Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vindy's Picks Week 1-2013


SOUTH BEND, Indiana (BBC)…
Trying to erase the stench of last January’s BCS Championship game “performance”, Notre Dame is marketing fragrances known as ND Gold Eau De Toilette and Lady Irish Eau De Parfum. Early reviews have been mixed, with some consumers liking the products, while others have suggested the scents are reminiscent of “The Four Horsemen” at halftime. One focus group even recommended renaming one of the colognes to Frodo de Toilette in a sarcastic nod to Rudy actor Sean Astin’s role in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. The jury’s still out across the Atlantic on the Emerald Isle as to whether or not the perfumes are worthy of more than simply being poured on the Blarney Stone!

Vindy meanwhile, escaping the lingering odor of his own “efforts” in 2012, spent the off-season with Steven Tyler in the Hawaiian islands enacting legislation to legally ward-off paparazzi while getting SCUBA (Self-Contained Underdog Betting Apparatus) –qualified alongside his 2013 Preseason Forecasting Strategy Team of Katherine Webb, imaginary squeeze Lennay Kekua, Anna Welker, Westminster-winner affenpinscher Banana Joe, Florida senator Marco Rubio, Lauren Silberman, “Nicky Flash” (“because Nicky rhymes with Flash”), California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Brittney Griner, ex-Rutgers hoops coach Mike Rice, Cliff Paul, Justin Bieber’s monkey, new Rutgers AD Julie Hermann, “Carlos Danger”, Riley Cooper, A-bout-to-be-awhile-from-his-next-official-at-bat-Rod and Edward Snowden, who was recently granted temporary asylum in Russia after he finally agreed to stop leaking picks from…

(Smellin’ sweeta’ than Aromatic Parshegian!)

North Carolina (+11 1/2) over #6 SOUTH CAROLINA:
Tarheels, in second year under Coach Larry Fedora, are young on offense, but more-experienced on D. RB Marcus Lattimore has moved on, but Gamecocks still have senior Connor Shaw at QB. KFC has not covered last two season-openers, faces only its second FBS opponent to open the year since 2006 and might look ahead to next week’s game at Joja’…Poultry 23 UNC 16

Hawaii (+23) over #24 USC: Trojans 41 ‘Bows 24

SAT. AUG. 31
Virginia Tech (+20) over #1 Alabama (@ Atlanta, GA):
Tide goes for a BCS trifecta, for time since Minnesota captured three straight titles in the mid-30’s, and a precedent-setting fourth crown in five years. However, only once in the previous 13 seasons has the AP preseason #1 team walked away with a national title that same season. ‘Bama played just three games last year decided by less than 18, winning and covering two of ‘em. 2012 saw Hokies suffering first minus-turnover ratio in in six years and they bring back senior QB Logan Thomas. Tech will try to be first non-conference team to topple Alabama since Utah did so in the post-2008 season Sugar Bowl… ’Bama 30 Tech 16

Buffalo (+35 1/2)over #2 OHIO STATE: Buckeyes are coming off a bowl ban that ruined an otherwise perfect 2012 season to start Urban Meyer’s tenure in Columbus. Bulls get nice number of returning starters back and have improved the running game by 62 ypg under now-fourth-year coach Jeff Quinn. Buffalo lost by 22 at Georgia last season and by 19 at Pitt to begin 2011. State’s covered last three openers by 38, 42 and 46, but starting RB Carlos Hyde (and leading rusher) will ride the pine for this one…and two more games…after gettin’ caught on tape attempting retaliation vs. a woman who hit him…Buckeyes 42 Bulls 10

Nicholls State @ #3 OREGON: No line.

#4 Stanford: IDLE (next vs. San Jose State)

#8 CLEMSON (+2) over #5 Georgia: Tough call in what figures to be a QB showdown between CU’s Taj Boyd and UGA’s Aaron Murray. Georgia’s gone 11-2 SU in the regular-season season vs. non-conference teams, but has faced only Joja’ Tech outta’ the ACC (winning 4 of 5 outright). Tigers are just 5-10 ATS vs. non-conference opponents, but return experience to both sides of the ball. ‘Dawgs are short on D this year, but the coin likes Joja’ four outta’ five tosses. We’re meltin’ da’ coin…Clemson 23 Georgia 20 (maybe in OT)

Rice @ #7 TEXAS A&M: OFF Johnny Football’s skills probably qualify him for a spot at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters (read: “mutants” for the non-comicbook geeks in the audience), but his behavior quicker-lands him a spot as a one-Man-ziel circus for Barnum & Bailey!

Toledo (+24) over #10 FLORIDA: Rocketmen play on the road in four of first games, all in September, but have been solid road dogs the past two seasons. As always, the defense is a concern, but Gators have covered just one opener in last three years, with both spread-losses coming vs. MAC teams. Gators QB Jeff Driskel may not start in the wake of recovery from late July appendectomy. UF program has been besieged lately by the Aaron Hernandez mess and perhaps by Johnny Manziel’s Tebow-jersey stunt on the Texas campus. Gators also will be without its starting RB…Florida 29 Toledo 12

#12 Louisiana State (-3 ½) over #20 Texas Christian (@ Arlington, TX): Bengals start their ugly away schedule this year at AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium AKA Jerry’s World), which will seat a pro-Toad audience, but top rusher Jeremy Hill was reinstated to da’ team in August after a suspension and State has won 10 of 13 outside of Baton Rouge the past three years, while dropping just one of last 14 non-SEC tilts. On the downside, Tigers are just 3-4 ATS vs. last 7 ranked opponents and field mostly sophomores. Kermits are young too and went just 1-8-1 ATS out-of-conference the past three seasons. Froggies have their most returning starters since 2009, including senior QB Casey Paschall after he checked his bong at the locker room door…LSU 20 TCU 16

#13 OKLAHOMA STATE (-12 1/2) over Mississippi State: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Cowboys 45 MSU 20

Temple (+28 ½) over #14 NOTRE DAME: 2012 saw Temple’s first losing ATS season since 2006 and Owls allowed an average of 17 ppg more last year than in 2011, leading to just 4 SU wins after posting 9, 8 and 9 victories the previous three seasons. Leprechauns would like nothing more than to get past nightmares of their no-show in last year’s three-TD defeat in national title game vs. ‘Bama. Bashing da’ Owls would do nicely. The unexpected off-season loss of QB Everett Golson hurts though…Irish 38 Owls 14

#15 TEXAS (-42) over New Mexico State: Steers 51 NMSU 7

UL-Monroe (+23) over #16 OKLAHOMA: Sooners 38 UL-Monroe 17

#17 MICHIGAN (-31 ½) over Central Michigan: Big Blue 44 CMU 7

Wyoming (+28 1/2) over #18 NEBRASKA: Huskers 45 Wyoming 24

#19 Boise State (+3 ½) over WASHINGTON: MINOR UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. Rematch of last year’s Las Vegas Bowl, won eventually by Boise after squandering a 15-point lead. Broncos return just a body or two more than the paltry number of returning starters from last season, but despite the new home digs and lotsa’ experience for the Huskies, Boise almost always finds a way to beat the BCS competition (4-point loss at Michigan State to start 2012 notwithstanding). No way do we support 12-PACK Sled Dogs in a game like this until they prove worthy otherwise (sorry, Shannon!) … Tater-Heads 17 UDUB 16

Nevada (+20) over #21 UCLA: Our first call is “over” 66 1/2... After that…UCLA 44 UNR 30

#22 Northwestern (-6 1/2) over CAL: Wildcats 34 Bares 24

Massachusetts (+44) over #23 WISCONSIN: Minutemen put just one game in the SU win-column last year (at Akron) and got clobbered in most of their defeats. Doesn’t look much brighter this year as UMass fields a very young team all-around. There once was a man from Nantucket, who coached a ball-team that did suck at, throwing a pass, to receivers on grass, so the quarterback learned how to “tuck” it!...Badgers 49 UMass 7

Eastern Washington @ #25 OREGON STATE: No line.

Ohio (+21 ) over #9 LOUISVILLE:
Cardinals and QB Teddy Bridgewater, among a likely senior-laden offense, have a nice overall schedule in the new Love American-Athletic-Style conference and get some of our money on a futures bet for the right to face whatever squad comes outta’ the SEC in the final BCS title contest. Nonetheless, we’re backing the Bobbies, who upset the alma mater in Happy Valley to start 2012 and should stay close enough after still managing nine outright wins with a pretty banged-up club down the stretch …Redbirds 24 Ohio 13

PITT (+10) over #11 Florida State:
Nice to see FSU facing a real team to begin play after getting a pair of FCS bottom-feeders in September 2012 (though both were appropriately blown off the gridiron). However, Bethune-Cookman in Game Three this year does spoil the concept a bit. Realignment sets up this match as a rare season-opening conference game. ‘Noles, as normal, come in with high expectations but usually fall short and have a new guy under center and break in a boatload of new assistant coaches. Pitt loses its veteran backfield from prior years, but wants a better showing than upset loss by FCS Youngstown State in 2012’s first game. Panthers did finish strong to go bowlin’ and have covered 5 of last 6 vs. Top 25 opponents. We’re tempted to call an upset, but on this nationally-celebrated Induced-Labor Day, we’ll just happily grab the double-digits…FSU 19 Pitt 17

BTW, Texas Tech is also offering a school fragrance (seriously), but we think the passing attack left behind by now-departed coach Mike Leach is more conducive to an air-freshener, which we’d call…Air Raid De Glade!

This past May, an assistant coach at Florida, and former assistant under Nick Saban, labeled the ‘Bama coach “the devil himself”. Second time in a four-month period a rival had called him such. Not sure we could picture the coach reprising Harvey Keitel’s character in “Little Nicky” or even Adam Sandler’s role in that flick, or squaring-off vs. Arnold like Gabriel Byrne in End of Days, but gotta’ admit…it wouldn’t take much to circle Alabama’s logo “A” and extend a few lines to make it a pentagram!

Earlier this month, we caught this headline regarding the Rebels football team on the front page of the Las Vegas Review-Journal…”UNLV counts on three from Finland”. Our first thought was…”That’s one helluva’ long field goal! (And one ambitious game-plan to beat Minnesota on the road this week!)” “Mr. Janikowski…Mr. Sebastian Janikowski…to the white courtesy phone, please.”

We’ve previously 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 season. In 2009, only Cincinnati did so and in 2010, only Stanford did so. 2011 saw no qualifiers. But 2012 saw a return-to-form with Notre Dame (#26 preseason) and Texas A&M (no votes in the preseason poll) finishing 4th and 6th, respectively, after opening the season without a hashtag by their names. We’re still not convinced that AP voters got smarter, so…your mission…should ya choose to accept it…is to figure out which squad(s) will surprise in a big way for 2013! Our best guess…Miami (currently #29)!

Monopoly held a Facebook contest to determine which classic token got the boot (pun not intended…much!) and what new token replaced it. While the cat ultimately sent the iron packing, we voted for kickin’ the shoe to the curb in favor replacing it with …the Heisman Trophy (but woulda’ cast our ballot to keep the footwear had it been a “cleat”)!

Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com mag recommends betting on bowl teams from the previous season who drop their first two games SU, then win Game Three outright and play in their own friendly confines during Game Four. Reviewing the list of 2012-13 post-season squads, about half could potentially meet the criteria. Realistically, schedules for many of those teams do not portend 0-2 starts followed by a victory in Game Three, but not-to-worry, faithful readers…we’ll track the progress for you and announce the qualifiers in our forecasts for Weeks Four, Five and Six! Don’t touch that Dial soap!!!

Disgraced bicyclist Lance Armstrong asked that the Justice Department’s False Act Claim get tossed out, claiming the USPS got more than its fifteen minutes of fame and associated revenues by sponsoring him and his teammates. Oddly, the Postal Service agreed and will lower the cost of a first-class stamp featuring Armstrong’s likeness, bicycle or syringe to…twenny-fy cent!

The Leftovers column in a mid-July ish of The Las Vegas Review-Journal referenced a STATS study showing 6 of the past 10 Home Run Derby victors had facial hair of one kind or another, including Oakland’s Yoenis Cepedes, who sported a soul-patch while taking the 2013 crown, and facially-hairy batters hit more dingers on average during that span than their hirsute-less peers. Vindy’s following suit by ditching his lifetime supply of Nair (and the commensurate short-shorts!) as we speak and hopes to look like Grizzly Adams before entering the sportsbook to make next week’s wagers!

Shoppe Talk: We’ll keep a close eye this year on last season’s PITA teams…USC (4-9 in the forecast), UCLA (3-7), West Virginia (2-7) and Florida State (4-8) …in an effort to reverse our fortune when pickin’ games featuring these squads!

Vindy’s Week 1 Best Bets: Unlv +14 over MINNESOTA, BOWLING GREEN -3 over Tulsa, MIAMI -32 ½ over Florida Atlantic, SOUTHERN MISS -8 over Texas State, LOUISVILLE-Ohio "under" 58 Last Season: 41-37-1 (.526)

Next week…more on ‘Bama’s (Prince of) Dark(ness)-side, additional off-season silliness and some thoughts on… da’ NFL!