Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Vindy's Picks Week 5-2016

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (BBC)…With Colonist university and professional “football” clubs suffering unprecedented-numbers of goal-line guffaws due to careless-handling of the ball in recent weeks, several coaches at both levels have been given permission by their respective oversight-organizations to utilize new technology  in efforts to reduce such mistakes. Tech-giant IBM has developed, for experimental purposes, balls which emit ear-piercing sounds (dubbed The Shrieker), spikes (the Porcupine), arm-adhering tentacles (The Alien) and industrial-strength epoxy (The Super-Glue Gun) anytime a player might prematurely eject the pigskin between the opposition’s five-yard line and the end zone. The balls will be employed mostly during team practices, but leagues have the right to authorize use of the countermeasures during live games if problems persist.

A third-straight seven-win outing leaves our flustered forecaster at 31-35-1 (.469) on the year. It was a dramatic turnaround for the favorites, who beat da’ line in 13 of 16 tries after covering mere 4 to 6 (depending on whose closing spreads ya look at) of 18 the week before. If you’ll excuse us, we need to try to wash-off all this “chalk”-dust behind a shower-curtain imprinted with…

(Keepin’ people waitin’ longer than TSA at the airport!)

#6 HOUSTON (-28) over Connecticut: We looked at a handful of games for “lock of da’ week”. This was first-choice initially. The expected improvement that comes with 16 starters back ain’t showin’-up in the win-loss record to-date for UConn. UH goes to Annapolis next, but Middies graduated their star-Ensign running the show. Huskies handed da’ Coogs their only straight-up “L” of 2015…20-17 at Storrs! ‘Nuff said! Again, our pre-Saturday losses have come on Throwback-Thursdays, but... Houston 49 UConn 13

#10 WASHINGTON (-3) over #7 Stanford: Huskies were finally challenged last week, swapping sixes at Arizona and surviving in overtime. Sled Dogs have lost three home games outright in each of the past two years after dropping three total over the previous three seasons. Game-film from Trees rally (Thank you, Stanford!) against UCLA should offer UDUB some clues to slowing McCaffrey. SU’s defense has done the heavy-lifting so far. Trees are 3-0 “under”, Canines are 3-0 “over”. Initial reaction was to lay the FG…so we will…Washington 27 Cardinal 23

Kentucky (+34 ½) over #1 ALABAMA: Elephants are 2-1-1 ATS and have important trips to Arkansas and Tennessee next.  Bluegrass ‘Cats are 1-3 vs. the number, including 38-point loss at Florida. Even without 43-yard rushing TD, RB Boom Williams dented the Carolina Poultry defense for 5.7 yards per tote, giving KY that one cover. ‘Cats are just 2-9 ATS in last 11 games back to 2015. “Over” might be a choice here with UK giving up 44 to SoMiss, 45 to the Gators and 42 to (GASP!) New Mexico State. Tide’s yielded total of 16 points to its three foes not-named Ole Miss…’Bama 44 Kentucky 17

Rutgers (+38) over #2 OHIO STATE: With more-threatening Hoosiers securing temp-housing in Columbus next and trip to Wisconsin thereafter, gotta’ figure a couple strings on the State depth-chart get some snaps here. Scarlet Knights of Da Round Table could be flat initially after holding Hawkeyes to a pair of scores last week in 14-7 loss…Script-Ohio 29 RU 6
#3 Louisville (-2) over #5 CLEMSON: Tigers opened as nominal favorites but were quickly bet-down to home-dog status. It’s not a question of whether or not Cards QB Lamar Jackson can win a big game, it’s a question of whether or not he can win a big game on the road. Tigers are 3-0 “under” in polar-opposition to Louisville, which shows 4-0 “over” (and 4-0 ATS). FSU did not help their cause with poor tackling and other mistakes in blow-out loss to UL. CU won 20-17 in 2015.  Clemson’s new defensive starters have had four games to work with each other. Still, it’s hard not to back Da’ Ville team scoring 63 ½ points per match…Cardinals 31 Clemson 20

#8 Wisconsin (+10 ½) over #4 MICHIGAN: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. Wolverines forced a holding penalty by Lions return-team on opening kickoff and never looked back as the Alma Mater couldn’t get out of its way in 49-10 loss. Varmints have allowed 47 cumulative points thus far  and have faced two Top 25 foes away from Madison …beating both outright. Hat-trick…Badgers 24 UM 20
#9 Texas A&M (-17 ½) over SOUTH CAROLINA: SC put a lotta’ effort into hotly-contested, low-scoring defeat to Kentucky, but play first of a five-game home-stand. Aggies are makin’ it look easy and come into third consecutive tilt away from College Station undefeated, 3-0 ATS and having knocked-off the Roosters two years running. Under first-year coach Muschamp, like his squads in Gainesville, Gamecocks are good on defense (no total in first four games has exceeded 41), not-so-much on offense. Carolina stifled reasonably-potent Wildcats, but A&M could cover total (48) potentially themselves. Charting on this week’s Billboard 100…a classic Captain & Tennille tune meets former Florida-turned-Gamecocks head coach…”Muschamp Love”!...A&M 34 Chicken Fingers 14

#25 GEORGIA (+3) over #11 Tennessee: MINOR UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK #1. Injury last week to star running back Nick Chubb could diminish ‘Dawgs’ chances here. Nonetheless, a Joja’ victory dethrones Tennessee and puts UGA atop the SEC East. Georgia has exactly one home-loss in each of the past three years to go with 17 wins between da’ hedges. Have to question what Rocky Top has in the tank after huge comeback last week vs. the Gators…Bulldogs 27 UT 24
North Carolina (+11) over #12 FLORIDA STATE: Tribe 34 ‘Heels 31

#13 Baylor (-16 ½) over IOWA STATE: With a bye to follow, Jim Grobe needs to let the Bears flex some muscle over ‘Clones squad that picked up first SU win last week in romp over San Josie. This one got a look for “lock” too…Bears 44 Dust Devils 20
#14 Miami (-7) over GEORGIA TECH: Hurricanes 31 Bees 21

#15 NEBRASKA (-21) over Illinois: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Huskers QB “Bad Tommy” (Armstrong Jr.) was on the field last week. We think “Good Tommy” shows up here…Cornucopia 37 Lovie’s ‘Llini 9
Memphis (+14 ½) over #16 MISSISSIPPI: Rebels 33 Tigers 20

#17 Michigan State (-7) over INDIANA: Spartans 24 Indy 13
#18 Utah (+1) over CAL: Parroting our Week Three comments on App State’s mere 3 ½ -point ‘cap at Miami (and almost put on our Florida State -6 over SOUTH FLORIDA pick in Week 4), we say…”Oh Hell no!” While Bears aren’t suffering the loss of QB Jared Goff to the pros quite as much as expected, Utes continue to get it done despite some seeming-weaknesses…Utah 34 Berkeley 27

#19 San Diego State (-19) over SOUTH ALABAMA: Another one that saw some potential “lock” love from your humble narrator. Aztecs are first of two Mountain Jest teams in the rankings this week and look for payback for one of three defeats in 2015…in extras….at the hands of the host, who apparently had local Mindfreak star Cris Angel patrolling its sidelines in 21-20 triumph over Mississippi State to start the year before absorbing losses to Joja’ Southern and UL-Lafayette ahead of 41-40 win against I-AA Nicholls State (also beyond regulation)…Sudzu 42 South ‘Bama 17
Alcorn State @ #20 ARKANSAS: No line.

#21 TCU (+3 ½) over Oklahoma: MINOR UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK #2. Toads swallowed two defeats last season…Oklahoma State by a bunch and…Oklahoma by 1…in Norman. Spooners have faced two quality opponents (neither a true road game) and lost by double-digits to both. Frog-Legs have lined-up against one quality opponent (in Ft. Worth) and suffered three-point defeat. We especially like havin’ da’ hook here in case it’s a FG-decision … Amphibians 30 Fauxklahoma 24
#22 Texas (+2 ½ and “over 71”) over OKLAHOMA STATE: Extremely rare single-game call on both a side and a total. Both teams need a win badly for their coaches…Texas more than Okie State. Longhorns are rested after backyard game loss at Cal as a TD-fave. Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com shows the visitor in this series covering seven, losing none and pushing one in past 8 meetings. Going back to 2015, Cowboys have one ATS dubya in last 6 vs. I-A teams. OKSU rattled off ten straight SU wins to begin ast season, including 30-27 in Austin, but are already 2-2 SU to-date. Cattle have been poor road dogs at 1-4 past two years… ’Horns 44 Oklahoma State 38

#23 Florida @ VANDERBILT (“under 41”): How does one of the country’s best defenses cough-up 38 consecutive points-against after being spotted a 21-point late 2nd Quarter advantage. Apparently, it was Florida International that took the field after halftime…Crocs 23 ‘Dores 9
#24 BOISE STATE (-20 ½) over Utah State: Broncos took out a pair of 12-PAC clubs and smoked UL-Lafayette. Looks like they want to challenge Houston for that Group of Five CFP-spot. Aggies, who lost 52-26 last year, still recovering from tough one vs. Air Force…Broncos 48 USU 17

Football meets a certain ChoiceHotels.Com commercial: “Our team is in a two-score hole…should we punt or should we go?!” “We could take our chances at the point-of-attack”. “But I trust the kicker more than the ‘back.” “A bowl-win gets us lotsa’ dough…should we punt or should we go??” “The tackle box, we sure can stack.” “Or double-team da’ cornerback”. “If we just kick, it’s in da’ bag.” “Or we could try to draw a flag”.

Da’ Little Guys Strike Back (Again!): FCS #13 Western Illinois 28-23 over NORTHERN ILLINOIS, unranked Central Arkansas also 28-23 over ARKANSAS STATE (Red Wolves now 0-4 SU/0-3 ATS [though the off-shore lines prolly had ASU favored]) and just-missed (as mentioned above)… unranked Nicholls State losing at SOUTH ALABAMA 41-40… in OT! In related news, Texas State hosts FCS unranked Incarnate Word, who fell by a single touchdown to FCS #20 McNeese State last week. Don’t touch that dial!
Crimson Tide officials tattled on themselves to the NCAA powers-that-be in July for illegally-displayin’trophies in areas that were known to be occupied by recruits touring da’ campus. Ummm…forgive our ignorance, but isn’t flaunting the team-bling part of the whole recruiting process???!!!

We concur with Mobile Strike’s Arnold Schwarzenegger that “Da’ best defense…is defense. Send a dozen linebackers where one linebacker will do. Build walls of blockers twice as deep as ya need.”
For lunch today, we had the Taco Bell $5 Big Box-Score!

Oktoberfest is in-progress! Let the announcement be made…”Vindy in Da’ Hofbrauhaus!”
BTW, we melted-down da’ coin that called da’ Bayou Bengals over Auburn in Week 4!

Da’ Broncos resurrected Tim Tebow’s “friar” haircut for one of their rookies. Just wonderin’…had Tom Brady been a newbie for Denver when a certain rule-change came out, would it have been the “Friar Tuck-Rule”??!!
“Wish We Had It Back”: Yup, we’d like to give back Marc Lawrence’s theory after taking N-DUB to cover a TD vs. Nebraska and hand said-tout a towel to wipe da’ tread-marks off his face! (Reminder…WAZZOU can give Mr. Lawrence back some cred with a cover vs. Oregon this week).

“Locked in a Box?”:  The nice comeback by Stanford over UCLA nudges-up our record to 3-1 (.750).      
Black Shirt: The coveted tee goes to UL-Lafayette QB Elijah McGuire, whose misfire on a two-point conversion pass ensured the game vs. Tulane would not go to a fifth OT, ensuring the Ragin’ Cajuns would cover +5, supporting our parlay with Air Force -3 over USU. Honorable mention to da’ Utes’ WR Tim Patrick for winning TD-reception at the pylon with less than half-a- minute to play to help continue our four-week trend of entering Saturday’s menu no worse than 1-1.

Shoppe Talk: Joja’ and USC get a pass, but ‘Bama (0-3-1, .000) and Florida (0-3, .000) hang around, to be joined again by the Vols (1-3, .250).
Vindy’s Week 5 Best Bets:       Last Week: 3-2    Season: 12-10 (.545) Troy -13 ½ over IDAHO, Northwestern +13 over IOWA, Wyoming +7 over COLORADO STATE, Wake Forest +11 over NC STATE, Fresno State +9 ½ over UNLV, NEW MEXICO STATE +4 ½ over Weeziana-Lafayette


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Vindy's Picks Week 4-2016

LOS ANGELES, California (REUTERS)…In June, Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey nailed “Piano Man” on the harmonica accompanied by former Duke DE Michael Mann tickling the ivories. As the pair tore it up on the mouth-harp and the baby grand, an appreciative audience belted-out,”Well, it’s onnnnnne-o’clock..on a Saturdaaaaay…the home-crowwwwd..shuffles in. There’s a Cards-fannnnn sittin’ next to me…makin’ love to his tonic-and-gin…and the head coach, he gives me a smiiiile…cause he knows that’s it’s meee they been comin’ to see…to ferget about.. class..for awhiiiile…” Given traditional problems associated with the Stanford band, the two athletes alone will continue perform as a duo at halftime in each other’s game this season instead.

Meanwhile in Sin City, Vindicator was hopin’ to hear Katy Perry’s “Rise”…or at least “Birthday”. Sadly, the bookies were blaring that haunting organ-music from classic horror movies over the PA system as your fumblin’ forecaster suffered a second poor outing at 7-11 (24-26-1, .480) in the wake of a huge ‘dog-week. Switchin’ musical genres, Vindy decides to “Get Jiggy With It” ahead of…
(More-flammable than the Samsung Galaxy Note 7)

GEORGIA TECH (+9) over #5 Clemson: Tigers still bumbling as road-favorites and got taken to task by a much-improved Troy team (that’s Troy, Alabama, not “Troy” as in USC). Bees put just three tilts in the dubya-column in 2015, losing five games by 7 or less. We note that we’re 4-2 picking Thursday & Friday night games (6-2 on non-Saturday tilts, including the Sunday and Monday contests over Labor Day weekend). Both the forecast losses, however, did occur on Thursdays. Visit from Louisville on the horizon for CU…Tigers 31 ‘Jackets 27

#24 UTAH (-3) over Southern Cal: Last-gasp for Trojans to prove they’re gonna’ contend in the 12-PAC or if it’s just another opportunity resultin’ in cue-up of Britney Spears’ “Oops…we did it again”. No star rusher for da’ Utes, but defense has held-serve, scoring half its 34 points last week off San Josie & Da’ Pussycats miscues. SoCal has lost 7 of last 9 ATS and ten of last Baker’s Dozen facing the Top 25…Utah 20 USC 13

Kent State (+44) over #1 ALABAMA: Tide 42 Flashed 3

#2 Ohio State: IDLE (next vs. Rutgers)
#3 Louisville (-26 ½) over MARSHALL: We’re callin’ two run-away trains this week. Lamar Jackson of Da’ Ville is one of ‘em…Cardinals 41 Herd 12

Penn State (+18) over #4 MICHIGAN: Nitwit Lions need to avoid the turnovers that have hindered them thus far and special teamers need to execute efficiently given Big Blue’s punt-block and punt-return that both yielded scores for Michigan in winning-rally vs. Colorado. RB Saquon Barkley tallied fitty-five of his sixty-four rushing yards on a single-carry and needs to be more reliable to help out his young QB. Da’ Alma Mater outscored the Owls only in the first-half and put the ball on the ground five (count ‘em, five!) times. Badgers up next for Ann Arbor. Colorado’s early 21-7 lead gives us a prayer of an upset here, but State let Temple hang-around too long… Wolverines 31 PSU 24
#6 Houston (-34) over TEXAS STATE: Cougars 51 Bobcats 13

#7 Stanford (-3 ½) over UCLA: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Southern Cal had no answer for the aforementioned McCaffrey and the Cardinals D looks like its usual stout version. Stanford’s beaten the Bruins by at least two TDs in each of the past three years. UCLAns are in rare home-dog role, but appear to be a bit overrated at this point. Dat’ other run-away choo-choo we like is…Da’ Trees 27 Bruins 13
#11 Wisconsin (+5 ½) over #8 MICHIGAN STATE: Both teams excel at winning one-possession games, going a combined 12-2 SU in such outings since the beginning of 2015 season. Start of ugly three-game stretch for Wisky and UW led Joja’ State 9-6 better than halfway into the 3rd Quarter, but the stop-squad has been stellar…State 20 Badgers 17

#9 Washington (-9 ½) over ARIZONA: Huskies have played a soft-schedule to-date, but have blown-out their opponents appropriately. Wildcats lost to BYU to start the year and failed to cover -24 vs. Hawaii last week, but perhaps most-telling was mere 31-21 win over FCS Grambling State. UDUB won 49-3 in 2015 and has continued to improve. UA clearly has not and we don’t think the home-field warrants this much of a difference in final margin… UDUB 37 ‘Cats 20
#17 Arkansas (+6) over #10Texas A&M (@ Arlington, TX): Sooeeey Pigs have now won 11 of last 12 games, going 9-2 vs. the number…Aggies 29 Razorbacks 27

#23 MISSISSIPPI (-7) over #12 Georgia: Ole Miss 29 Joja’ 17
#13 Florida State (-6) over SOUTH FLORIDA: Love how the USF Bulls have progressed, but this is an overreaction…’Noles 31 South Florida 19

#19 Florida (+6 ½) over #14 TENNESSEE: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK.  Vols continue to flirt with disaster, easing past OU Bobblecats team by 9 that went down to Joja’ State coming out of the gate. Value of one-possession victory over App State got down-graded by Miami’s 45-10 margin last week over the Mountaineers. Crocs’ D is in usual mid-season form, but the O continues to flounder a bit. UF has three straight wins in this series, but last two have been by a single-point (0-1-2 ATS). Both have failed to cover two of first three in 2016 and both show 2-1 “under”. This one got serious consideration for “lock”…Florida 23 Tennessee 20
#15 Miami: IDLE (next @ Georgia Tech)

Oklahoma State (+8 ½) over #16 BAYLOR: Track-meet written all over this and we’d consider an “over 75” as well…Bears 48 Cowpokes 44
#18 Louisiana State (-3) over AUBURN: Smallish line still speaks to LSU’s vulnerability after holding on vs. Mississippi State and perhaps to Gus Malzahn’s ability to still improve his season, having dropped ten of last dozen conference games. Auburn’s covered just 3 of its last 12 facing ranked opponents and gets third Top 25 foe in four weeks. Four of the collective five FBS games these two have played so far have finished under the totals, but last three in this series have been high-scoring affairs. LSU has gone just 5-7 SU on the road the last three years. The coin likes…Bengals 24 Auburn 19

NORTHWESTERN (+7 ½) over #20 Nebraska: Waaaay back in Week One (yes, the regular-season is already 25% gone), we noted Marc Lawrence recommended strategy of wagering on a previous-year bowl squad that loses its first pair of contests the following season, then wins Game 3 and hosts the opponent in Game 4. Only two clubs fitting the criteria remain…Wazzou vs. Oregon on 10/1 and…da’ Purple Persians here vs. da’ Children of Da’ Corn (Warning: we changed our initial pick after recognizing that fact). Huskers make the trek after slipping past the Mallards in Week 3. Feral Kitties got off da’ schnide by beating that other group of Mensa members from Durham after losing first two tilts by a combined 3 points. If Da’ Creamed Corn covers, we’re throwin’ a certain well-known tout under da’ bus… Corn Flakes 23 NW 19
#21 Texas: IDLE (next @ Oklahoma State)

#22 San Diego State: IDLE (next 10/1 @ South Alabama)
#25 Oklahoma: IDLE (next @ TCU)

BTW, also in the McCaffrey-Mann (not to be confused with 60’s & 70’s group Manfred Mann [of “Do Wah Ditty Ditty fame] and subsequent Earth Band, who charted with Blinded By the Light) repertoire are…Billy Joel classics “Team-Captain Jack” and “Screens From an Italian Restaurant”, as well as Elton John staples “Bernie and Da’ New York Jets” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road-Game”!

Minus a bye week for Stanford or Duke, the above-noted performers will be makin’ good use of the Concorde (or the transporter room aboard da’ USS Enterprise) to get to their respective football games in a timely manner!
Jim Harbaugh recruited a top kicker not long after da’ New Year by sleeping over at his house, arriving at 12:01AM  to be “legal”, “watch a movie, see how well we gel” and crash for da’ night thereafter. Said-recruit had Penn State stuff all over his walls. Coach offered to help him take it down. We hope James Franklin is smart-enough to put that on da’ Lions’ locker room bulletin board.

The Mountain Jest, per last week’s article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, had managed a pair of victories in nine tries vs. Power Five conferences coming into last week. Hawaii got spanked SU by Arizona last week, but covered to bring the tally to 2-8 SU/4-6 ATS. (Notre Dame is, of course, an Independent, otherwise the numbers would be 2-9 SU/4-7 ATS). Boise State (who owns one of the two wins-in-question) travels to Oregon State this week and Colorado State visits Minnesota. Stay tuned!  
On a more local note, the Rebels open a two-game home-stand vs. Idaho and Fresno State. Two very-winnable games. UNLV is layin’ a pair of TDs vs. the Vandals. A win and cover would inspire some hope in this prognosticator, but a simple victory is crucial. A loss will throw the grid-iron season into the usual abyss and leave the fan-base clamoring for the hoops campaign. (BTW, we’d favor an “under 62” too).

With apologies to State Farm…“Nobody comes into Vindy’s bounce-house without payin’ da’ price. Not here…not ever!”
The No Fun League experimented in da’ preseason contests with micro-chipped pigskins to record how well da’ balls performed in certain situations. The league could also recover them more easily if they accidentally get out of the stadium and run away!

Meanwhile, on yer cell phone…“It’s Jake Plummer…from State Farm.” “At three in the morning..who is this?” “I told you…it’s Jake Plummer…from State Farm.”. “What are you wearing…’Jake Plummer from State Farm’???!!” “Uhhhh…pads and cleats?!” “She…sounds…hideous!”
Bahamian track star Shaunae Miller dove head-first across da’ finish line to knockoff USA’s Allyson Felix for gold in the 400-meter race at Rio. Miller later adamantly-denied rumors that she’d been secretly training with former Major Leaguer Pete Rose!

“Wish We Had It Back”: Yep, wanna’ reconsider our Spartans-Irish “under” call after admitting to our futility pickin’ totals!
“Locked in a Box?”:   The Beefaloes of Colorado put enough early pressure on Michigan to raise the “lock” record to 2-1 (.667).   

Black Shirt: Goes to Meeshigan QB Wilton Speight, whose fumble was returned for a score that would ultimately be the deciding factor in Colorado’s “Lock of da’ Week” selection coming to fruition! Honorable Mention to the Rice D, already down 28, for keeping Baylor off da’ board for the final 10:19 to preserve da’ Owls (+30 ½) cover!
Shoppe Talk: Our taxidermist will be busy stuffing things in cramped quarters this week as we welcome the Elephants of ‘Bama (0-2-1, .000), in addition to da’ Joja’ ‘Dawgs, Florida Gators and USC Trojans (all at 0-2, .000).

Vindy’s Week 4 Best Bets: Last Week: 2-3 Season: 9-8 (.529) UTAH-Southern Cal “under 46 ½”, Wake Forest +7 over INDIANA, Tulsa -14 ½ FRESNO STATE, UL-Lafayette +5 TULANE, Air Force -3 over UTAH STATE

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Vindy's Picks Week 3-2016

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (UPI)…College football officials are implementing an innovative BOGO program akin to the retailers’ “Buy One, Get One” deals. Under the new regulations, teams that block field goals are then awarded the three points-in-question. The change is expected to result in more-heavily recruitment of defensive-players, even by such offensive juggernauts as Oregon. Alternatives discussed included teams making the block the chance to pocket the stop for second-blocks at the time of their choosing later in the game, known as “Block One, Get One”. NFL, NHL and NBA, as well as college basketball teams, are also reportedly exploring similar options in their own leagues.

Elsewhere, in Sin City, the dreaded regression-formula caught-up to our humble host in a big way in Week 2, resulting in a very-pedestrian 7-9-1 (17-15-1, .531 season), though we did hit our second upset pick in three tries and called the exact 51-14 final score of Michigan's dubya over Central Florida. Failing more-often than a North Korean missile launch, it’s…

                                                                        (“Not criminal, just careless”)

CINCINNATI (+7 ½) over #6 Houston: There’s more pressure on the Coogs to win this one than on Cincy. In addition, QB Ward Jr. may not be 100% after sustaining injury in Week One (though he did sit out Houston’s win over Lamar). ‘Cats are in a rare home-dog role and look for a little redemption after losing 33-30 last season. Cougars have been money as road-faves the past three years, but…Houston 38 Cincy 34

RICE (+30 ½) over #21 Baylor: We watched Rice take it to Western Kentucky early-and-often in the opener, but unnecessary flags negated otherwise-conversions on 3rd Downs. Demoralized by that, Barnyard Fowl eventually succumbed and ‘Toppers would do what they do best in the rout. Visit by highly=motivated Oklahoma State up next and Coach Grobe has been dismal as outta’-conference chalk layin’ more than a TD (per Marc Lawrence). Owls 0-2 vs. da’ spread to-date, but…Bears 34 Owls 17

#1 Alabama (-10) over #19 MISSISSIPPI: Not a true revenge game since last season’s defeat didn’t stop Tide from grabbin’ a national title anyway, but it was the only stain on an otherwise pristine W-L record…and the second loss to the Rebels in as many years. ‘Bama’s won a total of six games by single-digits over the past three campaigns, with the rest of the tilts being double-digit victories or…SU losses. So two options here…lay the points with UA or take Old Mist to win it outright for the hat-trick…Tide 33 Mississippi 16

#2 Florida State (-2 ½) over #10 LOUISVILLE: This is a game we’d rather simply watch than pick (and we certainly ain’t droppin’ no dollahs on it). Changed our mind a couple times on this selection. ‘Noles’ rout of then-FCS Top Ten Charleston Southern is maybe a little skewed given suspensions of more than dozen CS players for that game and FSU hasn’t won a road contest by this few since 2009, while the remainder were victories by at least four points or outright defeats. Cards boast Heisman-hopeful QB Lamar Jackson. We almost settled on “over 65 ½” and might wish we had…Tribe 41 Redbirds 38
#3 Ohio State (+1) over #14 OKLAHOMA: Coaching advantage and maybe talent ad to OSU as well…Buckeyes (hey, whatta’ we got to lose?! See Shoppe Talk below) 31 Sooners 27

Colorado (+20) over #4 MICHIGAN: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. There was some published-chatter last week about Wolverines maybe peeking past Central Florida ahead to date with the Bison, but we think UM actually takes Colorado lightly in lieu of upcoming conference-opener against da’ Alma Mater! Smoldering in Boulder, beneath those 2-to-4-win seasons, was some very-quiet improvement by UC, including reduction of points-allowed last year by a dozen ppg and some tough losses to Oregon, UCLA and Southern Cal. Buffs came out showing some early moxie, blasting rival CSU (after some close contests in years-past) and an appropriate whipping of FCS Idaho State…Wolverines 34 Colorado 24
SC State @ #5 CLEMSON: No line.

Southern Cal (+8 ½) over #7 STANFORD: Trees 23 Troy 19
Portland State @ #8 WASHINGTON: No line.

#9 WISCONSIN (-34) over Georgia State: Badgers 41 Joja’ State 6
#11 Texas (-7 ½) over CALIFORNIA: Bares cost us a “best bet” pick, hangin’ long-enough with revenge-minded San Diego State last week, but Steers are also targeting squads that beat ‘em last year. According to Marc Lawrence’s Playbook.Com, Cattle fair better off consecutive SU defeats in this situation, but have a pair of victories in as many tries to-date. We’ll shade Berkeley again here, noting 2015’s 45-44 track-meet win by da’ Bears…Texas 42 Ursa Minor 31

#12 Michigan State @ #18 NOTRE DAME (“under 51 ½”): Best guess for “wish we had it back”. We have sucked dirty pond-water tryin’ to guess correctly on totals rather than sides thus far, but Vindy’s a slow-learner. Spartans followed unimpressive 15-point victory over I-AA Furman with a bye week. Our Lady has at least had two live-fire contests to work out some bugs. State opened 0-fer-6 ATS in 2015 and didn’t come to close to -39 vs. the Paladins. Bulletin board material might include the fact that the most-recent meeting between the two was a 17-13 win by the Irish in 2013…da’ Spartans’ only defeat that season. Can’t wait to see Melania Trump on ESPN’s Not Top Ten segment attempting to lead the Frightenin’ Irish players in a sideline-chant of “Ruuuuby, Ruuuuuby, Ruuuuuby, Ruuuuuby” or “Roooomie, Roooomie, Roooomie, Roooomie!” …Leprechauns 24 MSU 17
North Dakota State @ #13 IOWA: No line. Hawkeyes host the winner of the last five FCS national titles. Bison are 2-0 thus far with both victories coming in extra-frames, including last week’s 50-44 win over E-DUB team that toppled Wazzou in Week One! Not gonna’ be shocked to see Iowa go down. Maybe the Big 12 should consider adding NDSU!

Ohio (+27 ½) over #15 TENNESSEE: Rocky Top 44 Bobblecats 20
#16 Georgia (-6 ½) over MISSOURI: A sports-journalist hailin’ from The A-T-L pointed-out that at least one apparel-vendor, ahead of the Georgia Tech-Boston College tilt in Dublin, on da’ Emerald Isle was hawkin’ a tee promotin’ the game as “Georgia vs. Boston”.  We can only speculate how fans of the ‘Dawgs from Athens and Terriers of FCS Beantown Terriers felt about that. (BTW, the helmet-colors on said- undergarments looked more like Penn State vs. Da’ Cleveland Browns!). New Joja’ head coach Kirby Smart was da’ Man on D at ‘Bama. He needed every ounce of that knowledge as UGA narrowly-dodged the upset by I-AA Nicholls State last Saturday. Tigers posted single-digits in six games last year and in 5 of last 7 and were held to 11 in opener at West Virginia …’Dawgs 27 Mizzou 13

AUBURN (-3 ½) over #17 Texas A& M: Tigers 38 Aggies 31
Mississippi State (+13) over #20 LSU: Tigers show solid 7-3 ATS record giving points in Baton Rouge. MSU lost by 2 last season, but opened 2016 with shocking defeat by South ‘Bama. Nonetheless we’re just not comfortable coughing up almost two touchdowns with LSU in conference (and division) play yet…Bengals 28 Bulldogs 17

NEBRASKA (-1) over #22 Oregon: Corn Cobs 31 Drakes 27
#23 FLORIDA (-36) over North Texas: Vols on-deck for the Gators, so no faith in this pick. Last weekend, UF renamed its playing surface to Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Honoring the fiery coach further, the logo at centerfield featured a giant visor…Crocs 45 Mean Green 6

Texas State (+31) over #24 ARKANSAS: Pigs 47 Bobblecats 20
#25 Miami (-3 ½) over APPALACHIAN STATE: Oh hell no! Second choice for “lock”. Yeah, ‘Eers shoulda’ taken-out Tennessee. They didn’t. Pelicans will be on full-alert...’Canes 29 Application State 20

BTW, if da’ PGA goes all-in on the above concept, will it be “Birdie One, Get One” rather than “Bogey One, Get One”???!!!!

In related news, golfers in Rio hit the Olympic links for the first time in over a hundred years. Medalists took the stand to receive the gold, silver and…five-iron?! Meanwhile, advocates of PPGA (Professional Putt-Putt Golf Association)/miniature golf are now petitioning for a provisional spot in the 2020 Games in Tokyo!
Da’ Little Guys Strike Back (some mo’!): The lower division posted triumphs again last week on the road facing I-A competition…#24 NC A&T 39-36 over Kent State, unranked and no votes in the poll Eastern Illinois 21-17 over Miami Oh-No! and (GASP!) #9 Illinois State 9-7 over Northwestern! Closer than expected…Arizona 31-21 over Grambling State, Bowling Green 27-26 over North Dakota, Hawaii 41-36 over Tennessee-Martin and (GASP!) Joja’ 26-24 over Nicholls State!

Last May, Wheel of Fortune finished in a tie for the first time in more than a decade. Adopting college football OT rules, each contestant then got possession of Vanna White at the 25-yard line and tried to score!
“Gotta’ catch ‘em all”…not Pokemon Go, but the credo of every college and pro WR and TE!

Suspended QB Jimmy Garropolo was spotted in Sin City at the Cosmopolitan, which reportedly has up to a dozen Pokestops or Pokegyms and four-score more within about a mile radius!
NFL meets Reservoir (Under) ‘Dogs meets Pokemon Go…”(Cleveland) Browns to da’ left of me, jokers to my right…here I am…stuck in da’ middle Pikachu.”

Da’ Seahawks’ contest at L.A. will be broadcast in semi-live, semi-animation as the Birds will be led by the “Son of Jim Zorn!”
During Sunday’s Giants-COWBOYS game, we heard Eli Manning checking to different plays at the line-of-scrimmage, barking  Oriole…oriole!” Fer da’ Game of Thrones fans, maybe that was code for “Send a raven! Send a raven!”??? Maybe he was actually calling “Oreo…oreoooo”???!!! Or hallucinating about a certain underwater Disney princess…”Ariel…Ariellllle!”???!!!

Hours after the U.N. Security Council levied new penalties on North Korea in wake of recent missile tests back in March, the communist nation launched a barrage of short-range projectiles into the sea. Upon further review, they were actually badminton shuttle-cocks!
“Locked in a Box?”:  Da’ Badgers’ D did its job, holding Akron to 10, but the O went “over” the total itself, droppin’ the ”lock” record to 1-1 (.500).  

Black Shirt: Goes to Sooooeeeeey Pig QB Austin Allen for the 5-yd TD-run in 2OT that validated our Arkansas over TCU “Upset Pick of da’ Week” over TCU! Close-second to Michigan DE Chris Wormley for blocking a pair of UCF FG-tries, preserving the Wolverines’ predicted-cover!
Shoppe Talk: The Suckeyes of Ohio State solidify their presence here at 0-2 (4-9-1, .308). Joining them at 0-2 (.000) are the Vols of Tennessee.

Vindy’s Week 3 Best Bets:   Last Week:   3-3   Season: 7-5 (.583) Vanderbilt +6 ½ over JOJA’ TECH, South Florida -14 over SYRACUSE, Buffalo +11 over NEVADA, Weeziana Tech +12 over TEXAS TECH, Navy-TULANE “under 43 ½”

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Vindy's Picks Week 2-2016

GLENDALE, Arizona (FOX News)…The New England football team seemingly can’t catch a break. With veteran star-quarterback Tom Brady already suspended for four tilts after reinstatement of his Deflategate punishment, expected-and-nominally-experienced replacement Jimmy Garoppolo will ride the pine for the first two games in the wake of the decision by Commissioner Roger Goodell to lower the boom on the second-year man for using under-inflated Poke-Balls to capture the mythical creatures while playing Pokemon Go. The unfortunate turn-of-events leaves the perennial Super Bowl-contender with third-round draft pick (and Florida cast-off) Jacoby Brissett out of NC State running the offense on the road versus the Cardinals and hosting the Dolphins a week later.
Meanwhile, in Sin City, Vindicator jumped outta’ da gate with a nifty10-6 (.625) effort to start the new season (showing double-digit wins to begin the campaign for the third time in five years),  hitting his “lock of da’ week” and four of six “best bet” selections. Hopin’ to avoid bear-traps, open man-holes, oncoming traffic and sportsbook security, our prestigious prognosticator puts down his own smart-phone long enough to track and capture dubyas for…
 (Sponsored by E-Harmony…and “making plans for later in case these bets don’t go well”)

#13 Louisville (-14 ½) over SYRACUSE: Cardinals 35 Orange 16

#1 ALABAMA (-28) over Western Kentucky: Sammich’ game for Tide, having faced USC last week and trip to Ole Miss up next, but then ‘Bama players probably forewent post-game showers because their uniforms were still dry after crushing Southern Cal. Hilltoppers finished 2015 season with nation’s 3rd best scoring-offense at 44+ ppg (yielding only to a pair of Big 12 squads…Baylor and Texas Tech) despite non-tone-setting 14-12 slogger victory over Vandy to kick-off the year. WKU had been poor 2-6 road dog the past three years, but dropped a 28-point decision in Baton Rouge. Tide defense can stifle WKY’s offense and will be on watch for flea-flicker the Toppers pulled-off vs. Rice…Elephants 48 Western KY 17
Troy (+36) over #2 CLEMSON: Tigers have been a collective coin-toss laying juice at home the past two seasons and off tough contest at Auburn. Trojans have lotsa’ upperclassmen expected to start and have covered eight of previous dozen in away-dog role, including road tilts at Wisconsin and Mississippi State in 2015. CU can spend next two weeks resting and healing starters while giving reserves some live-fire field-time…Clemson 34 Troy 10

Charleston Southern @ #3 FLORIDA STATE: No line.
Tulsa (+29) over #4 OHIO STATE: Our thanks to the Golden Hurricane for bringin’ in one of our “best bet” choices in Week 1, allowing just 10 points to San Josie after yielding 40 ppg in 2015. Tulsa’s been a very profitable road dog the past three seasons. Nearly half of State’s 94 plays on offense vs. Bowling Green went for first-downs…Buckeyes 42 Tulsa 20

#5 MICHIGAN (-35) over Central Florida: Big Blue 51 UCF 14
Lamar @ #6 HOUSTON: No line.

#7 Stanford: IDLE (next vs. Southern Cal)
#8 WASHINGTON (-37 ½) over Idaho: Second choice for “lock”. We question the Vandals’ motivation given they’re playing in next-to-last season of FBS before returning to the I-AA ranks from which they came and narrow 20-17 win over FCS Montana State. With USC embarrassed by ‘Bama, and Oregon and Stanford not terribly- impressive early, UDUB might very-well be the team to take the 12-PAC this year. Idaho absorbed just one defeat by this many in the past two years, but Sled Dogs did us a solid and blew-out Rutgers as predicted. We like ‘em again here…Huskies 48 Taters 7

Nicholls State @ #9 GEORGIA: No line.
Akron @ #10 WISCONSIN (“under 47”): LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Badgers 31 Zips 3

Texas-El Paso (+28 ½) over #11 TEXAS: Steers 34 UTEP 24
#12 Michigan State: IDLE (next @ Notre Dame)

#14 OKLAHOMA (-46) over UL-Monroe: Normally, we’d consider this a sammich game with Sooners having a big date in Columbus next weekend, but given the “upset” loss to Houston and the inability of a defensively-thin Warhawks squad to provide any resistance, Sooners should race to the blowout and possibly just their third shutout in 3+ seasons…“Broklahoma” 58 Weeziana-Monroe 0
Iowa State (+16) over #16 IOWA: Cyclowns were one of the victims of the lower-division teams playing the big boys this past weekend, losing 25-20 to Northern Iowa. State’s under new management this year, having won grand total of 8 games in three seasons, but returns 16 starters. The past five tilts in this series have seen final margins of 3, 3, 6, 3 and 14, with State going 3-2 SU/ATS. Two of the straight-up Dust Devils’ victories came here in Iowa City. ISU has unwinnable trip to TCU next, so why not salvage the season with a best-effort here… Hawkeyes 23 ISU 13

Virginia Tech (+10 ½) over #17 Tennessee (@ Bristol, TN): Here at Bristol Speedway, the officiating crew will wave caution flags instead of throwing regular ones when penalties occur. Apparition State missed a couple kicks and couldn’t corral Vols’ OT fumble so Tennessee is on borrowed time. Makes us wonder if Rocky Top, who’ve won and covered its past three neutral-site games, might get that coveted spot as the SEC East’s usual-suspect in the “preseason Top 10-to- post-season-poll oblivion” we noted in Week One…Vols 24 VT 20
Nevada-Reno (+27 ½) over #18 NOTRE DAME: Irish 34 UNR 12

Wofford @ #19 MISSISSIPPI: No line.
Arkansas @ #15 TCU (+8): UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. Toads have won 14 straight in Ft. Worth and beaten 11 of last dozen non-Big 12 opponents. Hogs have knocked-off 12 of 15 non-SEC foes and covered 8 of 11 vs. non-conference. Neither side has excelled in recent years in one-possession games, but surely, someone (‘Bama and Joja’ notwithstanding) has to step-up and represent for the SEC, especially the West Division…Pork Loin 27 Frog Legs 20

Prairie View @ #20 TEXAS A&M: No line.
Jacksonville State @ #21 LSU: No line.

Central Michigan (+20 ½) over #22 OKLAHOMA STATE: Cowpokes 41 Chippies 27
Southern Methodist (+31) over #23 BAYLOR: Da’ Bears 51 Pony Express 30

Virginia @ #24 OREGON (“over 70 ½”): Despite a 4-8 SU record, Da’ Cavs were betting-gold for backers last season, going 8-3-1 (.708) against the spread (by numbers, good enough for 7th-best in Division I-A), 8-2-1 (.800) in FBS play. Da’ ‘Cuse went 4-8 SU as well, but 8-4 ATS (.667). Meanwhile, championship contestants ‘Bama and Clemson each went 8-7 ATS, a barely-profitable .533 (tied for 61st). Sadly, the Mendenhall years suffered an inaugural 17-point defeat to in-state rival Richmond. Da’ Mallards continue to display weakness on D, yielding 28 to UC Davis on The Pond (failing to cover -47 ½). Wahoos have actually won ATS in their last six vs. ranked foes…Drakes 54 Virginia 27
Florida Atlantic (+24) over #25 MIAMI: No faith in this selection. Gone from Da’ Canes’ sideline is Joe Paterno understudy Al Golden. Replacing him is Coach Mark Richt, who couldn’t appease the folks in Athens enough to keep his job there. A 70-3 thrashing of I-AA Florida A&M is a nice start, but not much of a gauge. FAU’s over-flowing cup of returning experience was barely enough to fend-off the Salukis. Pelicans have won and covered both contests vs. the Owls since 2013, taking those by 34 and 24. UM has gone 7-2-1 ATS as home faves the past two seasons while FAU has covered just one of its last five vs. a Top 25 opponent, though went to extra-frames vs. the Gators last year. ‘Canes need to avoid a flag-fest…Miami 37 FAU 17 

BTW, an anonymous sports-writer tweeted that “given the quarterback situation, already an underdog against the Cardinals, Bill Belichick might as well have (former-actress) Jacqueline Bisset under center”. (In his defense, Brissett did post a 43-11 TD-pass-to-pick ratio in his collegiate endeavors).

BTW, the Sooners off-Broadway play-in-question noted-above coulda’ also been called “Manny, Git Yer Shot-Gun…Quarterback”!!!!
BONUS COVERAGE: No spread-pick, but a few thoughts on Nevada-Las Vegas @ UCLA: Rebels off to promising start, beating I-AA Jackson State by fitty (covering a 39-point spread, BTW). Bruins, currently favored by 26, may hit the gridiron slowly at first after OT loss to A&M, but should pick-up steam. Not certain Nebraska-transfer QB Johnny Stanton can keep Vegas within less than four touchdowns, but at least he’s seen big-time competition up-close and personal. We remind the local faithful that UNLV dented the board for 80 last season vs. FCS Idaho State, but would win just 2 more games (over Reno and Hawaii) while covering just four times overall. The host does however go to BYU next. The hometown heroes have gone 4-1-1 ATS the last four seasons getting at least 25 points. The lone spread-loss in that time? UCLA’s 37-3 triumph in the 2015 version of this one.

The UNLV O-line calls itself…Da’ Orcas (who “like to think of the defensive linemen as seals”). They’re bigger and stronger than last year’s versions, but there’s no chance that San Diego State will move its home-game vs. the Rebels in early October from Qualcomm Stadium to…SeaWorld!
The Rebels also recently got a response to their application to join the Big 12. It read, “Thank you for playing, but we’ve got some lovely parting-gifts for ya backstage.”

Currently playing on da’ Big Screen…Kubo and Da’ Two Strings….but enough about the amount of ‘Bama’s depth-chart that will enter the Western Kentucky game in da’ second-quarter and finish-out da’ contest!
In related news, in August, the SoCal bookstore was trollin’ ‘Bama by selling cardinal and gold tees adorned with the words “Roll Tears Roll”. Guess those unsold undergarments will get shipped-off to some impoverished nation in Africa like Clemson’s National Title tees and The Carolina Panthers’ Super Bowl championship apparel!

We’re seriously unhappy with local rag Las Vegas Review-Journal decision to stop publishing box scores for Top 25 in lieu of Mountain Jest games and select PAC-12 contests! Interestingly-enough, local casinos are now putting spreads up on selected FBS-FCS match-ups on their betting-boards. Hmmmmmm.
Hooray (Again!) for da’ little guys…we offered our thoughts last week on probabilities of FCS teams beating I-A clubs. Clearly, we missed a few of those match-ups, but kudos to: Albany (22-16 over Buffalo), the aforementioned Northern Iowa Panthers, then-#4 FCS Richmond (37-20 over Virginia) and then-#17 Eastern Washington (45-42 over Wazzou). Meanwhile, these FBS groups narrowly-escaped: UConn (24-21 over Maine), Florida Atlantic (38-30 over Southern Illinois), Idaho (20-17 over then-#13 Montana), Nevada-Reno (30-27 over Cal Poly), Texas-San Antonio (26-13 over ‘Bama State) and Michigan State (28-13 over Furman, failing to cover -39).  

Of the 21 inter-sub-division contests this week, we believe the most-likely FCS wins will come from…Elon at CHARLOTTE, Bethune-Cookman at NORTH TEXAS, and Southern at TULANE.
Two days after acquiring a victory in Super Bowl Fitty, Peyton Manning gathered his offensive line, lined-up under center and audibled “Mardi *Graaaaaas*!”

In related news…never overly-skilled with a brush and oils or enamels, after a long, arduous opening Saturday watchin’ college final-scores roll in, Vindy nonetheless found himself “paintin’ on Sunday mornin’” (Oh wait…!).
Aaron Rodgers’ brother, Jordan, made his debut on The Bachelorette last Spring. He received a rose from that annoying kid from the State Farm commercials then stole his older sibling’s “Discount Double-Check” move!

In August, an Olympic kayaker capsized after hitting an “underwater sofa”. The folks at IKEA in Rio could not be reached for comment.
“Wish We Had It Back”: Hawaii +41 over MICHIGAN. Yep, we’ve got “buyer’s remorse” for taking UH even after noting a second long trip following the Australia outing, ongoing defensive difficulties and Jim Harbaugh’s likelihood of piling on.

“Locked in a Box?”:   Following a disappointing “lock” season in 2015, our humble narrator guesses correctly to get the cover by K-State over Stanford to begin the campaign at 1-0 (1.000).    
Black Shirt: This season’s inaugural ebony undergarment for best performance or “performance” that benefitted our forecast the previous week goes to…Texas DE Naashon Hughes for deflecting a FG try in the 3rd Quarter of  the ‘Horns eventual win over the Irish (backing our “minor upset pick of da’ week #2”) in 2OT. Honorable mention to Penn State QB Trace McSorley for a fumble that was returned for a score, helping “best bet” pick Kent State stay close enough to get the cover.

Shoppe Talk: THE Buckeyes of THE Ohio State Uni open Ye Olde Taxidermy Shoppe for 2016 after ending up yet again on the wrong side of the forecast, running the record to 4-8-1 (.333) going back to last season. Northern Illinois is officially on notice after falling outright to Wyoming as 10 ½-point chalk, costing us a four-team parlay that otherwise correctly had Kent State +21, Southern Miss +6 and TEXAS +3 ½. 
Vindy’s Week 2 Best Bets:   Last Week: 4-2     Season: 4-2 (.667) Ohio -2 ½ over KANSAS, Kentucky +16 over FLORIDA, Kentucky-FLORIDA “under” 47 ½, Joja’ Sudden -12 over SOUTH ALABAMA, NEBRASKA -25 over Wyoming and SAN DIEGO STATE -7 over Cal