Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vindy's Picks Week 1-2011


COLUMBUS, OHIO (MSNBC)....The Ohio State was cleared earlier this summer of charges regarding improper benefits related to vehicles when investigators found only Edsels, Gremlins and Ford Pintos in some players’ parents’ garages. But unconvinced, or at the very minimum…amused…, the folks at Kelly Blue Book, long-revered across the globe as the experts in used car values, printed a supplemental edition to their guide. Calculating the equivalent value of the cash and tattoos OSU players received in exchange for school memorabilia, Kelly’s new publication lists the fair-market worth of automobiles in number of championship rings, game-worn jerseys and autographed footballs. The new book even contains photos of the lovely tattoos available by make and model of the vehicles being traded-in.

After spending the off-season in the lead role of the Green Lantern sequel (that’s right Sportsfans [and fellow comicbook geeks]…the ring chose…the Weber Kid!), your humble host breaks the huddle with his 2011 Preseason Forecasting Strategy Team: former Navy captain Owen Honors, Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark musical actor Christopher Tierney, The Cape, Julian Assange, Brandi Favre, Charlie Sheen, the entire cast of Glee (including The Cheerios), Pippa Middleton, former Fiesta Bowl prez John Junker, Rapture prophet Harold Camping, Priceline.Com’s Naomi Price, NY Rep. Anthony Weiner (or at least pictures of him), Rupert Murdoch and the ghost of Paul Revere (all of whom also got invites to the Royal Wedding in April, unlike yer ornery oracle!) and kicks off the current betting campaign with….

(Keeping air traffic controllers awake at night!)

Nevada-Las Vegas over #11 WISCONSIN taking 35 ½:
We seriously considered this for “lock” after learning Coach Hauck, in his second year, would not, in fact, start as many as four freshmen on the Rebels O-line. Meanwhile, the Badgers acquired dual-threat QB Russell Wilson from NC State. Wisky hasn’t covered an opening match the past three years and Vegas is 0-fer last 10 as a road dog, but the Badgers are coin-toss worthy vs. non-conference teams of late. UW has played UNLV four times in the past nine seasons and none of the margins-of-victory exceeded 20 points (4-0 SU, but 1-3 or 1-2-1 ATS, depending on whether ya had last year as a loss or a push). None of the “sharps” in Sin City would commit on this one, but we’ll show some intestinal fortitude and have already plunked down some dinero on the hometown…heroes!…Wisky 42 Rebels 13

#20 Mississippi State over MEMPHIS giving 29 ½: Tigers posted one SU victory last year (yielding 40 points per game mighta’ contributed to that), beating Middle Tennessee as a three-point dog, but could double that total (matching 2009’s pair of straight-up wins) before September is out. Bulldogs weren’t exactly “scoring machines” last season, but did post 47 or more four times, including 49-7 victory over Memphis to start 2010. Auburn’s on-deck for MSU, who’s covered just 2 of last 10 giving more than two touchdowns….MSU 48 Memphis 10

#14 Texas Christian over BAYLOR giving 6:
Wow! A whole touchdown???!!! That’s either some serious love for Da’ Bears in the revenge mode or a whole lotta’ dis for a Frogs team that’s been dominant (36-3 SU) the last three years and comes off a perfect season. Granted, Horny Toads return just 8 starters total and break-in a new QB, but Bears are 3-9 as home dogs the last four years and finished 2010 on 1-5 ATS skid, including 24-point bowl loss to Illinois. TCU won by 35 last year, but did fail cover the opener for the first time in 6 tries. We really like “under” the total (55)…Kermits 20 Baylor 9

Youngstown State @ #17 MICHIGAN STATE: No line.

Tulsa over #1 OKLAHOMA taking 24 ½:
Sooners took Utah State lightly this time last year and it almost cost ‘em. Tulsa’s new coach was a senior associate head coach for the Hurricane in 2010, so no continuity problems here. Oklahoma has just a single spread win in each of the last two Septembers and sent DeMarco Murray to the NFL. Tulsa’s on 8-1 ATS run and has covered 4 of last 5 vs. ranked opponents…Oklahoma 31 Tulsa 17

#2 ALABAMA over Kent State giving 38 ½: BCS Title co-favorite Tide loses Heisman-winner Mark Ingram, but Trent Richardson is a known quantity and will step right in to keep ‘Bama’s running game in fine shape. Flashes have a new coach and have been a lousy spread team in September. Tide could look ahead to next week’s trek to Happy Valley…’Bama 45 Kent State 0

#3 Oregon vs. #4 Louisiana State (OFF) (@ Arlington, TX): We love this! Title-game caliber match-up right from the git-go. Kudos to the Oregon staff for scheduling its second ranked opponent to open the season in the past three years! Given the strength of the SEC, Bengals could probably weather a close loss better than the Ducks, who may be distracted by the recruiting scandal. State’s offensive line coach, Greg Studrawa, had to hastily take over OC duties recently when Steven Kragthorpe yielded that job due to health reasons. Studrawa helped a resurgent Bowling Green squad win 8 and 9 games, respectively, in Urban Meyer’s final two seasons there in 2001 and 2002. Tigers won 5 of 6 games decided by a touchdown or less last year. Can the young LSU defense keep up with point-a-minute Ducks? Bengals’ only SU non-conference defeat in the last half-dozen years came at the hands of Vindy’s alma mater in the ’09 Capital One Bowl. There won’t be a line on this before we go to print and without knowing who’ll be missing from the gridiron, we’ll happily pass on a prediction and just hope for a close, entertaining game. Fashion-designers across the globe were on stand-by to make knock-offs once the royal wedding dress was revealed by Kate Middleton this past Spring. Great…three more uniform ideas for the Mallards!

#19 Georgia over #5 Boise State taking 3 (@ Atlanta, GA): Broncos have beaten two of their three ranked foes, but are just 1-2 ATS. NCAA violations related to the Boise women’s tennis team and minor ones applicable to its gridiron program sent the AD to the unemployment line. Dawgs are in midst of 0-4 ATS slide and suffered first losing SU season in Mark Richt’s 10 years between the hedges. That might explain the recent Princeton Review survey indicating Joja’ was surpassed by Ohio U. as the #1 party-school in the U.S. But last year’s gala champion would regain its rightful position atop the heap of empty beer cans should the Bulldogs, who’ve covered just 3 of last 13 vs. ranked foes but should enjoy partisan crowd-support, knock off the Tater-Heads….Nineteen Ninety-Nine 20 Boise 19

Louisiana-Monroe over #6 FLORIDA STATE taking 28 ½: Warhawks covered their last two openers (at Texas and neutral-site vs. Arkansas). In his rookie year as head coach, Jimbo Fisher led the ‘Noles to first double-digit win season since 2003. Injuns are without their top rusher this week and get this one followed I-AA Charleston Southern as only warm-ups before hosting Oklahoma. How much will they show?....FSU 27 ULM 6

San Jose State over #7 STANFORD taking 30: Spartans had been just 1-14-1 ATS entering last season, but got more competitive under their new coach, finishing 5-6 against the line (though posting only one SU victory, over I-AA Southern Utah) , including very respectable 13-point defeat in Madison. Cardinal has been very good 13-4 at home. Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com notes San Josie has dropped 14 straight road tilts by average of 27.3 ppg. Spartans get 11 starters back on defense. They’ll need ‘em…Trees 41 SJSU 14

#9 OKLAHOMA STATE over Lafayette giving 37: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Cowboys won in Lafayette 54-28 last year. Ragin’ Cajuns 3-5 ATS vs. BCS teams, including outright upset over Kansas State in early 2009, but 0-4 vs. ranked opponents. No reason to believe State, after posting school’s first 11 win season (with 10 covers) won’t romp here…Cowpokes 52 ULL 10

Chattanooga @ #10 NEBRASKA: No line.

#12 South Carolina over EAST CAROLINA giving 20 ½: Reigning SEC East champion Gamehens open in Greenville, North Carolina vs. a squad, that despite only 5 returning starters on offense last year, put up 33 or more in 10 games. Unfortunately, the Buccos also yielded 42 or more in 9 of ‘em! New coach Ruffin McNeill was at the helm when Pirates got blasted in a 31-point bowl loss last season. ECU will be minus a projected starting WR and All-Conference CB Emmanuel Davis. Vegas oughta’ put up a prop bet on whether or not SC starting QB Stephen Garcia gets suspended again (for the third time in 2011) before kickoff. “Over” 62 might be the best choice….KFC 48 ECU 24

Appalachian State @ #13 VIRGINIA TECH: No line.

Missouri State @ #15 ARKANSAS: No line.

#16 NOTRE DAME over South Florida giving 10 ½: Leprechauns were frustrating 5-4-3 against the number last year and did not beat the spread in South Bend. In fact, Irish are just 4-12-3 in the shadow of Touchdown Jesus the last four seasons. Reinstatement of WR Floyd following DUI bodes well for coach Brian Kelly, who saw ND win and cover four straight to close out last season, including three upset victories. Irish don’t fare well vs. the Big Least, but Bulls are just 2-5 ATS facing ranked squads the past 2 years….Irish 28 USF 14

Akron over #18 OHIO STATE taking 34 ½: A new coach and a new quarterback could be disruptive early for the Buckeyes. State was on 23-5-2 spread streak over past 30 games, but this is obviously a different team now. Zips put just a lone game in the win-column last year and scored 14 or less in 7 of the 12 but did show improvement under their first-year coach, covering their final three games (1-2 SU, but one defeat was in OT, the other was by only 5). Akron’s covered five of last six getting more than 22 from a non-MAC opponent…. Buick Eyes 31 Akron 3

Miami-Ohio over #21 MISSOURI taking 19: Much to their betting backers’ delight, Tigers open, for the first time in five seasons, somewhere other than on a neutral field (3-7 ATS last 10 there) vs. Illinois. They do, however, take the gridiron without QB Blaine Gabbert, who hopes to help his NFL squad win a few tilts. Redhawks need to shore-up the ground game, which saw an average of less than 100 ypg in each of the last two seasons. Nonetheless, Miami-Ohio recorded 10 straight-up victories in 2010, finishing on 6-0 SU/5-1 ATS streak. Mizzou turned it around defensively last season, knocking 9 ppg off its points-against average…Mizzou 27 Miami-O 13

#22 FLORIDA over Florida Atlantic giving 35: Owls will open with five straight road games this year and Coach Schnellenberger has decided to call it a career after this season. Gators are under new management, but excel ATS facing non-conference foes, while FAU has gone 1-6-1 over last 8 vs. BCS teams. Florida won the last meeting 59-20 in 2007…Gators 49 FAU 10

Utah State over #23 AUBURN taking 21 ½: Grand total of six returning starters means nowhere to go but down for Auburn following a BCS Title run that survived a number of close calls. USU has been money-earning 9-4 vs. non-conference teams the last four seasons despite an offense that took a step backward in 2010 (offensive yardage down and points-scored down about a touchdown per game). Aggies won’t be intimidated here after losing at Oklahoma by just seven last year….Auburn 34 Aggies 20

Minnesota over #25 USC taking 22: No faith in either side here, but it’s another season playin’ for pride for da’ Trojans, who serve out the remainder of their probation and post-season ban. And, given that tiny fact and Reggie Bush’s recent response of “Not ‘no’, but ‘Hell no!’” to requests to fork over his Heisman hardware, we’re thinking folks in that part of L.A. are over-joyed to hear about scandals at Ohio State and Miami to divert some attention away from their program. Troy has been lousy home chalk, covering just 3 of its last 11 tries giving points at the Coliseum. Gophers (4-1 ATS in 2010 facing ranked opponents) are in flux, moving a WR to QB and trying to improve on grand total of nine sacks last season, but we believe in all the good things new coach Jerry Kill did at Northern Illinois … Trojans 28 Minny 11

#8 TEXAS A&M over Southern Methodist giving 16:
Aggies garnered some of your all-knowing narrator’s hard-earned rupees on a futures bet to win the BCS championship this season. Ponies have been ugly 3-10 ATS in non-conference away games, but are getting better annually on both sides of the ball under June Jones and have been solid September team, including two covers vs. TCU the last two years. Aggies are 7-3 layin’ points at home the last two years, but most-recent winning spread record for non-conference was 2001….A&M 27 SMU 9

#24 WEST VIRGINIA over Marshall giving 22: Marshall’s only spread win in its first seven games came against the Mounties and Herd has gone 2-1-1 the last four (2-0 the past two) facing West Virginia. WVU held 9 opponents to 17 or less last season but have only 4 defensive starters back. An experienced O-line will have to hold things together early while young Marshall backfield gets its feet wet…’Eers 33 Marshall 7


BTW, two words the Columbus faithful don’t wanna’ hear…. “Tressel Toyota”!!!

“In brightest day, in blackest night…no point-spread shall escape my sight. Let those who worship bookies’ might…beware my power…VINDY’S PICKS!”

The Rebels will be without hotel accommodations for the stay in Madison, but Governor Scott Wilson will allow the team to sleep on the floor of the Capitol building at no charge!

Talent agent-at-the-center of the Ducks recruiting scandal, Willie Lyles, also reportedly had ties to Cal and…LSU. We think he should be allowed to toss the coin to determine the opening possession in this week’s Ducks-Tigers game!

Vindy’s spies inside Autzen Stadium report seeing a lovely white, lacy number that innovatively replaces the facemask with a veil and is worn only when someone prominent in Eugene gets hitched…called…the “Duckingham Palace”!! (Stuffin’ that 8-ft train, which will provide an advantage to opposing tacklers, back into the pads between plays is gonna’ be a pain-in-the-a$$ though!)

A couple seasons ago, we noted that from 1993-2008, at least two teams unranked in the AP preseason poll finished in the Top 10 of the final AP that year. In 2009, only Cincinnati did so and again, last year, only Stanford did so. We’re not convinced that AP voters got smarter, so…your mission…should ya choose to accept it…is to figure out which pair of squads will surprise in a big way!

Garden State governor Chris Christie got some heat this season for commandeering a state helicopter to his boy’s high school baseball game. There was also some controversy when a ball that hit the chopper, which was hovering over the left field foul line at the time, and caromed into the stands, was ruled a home run!

Vindy tuned-in this summer to catch some Women’s World Cup soccer coverage, but upon not detecting the annoying drone of vuvuzela horns, turned off the tube and immediately sought medical attention, thinking he’d damaged his ear drums!

Shoppe Talk: Will arch-rival Texas Tech 3-18-1 (.142) continue to torment our hero? How ‘bout 2010 Grillmaster Supreme Award winner UNR (2-6) or the Buckeyes of OSU (4-8-1)??!!! Stay tuned! Flyin’ well-under the radar because of limited appearances…Pitt…on 0-9 forecast skid!

Vindy’s Week 1 Best Bets: Last Year: 33-34-1 (.493) Last Week: 0-0 (.000) This Season: 0-0 (.000)
Bowling Green +7 ½ over IDAHO, Ohio -7 over NEW MEXICO STATE, SOUTHERN MISS -13 over Weeziana Tech, NEW MEXICO +6 over Colorado State TEXAS -24 ½ over Rice

Up next….we welcome the Nearly-Furloughed League, other thoughts on Ohio State and…. more offseason silliness!