to Virginia Tech with one-point win over Oklahoma and OT loss vs. Clemson with near-loss to Wake Forest. Can’t see Da’ U whacking the Dukies, who can also throw the ball fairly well with senior Thaddeus Lewis at QB, by almost three touchdowns...Miami 27 Duke 16

#22 USC: IDLE (next vs. UCLA)

San Diego State over #23 UTAH taking 19 ½: Last lost as bad as TCU laid on Utah last week was 27-0 in early 2007 to...GASP!...UNLV! The only team with a pulse that the Utes have beaten by this much was Utah State in the opener. Aztecs on 0-3 ATS slide, but showed signs of life, taking a 27-6 lead into the 4th Quarter before lucky win by Wyoming.. Provo Panthers on-deck for Utah. Uggghhhhh...Utes 17 SDSU 6

#24 HOUSTON over Memphis giving 23 1/2: Memphis, with a couple exceptions, has been limited to scoring in the teens and has just one cover in nine games with spreads. Where has Houston’s defense gone???!! Off upset by Central Florida and back in the friendly confines against a school looking ahead to the hoops season, Coogs offense breaks the half-century mark as well for the third time this year and Case Keenum adds to his #2 TD pass total (just one behind Boise’s Kellen Moore)...Houston 54 Memphis 24

#25 Rutgers over SYRACUSE giving 8: Orange off hard-fought 10-9 loss at Louisville (and we don’t know if that speaks more to improvement of Syracuse or just the Redbirds futility this season) and have lost to the Knights by 18, 24, 31 and 22 the past four years. Half of Rutgers’ six scores vs. South Florida were field goals, but the Garden State Galahads have quietly placed their defense at #11 in scoring D, #12 in rush D (98.2 ypg) and #16 in total D. NJ requires decals on cars driven by teens (21 or under) that indicate ”teen on board”. Rutgers players’ vehicles bear stickers noting ...”Scarlet Knight on board”...Jersey Boys 22 Syracuse 10

The NFL has put the kibosh on players putting their hands on their hips and raising a bent leg in a nod to a certain well-known spiced rum company after Eagles TE Brent Celek did so following a touchdown catch vs. the Cowboys two weekends ago. Apparently, the No Fermentation League won’t tolerate their athletes taking the field when they “have a little Captain in them”! (Stay tuned for next week’s lead story for more thoughts on this topic!)

This summer, UConn hoops coach Jim Calhoun went you-know-what over tea kettle 12 miles into a 50-mile Cancer Challenge bike-riding event. Coach got busted up rather badly, but got back in the saddle and finished the course. Not only is Calhoun the heir-apparent to Lance Armstrong, Vegas has posted an over/under on total games lost to injury by his players during the upcoming basketball season as zero at minus–800 and 1-or-more at +1200!!!!

This week’s lunch special at Vindy’s Bet & Breakfast is a nice Asian dish honoring the run-and-shoot...Chuck-and-Peking Duck!

As a tribute to the late Michael Jackson, NBA baller Ron Artest will wear No. 37 for each week Thriller topped the charts. (Phew!...for a minute there, we thought he was making fun of Vindy’s total losses the last few weeks!)

Wonder if somewhere out there is an abbreviated version of the bookies’ manual on dealing with unsavory gamblers called...“Off Da’ Cliff Notes!”

Couldn’t help but notice the following AP headline in Monday’s paper...WIE SHOWERED WITH RELIEF AFTER FIRST WIN. Uhhhh....did the golf star plan to forego the whole personal hygiene thing until she wrapped up her inaugural LPGA Tour title on Sunday or what????!!!!!!

Black Shirt: Gets cleaned and pressed for North Carolina CB Kendric Burney for snaring three interceptions, including one for a score, in the Tarheels’ predicted SU win over Miami!

“Locked in a Box?”: The Mormons were on a mission outta’ the country apparently during poor offensive showing against the Lobos and dropped Vindy’s 4th consecutive lock pick (4-7, .364).

Shoppe Talk: Hurricanes (2-7) get to blow out to sea for a week after losing SU to Carolina (as we predicted), but the Ohio State Suckeyes fall to 1-8 in last 9 (and 3-8 overall) with the LSU Bungles still in the cages at 1-7 in the last 8 (2-8 overall). And the Dread Raiders of Texas Tech did what they do best to go 0-4-1 on the season (2-14-1 since start of 2008).

Vindy’s Week 12 Best Bets: Last Week: 3-1 Season: 21-26 (.447)
TEMPLE -13 over Kent State, Connecticut +6 over NOTRE DAME, Weeziana Tech +10 over FRESNO STATE, Southern Methodist +4 over MARSHALL, Weeziana-Monroe -2 1/2 over WEEZIANA-LAFAYETTE

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vindy's Picks Week 11-2009


PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (MSNBC)....A week after being honored with his own 10-foot statue in Kosovo for military actions he took as Commander-in-Chief ten years ago, Bill Clinton was on-hand in the City of Brotherly Love to see yet-another larger-than-life bronze likeness of himself supplant the beloved Rocky statue atop the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for his role this past summer in the reinstatement of current Eagles player, Michael Vick. Back in July, after Commissioner Roger Goodell rejected the NFL Players Association’s first choice of envoy, Al Gore, Bill Clinton secured the release of the troubled athlete back into league play. Insiders say the former White House occupant, and Arkansas Razorbacks fan, thought he was actually making a diplomatic trip into the league’s headquarters in New York to broker a deal swapping wife Hillary for a pair of hostage cheerleaders! Eagles coach Andy Reid said Vick, who has contributed 27 total yards on two completions and a dozen carries to-date since being allowed to take the field under live-fire conditions, is “a vital part of this team and we’re indebted to the former president for this great coup!”

The dogs rallied, after two weeks of advantage by the chalk, to take 13 of the 22 tilts (14 of 23 if ya count Wake Forest, who covered vs. Joja’ Tech [we had the game “off” as we went to publication last week]) as Vindy managed to go 12-9-1 to break the century mark in wins (108-80-1, .574).

While Ron Mexico works out by running up the famed stairs, Vindy tries to console a visibly-distraught Sylvester Stallone by reading him....

(still giving off that new car smell)

RUTGERS over #23 South Florida (PK):
Again, we question the award of a ranking to South Florida. Yes, the Bulls beat a West Virginia team that, like USF, was hanging around on the rim of the Top 25, but that victory was the Bulls’ first win in their last three games (losing to Cincy by 13 and by 27 at Pitt). Knights have won six of their last seven (yes, there are a pair of I-AA victims too), including UConn on the road and a 7-point defeat to the Panthers. Both teams had last weekend off...Jersey Turnpike Paladins 24 USF 17

FRI. NOV. 13
#5 CINCINNATI over West Virginia giving 8 1/2:
‘Eers had a shot at returning to the rankings, but voters weren’t impressed with lackluster 14-9 win over Louisville. Bearkats were allowing less than 14 ppg until barely evading UConn in last week’s point-party. Mounties have won five of last six on the season, but are in 1-6 ATS free-fall. First ranked opponent for West Virginia in two years...UC 34 WVU 14

SAT. NOV. 14
#1 Florida over SOUTH CAROLINA giving 15 1/2:
Either Vandy kept Mr. Tebow well-contained or the Gators QB was simply protecting himself again, going for mere 27 yards on 16 carries (four sacks lowered the original total though). Gamehens are happy to be back in Columbia, where they’ve won all four games, after losing back-to-back road tilts. Poultry has dropped 3 of last 4 ATS. Crocs have just one spread win over their last 4. Somethin’ has to give...Gators 29 KFC 10

#2 Texas over BAYLOR giving 23 1/2: Bears musta’ taken some of that same magical elixir the New Mexico Lobos imbibed right before almost ambushing San Diego State given Baylor’s SU win over Missouri in perhaps one of the biggest upsets, points-wise, of Week Ten. We’re guessing Colt McCoy thought 470 passing yards was a sufficient Heisman outing since Texas elected not to score after the nine-minute mark and failed to cover vs. UCF. In June, Steers LB Sergio Kindle crashed into an apartment building (...oh...and he was actually in a vehicle!). BTW, the apartment actually lost three yards on the play and was forced to punt! Bears lost by 24 in Austin last season, but we don’t expect da’ Bears (or da’ Lobos for that matter) to win or cover this Saturday...Steaks 42 Yogis 9

MISSISSIPPI STATE over #3 Alabama taking 12: Tide’s been on the brink two weeks running now and bounced back only when LSU lost its starting backfield. Bulldogs have won 2 of 3 SU and are on 3-0 spread run. Not a bad line considering State lost to the Bengals by 4 in Starkville and ‘Bama defeated LSU by 9. Dogs have lost three games against ranked foes this year by 4, 11 and 10. This one turns out a lot closer than it oughta’. In fact, we’re havin’ visions of the Iowa-Northwestern match, but we’ll just call it...Alabama 20 MSU 16

#16 Utah over #4 TCU taking 20: This got a good look for lock. With Iowa minus Ricky Stanzi on top of its already-lost starting RB for the Ohio State game, this one takes “game of da’ week” honors. After collectively outscoring last week’s opponents by 100-26, these two will be lucky to combine for 30 total points on the board. Neither has a conference loss and the Toads, of course, can still garner a BCS-buster bid. Froggies spanked the Mormons in Provo earlier and could get some payback for last year’s 13-10 loss to Utah (following two missed 4th Quarter field goals by kicker Ross Evans) that removed them from BCS consideration. Utes haven’t lost to TCU since 2005. Toads on 4-0 SU/ATS run that’s seen them allow a total of 25 points-against. In last 4 games, Utah is 2-2 ATS and yielding 14 ppg...TCU 16 Utah 9

#6 BOISE STATE over Idaho giving 31 ½: No faith in this call as we flip-flopped like a freshly-caught tuna on a boat deck. It pains us to go against arguably one of the surprise teams of 2009, but the linesmakers and other teams themselves have caught up to the Vandals (2-2 SU/0-3-1 ATS of late). Boise had twice as many yards as Weeziana Tech, who rallied from a 20-point hole to make it close, but Idaho lost badly at Reno earlier. On the plus-side, Vandals have given up more than 42 just once (70 in that aforementioned defeat to the Wolfpack) and have scored no less than 21 in any game. Only UC-Davis surpassed single-digits on Boise’s homefield...Broncos 49 Idaho 17

DUKE over #7 Georgia Tech taking 12 1/2: Bees could be flat on heels of overtime win over Wake Forest. Blue Devils are a victory away from first post-season eligibility since 1994 and lost by 8 at Virginia Tech. Dukies were on the wrong end of a 27-0 whitewash last year...’Jackets 26 Duke 16

#8 PITT over Notre Dame giving 7: Navy just added one more open can of Sterno to Charlie Weis’ seat. Panthers have covered only three of last dozen tries vs. the Frightenin’ Irish, while the Leprechauns have lost the money five straight times following their annual tango with the Middies (we thank Marc Lawrence for those dirty details!). Panthers managed a 4OT victory last season...Pitt 31 ND 12

#9 LSU over Louisiana Tech giving 24 1/2: Bulldogs catch the Bengals at a bad time. LSU has lost its top runner for the duration of at least the regular season and will re-focus after letting ‘Bama get away. Tech is horrible as a non-conference dog (0-2 this year) and spent everything it had trying to stay with Boise last week. Bulldogs now 4-10 as a road dog under Coach Dooley...LSU 42 LT 10

#10 OHIO STATE over #15 Iowa giving 16: Assuming State doesn’t stumble in finale at Ann Arbor, a win here sends the Buckeyes to the Rose Bowl. Hawkeyes finally ran outta’ miracles and despite being 3-0-1 ATS away and having covered four straight vs. the Top 25, Iowa will likely be without its entire starting backfield and will let a redshirt freshman start at QB for this one...OSU 31Iowa 12

#25 Stanford over #11 USC taking 10 1/2: Trees would still need some help to win the Packed-It-In Ten conference title, but have gone 7-2 against the number. Trojans managed just 12 first-downs and the only scores last week came via a 55-yard pick-six and a 75-yard pass play. Troy’s last home loss came about two years ago to.... Stanford! ... Cardinal 23 USC 20

NORTH CAROLINA over #12 Miami taking 3 1/2: Yeah, sure. Like Vindy’s got a snowball’s chance of hitting the right side of this one. Jacory Harris leads a nice passing attack for the ‘Canes, but has been in four games decided by 4 or less this year. Heels ain’t bad on defense despite sharing the Coastal Division cellar with Virginia. Carolina’s covered last six vs. ranked opponents (catching Joja’ Tech on the one week it wasn’t in the Top 25)...Carolina 20Miami 19

#13 Houston over CENTRAL FLORIDA giving 5: Cougars were +2 in turnover margin and still needed a lengthy field goal to beat Tulsa in game that featured a combined total over 1200 yards. Coogs D has abandoned them of late. Central Florida is stout against the run, allowing just 85 ypg, but Case Keenum will break the 4000-yard mark this week. First back-to-back ranked opponents for Central Florida since 2004 (when they went 0-2 SU/ATS vs. Wisky and West Virginia). We like UCF better for next week, hosting Tulane...Houston 38 Knights 27

#14 OREGON over Arizona State giving 17: Given the result of the Stanford game, Oregon coach Chip Kelly might consider re-mailing that same check he sent to a disappointed fan following the Boise State debacle. This should be a good match-up between State’s run defense (87.4 ypg) and Decoys’ rushing attack (233.6 ypg). Sun Devils riding 3-1 spread run and their only loss b y this many came vs. Stanford. Mallards have covered four of five on The Pond this season and own four wins by 24 or more. ASU hasn’t covered in this series since outright 28-13 win at Autzen Stadium in 2004...Quack Attack 38 ASU 17

Texas Tech over #17 OKLAHOMA STATE taking 3 ½: Cowboys RB Toston, who is not among the top rushers in the nation statistically, went for 206 yards and three touchdowns in romp at Iowa State. Okie State will need his services to limit opportunities for rested Red Raiders prolific passing offense. State’s no slouch, scoring about 34 ppg, but Tech is denting the board for 40 ppg, knocked off then-ranked Nebraska, lost by 1 to Houston and gave Texas all it could handle in Austin. It also lost by 22 to Texas A&M... OKSU 38 Texas Tech (GASP!) 35

#18 Arizona over CAL taking 1 ½: We considered this strongly for lock too, but we’re a little paranoid after last week’s lock choice in similar let-down situation. Bears hoping to collect themselves following upset by Oregon State (as predicted by your fab forecaster!). That game wasn’t even as close as the final margin indicates because Berkeley scored with a minute left. ‘Cats are just a half-game from Oregon for the conference lead and a Rose berth. AZ bested the Beavers in Corvallis and Stanford at home. Bares have handled UA easily the past three visits to Cal. Is there another upset hangover coming in the PAC-10? Even if Jahvid Best returns for Cal after his concussion last week, AZ holds the opposition to 96 ground yards per game...Arizona 27 Cal 17

Indiana over #19 PENN STATE taking 25 ½: Hoosiers are 3-2 ATS away this year and would be 4-1 if not for the zebra-induced insult at Iowa. Indiana has lost by this many just once as previously-noted (40-point defeat at Virginia). Lions failed in all three phases of the game vs. Ohio State and have covered just once in Happy Valley. Expect a better all-around effort from State, but Indiana gets the nod...PSU 35 Indy 13

MARYLAND over #20 Virginia Tech taking 17 ½: Pirates mistakes allowed Tech to cover last week in ho-hum 16-3 win. Terps were smoked in the opener at Cal and lost by 21 to Rutgers, but have been competitive in the other seven games. Hokies have not recorded consecutive spread wins on the year and need to run the table, then grab a bowl victory to extend their streak of 10-win seasons to six...VT 24 Box Turtles 9

#21 WISCONSIN over Michigan giving 8 ½: Only 4th dog role for the Wolverines, who covered two of the previous three, but Big Blew is in midst of 1-5 ATS skid and at 1-5 SU in the conference, has been relegated to spoiler. Frankly, after 25-point losses in back-to-back weeks facing Penn State and Illinois, Michigan may not care about anything except taking a shot Ohio State next week...Badgers 24 UM 7

#22 Brigham Young over NEW MEXICO giving 27: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. A three-year probation and off-the-field issues have really made a mess of the Lobos football season. Can’t imagine the Mormons’ offense not bustin’ out the big lumber here...BYU 42 New Mexico 3

#24 Clemson over NC STATE giving 8 ½: First visit to the Top 25 for the Tigers since early 2008. Remember early this year when we said watch NC State, at least ATS? Uhhhh....never mind. Wolfpack actually still has a shot to go bowlin’, but needs two victories in final three games. With Virginia Tech and UNC following this one, we don’t see it. NCSU has three losses by 6 or less, but also a pair by 21 (to Duke) and 32 (to Boston College). C.J. Spiller should make it happen for Clemson...CU 30 NC State 17

Seattle Seahawks wide-out TJ Houshmandzadeh, unhappy with his statistical rankings in the video game (NFC WR #6), is boycotting Madden NFL ‘10. Two weekends ago, the diva receiver unpleasantly gestured to his quarterback to get the throws up. Can’t wait to see that scenario in Madden NFL ‘11 (hey...if it’s in the game....!)

As we welcome the start of the college hoops season, we note that because the SAT test was taken by another student on behalf of a player on the Memphis Tigers ‘07-‘08Final Four squad, that team has to forfeit its 38 wins from that season. Ironically, the player-in-question would eventually take Florida State’s online music history test without assistance...and pass with flying colors!

This Tuesday, Sesame Street celebrated its 40th anniversary. We thank the popular children’s program for our own football IQ. Who can forget the lovable Ernie crooning, “Rubber’re the one...who makes our spread time... lotttttsa’ fun!” Or how ‘bout Count Von Count doing the halftime scores and highlights....”Today’s number is 7. One, two, three, four, five, six, SEVEN. Seven sacks.” And of course, “This week’s forecast is brought to you by....the letter ‘V’!” (No that’s not for the mice-eating reptilian aliens appearing on the upcoming remake of the television series of the same name or for the masked revolutionary/saboteur/protagonist in “V for Vendetta”).

New Mexico defender Elizabeth Lambert got suspended after her team’s MWC women’s soccer match vs. BYU last week for violent and reckless play , which included a hair-pulling takedown of an opponent. Well, at least we know who was wearing LB Brandon Spikes’ jersey on the field at linebacker during Florida’s game vs. Vandy!

Black Shirt: Houston kicker Matt Hogan dons the terrific tee for booting a 51-yarder to give the Coogs the win (and Vindy a forecast W for having Houston +1 at the time!)

“Wish I Had That One Back”: The Weber Kid knew he was making a bold move backing a depleted Syracuse +21 at Pitt!

“Locked in a Box?”: Uggghhhhh! Ducks ended up in the shooting gallery and drop Vindy’s third straight lock pick (and 4th in 5 weeks) as the record plummets to 4-6 (.400)

Shoppe Talk: It’s the usual suspects....AGAIN...Miami (1-7), Ohio State (1-7 in last 8) and LSU (1-6 in last 7)!

Vindy’s Week 11 Best Bets: Last Week: 1-4 Season: 18-25 (.419)
At 1-8 the last two weeks, we say “Go!...Run!.....Save yourselves!”...AIR FORCE -17 over Unlv, Nebraska -3 ½ over KANSAS, WASHINGTON STATE +17 1/2 over Ucla, MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE -11 ½ over Weeziana-Lafayette