Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Vindy's Picks 2013-14 Bowl Recap

FOXBORO, Massachusetts (FOX)…Call it “Spygate: The Next Iteration”. Christmas aficionados everywhere were dismayed to learn this week their beloved “elf on a shelf” had actually been part of domestic and international surveillance programs dating back to the days of McCarthyism. Particularly-disturbing however was the revelation that New England coach Bill Belichick had actually utilized the elf to swipe signs from opposing teams and watch closed-practices. An observant fan noticed the pointed hat jutting out from beneath a hoodie-clad elf at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium The Patriots blew-out the Ravens to clinch the NFC North and whacked the Bills later in December, securing a first-round bye. Belichick, previously found guilty of illegally-acquiring data to be used against other teams, adamantly denied the accusations, saying “all”, he “did was place a ‘sprite on da’ upright’…for decorative, seasonal purposes only”!

The mythical creature noted above is traditionally rumored to be strategically-moved nightly to gather intelligence for Santa, about who was naughty or nice. Vin did likewise and ran outta’ room on the list of bowl teams that were scheduled to get stockings full of coal following an 0-7 start, which became insurmountable in his quest to finish over .500 for the bowls. Vindy floundered to a 7-16 record as the Big Apple dropped the ball and edible, banana-flavored confetti on visitors to Times Square to close out 2013. Concurrently, stadium operators were apparently blaring AC/DC over the PA systems at post-season venues across the nation because the bowls were seriously “under-struck”, with just 7 of the first 23 contests finishing “over” the game-day totals. Vin rebounded to go 5-1 on New Year’s Day, forcing him to be perfect the rest of the way. The suspense would be over quickly as the Crimson Trype bungled its way thru the first-half vs. Oklahoma en route to a two-TD loss, dooming your narrator to a losing bowl record and ultimately a very “Keep Yer Day-Job”-worthy 14-21 (.400) finish, completing the overall season-record at 141-134-4 (.513).   
On a happier note, scientists did not move the minute-hand any closer this year to Midnight on the Doomsday Shot-Clock! We’re not convinced the same can be said for…

(Still cleaning up post-holiday tinsel, pine needles and broken balls as we speak!)

BTW, in an effort to avoid a repeat of this season’s bowl-predictions snafu, we’ve already replaced our elf-on-da’-shelf with a… tramp-on-da’-lamp! The elf is often portrayed cradling its knees….no doubt the result of an injury incurred via an illegal block below da’ waist! The elf can also be named by its owner. Belichick called his “Vinatieri”! The Patriots coach also blamed a rising plethora of injuries this year on new NFL rules reducing the amount of offseason practice time. Can’t get data on opponents if ya can’t be there for lengthy practices, now can ya, Bill??!!
Statistically speaking: The ‘Dogs went full-blown Cujo -mode, covering 18 of the 35 contests…taking 16 of ‘em outright, not just pulling upsets, but winning most of ‘em decisively. And as we alluded to above, the “under” finished 22-12-1. In addition, “Discount Daaaahhble-Check”-digit favorites won just half of their eight games and covered just two!

Not surprisingly, the SEC fared the best among the conferences, going 7-3 SU/6-4 ATS (honorable mention to the 12-PACK for going 6-3 SU/ATS), while da’ Mediocre Athletic Conference, collectively, went 0-5 SU/ATS in five post-season tries! For the Star Wars fans who, like Vindicator, pledge allegiance to the Big Taun-Taun Conference, those teams lost 5 of 7 bowls, covering just 4.
During the days leading up to the Miami Heat’s Christmas Day victory over the Lakers, LeBron James whined about the sleeved-jerseys the league made the players wear for the holiday contests. Obviously, the special clothing didn’t prevent the King and his teammates from grabbing a win, but we’ll point to havin’ to wear that kinda’ attire as the root-cause of our poor post-season too! (Either that or “Vinatieri” hacked our blogsite and changed our picks!)

Speaking of Christmas…anybody else out there think the Rankin/Bass production of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” would be more entertaining if one of the characters was…Bob Uecker Cornelius???!!!
Our method for picking post-season contest results this year was sooooo medieval (altogether now… ”How… medieval….was it???!!), it was so medieval…we got a pre-bowl-forecast visit from the crew of College Game Day of Thrones!

In related news, ESPN has forbidden use of the word “sucks” by its broadcasters. Nonetheless, Kirk Herbstreit uttered “Vindy’s bowl forecast…suh…er..um…was insuff…mmm…has been sub…oh to hell with it...’sucks’!!!”
After seeing the final prediction tally, the players at Champion Baptist College (off a 116-12 defeat by Southern’s hoops team in December for those of you who were among the fitty-two passengers recently rescued from the ice-locked Akademik Shokalskiy Russian research vessel, who maintained warmth and morale by laughing at Vindy’s 2013-14 Bowl Predictions) said, “Even we didn’t lose that badly!” BTW, Vindy’s Picks extends an invitation to the CBC Tigers to be part our 2014 pre-season forecasting strategy team!

On the plus-side, your tenacious-if-not-tepid tout did call the exact score of Marshall’s 31-20 win over Maryland in the Military Bowl, and just missed a couple others, calling Ole Miss 24-17 over Joja’ Tech (25-17 actual) and Michigan State 26-20 over Stanford (24-20 actual).
The Little Caesars Bowl entered uncharted waters this year by having not one, but two females on the officiating crew. As part of the trade-off for the historic move, the first penalty flag hadda’ be thrown in thirty minutes or less …or it was a free-play for the offense! (Yeah, yeah! We know the motto-in-question belongs to some other pizza company! Work with us here!)

For those who saw the singing of the National Anthem just ahead of the Stanford-Michigan State Rose Bowl clash…did anybody else out there think the guitarist accompanying the female singers looked an awful lot like…Howard Stern???!!!!
Charles Barkley was in attendance at the BCS Title game. Had Prince Charles played football, rather than hoops for his alma-mater, would he have been known as “The Round-Mound of Intentional-Grounding”???!!!

On the small screen…Errol Flynn reprises his role as Robin Hood and hits the Texas-prep gridiron at the end of each work-week in…”Friday Night Tights!”
Also in the Lone Star State…a Los Angeles jury elected to let Ryan O’Neal retain possession of an Andy Warhol portrait of longtime main-squeeze Farrah Fawcett, who reportedly bequeathed the painting to the University of Texas. O’Neal was pleased with the verdict, but said he’d happily loan the creative endeavor to the school for the duration of any contract it would offer him to replace Mack Brown as head coach!

In November, the rubber duck was granted a spot (“induck-ted”?) into in the Toy Hall-of-Fame. Queue-up Sesame Street’s Ernie and sing it with us…”Rubber Duckie, you’rrrre the one…that makes our halftime lottttsa’ fun!” BTW, the PAC-12-Man video game was also nominated, but didn’t garner enough votes to make da’ cut! Folks in Eugene put on a carnival every year, in which patrons can pay a buck to turn over an Oregon player floating in an inner-tube and win a prize corresponding to the number on the bottom of the player’s uniform!
Comin’ soon to MTV and You Tube, Imagine Dragons meets the Wake Forest football team in a video called… “(It’s where my) Deacons (hide)!”

The torches made for the relay leading up to the Sochi Games were created in Siberia by a company that normally manufactures ballistic missiles for the Soviet submarine corps. Due to a UPS mix-up, relay runners have had to act collectively to tote their Olympic symbols, while Russia’s underwater vessels will battle-carry torches in their silos and torpedo-tubes!!!
Courtesy of Miley Cyrus, a new medal-event has been approved for the Summer Games in the weightlifting competition …da’ “clean-and-‘twerk’”!

Black Shirt: Our loyal readership knows we’ve already officially awarded the coveted undergarment, but we’ll offer Honorable Mention to…da’ Big 12 zebras who continued to toss yellow hankies at Stanford, while missing penalties, or at the very minimum, deciding on “good no-calls” vs. Michigan State during our predicted Sparty-upset of the Trees in the Rose Bowl!
 “Locked in a Box?”: The Wazzup?! Cougars squandered a 22-point advantage…and lost outright…to Colorado State in the bowl-season opener to send our “lock” pick down in flames (6-7, .462) and portend the way the rest of our bowl season would go!

Shoppe Talk: The Spooners of Oklahoma upset ‘Bama and will definitely be scrutinized by Vindy heading into next season at 3-10 (.231)! “Watch”-team Clemson will provide us with some Tiger-skin rugs in the offseason after its upset of Ohio State, finishing the forecast campaign at 3-8 (.273)!
Vindy’s Bowl Best Bets:       Parts I, II & III: 6-6        Season: 54-35-1 (.607)

LEFTOVER HASH (Yes, we know it’s redundant. Vindicator now conducts the annual “emptying of the clip” and expends all the stuff he had in the arsenal throughout the season that didn’t previously find its way into the forecast…until now.)
Then-Eastern Michigan head coach Ron English jumped out of a perfectly-good airplane last May to raise the money to repair/renovate the EMU locker room bathrooms. At least he had an appropriate place to keep his game-plans!

Last summer, starting Florida LB Antonio Morrison got arrested for the second time in five weeks after barking at a police dog. He merely spent the first two games ridin’ the pine to start Florida’s 2013 season. He should consider himself lucky. Had he done the Gator “chomp” within reach of said-canine instead, it woulda’ cost him a few digits, if not part of an arm! BTW, his earlier trip downtown with Gainesville’s finest was the result of punching a bouncer and shouting “I am Antonio!” The dumbass defender might as well have spewed “I am Cornholio! I need TD for my bunghole!”
At the cinema, the Children of Da’ Corn horror-film series meets a certain college football stadium and makes reference to…”He Who Walks Behind the Rose Bowl!”

Seeking certification for 2014’s post-season…Tyson Fun Nuggets “Picky Eaters” Bowl! If ya haven’t seen the commercials, the product-in-question features dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. Among the associated-gifts for game-participants would be movie-tickets to see 10,000 BC, Land of Da’ Lost or Jurassic Park! Surely, da’ bowl parade Grand Marshal would have to be…Jeff Goldblum!!!!
Our holiday order from the Harriet Carter catalog included a baking pan that creates EZ Pockets! Just add quarterback???!!! We also await delivery of another kitchen-accessory that promises to make “the perfect pancake-block every time!”

Bruno Mars will do the halftime honors at this year’s Super Bowl. He’s expected to open with a rousing version of “When I Was Your Manziel”! Vindy’s spies say the set also includes a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Lineman in the Mirror”!
With a nod to our Week One lead-story regarding Notre Dame’s marketing of school-related fragrances, we offer a few more thoughts…Wake Up the Echoes De Toilette and (in one last cheap-shot) “Imaginary”…endorsed by Manti Te’o! Channeling a certain Saturday Night Live skit….Bordeaux De Toilette?! It’s perfume! It’s a wine! It’s both!!!! Elsewhere, BYU has produced Provo de Toilette? And find a discount coupon in the Fitty Shades of Gray paperback for…Oh my de Toilette!

Despite his popularity overseas, the new pope is not filling pews in the U.S. The NCAA has noted this and mandated more butts in the seats to reach the minimum-required attendance averages or Catholicism could be eliminated as a program at the religious schools failing to do so!
A clueless Barney Fife-type from Tennessee stopped a car near Memphis last February, mistaking the Ohio State buckeye leaf (signature “O” with a leaf) on a bumper-sticker as a symbol of the herb-superb. Our first thought… Rocky TOP rolling papers!

The NCAA severed ties with EA Sports in July, forbidding da’ game-maker to use any images or logos associated with the college organization. Having recently released NCAA Football ’14, EA Sports is now in talks with Coleco Electronic Football Game and Super-Jock!
Must-see TV…Tom Selleck has a say in which teams get sent to da’ Big Dance by the NCAA Tournament selection committee as “Magnum, RPI”

Horror-genre satire “Army of Darkness” meets Ohio State basketball and ‘Bama football, yielding the phrase, “Klaaatuu…Thad-Matta…Nick too!” BTW, Thad’s lesser-known brother, Stig Matta, is an assistant coach under Nick Satan in Tuscaloosa!
On the big screen…Stanley Kubrick graphically follows raw Marine recruits thru Parris Island and Viet-Nam as they experience the pressures of making correct NCAA Tournament picks in….”Full Metal Bracket”!!! Spoiler alert…Private Pyle wins his platoon’s pool on his last night on the Island, right before…er…um….well, you know!!!!

The Catholic Seven college basketball collective ceded last April from its original conference and will be henceforth known as the “Big Easter”??!!
The folks that serve on the committee that chooses the NCAA Tournament teams are reportedly treated to ice cream each night as part of the process. Guess the dessert-in-question would be a… “Selection Sundae”??!! Pope Benedict abdicated the position last spring, forcing the Conclave to choose the new pope in mid-March. No truth to the rumor that the Cardinals also helped Notre Dame secure a #7 seed.

If the current Commander-in-Chief shifts his allegiance from Oregon State to a certain team from the Big 12, will we hear…“*Barack, Chalk, Jayhawk???!!!”
In the wake of a probation violation, Chad Ochocinco bought himself a month in the slammer last summer after smackin’ his attorney on the rear-end in response to Judge Kathleen McHugh’s question about his satisfaction with his representation. The sentence ended early after his apology to the court. Ironically, Vindy would also spend some gray-bar hotel time after he swatted his bookie’s derriere following a similar query by Her Honor!

Last May, Keyshawn Johnson pursued a wayward Justin Bieber, exceeding the posted-limit, to the young pop-star’s residence, annoyed with his speed, and commanded the youthful singer to “Just gimme the damned keys!” 
Da’ Bears recently retired Coach Ditka’s number “89” jersey. In related news, “answer” you probably won’t see under “Sports Before & After” category on Jeopardy: “Magic Mike Ditka”!

Prior to last season’s NFC Championship game, just outside the Georgia Dome, stood a statue of Niners QB Colin Kaepernick getting a wedgie by a Falcons player. Following his 0-7 start, one of the local casinos hasda statue of Vindicator suffering a similar fate at the hands of a bookie!
Also on the silver screen…”Two linemen enter. One lineman leaves!” in…“Mad Max Beyond Superdome

With the NFL playoffs already underway, we’ll remind readers that a 2012 season playoff game went to double-OT. Double-overtime???!!! Howza’ bout we adopt a FG shoot-out if tied after da’ first extra-frame???!! Best of five kicks from fitty??!!!
St. Hat Trick’s Day!!!! St. Hat-Trick is the patron saint of hockey players who score three goals in a single game (and Vindy when he hits a three-game parlay in any given week!)

Following the end of the NHL lock-out, the L.A. Kings raised their Stanley Cup championship banner last January after a rousing, but shortened version of “Black Parade”. We get the connection to the uniform color, but those familiar with the popular tune by My Chemical Romance know the song, in its entirety, ain’t exactly happy and celebratory!
In June, MLB announced the 2014 season-opener between the Dodgers and da’ D-Backs will be played in Sydney, Australia (two-game series). Both teams will, of course, fly QANTAS to-and-from the field and da’ first-pitch will be thrown out by…Ray Babbitt! “Four minutes to (Billy) Wagner”??!!

A guffaw by officials at Augusta last April let Tiger Woods, who took a drop two feet away from where it shoulda’ been, off da’ hook with a mere two-stroke penalty rather than the DQ prescribed by the rules. This came after officials levied a penalty on 14-year-old Guan Tianlang for slow-play. Didn’t know golf had a shot-clock! What, like, the ball must hit at least the rim of the cup within 24 seconds or the opponent gets possession???!!!
Okay, we been holdin’ this one a longer time than usual, but…during the 2012 Summer Games, the North Korean women’s soccer team refused to occupy da’ pitch for a match vs. Columbia after Glasgow stadium attendants showed the South Korean flag while noting the North Korean starting roster! Gotta’ side with da’ Communists on this one. That would be like Ohio Bobcats’ players being announced with the Buckeyes logo on the big screen (or the New Mexico State Aggies taking the sidelines under the shadow of the Lobos’ insignia! Or even…dare we say it….the Ohio State team venturing onto the field as the Michigan colors flapped prominently in the breeze!)

About a year ago, ABC produced “Celebrity Diving”. Turns out, the show was about well-known personalities doin’ triple-sommies with a half-twist into da’ pike position, but our initial thoughts had more to do with folks like Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robert DeNiro and the whole deep-sea thing in “Men of Honor”. (And frankly, we think Katherine Webb would rock the Jacques Cousteau (who thought she was a beauty too!)/Nautilus/Calypso in any case!)
In the same week Lance Armstrong admitted to using PEDs on Oprah, 85-year-old Tony Zerrilli claimed he knows where Jimmy Hoffa’s buried. Under their seats that week, Oprah’s audience members found samples of illicit substances and maps to the final resting place of the aforementioned infamous individual.

And with that, Sportsfans…we leave you, until August, with our traditional Irish blessing…”May the road ‘dog rise up to beat you.” (Somethin’ like that!)
Air Forecast One has gone “wheels up”!