Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Vindy's 2011-12 Bowl Predictions Part II


DENVER, Colorado (Reuters)…Until now, the Broncos’ masterful miracles were often attributed to favor from On High, but a recent interview with the New York Post revealed Tim Tebow’s success in leading late comeback victories is more Gibson than God. The quarterback noted during the Q&A session that his flick-of-choice is “Braveheart” and subsequently busted out his best impersonation of Mel Gibson’s performance as outlaw William Wallace during Denver’s home game versus New England earlier this month. Meeting the referee and Patriots team captains at mid-field for the pre-game coin-toss on horseback, Tebow wore a kilt and Scotland’s national colors on his face while proposing “…Denver’s terms. Lower your flags. Tell your coach he has to cross the field, present himself before this team, put his head between his legs and kiss his own arse. Then, march straight back to New England, stopping at every Broncos fan’s home he passes by to beg their forgiveness for 100 seasons of oppression and tyranny.” Later in the 4th Quarter, decked out in the same 14th Century regalia and wielding a Claymore sword, Tebow was seen riding up and down the Broncos sideline, yelling, “They may take our linemen …but they’ll never take…our FREEDOMMMMMM!”

Spoiler-alert! Denver lost the New England game and Gibson gets beheaded at the end of said-movie for failing to quell his people’s uprising and not swearing allegiance to…

(Now with their own parade float)

DEC. 30
Brigham Young over Tulsa giving 1 ½ (55):
Cougars were locked into this bowl from the preseason (assuming eligibility) and the previous-MWC membership wouldn’t have gotten them anything more exciting, given the post-season destinations of Boise and TCU. An early-season change in quarterbacks lit a fire under a stagnant BYU offense that had posted all of 40 total points in the first three games (1-2 SU/ATS), going on to win seven of eight, losing only vs. TCU at Jerry World, and covering 6 of the last 7. Golden Hurricane ripped off six straight victories and five consecutive covers before falling badly to Houston. Tulsa’s won 4 of previous 5 bowls (4-1 ATS) by substantial margins. Coogs would snag double-digit SU win total again after missing in 2010 for first time in 6 seasons. Defensive advantage goes to BYU, who held 8 of 12 opponents to 20 or less. Unless USU transfer Riley Nelson goes all Charles Nelson Reilly (raise yer hand if ya watched Match Game and/or Lidsville in 1971) and leads the Mormons astray, we like…BYU 37 Tulsa 24

Iowa State over Rutgers taking 1 ½ (44 ½): LOCK OF DA’ BOWLS.
Bowl history and location favor the Paladins, with Rutgers winning its post-season matches in each of the past four years and likely garnering the favor of a preponderance of the fans at Yankee Stadium. Knights were also good on defense, giving up just 16.8 ppg until a weak UConn squad hit ‘em for 40 in the finale. Still, we’ll back the ‘Clones, who battled better opponents all year than Rutgers faced in Big Least league that barely crowned a conference champion. State ruined Oklahoma State’s national title hopes as a nearly-four-TD dog and Twisters’ coach Paul Rhoads just got himself nice 10-year contract extension. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie once applied for a job as a coordinator or assistant coach at Maryland because he heard he’d be working with “The Fridge!”. He also once sought out former Bears star William Perry for the same reason! “Under” is a pretty good guess and we’ll give the victory to…Iowa State 20 Rutgers 17

Mississippi State over Wake Forest giving 6 ½ (47 ½):
Deacs looked to be having a special season, winning five of first seven, with one of the losses in OT and a truckload of returning starters, but faded fast after that and had to beat a weak Maryland squad to close the regular season to get eligible. The Forest is younger at the skills than MSU and giving up almost 31 ppg on defense. Bulldogs dropped three of their last six…a pair vs. two of the best teams from the best division of the best conference in football. State, though outscoring opponents by an average of just 6 ppg, blasted Michigan in last year’s bowl and have a poor FG unit (just 11 of 18) that will likely mean going for it on 4th Down a few times, thus we like the “over” here as well…Mississippi State 37 Wake 20

INSIGHT (@ Tempe, AZ):
Iowa over #19 Oklahoma taking 14 (58):
Hawkeyes have won and covered bowls each of last three seasons, including two wins in the dog role, vs. South Carolina, Georgia Tech and Mizzou. No telling what Sooners frame of mind will be after losing to Baylor and Oklahoma State…badly (if ya don’t buy the conspiracy theory that Sooners threw that one). OK whacked opponents by 15 or more seven times. Hawkeyes lost by that many only to Michigan State. “Under” is feasible, with Oklahoma allowing 22.8 ppg and Iowa spotting opponents 23.3. Hawkeyes can be had through the air, giving up 20 scores with just 9 picks. Sooners passing game shows a 28-15 ratio. Second ho-hum post-season venue in last three years for OU, who’s used to playing in much better bowls…Okie-Doke 29 Iowa 17

DEC. 31
Northwestern over Texas A&M taking 10 (66 ½):
Wildcats have lost three straight bowls (two in extra frames) , but covered all of ‘em, losing by no more than 7. Dan Persa at QB always gives them a chance. Aggies have lost last five bowls SU and ATS and while they succeed in the red zone about 98% of the time, a minus-eight turnover ratio (-10 in losses) has hampered the chances for bigger things. Five of NW’s victories came over nobody in particular but sixth win came at ranked Nebraska and ‘Cats scored thru the air 25 times with just 9 interceptions. Could be a track-meet….Aggies 41 NW 37

HYUNDAI SUN (@ El Paso, TX):
Georgia Tech over Utah giving 3 (50 ½):
After early difficulty transitioning to its new conference, Utah seemed to be building momentum with late four-game SU win streak, but was shocked by Colorado at home as three-score chalk. Utes were lowest total-yardage team to make the post-season and face the #4 rushing yardage team in Joja’ Tech. Utah is however #7 in rush defense, allowing just six touchdowns on the ground and unlike many teams that could’ve been here, at least has experience defending the option, having played Air Force all those years in the Mountain Jest. GT has been lousy bowl bet, losing five straight years and covering just one. Wildlife officials in Utah use robotic deer to catch poachers. Maybe the Utes, 4-1 SU in their last five bowls (3-2 ATS), could strategically-place a few of the bogus-Bambis on the field to divert Tech’s attention…’Jackets 31 Utes 24

Vanderbilt over Cincinnati giving 1 ½ (48 ½):
First bowl for the Commodores since 2008 and just second since ’82. Senior-heavy Vandy went 4-0 SU/3-0 ATS vs. non-SEC teams, as the favorite in all of them. Money’s been coming in on Cincy after announcement that senior quarterback Zach Collaros is returning from ankle surgery he had over a month ago. All six of Vanderbilt’s defeats came at the hands of other bowl squads (scoring 21 or more in four of them). UC posted 9 SU wins and allowed only 20 ppg. ‘Cats lost to West Virginia by 3 at home and were pounded by Tennessee and Rutgers. While neither team’s stats scream “offensive juggernaut”, we think the total goes “over” and we prefer Vandy’s balanced offense…Admirals 29 Cincinnati 24

Illinois over Ucla giving 2 ½ (47):
This got “lock” consideration. Illini are young on offense and it showed badly in current six-game SU losing streak (UI didn’t top 17 in any of those six). That demise also sent The Zooker packin’. On the other sideline, we don’t see the departure of Rick Neuheisel, who will call plays in this one, from yet-another coaching stint on heels of 24-26 record, motivating 6-7 Bruins, who are only here because USC was prohibited from post-season activities, and who struggled to keep opponents outta’ the end zone (permitting 38 points or more to half their slate). Three of UI’s wins came by exactly 3. Four of the defeats, maybe even five, were excusable. We seriously-question the 20-point loss at Minnesota to end the regular season though. After being introduced this month as UCLA’s new head coach, Jim Mora, Jr., answering his first media question, quipped “Playoffs???!!! Ya kiddin’ me??!! Playoffs??!!!! I just hope we can win a game!!!”…Illinois 20 UCLA 10

CHICK-FIL-A (@ Atlanta, GA):
Virginia over Auburn taking 3 (49):
In what should be no surprise, last season’s National Title winner fell to a pre-January tilt in a rebuilding year. Auburn allowed the 3rd-most sacks (31) in the SEC and was next to last in the conference in scoring D at 29.3 ppg. Tigers were also last in stopping the pass, allowing 21 touchdowns, while snaring 10 interceptions. Cavs pass offense ain’t stellar at 15-15 ratio. Virginia got hot, taking five of last six on the year, with victories over then-Top 25 Georgia Tech and Florida State. Aubie barely dodged Utah State and lit the scoreboard only in the teens in five of last seven…Cavs 19 Worn Eagle 17

JAN. 2
TICKETCITY (@ Dallas, TX):
#20 Houston over #24 Penn State giving 6 ½ (56 ½):
Nearly hung the “lock” label on this one. It ain’t a BCS game, but unlike Boise’s demise, this wasn’t the result of a single missed kick and Case Keenum won’t wanna’ go out with back-to-back losses in his final two college games. It is a chance for the C-USA runner-up to dredge a BCS conference squad in the form of Nittany Lions club reeling from blow-out at Wisconsin, off-season issues that have scrubbed the usual stellar bowl-prep provided by Joe Paterno, one known locker room scuffle between players and that is hampered by a third-and-long pass D that has been a handicap throughout the year as it gets ready to take on the country’s top air game. State’s offense isn’t built to swap sixes here and we don’t think it’ll sustain enough long drives to hang within the short number. The alma mater was the lowest-scoring team to get a bowl bid. Cheer with yer heart. Bet with yer head!… Houston 34 PSU 24

OUTBACK (@ Tampa, FL):
#12 Michigan State over #18 Georgia taking 3 ½ (50):
Taking on SEC title game loser Joja’ should eliminate any letdown issues for Sparty after dropping 3-point decision in Big Ten championship game to Wisconsin. Bulldogs had won and covered 4 straight bowls prior to losing last season’s 10-6 stinker vs. Central Florida. State QB Kirk Cousins was just a freshman when Georgia won the 2008 bowl pairing 24-12. We like him over sophomore Aaron Murray for the ‘Dawgs. Both teams were excellent on defense….Michigan State 22 UGA 20

CAPITAL ONE (@ Orlando, FL):
#10 South Carolina over #21 Nebraska giving 2 ½ (46 ½):
Despite a tumultuous year that saw losses of Marcus Lattimore to injury and starting QB Stephen Garcia to suspension and eventual dismissal, Poultry could still finish with a 10-win season. Big Dread has gone 2-1 SU/ATS in bowls the past three years, losing outright in 2010 to Washington as disinterested two-touchdown fave. Chickens have been poor 0-3 SU/ATS in each of last three post-seasons. Carolina did finish strong with wins over Florida, Citadel and Clemson and held 7 opponents to 20 or fewer on the year. Huskers didn’t top 17 against any of the better defensive teams they faced and sophomore Taylor Martinez can be streaky. Nebraska has a shot if they can get the running game going…Gamehens 24 Corncobs 19

TAXSLAYER.COM GATOR (@ Jacksonville, FL):
Ohio State over Florida taking 2 (44):
First non-BCS bowl for State in 6 years and while OSU had much bigger plans entering 2011, the suspense has been gone for quite a while. Gators’ best outing may have been five-point triumph over rising Vandy in the Swamp, their only I-A victory after September [and only opponent against whom they scored more than 16). Buckeyes limp in on three-game losing skid, but at least have some offensive pop and made Michigan work for its victory. They better make the most of this one ‘cause the NCAA has just banned ‘em from next year’s post-season, including the 2012 Big Tenor Championship game for the whole memorabilia/tattoo/car thing. Jets coach Rex Ryan showed up at August training camp sporting a calf-length tribal tattoo. Ho-hum. We wanna’ see the ink on his spouse’s instep that declares props for “Columbus Chevrolet” or “’Da ‘Shoe Subaru”! Ya think anyone would notice if UF slipped Tim Tebow into a Crocs uni? (Or maybe a certain Lethal Weapon star is available!)….OSU 24 Florida 17

#9 Wisconsin over #6 Oregon taking 6 (72):
Nice match-up of running games between LaMichael James for the Mallards and the Montee Ball/Russell Wilson contingent for the Badgers, as well as a big defensive line for Wisconsin that allowed few points, would seem to portend an “under” here. Last three neutral site games for the Ducks have ended in defeats, including last season’s BCS Title match. Coach Bielema has taken the Badgers to the postseason in all six of his years at the helm, but shows just two wins and three covers. First dog role for UW since 2010 bowl, but 10th straight year its gotten points in the bowls…Drakes 34 Varmints 30

#3 Oklahoma State over #4 Stanford giving 3 ½ (74):
OKSU went 9-3 ATS behind its powerful offense. The D was still a hindrance, but showed flashes of brilliance. Cowpokes have gone 4-1 SU/ATS vs. 12-PAC foes the past four years, but the loss came vs. Oregon in 2008 bowl game. Cardinal also packs a big punch and sports a better scoring-defense, but only two their last eleven ranked opponents came out-of-conference. We think Brandon Weeden and Andrew Luck both have good days vs. the respective defenses. The Fiesta committee could’ve ultimately been asked to take a powder from the BCS in the wake of misappropriated funds by then-president John Junker, including hoity-toity golf club memberships, car allowances and treks to a Phoenix gentlemen’s club. However, after the trial, the game kept its certification, but lost its sponsor and starting next year, must be held before New Year’s Day…and be forever known as the Discover Card “Peggy” Bowl!...State 44 Stanford 38

JAN. 3
ALLSTATE SUGAR (@New Orleans, LA):
#13 Michigan over #17 Virginia Tech giving 2 ½ (51):
Hokies were Euro-ripping 3-9 ATS, but suffered only two SU losses, both to inconsistent Clemson squad. Both teams hopin’ to erase memories of bad losses in 2010 post-season, run the ball well and limit opponents’ scoring opportunities (VT and Michigan ranked 8th and 9th respectively in points-against). Tech gets advantage in the passing aspect. Hokies have won only two of last five post-season outings and it’s been a good start to the Brady Hoke era in Ann Arbor, averaging almost 35 ppg and covering 9 of 12. We’ll take Denard Robinson and RB Shaw to drag out a few scoring drives and keep Frank Beamer’s defense on the field longer than it wants to be…Big Blue 27 VT 20

JAN. 4
#14 Clemson over #23 West Virginia giving 3 ½ (60 ½):
No confidence in a side or a total here (though we lean very slightly toward the “under”). Conference tie-ins pretty much doomed this bowl and though we’ve opposed the BCS-buster vs. BCS-buster match-ups of bowls-past, we’d rather have seen Boise State face Houston here than this snoozer-pairing of iffy “champions” from the ACC and Big East. Soap-box sermon over, now back to our regularly-scheduled analysis…Mounted Ears have dropped last two bowls by 12 and 16. WVU’s last four regular-season games were decided by 3 or less, with ‘Eers winning last three SU. We don’t know what to make of Clemson, but Tigers did win four of five SU/ATS vs. the ranked teams they played this year. Both squads come in currently 8-12 ATS vs. non-conference. West Virginia touts Gino Smith’s arm at quarterback and almost 460 passing yards per game. Clemson throws for almost 441 yards per tilt. Tigers, though scoring no more than 17 in losing 3 of last 5, looked good throughout most of the year. West Virginia never got much traction until November…Clemson 31 WVU 27

JAN. 6
AT&T COTTON (@ Arlington, TX):
#11 Kansas State over #7 Arkansas taking 7 ½ (62 ½): UPSET PICK OF DA’ BOWLS.
Wildcats are back in preferred role as sizable ‘dogs and the only two outright defeats came at the hands of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. With lotsa’ juniors on this squad, watch out for K-State next season! KSU can win the lowest-scoring, tight defensive battle or the shoot-out (with a bias toward the latter), playing to the level of its competition. ‘Cats covered 9 of 11 this season and while this is not a true “road” game, the Feral Felines have covered 14 of last 18 getting points outside Manhattan. Pigs score bunches, but not unlike Oklahoma State, feature a porous defense and have gone 1-3 ATS, with only SU bowl win coming vs. East Carolina in OT after 2009 campaign. Bacon managed a 4-point neutral site win over Texas A&M earlier this year…Kansas State 37 Arkansas 34

JAN. 7
BBVA COMPASS (@Birmingham, AL):
Pittsburgh over Southern Methodist giving 3 ½ (47):
Given Louisville’s 7-point bowl loss to NC State, 6-6 Panthers’ best “win” mighta’ been the 1-point loss at West Virginia during Thanksgiving. Pitt QB Tino Sunseri has a lot of fellow-seniors on the O-line to protect him vs. sawbuck-shredding Ponies, who went just 3-9 ATS, including current 0-6 demise and a loss to Army while laying a TD. SMU also lost 4 of last 6 SU, scoring no more than 17 in any of ‘em. We like what June Jones has done for the program and Mustangs boast a road win over TCU on the resume, but…Pitt 23 SMU 14

JAN. 8
GODADDY.COM (@ Mobile, AL):
Northern Illinois over Arkansas State taking 1 ½ (63):
A minor bowl taking place well-after most of the big ones are done, but it still matches conference champions…ASU out of the Fun Belt and Huskies from the MAC. First bowl for State since 2005. Middle of Red Wolves defensive line is young and that could be a problem vs. potent NIU rushing game. The remainder of the D is, however, experienced. Sun Belt winners are solid on both sides of the ball and ran the conference table following non-conference losses at Illinois and Virginia Tech. NIU scored total of 41 points over last games after exceeding that in nearly any single game prior to that. Both sides have been in shootouts. ASU went 9-2 ATS, NIU just 4-7, but…Huskies 44 ASU 37

JAN. 9
#2 Alabama over #1 Louisiana State taking 1 (40):
Long before kickoff, this one will have analyzed and probably criticized to death, but the only stats that matter here are the 9-6 OT win in Tuscaloosa by the Bengals and the two mssed Tide FGs that got ‘em that victory. Pressure’s on LSU to prove it deserved the win, but like last year’s national champ Auburn, a little luck is always part of the formula to win it all. Nothing since that game suggests this game won’t stay “under” the total and kicking troubles continued for ‘Bama after the first meeting. If we was Les Miles, we’d talk the ref into callin’ timeouts during pre-game practice kicks just to get inside the Tide kicker's head and would burn more everytime he lined up for so much as a kickoff or an XP. As we noted earlier this year, LSU’s only bowl defeat in six previous seasons under Miles came vs. Penn State. ‘Bama’s won three of their four, clobbering #2 Texas in the ’09 BCS Title game. Both teams are deserving of the crown and we’re just hopin’ for another great game…Reauxll Tide 17 Bengals 15

BTW, scientists recently suggested they think they’ve isolated the “God particle”. We weren’t aware they’d been studying Tebow’s DNA!

After throwin’ four picks in the loss to Buffalo, suddenly-Tinier Tim said, “…Hopefully, we can get in the tournament.” At this pace, we see the Broncos makin’ the Big Dance as a 14-seed and goin’ one-and-done!

We offer a few apologies to Bruno Mars and take a few liberties with the lyrics to “Grenade”, crooning…“What ya don’t understannnnd is…. I’d get Brett Favre in a traaaaaaaade fer ya…..ride the bench ‘til he plaaaaayed fer yaaaaa….We’d stop the Rose Bowl paraaaaaade fer ya….oooh-oooh-oooh-ooooooh…I would go through alllllll this paaaaaainnnnn… watch my parlay go downnn the draaaaaaaain…. Yes, I would die for ya, baaaaaaaby…but you won’t do the same…If my forecast was on fiiiiiire….oooooooh, you’d watch it burn down in flame…You said you’d bet, but you’re a liar ‘cause you never…ever..everrrrrrrrrdid, Baby!”

Hell…we’d even spray Vindy’s Picks with some *Glaaaaaaade* fer ya…

U.S. credit got lowered in August from AAA to AA. The football team, however, now faces FCS squads such UMass and Appalachian State and with a little luck, at this pace, could be a provisional I-A WAC team facing the likes of Colorado State in the San Diego Federal Credit Union Bowl in the 2013 post-season! The Little Sisters of the Poor have already made it clear they don’t play Boise State, but they might sign just put U.S. Credit on the schedule!

An April 2011 edition of the Penn State Alumni newswire included a blurb entitled “$10M gift endows dean’s chair, ethics director”. By golly, this proud alum is happy (Valley???!!!) that we have a well-endowed dean’s chair and similarly-enhanced individual overseeing the Ethics Department! The visual, however, really haunts your humble host! (Yeah, yeah! Save the hate-mail. This item came out well-before revelations of the current troubles in State College!).

Given the difficulties of Heisman Trophy winners at the next level, we predict the absence of the highly-coveted hardware from the display case of LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu means a long and prosperous NFL career for the Homey…Hominy Belcher…Honey…Hyundai Bender???!!!.

The Monday-night Steelers-Niners game in San Francisco earlier this month suffered a couple of lengthy blackouts. We think that’s taking “candlestick” a bit too far, don’t you? Big Ben tossed a pair of early picks in that game. That’s what happens when ya wrap the ankle and the ball with phosphorescent tape! There’s a proposal afoot to build a new venue for the home team in Santa Clara. The Broncos, who shut down their gridiron squad in 1993, might have somethin’ to say about that.

Last January, Jets strength & conditioning coach and part-time special teams…er…um…”contributor”…Sal Alosi, who tripped an opposing punt-returner, resigned. Historians have learned that ancestors of the deposed mentor stood near the track and used their knees to cause the wheels to come off opposing chariots during races in ancient Rome!

On the boob tube...bettors wager on the total number of days it’ll take a crack renovation crew to turn a dumpy apartment into a rad pad in “Extreme Make-Over/Under: Home Edition”!

Madonna will play this season’s Super Bowl halftime. In honor of the Material Girl, kick-returners wanting to signal a fair-catch, instead of raising their arms above their heads, must…vogue!

Texas Governor Rick Perry said he hopes he’s the “Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses.” We’re not sure he could lead his camp to victory after being behind in the 4th Quarter, but we figure he’ll complete at least as many passes as the Broncos quarterback!

Much ado was made over North Korea’s ability to hide the death of Kim Jong Il from the world for two days. So what???!!! Some NFL teams don’t release injury information. The communist nation coulda’ broadcast footage of “Dear Leader” bein’ carted off the field and probably kept the whole Western world in the dark for another week! Can you say “Weekend at Kim Jong Il’s”???!!!!

Oh sure. Your fave team’s linemen can run-block and pass-block, but can they…writers’ block?! Yeah…we didn’t think so! Wussies!

Vindy’s Best Bowl Bets (Part II): Part I: 1-1 (with FSU-ND total TBA) Season: 35-34-1 (.507)
Illinois-UCLA “under” 47, Virginia-Auburn “under” 49, Houston -6 ½ over Penn State, Kansas State +7 ½ over Arkansas

C’mon back one more time a few days after completion of the BCS Title tilt as we offer our bowl recap and our “leftover hash”! Vin’s now off to try out the new video game he got for Christmas....Booty-Call of Duty!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Vindy's 2011-12 Bowl Predictions Part I


DENVER, Colorado (UPI)…What started out as a simple-but-reluctant, inked-skin tribute to an athlete by Juan Contreras, who did so grudgingly after losing a bet, became a lucrative business proposition for the NFL fan and now-entrepreneur, who quickly discovered other fans, bettors and non-sports-types only hoping to establish a rapport with a higher power (Editor’s note: “The Passer, The Son and The Holy Bootleg”?) would pay good money to see him bare the arm displaying his body-art homage and hold photos along with candles or incense lit by those persons while they chanted or prayed, thus becoming a human shrine to Denver quarterback Tim Tebow. Contreras only half-jokingly said he was “available for bar mitzvahs, holiday parties and kids’ birthdays!”

In related news, second-grade teachers to Professor-Emeritus-level English language department heads at prestigious universities predict the addition of the word “Tebowed” to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary by year’s end. The term is defined as an adjective indicating ”the condition resulting from the loss of certain victory during the waning moments of a competitive event in the wake of apparent divine intervention as orchestrated by an athlete of the name ‘Tebow’”!

Meanwhile, in Chicago, weeks of speculation were put to rest with the recently-leaked photos of Lindsey Lohan’s Playboy cover, which show the beleaguered actress sporting only strategically-placed excerpts from…

(Only because Chuck Norris allows them to exist!)

DEC. 17
GILDAN NEW MEXICO (@ Albuquerque, NM): (over/under totals in parentheses)
Temple over Wyoming giving 6 ½ (49):
Much respect to the Cowboys for nice 8-4 SU season (including three outright wins as dogs) behind a balanced offense led by freshman Brett Smith, who boasts 18-8 passing TD-to-INT ratio. Owls, however, have nation’s third-best scoring defense, with only LSU and ‘Bama yielding fewer points-per-game. In fact, Temple let only three opponents get outta’ da’ teens and pitched a pair of shutouts. We’d love to back Wyoming, but all four losses were by double-digits and Owls (8-4 this season, with 3 defeats of 4 or less, including 14-10 loss to Vindy’s alma mater) have something to prove after being snubbed for a bowl last year despite 8-4 record…Temple 34 Wyoming 20

Ohio over Utah State taking 2 ½ (57 ½):
Aggies going to first post-season extravaganza in 14 years… Unfortunately, it turns out to be in Boise, Idaho! Bobblecats went 9-4 SU on the year, with three of those losses by combined 7 points, including a big stop-effort vs. potent Northern Illinois in the MAC title game. USU scored at least 21 in each contest and averaged 34 over last seven tilts that saw a five-game SU win-streak to close out the regular-season. Third straight bowl for Ohio and we’ll take the experience over Aggies squad under a first-year coach and which lost all three of its non-conference games…Ohio 24 USU 21

Louisiana-Lafayette over San Diego State taking 5 (58 ½):
Ragin’ Cajuns going to second-ever bowl, and first since the Apollo 13 launch and Tom Dempsey’s NFL-record boot of 63 yards, on the strength of 8-2 record through initial ten games of the year before losing last two. Lafayette will throw early and often. SDSU stops the pass fairly-well, yielding less than 200 yards per game. ULL cover 8 of its 11 games and averaged 32.3 ppg. Aztecs scored almost 30 per game while allowing less than 20 just three times, so we lean toward the “over”. Cajuns could win this if they can limit several State drives to FG attempts, where Aztecs have hit only 5 of 13 (with 3 makes coming inside 29 yards). Will the Aztecs spend too much time enticing the local N’awlins fauna into showing them their…uh…X’s and O’s????... Cajuns 34 SDSU 32

DEC. 20
Florida International over Marshall giving 4 (51):
Panthers, at 8-4 SU, in second bowl game (beating Toledo last season), while Herd had to beat East Carolina in OT in the regular-season finale to get eligible. Both teams won at Louisville early in the season (FIU by 7, Herd by 4) FIU went thru mid-season 6-game ATS skid before covering last three and suffered only two defeats in conference play…to Sun Belt champ Arkansas State and runner-up Western Kentucky. Marshall was spanked in 5 of its 6 losses (by 20 or more) and International’s good on defense.…FIU 29 Marshall 17

DEC. 21
Louisiana Tech over #16 Texas Christian taking 10 ½ (55 ½):
We expect a motivation problem for the Toads, who’ve landed here despite being Mountain Jest champions and having a lone loss by 2-points to now-ranked Baylor in the opener. TCU has dropped just one other game over the past three seasons. Frogs went just 5-6 against the line this year and though won 5 of last 6 bowls, did not cover the latest three. Only double-digit post-season victory was in ’06 over Northern Illinois. Bulldogs covered 10 of 11 this season and by 2 at CUSA champ Southern Miss, 1 to Houston and 6 at Mississippi State (and beat Ole Miss by 20!). Froggies are packing usual strong offense, scoring over 40 ppg, but the D is down a notch from previous editions, yielding over 21 per game…TCU 37 Weeziana Tech 34

DEC. 22
Arizona State over #8 Boise State taking 14 (65):
After the missed kick that dropped Boise (1 or fewer losses for the 4th consecutive season) from BCS bowl consideration and relegated them to this Vegas trip, Broncos (on current 0-6 ATS slide) could display the apathy we anticipate by the aforementioned TCU team. Devils, who were ranked early but finished just 6-6 overall in a weak PAC-12 conference after allowing 33 ppg to lose four of last six games, provide Boise with another BCS conference team to defeat and the opportunity to showcase Kellen Moore again, but…BSU 36 ASU 27

DEC. 24
#22 Southern Miss over Nevada-Reno giving 6 ½ (61):
“Over” looks good here as both teams sport big offenses …. both in the top 13 in yardage, with Reno scoring 37 or more in more than half its games while SoMiss averaged 41 ppg from Game Three forward this year, covering 8 of last 10. Eagles, who were only club to take down high-flyin’ Houston (holding the Coogs to 28 points) and won CUSA as a result, aren’t terribly impressive vs. non-conference (currently 3-9 ATS), will lose Coach Fedora to North Carolina after the game and might be more-wowed by paradise than Wolfpack club that plays in the Islands every other year. UNR is about fifty-fifty ATS overall, but has dropped 3 of last 4 bowls outright, covering none. ‘Pack will lean slightly toward the run, but if either of its two quarterbacks makes an errant throw, we note USM has returned 8 of 18 picks for touchdowns…SoMiss 41 Reno 33

DEC. 26
Missouri over North Carolina giving 4 ½ (53 ½):
No faith in either side and total is outta’ the question since Tarheels’ scoring has been all over the board. In consecutive weeks, UNC put up 49 on Wake Forest then followed up with a goose-egg vs. NC State. Tigers scoring defense took a step backward, going from 16 ppg in 2010 to 25.6 ppg allowed this year (23+ per tilt factoring in shutout vs. AA Western Illinois). Mizzou beat 3 of 5 ranked opponents. UNC faced three Top 25 teams (all ACC as well) and lost, on the road, to all of ‘em. Tigers are the hotter squad, winning 4 of their final 5 matches, with a 3-point loss at Baylor. UNC started well, grabbing five victories by mid-October, but fell in two of last four. Let’s confuse the issue just a bit more…Missouri has beaten the line just three of last eleven on neutral ground…Mizzou 27 UNC 20

DEC. 27
Western Michigan over Purdue taking 2 ½ (61):
No strong opinion here as Purdue started the year edging Middle Tennessee and losing to Rice, but we suspect it’s another game in which “over” the total makes sense. Western Michigan, even without starting QB Carder for regular-season-ending game vs. Akron, broke 60 in two of last three and only three Purdue foes scored less than 24. Boilers are 0-fer-last seven vs. non-conference teams, though this is a very short line. Boilers won two of last three to get here. Third Big Tenderloin squad WMU has faced on the season, getting blasted at Michigan and losing by 3 at then-ranked Illinois. Not sure why you’d actually watch this one unless you’re an alum of either institution and two days after presents have been opened, the kids have abandoned the Glock Me, Elmo to the dogs, who’ve shredded said-toy beyond all recognition, leaving the shavings of a filed-off serial number and some polyester stuffing as evidence, but if you do, look for Broncos to go for it on 4th Down, having converted 17 of 22 in that situation on the year …WMU 41 Purdue 31

BELK (@ Charlotte, NC):
Louisville over NC State taking 2 ½ (45 ½):
NCSU coach Tom O’Brien has prepared his teams well-enough to win 7 of their last eight bowl games (including six straight seasons at Boston College), by three or more in 6 of those victories, including a 23-7 win last year over West Virginia. That fact is probably driving the money coming in on the Wolfpack to increase the line. Neither team got off to a banner start. Da’ Ville struggled with a lot of new faces on offense and youth on both sides of the ball. State’s only wins in the first five games came vs. two FCS clubs. Cards rallied to win five of six. ‘Pack has been inconsistent all year. We prefer “under” the total, but we’ll say…Louisville 20 NC State 19

DEC. 28
Toledo over Air Force giving 3 (70):
The Flight Platoon does not share the propensity of the Middies to cover as dogs away from the respective academy and as previously-noted, USAF already has its desired hardware. Pilots pounded weaker opponents and improved on both sides of the ball over last five games, but that was against Army and lesser-MWC opponents. Rockets just lost HC Beckman to Illinois, but replaced him with the offensive coordinator. Potent Toledo has as many rushing TDs as passing scores (31) and boasts a 92% success rate in the red zone. Air Force will need to grind it out to have any shot here. Toledo is a nice plus-16 in turnovers. Flyboys broke even in that category …Spacemen 44 Air Force 34

California over Texas taking 3 (47):
Bears haven’t played a true home game this season, playing at AT&T Park when not on the road. Cal won four of last six following three straight excusable defeats to Washington, Oregon and USC and covered 5 of last 6 (only two as a dog). ‘Horns have been inconsistent all season, though we note all five losses came vs. teams who are or were ranked during the year. Steers struggle in the red zone, scoring on just 73.47% of their trips inside the 20, while allowing opponents to do so 86% of the time. Texas is contemplating creation of an “unmanned port of entry”. In our experience, that situation creates one of two things…1) a successful draw play or 2) a sack!...Berkeley 23 Texas 20

DEC. 29
#25 Florida State over Notre Dame giving 3 (61):
Both squads fell off the national radar quickly with early-season losses, but ‘Noles made a furious charge at the ACC Championship that came up a bit short, but saw them beat opponents by an average margin of 16 ppg. Irish got bashed by the better teams they faced and were sloppy with the ball, going -11 in turnover margin in their defeats. Injuns will have to stop ND running game that produced 25 touchdowns, but have more experience than the Catholics and have won 18 of 26 under Jimbo Fisher…Chop 26 Rudy 19

VALERO ALAMO (@ San Antonio, TX):
Washington over #15 Baylor taking 9 (78):
The “over” will likely be a popular wager, with Baylor games exceeding the total in 9 of 11, but Da’ Bears didn’t score nearly as much away from Waco (36+ per game) as they did on the homefield (48-and-change per game). RG# and his teammates on offense wield a big stick, but the stop-squad yields tons to opponents. Huskies have recorded first back-to-back winning SU years since ’01-’02, but went 1-3 ATS vs. ranked teams, losing by 13, 17, 17 and 44 (at Stanford). Bears gave up 24 to anemic Texas team. Heisman Trophy winner Griffin grabs Bears’ 10th outright victory then declares himself eligible as an underclassman for April’s pro draft, but neither team excites us ATS vs. non-conference, so we’ll go with…Baylor 37 UDUB 31


BTW, the Lohan pictures not only gave the world a premature view of the much-anticipated layout for the world-famous gentlemen’s mag, they also provided bettors an early look at Vindy’s post-season predictions and sent sportsbooks scurrying to adjust their lines before the onslaught.

The former child fashion model also explained she does nude pics because it gives her “confidence”. Needing a little self-esteem boost himself, Vindicator is wearin’ nuthin’ but Old Spice as we speak!

Hallmark now makes a recordable storybook. How ‘bout a nice recordable playbook for that special player in your life so they can hear Coach’s voice, “even when he’s gone back to Nevada!????”

For Christmas, Vindicator wants a pair of Freudian slippers, which call out someone else’s name every time you get into them!

Also hopefully finding its way under Weber’s tree…the latest version of a popular military shoot-‘em-up that takes place on campuses from Laramie, Wyoming to Las Vegas to Albuquerque, New Mexico…Call of Duty: MWC!

As the Las Vegas Bowl celebrates its 20th anniversary, we point out that the post-season extravaganza is officially-known as the “MAACO Bowl of Las Vegas”. Given that the entire sponsor-company name is actually MAACO Car Repair and Auto Painting, we understand the use of the shortened version since the extended acronym would be… MAACO CRAP!

The Mountain Jest Conference just sent a letter to the powers-that-be asking for a BCS bid. The letter started out…”Dear Santa...”

We salute the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky, who after going 4-32 SU in first three years of live-fire I-A competition, posted a 7-5 record, including a 6-1 Shun Belt tally that put ‘em in second-place behind only Arkansas State and did not get a bowl bid, while FIU and Weeziana-Lafayette are in post-season tilts on the strength of 8-4 overall records, but finished behind WKU in conference play.

Vegas big-wig Steve Wynn has won his bid this week to build a casino resort in Foxboro, Massachusetts right next to Gillette Stadium. Vindy’s spies indicate gamblers win jackpots if their slot-machines line-up three Tom Brady interceptions!

In April, ex-University of San Diego players and an assistant coach were indicted in a point-shaving scheme and on charges of intent to distribute marijuana (2008 thru early 2010). Hmmm…were those events hyped as “Hoops for Hemp”? “Misses for MaryJane?” “Clanks for Cannabis???!!!” “Air-Balls for Blunts???!!!”

Days before the infamous airing of the “Fab Five” documentary in March, ESPN analyst Jalen Rose was arrested on DUI suspicion. Seems the former Dukie had a few too many Uncle Tom Collins before getting behind the wheel!

Vindy’s Best Part I Bowl Bets: Last Week: 1-0 Season: 34-33-1 (.507)
Louisiana Tech +10 ½ over Texas Christian, Southern Miss-UNR “over” 61, Florida State-Notre Dame “under” 61

We’ll return on or around December 29 with our thoughts on the remaining games, our “lock of da’ bowls” and more holiday “hash”!

We extend our annual holiday greeting to the readership…”Pass on Earth. Goodwill toward linemen.”

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Vindy's Picks Army-Navy 2011


PORTLAND, Oregon (AP)…Already sidelined for two games following his on-the-field misbehavior, Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh now faces civil and criminal charges by the National Forestry Service, the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency after crashing his 1970 Chevy Coupe into a tree last Saturday night in his hometown. Suh and his two passengers walked away unhurt, but the traffic cam on a nearby light pole captured the Lions’ defensive tackle stomping the fallen elm. Forensic scientists for the Portland PD confirmed the presence of puncture marks consistent with the cleats Suh was wearing at the time of the accident, not only on the tree, but also on a curb, the aforementioned lamp post and a water fountain, all of which were clipped by the car as it careened off the road. Reached for comment later, Mike Tyson said he was “appalled” at the player’s antics.

Championship Week left us at an unhappy 6-6 (106-138-2, .432). In related news, Las Vegas was named the 10th “saddest city” in the country and that was before the folks at Men’s Health Magazine got a look at the fallout from…

(Pulling KP duty at halftime!)

Navy over Army giving 7 (@ Landover, MD): The outcome here impacts…nothing but pride, as neither the Cadets (3-8 SU; beating Northwestern, Tulane and FCS-Fordham…all on the home obstacle course at West Point and two close losses…by 3 at San Diego State and 7 to Miami-Ohio) nor the Midshipmen (4-7 SU) qualify for the post-season, and the Commander-in-Chief Trophy already belongs to Air Force, who beat them both (Navy by 1 on the road, Army by 10 at home). In the other common-opponent game, Army lost by 15 on a neutral site to the Scarlet Knights. Navy lost at Rutgers by 1 in the true road game. Neither squad is particularly attractive against the spread either with Army at 4-6 ATS and Navy at dart-throw-worthy 5-5. Following up on a tidy tidbit by Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com , the Soldiers have marched away with an outright win in just one of last 17 facing other service schools since 2003. That same pub would now show the Ensigns winning 15 of their last 17 straight-up vs. military academies since that same year (covering 14 of ‘em!). Middies are bowl-less for first time since 2002. Navy brought back just 3 starters on the stop-side of the ball, but outside giving away the farm to Southern Miss and Notre Dame, the scoring-defense wasn’t terrible, yielding 27 ppg (up 4 ppg from last year’s overall tally) and the Sailors are respectable 4-2 ATS away from the home marina (though four of those six games ended up in SU defeats). Omitting 55 vs. AA-Fordham, Army’s offensive output has taken a nose-dive, going from average of 26 points per game through the end of October to roughly half of that, at just 13.3 ppg in its three November matches. Despite a plus-eight turnover margin, Middies will absorb their lowest SU-win total since registering just a pair of victories in 2002, but have 5 losses by total of 11 points on the year, including a three-point loss at ranked South Carolina that came prior to the Poultry’s loss of Marcus Lattimore to injury. Army missed playing anyone from the Top 25 for the fourth consecutive season. And minus the aforementioned games, have lost the remainder of this season’s tilts by at least two touchdowns. Army last knocked off a fellow service academy in 2005 (beating an Air Force team that went 4-7 that year) and has been on the wrong side of the turnover margin (currently -8) for the first time in three seasons. As always, both sides are run-heavy, as Army tops the country in rushing yardage and rushing yards per game, while Navy comes in at #5 nationally (and could move to 4th in yardage and 3rd in per game average with a solid outing) and draw less than a combined 7 flags per game between ‘em, so it should be a fairly-quickly moving affair. Navy does have a little more than a moment-of-prayer for the passing game, throwing for 10 scores while suffering 6 interceptions. Army has a 4-4 ratio. Gettin’ down (-periscope) to brass tack(le)s, we think the Middies will get enough turnovers and go on to cover the victory, which we’ll predict to be….Boat People 30 Ground-Pounders 19


From a recent military-academy Political Science multiple-guess exam…”Arab Spring” is a…
a) brand of soap
b) body of water
c) part of a Middle-Eastern mattress
d) season that precedes Indian Summer
e) play Coach reserves for the two-point conversion

Vindy can “Name That Platoon” in less than three notes!

If a team develops runny noses after facing the Middies, is it considered post-Naval drip???!!!!

If an opposing skater gets knocked off the puck by a Middie, is it “a ship-check and a beauty”????

If Saruman from Lord of the Rings coached either team this week, would his pre-game or halftime speech include, “You do not know pain. You do not know fear. You will!!!”

AFLAC has taken over sponsorship of the Heisman Trophy. Can’t wait to see the duck present the hardware to the winner, who will then extoll the virtues of having medical coverage and the cash to pay da’ bills following injury on the field!!!!.

BTW, responding to an open audition to be the new voice of the AFLAC duck following the dismissal of Gilbert Gottfried, the fab forecaster didn’t make the cut as the result of continually babbling, “Haaaaaalffback!”

As ABC Family runs its holiday-programming, including the Harry Potter series, we note there was really no need for the ‘books to worry about the lockouts of the NFL and NBA. There was always the hope of increased wagering on Quidditch!

Also on the small screen, a new holiday special… Dr. Seuss meets the NHL, as Mike Myers laces up the skates and scores three goals in…”A Cat in Da’ Hat-Trick”!!!!

Venus Williams made a hasty exit from the court during a “friendly” in Italy over the weekend as one of her own line of clothing nearly left more than her game exposed. Perhaps the self-described “eleVen” line should be known as “eleVent”!

“Wish I Had That One Back”: We switched our initials picks on not only Oklahoma State as noted, but also on New Mexico! Those decisions cost us a pair of forecast dubyas! OUCH!

“Locked in a Box?”: In rare Thursday night “lock” pick, the Mouseketeers of West Virginia made it interesting, but won as a pick ‘em and take the tally to .500 at 7-7.

Shoppe Talk: Michigan State (1-8, .111) and Wisconsin (4-8, .333) finally cut us a break, but Virginia Tech (1-11, .083), Clemson (3-8, .272) and Oklahoma State (3-9, .250) and took us out behind the woodshed… AGAIN!

Vindy’s Best Bets: Last Week: 2-1 Season: 33-33-1 (.500)
Army-Navy “under” 57 ½

Don’t touch that dial-up Internet….we’ll be back around December 17 with the first installment of our infamous bowl predictions!