Monday, August 30, 2010

Vindy's Picks Week 1-2010


LAKE TAHOE, Nevada (CNN)....More than three months following the explosion of a preseason forecast, spewing thousands of spread picks into the water, clean-up efforts have almost come to an end, thanks in part to skimming efforts by ski-doos, dinner-cruise ferries and a fleet of deft paddle-boats manned by tourists employing Dust-Busters and Crazy Straws. Vindy’s Picks, which shortened its name to VP, changed leadership and launched a massive PR campaign, prepares to move on after the resolution of one of the greatest gambling-related disasters in history. VP, with the help and monitoring of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, has made several efforts to stop the spill by capping the blown-out forecast and by clogging it with mud, cement, even discarded Jabulani soccer balls from this year’s World Cup, while construction crews built a pair of relief sportsbooks beneath the lake bed. The seemingly-tireless ragtag armada stopped operations just once, after Doppler radar led the National Weather Service to broadcast a hurricane warning for nearby Carson City and several counties in northeastern California. The Gaming Control Board has now declared that most of the picks from the spill were consumed by bettors, dispersed by chemicals or eaten by microbes. Said one anonymous sports-gambler, “‘Top kill’, ‘static kill’, bottom kill?’ The only things VP didn’t throw at this problem were roadkill and (Northern Illinois coach) Jerry Kill!”

Meanwhile, farther south in Sin City, the Vegas Vindicator, sporting Norwegian men’s Olympic curling team pants, breaks the huddle with his 2010 Preseason Forecast Strategy Team of...eight-year-old Cub Scout and TSA “watch-lister” Mikey Hicks, SI swimsuit-issue cover model Brooklyn Decker, former UNLV assistant football coach Ty Gregorak, Dez Bryant’s mother, Justin Bieber, Conan O’Brien, Olympic Team USA goalie Sean Miller, Joslyn James, umpire Jim Joyce, Rielle Hunter, retired journalist Helen Thomas, Team Edward, World Cup ref Koman Coulibaly; General Stanley McChrystal, Karen Sypher and Russian spy Anna Chapman, knowing one thing’s for certain...there ain’t enough blue Dawn in the country to clean the muck off of...

(Preferred by four outta’ five BP executives!)

Marshall over #2 OHIO STATE taking 29:
Just great. Vindy goes mano-a-mano with last year’s Grill-Master Supreme award-winning Buckeyes (who produced just 3 forecast wins in 13 tries for your humbled host last season) right from the git-go. State, who has the Hurricanes up next, is just 4-5 ATS the past four seasons against non-BCS squads and ho-hum 13-11 as a home fave in that time. Marshall hasn’t beaten the line in last 5 games facing ranked teams. Really, we’d like to pass on this one and we expect more fervor from Herd next week when West Virginia visits Huntington, but State hasn’t beaten an opening I-A foe by this many since 2000...OSU 31 Marshall 5

Florida A&M @ #13 MIAMI: No line.

#14 Southern Cal over HAWAII giving 21: Not sure if smallish line represents thinking that Trojans will come out less-than-enthusiastic about two-year bowl ban or expectation that Lane Kiffin will repeat his one-year “performance” at Tennessee and lead USC to a sub-par win-loss record. SoCal has been lousy 3-9 as a road fave the past two years. Under now-third-year coach McMakin, Warriors have dropped 21 ppg on offense, allowed more rushing yardage on defense and suffered an increasing number of turnovers...Trojans 44 UH-Oh 17

#15 Pittsburgh over UTAH taking 2 ½: Early match-up of a pair of squads that each won 10 games in 2009. Utes have covered 6 of their last 8 vs. ranked opponents, though just one of those games had Utah in the favorite role, and return just 4 on defense. That could be a problem against Pitt RB Dion Lewis. Panthers were victorious in 8 of their last 11 away from Heinz Field and 9 of last dozen non-conference games. A win by Utah gains it a ranking. A win by Pitt gives it some early season love from the voters. There was that pesky SU win by Utah over ‘Bama in the 2008 post-season, but...Pitt 16 Utah 13

#1 ALABAMA over San Jose State giving 39:
Defending champs bring back just two starters from defense that yielded just 12 ppg last year. Tide has beaten just one FBS opponent by this many in the last decade, but that win did come in 2009 in a 53-7 romp over North Texas. Spartans lost 53-7 at USC to open last season and have been 4-12-1 getting points away from home the last three years. ‘Bama could elect to substitute the reserves frequently with visit by Vindy’s Lions on-deck and we’re in no-man’s land since teams laying 32-38 in their openers the past three years are 4-1against the line, while those giving more than 40 are 1-3 ...Tide 48 SJSU 6

#4 FLORIDA over Miami-Ohio giving 35 ½: Despite one-win season in Coach Haywood’s first year, Redbirds made some progress, decreasing points-against by 1per game while scoring 2 more ppg themselves. They were also last in the country in turnover margin at minus-24. Florida’s been betting gold in last 11 non-conference games, but loses its all-everything quarterback. Will Gators suffer from PTSD (Post-Tebow Scoring Drought)?...Florida 48 Miami-uh-OH 10

#5 Texas over Rice giving 28 ½ (@ Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX): Owls have managed just one spread win in last half-dozen vs. the Steers and don’t fare well in general ATS when out of conference. Nearly a home game for Rice, but new ‘Horns QB Garrett Gilbert nearly did the unthinkable in almost leading Texas back in last season’s BCS title game after Colt McCoy was injured. UT allowed 20 points in 2009 opener, the first time Horns let more than 13 on the board by its first opponent in last 10 years (allowed 23 to NCSU in 1999) and third straight year allowing double-digits...Steers 44 Hooters 10

#24 Oregon State over #6 Texas Christian taking 13 (@ Arlington, TX): The Rodgers brothers will try to take State past the Horny Toads, who’ve been just 4-4 outta’ the Mountain West. Beavers lost by 6 at USC and by 4 at Oregon last season. OSU is just 2-4 in last 6 lined openers, including game it should’ve lost last season to UNLV ...TCU 17 Beavers 13

Utah State over #7 OKLAHOMA taking 32: Sooners always a national title threat...if they stay healthy. OK comes off disappointing 4-7-1 ATS season, but opening line was quickly bet up from 28. Aggies, who bring back 17 starters, have increased their points scored and lowered points-against in each of the last four seasons and went 5-0 as road dogs in 2009 under then-first year coach Gary Andersen. State has also covered 7 of last 10 non-conference games...Sooners 34 USU 7

#8 NEBRASKA over Western Kentucky giving 36 ½: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. In their short history of I-A ball, Hilltoppers have gone just 1-2 ATS playing ranked teams and have a new coach after going win-less in 2009. Huskers beat three more-veteran Sun Belt teams last year by a combined 142-12. We’ll look at WKU as perhaps a “best bet” somewhere during conference play, but not here...Nebraska 48 WKU 0

Eastern Illinois @ #9 IOWA: No line.

#11 OREGON over New Mexico giving 34: Lobos have covered half their non-conference games the last three years, but have managed nothing more than a grand total 7 field goals in last 4 season openers (0-4 SU/ATS). In fact, New Mexico has gone 0-fer-8 in lined openers and just 1-fer-last 10 (vs. lesser competition). Ducks are without their suspended starting RB for this one and are oddly just 6-5 ATS on the Pond the last two years. Expect much better effort than sloppy game that got them beaten by Boise State to start 2009...Quack Attack 51 Lobotomies 6

UNLV over #12 Wisconsin taking 20 ½: Badgers’ margin-of-victory has dropped from 20 to 15 to 7 the last three games vs. UNLV. Rebels haven’t covered last four tries against ranked teams. We’re counting on Wisky to just plod along and settle for a victory. New Rebels coach Bobby Hauck posted a tally of 80-17 at Montana, in part due to disciplinary runs to the “M” logo upon Mount Sentinel. Maybe a trek up the stairs to the top of the Stratosphere casino would be a suitable equivalent...Badgers 24 Rebels 7

South Carolina State @ #16 GEORGIA TECH: No line.

Tennessee Tech @ #17 ARKANSAS: No line.

#21 Louisiana State over #18 North Carolina taking 1 (@ Atlanta, GA): Both teams have reduced opponent-scoring nicely, with Tarheels down from 31 ppg in 2006 to 17 ppg last year and the Bengals down from 27 ppg to 16 ppg last year. Carolina lost 4 of the 5 games last year in which it allowed more than 17. UNC has beaten the spread in 7 of last 8 against ranked teams, but won only 3 outright. By contrast, Tigers have lost 7 of last 8 ATS facing Top 25 teams and are just 2-9-2 in last 13. Line’s been back-and-forth between pick ‘em and favoring each side very slightly. Tarheels have the NCAA in their face regarding improper benefits and academic misconduct. Frankly, we’d rather just play the “under” than pick a side...LSU 13 UNC 10

Youngstown State @ #19 PENN STATE: No line.

Samford @ #20 FLORIDA STATE: No line.

Arkansas State over #22 AUBURN taking 30 ½: Red Wolves are just 5-17 ATS the past two years, but covered 5 of their last 6 season openers and lost by 29 at Nebraska last year and by just 3 at Iowa. These two last met in 2006, with Auburn winning 27-0. Tigers have pitched shut-outs against the last 3 Sun Belt teams they played, but are only 2-2 ATS in last 4 against that conference despite the goose-eggs...Tigers 30 ASU 6

#23 GEORGIA over Louisiana giving 28: No faith in this pick as the ‘Dawgs will be without its suspended leading RB this week. Ragin’ Cajuns lost by just 28 at LSU last season, but were hammered 55-0 a week later at Nebraska. ‘Dawgs just 2 ATS wins in last 10 as home chalk, but 8-4 vs. non-conference. Only five offensive starters back for Weeziana, so can’t expect much output from unit that saw offensive rushing yardage cut in half last season...Joja’ 31 Used-to-Be-Weeziana-Lafayette 0

Coastal Carolina @ #25 WEST VIRGINIA: No line.

#10 Virginia Tech over #3 Boise State taking 3 (@ Landover, MD):
Huge game for the Broncos, whose national title shot probably dies with a loss. As good as Boise has been, it has lost 2 of its last 3 SU on neutral ground and 3 of its last 5. Tech hasn’t covered an opener in last 3 seasons and has lost 12 of last 15 non-conference tilts ATS. If it the victory comes down to the kicking game, Tech’s punter and place-kicker are both just redshirt freshmen. Hokies are also 8-6 ATS in last 14 facing teams in the Top 25...VT 13 Boise 12

Just FYI, Team Edward got the nod for preseason forecasting strategy honors because Vin picked that side on his Burger King game-piece by coin-toss over Team Jacob and won a value-size order of tater-tots!

One of the new rules in effect for 2011 season bans the wedge block on kickoffs (but the “atomic wedgie block” in which the jockstrap of an onrushing kick-coverage player is yanked up his butt-crack and over his head as he approaches the ball-carrier is apparently still allowable!)

The Allentown Morning Call has revealed a local man’s effort to have the playing surface at Penn State renamed “Joe Paterno Field at Beaver Stadium”. Apparently, the Seminoles did likewise a few years back, tagging its venue as “Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium”. Can you imagine letting the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim play an exhibition baseball at one of these locations???!!! Why not just add to the obnoxiousness and call the Nittany Lions home site...”Joe Paterno Pavilion Field at Beaver Stadium Presented by Citibank!” In all seriousness, if we’re gonna’ do this, how ‘bout we honor Coach with the simplicity of the nickname by which he is affectionately known and just make it...“Joe Pa Stadium”. Geez!

USC sent back its copy of Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy to the Downtown Athletic Club. Kim Kardashian said in an interview with People magazine that it was wrong that Southern California did so. (We also heard she has San Jose State in her preseason Top 25)!

On the diamond...if a certain American Idol wanna-be hits a ball that bounces off the playing field in fair territory and into the stands, is it ruled a Pants-on-the-Ground-rule double???!!!

World (hic)Cup Part I-BP had to recall its brand of face paint during the soccer competition after some children experienced health difficulties upon applying it. Unfortunately, trying to rectify the situation by having engineers shove mud, cement and golfballs down the kiddies’ throats first did not help the cause! Maybe we shoulda’ filled the damaged well with vuvuzela horns. The sound alone woulda’ caused the oil to shut itself off and run away, and the resulting vacuum woulda’ siphoned off the remaining surface oil! In a tweet at halftime of North Korea’s 7-0 loss to Portugal, a reporter (right before being hauled off to Pyongpang to become a political prisoner) quoted the North Korean coach as telling his squad...”You’re playing like Betty White out there!” One of the players responded, “That’s not what Kim Jong Il’s girlfriend said!” The North Koreans subsequently played the rest of the game a man-down. (Come to think of it...the aforementioned player never did check-in for the team’s flight home!).

Your humble host couldn’t decide whether to have William Hung sing “One Shining Moment” to kick-off the new season of Vindy’s Picks or have Jack Nicholson croon “One ‘The Shining’ Moment” in recognition of the horrors yet-to-come!

Vindy’s Week 1 Best Bets: Last Season: 32-32 (.500) Last Week: 0-0 (.000) Season: 0-0 (.000)
Northern Illinois +3 ½ over IOWA STATE, Connecticut +3 over MICHGAN, Syracuse -8 ½ over AKRON, Bowling Green +14 over TROY, Memphis +21 over MISSISSIPPI STATE

BTW...Vindy’s a PC...and Windows 7...was his idea!