Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Vindy's Picks 2015-16 Bowl Predictions Part III

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AP)…After the visitors rallied to send the contest into extra-frames, Steve Harvey, donning the referee’s striped-uniform, oversaw the overtime coin-toss of the Jets-Patriots game this Sunday, noting “It’s heads…New England has won the toss and has elected to receive”. Moments later, Antonio Cromartie returned the kick-off 89 yards for a seemingly come-from-behind, game-winning score. But as the teams started to shake hands and jog off the grid-iron, Harvey hustled onto the field, turned-on his mic and said, “Oh, wait…I must apologize…it’s tails.” A flustered officiating crew gathered and conferred. And after reviewing indisputable video-evidence that the currency did, in fact, land on “tails”, nullified the touchdown and re-positioned the teams for the Jets to receive the ensuing kick, leading to an end zone reception by the Jets’ Eric Decker and the triumph!

With today’s slate yet to be finalized as we go to press, we’ll add the results to our next forecast, but through the games of December 29, we went 6-7 thus far for Part II (11-14 currently on the bowl season).
As part of a Secret-Santa thing, Quentin Tarantino, famous, of course, fer “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” and the sequel “Kill Bill: Vol. 2”, among other twisted-flicks, left a “Magic Crazy-88’s Ball” as a present under yer nifty-narrator’s Christmas tree Vindy reciprocated by giving the director-in-question a Hattori Hanzo sword (forged from, fer da’ Game of Thrones fans, Valyrian steel), and a sneak-preview of…

(More lethal than the five-point-palm exploding-heart technique!)
DEC. 31

#14 Houston (+7) over #9 Florida State: Tribe QB Everett Golson didn’t make the trip to Atlanta fer Da’ Noles. Sean Maguire, who’s been da’ Man since early November is an adequate substitute, though less of a running-threat, which means it might be a battle of ground-games featuring State’s RB Dalvin Cook against Coogs QB Greg Ward, who leads the club in passing yardage, rushing yardage and can catch the ball as well, making us wonder if Coach Tom Herman and/or OC Major Applewhite might draw-up some sort of pass-play to Ward! Cougars mysteriously lost at…UConn…in surprisingly-minimal-scoring tilt. Everett Golson is still in Tallahassee. If Maguire goes down, it’s all on Cook. Chief Osceola and da’ guys lost by 10 at Clemson and…hmmm…6 at down-Joja’ Tech. Both sides stop the rush effectively. FSU’s seeking redemption for an ugly CFP semi-final loss last year. But in da’ Chic-Philly Bowl, do they care enough?...Renegade 29 UH 27

CAPITAL ONE ORANGE BOWL (CFP semi-final) (@ Miami Gardens, FL)
#1 Clemson (+3) over #4 Oklahoma: Following loss to Texas, Oklahoma was considered by many to be the hottest team, in I-A ball, completing the regular-season. We’ll not challenge that assessment.  No doubt Coach Stoops will play-up last season’s Russell Athletic Bowl’s 40-6 demise at the hands of Clemson (who was +5 in turnovers), however we can’t really invest in the “revenge” factor, given that contest meant little for either side. Both teams were balanced in scoring touchdowns, with basically an equivalent number of rushing and passing sixes. Each club allowed an average of 20-and-change points per games against, though Sooners did so against 4 teams that finished in the top 9 in scoring points per contest, while only North Carolina represented the ACC in the top 11. Tigers have been ‘dogs in each of the last three years’ bowl-outings…and won all of ‘em outright. The Tigers bested three Top-25 opponents...all are still currently Top 10. Boomer-Schooner got past five ranked opponents…three retain their hashmarks…all at #11 and below (though TCU holds the #10-spot in the Coaches Poll). In a duel of star sophomore quarterbacks …Deshaun Watson and…Mayor Augustus Maywho…er…um…Baker Mayfield…we’ll take… Clemson  27 Oklahoma 24  

GOODYEAR COTTON BOWL CLASSIC (CFP semi-final) (@ Arlington, TX)
#3 Michigan State (+10) over #2 Alabama: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. Tide gets another semi-final crack at a Big Tentacle team, but instead of trying to defend a lower-string QB like last year, Senior starter Connor Cook is behind center for the Spartans. Nobody on the State sideline remembers the last meeting between these two squads, which ended in a 49-7 rout by ‘Bama in 2010.  Saban’s team has notched all its victories vs. everyone other than Tennessee by double-digits. Like Clemson, MSU has won and covered post-season outings in each of the previous three years…all in the ‘dog role.   Sports Illustrated botched a recent mag cover, naming Spartans coach as “Mike” rather than “Mark” D’Antonio. Coulda’ been worse. Coulda’ been “Monk” or…(Gasp!)...”Mork”! We’ll side with recent history and give the dog a look outright since we’re taking the generous points...Nanu-nanu 23 Elephants 21

JAN. 1

#12 Northwestern (+8 ½) over Tennessee: Vols 27 Wildcats 24

#17 Michigan (-4) over #19 Florida: Seniors for Michigan will remember a 33-28 loss to South Carolina in the 2012 post-season. Harbaugh would be happy to belt an SEC team in his first year. Florida’s got a new OC, but these aren’t his guys on the field. Vindy’s spies say Gators will try to get UM off its game by running a series of insurance company commercials/videos on YouTube featuring Jake Ruddock from Ohio State Farm!...Maize (and Blue) Runner 27 Crocs 12

#8 Notre Dame vs. #7 Ohio State (“under 56”): OSU was doing the unthinkable with less this time last season. Only Virginia Tech and…(Acckkk!)...Maryland…???!! reached 20 points or more vs. da’ Buckeyes. Sole Irish- defeats came by 2-each…at CFP #1 Clemson and, in surprising shoot-out, at Stanford. In August, Columbus fans fans hoofed it by shoe-leather express 19 miles to spell out the trademark- script “Ohio” on Google Maps. We just wanna’ know who still had the moxie left to dot the “I” after that trek!!! ! In da’ Saddleflog…um…Bramblebog… er…Cattlegrog…Balrog (?!) bowl...State 27 Who’s Yer Laddie?! 20

#6 Iowa (+6 1/2) over #5 Stanford: Hawkeyes lost one game…the Big Tensor Conference championship…by 3. Iowa covered just 7 of 12, but were favored in all but two ‘em. Coach Kirk Ferentz was runner-up for coach of Da’ Year. Iowa prefers to play defensive, low-scoring contests (35 to Minnesota notwithstanding). Trees’ D not quite as efficient in 2015 (23+ ppg allowed) as it was in the prior three seasons (all teens), but Cardinal rang-up 37+ ppg, most since 2011. We didn’t think Nebraska could beat UCLA. We have faith in Iowa’s ability to knock off Stanford. The SU band was forbidden in May to travel to road games due to using illicit drugs, traditionally giving a member a drink intended to make him/her toss his/her cookies in the open and choosing prospects based on inappropriate inquiries about matters of intimate contact. Given the “neutral” site here, we expect somebody from the tuba-section to smoke some weed and hurl on someone’s private parts during the halftime performance!… Iowa 26 Stanford 20

#16 Mississippi (-7 1/2) over #13 Oklahoma State: We changed our initial pick here. Consider yerselves duly-advised. We ain’t supportin’ a lotta’ favorites in this edition, but thought Ole Miss worthy. Motivation goes to the Rebels, who were blasted by TCU in last season’s Peach Bowl. State has been vulnerable to the pass. Mississippi will however, face the Cowboys (who took ten straight before defeats by Baylor and Oklahoma), without talented DT Robert Nkemdiche, who gets to ride the pine for possession of Mary Jane and falling (twice?!) from a hotel window. The All-American avoided significant injury when he landed on the oversized doobie he was smokin’ at the time… Ole Miss 41 ‘Pokes 31
JAN. 2

TAXSLAYER BOWL (@ Jacksonville, FL)
Georgia vs Penn State (“under 42”): Former Vandy coach James Franklin is no stranger to the Bulldogs, having been blasted 48-3 between da’ hedges in 2012 and winning 31-27 at home in 2013. Lions went 7-5 outright, Joja’ absorbed just 3 defeats in 12 games, but winds up here (though at least it’s after the ball fell in Times Square!). Other than lotsa’ stupidity by the PSU offense in 39-point loss at CFP-contender Michigan State, the D was pretty good. The Alma Mater finished losing 4 of last 6 and three straight. Thrifty Lions went under in four of five non-conference tilts. ‘Dawgs went under in 8 of their games as well. Happy Valley’s football team took the gridiron this season sans player names. SoCal and Our Lady of Quasimodo are the only other squads to do so. Queue-up Cat Stevens and sing it with us…”I’ve been..through the end zone on a back with no naaaame…It felt good to be out of…the plaaaaay.”…Canines 20 Felines 13

Kansas State vs. Arkansas (“over 55 ½”): Razorbacks 49 Purple Persians 27

#15 Oregon (+1 1/2) over #11 Texas Christian: Almost formally-chose the “over 78 ½” here too. Oregon gets relegated to this one a year removed from national championship loss to Ohio State. A loss to Wazzou punctuated a poor 3-3 beginning for the Mallards, but Drakes finished with six consecutive wins. No worries about the lengthy lay-off for OR because high-scoring, low-D matches are Oregon’s usual MO. Vernon Adams improved over the second-half, adjusting to I-A play. Horny Toads split their last four games of the season vs. the titans of the Big 12 and can bang the scoreboard too. Ducks will field their usual stick-figure defense and Texas Christian has contacted Discover Card to ensure it has “frog-protection”, “fraud-protection”, “frog”, “fraud”, “frog”….Quack Attack 44 TCU 38

West Virginia vs. Arizona State (“over 63 ½”): BTW, next year, not to be outdone by a rival hotel, one of the San Diego post-season match-ups will be the Holiday Inn Holiday Bowl!...Mounties 48 Spun Devils 30

If Olivia Newton-John reprised her role in Grease for da’ presidential-election or da’ College Football Playoffs committee, would she admit, “Hope-lesslyyyy…we voteddddd…fer you!”

SB Nation revealed an excerpt from the new biography of Nick Saban, who said he’d only commit adultery with “Hillary F… Rodham Clinton”, going on to further explain that “Ultimately you never want to sleep with anybody who has less to lose than you do.” Guess which SEC coach got himself the Democratic nom for Veep on the “Clinton 2016” ticket! Meanwhile, Vindy’s plans to bed Kim Kardashian, Lindsey Lohan and Miley Cyrus have since been scuttled!
Having a little fun with the name-snafu, D’Antonio had his school photo-shop the same cover to feature a certain combination-utensil image and use the same font to spoof the magazine as “Sporks Illustrated”!

Last summer, the Princeton Review announced its Top Twenty Party Schools. Settin’ the bar….University of Illinois. Oh sure…like a hometown of Champagne, Illinois wasn’t a dead giveaway??!!! Helping garner a top-three hat-trick for the conference…Iowa and Wisconsin at #2 and #, 3 respectively! And to make matters worse… the Alma Mater checks-in at unlucky #13, to give the Oktoberfest Tent-Peg Conference four teams among the Top 20…to which we here at Vindy’s Picks responds “Party on, Ft. Wayne!” (Oh wait…that’s in Indiana!). While a preponderance of the guilty parties dot the map of the northeastern part of the U.S., da’ SEC did make its presence known, offering #8 Joja’, #12 Ole Miss and #14 Florida. In the 17-hole was…DePauw???!!!
Arrrghhhh! Much to our chagrin, all three 5-7 bowlers (San Josie, Nebraska and Minnesota) won outright in their respective games! Kill us now!!!!!! Couldn’t we mimic the college hoops system and have some sorta’ play-in games (Raise yer hand if ya remember when there was just one of these!) for sub-.500 teams?! That would at least reduce the number of clubs with losing records from 3 to 2 (while giving a fourth 5-7 team full of Poindexters a chance!). Uggghhhh!!!!! Surely for the qualifiers-in-question, “APR” stands for Average Punt Rate!

Overheard lyrics on a classic AC/DC vinyl during the holidays….”Suck on my Big Ten-Grinch...Record!”
Black Shirt: We’re personally monogrammin’ the tee for Indy kicker Griffin Oakes fer missin’ a 38-yard FG in OT to give Duke (+2 ½) the straight-up win we predicted! Honorable Mention to Virginia Tech LB Leon Clarke, who started 11 games, posting 77 tackles for da’ Hokies and then got himself suspended for the Independence Bowl, contributing, we suspect, to not only Tulsa’s cover, but near-victory vs. VT (who apparently-played [Justin] Bieber-Ball in the shoot-out victory, instead of customary Beamer-Ball [defense and special-teams excellence])!

Bowls Part III Best Bets: Last Week: 1-0   Season: 43-34-1 (.558)
Michigan vs. Florida “under 39 ½”, West Virginia PK over Arizona State

Next up…the final post of the season…containing our thoughts on the National Championship match-up, the annual bowl recap…and lotsa’ Leftover Hash!


Friday, December 25, 2015

Vindy's Picks 2015-16 Bowl Predictions Part II

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (BBC)…Hours after Steve Harvey, facilitating the Miss Universe Pageant here in Sin City, misspoke and erroneously called Miss Columbia the winner, leading to a social-media firestorm, the Vegas Vindicator quickly-rose to the comedian’s defense, noting “Vindy’s Picks inaccurately declares victors on a weekly basis throughout the season!”. Despite the on-air miscue, Harvey, host of the Family Feud game-show, has been invited to oversee who gets the opening-possession of the College Playoff National Championship Game. The traditional coin-toss will be set-aside in favor of having a player from each team try to buzz-in and correctly identify “one of the top-five answers on the scoreboard” based on a poll of 100 people. The winning side will have the option to “play or pass”!
Sleepwalking early, we could only muster 5-7 (.417) for Part I of the predictions. Vindy’s gonna’ make like Elsa in “Frozen” and “let it go”! Right between that Fisher-Price Tribble Me Olaf Nerf-Drone and the Star Wars “Darkside” Covergirl make-up kit (Ooooie, Chewie, Wookieful! your  Liner”?!!? The Eye-Liner Strikes Back?!), you’ll find a nicely-wrapped gift-box containing…

(Now Gruden-free for those with allergies to a certain former-coach!)
DEC. 26

ST. PETERSBURG BOWL (@ St. Petersburg, FL)
Marshall vs. Connecticut (“under 45”): Herd 23 UConn 16

Washington State (-3) over Miami: ‘Canes allowed one fewer passing scores (14) than interceptions (15). Not sure even that ratio will be enough to fend-off Wazzou’s air attack (first runner-up to only Bowling Green). Neither team runs the ball effectively (Coogs dead-last, Da’ U comes in at #112). ‘Canes committed second-most penalties nationally. Mike Leach is finally getting production from his charges. ‘Canes took four of last five following dismissal of then-coach Al Golden in wake of fitty-eight-nada loss to Clemson. Hopin’ for another Miami flag-fest because State allowed at least 24 points to all but two opponents…Cougars 37 Pelicans 30

Southern Mississippi (+8) over Washington (55 ½): Just guessin’ da’ Huskies expended all their emotional-energy annihilating rival-Cougars in the Apple Cup clash. Chris Petersen again finds himself in unenviable position as bowl-chalk for second-straight year. Golden Eagles are relevant again for first time in four years and Coach Monken has to be stoked to not be at Army. Can’t call the upset here, but taking more than a touchdown and XP with a run-heavy team of Eagles is attractive against fitty-fitty, unreliable Sled Dogs…Washington 37 USM 32

Duke (+2 ½) over Indiana: Blue Devils 40 Indy 34

Tulsa (+14) over Virginia Tech: Venerable-coach Frank Beamer is throwin’ in da’ towel after 29 seasons and 23 straight post-season appearances. VT struggled early and put three of final four in the dubya-column to extend the streak of bowls. Hurricanes play beyond the regular-season again after winning just a total of five games over the previous two years, likely in part to correcting a dismal -18 turnover-ratio to +2 this season. Pickin’ a total would be challenging since Tech finished “under” in 7 of last 8, while Tulsa, who lost respectably at final-four contestant Oklahoma by 14, went “over” in 5 of last 7 tilts…Hokies 31 Tulsa 24

Ucla (-7) over Nebraska: It’s been an interesting season for UCLA, which saw Puffy Combs get a ride downtown with LA’s finest following an alleged scrap with one of da’ strength-coaches over said-coach’s treatment of his son, Justin, in which the famed-artist brandished a kettle-bell (exercise-equipment resembling a dumbbell, as opposed to “kettle-chips” or…GASP!...Kegel-exercises!). Nebraska’s a questionable last-second TD catch for the win over Michigan State from 4-8 and in the comfort of its own living-room for this one. First-year NU Coach Mike Riley had a lot to work with, but it didn’t translate well to the field. Jim Mora Jr. had even more to work with and despite knockin’ off four Top 25 opponents in five tries, Bruins still end up here playing before the ball drops in Times Square. Nothin’ personal against Nebraska or the other pair of 5-7 bowlers, but should two of the three lose (San Jose won its game), perhaps the bowl-deluge will get some reconsideration … UCLA 29 Corn-Meal 17

DEC. 28

#21 NAVY (-3) over Pittsburgh: LOCK OF DA’ BOWLS (Go! Run! Save yerselves!). Admittedly, we’re a slow-learner… because for an unprecedented third time in a single-season, we designate the same team for “lock”. Middies want to make up for less-than-stellar offensive-outing vs. Army. Again, Pitt’s at a disadvantage prepping for the triple-option. After entertaining an offer from BYU, Ensigns coach Niumatalolo has decided to stay put and Senior QB Keenan Reynolds enters his collegiate finale…at the home-harbor…More nautical-than-nice 41 Panthers 30

Central Michigan (+6) over Minnesota: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK #1…Chippewas 24 Gilded Gerbils 21
DEC. 29

Air Force (+7) over California: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK #2…Pilots 34 Bears 28

#10 North Carolina (-2 ½) over #18 Baylor (69): ‘Heels 51 Baylor 37

Colorado State (-3) over Nevada: MWC officials were up-in-arms over a pairing of two of their own teams here. We agree! WTH!???!!! Bowl-saturation! While we remember a very-limited, sub-dozen number of post-season opportunities, come on! Better-than-.500 records should be rewarded! Less-than-break-even? NOT! UNR lost the only MWC game that truly-mattered this season to…(GASP!)…UNLV! Momentum and slight conference body-of-work (beat USAF at home and New Mexico in Albuquerque) advantages to the Rams. Reno’s gone 0-2 SU/0-2 ATS vs. CSU the past two years. We’ll toss our ball-cap onto the ice for…Colorado State 27 Wolfpack 21

#22 Louisiana State (-7) over Texas Tech (“under 73 ½”): Again, we’ll wander into dangerous territory, pickin’ a side and a total. Offensive production bottomed-out for the Tigers over final four games to the tune of 16, 14, 17 and 19…resulting in three outright defeats. Raiders saw seven matches total 93 points or better, but this is an SEC D. State hasn’t won or covered a bowl since 2010 Cotton. Les Miles flirted with departure (involuntarily or otherwise), but remains after-all. RB Leonard Fournette went for a buck-fitty or more in all but 3 games for the Bengals and should kickoff 2016 Heisman contest with a big day vs. one of country’s worst run-stopping squads, a la Forrest Gump, running thru the end zone, down the tunnel and into the stadium parking lot. Then on LSU’s second play from scrimmage…Tigers 42 TTU 20

DEC. 30
BIRMINGAM BOWL (@ Birmingham, AL)

Auburn (-2 ½) over Memphis: MU lost three straight (albeit to the AAC’s top three clubs) before smoking SMU in the finale and gave up a ton of points to the MAC and its own conference-competition. Auburn dropped the final four games to close-out the 2014 regular-slate and lost four of final six in 2015 for back-to-back late-season meltdowns, covering just 2 of 11 tilts altogether. However, it should be a partisan crowd for UA and there are a lot of Juniors on the Auburn sideline. Gus Malzahn can dilute memories of a tough year and set the tone for next season’s Senior-class with a win… Auburn 44 Memphis 36 
BELK BOWL (@ Charlotte, NC)

Mississippi State (-5) over NC State: Mississippi State 38 NC State 24

Louisville (-4) over Texas A&M: Aggies have lost top two-strings of quarterbacks, who defected ahead of this one. We figure that moves this game closer to an “under”. Cards began with three losses (including three-point defeat by CFP #1-seed Clemson) then walked off the gridiron with 7 victories in 9 games. A&M has won 19 consecutive non-conference matches, but is getting points here. All four of TAMU’s SU losses came vs. fellow SEC West foes. The Aggies underwent Navy SEAL training this Spring. Vindy’s spies report several key-players hangin’ out and partyin’ with Charlie Sheen as kick-off for this one looms!...Redbirds 27 Aggies 17

#23 Wisconsin vs. Southern Cal (“over” 50 ½): Best guess for “wish we had it back” as motivation might come into play with then-fully-equipped Trojans anticipating big things, but two failures in as many attempts to beat Stanford relegated SoCal to the wrong in-state post-season venue. After yielding just 22 ppg last year while still under league sanctions, Troy allowed 40 or more on four occasions and just a pair of its contests finished “under” this number. Badgers restricted remaining 11 opponents to 11 ppg after coughing up 35 to Bama, but the scoring defense faced just three clubs higher than 75th in putting-up points per game, while 5 squads came in at 99th or worse…USC 34 Wisky 27

BTW, also a doink-of-da’-uprights but getting less attention was Harvey’s call of 2nd-runner-up Olivia Jordan as Miss Conference-USA. Jordan hails from Oklahoma, which clearly plays in da’ Big 12! Check yer facts, Steve-O!
Our apologies to #20 Utah, #24 Temple and #25 Western Kentucky for not noting their respective AP Poll rankings when we published Part I of our bowl picks!

With the Coogs and Da’ Huskies both in the post-season, we offer…golf???!!! Yep….golf!!!!! PGA Tour officials green-lighted consumption of marijuana at the June 2015 U.S. Open because the venue was in Mary Jane-friendly Washington state. Fans in the gallery reported Bill Murray reprised his “Caddyshack” performance as Carl Spackler and quipped…”It’s in da’ bowl…it’s in da’ bowl!” Just wonderin’…did he also babble on about “a sensimilla story…sensimilla kid”???!!!
In August, stock-market publication The Street listed the Top 10 College Towns to Live In, Even if You’re Not a Student. Topping the list was Manhattan, Kansas (home to K-State Wildcats), but in the ninth-spot was Lincoln, Nebraska. The article made reference to a popular Russian sandwich called a “runza”. Gives whole new meaning to “Big Red”! “Straight Outta’…Comrades!?”

For fans of Jim Carrey’s Grinch, we recreate the famous mailbox-scene…”Jury duty, jury duty, jury duty, blackmail, pink-slip, hate letter, eviction notice, Vindy’s Picks…!”
If Scrooge played hockey, would we hear him declare, “You goal-keep Christmas in your own way and let me goal-keep it in mine!”???!!!

Vindicator accidentally bought “rappin’ paper” and spent Christmas Eve listening to presents under da’ tree crooning Eminem’s greatest hits!
If Dr. Seuss had written a book about a common athletic injury, would it have been entitled…”Green Eggs and Hamstring”???!!

Cam Newton took pre-game warm-ups ahead of win over Da’ Giants on Sunday donning a Green Lantern T-shirt. Clearly, there were no comicbook aficionados on the New York sidelines, otherwise someone woulda’ advised them to wear something yellow (GL’s only vulnerability) on defense! (Though a fan mighta’ alerted them, given 2nd-Half comeback that fell short by a FG!).
Apparently, we need to develop some patience, as Vindy quickly turned away from Da’ Vegas Bowl with Utes up 21-0 and Carolina up 28-7 early only to have the respective opponents (BYU and NY Giants) make things more-interesting when it was all said-and-done!

Black Shirt: Goes to Akron LB Jatavis Brown for creating da’ fumble that led to Zips’ FG right before halftime and helped bring home our Part I “upset pick of da’ week” over USU!
Bowls Part II Best Bets: Last Week: 1-0   Season: 42-34-1 (.553)

North Carolina-Baylor “over 69”
We’ll return before da’ first kick-off on New Year’s Eve with…Part III!





Thursday, December 17, 2015

Vindy's Picks 2015-16 Bowl Predictions Part I


EL SEGUNDO, California (AP)…Despite demands on Mattel to have a two-way conversational doll, advocates implored the toymaker to throw in the towel on plans for this holiday season’s “Hello Barbie”. Those warnings went ignored and recently, it was voted the Worst Toy of 2015. The doll, long a staple of popular culture, encompasses artificial intelligence and speech-recognition software to “talk” with kids and send recordings of the conversations to the Cloud, keeping them for up to two years. Eavesdropping officials can analyze and tweak responses based on those verbal interactions. Seeing yet-another method of marketing, sports-handicapping outfits, individual touts and even sportsbook-directors in Sin City have gone all-in on the toy, buying access to the data and creating appropriate comebacks, on top of the 8000 originally-developed ones, that encourage kids to get one or both of their parents to drop a few dollars on sports wagers! One anonymous bookie said he envisioned exchanges going something like…Child: “Barbie, do you like to play with teddy bears?” Barbie: “I love da’ Bears…plus 7! I think your Daddy does too! You should tell him to call me at 1-888-BET-HERE and give us some money to prove to you just how much he likes Bears!”  
Havin’ correctly called Army’s cover vs. Navy last Saturday, we’re hopin’ to be rescued from the I-formation of Misfit Toys by…
(Still undergoing NFL concussion-protocol in the wake of the Championship Week disaster!)
DEC. 19

NEW MEXICO (+9) over Arizona: Motivational angles favor the Lobos. 4th–year coach Bob Davie’s charges play beyond the regular-season for first time since 2007, also first time since that year New Mexico has tallied more than 4 SU wins. Davie can now build on that momentum. Across da’ field, 6-6 ‘Cats battled Boise State in the Fiesta this time last year and get little joy opening the season’s bowl-parade, showing only a victory over then-ranked Utes as lone triumph in last six games.  A loss here would not only result in an extended cold-shoulder for QB Anu Solomon by Coach RichRod, it would likely result in the need for said-QB’s transfer to Northern Arizona or some other nearby I-AA institution, but…Arizona 34 Lobos 31

Brigham Young (+3) over Utah: Initial reports alleged neither team wanted this match-up and reportedly, da’ Coogs-backers hoped for the Hawaii Bowl because the hoops-team was on the hardwood in the Islands for a tourney coinciding with the gridiron contest.  But days-later, the bowl committee scored the coup. With both sides’ excellent travelling fan bases, the real winner here is any given casino’s hotel reservations desk! Sadly, other factions of the community will see nary a penny dropped in a machine or at the bar! Both squads finished 9-3 SU. BYU’s best victory mighta’ been 33-28 at now 5-7-but-bowling Nebraska. Utes breezed along to start the year, but lost QB Travis Wilson and suffered 18-point defeat at USC, then later edged Colorado by 6 in late November. In another edition of Da’ Holy War, we like…Utah 17 BYU 16

Appalachian State (-7 ½) over Ohio: Mountaineers 41 Bobblecats 29

Georgia State (+3) over San Jose State: Takin’ the Spartans, who were expected to be better this year and are one of the hat-trick-worth of 5-7 squads playing in the post-season, would be just too easy.  San Josie wasn’t horrible in non-conference play, losing by 14 each to Oregon State and Auburn, while absorbing a mere one-point defeat to BYU, but put four of final six-pack in the “L”-column and covered just 2 of 6 away from home. Panthers on the other hand, turned out to be quite the pleasant surprise, snagging a bowl-berth just a year removed from a dismal 1-11 FBS debut that saw State concede 43 ppg. Initially, it looked like “Here we go again”, with Joja’ State giving Charlotte its lone-FBS victory and falling to I-AA Liberty. But GSU ended on a four-game SU win streak, including stunning road-upset of Joja’ Sudden…by 27 points! Panthers covered 9 of 11 overall and the scoring-defense was reasonable (48 at Arkansas State notwithstanding). Why, you ask, are we even offering coverage/analysis/breakdown of this contest? Because Washington Post writer Patrick Stevens, in ranking the TV-watchin’-worthiness of each post-season melee, had the Automated Curad Bowl dead-last among the forty tussles. Somebody’s got give a little recognition to the clubs-in-question. Yer welcome!…GSU 31 SJSU 27

Louisiana Tech (-2 ½) over Arkansas State: Bulldogs 48 Arkansas State 37

DEC. 21

South Florida (+3) over Western Kentucky: Bulls looked doomed again, following two seasons and a total of six SU wins under a new coach, then beginning 2015 at 1-3, but took 7 of the final 8, including a beat-down of then-ranked Temple. ‘Toppers’ only defeats came at Indiana and at LSU. We think former-Hilltoppers coach Willie Taggart, now on the South Florida sidelines, will have some thoughts on how to slow-down prolific Western KY QB Brandon Doughty, who’s thrown an average of more than three scoring tosses per game…USF 28 WKY 27
DEC. 22

Akron (+6 ½) over Utah State: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. Aggies won just a single game away from Logan, beating a poor Fresno State club and covered just 2 of the 6 games-in-question, losing QB Chuckie Keeton to early-season injuries…again. Despite Kent Myers 14-3 passing TD-to-pick ratio, State won only six games while losing an equal number. Zips ended last season 1-5 SU/ATS slide, but come in here having won four consecutive games. Outside allowing 41 at Oklahoma and 59 at Bowling Green, the Akron scoring-D has been good. Zips in first postseason since 2005 and should be primed to hang with Aggies, whose 12-9 opening victory over FCS Southern Utah was an apparent omen of the overall 2015 campaign…Akron 27 Utah State 24

Temple (-1) over Toledo: Temple’s proven themselves, without a doubt, a season after being bowl-eligible but getting zero invites. With a 10-win campaign already in-hand, we think Philly Fowl send a clear message that 2014 snub was in error…Owls 24 Rockettes 20

DEC. 23

Northern Illinois (+8) over Boise State: Broncos appear to be still gettin’ lines-maker-love based on achievements of yore, despite falling outright in 3 of last 5 contests entering the postseason, including losses on the blue-field to New Mexico and Air Force. BSU’s won 2 of last 3 year’s bowls, but covered just one and probably ain’t crushed to see a non-PAC 12 opponent on the other side of the field. Huskies outlasted 3-win UNLV 38-30 and lost final two games to Western Michigan and da’ Bee Gees in MAC title match, but we like their road-upset of then-ranked Toledo and September near-miss at da’ Shoe more than we like State’s 16-13 season-opening win at home vs. UDUB, which seems so far ago now…NIU 31 Boise State 28

Bowling Green vs. Georgia Southern (“over” 66): Falcons 44 Joja’ Sudden 34
DEC. 24

Western Michigan (-3) over Middle Tennessee State: Broncos 37 MTSU 27

HAWAII BOWL (@ Honolulu, HI)
Cincinnati (PK) over San Diego State: Tough backin’ a Bearkats team that seemingly lost a game every other week because…well…they did! Cincy did not suffer back-to-back defeats this season, but managed consecutive wins just once…at home vs. UConn (who played better as the season progressed) and Central Florida (who apparently quit right from the git-go). Mountain Jest champion Aztecs played extremely-well on D in conference, allowing more than 14 points just twice (17 at Colorado State and 24 vs. the Flight Platoon in the MWC championship game). SDSU did, however, lose all three FBS non-conference games, forking-over an average of better than 35 ppg. UC faced stiffer competition week-in and week-out as part of the AAC, yielding 33 or more in 7 games, so we also considered “over 58” here…Bearkats  34 SDSU 30

BTW, for the Rocky Horror fans out there, Vindy tried out one of the cutting-edge dolls, asking, “Barbie…who do you think will win da’ National Title?”. The doll eerily-responded, “I see you shiver with antici---pation.” And for the regular horror-genre fans, we say, “Hi! My name’s Barbie…and I’ll beat your Ken to the end! Heidi-ho!”

As has been pointed out by a local sports-writer, victor in the Las Vegas Bowl gets the distinction of being first four-time winner at the venue. We’re not entirely sure that’s something to be proud of, but…
“Then he slunk to da’ sportsbook. He took parlay cards. He deleted Who-wagers, then slipped past da’ guards. He took all da’ book’s jerseys…and souvenir pucks. Why, that Vin even drank…the last cup of Starbucks!” Then what happened next…at the sportsbook they say…was that Vindy’s small heart…grew three point-spreads that day.

Cindy-Lou-Hoo Dat’ say dey gonna’ beat dem’ Saints???!!!
The Middies donned special helmets featuring hand-painted depictions of famous naval vessels and submarines. Vindy has commissioned that same artist to create similar headgear featuring da’ USS Minnow and da’ Titanic!

In early 2015, BYU issued its first guidelines on when students may grow beards without violating its rule that students must be clean-shaven. Allowable: medical conditions, religious cases (Sikh and Muslim), theatrical production requests from the Church of Jesus Christ LDS media & drama departments…oh…and if the Cougars make the NHL Playoffs…until they win the Stanley Cup or are eliminated, whichever comes first! (Which also led us to contemplate the outcome if bubble-gum [in da’ facial-hair] met a certain motto…met a famous trading-card company…”Fleer da’ Beard”?!)
Bizarre random thoughts…”Diesel a fuel of my fa-vor-ite things!” And…Tinsel Me, Elmo?!

If a player hits another player on the posterior side of the body with a Lego piece from behind, is it an “Illegal building-block to da’ back”???!!!
There are forty (count ‘em, forty!) bowls this season and three feature teams with losing records (5-7), while yet-another paired two clubs from the Mountain Jest Conference! Let’s hear it for the “These Two Teams Weren’t As Bad As Their Records Suggest Bowl”!!!! Or for the folks in the readership who remember the TV series-in-question…the Maxwell Smart “Missed Postseason-Eligibility By That Much…But We Did Really Well Academically” Bowl!

Black Shirt: Again, we’re sharing the coveted-cloth this week, awarding it to Army WR Edgar Poe for the fitty-yard punt-return setting up a FG on Army’s first possession. Honorable mention to Keydets freshman QB Chris Carter for converting several third-down passes and to Sailors’ DE Amos Mason for drawing an “illegal hands to da’ Face(book?)” flag that furthered Army’s second possession, resulting in a touchdown!
Bowls Part I Best Bets: Last Week: 0-0   Season: 41-34-1 (.546)

Weeziana Tech-Arkansas State “over” 66
It’s da’ mossssssst wonderbowl tiiiiiime of…da’ yearrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!! To all our loyal readers, we extend the annual holiday greeting…”Pass on Earth. Goodwill toward linemen.” And “have yerself a Vindy little Christmas …!”

We’ll be back around Christmas Day with Part II!









Thursday, December 10, 2015

Vindy's Picks 2015 Army-Navy

FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (CNN)…Tom Brady was mandated to wear Ohio State gear in the Patriots locker room last Thursday, after he lost a friendly wager when da’ Buckeyes beat his alma mater, Big Blew,…rather badly…! New England’s star QB claimed the fact that he hurled on the jersey and personally wet himself while doing so was “purely coincidental”! Brady blamed his team’s subsequent loss to the struggling Philadelphia bEagles that weekend on the forced change-of-attire, leading to “disruption” of his “usual pre-game routine”!

Farther west, Vindy had such a poor Championship Week (altogether now…”Howpoorwas it?!”), ending up  2-8 (123-118-3, .510), even Steelers’ LB James Harrison, who was adamantly-opposed to giving awards for merely playing in games rather than for recognizing only excellent performances, was compelled to offer him a “participation trophy”! With Vindicator still muttering “What The Field-goal???!!!”, we propose…
(“Straight Outta’…Spread-Wins!”)
Army +21 ½ over Navy (@ Philadelphia, PA): Two of the three military academies are havin’ strong seasons. Army ain’t one of ‘em. Air Force came within a FG of winning the Mountain Fest Conference, while the Middies, in their first season as part of a conference, played but also lost the AAC Championship game at Houston. West Point beat just one FBS team…Eastern Michigan (whose only victory came over 2-win Wyoming), and put only one other victory in the books, a 21-14 win over FCS Bucknell (which went 4-7 on the year), while dropping the opener 37-35 vs. FCS Fordham (a first-round FCS playoffs loser). Keydets have lost by this many just once…a 44-3 defeat by Duke, catching the Blue Devils off a 9-7 triumph vs. Boston College. Otherwise, Army was competitive in its losses (though posted a crapshoot-worthy 4-4-1 ATS in I-A competition). The Sailors, who covered 7 of 10 FBS games, have 6 of their 9 wins by at least this many, including 38-point toppling of FCS Colgate (which is currently 10-3 and playing in the quarterfinals this weekend), but are poor 1-7 in last 8 layin’ more than two touchdowns. With a spread this big, rushing and passing yardage differences are negligible. Turnovers will likely be the key to the Platoon’s cover. Swabbies are plus-15. Soldiers are minus-8. Army will also have to improve upon its 79% red-zone success, with Navy converting on 94% of its possessions inside the opponents’ 20. West Point gave up a minimum of 31 ppg in 4 of its last 5 contests. On the year, omitting the 58-point outlier vs. EMU, Cadets scored an average of 16.75 ppg. Two of da’ last three years in this series were decided by 7 or less, and Army has one obvious advantage over all of Navy’s other foes…. they’ve seen the option…regularly!Navy 34 Army 17
BTW, had we just chosen solely a side rather than risking a side and a total on the ‘Bama-Florida match, we’d been even worse at 1-8 versus 2-8!
In September, the yearly freshmen pillow-fight at West Point went horribly-wrong, sending dozens to sick-call after a bunch of “tomorrow’s leaders” inserted hard-objects, including helmets, into pillow-cases! Wow! Talk about “friendly-fire”!!! “I am an Army of onebrain-cell???!!”

Prior to the start of the season, Craig Thompson, Mountain West commish, said he’d like Army-Navy to be played earlier in the year because if the Middies were the highest team among the Group of Five conferences in the CFP rankings, other potential bowl teams (and their bowls) would go into a holding pattern until the game was decided. Thompson’s undesirable-scenario almost played-out as the Sailors would likely have been the best Group-of-Five club had they beaten Houston for the AAC Title!
Not long ago, Florida State RB Dalvin Cook broke the school rushing record and exclaimed he thinks he’s entitled to da’ Heisman Trophy “because I’m Dalvin!” Is it just us or is anyone else in the readership flashin’ back to…”I’m Rick James, B*tch!” Or maybe he wants to star in a 007-flick…”My name’s CookDalvin Cook.”

Da’ Clemson Tigers rejoiced in their berth to the College Football Playoffs by throwin’ a pizza-party, spurring us to quip…”Better pizza, better playoffsDabo John’s!
Black Shirt: The coveted-tee clearly goes this week to Florida WR Antonio Callaway for the 85-yard punt-return for touchdown, helping an otherwise anemic Gator offense put enough points up to send the total to the predicted “over”!

“Locked in a Box?”:  Yep…Vindy put the weekly kiss-of-death on Northern Illinois (+11) as the Huskies got rocked by Bowling Green, lowering our lock record to 4-10 (.286).
Shoppe Talk: Vindicator has checked himself into the Shoppe and slipped his head into one of those hunting- trophy plaques in light of the ongoing failure to pick a winning side or total as his most-preferred selection of the week!

Vindy’s Army-Navy Best Bets: none    Last Week: 1-1 Season: 41-34-1 (.546)
Don’t touch that dial! We’ll be back circa December 18 with Part One of our infamous bowl predictions!