Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Vindy's Picks Week 10-2013


LONDON, England (CNN)…Souvenir makers and vendors of commemorative mugs, bibs, baby clothes, plates, cups and pint glasses waited last July with baited breath and had employees on stand-by, ready to scramble, while waiting to learn the gender of Kate’s regal not-yet-born child! Soon thereafter, the blueblood son was born and named George Alexander Louis. Fans of Seinfeld rejoiced and aforementioned-merchandise was emblazoned with the title. But, it wasn’t until the October 23 christening that other names being considered were revealed, giving a look into the mindset of the parents. Among the possibilities reportedly were…George Hermann Ruth, George Foreman (who named all his kids “George”), Jeff George, George Blanda, George Steinbrenner (again, a cheer went up from Seinfeld faithful), George Carlin and George Brett, which would have been a sticky wicket. Said one man-servant on condition of anonymity, “There was a brief thought about ‘Charles’… not for the prince of the same name, but rather as in…’Barkley’…We woulda’ called the pudgy-cherub…the crowned pound of rebound!”

Vindicator, who apparently channeled “George of Da’ Jungle” last week, going a mere 9-9 (77-69-4, .527) and will spend the upcoming fortnight fending-off ghosts at the Tower of London, has realized even the Buckingham Palace guards visibly shudder when presented with…

(“This isn’t da’ Junior Chamber of Commerce, Brad!”)

WASHINGTON STATE (+11) over #25 Arizona State: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK.
Yeah, yeah…our preferred selections in games involving ranked teams are on 0-5-1 downward-spiral since beginning 3-0. And it’s Thursday night to-boot! We get it! But this has shoot-out written all over it…and maybe the upset…with both Pitchforks’ defeats coming away from Tempe. First choice is “over”, then...ASU 45 Wazzou 41

#1 Alabama:
IDLE (next vs. LSU)

#2 Oregon: IDLE (next 11/7 @ Stanford)

#7 Miami (+21) over #3 FLORIDA STATE: Miami hasn’t beaten FSU since 2009, but did lose just 23-19 during 2011’s trip to Tallahassee. ‘Canes come in off near-disaster vs. Wake Forest while Seminoles have outscored last three opponents by combined 163-31, including 37-point win at Clemson. Stephen Morris will throw into nation’s best pass D, but Miami ain’t shabby there either. DA’ U needs to stay on the ground and avoid turnovers to have a shot. Two weeks ago, the Ohio State marching band pulled off nifty tribute to Michael Jackson for the anniversary of “Bad”. After recently dodging major NCAA penalties, the ‘Canes brought in those same Buckeyes musicians to perform a halftime rendition of Jacko’s “Smooth Criminal”!...’Noles 34 Miami 24

#4 Ohio State (-30 ½) over PURDUE: OSU 42 Boilermakers 7

#5 Baylor: IDLE (next 11/7 vs. Oklahoma)

#6 Stanford: IDLE (next 11/7 vs. Oregon)

#8 Auburn @ ARKANSAS: OFF. This line opened with Tigers laying 8 and we considered this for lock at that number. Soooeeey Pigs have won big the past two seasons, but this year’s Bacon has gone 1-5 SU/ATS in its past six games (and been outscored 134-17 in most recent three). Auburn could be without starting QB Nick Marshall, but will get adequate play from his back-up if needed. We doubt the bye week did enough for Arkansas to right the ship enough to make this one competitive for 60 minutes.

VIRGINIA (+17) over #9 Clemson: Tigers 31 Cavs 17

#10 MISSOURI (-11 ½) over Tennessee: Maybe a letdown spot for Mizzou, but Vols will put a freshman making his first start under center and Tennessee’s got nobody like Connor Shaw on the bench that could lead a comeback like he did vs. Missouri last week…Tigers 38 Rocky Top 23

#11 LSU: IDLE (next @ Alabama)

Texas-El Paso (+46 ½) over #12 TEXAS A&M: During post-game interviews following win over da’ Commodores last week, Manziel copped to wanting to share an evening-meal most with…Charlie Sheen, Rob Gronkowski and Tiger Woods. Nice. Two addicts and a revered Patriots tight-end. Do ya think NFL scouts have made note of Johnny’s responses fer purposes of the Combine (and we’re guessin’ a similar question has been added to the Wonderlic test!). Ironically, yer humble narrator made a cameo appearance on “30 Rock” and was offered those same three selections in a game of “Marry, Boff, Kill”. We’ll let the faithful readership decide our final order of those choices, but we’re counting on da’ A&M D to determine the spread-decision...Aggies 59 Miners 17

#13 Oklahoma: IDLE (next 11/7 @ Baylor)

#14 SOUTH CAROLINA (-13) over Mississippi State: Gamehens 35 MSU 19

#18 Oklahoma State (+2) over #15 TEXAS TECH: Critics were quick to point-out Red Raiders’ light-schedule before and after 8-point loss at Oklahoma, in which Sooners outscored Tech 17-7 in the 4th Quarter. Tech suffered its first defeat in that game and nothing else about Guns Up schedule excites us. This series has been all Oklahoma State the past three years and State’s already knocked off Mississippi State, TCU, Kansas State and Iowa State. Other than Cowpokes just-8-point halftime lead vs. ISU last week, there’s nothing that compels us to back the home-fave here, in what will be a high-scoring outing…OKSU 44 Texas Tech 37

#16 FRESNO STATE (-20 ½) over Nevada: Reno finally yielded the Fremont Cannon to UNLV for first time in nine years in tightly-contested home-loss. That was pretty-much the extent of Wolfpack’s season, needing three more wins in final games to be bowl-eligible. UNR will be dogs in all four of those. Meanwhile, Bulldogs need to hammer remaining foes to try to keep pace with Northern Illinois for BCS-buster spot. State not stellar on total-defense, as we’ve noted all along, but still 27 notches higher and showing 13 fewer offensive touchdowns-allowed. Bulldogs haven’t covered a home-game in three tries on the season vs. FBS opponents. Wolfpack just 1-3 ATS on the road, though two of those were at UCLA and Florida State…Fresno 48 UNR 23

#17 UCLA (-27 ½) over Colorado: Second choice for lock of da’ week. Bruins, who’ve been stymied the last two games vs. Stanford and Oregon, despite following a week that saw chalk dominate the Top 25, should find plenty of room vs. the visiting Bumbaloes!... UCLA 48 Colorado 14

#19 Central Florida: IDLE (next vs. Houston)

#20 Louisville: IDLE (next 11/8 @ UCONN)

UMASS (+23 ½) over #21 Northern Illinois: Tough call, but we’re staying with our first thought. NIU let off the throttle about a minute into the 4th Quarter in 39-point romp vs. Eastern Michigan, in game that wasn’t even that close, and might just pull starters early here, despite an upcoming bye prior to facing MAC-contenders Ball State and Toledo. UMass coughed up Western Michigan’s first victory on the year, at home…as three-point chalk. Minutemen have met (and lost significantly to) a number of BCS teams, but have shown a reasonable defense in conference play, going 2-2 ATS. Jordan Lynch (#12 in total individual offense) can carry the Sled Dogs by himself, but NIU’s 10-point win at Idaho, 14-point victory at Kent State and 21-pointer at Central Michigan give us some hope the Minutemen can answer the call. Could the Dogs produce “Wish I had it back” results two weeks in a row?!...NIU 37 UMass 17

#22 Wisconsin (-9 ½) over IOWA: Continuing our Rocky Horror Picture Show theme… “Say!...One of you guys know how to…’Madison’?!”…Badgers 31 Hawkeyes 20

#23 Michigan (+4 ½) over #24 MICHIGAN STATE: MINOR UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. Spartans took home the Little Brown Jug four straight times until last season’s 12-10 loss in Ann Arbor. This one looks like it’ll come down to Michigan’s big passing game (263 yards per game) to set up its rushing touchdowns vs. State’s pass-efficiency defense (#2 nationally behind only Virginia Tech). All of Big Blew’s last 5 conference defeats have been on the road. Wolverines must protect the ball better than they have so far…Michigan 27 Michigan State 21


BTW, had the newest addition to the Queen Mum’s clan been a girl, her name woulda’ been “Georgia”, in honor of the UGA Bulldogs!

Acknowledging Halloween, Colorado State will host Boise State in…Ft. Barnabus Collins! (We’re also wondering which team will get thrown under the Barnabus Collins!)

With outright dubyas by Western Michigan (31-30 @ UMass) and New Mexico State (34-29 over FCS Abby Christian…yeah, they were dancin’ on the streets of Las Cruces after that one), the remaining winless FBS clubs (those without so much as a victory over even a double-A squad) thus far are (in alphabetical order)…Connecticut, Hawaii, Miami-Ohio and Southern Miss.

After initial consideration, the NY Mets decided to forego chasing June All-Star votes from a certain segment of the population that frequents CougarLife.Com (a website that features older women who prefer the company of significantly-younger guys and who made 3B David Wright their …uh… ”flavor-of-the-month” ). Given the horror of the Mets win-loss streak at the time, we think FreddyKruger.Com mighta’ been a more apropos choice of endorsements!

During Media Day festivities prior to the Super Bowl XLVII, Ravens LB Terrell Suggs serenaded attendees with Meatloaf’s “I Would Do Anything for Love”. Coulda’ been worse. He coulda’ opted for said-artist’s “Hot Patootie: Whatever Happened to Saturday Night?” from Rocky Horror Picture Show! (“’Brad!’ ‘Dr. Scott!’ ‘Janet!’ *Vindy*! ‘Rocky!’ (stare) ‘Dr. Scott!’ ‘Janet!’ *Vindy*!” ‘Adriannnnne!’ “Rocky!‘(stare) ‘Brad!’…)

Rumor has it there’s registration of a trademark-moniker known as da’ “Washington Bravehearts” on behalf of D.C.’s pro gridiron team??!! Oh sure…following accusations of racial-insensitivity/political-incorrectness, the Redskins are gonna’ switch to a nickname who’s poster-child is…Mel Gibson???!!! “They *may* take our *lives*...but they’ll never take…our free-safetyyyyyyyy!!!!”

As the most-interesting man in da’ world, Vindy doesn’t always throw his challenge-flag…but when he does… replay-officials up in da’ booth automatically reverse the call on da’ field!

Jeopardy response for da’ Sports before-and-after category for this clue: Federal closure that leads to no receptions made against this player. What is…”Government shutdown-corner???!!”

And finally…Vindy’s Picks is still easier to use than!

Black Shirt: Goes this week to Tide DB Landon Collins for a back-breakin’ 89-yard pick-six just before the intermission vs. Tennessee that ultimately led to a forecast-win instead of a push.

“Wish I Had That One Back”: We called it last week! We’d like a mulligan on Eastern Michigan +30 ½ over NIU after we changed our initial pick and but still bothered by the gaudy number of points given up recently by the Eagles.

“Locked in a Box?”: Even after Auburn lost its starting QB, the FAU Owls couldn’t stay within the number, dropping the tally (again!) to 3-5-1 (.375).

Shoppe Talk: The Seminoles and Cardinal are off da’ hook for now, but after trashing the alma mater, the Suckeyes of Ohio State are now 1-4-1 (.200). Meanwhile the Spooners of Oklahoma come in at 2-6 (.250 and on a 0-4 slide), with in-state rival Oklahoma State on notice at 2-4 (.333).

Vindy’s Week 10 Best Bets: Last Week: 3-1-1 Season: 26-14-1 (.650)
HOUSTON -17 ½ over South Florida (THURS), GEORGIA STATE +19 ½ over Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State -4 ½ over UAB, AKRON -1 over Kent State, Tulane +4 over FLORIDA ATLANTIC, Texas-San Antonio +3 ½ over TULSA (And showin’ some intestinal fortitude this week…or at least just some intestines for Halloween…we also like: Rice +4 ½ over NORTH TEXAS [THURS], MARSHALL -28 ½ over Southern Miss, Minnesota +9 ½ over INDIANA, East Carolina -23 over FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Vindy's Picks Week 9-2013


The Tennessee Volunteers will meet the Hokies of Virginia in September of 2016 at the local motor speedway. Both squads, however, will face unique challenges at the venue. Players must wear racecar driver helmets and will need a lot of stamina, with no time-outs being called, but players can pull into Pit Row to get water or Gatorade, and new cleats, which must be applied by equipment managers using an air-wrench. Defenses and coverage squads will be at the advantage as all crossing-patterns and kick-returns must go right-to-left. Yellow flags won’t be indicative of penalties, but rather will signal caution when athletes are injured. As a result, players on both sides must stay within their respective on-field positions while following a pace-car around the perimeter of the field until the injured player has been moved from the playing area. Following completion of the game, a designated coach or team captain can spray the winning squad with champagne or milk, as desired!

We’re still wipin’ the tire-treads off our face after Week Eight’s season-worst outing of 7-13 (68-60-4, .531), but with Danica Patrick ridin’ “shotgun”, we’re burnin’ rubber and wavin’ da’ checkered flag at…

(Still beatin’ Danny Zuko and Leo Balmudo to da’ finish line!)

#1 ALABAMA (-28) over Tennessee: Tide 41 Vols 10

#2 OREGON (-23) over #12 Ucla: Both clubs absorbed their first spread-losses of the year, unfortunately for the Bruins, it came with their initial outright defeat as well. Drakes were sloppy in non-cover vs. Wazzou. UCLA couldn’t run or defend the run at Stanford. A repeat of that stat won’t produce a better ending here…Mallards 49 UCLA 24

#3 FLORIDA STATE (-31) over NC State: No letdown spot as Seminoles cruised vs. Clemson. ‘Noles have embarrassed the true contenders on the schedule thus far and history says Miami ain’t a distraction with FSU covering each of last four games prior to meeting the Hurricanes. Wolfpack has lost three of last four games SU on the season, including back-to-back defeats by Syracuse and Wake Forest?! Unless Russell Wilson hops a flight outta’ Seattle and suits-up…Da’ Chop 44 NCSU 10

Penn State (+14 ½) over #4 OHIO STATE: Lions finally found an offense against a worthy opponent in 4OT win over Michigan, who blew a 10-point mid-4th Quarter edge. We’re hopin’ that momentum carried thru the bye week to hang around long enough to cover vs. Buckeyes, who still haven’t taken a conference match this season by more than 10 after 34-24 victory vs. Iowa (who also had a bye week prior to OSU game). Nitwit Lions have allowed big points in three of last for games, Freshman QB Hackenberg makes his first trip to Da’ Shoe and 20-point defeat at Indy still haunts us, but PSU is 13-5 SU in Big Tentacle tilts the past 2+ years, so we’ll say…Ohio State 31 WE ARE 24

#20 South Carolina at #5 MISSOURI: OFF And we ain’t crushed about that! For all the success we’ve had tryin’ pick the Cacciatore ATS, we coulda’ easily just tossed a coin, best of three flips (see Shoppe Talk below). Pick ‘em to cover, they look like a Big Least squad. Pick ‘em to not cover…Shaw and Davis activate their Wonder-Twin powers and become the Oregon Ducks! Poultry did not dent the scoreboard in the 4th Quarter, but Shaw played the first 10 minutes of the final period before leaving with an injury. Tigers have beaten a division rival that had no defense (Joja’) and one last week that didn’t field an offense (Florida). SC has both, but it wouldn’t shock us if Mizzou pulled off the hat trick, even without its own starting QB.

#6 Baylor (-35) over KANSAS: Bears like to pile-on and have a bye prior to Oklahoma. Blue Birds have posted consecutive spread-wins vs. a pair of defensive-minded teams, Sooners and Froggies, the past two weeks…on the strength of plus-three turnover margins in each of those…Baylor 57 Rock Chalk 17

Wake Forest (+23) over #7 MIAMI: ‘Canes 28 Deacs 10

#8 Stanford (-4) over OREGON STATE: Trees 34 Beavers 27

#9 Clemson (-13 ½) over MARYLAND: Both teams were expected to pose at least some threat to the ‘Noles, but combined, the two suffered losses to the collective tune of 114-14. How the Tigers respond to their loss is about to be determined, but the Terps have been a mess, with a minus-six turnover ratio in 27-26 victory over struggling Virginia (2-5 SU) and 24-10 loss at Wake Forest, giving up 812 yards of offense over that span. Clemson never had a chance in 51-14 loss after gift-wrapping a pair of first quarter turnovers for Da’ Chop and Tigers coach Dabo Swinney was quoted this week as saying his boys would split a 10-game series with Florida State. That claim would gain a little cred with a cover here…CU 34 Box Turtles 17

#10 Texas Tech (+7) over #17 OKLAHOMA: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. Guns Up 27 Spooners 24

Florida Atlantic (+24) over #11 AUBURN: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Nice spot for an Owls’ cover…a non-SEC game sandwiched between Tigers’ closely-fought upset win over A&M and Auburn’s trip to Arkansas next week. FAU wasn’t expected to do much in 2013, but we’ve cashed a few tickets with its help and the Barnyard Birds have held their own ATS, going 6-1 to-date, including two upset victories over UAB and South Florida (as 18-point underdogs!). Under now-second year coach Carl Pelini, Owls have 13 spread-wins thus far after recording just 10 total in the previous three seasons and have gone 12-1 in last 13 away-dog chances. FAU had a mighty good Marshall team on its heels to the final play last week…War Eagle 29 FAU 12

Furman @ #13 LSU: No line.

Vanderbilt (+18) over #14 TEXAS A&M: Aggies 42 Vandy 31

#15 Fresno State (-9) over SAN DIEGO STATE: Bulldogs fell short of the spread last week, beating UNLV by 24, but we wouldn’t consider the Rebels to be significant ‘dogs to SDSU at this point. Aztecs getting some respect following trio of victories of late, but beating New Mexico State, Reno and Air Force don’t really excite us. There is a respectable four-point loss to Oregon State on the books, but ‘Dogs are still the class of the conference…Fresno State 34 San Diego State 23

Duke (+13 ½) over #16 VIRGINIA TECH: VT 24 Duke 16

#18 Louisville (-20) over SOUTH FLORIDA: Cardinals 35 USF 10

IOWA STATE (+13 ½) over #19 Oklahoma State: OKSU 34 Cyclones 27

#21 CENTRAL FLORIDA (-23) over Connecticut: Second choice for “lock”. Huskies are 1-4 against the number and one of the nation’s six remaining winless clubs and averaging just north of 16 ppg, despite reasonable efforts in 13-10 home loss to bad South Florida squad and four-point defeat vs. Michigan. Even with a lethargic opening-15 minutes as the result of upsetting Louisville, rallying from a three-score hole in the 3rd Quarter, Knights should have enough to cover this… UCF 41 UConn 9

#22 Wisconsin: IDLE (next @ IOWA)

Eastern Michigan (+30 ½) over #23 NORTHERN ILLINOIS: Changed our original choice here. Best guess for “wish I had it back” pick as Beagles have allowed opponents to score fitty or more in three of previous four matches to lesser-quality teams, so this is more of a vote against NIU’s defense than it is in favor of EMU…Huskies 51 Ypsilanti Auks 24

#24 Michigan: IDLE (next @ Michigan State)

#25 Nebraska (-10 ½) over MINNESOTA: Children of da’ Corn 35 Gophers 17


The NIU Huskies, favored by 16 over Central Michigan, but up just 14 in the final minutes, got a second chance when the Fab Forecaster was flagged for the first time this year for pushing a member of his preseason forecasting team into the bookies’ offensive formation!

Last June, a top Rivals football prospect said a coach tried to sway him with a proposed opportunity to meet Michael Jackson. The recruit was smart to rebuff the coach, knowing MJ was already dead. The offending coach countered with an offer to meet Tito Jackson instead. Personally, “ya had us at ‘Bubbles’!” We also woulda’ signed on the dotted-line to meet LOTR’s Peter Jackson or Action Jackson (raise yer hand if yer old enough to remember Action Jackson!)!! (“Action Jackson…is his name! Prognostication…is his gaaaaame!!!”)

Peyton and Eli Manning did a short-lived rap video/commercial for Football On Yer Phone. We await the highly-anticipated collaboration with MC Hammer to do…”Can’t Touchdown This”! (Anybody else out there picturing da’ Manning brothers in balloon-pants?!... “StopManning-time!”)

On AMC…World Series zombie-pitchers commit illegal moves on the da’ freshly-dug mound that advance opposing-runners in…the “Balking Dead”!

Prior to eventually getting asylum, Wiki-Leaker Edward Snowden spent a lotta’ time in the Moscow Airport transit-zone….musta’ been like six weeks in the NHL trapezoid…he couldn’t play the puck behind the net outside the designated area without incurring a penalty.

Black Shirt: Goes to Texas Tech WR Jace Amaro for haulin’-in a 10-yard TD-reception vs. the Mounted Ears of West Virginia with 61 seconds left to give the Red Raiders (and our humble host) a win against the line!

“Locked in a Box?”: UCLA let us down badly, losing by two touchdowns at Stanford and lowering the record to 3-4-1 (.429).

Shoppe Talk: The Pot Pies of South Carolina (1-6, .143) lost outright to Tennessee! We’re trimming da’ Trees after Stanford did us wrong (0-4 skid, 1-5 last 6, 2-5 overall). Old Mist and the Horny Toads get put on “watch” status, both at 1-3 (.250) of late!

Vindy’s Week 9 Best Bets: Last Week: 2-2 Season: 23-13 (.639)
Temple +11 ½ over SMU, RICE -17 over Texas-El Paso, Wyoming +7 over SAN JOSE STATE, Georgia State +13 ½ over WEEZIANA-MONROE, North Texas -10 ½ over SOUTHERN MISS

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Vindy's Picks Week 8-2013


ROME, Italy (BBC)…
Long considering itself college football’s divine power since its beginning over a decade ago, the BCS will take the concept a step further by recognizing the election of a new pope last March and getting approval from the Vatican to be known the Basilica Conclave Series as it sets about determining which teams play for the national title for the final time before being replaced by a playoff system next season. Chiming-in on the press conference announcing the change, a spokesperson for the Catholic Church said the Cardinals had a great deal of interest in the sport and revealed that they were “so impressed with Pope Francis’ time in the forty and his ability to make sinners miss in the open field” that they traded up to get him!

Rebounding from our first losing effort of the season with a decent 10-7 showing last week (61-47-4, .565), we’re helping bettors find religion around the world with…

(Filling confession boxes at an alarming rate!)

#10 Miami (-7) over NORTH CAROLINA:
Hurricanes 31 UNC 17

FRI. OCT. 18
Central Florida (+11 ½) over #8 LOUISVILLE:
One of these things isn’t like the others…UCF beat Penn State by 3 in Happy Valley, Knights lost by three to South Carolina at home, Central Florida edged Memphis by 7 on the road. Redbirds still haven’t allowed more than 13 points to any opponent, but the potent offense can be slowed by a reasonable defense, as evidenced by Rutgers last week. George O’Leary’s stop-squad hasn’t been bad despite a lack of depth, allowing 11 total touchdowns over five games, with PSU and South Carolina accounting for 8 of those, and just 2 of the 11 via the pass. Should be a good QB match-up between Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater. We prefer “under” 53, but…Cardinal 24 UCF 17

SAT. OCT. 19
#1 ALABAMA (-28) over Arkansas:
Tide 41 Hogs 10

Washington State (+37 ½) over #2 OREGON: Ducks 51 Wazzou 27

#3 CLEMSON (+3) over #5 Florida State: We changed our knee-jerk reaction pick here. Terps pass D was horrible, but ‘Noles got virtually nothing trying to rush vs. Maryland early two weeks ago. Terps were also thwarted in repeated attempts to run up the middle vs. State’s defensive front. The O-line pass-blocked and protected QB Winston well. These two squads are basically equal in most statistical categories, but Tigers have played the tougher schedule, have the experience edge at QB with senior Taj Boyd over redshirt-frosh Jameis Winston, and Vic Beasley has nine solo sacks. State did have an extra week to prep while CU was fortunate to beat Boston College. Tigers have allowed just six red zone scores, FSU only nine. ‘Noles have beaten three of last four Top 25 foes, CU is just 3-4 SU in last seven vs. ranked teams…Clemson 27 FSU 23

#4 OHIO STATE (-17) over Iowa: Hawkeyes won total of four games last season, but have already matched that to-date, though hasn’t beaten anyone of note and shows a loss to Northern Illinois and a 12-point defeat to Michigan State last week. State’s been perfect ATS, kinda’, taking five straight since missing the cover in opener vs. Buffalo. Idle week probably helped Braxton Miller heal that much more and while Hawkeyes yield just south of 89 rushing yards/game, we don’t expect that proficiency to hold up vs. the likes of Carlos Hyde. Buckeyes’ two Big Tent-Peg wins have effectively come by single-digits (Columbus faithful ain’t gonna’ take credit for that NW hook-n-ladder debauchery, are ya?!!!). Most of the nation outside Nevada got Monday off to celebrate some dude named Columbus, who sailed across the Atlantic, settling in Ohio, and immediately made plans to build da’ Horseshoe! ... OSU 37 Iowa 16

#6 Louisiana State (-7) over MISSISSIPPI: Bengals 25 Ole Miss 16

#24 Auburn (+14) over #7 TEXAS A&M: A&M 44 Tigers 34

#9 Ucla (+4 ½) over #13 STANFORD: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. Bruins bested da’ Utes in Salt Lake by 7. Utah made a goal line stand late to drop the Trees last week. We like the revenge-angle here because in 2012, UCLA was 9-2 headed into what became back-to-back losses to Stanford, the second of which was a 27-24 defeat after a missed 52-yard FG in the final minute that relegated the Bruins to the December 27th Holiday Bowl rather than the Rose Bowl after a previous 6-2 PAC-12 win-loss record. It’s Homecoming for the Birds and SU has topped a pair of ranked squads already, but…UCLA 31 Stanford 27

#11 South Carolina (-7) over TENNESSEE: Almost made this our “lock” pick. We doubt the Vols can muster the same effort vs. the Poultry that got ‘em to extra-frames vs. Joja’, and while the Tenders hadn’t been keeping a lotta’ distance between themselves and their opponents until last week’s beatdown at Arkansas, we think the combination of Shaw and Davis can get separation by more than a TD here. Carolina has won the last three years, but Rocky Top got the spread-win each time, losing by 14, 11 and 3 most recently. Clowney continues to be a non-factor for SC defense, but shouldn’t be a problem if the offense does what it’s capable of achieving…And Dumplings 31 Tennessee 14

Iowa State (+31) over #12 BAYLOR: Bears 48 ISU 27

#22 Florida (-2 ½) over #14 MISSOURI: Gators are #112 in penalties-accrued at almost 8 per game and it showed last week as untimely flags on both sides of the ball killed ‘em at LSU. We thank Mizzou for bringin’ home one of our two upset picks last week (and Ole Miss wilted in the final 3 minutes vs. A&M or we woulda’ been 2-fer-2). UF QB Tyler Murphy goes into another hostile environment, but Columbia ain’t Baton Rouge and Tigers have lesser offensive threat with James Franklin gone for six weeks. Florida on 3-8 ATS skid, but this line is minimal…Crocs 23 Missouri 13

VANDERBILT (+8 ½) over #15 Georgia: Joja’ 38 Vandy 34

#16 Texas Tech (-7) over WEST VIRGINIA: Tech 30 Mountaineers 20

Nevada-Las Vegas (+23) over #17 FRESNO STATE: Break up da’ Rebels, who finally ditched the road-game monkey at New Mexico in late September and are on first four-game SU dubya- streak in three decades???!!!! Our best call here is the “over” since both defenses are subject to big plays. First of back-to-back road games for UNLV, who’s now 2-2-1 in last five away-dog roles. Rebels will need to convert on 3rd Downs, take advantage of Fresno’s 116th-ranked kickoff coverage to get good field-position and use the running game to keep Derek Carr and company on the pine. If UNLV can press the momentum and keep Fresno (IDLE last week) in the 40’s (questionable given Hawaii’s three 4th Quarter scores in a 10-minute span last week), they can cover…Bulldogs 44 UNLV 30

#18 Oklahoma (-23) over KANSAS: Oklahoma 48 Blue Birds 14

#19 Virginia Tech: IDLE (next vs. Duke)

#20 Washington (+2 ½) over ARIZONA STATE: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. MINOR UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. Sled Dogs hung with Oregon for three quarters before falling. If they didn’t leave it all on the field in Eugene, we think UDUB can win this outright behind the running of Bishop Sankey, who went for 172 vs. the Ducks, and a couple TD tosses by Keith Price. Sun Devils bombed Colorado (but who doesn’t?!) after “upset” loss to the Irish. It’s Homecoming in Tempe. Too bad for the Pitchforks…Washington 34 ASU 28

Texas Christian (+7) over #21 OKLAHOMA STATE: UPSET ALERT. West Virginia showed what a staunch defense can do to the Cowpokes’ scoring machine. We’ll be conservative, but a Frogs win won’t surprise us… OKSU 23 Froggies 20

CENTRAL MICHIGAN (+17) over #23 Northern Illinois: NIU has an offense that could absolutely roll over CMU, and remember that the Chippies lost by 10 to UNLV, helping give the Rebels some hope on the season, but Akron won most of the statistical categories in a 7-point loss at DeKalb last week and after a very slow start, Central Michigan has consecutive SU/ATS wins over MAC whipping-boy Miami-Ohio and the Ohio Bobcats…as 18-point underdogs! Past two years in this series has seen a lotta’ points, but NIU has two “unders” recently and Chippewas have been below the total in four of last five. Chippies don’t play again until November 6 following this one and Huskies haven’t posted a victory in Mt. Pleasant since 2005…NIU 34 CMU 24

#25 Wisconsin (-10 ½) over ILLINOIS: Badgers 31 Illini 17


BTW, BCS also stands for …“Be Closin’ Soon”!! (And MVP is “Most Valuable Pontiff”!)

In related news…there was a false-alarm in the white-smoke sightings in March’s papal conclave when former MLB hurler Larry Johnson, in Italy at the time, obliterated a pigeon with a fastball near the Vatican! Spectators in the U.S. were also briefly confused when the NCAA Tournament committee used white smoke to signal the selection of the overall #1 seed!

One more thought on UNLV-Fresno State…the Rebels haven’t hurt themselves with penalties, showing the fourth- fewest number of yellow hankies in the nation.

The Atlanta Falcons’ new venue…the Pantheon…includes a sports bar the length of an entire gridiron…aptly named “The 100-Yard Bar”. At the start of every game, there’s a coin-toss to see which team’s fans get opening-possession of the bar tender and the other team’s fans get to choose which end of the bar they’ll defend in the First Quarter!

We got twenty bucks that says Washington’s pro football franchise eventually goes the way of St. John’s and becomes the Red Storm!

The “Leftovers” column of the April 24 edition of the LVRJ pointed out that Detroit Tigers 2011 manager Jim Leyland did not swap out his Underoos during a 12-game winning streak. We’re ashamed to say we strained our bathtub hooch thru said-coach’s unmentionables later that season, hopin’ fer similar success against the NCAA pigskin point-spread!

One more Miley Cyrus parody…”I came in like a raaaacquet ball!”

Black Shirt: Goes to Pitt QB Tom Savage for failing to successfully rush for the 2-point conversion on Panthers final TD with 2:00 to play that got us a win instead of a loss in game vs. the Hokies.

“Locked in a Box?”: We’re suckin’ dirty pond water at 3-3-1 (.500) following Northwestern’s failure to show up at Wisconsin.

Shoppe Talk: The Chicken Bouillon hosed us again by holding a Pig-roast vs. Arkansas to fall to 1-5 (.167). Meanwhile, we’re firing a few warning shots across the bow of the U.S.S. Stanford (0-3 skid, 1-4 in last 5) and the H.M.S Wolverine (0-4 in last four appearances).

Vindy’s Week 8 Best Bets: Last Week: 3-1 Season: 21-11 (.656)
MEMPHIS -3 ½ over Southern Methodist, HOUSTON +9 over Brigham Young, Utah +5 over ARIZONA, Army-TEMPLE “under” 58

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Vindy's Picks Week 7-2013


JACKSONVILLE, Florida (CNN)…From Florida stardom to brief NFL fame in Denver to flop in the Big Apple and Foxborough, the rise and fall of Tim Tebow has been well-documented, from Saskatchewan down to the Gulf Coast. Now the folks from Munchkinland are getting in on the act. Audience members taking in the new 3-D version of Wizard of Oz in local theatres, report the beloved flick forgoes the traditional “Surrender Dorothy” skywriting scene in lieu of the Wicked Witch of the West spelling out “Tebow, Why not?” aboard her broom high above the Emerald City in an apparent effort to get the Jaguars, who have nothing to lose, to acquire the beleaguered dual-threat athlete!

Suffering the first sub-.500 effort on the season and going 10-11 last week (51-40-4, .560)…sing it with us…Vin was tender…he was gentle…and his picks were…detrimental…regarding parlay carrrrrrds…It’s yer wagers you’d be losin’ and yer wallet you’d be bruisin’, if you only had…

(Paying no attention to that Manziel behind da’ curtain!)

Rutgers (+17 ½) over #8 LOUISVILLE:
Only Kentucky scored more than 7 vs. the Cardinals, but Da’ Ville’s high-powered offense managed only a pair of FGs in second half at Temple. Knights won’t be intimidated, having lost just 20-17 in 2012 and 16-14 here in 2011. Rutgers has played in two shootouts that went into the fitties, including triple-OT victory last week at SMU, but we’ll expect an “under” here. RU QB Gary Nova has just three fewer passing scores than Teddy Bridgewater and Knights are tied for #15 in sacks…Louisville 27 Paladins 13

SAT. OCT. 12
#1 Alabama (-27) over KENTUCKY:
Down 20 after three quarters, ‘Cats scored three touchdowns, presumably against the reserves, but forced the Gamehens to score one more of their own to secure the win. ‘Bama cured the offensive woes by posting 38 in the first half vs. Joja’ State. Fourth straight Top 25 foe for Kentucky, who shows losses by just 14, 17 and 7 over that span, but ‘Cats hit the board for a lone touchdown at Florida and obviously Tide is better on defense…and offense…than the Gators. The switch to the run-heavy spread-attack still only has Kentucky at #71 in rushing offense and Tide’s permitted two ground scores all season…Alabama 42 KY 10

#2 Oregon (-14) over #16 WASHINGTON: Even discounting the poor execution off-and-on throughout the game, what will the Huskies have left to bring against the Mallard’s juggernaut following 3-point loss at Stanford? To their credit, Sled Dogs’ last three SU losses back to last season have come by total of 8 points. UDUB lost by 31 in Eugene last season. Not sure it has closed the gap enough to stay this close. Unknown if Drakes will get RB DeAnthony Thomas back, but QB Mariota played less than three quarters last week and will be good to go here. Mean Green is 4-0 ATS to-date and has covered 8 of last 10 vs. ranked opponents…Ducks 41 UDUB 24

Boston College (+25 ½) over #3 CLEMSON: Clemson 35 Boston College 19

#4 Ohio State: IDLE (next vs. Iowa)

#5 Stanford (-7 ½) over UTAH: Only the linesmakers and the folks in Salt Lake City expected Utah to give UCLA a battle last week and Utes were in it until the last drive, despite six interceptions thrown by Travis Wilson. Both sides yield a lotta’ pass yards but each has only given up 9 aerial scores. Trees did not score in the final 16:32 at Washington and Huskies got a TD with 2:49 left to grab the cover. Utes defend the run well and UCLA awaits Stanford, but Cardinal is 8-3-1 in last dozen as road fave and this spread isn’t obnoxious…SU 34 Utes 24

#6 Florida State: IDLE (next @ Clemson)

#25 Missouri (+9) over #7 GEORGIA: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK #1. ‘Dawgs showed no signs of letdown vs. Tennessee, scoring 10 points in the 1st Quarter, but the defense again was a problem as Joja’ committed no turnovers on the way to squandering a 14-point lead at the intermission. UGA missed RB Todd Gurley and was minus a couple defensive starters as well. Tigers have quietly won five straight games (3-1 ATS), matching last season’s win total, and will remember last year’s three-touchdown loss in Columbia. Georgia’s last outright defeat between the hedges came in early September of 2011, but expect a high-scoring tilt, going to…Mizzou 41 Joja’ 35

MISSISSIPPI (+5 ½) over #9 Texas A&M: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK #2…Ole Miss 31 A&M 29

#17 Florida (+7) over #10 LSU: Gators have faced (and coulda’ beat) only one offense comparable to LSU’s…Miami (45 ppg scored), whom they held to 21 points in lone loss of the year. Bengals have not lined up against a defense this good (UF is #2 in total D, allowing just north of 12 ppg). QB Zettenberger has been efficient enough and Tigers can stay on the ground with Hill. Might come down to special teams. Tigers’ 23-1 SU record in Baton Rouge may be in jeopardy…LSU 23 Crocs 20

#11 UCLA (-24) over California: Bares have won four of the last five years in this series, but Cal’s only victory this year came over AA Portland State…by a touchdown…and Berkeley is otherwise 0-4 SU/ATS in FBS play and has dropped nine consecutive games to the line, including 44-22 loss to Wazzou in Week 6. Our concerns here for UCLA include a trip to Palo Alto next week and a mere7-point win at Utah despite snagging six (count ‘em, SIX) interceptions. Uclans won five straight games and got to the PAC-12 title tilt last year following 43-17 blow-out by the Bears, so we’re don’t think revenge will necessarily translate to Bruins returning the favor here, but…Bruins 44 Cal 13

#12 Oklahoma (-14) over Texas (@ Dallas): Steers are on borrowed-time this week, much like ASU was after gift- win vs. Wisconsin…Sooners 37 ‘Horns 20

#13 Miami: IDLE (next 10/17 @ UNC)

ARKANSAS (+6) over #14 South Carolina: Gamehens 23 Soooeey Pigs 19

KANSAS STATE (+17) over #15 Baylor: Bears 38 Purple Persians 28

#18 Michigan (-2 ½) over PENN STATE: We looked hard at this for “lock”. This is a lotta’ love for the Nitwit Lions after the alma mater lost by 20 to Indi-freakin’-Anna last week!? Simply looking at the box score for that game, there’s no way one would expect a lopsided victory by the Hoosiers, in fact…maybe not even a win by Indy. State’s best victory came via the 23-16 “neutral site” win over Syracuse. Big Blew seems to have solved the ball-security problem, blasting Minnesota last week. Unlike 2012, Lions, whose only other dubyas came vs. MAC doormats Eastern Michigan and Kent State, are playin’ like they have nothing to play for…Michigan 31 PSU 23

#19 Northwestern (+10) over WISCONSIN: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Seriously? Wildcats getting double-digits here???!!! NW was step-for-step with Ohio State last week and didn’t relinquish the lead until the fourth quarter, suffering the same malaise they did in 2012…wasted leads in the final period. Wonder how many Buckeyes backers scrambled to tape-together the shredded pieces of their tickets after ‘Cats, down 4 with seconds left, broke out the hook-n-ladder on the game’s final play and fumbled into the end zone resulting in a State recovery for touchdown and 10-point margin for the OSU cover???!!! Bad beat of the week!!! Those who watched the game saw a very competent team on both sides of the ball. No way does Northwestern not cover this and we’d consider a money-line wager as well…Wisky 29 NW 27

Iowa State (+15 ½) over #20 TEXAS TECH: We’re a bit surprised this one isn’t off the board given the uncertainty of playing status for Tech QB Mayfield. Dust Devils probably got hosed at end of Texas game and Big 12 officials were caught on an open mic discussing the PR strategy for that boo-boo. Raiders spotted Kansas a 10-point 1st Quarter edge before beating the Blue Birds rather badly. ISU made good on the Playbook.Com strategy we mentioned last week and we expect a similar effort here as Cyclones try to knock off a Top 25 opponent for the fourth consecutive season. State’s been close to posting more than its one victory (38-21 at Tulsa) a couple times and a third straight bowl berth is slipping away quickly if they don’t act now…Guns Up 34 Auntie ‘Em, Auntie ‘Em 27

#21 Fresno State: IDLE (next vs. UNLV)

#22 Oklahoma State: IDLE (next vs. TCU)

#23 NORTHERN ILLINOIS (-23) over Akron: Potent Huskies average 539 yards of offense and 42 ppg, sporting strong ground attack. Zips, other than turnover-assisted cover at Michigan and 5-point loss to Weeziana-Lafayette (in which Akron was also plus-two in turnover ratio), have not been competitive in their losses, opening MAC play last week with 43-3 defeat by Ohio. NIU has a victory over Iowa and trounced Purdue…Sled Dogs 41 Kangaroos 9

#24 VIRGINIA TECH (-9 ½) over Pittsburgh: Hokies 29 Panthers 13


Thought we’d share alternative forecast lead-ins we considered: “It’s the covers you’d be missin’, not the bookies you’d be dissin’ if ya only had…” and “You’d be tossin’ all yer cookies, not so friendly with da’ bookies if ya only had…”

Chuck Norris gave props to Tim Tebow last May and hoped Timmy ended up on the Jacksonville club, noting the controversial player “reminds me of myself when I used to compete in martial arts…”. Can’t wait to see the former Gator-Bronco-NY Jet reprise Chucky’s role in “Tebow: Texas Ranger” or face Bruce Lee in a remake of “Way of the Dragon”… or leading a special-ops rescue mission as Major McCoy in “Delta Forced-Fumble”!!!

Scary stat of da’ week…at 134 yards/game, the nation’s #1 passing yardage defense is…UNLV??? (We won’t mention the home-town heroes also stand-in at #123 in rushing yardage D, ahead of only New Mexico State!). Fortunately for the Rebels, this week’s opponent, Hawaii, runs for just south of 74 ypg (good for #119).

The Upton brothers led the Atlanta Braves in outfield put-outs until they were joined by their sister…Kate Upton!

Penguins forward Sidney Crosby entered a Pittsburgh DMV in August, planning to simply dump his license-renewal application into a corner and give chase, but was quickly whisked to the head of the line to prevent crowd control issues and disruption of services. Some normal folks at the facility were not pleased with Syd the Kid’s preferential treatment. Fear not, denizens of Iron City…in Pittsburgh…DMV still stands for Department of Malkin Vehicles! Oddly, most cities now have the capability for patrons to renew their Zamboni license or registration online!

Black Shirt: The carbon-colored cloth was earmarked for Ohio State’s Braxton Miller for committing three turnovers that shoulda’ led to a Northwestern cover, but instead we’ll forward it to Irish kicker Kyle Brindza for a 53-yard field goal that ultimately helped ND make good on our upset pick.

“Locked in a Box?”: The record now stands at 3-2-1 as sluggish Louisville couldn’t push far enough away from the Owls.

Shoppe Talk: An early candidate for Grill-Master Supreme “honors”, KFC falls to 1-4 (.200). The ‘Noles continue to be a bugaboo at 1-3 (.250 season; 5-11, .312 back to last year) and we barely escaped the clutches of the Mounted Ears this week (1-2, .333; 3-7, .300 back to last year). For those wonderin’ which teams have supported our picks regularly…Notre Dame 6-0, Florida 5-0 and LSU 5-0-1.

Vindy’s Week 7 Best Bets: Last Week: 3-2 Season: 18-10 (.643)
Buffalo -9 over WESTERN MICHIGAN, GEORGIA STATE +18 over Troy, Rice -2 over TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO, Georgia Tech +7 over BYU

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Vindy's Picks Week 6-2013


PROVO, Utah (REUTERS)…An attack-of-conscience at Brigham Young University, following a French vitamin-water company’s marketing snafu over a bottle-cap phrase, which when translated to English, included a term that is used in a derogatory way to describe the mentally-challenged and sparked a product recall, led to revelation of a previously-secret stash of KIA vehicles acquired nearly eight months ago. The unfortunate model name, Provo, created a firestorm when Northern Ireland objected to the name because it was slang for the Provisional Irish Republican Army, the violence-prone segment of the IRA. Thinking car sales would have a better chance in Utah, the manufacturer shipped the autos to the Mormon university. But after reviewing ad campaigns and not wanting students and locals seen on the religious campus in vehicles portrayed in TV commercials as being driven by “hoodie-wearing gangsta’ hamsters”, school officials simply stowed away the clandestine fleet in a little-known underground parking lot beneath LaVell Edwards Stadium!

Not too far away in Vegas, our fab forecaster wanted to conceal Saturday’s 5-5-2 tally as well (40-29-4, .580). Readers can run but they can’t hide from…

(Goin’ pink all month in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness)

#12 Ucla (-4 ½) over UTAH:
Curiously-low line, though looking at Thursday-night ATS records, the chalk went 6-2 on the season’s opening night. Since then, the team getting points has taken the money in the subsequent eight games-in-question. (FYI, your humble host has been on the right side of the Thursday-nighter just once in four tries and none since August 29). Utes, coming into the year off first losing-season since 2005, beat BYU 20-13 before last week’s bye and dropped a 51-48 track-meet to the Beavers. Bruins are crushing opponents by an average of 34 ppg, including 20-point win in Lincoln. Utes have done little noteworthy since joining the PAC-12, winning just 7 of 19 in conference, with most of the victories coming vs. the lower-tier…Bruins 34 Utes 17

Georgia State (+55 ½) over #1 ALABAMA:
Will anybody other than possibly AJ McCarron and his teammates on offense, who’ve been limited to 21- and 23-points the past two weeks, give a flyin’ rat’s about this non-conference game vs. FBS-rookie Panthers? Tide won by this many once in the last decade, with 63-7 win over this same Joja’ State club in 2010. Senior-laden Panthers did cover in 41-7 loss three weeks ago at West Virginia. ‘Bama D might consider it an insult to let State score after Ole Miss laid the goose-egg last week, and UA did throw back-to-back shut-outs twice last season…’Bama 51 Georgia State 0

COLORADO (+38) over #2 Oregon: Mallards 51 Bison 19

#3 Clemson (-13 ½) over SYRACUSE: Clemson 31 Syracuse 16

#16 NORTHWESTERN (+6) over #4 Ohio State: Wildcats, off 14-point win over AA Maine, spent last week watchin’ film. Buckeyes, up 17 after three quarters, allowed Wisky the final 10 points to make it a closer game. Buckeyes were outgained by the Badgers but were plus-one in turnovers and QB Braxton Miller was efficient enough in his first start back from injury, adding 83 rushing yards as well. N-DUB’s allowing more points-against than last season, but bring a better ground game than Wisconsin did. The offspring of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West came into the world last summer and got the moniker “North West”. Should said celebrity-daughter grow up and acquire a nursing degree at a certain Evanston school while cheering the Wildcats, would she eventually be known as North West, RN???!!!...OSU 27 NW 24

#5 STANFORD (-7) over #15 Washington: Trees 31 UDUB 21

#6 Georgia (-11) over TENNESSEE: ‘Dawgs could be flat off back-and-forth game vs. LSU, a la ‘Bama’s performance vs. Colorado State following close-win over A&M. Vols let South Alabama hang around even more than we expected when we tagged the Jags (+20) as a preferred-pick last week, as Rocky Top escaped with a 7-point victory. Bulldogs D can be had and Vols lost by 7 between the hedges in 2012 and by 8 the season before that. Tennessee might consider employing the squib-kick strategy used by LSU to limit Joja’s return capability. We think UGA’s Marshall Morgan corked the tip of his kicking-shoe in light of 55-yard FG that cleared the uprights easily despite a kicking-motion more reminiscent of a golfer using a wedge to get outta’ da’ sand-trap!...Georgia 45 Vols 27

#7 Louisville (-33 ½) over TEMPLE: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Redbirds don’t excel off a bye week facing teams with poor SU records, but in the past two weeks, Owls have lost outright to AA Fordham and Idaho while laying more than a touchdown. Rested Cardinals should pad some of Teddy’s passing numbers…Da’ Ville 51 Temple (of Gloom) 6

#25 Maryland (+16) over #8 FLORIDA STATE: We didn’t know how good the Box Turtles were until West Virginia upset Oklahoma State last week. Terps ripped the Mounties 37-0 (one of our best bet calls that week). ‘Noles again proved they might be a tad over-rated, spotting BC a 10-point edge before coming back to win but not cover in Chestnut Hill. FSU does start a freshman at QB, Jameis Winston. Maryland’s young on offense too, but seasoned on defense, though has been beaten handily by the Seminoles the past three years. State shows just a 3-9 spread-record facing Top 25 foes, with two of the three wins coming in the post-season…FSU 27 MD 20

#9 Texas A&M: IDLE (next @ Ole Miss)

#10 Louisiana State (-9) over MISSISSIPPI STATE: LSU 27 MSU 14

#11 OKLAHOMA (-10 ½) over Texas Christian: Sooners 33 Toads 20

#13 SOUTH CAROLINA (-22 ½) over Kentucky: Chicken Nuggets 34 KY 10

#14 MIAMI (-5) over Georgia Tech: Hurricanes 24 Wreck 17

#17 BAYLOR (-27) over West Virginia: Mountaineers continue to haunt us, pulling off upset over Oklahoma State. Apparently, FSU transfer QB Clint Trickett found the offense that had been missing (though WVU did return a pick for a score) in his initial start since 2011. The red zone defense was excellent, but it’ll be probed hard this week by Baylor, who runs well with Lache Seastrunk. Bares’ stop-squad has improved considerably, allowing just 23 points through first three games in comparison to 89 points this time last year. Baylor took a wild 70-63 game last year in Morgantown…Bears 48 WVU 17

#18 FLORIDA (-11 ½) over Arkansas: Gators 27 Arkansas 13

Minnesota (+20) over #19 MICHIGAN: Gilded Gerbils pulled-off four straight wins before being stifled through the better-part of three quarters by Iowa. The victories, however, came vs. UNLV (which held its own until the special-teams melt-down), AA Western Illinois (which lost to UNLV by a larger margin), New Mexico State (again, one of the worst teams at the I-A level) and San Jose State (perhaps its best triumph). Big Blew committed eight turnovers in its past two games and was lucky get by Akron and UConn. Even bottom-feeders stand a puncher’s chance with those kinda’ opportunities and maybe Michigan’s youth is more prominent than we thought. Hopefully, the Wolverines used the off-week working on ball-security, but…Michigan 34 Minny 16

#20 Texas Tech (-17 ½) over KANSAS: Red Raiders 38 Jayhawks 13

Kansas State (+14) over #21 OKLAHOMA STATE: Cowpokes 34 KSU 29

Notre Dame (+5) over #22 Arizona State (@ Arlington, TX): Tough to beat a quality opponent like Oklahoma, even at home, when ya toss three picks and complete just 9 of 24 throws like Tommy Rees did. Irish did run for 220 yards, though 80 came on a single rush. Leprechauns are now 0-fer-five against the number and all three SU defeats have been by double-digits. Having said that, a post-season berth is still in play for ND and ASU popped back into the rankings with a 62-41 victory that led USC to finally “Abstain from Lane” and “Stop Whiffin’ with Kiffin”. All of the Sun Devils’ I-A opposition has put up 30 or more and we expect a fair number of points. Little voice in Vindy’s head screamin’ “upset”. And just as a side-note, following its national title loss to Alabama last season, Notre Dame changed the wording over its tunnel entrance to “Got Played Like A Champion Today!”…Our Lady 34 Pitchforks 30

IDAHO (+25 ½) over #23 Fresno State: We considered this for “lock”. Tough supportin’ Bulldogs who continue to give up big points to opponents. Four of State’s five turnovers came in the final 30 minutes, allowing Hawaii to make a thriller outta’ what was a 42-3 halftime hole for Da’ ‘Bows. Vandals, who had given up more than 40 to each of its first four opponents before upsetting Temple last week 26-24, lost by just 10 at home to potent Northern Illinois under first-year coach Paul Petrino. Ain’t no beaches, pineapple or hula-skirts in Moscow, Idaho, but until FSU proves it can play some defense for 60 minutes…Bulldogs 42 Tater-Heads 27
#24 Mississippi (-2 ½) over AUBURN: Ole Mist 20 War Eagle 16


BTW, one of the hooded passengers in the KIA commercials looks an awful lot like Bill Belichick!

Iowa State this week falls into Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com “back ‘em in Game Four at home” column, having bowled last season, lost its first two outright to AA Northern Iowa and rival-Hawkeyes, then beat Tulsa last week. The Dust Devils (+9) host Texas this Saturday. We noted Syracuse (-15) vs. Tulane in this category last week. ‘Cuse blew the Green Wave off the gridiron in 52-17 romp!

Knowshon Moreno worked some “rock-paper-scissors” into his TD celebration vs. the Eagles a week after the Broncos passed on “Eeny-Meeny-Miny-Mo” in favor of that game to select the ball-carrier for trash-time score vs. Oakland. Nice, but had the game been “Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock”, Sheldon Cooper woulda’ been takin’ the hand-off in Denver’s backfield instead!

With Major League Baseball’s playoffs underway this week, we note not long after the New Year, Vegas became a backdrop for the reality TV show “Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs.” featuring the ex-baseballer and his long-distance relationship with then-fiancĂ©e and former Playboy model Kiana Kim. We were hopin’ fer a twist or two, like Ray Fosse throwin’ the bachelor party or showin’ up to the nuptials as Best Man or ring-bearer or something! Just wonderin’ if Charlie Hustle decided to consummate the marriage by divin’ into first-base on the wedding night??!!

In related news, Tom Brady drew a $10,000 levy for a cleats-high slide vs. Ed Reed in last season’s AFC Championship loss to the Ravens. The Patriots pretty-boy QB said he was merely trying to break-up the double-play and keep Wes Welker from being thrown out at First Base. Reed pulled off the old “neighborhood play” then wheeled and threw to Ray Lewis to “turn two”!.

Philly defenders apparently taunted Peyton Manning this Sunday with shouts of “Papa John’s!” every time the Broncos QB audibled. Ironically, a cocktail waitress yelled “Summer’s Eve!” each time Vindicator tried to change his wagers at the sportsbook counter! Come to think of it, fans in the City of Brotherly Love will do likewise whenever the now-1-3 Eagles take the field!

We welcome the puck-drop on the NHL regular season this week as well. The Stanley Cup toured Sin City for 24 hours in late July. Vindy’s spies say the coveted trophy got a lap dance at a local gentlemen’s club, bungee-jumped from the top of the Stratosphere and was then beaten with baseball bats before being buried in the desert!

Have ya seen the latest pics of Miley Cyrus???!!! No offense to Michael Jordan, but we ain’t seen tongue like that since Gene Simmons wore the KISS face-paint! Anybody else out there wanna’ see the pop tart hang her head out the window of a moving car?! BTW, her latest video features her au natural ridin’ the shoulders of a former-Badgers star and now Broncos running back through a stone wall in…”Montee Ball”!

The Olympic torch was lit this past weekend in southern Greece. Given the stance of the Games’ host-government against anything that flames, we’re guessing it’ll never get across the Russian border!

Somebody please tell Verizon that #FOMOF actually stands for “Fear of Missing Out on Forecast!”

Black Shirt: The obsidian undergarment goes to Central Florida QB Blake Bortles for tossing a pair of scoring passes in the final 10 minutes to get UCF within 3 of South Carolina to get us one of our five forecast dubyas!

“Locked in a Box?”: A late touchdown gave Georgia the victory over LSU (+3) and resulted in a push for our “lock” choice, leaving the season record at 3-1-1 (.750).

Shoppe Talk: With the upset of the Cowboys, the Mounted Ears of WVU go to 0-2 (.000) in the forecast and 2-9 (.181) in last 11 appearances! The ‘Noles of FSU racked-up another loss fer Da’ Picks and fall to 1-2 (.333) on the season and 5-10 (.333) in last 15! The Crimson Schnide is under close observation at 0-3-1 (.000) in 2013! KFC gets a pass, but shouldn’t leave town at 1-3 (.250)!

Vindy’s Week 6 Best Bets: Last Week: 2-2 Season: 15-8 (.652, though just 5-4 the last two weeks)
South Alabama +3 ½ over TROY, MARSHALL -14 over Texas-San Antonio, NC State -8 ½ over WAKE FOREST, Texas State +11 ½ over UL-LAFAYETTE, Florida Atlantic +4 ½ over UAB