Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Vindy's Picks Week 5-2012


OAKLAND, California (AP)…Little did Eagles RB LeSean McCoy know just how prophetic his statement about replacement officials being “just like fans”, upon learning he was on a referee’s fantasy league squad, would turn out to be. The stand-in crew working Sunday’s game here, between the Raiders and the Steelers, took the field wearing black-and-silver Raider Nation skull-and-crossbones garb, complete with masks and spikes, and tossed Pittsburgh’s famous “terrible towels” in place of regular penalty flags. They weren’t alone in their partisan displays, as zebras at other games across the country elected to wear team colors on their faces, while going shirt-less and bearing painted letters on their chests while calling games (like the fans they were!)! Others, still, brought banners declaring their love for their preferred-clubs and held them up between plays, hoping to be seen on the stadium scoreboard or Jumbo-Tron!

The underdogs continued their early dominance for a fourth straight outing, leading to a 5-13 result (32-39, .450) for Week Four. Mired in a 10-25 backslide, we wonder if Monday night’s Seahawks-Packers officiating crew would replace the bookies behind the betting counter long enough for us to throw up a desperation 10-team parlay, using…

(With soundtrack by Russian punk band Pussy Riot!)


#8 Stanford (-6 ½) over WASHINGTON:
The very young Huskies continue to get the label “dangerous”. Nonetheless, we’ll take a Cardinal squad that beat USC by a touchdown a week after ignoring that distraction and crushing Duke, despite youth on its own offensive line. Stanford’s allowing just 14 points-and-change per game. Sled Dogs will have to prove themselves worthy before we take ‘em with a single score vs. a Top Ten club… Stanford 28 UDUB 13


Mississippi (+31) over #1 ALABAMA: Tide 34 Rebels 6

Washington State (+28 ½) over #2 Oregon (@ Seattle): Wazzou’s been denting the scoreboard heavily as usual, especially now under former Texas Tech Air Raid coach Mike Leach, but the defense continues to make otherwise-cane-assisted offenses look fabulous, including a long-dormant Colorado Buffaloes team that beat State last week. We put no stock in Mallards’ whitewash of Arizona. Coogs lost 43-28 last season. Should be plenty of scoring and we recommend the ‘over”…Ducks 59 WSU 34

Towson @ #3 LSU: No line.

#4 Florida State (-17) over SOUTH FLORIDA: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Interesting timing for the match-up. ‘Noles were on the ropes for the better part of three quarters vs. Clemson, but turned the game around enough, overcoming self-inflicted wounds, to almost cover as two-touchdown chalk. Meanwhile Bulls went down SU to ATS-perfect Ball State. USF was anticipated (again) to do good things by the “experts”, but BJ Daniels and his cohorts have floundered (again) and should be 1-2 SU rather than 2-1, courtesy of a gift in the waning moments at Nevada. ‘Noles could come out flat for a half after last week, but…FSU 42 USF 17

Tennessee (+13) over #5 GEORGIA: Joja’ 31 Rocky Top 24

#6 South Carolina @ KENTUCKY: OFF

#7 Kansas State: IDLE (next vs. Kansas)

#9 WEST VIRGINIA (-12 ½) over #25 Baylor: Uh-oh. We changed our initial selection in this one. Baylor survived last week’s track-meet at Weeziana-Monroe and has beaten SMU and AA James Madison. We woulda’ loved to have seen Mounties’ QB Geno Smith go toe-to-toe with RGIII, but the game comes a season too late. Lots of upperclassmen for the Bears and we think an “over” is likely, but ‘Eers will be on their game after mere 10-point victory vs. Maryland despite a +3 turnover advantage and it’s Homecoming in Morgantown…WVU 48 Baylor 34

#10 Notre Dame: IDLE (next vs. Miami)

#11 Florida: IDLE (next vs. LSU)

#12 Texas (-3) over OKLAHOMA STATE: Both teams were idle last week after embarrassing their opponents. Both sides will field very young quarterbacks and Cowpokes are 19-4 SU in Stillwater, but State is 1-4-1 as a home dog and the experience-edge goes to ‘Horns Davis Ash. The Steers D will be the difference for Texas (3-0 SU/2-1 ATS)…Texas 37 OKSU 29

#13 USC: IDLE (next @ Utah 10/4)

#14 Ohio State (+3) over #20 MICHIGAN STATE: Big PreTENder Conference opener for a pair of teams that were lucky to escape lower-tier opposition last week. Both trailed at some point, but each mustered enough points to put one in the win-column. Buckeyes have dropped three straight to the line (2-7 skid back to last year), but excel in revenge mode. Michigan State won 10-7 in 2011. MSU also 1-3 ATS. Offensive struggles, including lone field goal vs. the Irish, so far make us wonder how good the Spartans really are and Buckeyes are solid-money facing ranked foes. Defenses should dominate here and “under” is the preferred choice, but we’ll take OSU’s Braxton Miller at QB over Andrew Maxwell and company…OSU 16 MSU 13

#15 Texas Christian (-17) over SMU: Horny Toads 28 SMU 7

#16 Oklahoma: IDLE (next @ Texas Tech)

#17 Clemson (-9 ½) over BOSTON COLLEGE: Tigers know they let a big one get away, getting enough Florida State miscues (untimely false starts, a couple turnovers and a pair of missed FGs early) to pull the upset. Beagles are 0-2 ATS, sandwiching a win over AA Maine between opening loss to Miami and last week’s 9-point road loss to Northwestern. Clemson is terrible laying double-digits away from home, but whacked BC 36-14 last season and should win handily again here if they fix the kick-coverage and time management issues from Week Four’s loss… Clemson 29 BC 13

#18 Oregon State (+2 ½) over ARIZONA: Dam-Builders have stepped-foot on the gridiron just twice. The results? Two upset-victories over Top-25 opponents and a pair of “lock of da’ week” losses for your numbskull narrator, who ignored his own preseason guidance to “bet on State early” in the year. Seven days after blanking AA SC State 56-0, ‘Cats end up on the business end of a goose-egg by Oregon???!! AZ now 8-18 ATS in last 26 I-A matches. Beavers won 37-27 last year. UA just 6-14 vs. the number in Tucson the past 2+ seasons. Which side is doin’ it with smoke-and-mirrors?...OSU 27 AZ 24

#19 Louisville (-10 ½) over SOUTHERN MISS: Louisville 29 SoMiss 14

#21 Mississippi State: IDLE (next @ Kentucky)

Wisconsin (+13) over #22 NEBRASKA: Huskers 20 Wisky 13

#23 Rutgers: IDLE (next vs. UConn)

NEW MEXICO (+27) over #24 Boise State: Off the upset of rival NMSU Aggies, those loco Lobos, using a clock-burning rushing attack (gaining almost 6 yards per carry), claim their first two-win September since posting (GASP!) three in 2007 en route to 9-4 straight-up record (OK, OK…so the first victory came vs. AA Southern! Haters!). Broncos still ranked by the hair on their chinny-chin-chin, getting by BYU 7-6 (scoring only on a late pick-six) in a Thursday-night snoozer. Boise on 14-5 road-fave streak, but State is clearly hobbled by graduation of its superstar backfield to the NFL. UNM has gone 3-1 ATS the last three years following an outright triumph…Broncos 33 Lobos 10


BTW, the NFL rulebook defines “simultaneous possession” as the occurrence in which the heads of two or more players spin around 360-degrees while spewing pea soup and hurling obscenities and insults at officials, who, while dodging flying debris, such as kicking tees, playbooks and down-markers, try to exorcise footballs from the grasp of afflicted players by brandishing silver whistles, dousing them with Dixie-cups of blessed Gatorade and shouting, “The power of replay commands you!”

During a stop in Sin City over the weekend, Mitt Romney gave President Obama an “F” on the economy and a proposed plan to improve the housing situation in the Silver State. That was a half-grade higher than what the GOP candidate saw fit for Vindy’s Picks!

And just FYI, our flustered forecaster does not apologize for firing-out against the bookies’ offensive line with the sportsbook manager preparing to take a knee at the end of Saturday’s college pigskin slate!

Much like she did for her hubby following the Patriots’ 21-17 loss to the Giants in Super Bowl 46, supermodel Gisele Bundchen defended our haggard host this past Sunday, noting “Vindicator cannot !@%$@!! make his predictions and #!@%!@!! play those games too!”

Black Shirt: Goes to WR Sammy Watkins for throwing a second-half TD pass, helping Clemson at least cover vs. Florida State and providing one of the quintet of correct selections. Honorable mention to Sooners’ QB Landry Jones for an early fumble recovered for TD by K-State, helping validate one of our two upset picks!

“Wish I Had That One Back”: 5-13?????!!! Take yer pick! (But we did identify Mississippi State -34 over South Alabama as best guess for this category in Week Four)

“Locked in a Box?”: The lock tally remains winless at 0-4 (.000) after UCLA was upset by the Beavers (that’s gotta’ be unprecedented for our longtime weekly publication!)

Shoppe Talk: USC (0-4, .000) continues to confound us and is joined by the Ruins of UCLA (0-3, .000), with West Virginia (0-2 season, 3-10 in last 13) and LSU (1-3, .250) also getting stuffed and mounted this week!

Vindy’s Week 5 Best Bets: Last Week: 2-2 Season: 10-9 (.526)
Nevada -21 over TEXAS STATE, Ball State -1 over KENT STATE, San Jose State -3 over NAVY, IOWA STATE +2 ½ over Texas Tech

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Vindy's Picks Week 4-2012


INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (MSNBC)…It appears to be a case of “she doth protest too much” for Kirstie Alley, who jumped to the aid of fellow Scientologist Tom Cruise following accusations the pair’s church-of-choice set up bogus movie auditions in 2004 with the real intent of finding a mate for the diminutive actor. It was discovered the former Cheers and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan actress, herself, had help from the religious institution to recruit potential husbands or boyfriends via the 2000 NFL Combine, after the demise of her two-year relationship with James Wilder in 1999. Players were lured to the local yearly pre-draft extravaganza, with the promise of being able to show-off their wares to pro scouts, but in reality, had their responses and reactions to a battery of very personal questions, including details of their intimate conquests, secretly-recorded under the guise of the Wonderlic test. Athletes with already-known leanings toward the views of the church were actually punished, by being made to clean the locker room with toothbrushes, if their performances were deemed “inadequate” and were reportedly told their “duty” was “not only to please their wives, but also to toe the line-of-scrimmage for Scientology!”

Enjoying the success of the first two weeks, Vindicator forgot all about the bookies’ legendary closing-speed and faltered to 5-12 for Week Three (27-26, .509). The five forecast wins were one higher than former LSU player Morris Claiborne’s score on the actual Wonderlic test, putting the respective football IQs of the two somewhere around “Gatorade bucket”, which also happens to be the beverage-container responsible for making the selections in…

(More exposed lately than Kate Middleton!)

#24 BOISE STATE (-7) over Brigham Young:
Broncos didn’t cover a home-game last season, but did so this year by belting Miami-Oh My by 27 (after trailing 9-8 at halftime) in Week Three. Coogs made “upset” loss to Utah interesting with multiple reviews in a 22-hankie flag-fest before falling. BSU not stellar as non-Saturday chalk, but lost its first game on that funky blue turf since 2005 last season…Boise State 27 BYU 17

Florida Atlantic (+50) over #1 ALABAMA:
Turnovers are killin’ teams vs. Alabama. Tide got five of ‘em from Tyler Wilson-less Soooeey Pigs in 52-nada romp. Backin’ the Owls in game at Joja’ was one things we did right last week. FAU had been dismal double-digit non-conference ‘dog entering 2012 and a poor bet as a road dog in general. Birds haven’t topped four spread-wins in a season since 2004, but are 1-1 in FBS play thus far and have improved on both sides of the ball. ‘Bama’s not special laying points at home. With just Old Mist on-deck, we wonder if Tide has a third-straight shut-out in ‘em. We think not…Alabama 51 FAU 6

#2 Louisiana State (-20) over AUBURN: Auburn had excusable losses to Clemson and Mississippi State, but almost did a face-plant vs. upstart Weeziana-Monroe just a week after the Red Hawks dropped Arkansas! War Eagle is now 0-fer-3 ATS. Bengals make their first trip away from Baton Rouge and face Auburn squad that has now won 21 of its last 24 games at Jordan-Hare (a pair defeats to ‘Bama and 1 to Kentucky!). State lost 24-17 here in 2010… LSU 37 Auburn 14

#22 Arizona (+23 ½) over #3 OREGON: Mallards 42 ‘Cats 34

#10 Clemson (+14) over #4 FLORIDA STATE: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK #1. Though the Clemson D took a step backward last year, keeping just three opponents under 14 (including Virginia Tech twice) after holding 6 of 8 ACC foes under 17 in 2010. Tigers have beaten the ‘Noles twice in the past three years, covering the whole trey. Clemson’s top WR Sammy Watkins returned from suspension in last week’s rout of Furman. They’ll need him. FSU has allowed three total points in as many games, but get tested here…Clemson 24 FSU 20

Vanderbilt (+15) over #5 GEORGIA: Joja’ 20 Vandy 12

#15 Kansas State (+14) over #6 OKLAHOMA: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK #2. We paid the price last week for ignoring the little voice in our head that was screamin’ “take Mean Green and da’ points over K-State”. Purple Persians, this week, are back in preferred role as road dogs, in which they’ve covered 14 of last 19. Sooners, again, getting preseason hype, haven’t come out strong, winning just 24-7 at UTEP, but still have their place among the top teams in multiple offensive and defensive categories on the strength of 69-13 win over FCS Florida A&M. KSU QB Colin Klein should keep the OK defense busy long enough. “Stoops... I…did it again!”…Wildcats 24 OK 23

Missouri @ #7 SOUTH CAROLINA (-10): KFC 30 Mizzou 17

#8 WEST VIRGINIA (-28) over Maryland: Mountaineers 45 Terps 12

#9 Stanford: IDLE (next @ Washington 9/27)

#11 NOTRE DAME (-6) over #18 Michigan: Irish 24 Michigan 16

#12 Texas: IDLE (next @ Oklahoma State)

California (+16) over #13 USC: Trojans 33 Bears 30

Kentucky (+24 ½) over #14 FLORIDA: It’s just too hard to lay this kinda’ lumber with Gators, who’ve started slowly. Game vs. Tennessee was close for more than three quarters, so final in Florida’s 17-point win is deceptive. KY put up a decent effort in the opener before Louisville managed to separate itself, then bombed Kent State before falling in OT to rising-Western Kentucky Hilltoppers squad. Crocs have made laughers outta’ this one the past three seasons, winning 48-10, 48-14 and 41-7. KY is very young on offense, but…Florida 29 Kentucky 9

#16 OHIO STATE (-37 ½) over Alabama-Birmingham: OSU was fortunate that Cal missed three FGs in 7-point to the Buckeyes (we kinda’ thought the Bears’ kicker looked an awful lot like Lions placekicker Sam Fickens! Maybe there was an involuntary transfer from the alma mater?!). UAB, led by 1st-year coach McGee (formerly the OC at Arkansas [and we know how the Razorbacks’ season has gone to-date, don’t we???!!!]) lost by 43 at South Carolina. Cal RB Bigelow racked up 160 yards on four carries vs. State, but Blazers play in C-USA, not the PAC-12….OSU 48 UAB 7

Virginia (+17 ½) over #17 TCU: Frogs 21 Cavs 13

#19 UCLA (-10) over Oregon State: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Courtesy of a postponed opener and a bye last week, Beavers have played just one game, so there’s not much of a gauge. Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com does note State has covered last five games with rest. Bruins are one of four teams at 3-0 ATS vs. Bowl Subdivision opposition (Ball State, Northwestern and Toledo are the others) and walloped Houston despite committing five turnovers, riding an offense that ranks #2 nationally in yardage and averaging almost 41 ppg. We think State’s 10-7 upset of Wisconsin says more about the Badgers (or perhaps the Big Tenuous conference) than it does about the Beavers…UCLA 34 Oregon State 17

#20 Louisville (-13) over FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL: We’ve already seen FIU’s fellow Stun Belt conference members Western Kentucky and, as noted above, Weeziana-Monroe, respectively take out Kentucky and Arkansas, with ULM nearly upsetting Auburn last week as well. But we expect a bit a rebound by the faves, ATS-wise, after the first three weeks went by-and-large to the ‘dogs. Panthers beat Louisville 24-17 on the road in 2011. Cardinals won’t look past dangerous minor-league team here. Could end up one of those 17-10 tilts, but we’re callin’… Louisville 29 FIU 14

#21 MICHIGAN STATE (-32 ½) over Eastern Michigan: MSU 45 EMU 7

#23 MISSISSIPPI STATE (-34 ½) over South Alabama: Shocker. Yet-another SEC West club climbs into the rankings, and faces Jaguars team in its inaugural campaign in the FBS. Bulldogs lousy laying more than two touchdowns, scraping by Troy (+16) 30-24 last week. South ‘Bama covered 31-7 loss at NC State and had one of the better defenses in FCS competition last year. State hasn’t seen a line this big since 2009-opener and hasn’t knocked-off anybody by this margin except Memphis and FCS Jackson State over the last two years. Best guess for “wish I had it back”…MSU 48 Jaguars 7

Idaho State @ #25 NEBRASKA: No line.


BTW, making Kirstie’s “short list” during the year-in-question…Nifty Lions’ alumni Courtney Brown and LaVar Arrington, who went first and second, #8-pick Plaxico Burress and kicker Sebastian Janikowski, grabbed in the 17th-spot of da’ first round!

Damn-good thing Lions toppled Navy (including successful completion of three outta’ four PATs) this week ‘cuz given the state of its kicking game, the alma mater was about to be allowed, as FG or extra-point situations arise, to designate a player to flick one of those triangular, paper footballs thru the “goalposts” as formed by a designated opposing player holding their index-fingers tip-to-tip, with thumbs raised, at the end of a very long rectangular table!

When not in class or practicing their routines for the big games, Buckeyes cheerleaders have been known to peruse “Fitty Shades of Scarlet & Grey”!

Tim Tebow spent some time last January backstage with the cast of aquatic Cirque Du Soleil show “O” here in Vegas. Maybe he learned some nifty tricks for escaping a collapsing pocket via the lines attached to the wires that support the overhead-camera shots! He’d have to replace the usual eye-black with kabuki make-up though!

Mere weeks after the reality-TV show featuring Chad Johnson and Eva Lozada was cancelled after a reported incident of domestic violence, the former-footballer’s soon-to-be ex-spouse was seen canoodling with a certain U.S. Olympic speed-skater. Executives at VH1 have since jumped at the chance to broadcast…”Ev and Ohno”!!!!

If we swapped-out Peyton Manning for a certain New England Patriots quarterback in the music-video we suggested earlier this season, we could change the title of one of the featured songs to… “Call Me, Brady!”

Bounty…the quicker-knocker-downer!” Official paper-towel of the N’awlins Saints!
BTW, the folks calling NFL games aren’t really officials, but they did stay at a Holiday Inn Express Saturday night!

Black Shirt: Seriously-slim pickins this week, but we hand over the ultimate-undergarment to back-up Joja’ QB Christian LeMay, who tossed a late-game pick-six that allowed Florida Atlantic to grab the backdoor cover as one of our very few forecast wins!

“Locked in a Box?”: Hokies fell to Pittsburgh, dropping the lock tally to (GASP!)…0-3????!!!

Shoppe Talk: The USC Trojans are firmly-entrenched at 0-3 (.000).

Vindy’s Week 4 Best Bets: Last Week: 3-3 Season: 8-7 (.533)
Nevada-Reno -9 over HAWAII, BALL STATE +10 ½ over South Florida, WAZZOU -18 ½ over Colorado, NORTH TEXAS (PK) over Troy

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vindy's Picks Week 3-2012


LAS VEGAS, Nevada (UPI)…Ticket-writers at Caesar’s Palace returned to work behind the betting counter this week following the successful appeal of suspensions handed-down over the summer by the Gaming Control Board. The bookies had been paid for “whacks” and “cart-offs”, defined as hits on sharp bettors (or casual bettors on a winning streak) that sent them staggering out of the casino, either needing assistance from others or actually carried away on a stretcher. A “bounty ledger” produced by the prosecution revealed the ‘book employees offering “two five-stacks” to co-workers for knocking out targeted gamblers during the annual NCAA men’s basketball tournament and the college bowl season. The reversal is temporary, and the sportsbook manager remains banned from the property for a year under the equivalent of the NCAA’s “lack of institutional control” statute, but the judge ruled the Board did not have the authority to impose the penalties. Meanwhile, investigations continue into allegations that cocktail waitresses, slot-techs, and even keno-runners were also encouraged to participate in the illegal activities.
Your humble narrator correctly anticipated another big week by the ‘dogs (though certainly not the upsets) and went 12-7 on the fortnight (22-14, .611). And just fer da’ record, legal evidence included proof of an offer for “two short stacks of pancakes (with blueberry compote and whipped cream) topped with a pair of bacon strips at IHOP for any hit sending Vindy outta’ the sportsbook” if he was caught trying to place wagers based on…

(Protected this week by the Saints defense)

ARKANSAS (+20) over #1 Alabama
: Wow! We’re familiar with “looking past” a team when a bigger game’s on da’ horizon, but…yikes! Actually, we attribute Hogs’ first regular-season SU demise outside their own division in over two-and-a-half seasons to the loss of QB Tyler Wilson. Working for Arkansas backers…Tide is just 16-10 ATS in SEC play the last three years and Western Kentucky held ‘Bama to 103 rushing yards just a week after Tide went for 232 vs. Michigan. (Props to the Hilltoppers, who’ve been ATS-machines, covering 11 of last 12, or were the Red Elephants playin’ possum?). The bad news?...Pigs yielded 412 passing yards (550 total!) in serious-upset loss to UL-Monroe. Bacon Strips were minus-two turnovers in 2011’s 38-14 defeat to ‘Bama. Tide is without #2 rusher and lead-blocker for the year…Tide 33 Pork Chops 19

#2 Southern Cal (-7 ½) over #21 STANFORD: Money’s been comin’ in hot-n-heavy on Stanford and again, we note USC’s been letting opponents stay in it (spread-wise, at least) too long. However, Stanford is young on the O-line and the strong running game we touted earlier in the season for the Cardinal hasn’t materialized nearly as much as we expected, averaging a pedestrian 123 ypg. That won’t cut it vs. most decent teams and the 40-point rout of Duke is tad deceiving if ya consider four turnovers by the Blue Devils. The doggie has taken the money the last four years and Trees haven’t gotten points at home since ’09 (resulting in an outright win over Oregon). Redbirds have won three straight in this series, including 56-48 game in 2011. If Troy is gonna’ prove itself worthy of the preseason hype, covering here would help…Trojans 34 Stanford 24

Idaho (+42) over #3 LSU: Tigers 41 Vandals 6

Tennessee Tech @ #4 OREGON: No line.

#5 Oklahoma: IDLE (next vs. Kansas State)

Wake Forest (+27) over #6 FLORIDA STATE: We end up with egg on our face every time we back the ‘Noles, but we salute them for takin’ care of bidness vs. two FCS squads to the tune of 124-3. Clemson is on-deck for State and the Deacs have actually taken three of last five SU vs. the Tribe. The Forest edged double-A Liberty before upsetting North Carolina. Wake’s been bad road dog. State busted Weeziana-Monroe and Charleston Southern, collectively 96-10, in 2011 before dropping three straight games, including 35-30 loss to these Demon Deacons… FSU 30 Wake Forest 20

Florida Atlantic (+42) over #7 GEORGIA: ‘Dawgs 42 FAU 6

Alabama-Birmingham (+33 ½) over #8 SOUTH CAROLINA: Poultry 37 UAB 10

James Madison @ #9 WEST VIRGINIA: No line.

#10 MICHIGAN STATE (-5) over #20 Notre Dame: QB Golson was effective enough throwing the ball in Catholics’ narrow win over Purdue, while State gave up Central Michigan’s only points in the waning half-minute on an INT-for-TD by the reserve quarterback in 41-7 romp. MSU is revenge-minded after last season’s 31-13 loss. Irish have covered 5 of last 8 vs. the Top 25, but won only two of ‘em outright. Spartans band has been instructed to fire-up Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” every time the Leprechauns get da’ ball…MSU 27 ND 19

Furman @ #11 CLEMSON: No line.

#12 OHIO STATE (-17) over California: Uh oh! Another 12-PACK/Big Tent-Peg match-up! At least the Buckeyes are hosting this one. Bears have given up 31 in each of their two previous games in 2012…winning one, losing one. Bears have covered 7 of last 8 getting double-digits on the road (though 1-1 in 2011). State comes in on 1-5 ATS skid, having combined with UCF for total of six turnovers in SU win (but spread loss) vs. the Golden Knights. QB Braxton Miller proved himself worthy of carrying the ground game as well, rushing for three touchdowns, drawing comparisons to former Buckeye QB Art Schlicter. Fans (and school officials) hope that’s where the similarities end, given Schlicter’s subsequent NFL bust and life of crime as a compulsive gambling felon… Buckeyes 38 Berkeley 16

#13 Virginia Tech (-10 ½) over PITTSBURGH: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Panthers, who change coaches like we change channels, are go-against until further notice. The instability of four head coaches in just over a year’s time has shown in opening two-score loss to the AA Penguins of Y-town State and a blow-out loss at Cincinnati, in which Pitt scored a meaningless TD with about 90 seconds left to play last Thursday. Pitt features a lot of seniors on offense, but not playin’ like it…Hokies 31 Pitt 10

#14 Texas (-10 ½) over MISSISSIPPI: Texas 35 Old Mist 17

#15 KANSAS STATE (-28 ½) over North Texas: KSU 48 Mean Green 17

KANSAS (+21) over #16 Texas Christian: Not much of gauge to-date for Texas Christian (just nine starters back), with only the 56-nada smoking of Grambling last week in the record book. TCU, an unimpressive away-fave, advances in conference-class (again), but faces arguably the remedial students of said-class. Jayhawks, now being directed by Charlie Weis, have won just a pair of Big 12 match-ups in the last 25 and allowed almost 44 ppg by opponents last season. Birds enter this one off one-point loss to Rice after beating FCS South Dakota State, 31-17 to open the year. Four Horny Toads gridiron players were caught in a drug-sting during the offseason. Considering a movement for random drug-testing at Oregon, perhaps some of the Ducks would consider transferring to…THC-U 34 Kansas 17

Massachusetts (+46) over #17 MICHIGAN: Michigan 51 UMass 9

#18 Florida (+3) over #23 TENNESSEE: The Florida passing game is still in first-gear, but Gators pulled out the win on the strength of the defense. Perhaps Coach Muschamp should let RB Gillislee carry the team this week as well. Vols are favored , but haven’t toppled the Crocs since 2004, losing each of the past three years by an average of a dozen points. Rocky Top is 2-0, having beaten NC State and AA Joja’ State decisively. Derek Dooley helped bring about Tennessee’s new athletic facility, which includes a mixed-martial arts octagon. Vindy’s spies say Dooley’s planning to teach his charges to choke-out opposing players in the pile after the whistle! (Just outta’ curiosity, for the Lord of the Rings fanatics, did anyone else out there see Gollum put Sam in a rear-naked choke early in “The Two Towers”???!!!)…Florida 19 Tennessee 17

#19 LOUISVILLE (-3 ½) over North Carolina: Cardinals 20 UNC 10

Houston (+17) over #22 UCLA: Best guess for “wish I had it back”. Air Keenum is gone and loss to (GASP!) Texas State (+36 ½) led to the resignation of Coogs’ OC. Houston put forth a much better in Week Two, but still lost SU/ATS to Weeziana Tech by a touchdown in a shootout. Improved Bruins squad beat Rice and piled up 653 yards of offense in 36-30 upset of Nebraska, behind RB Franklin’s 217 rushing yards, to go to 2-0 SU/ATS. UH won 38-34 last year. UCLA now 4-1 ATS as DD chalk the past three campaigns…Cubs 42 Coogs 34

SC State @ #24 ARIZONA: No line.

#25 Brigham Young (-4 ½) over UTAH: We watched the Utes’ quarterbacks get hurried, bruised and battered by the Aggies defense in Thursday night 27-20 upset loss to USU, and starter Jordan Wynn is now out for the season. Cougars opened with a pair of easy home wins over Wazzou and Weber State. Utes are 2-1 SU/ATS the past three years in this series, but embarrassed BYU 54-10 on the road last year. Both sides are deep, but we like Riley Nelson to lead BYU to the payback win and cover…BYU 24 Utah 17


BTW, if we can’t leave the resort under our own power, we’d prefer to exit the building strapped to the top of a hotdog cart!

As a follow-up to last week’s lead story, the Paterno family continues to adamantly deny Joe Pa was obsessed with the Masters of the Universe figure-collection found in his office alongside a 1970’s “Simon” game that only played the famous tone-sequence from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”!!! (We also have it on good authority that the bronze statue of the coaching legend, reportedly stashed in a safe hiding place on campus, was actually beamed-up by the Mothership and now shares an air-lock with Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa!)

The AP ran a story last week about the exploits of Russian president Vladimir Putin as, among other things, a biker, diver and swimmer. OK, so he’s proven himself as a candidate for the next annual “X-Games”. We just really wanna’ see him snort half-a-pound of wasabi in the next “Jack-Ass” movie! (In all honestly, after the alma mater left 13 points via the kicking-game [four missed FGs and a blocked XP] in a one-point road loss to Virginia, we’d personally serve borscht and doff off our furry Ushanka hat to the Soviet leader if he could split the uprights from 20-35 yards away!) . Geez! Does Sebastian Janikowski or David Akers have any college-eligibility left???!!!

Back in February, Madonna (with Cirque du Soleil) did the halftime show of the Super Bowl. Too bad Tim Tebow and da’ Broncos didn’t make it. The Material Goal…uh…Girl…coulda’ open the show with “Like A Prayer”!

In the midst of the NY Giants’ Super Bowl victory parade, punter Steve Weatherford commandeered a drum from one of the marching band members and kept his own rhythm….then promptly kicked the percussion instrument outta’ bounds inside the Patriots’ 20-yard line!

In June, U.S. Olympic sprinter Justin Gatlin weighed-in on the tie for the Summer Games berth for women’s 100-meters between Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh, proposing the conundrum be decided via Jell-O or mud-wrestling match. We thought a sudden-death game of “quarters” or “beer-pong” was called-for!

Black Shirt: We hand out a whole box of tees this week to the Gators defense for holding A&M scoreless in the second-half, allowing Florida to rally for the win.

“Locked in a Box?”: Ironically, with all of Vindy’s good fortune picking games thus far, our preferred choices are now 0-2 (.000) as the Merit-Badgers fell outright to the Beavers!

Shoppe Talk: The Trojans of USC (0-2, .000) drop-by to keep West Virginia company, along with the Cowpokes of Oklahoma State (0-1, but now 3-11 in last 14 appearances in the picks!)

Vindy’s Week 3 Best Bets: Last Week: 2-2 Season: 5-4 (.555)

Northern Illinois -3 over ARMY, Arizona State +6 ½ over MISSOURI, Virginia +10 ½ over JOJA’ TECH, Ohio -6 ½ over MARSHALL, Utah State +14 over WISCONSIN, Middle Tennessee State -3 ½ over MEMPHIS

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Vindy's Picks Week 2-2012


STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania (REUTERS)… Hordes of other-worldly-life-forms aficionados, who normally congregate in places such as Roswell, New Mexico, descended upon Happy Valley this week following the WikiLeaks release of the 44 previously-protected pages from Joe Paterno’s FBI file, which suggested the Penn State legend was actually an alien-being infiltrating the human race. Under the Freedom of Information Act, the federal agency had recently revealed most of the content of the late-coach’s dossier, which basically outlined little more than threats made against the coach by unhappy parents. Visitors to the campus hoped to catch a small glimpse or clue about the college football icon’s extra-terrestrial existence. Other sections of the originally-redacted file indicated he was also a card-carrying Communist, Khloe Kardashian’s real father and a Chick-fil-A shareholder!

If you were scoring at home, you know Vindicator not only opened the season on the right side of the Thursday night Carolina-Vandy game, he also predicted the exact final score of that tilt en route to a 10-7 (.588) record for Week One! Vindy and his entourage were all prohibited from a boarding a flight on a major airline this past Saturday for sporting T-shirts printed with…

(Marginally cuter than Snooki’s baby!)

Western Kentucky (+40) over #1ALABAMA:
‘Bama 44 WKY 7

#2 Southern Cal (-26 ½) over Syracuse (@ Met Life Stadium, NY): In an act of arrogance (or maybe in response to a call from one of da’ Godfatha’s “buffas”), Trojans went fer two…twice…following very early 1st-half touchdowns…missing both and costing Vindy a forecast dubya!!! Nitwit Lion-defector RB Silas Redd hit the end zone on behalf of USC as well. We are seriously-conflicted about ‘dat! ‘Cuse on 0-6 SU/1-7 ATS skid going back to 2011, after suffering bad beat on late-hit penalty that extended Northwestern’s 4th Quarter game-winning drive to lose by 1. Scoring D is still a problem for Orange, who allowed 9 more ppg last year (28) than in the 2010 season and gave up 42 to the Wildcats. On da’ plus-side, ‘Cuse has scored more points in each of the last six seasons and gone 4-2 ATS vs. ranked foes the past three years, including upset shocker over then-#11 West Virginia last October. Snoopy says…USC 48 Orange 16

#3 LSU (-23 ½) over Washington: Bengals 41 Huskies 13

Fresno State (+34 ½) over #4 OREGON: Ducks 48 Fresno State 20

Florida A&M @ #5 OKLAHOMA: No line.

Savannah State @ #6 FLORIDA STATE: No line.

#7 Georgia (-3) over MISSOURI: Joja’ 24 Mizzou 20

Louisiana-Monroe (+30 ½) over #8 ARKANSAS: Defense is still the Achilles’ heel for Arkansas, who gave up 21 first-half points to FCS almost-Top 25 team Jacksonville State. ‘Bama drops-by next week and Pork Chops are just 2-5 ATS in last 7 vs. the Fun Belt. Former Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino got canned for more than 4300 texts and 300 calls to a mistress half his age. The whole Baylor program got three years’ probation for far fewer inappropriate contacts! BTW, rumor has it the Warhawks will emerge from the tunnel aboard motorcycles driven by their cheerleaders!...Pigs 37 UL-Monroe 13

#9 (tie) West Virginia: IDLE (next vs. James Madison)

East Carolina (+21 ½) over #9 (tie) SOUTH CAROLINA: The Chicken Nuggets were fortunate to leave Nashville with a dubya last week given the injury to QB Connor Shaw and an un-thrown pass interference flag that woulda’ put Vandy in position to close the gap to one, or even score the winning TD in the 4th Quarter. Pirates on are 5-2 ATS run, in third year under Coach Ruffin McNeill and have suffered thru two years-worth of turnovers that killed ‘em. Buckos get the nod….Gamehens 31 ECU 14

#11 Michigan State (-21) over CENTRAL MICHIGAN: MSU 34 CMU 9

#12 CLEMSON (-27 ½) over Ball State: Clemson 38 BSU 3

#13 Wisconsin (-7 ½) over OREGON STATE: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. This is a lotta’ love bein’ given to the Beavers and we think it’s a serious over-reaction to Wisky’s mere five-point victory over FCS club Northern Iowa. Heisman candidate Montee Ball rushed for a buck-thirty-two, but had no touchdowns. State brings back 15 young starters from injury-riddled 2011 season, which included a 35-0 loss at Camp Randall. Beavers’ scoring went down each of the past two years, while allowing more each year over the past five seasons. Badgers have failed to cover 6 of their last 8 games and are poor road faves, but should get it done here…Cheese-Heads 27 OSU 10

Central Florida (+17 ½) over #14 OHIO STATE: Could be the most intriguing match-up of the week. Like the Buckeyes, the Golden Knights will spend the offseason on their sofas courtesy of NCAA penalties (those sanctions are, however, being appealed). Both teams have good defenses and both hung more than a half-century on their respective opponents in the openers. UCF’s backfield includes transfers from Missouri (Blaine Gabbert’s little bro) and Miami. We give the dog a chance…OSU 23 UCF 17

Austin Peay @ #15 VIRGINIA TECH: No line.

#16 Nebraska (-5) over UCLA: Nebraska 30 Bruins 20

New Mexico (+38) over #17 TEXAS: Steers are the other club garnering a few of Vindy’s rubles as one of the medium-range odds teams to take home the crystal trophy. Sophomore David Ash is directing the traffic while the running game is in good shape, averaging 7 yards per carry, with two rushers over 100 yards each vs. Wyoming (which led 9-7 early). There was dancin’ in the streets of Santa Fe following Lobos’ 66-21 victory over FCS team Southern in Bob Davie’s debut at Head Coach. New Mexico matched its win total from a year ago (and equaled the yearly total for each of the past three seasons). Local readers may remember that 2011 win came vs. UNLV, as did Lobos previous season-starting win in 2005. Texas hasn’t beaten anybody by this many since early 2009…’Horns 42 UNM 10

#18 Oklahoma State (-13) over ARIZONA: Officials in Stillwater are still usin’ C-130 military transports to air-drop enough paper towels to pick up what’s left of Savannah State’s football team after the obscene 84-0 beat-down it got. Cowpokes employing freshmen (true or redshirt) at QB and while we don’t expect that kinda’ mismatch here, AZ’s OT win over Toledo…at home…gives us a good idea where the Wildcats’ first year under RichRod is gonna’ go. ‘Cats have covered just 5 of last 22 games overall. We considered this for “lock”…OKSU 38 AZ 20

Air Force (+21) over #19 MICHIGAN: A couple of gift-wrapped INTs put Michigan behind way too early to make a game of it vs. “Bama. Tide rushed at-will, but USAF’s backs and O-linemen won’t be nearly as big and we can just about count the number of Pilots’ returning starters on one hand . Nonetheless, nobody on Big Blue sideline has seen the option. Per the 6/25 ish of ESPN: Da’ Mag, Wolverines players underwent four hours of SEAL training alongside some actual Navy candidates. Demi Moore caught UM coaches’ attention at wide-receiver after telling a Wolverines’ cornerback to “suck…my…stick ‘em!!!”…Big Blue 24 Flyboys 13

Grambling State @ #20 TCU: No line.

#21 KANSAS STATE (-6 ½) over Miami: KSU 38 Hurricanes 27

Purdue (+14 ½) over #22 NOTRE DAME: Irish 29 Boilers 17

Missouri State @ #23 LOUISVILLE: No line.

#24 Florida (+1 ½) over TEXAS A&M: Gators were sloppy vs. decent Bowling Green squad, piling up 14 flags. The multiple-quarterback system got the win for Florida, but not convincingly. The coaching decision to settle on Jeff Driskel at QB should help. Former TAMU starting QB Ryan Tannehill is now suiting up for the Dolphins. We don’t think the initial offensive problems for Florida and road-team status warrants making Aggies the chalk here. A&M hasn’t been a good bet vs. ranked opponents nor in lined openers, and since Weeziana Tech game got postponed due to Mother Nature, this becomes Aggies’ first live-fire contest. Gators can at least make a few adjustments following last week’s outing…Crocs 27 A&M 24

#25 STANFORD (-14) over Duke: Cardinal eked out just 280 yards of total offense while sustaining just one five-yard hankie and zero turnovers, so we gotta’ tip our helmet to San Josie State fer one helluva’ defensive effort. Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com says Trees excel laying points following non-12-PACK game and Dukies suck after popping the scoreboard fer more than 35 (46 vs. Florida Int’l last week). Redbirds do host SoCal next week. Hud Mellencamp, son of John Mellencamp, walked-on and will play defensive back for the Blue Devils this season. Hud was home-schooled and did not play on the prep gridiron, taking up boxing instead. Will tackles “Hurt So Good”? Will pre-game speeches in Durham include “Nobody comes into our ‘little pink houses’ and pushes us around!”??? “Hud”, of course, either stands for “Housing & Urban Development” or…“Halfback Under Duress”!...Birds 31 Devils 13


BTW, further examination of Joe Pa’s file yielded information that he was also once turned down for a spot as a judge on American Idol. (And the whole “alien” thing would certainly explain the poor win-loss records during the Lions’ leaner years!). A few more thoughts on this topic next week!

Tunes besides Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” now off the Beaver Stadium playlist due to (cough!) “normal rotation”: MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This”, Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” and Ernie’s Sesame Street classic…”Rubber Duckie”!!!!!

Chalk a few up for the little guys: Eastern Washington 20-3 over Idaho, McNeese St 27-21 over Middle Tennessee St, Tennessee-Martin 20-17 over Memphis and Texas State 30-13 over Houston. Also in the “Whachu’ talkin’ ‘bout, Willis???!!!” category: Maryland 7-6 over William & Mary, Wake Forest 20-17 over Liberty, Indiana 24-17 over Indiana St and Wisconsin 26-21 over Northern Iowa! (We do note, however, that EWU, Indy State and Northern Iowa were all in the FCS Top 25 last week! Liberty showed up at #27, W&M at #35 and McNeese St got a single vote at #48.)

Along the same lines…the best team in Pennsylvania last week was…Temple???!! The alma mater fell 24-14 to Ohio and Pitt was beaten 31-17 by AA-squad Youngstown State. The Owls, however, managed to pound AA Villanova 41-10.

With regular officiating crews sidelined by the NFL via lock-out, replacement refs will be calling games, including females. Can’t wait to hear the first coach say they “lost the game to the folks in the striped skirts!” Or at least to the “zee-bras!” Hell hath no fury like a woman-referee scorned!

Can anybody else out there envision seeing Peyton Manning, especially given his new team this season, at the line of scrimmage…going thru his usual pre-snap gyrations, barking audibles…inter-spliced with shots of backs and receivers grabbing their uniforms to prominently display their jersey-digits…in-between clips of Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell bobbing their heads and rotating in unison a la the Night at the Roxbury (“What is Love?”) SNL skit in a music-video mash-up with Carly Rae Jepsen’s current hit “Call Me Maybe”???!!! (Or for those who know a certain former co-worker of your humble host…”Call me, Mabry!?”).

In July, we learned the USOC allowed Team USA garb to be “made in China”! That’s like Buckeyes players suiting-up in unis “made in Meeeeeshigan”!!!! The good news???!!! The outfits, designed by American Ralph Lauren, were sewn in world-record time by Chinese kids…six-and-under!!!! After that revelation, there was a call to burn those duds. What really hurt, though, was the suggestion that copies of Vindy’s Picks be used as kindling!!!!!

Immediately following disclosure of Prince Harry’s Vegas adventures last month, the Queen Mum petitioned the IOC to make strip-billiards an official Olympic medal-sport!

Black Shirt: The initial highly-coveted ebony-tee for the best performance, or “performance”, aiding Vindy’s cause, of the 2012 season goes to…the officiating crew-member that missed the pass interference penalty by a South Carolina defender in the 4th quarter of the Vandy game, allowing our narrator to hit the exact final score!

“Locked in a Box?”: We open the year a disappointing 0-1 on Lock of Da’ Week picks as the Stanford Cardinal, laying almost four scores, needed a late FG to edge San Jose State!

Shoppe Talk: The Mounted Ears of West Virginia (0-1, .000) officially open Ye Olde Taxidermy Shoppe this year, posting their 9th forecast “L” in their last dozen appearances in da’ Picks!

Vindy’s Week 2 Best Bets: Last Week: 3-2 Season: 3-2 (.600)
BOWLING GREEN -16 over Idaho, Toledo +3 ½ over WYOMING, Iowa State +3 over IOWA, Vanderbilt -3 ½ over NORTHWESTERN

Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to the Oval Office to knock a few back with the Commander-in-Chief! (“Honey Beerer don’t care???!!”)