Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Between the Hashmarks Week 5-2014

BUFFALO, New York (ITAR-TASS)…Lost in the recent plethora of player misadventures was the outrage following off-season revelation of the NFL’s “jiggle test” for cheerleaders. Commissioner Roger Goodell and league officials say critics are wrong and it’s really the “Gigli” test, in which teams test cheerleaders’ endurance by measuring how long they can suffer through the Ben Affleck box-office bomb! In addition, the women must be pet-friendly and pass muster with Dr. Evil’s cat , ie. the“Mr. Bigglesworth test”! Further vetting of candidates requires ongoing mental health assessments mandating the pom-pom squads submit to the “Sybil test”!

(The real cause behind the elevator-fight between Jay-Z and Beyonce)

BTW, Cleveland fans wanting admission to the “Dog Pound” must pass the “Kibble test”!
The Nifty Lions host Northwestern this week. Last Spring, the National Labor Relations Board ruled N-Dub players could unionize. In April, scholarship players cast secret ballots whether or not to give the formal okay to be represented by the College Athletes Players Association (which if named College Athletes Players Organization, woulda’ had the Wildcats being supported by the…CAPO!). Those votes remain sealed until further notice as the school fights unionization. Meanwhile, we predict Coach Jimmy Hoffa will lead the Northwestern Teamsters outta’ da’ tunnel this week then mysteriously-disappear at halftime! The interim coach will, of course, be Jack Nicholson!

Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com strategy of wagering on bowl teams from the previous season that drop their first two games SU, then win Game Three outright and host their Game Four opponent went 2-0 again as Vandy (+21) and Wazzou (+23 ½) both covered nicely in that role vs. South Carolina and Oregon, respectively.
Steve Spurrier’s at it again,  bashin’ the Aggies’ slate. Last time he did that, the Ol’ Ball Coach and his players got their Gamecocks cleaned! Super Steve better hope his team and A&M don’t collide again for the SEC Championship in December.

The Sochi Olympics mascot was dubbed “Nightmare Bear”. Ted meets Chucky?!
In related news, Team USA’s honorary curling team-captain in Sochi, 49ers TE Vernon Davis, drew some comparisons between the sport-in-question and golf. Sure, why not. Every golfer hand-rolls a ball toward the hole and has a pair of helpers with brooms, sweeping a path along the green to the cup or to knock an opponent’s ball out of scoring range, right?!





Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Between the Hashmarks Week 4-2014


PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (UPI)…Lambasted in the media for, then admitting to, leaving a 20-cent gratuity for a server on a burger-joint tab for over $60, Eagles RB LeSean McCoy has decided to pursue a rap music career, going by the name “Twenty Cent”. Plans are already underway to join forces with Curtis Jackson AKA “Fifty-Cent” on a nationwide concert tour called “Seventy Cent On Da’ Dollah”! McCoy may also get to throw out the first pitch of a Major League Baseball playoff game. Hopefully, it’ll be less than half as bad as Fifty Cent’s was. Asked about his soon-to-be co-star’s claim of being reportedly shot nine times, McCoy stated has never suffered a bullet wound, but “did take nine snaps from the shotgun formation during preseason practices” in Philly’s rendition of the Wildcat!

BTW, Vindy’s spies say before leaving the restaurant, the beleaguered running back took the twenny pennies and threw them in the air to “make it rain”!
UNLV took first-place in the Victoria Secret Pink Nation “Craziest Campus Showdown” last week. The prize is still under wraps for now, but the looks on the Rebel’s football players’ faces when dozens of frilly, lacy, pink underthings are delivered to the locker room will be priceless!

Back in Week One, we noted the Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com strategy of wagering on bowl teams from the previous season who drop their first two games SU, then win Game Three outright and host their Game Four opponent. The first three weeks of 2014 have eliminated all but two of the possible contenders, but the remaining teams meeting the criteria are…Vanderbilt and Washington State. Da’ Commodores are gettin’ 21vs. the South Carolina Gamecocks and Wazzou’s taking 23 vs. the Mallards of Oregon. Vandy looks absolutely lost without coach James Franklin (now at Vindy’s alma mater) and the Ducks could be bankin’ on the perceived strength of conference to blaze the path to the Final Four, but a bye week’s comin’ up after this one and style-points won’t hurt. Our choices? Bet on the Admirals, pass on the Coogs, who’ve lost by 15, 25 and 24 the last three years.
The NCAA has cut a deal with “Star Wars” merchandise to provide movie-themed apparel for its colleges. Keep an eye out in your fave campus bookstores for shirts, hoodies, PJs, etc. featuring such things as…”These aren’t the draw-plays you’re looking for.”, “Use the Air Force, Luke!”, Auburn coach Darth Malzahn, Bowling Green (or Air Force) Millennium Falcons, Rutgers Scarlet Jedi Knights, Texas Tech Red Tusken Raiders and of course, Rebel Bases of Ole Miss and UNLV!

We thank Northern Illinois (-10 ½) and Nebraska (-11 ½) for covering at UNLV and Fresno State, respectively, thus letting us cash our first parlay ticket on the season!
ATS runs and skids thru Week Three (with three lined games): 3-0: Weeziana Tech, Ole Miss and UTEP; 0-3: Fresno State, Kent State, UCLA and Vandy!

This just in…Seminoles QB Jameis Winston earned himself the right to spend the first thirty minutes of game-time vs. Clemson on the pine for spouting an obscene phrase while standing atop a table in the student union. We have a two-word prediction for Winston’s future as an NFL quarterback…Ryan Leaf  (or maybe even Art Schlicter!)
The faux-fainting ploy used by Arkansas State on special teams vs. Miami was reportedly run in practice, but we think Booker Mays accidentally made eye-contact with George Clooney, who was on the ASU sidelines reprising his role from “The Men Who Stare at Goats”!!!

With the Seattle Super Bowl victory well-in-hand at the end of the second quarter last February, QB Russell Wilson actually took the halftime stage and lip-synched the Bruno Mars tunes alongside the Red Hot Chili Peppers (anybody else out note the irony in said-band playin’ “Give It Away” following the Broncos efforts to do just that in the first 30 minutes of the game?!). Meanwhile, the scheduled performer/pop star actually suited up and was under center the rest of the way for the Seahawks!
Multiple-choice question…Commish Roger Goodell says the league didn’t see the Ray Rice video in a timely manner because a) the VHS tape was actually sent to now-defunct Blockbuster Video to be rewound first b) the league doesn’t subscribe to Netflix! or c) the audio-visual intern had been on a leave-of-absence and nobody else at NFL Headquarters knew how to make the DVD-in-question fit the league’s Beta-Max machine!

And finally…On da’ Billboard One-Hunnert…football meets DJ Snake & Lil’ Jon in a tune called…“Turned-Over On Downs Fer What?!!!”

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Between the Hashmarks Week 3-2014

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (BBC)…Over the summer, officials at Utah revamped the Utes’ fight song lyrics from “man” to “fan” to avoid the appearance of being sexist. In a show of solidarity, other musicians and record companies have since followed suit, leading to such title alterations as… “Soul Fan” by the Blues Brothers, “Secret Agent Fan”- Johnny Rivers, “Tax Fan”- Beatles, “Mr. Tambourine Fan”- Bob Dylan, “When a Fan Loves a Woman”- Percy Sledge, “Iron Fan”- Black Sabbath,  “Back Door Fan”- The Doors, “Piano Fan”- Billy Joel, “Rocket Fan”- Elton John, “Southern Fan”- Neil Young, “Old Fan”- also Neil Young, “Sharp Dressed Fan”- ZZ Top, “Fan in the Mirror”- Michael Jackson, “When I Was Your Fan”- Bruno Mars, “Macho Fan”- Village People, “The Fan in Black”- Johnny Cash, “What a Fan”- Salt N Pepa, “Stand By Your Fan”- Tammy Wynette, and of course, “Walk Like a Fan”- Frankie Valle. In fact… zoos, fruit stands and fashion shops now feature fanatees, fandarin oranges and fannaquins, respectively.

We apologize to our loyal readership looking for our usual slate of game predictions, but we have taken back-to-back poor outings that left us at 8-20 overall and 1-7 on “best bets” through the first two weeks of the 2014 campaign as a sign that the college football pantheon, or the powers of the universe it represents, wants us to take a break. So be it. The picks are on sabbatical until next August (unless we decide to give the bowls a go) so we can recalibrate the abacus and the slide-rule we generally use to formulate our ATS selections. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to post stuff weekly that would normally show up as a lead “news story” or at least in…

BTW, even international sports leagues are hopping on the Utah bandwagon, including English soccer stalwart… Fanchester United!
Following the act of Johnny Football, Texas A&M’s new gunslinger at QB prefers the nickname…“Can He Drill”?!...What’d he say???!!!

Upset alert…FCS #3 SE Louisiana @ TULANE (no line). Lions are 2-0 after pounding a Southern Utah team that trailed UNR by just 8 points midway thru the 3rd Quarter…at Reno…and ultimately lost by just 9.
Bo Pelini led his Huskers onto the field before the Nebraska Spring Game, while holding up his cat skyward in an apparent homage to the Lion King. The stadium-operator misunderstood the NU coach’s subsequent request to play “Hakuna Matata” and instead blasted Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” over the PA system! Not to be out-done, the Big Red baseball coach requested the playing of “On-Deck Circle of Life” and “Glove Lies Bleeding” as his squad took the diamond in its next game!

Ahead of the AFC Championship contest last January, Patriots kicker Gostkowski would not reveal the song he uses as the soundtrack to a video-mash-up of some of his important FGs, which he creates and watches while prepping for the game each week. Given the mental state usually attributed to players at his position, the tune-in-question was probably something done by Weird Al Yankovic!
Around that same timeframe, Pope Francis selected 19 new cardinals. Later that month, the pontiff took turns helping Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice choose players for their respective Pro Bowl squads under the new non-denominational format!

In February, 5000 single-serve containers of Chobani yogurt, a sponsor of the U.S. Olympic team, didn’t make it to Sochi for the Winter Games, instead remaining in New Jersey, due to some Russian dairy-product public-health standards snafu! Opponents blamed Chris Christie for that log-jam too! Clearly, the concern was terrorists were smuggling explosives that would’ve detonated when athletes stirred the fruit at the bottom of each cup!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Vindy's Picks Week 2-2014

DENVER, Colorado (REUTERS)…Much ado was made over Peyton Manning’s use of the word “Omaha” at the line of scrimmage, reportedly captured in a league video-compilation as many as 44 times, in his team’s January playoff win over the San Diego Chargers. Players on both sides, however, revealed the star QB was actually shouting the expression of shock and bewilderment, “Omigawd! Omigawd!” after looking over the defense!

BTW, CB-radio aficionados will of course remember Manning as the voice of “Rubber Duck’ in the song “Convoy”…”Yeah, 10-4, Big Ben…what’s yer 20?...Omaha?!...Well, they ought to know what to do with them hogs out there fer sure…”
A horrendous 3-12 (.200) outta’ the gate had us quickly contemplating closing up shop and takin’ the rest of the season off, but we’ve Picasso’d ourselves up off da’ canvas and hope for better results from…

(Safe as a Sochi Olympics half-pipe!)
Citadel @ #1 FLORIDA STATE: No line.

Florida Atlantic (+40) over #2 ALABAMA: Mounties’ 100-yard kick-off return for a score in the Second Quarter sounds like several ’Bama  special-teams scholarships being vacated. Owls gave up almost 500 rushing yards on fitty-seven carries in blowout loss to Nebraska and now fly into Tuscaloosa, facing Tide team that saw RBs Yeldon and Henry each clear 100 yards on the ground vs. West Virginia. Yep, that’s gonna’ leave a bruise…Tide 48 FAU 10
#7 Michigan State (+12 ½) over #3 OREGON: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK #1. LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. We’ll put more stock in Spartans’ 45-7 win over then-FCS #8 Jacksonville State team than in Ducks hanging 62 on AA South Dakota squad. Mallards QB Mariota warrants his Heisman-talk, but Sparty closed last year with underdog SU wins over Ohio State and Stanford. Ducks are crapshoots as home-chalk. One of Oregon’s defeats last season came at the hands of defensive-stalwart Stanford. Double-digits just too-good to pass up with State… MSU 27 Quack Attack 24

#4 Oklahoma (-24 ½) over TULSA: Sooners 44 Tulsa 16
#5 AUBURN (-31) over San Jose State: Tigers 44 SJSU 9

#6 Georgia: IDLE (next @ South Carolina)
#8 OHIO STATE (-12) over Virginia Tech: State’s 17-point win over Navy is misleading. We watched the game. Middies were in it until the last 8 or 9 minutes. While the rushing attack is obviously Navy’s MO, the Ensigns gashed the Buckeyes run-D for long-gainers on several occasions. QB JT Barrett did improve as the game went on in place of Braxton Miller. A missed 36-yard FG cost us the forecast win last week, but considering a number of calls by the replay official favoring the Boat People, we won’t complain too loud. Buckeyes are just 8-7 ATS at Da’ Shoe the past seasons, but should fare better vs. a more-traditional offense this week…State 29 Hokies 12

Lamar @ #9 TEXAS A&M: No line.
Northwestern State @ #10 BAYLOR: No line.

Memphis (+24) over  #11 UCLA: Bruins D did the heavy-lifting last week in Virginia, scoring three TDs on three turnovers, with UCLA offense not hittin’ the scoreboard until the final 90 seconds of the game…UCLA 35 Tigers 24
Sam Houston State @ #12 LSU: No line.

#13 STANFORD (-3) over #14 Southern Cal: Just prior to last week’s opener vs. Fresno State, Trojans DB Josh Shaw fessed up that his story about his high-ankle sprains resulted from leaping off  a balcony to save his drowning nephew was…horse hockey! The exact details of his actual fall from a balcony were not divulged, but Vindy’s spies say Shaw had been watching Wrestlemania on TV and tried to emulate a “diving back elbow drop”. No turnbuckle was available, so he improvised…landing a solid blow to the chest of his 7-year-old relative, but bustin’ up his wheels in the process! Frankly, we’d be happy with a push, but we’ll call it…Trees 24 Trojans 20
#15 Mississippi (-20) over Vanderbilt (@ Atlanta, GA): Senior QB Bo Wallace and his Rebels teammates overcame a sloppy INT-filled game (7 total combined) to beat Boise and notch one of our three correct picks in Week One. Meanwhile, the NCAA and SEC dropped anchor on Vandy’s now-banned unis, which proclaimed “Anchors Down” on the back in the midst of the Commodores’ embarrassing 30-point loss to improving-but-not-that-improved Temple. Ole Miss chalked up 387 passing yards but the running game was absent and the Rebels have won just 6 of last 16 SEC contests. Vandy’s got a new coach after losing James Franklin to Vindy’s alma-mater…Rebels 41 Vanderbilt 17

Michigan (+4 ½) over #16 NOTRE DAME: Despite the academic drama, QB Golson carried the Leprechauns, literally, with three rushing scores, and passed for a couple more in trashin’ Rice. Big Blew needs to figure out how to put the close ones in the dubya-column, suffering 4 losses by 11 total points last season and going 4-11-1 ATS in games decided by 7 or less the last three years. Senior QB Devin Gardner avenged a much-publicized 2007 loss to Appalachian State last week. Irish had won four straight (by 7 or less) until UM’s 41-30 triumph in 2013… Leprechauns 27 UM 24
NEW MEXICO (+26) over #17 Arizona State: Best guess for this week’s “wish I had it back”. Lobos nearly rallied from 17-point halftime hole vs. UTEP, using a strong running game (about 9 yards per carry), but minus-three in turnover ratio didn’t help. New Mexico finally has a full allotment of scholarship players, lotsa’ seniors and a third-year coach in Bob Davie, though Lobos are down a couple key players…Pitchforks 38 UNM 20

Western Illinois @ #18 WISCONSIN: No line.
McNeese State @ #19 NEBRASKA: No line.

#20 Kansas State (-12 ½) over IOWA STATE: ‘Clones, as we warned in our Week One “upset alert”, were beaten by the reigning FCS triple-champion North Dakota State Golden Bison...not just narrowly, but by almost three touchdowns…at home!! The Purple Persians can relate. They were beaten 24-21 last year by those same Golden Bison. Dust Devils return 10 on offense but just half as many on D. ‘Cats have been money-makers for their backers the last three seasons and have won 7 of 8 games following an ugly first half of 2013…
San Diego State (+15) over #21 NORTH CAROLINA: Tarheels 27 Aztecs 20

East Carolina (+16 ½) over #22 SOUTH CAROLINA: Poultry’s youth on defense showed badly in outright loss to A&M last week (and maybe…just maybe…the Ol’ Ball-Coach won’t give the Pirates any disparaging sound-bites). SC RB Davis is doubtful fer this game. Can’t quite pull the upset trigger on ECU squad that’s been poor in road-dog mode, but points look worthy…KFC 34 Arrrrgh! 27
SC State @ #23 CLEMSON: No line.

TOLEDO (+4 ½) over #24 Missouri: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK #2. Rockets 31 Tigers 27
Murray State @ #25 LOUISVILLE: No line.

Apparently, the volume of penalty-flags thrown for pass interference and defensive holding under the new regulations was so numerous during the NFL exhibition season that cheerleaders on both sidelines of any given game were seen sewing quilts with the yellow hankies at halftime! Come to think of it, referees who watched too much of da’ World Cup coverage were awarding penalty-kicks for defensive infractions occurring inside da’ tackle-box!

Having already suffered the egging of his truck last year in the wake of a lost game (BTW, Justin Bieber could not be reached for comment) and having his wheels set ablaze, possibly intentionally, ahead of last Saturday’s game at Auburn, Arkansas QB Brandon Allen was seen this week driving a tank acquired from the Fayetteville  National Guard!
Replying to a media question about UNLV-to-Arizona transfer Adonis Smith providing some intel about the Rebels to his new team prior to their season openers in Tucson, UNLV coach Bobby Hauck quipped, ”You are inferring that he was paying attention while he was here.” Given the Wildcats’ 58-13 victory, apparently, yes…yes, he was!

Eastern Michigan players struggled, while wielding sledgehammers, to knock down a concrete wall to get to their sideline in their opener last Saturday. “Mr. Gabriel…Mr. Peter Gabriel…to the white courtesy-phone, please!” We think there’s a Miley Cyrus Wreckin’ Ball parody comin’! On top of it, Eagles squeaked past AA Morgan State 31-28. Will enlist Kool-Aid to lead them onto the field this week! Might help bolster attendance too!
New signage in the Michigan State Spartans’ locker room misspelled “accurate” after omitting the second “c”. We realize MSU ain’t Harvard, Yale, Duke, Stanford or even Northwestern, but we an’t help but wonder whih Mihigan State uarterbak will line-up under enter and help his team hit the soreboard vs. the Duks this week!

In addition to aforementioned ISU Cyclowns, we put several other teams on upset-alert against their FCS opponents last week. None of those fell outright, though Montana lost just 17-12 at Wyoming and Mizzou pulled away late from South Dakota State. Other final scores of note from Week One include…Bethune-Cookman’s 14-12 win over Florida International, NC State 24-23 over I-A newcomer Ga. Southern, Syracuse 27-26 (in double OT) over Villanova, Central Michigan 20-16 over UT-Chattanooga, South Florida 36-31 over Western Carolina, Iowa 31-23 over Northern Iowa and Texas Tech 42-35 over Central Arkansas!  
This week on Upset Alert…Eastern Washington @ WASHINGTON (No line). The UDUB defense hung on for the last 12 minutes to preserve 17-16 victory for an ineffective Huskies offense at Hawaii. Sled Dogs do return starting quarterback Cyler Miles from suspension fer this one, but still, the E-DUB Eagles are #2 in the FCS Poll this week…

With team captains for Super Bowl 48 at midfield for the start of the game, Joe Namath prematurely tossed the coin. Kudos to referee Terry McCauley for jumping the route and picking off the ceremonial currency before it hit the ground. McCauley subsequently bolted down the left sideline to the end zone, but was ruled outta’ bounds at the five. The officiating crew would, however, go on to score the first of several touchdowns vs. the Broncos.
During the Sochi Games, snowboard athletes complained about bumpy, deteriorating conditions of the Olympic halfpipe (though competitors from Washington and Colorado noted “a half-pipe is better than no pipe, duuuude”)

Black Shirt: PSU kicker Sam Fickin for his last-second FG in Ireland, leading to the alma-mater’s win and cover over Central Florida…and one of Vindy’s “best bet” dubyas!
“Wish I Had That One Back”: We wish we had damn-near any selection we made in Week One back, but we specifically said we were “not comfy” layin’ the limber with ‘Bama over West Virginia!

“Locked in a Box?”: We open 1-0 (1.000) on the year as Ole Miss put the hurt on Boise last Thursday! One of the few highlights of Week One fer us.
Shoppe Talk: The Gamecocks (0-1 season, 3-9, .250 skid back to last year) host the season-opening of Ye Olde Taxidermy Shoppe…not only failing to cover -10 ½ vs. A&M, but having their tail-feathers handed to ‘em by the Aggies Fresno State was actually 1-7 (.125) headin’ into the 2014 campaign and hosed us again to start the year. Last year’s Flame-Throwers…‘Bama, Oklahoma, Clemson… also hit us (but so did damn-near everybody on the slate last week!)

Vindy’s Week 2 Best Bets:       Last Week: 1-3        Season: 1-3 (.250)
JOJA’ STATE -1 over New Mexico State, NORTHWESTERN -7 over Northern Illinois, Akron +14 over PENN STATE, Colorado State +11 over BOISE STATE