Sunday, January 10, 2010

Vindy's 2009-10 Bowl Recap


LAS VEGAS, Nevada (MSNBC)....Vegas, Baby!” was the rally cry from a gathering of several thousand scoutmasters after they solidified plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Boys Scouts of America in sportsbooks up-and-down the Las Vegas Strip in early February 2010. From Tenderfoot to Eagle Scout, the ranks of the famous entity descended upon Sin City to help map out its strategy to bolster a diminishing membership that has been plagued by scandals, questionable data records (editor’s note: we always knew the Scouts were involved in that whole “global warming” thing!) and policies that omitted applicants based on sexual orientation and religious views (or lack thereof). Organizers said they need to meet today’s high-tech-wielding youth, that flashes cell-phones and responds to talk of building campfires and tying knots with “there’s an app for that”, on its own ground and hope to lure young college basketball fans with big screen TVs and cocktail servers in referee outfits, acknowledging that “sportsmanship’s no longer about winning or losing, it’s about which team makes free throws and field goals in the final seconds to beat da’ spread”. Thinking outside the box of Girl Scout cookies even more, event planners expect to teach first aid courses involving use of the parlay card as a field-expedient tourniquet!

Meanwhile, some 327 miles to the northwest (as the crow flies), in Carson City, with bowl season marching on, Nevada governor Jim Gibbons and ex-wife Dawn agreed to terms of their divorce. She got... the dough ($275K), da’ Van Gogh (art collection) and da’ auto (a 1915 Model T). He got....da’ rooms (the Governor’s Mansion), da’ booms (gun collection) and da’ glooms...of....


Our hero opened 4-2 thru the first six-pack of bowls, but would then drop 8 of the next 10 (Vindy claims then-Texas Tech coach Mike Leach had him locked in a dark electrical closet [that’s our excuse, and we’re stickin’ to it!]) to fall to 6-10, including the first game on New Year’s Eve...USAF’s upset of Houston...just one of ten outright dog victories in the first 16 games. New Year’s Eve brought about a rare blue moon (once every two-and-a-half years, and on New Year’s Eve....once every 19 years...or about as often as the Weber Kid hits a three-team parlay bet!) and the Weber Kid would capture 3 of the 4 tilts before the ball dropped in Times Square to pull within two wins of .500 at 9-11. The new decade saw our forecaster put two of the first three, including the Nifty Lions’ 2-point triumph over LSU, in the win column and saw the dogs register spread wins for at least half of the 34 total bowls, with eleven games yet-to-be played, but New Year’s Day would offer no more comfort as Grill-Master Supreme Ohio State and Florida would hang another pair of forecast losses on the beleaguered oracle. Vindicator even pulled even at 15-15, finishing January 2nd with a four-game win-streak, with four games to be played. Boise’s Fiesta Bowl upset win put Vindy back-in-black for first time since the tally read “Weber Kid 4 Bookies 3" on December 26. January 2nd also saw Vindicator complete the second leg of a two bet parlay, pulling in the “under” 52 for the Connecticut-South Carolina game after also getting the “under” 62 for the Gator Bowl 24 hours earlier, in addition to correctly hitting ECU +7 ½ over Arkansas. Then what happened next... down in Hooville they say...well, Vindy’s heart wasn’t the only thing that grew three sizes that day! (Vindy also dunked on the much-bigger bookie....but NIKE confiscated THAT video too!). At 16-15 behind the Broncos victory, Weber needed just one of the final three games to go no worse than .500 for the bowl season, but the forecasting deities were cruel, permitting Iowa to beat Joja’ Tech outright and Troy to cover by a half-point in 2OT then momentarily toying with our protagonist at the three-minute mark of the BCS Title game, allowing the Texas Longhorns to rally behind a quarterback who probably hasn’t started growing armpit hair yet, to pull within 24-21 of the Tide, before crushing your host like an empty beer can on John Belushi’s forehead in Animal House and sending him to a substandard 16-18 final tally, finishing the season on an 0-3 spiral.

Had everything been in place just a bit sooner while football was still being played, the Scouts coulda’ had themselves a Jam-the-wide-receiver-Boree!

BTW, a Boy Scout in Las Vegas is...Trustworthy (don’t talk-up a team’s chances to cover the spread to friends while secretly-planning to bet the opposite side), Loyal (pledge allegiance to your team [but accept that betting against it sometimes is just good strategy and has nothing to do with loyalty]), Helpful (offer betting tips freely to those who are new to sports-gambling), Friendly (buy a round for members of other troops while watching the game!), Courteous (if you’re placing multiple bets, always let the person behind you who’s making a single wager go to the bookie first), Kind (always tip the cocktail waitress, especially if the drink was free), Obedient (adhere to signs posted in and around the sportsbook), Cheerful (root for the team you’re betting on), Thrifty (manage your bankroll wisely, don’t double your wagers after a loss), Brave (take the occasional chance on a live underdog to win outright), Clean (wash your lucky socks and luckier undies at least once a month during the season) and Reverent (it’s okay to say a prayer that the opposing team misses a FG or clanks a free-throw off the iron if it would preserve a spread win)!

A few days prior to the BYU-Oregon State tilt here in Sin City, we noted this headline in the local paper...”Palin to Speak to Bowling Group”. We don’t honestly know with which sideline she chatted, but we’ll guess it was the Cougars ‘cause the former Alaska governor was last spotted hunting Beaver (yeah, yeah....insert your own joke here!) with a shotgun from inside a wind-blown helicopter, hovering over Sam Boyd Stadium!

Capt. Chesley Sullenberger was the grand marshal for the 121st Tournament of Roses parade. The hero pilot kicked off this year’s event by safely landing a jumbo jet, made entirely of the red flowers in question and other natural ingredients, on the Los Angeles River!

On December 26, Urban Meyer stepped down as coach of the Gators. A day later, he said he was taking an indefinite leave of absence and could return. Clinicians call this “Brett Favre Syndrome”! In fact, Vindy has $20 that says Meyer opens the 2010 football season wearing a head-set on the sidelines...of the Minnesota Vikings!

The new athletic director at University of Michigan is Domino’s Pizza CEO, David Brandon, who also played a little ball for Big Blue back in the day. Commensurate with that move, the Wolverines team colors will now be red and blue rather than maize and blue, and Michigan must deliver its victories within 30 minutes or less...or tickets are free!

Last month’s ish of ESPN: Da’ Mag wrote “(Syracuse QB) Greg Paulus does color for Syracuse women’s team”. Does he do the make-up as well. We didn’t know the former Blue Devil hoopster minored in cosmo at Duke (or maybe he was a “beauty school drop-out”!).

Hack-a-MAC??? The mighty MAC dropped eleven straight bowl games (straight up) coming in to this season and promptly lost three more before the Chippewas of Central Michigan finally edged the Fun Belt’s extra frames! Elsewhere, the Mountain Best went 4-1 SU/ATS (.800), tops among any conference that played more than one bowl. And how ‘bout the Big Tenement???!!! 4-3 SU/ATS (and nearly had a 5th SU win, but Northwestern fell in overtime to Auburn).

The Russians are thinking about sending up a spacecraft to bump asteroid Apophis off its course to avoid any collision with the Earth. We have a cheaper, more reliable solution...use a high-powered spotlight to project an Ohio State logo on it and have Vindicator place a wager on that rock to hit the planet! Guaranteed miss!

Bizarre random thought....Beavis & Butthead meets Stephen King Meets Nebraska football: “I am Children of the Cornholio. I need TD for my bunghole!” (Yep...just more evidence of the ever-present psychosis that underlies creative genius!)

ESPN reported folks at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver will provide 100,000 condoms to athletes and officials. Just “athletes and officials”???!! So coaches and other team staffers are SOL (“sh*t outta’ latex”) or what???!!! Do those persons accepting the condoms have to let a panel of judges watch and provide scores after the fact based on technical proficiency and degree of difficulty? Mandatory two-tenths deductions for omitting part of the routine or for turning a triple jump into a simple double! Will there be qualifying heats and medal events? Team, individual and synchronized events? Gives a whole new meaning to “bi-athlon”, dontcha’ think???!!! Will they come packaged as five interlocking rings? Will they bear the flags of the participating countries? If so, athletes would at least have something to swap among themselves besides hats and cloisonne pins! Properly marketed, Vancouver could recoup any potential gaps in cost for hosting the Games. Give them free to the athletes and officials, but sell them to the general public. How ‘bout randomly inserting autographed or other commemorative condoms into packs? Inspire additional interest by noting “Collect all 96 nations"!

Black Shirt: The valuable undergarment for the post-season goes to Penn State tight end Andrew Quarles for drawing an illegal shift flag that would force Penn State to kick the winning field goal instead of going for a potential spread-covering touchdown with about a minute left in the Capital One Bowl. Honorable mention to PSU teammate punter Jeremy Boone, who kept kicking punts into the end zone for touchbacks rather than pinning the Bengals deep in their own territory.

“Locked in a Box?”: Poor tackling and unimpressive pass D in the first half by Ohio allowed Marshall to take a three-touchdown lead, from which the Bobcats could not recover, handing Vindy his second lock-of-da-bowls loss in as many years and ending the season record at 5-10 (.333).

Shoppe Talk: No newsflash here as the Buckeyes (3-10) stuck it to Vindy again! Fellow “flame-throwers” Nebraska (3-6) and LSU (5-8) however, posted forecast wins. Meanwhile, Weber-Friendlies Boise State (11-2), TCU (9-3), Ole Miss (6-2) and Joja’ (6-2) put games in the win column, with only ‘Bama (8-5) hosing our hero.

Vindy’s Best Bets: Bowls: 5-1 Season: 32-32 (.500) (Even including a blown lock choice, 5-2 for preferred picks ain’t too bad at 71.4%!!!!)

LEFTOVER HASH: (Vindy conducts the annual emptying of the clip by offering stuff that was available but didn’t find its way into the forecast earlier this season)

JoePa became a millionaire in 2008...and still had two of his three lifelines available!

After almost 151 years of being shrouded in mystery, the legendary Civil War message written in Abe Lincoln’s pocket watch was finally revealed in 2009. The inscription read, “Keep an eye on that freshman kid...Paterno. He could be a great coach someday!”

The “Shaq VS.” reality TV show, reminiscent of the old “Bo Knows...” commercials, in which Shaquille O’Neal takes on other athletic stars in their chosen professions, premiered last year. Episodes will include the NBA star competing against Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger in the Hail Mary TD Pass competition. (Yo Big Ben...lock in a victory by constructing a giant basketball net over the end zone and painting the line of scrimmage to look like an NBA charity stripe. We guarantee you...every throw Shaq launches will “doink” off the uprights and away from the intended receiver!). A few match-ups Vindicator would like to see...Shaq vs. Bruce Jenner in the decathlon, vs. Lance Armstrong in Tour De France legs, vs. Roger Federer in tennis, vs. Tony Hawk in skateboarding and of course, vs. Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump in...table tennis! How ‘bout versus Sidney Crosby in goal-scoring/penalty shots or vs. Martin Brodeur et al in stopping shots! Maybe...versus Tonya Harding in figure-skating (armed with tire-irons) or an episode pitting Shaq-Mu against Olympic Fish-Boy Michael Phelps in the 50-meter waterpipe!

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became visibly incensed when an interpreter blew the translation of a question from a Congolese university student asking her about Obama’s opinion on a international financial issue. The interpreter actually queried Hillary about her husband Bill Clinton’s opinion instead. Just to annoy her, Vindy asked her what Bill’s thoughts were on Arkansas’ chances of covering the line vs. East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl!

Commensurate with the Governator’s current budget scheme, the football teams of Cal, UCLA and USC wrote IOUs to their respective alumni associations for touchdowns and wins!

If late-season or tournament wins by basketball teams from the smaller conferences led to mob arrests, would they be considered racket-busters?! If those same clubs crashed BBQ parties in Texas featuring smoked meat, would they be brisket-busters???!! If the women’s teams did likewise, would they be...bracelet-busters???!!!

We think the MLB All-Star game, every four years, should be based on players from red states vs. those from blue states, with the winning side securing home-field advantage for its respective party during that November’s presidential election!

A San Francisco art gallery displayed a nude photo of Joe DiMaggio. Hmmm...what were those Simon & Garfunkel song lyrics again?...”Where have your clothes gone, Joe DiMaggio. Our nation turns its lonely eyes from you.”

Local Vegas product 16-year-old Bryce Harper passed up his Junior and Senior seasons of (GASP!)....high pitch for the College of Southern Nevada. Vindy’s predicting the following numbers for the young man...Wins? 15. ERA? 2.56. WHIP? 1.39. GED?...0.00!!!!!

The AP ran an article in late June 09 entitled...”Mormon cricket season expected to mirror 2008". Vin didn’t know the folks at BYU fielded a team akin to England’s version of baseball!

Titans RB LenDale White attributed his 30-pound weight loss to abstinence from tequila. No word, however, if the worms at the bottom of each bottle were also spared!

With all the chatter about health care reform, we just wanna’ know who’s gonna’ sit on the sudden-death panels that decide the outcome of football and hockey games that go into OT!!

We congratulate Brett Favre on gettin’ his new club to the playoffs (following his July retirement and August un-retirement) and no one will ever question the talent and heart, but if ya wanna’ continue to impress us, Brett, show off the accuracy and arm-strength by casting the fishing lure 60 yards down-lake between two defending game wardens with two minutes left in the trout season! When it comes to retirement, “#4 in purple” audibles more than Peyton Manning facing a potential blitz!

Kodak has retired “Kodachrome”. Not sure exactly which jersey number got hung from the rafters, but Vindy’s spies suggest Kodachrome is considering un-retiring to hit the field and take pictures for the Jets or the Vikes!

Dolphins DE Randy Starks was arrested in May for pushing a police officer with a slow-moving truck. In five NFL seasons, he has 13 ½ sacks (14 ½ if the cop in question never crossed the white line of scrimmage!)

Prosecutors and defense attorneys quibbled this summer over flight risks if OJ Simpson is released from prison pending his appeal on charges of robbery and kidnapping. the black watch-cap, Akita on a leash and poorly-fitting gloves don’t make the former USC/Buffalo star running back highly-recognizable, we don’t what does!

Former NFL QB Ryan Leaf was arrested on charges of burglary and drug-smuggling while trying to cross the U.S.-Canada border. Geez, the guy’s been outta’ the NFL for several years and he’s still being intercepted!

Two years from now, Toyota will make a plug-in version of its Prius hybrid available for sale. In related news, to improve their offense, the Detroit Lions will begin fielding players on plastic sled-like bases while officials run a current thru the gridiron a la the Coleco Electric Football game of the 1960's!

Lou Holtz briefly contemplated a run for Congress in Florida before ultimately passing on the idea. Bummer! Given Lou’s track record, Congress was hoping to make its first-ever post-season appearance by the end of the NCAA Hall of Fame coach’s second year!

While crashing San Diego’s Comic-Con 2009, Johnny Depp encountered the Vindicator and, quoting his “Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” co-star Jack Davenport, quipped....”You are, without a doubt, the worst forecaster I’ve ever heard of.” To which the Weber Kid replied, “Ahhhh, but you have heard of me!”

Already on our wish list for next Christmas....Wii sports-betting...use the parlay card joystick and saunter up to the virtual bookie of your choice behind the counter...winsome blonde, old geezer, gentleman in dark trench-coat with heavy New Jersey accent, etc. and place your wager!

Amazon erased George Orwell’s “1984" and “Animal Farm” (an epic story about the yearly clash between South Carolina’s Fightin’ Gamecocks and the Arkansas Sooooeeeeey Pigs) from KINDLE. Amazon said it “dropped them down the ‘memory hole’”. U.S Internet copyrights to 1984 won’t expire until 2044, but they’re already toast in other countries, like Russia. Websites in the Communist country do, however, still offer free digital copies of the classic, as well as access to your fab oracle’s weekly forecast under the label, “Vindicov’s Picks!”

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen turned out to be the top-grossing flick of 2009. For those who’ve forgotten the commercial that included a promo for that blockbuster, it went something like this...
Autobot: Decepticon!....
Vindicator: My forecast?! No...Vindy’s Picks!....with Between the Hashmarks, Black Shirt and Best Bets.Autobot: NO! Decepticon!

In June, WGN reporter Pat Tomasulo brought shame upon himself by dunking on and taunting a five-year-old on the air. We think there’s potential for a spoof featuring Tomasulo himself, or Bill Shatner, hurling insults at a young child as the kid attempts to make reservations on-line!

The NASCAR CafĂ© at the local Sahara casino offers customers the opportunity to go mano-a-mano with a burrito that measures two-feet long and tips the scales at six pounds. With a $20 wager, customers can polish it off to get their Jackson back and a lifetime free pass on the casino’s rollercoaster. The burrito’s record? 274-4. Several colleges have actually recruited the Mexican dish at a variety of skill positions! In fact, it’s expected to go high first-round if it ever entered the NFL draft!

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt admitted he tried marijuana as a kid. We’re thinkin’ he also set the world-record for fastest munchies run. Anybody else out there notice the first three letters of the sprinter’s first name are “U-S-A”???!!!

Stimulus package proposals were prohibited from funding recreational projects, such as golf courses, aquariums, museums and zoos. First of all, we don’t play or watch grown men smack and chase little white balls on heavily-manicured lawns. Second, goldfish need nothing more than a Dixie cup full of water to survive and third, tourists visiting the mob museum in Vegas simply become marine-life habitats at the bottom of Lake Mead or exit ramps on I-15. But a small cage-like facility, to house the dart-throwing chimps and dice-rolling ferrets that help Vindy make his weekly picks (especially for the bowls), would really be useful!

The USPS increased postage from 42 cents to 44 cents for first-class postage in May 09, not likely because Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States, but he could’ve been honored with a stamp. Other famous 44s we would’ve liked adhered to our mail?...Baseball’s Reggie Jackson, Tom Hanks as Crimson Tide player Forrest Gump, NHL goon Todd Bertuzzi, Vicks Formula and Dirty Harry’s preferred weapon of choice!

End-of-the-season specials at Vindy’s Bet & Breakfast this week include: “The Blitz”: Forces another member of your party to pick-up a blitzing waiter while you hurriedly eat your meal or pass it to another customer running across the middle of the restaurant! “Disguised Coverage”: Eleven waiters creep up on your table, showing “The Blitz”, but then jump back to cover the kitchen as the meal is actually delivered! “Halftime”: ya gotta’ get up and go get it yourself (nachos, hotdog and a beer), but its accompanied by a marching band and majorettes and requires a mandatory run to the potty before re-taking your seat! In a hurry? Place your bet, then order “Eight in the Box” octet of your fave items in a decorative to-go package! “Phyllo-dough-phia”: light, flaky baklava-like dessert pastry made in the shape of an Eagle (or an owl for the Temple fans!). Prime Cut-Block- beef dish cooked-to-order, but legally served at customer’s feet! And...the Post-Season Cereal Bowl...available in any of 34 possible choices, but the ones with roses, oranges or sugar are extra!

If a jockey draws an offsides flag for mounting his steed too soon, did he run unabated to the quarterhorse?

Until next August, we leave our readers with the traditional Irish blessing...”May the road dog rise up to beat you.” (Something like that!)

Vindicator now heads out to test some of his troop members for their sports-handicapping merit badge, then its off to the local Internet cafe to teach them a few marksmanship skills with Halo and Call of Duty! See ya!