Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Vindy's Picks 2016 Championship Week


LAS VEGAS, Nevada (REUTERS)…Less than 48 hours following revelation of the nickname for Sin City’s new pro-hockey franchise, the remaining NHL clubs released their lists of players who, for contract reasons, are exempt from selection in the expansion draft to fill the roster for the Vegas Golden Knights. Local fans cheered loudly when they recognized the Vegas Vindicator was not on any of those documents. Renowned for his ability to shatter plates during the annual pre-All-Star Game skills-competition (not for accurately firing the puck at dishes secured to the corners and center of a net, but simply for smashing mass-quantities of dinnerware sets into the boards), Vindicator said he learned to play the goaltender position by repeatedly-watching Jean Claude Van Damme’s save between-the-pipes for the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Playoffs during a brief on-ice appearance in the flick “Sudden Death”.
Getting’ no love from last week’s AP Top 11 (0-9-1 with #7 Oklahoma and #10 Oklahoma State on byes), we crawled to a 6-10-1 finish (112-118-5, .487), including 1-fer-4 on “over-unders” (though both winning “best bets” selections came via totals) over the holiday-weekend. Bustin’-up da’ good china like a boss, it’s…
(Lasting slightly-longer than Aretha Franklin’s crooning of da’ National Anthem prior to da’ Vikes-Lions game on Thanksgiving!)

PAC-12 Championship (@ Santa Clara, CA)

#4 Washington (-7 ½) over #9 Colorado: It’s almost (emphasis on “almost”) like someone opened a time-capsule and found a late-Eighties Colorado team that often fought Nebraska for B12 supremacy and factored in the National Championship picture, but loss to USC and close-wins over a down 12-PAC suggest they’re not quite there. UDUB has threatened the past few seasons. Looks like they get over the hump with a tenuous-chance at the playoffs… Huskies 37 Buffaloes 24
MAC Championship (@ Detroit, MI)

#13 Western Michigan (-19) over Ohio: Currently at 8-4, da’ Bobblecats get a decent bowl, but…Broncos 35 Ohio 13
AAC Championship

#20 NAVY (-3) over Temple: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. We plunked-down some pesos on this one Monday, well-ahead of our usual Thursday/Friday wagering. Middies get the home-port advantage by way of the better record between the two teams. Owls, with under-the-radar 9-3 SU/10-1 ATS (Boy, did we miss the bus on those!) and making their first appearance in da’ Picks this season, were in this spot last year too, but lost at Houston by 11. Temple’s American Idol Athletic Conference-best scoring-defense has been excellent of late, coughing-up just 23 total points over the past four games, throwing a pair of shut-outs along the way to a 5-1 “under” run, but Sailors’ AAC second-best offense also yields north of 30 ppg. and accounts for current 7-3 “over” tally. Navy is perfect 5-0 outright in Annapolis (2-1-1 ATS by our numbers). First Top 25 opponent for TU, who entered the season 5-1 ATS vs. ranked foes, losing all five, by 3 at home twice. We look for an Admiral-able (Okay, feel free to boo that one), high-scoring contest, going to...Ensigns 42 Temple 31

SEC Championship (@ Atlanta, GA)
#1 Alabama (-24) over #15 Florida: Rematch of 2015 SEC Title game, won 29-15 by ‘Bama. We mentioned it not-long-ago and we’ll repeat it here…Florida ain’t got the offensive-prowess to keep-up vs. the Tide and Gators injury-hampered defense faces third straight Top 25 opponent. ‘Bama will wanna’ put this away early, needing just a victory to stay in the playoffs, but will pile-on to secure the top-seed. Elephants allowed 9 of Auburn’s 12 total points last week following turnovers. We expect better ball-security here. Early-season 10-point defeat at Tennessee nor three-TD loss at Arkansas inspire much confidence in Crocs’ ability to cover, much-less manage a tremendous upset. Tide had beat the line in five consecutive outings before pushing last week (or six straight if ya had at -17 ½ at game-time)…Pachyderms 45 Florida 13

ACC Championship (@ Orlando, FL)
#3 Clemson (-10) over #19 Virginia Tech: Tigers 34 Hokies 16

B10 Championship (@ Indianapolis, IN)
#8 Penn State (+2 ½) over #6 Wisconsin: First…kudos to both head coaches James Franklin and Paul Chryst for sharing accolades as Big Tentacle Coach of Da’ Year! The Alma Mater slapped us not once, but twice for calling the spread-loss to Michigan State, scoring a pair of 4th Quarter TDs to not only cover minus-12 ½ but also slipping the final score into the “over” category (though Sparty’s 12-10 edge at the intermission was lookin’ mighty good!). Andre Robinson appears to be a nice complement to Saquon Barkley at RB. Wisconsin lost by 7 to each of the two teams ahead of it in the standings (at Michigan, vs. the Buckeyes) and looked vulnerable before rallying last week to beat da’ Gophers. Can’t argue with State’s 8-0 SU/7-0-1 ATS run…Nifty Lions 19 Badgers 16

Oklahoma State (+11) over #7 OKLAHOMA: Won’t be stunned by an upset, but…Sooners 41 State 34
Baylor @ #14 WEST VIRGINIA (“Over 68 ½”): Best guess for “wish we had it back”. Minus mere 7 allowed to NCAA tournament blue-blood-but-FCS-worthy football-school Kansas, Bares have conceded almost 44 ppg over last 5 games, while scoring less than 24 all year just twice (vs. defense-minded K-State and vs. TCU). ‘Eers gave up 19 to Iowa State last week to deny our “under” pick and have gone “over” in three of last four games…WVU 47 Baylor 27

Conference USA Championship
Louisiana Tech (+9 ½) over WESTERN KENTUCKY: Hilltoppers tied Old Dominion for best conference-record at 7-1, but beat the Monarchs convincingly earlier this year and look for some payback for 55-52 October  loss to the Bulldogs in Ruston. WKU has scored at least 44 nine times this year. LT has scored that many or more in eight contests. Don’t know what happened to the Canines last week in bad home upset-loss to Sudden Mist, but we look for more focus here. ‘Toppers returned just nine starters this year for coach Skip Holtz. They’ll get the revenge, but they’ll work for it. WKU has already played three overtime sessions, could be another one here…Western Kentucky 48 LT 42

Mountain West Championship
WYOMING (+6 ½) over San Diego State: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK (again!) WTH!!!! Both sides were clobbered by inferior opponents last week. So, this one features Cowboys-Aztecs: Da’ Sequel after Wyoming’s 34-33 win over State just two Saturdays ago. Sudzu, with an early-season shot at a New Year’s-Six game, has little to play for, outside a conference championship in back-to-back seasons, which lands it in one of two December-locales…Vegas vs. Mississippi State, if it’s lucky, otherwise vs. a 5-7 squad that gets the berth for good academics… or in its own backyard in the Poinsettia Bowl (unless the bowl committee tags Boise State instead of the MWC champion). On the other sideline, Wyoming has to be stoked to be in-line to potentially grab a conference crown and its first bowl since 2011 following its second winning-record in past six years…Laramie Lassoes 38 SDSU 34

To provide some perspective on how, not only this season, but life-in-general, has gone in 2016…we were 121-110-3 (.523) at this juncture last year.

This weekend, we’ll be blaring Tommy James & Da’ Shondells from the 8-track ahead of the SEC title game. Sing it with us…”Crimmmm-son and o-verrrrr….o-verrrrr and o-verrrrrr!”
Immediately following its victory over rival Rebels, players from UNR painted “FUNLV” on the trophy Fremont Canon. What the players from Reno have specifically-against North Las Vegas is still a mystery! It’s all about spacing. Maybe they meant to portray “Fun, Las Vegas!”

Domino’s pizza…there in 30 minutes (Minions?) or less or it’s free-safety!”
If da’ Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference is represented by the Pirates in the 2017 Big Dance, will we see a subsequent flick entitled “Straight Outta’ Hampton”??!!!

Since July, Shaq’s been hawkin’ car insurance through Da’ General. Will we see a commercial featurin’ the former-NBA star’s father imploring him to…”Take da’ Rocket’ to da’ hole, Shaquille”???!!!

Best Weekly Effort:  Week Eight’s stellar 13-4 (.765), which resulted in Vindy drawing an unsportsmanlike- conduct hankie for a “choreographed demonstration” with several members of his pre-season forecasting strategy team!
Worst Weakly “F”-fort:  We’re still undergoing concussion-protocol for Weak Five’s 7-12-2 (.368; which might also explain Week 13’s dismal results)!

WEBER-FRIENDLIES (Best percentage on the predicted-side of the spread; minimum 7 at-bats in the forecast): This year’s Allstate “Yer in Good Hands” award goes to (drumroll, please)…da’ Bengals of Weeziana State (7-2, .778). Second-Place to Oklahoma State (5-2, .714), while Honorable-Mention went to Boise State (6-3, .667).
FLAME-THROWERS (Worst percentage on the predicted side-of the spread; again, minimum 7 at-bats in the forecast): Grill-Master Supreme award-winner…Clemson (3-8, .272), Suckin’ Place is presented to West Virginia (2-5, .285) and a tie for Dishonorable Mention, going to Alabama (3-7-1, .300) and Texas A&M (3-7, .300).

Didn’t make da’ cut, but we’ll be watchin’: Joja’ at 1-4-1 (.200)! BTW, the Puppydogs were in a similar-spot last year at 2-4, putting them at 3-8-1 (.272) over past two seasons!
Thanks for playing: Western Michigan at 5-1 (.833) and Stanford/Miami (both at 4-1, .800 each)!

“Wish We Had It Back”:  Guess we’d like to go back and support da’ Alma Mater vs. Michigan State, knowing Sparty had spent itself in one-point loss to Ohio State and noting teams in close-wins or close-losses do not fare well ATS in the subsequent game. BAMA-Auburn also falls into this category after we changed our original choice on that one.
“Locked in a Box?”:  The Chicken Nuggets got deep-fried by Clemson (we’re shocked), lowering the record to a very-forgettable 7-6 (.538). 

Shoppe Talk: We’re wall-paperin’ Da’ Shoppe with Wolverine-skins as Michigan, who won’t leave with any post-season awards or “awards”, but has hosed Da’ Picks five times in six weeks after opening 4-2 through the first half-dozen!
Black Shirt: We’re mass-producing the ebony tee for each member of the Air Force defense that stuffed Boise State four times at the goal-line to keep our “upset pick of da’ week” intact! Honorable mention to Irish RB Dexter Williams for a failed attempt to convert a two-point run vs. USC to keep the final margin at 18 and allowing Troy to cover!

Vindy’s Championship Week Best Bets:  Last Week:  2-6 (5-13, .278 the last three weeks) Season: 34-38 (.472)
Limited selection this week, but we’ll take…Temple @ NAVY “over” 62 ½, New Mexico State +11 ½ over SOUTH ALABAMA, IDAHO -7 over Joja’ State, Weeziana Tech @ WESTERN KENTUCKY “over 81 ½”, Penn State-Wisconsin “under 47”

On-deck, our annual thoughts on…Army-Navy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Vindy's Picks Week 13-2016

NEW YORK, New York (UPI)…Rule-changes in the offseason moved-back the distance for what-used-to-be the virtually-automatic PAT, which has recently become the “Pain-After-Touchdown”. Sunday saw a record one-dozen blocked or otherwise-failed extra-points. While the two-point conversion is still on the table, in a knee-jerk reaction, NFL officials are now permitting unpressured soccer-style corner-kicks from the pylon at the goal-line, allowing defenders to crowd the end-zone near the uprights while trying to box-out opponents trying to kick or head the pigskin over a much-lowered crossbar!
Once again we were in plus-territory heading into last Saturday, but lost the mojo (though hit our “lock”, “upset” and “minor upset” selections!) and finished 11-9-1 (106-108-4, .495). Why risk physical injury amidst the Great Unwashed trying to acquire that heavily-discounted special present on Black Friday when ya can simply gift-wrap a copy of…

(Recallin’ da’ Karate Kid and followin’ orders to “sweep’ da’ turkey-leg”!)

Louisiana State (-5) over #22 TEXAS A&M: Tigers have faced two of the best defensive teams in the nation in two of the past three weeks. A&M has yielded 24 or more points in five of seven SEC contests and average of nearly-34 ppg over past four conference games (losing three of ‘em). If it wasn’t a Thursday tilt, we’d consider this for “lock”…Bengals 26 bAggies 17
FRI. NOV. 25

#5 Washington @ #23 WASHINGTON STATE (“over 64”): UDUB 41 Wazzou 34
#15 Nebraska @ IOWA: OFF

Toledo (+9) over #18 WESTERN MICHIGAN: Broncos started slowly vs. Buffalo, but eventually pulled away to cover a five-touchdown spread, shutting out the Bulls in the process. Next-to-last obstacle to a New Year’s Six bowl for Western Michigan, who, according to Marc Lawrence’s,  haven’t played in a conference-championship match in 15 seasons, nor won a MAC tiara in…(GASP!) 26! Broncos have 11 outright victories already after maxing-out at no more than nine in any season over the previous past decade.  Space Shuttles have stealthily put together a 9-2 year, but the 5-point home-loss to the Bobblecats of Ohio took them out of big-money bowl discussion subsequent to 55-53 defeat at BYU in September. The past two meetings have been close…a one-point win by the Mudhens in 2014 and five-point margin by WMU last year. Toledo’s gone 2-4-1 ATS in past seven games of 2016 and 6-1 “under” in that span…WMU 34 Rockets 31
AIR FORCE (+10) over #19 Boise State: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK...Aim High 34 Broncos 31

#21 Houston @ MEMPHIS: OFF
NC State (+11 ½) over #25 NORTH CAROLINA: Wouldn’t be a bad choice for “lock”…’Heels 27 ‘Pack 24

SAT. NOV. 26
#16 Auburn (+17 ½) over #1 ALABAMA: Changed our initial pick. Aubie RB Pettway will be on the field, but not likely at full-strength. Starting QB for da’ Tigers is unknown as we go to print. Tide played the fifth-string in 31-3 win over FCS then-#11 Chattanooga (Okay, not quite, but ya get the point). Sadly for Auburn, there’s no “A&M” after this Alabama following Tigers 55-0 rout of also-FCS-level (though unranked at 4-7) Bulldogs. Tigers have no shot to win here, with ‘Bama’s near-misses coming on the SEC road. Gus Malzahn has one Iron Bowl triumph in his three years as HC of Auburn (34-28 at home in 2013). Tide has failed to cover the last pair in the series, winning by 11 and 16. Aubie needs a stellar effort in all three phases. Assuming the usual defensive and special-teams scores for ‘Bama (because somewhat-surprisingly, Tide is just 86% successful scoring on Red Zone possessions…and the longtime kicking-woes continue at 71%-and-change), we’ll call it…Pachyderms 29 Tigers 14  

#2 OHIO STATE (-6 ½) over #4 Michigan:  Wolverines are doomed if Wilton Speight is on the pine or isn’t 100% at kick-off ‘cuz under-study QB John O’Korn ain’t cuttin’ it. Buckeyes need to recover from near-miss at East Lansing, but have toppled all three Top 25 opponents as opposed to Big Blue, which squares-off vs. just second ranked-foe. The only doubt in our mind is the specter of State’s 24-20 win over Northwestern at Da’ Shoe in late October. Coach Meyer will field his own guys. Harbaugh has gotten the most he can from his predecessor’s recruits. Vindy (and much of Happy Valley) will fly the Scarlet & Gray Friday night and early Saturday morning…THE Ohio State 31 Meeshigan 17
South Carolina (+24) over #3 CLEMSON: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Gamecocks gained post-season eligibility with non-conference victory over FCS Western Carolina last week, their fourth victory in past five games for Will Muschamp. Pressure’s on the Tigers to keep winning to stay in the CFP top four. The Poultry has covered 6 of previous 7 facing Clemson and lost by just 5 in 2015. Expect a conservative game-plan here from CU…Tigers 27 Nuggets 12

Minnesota (+14) over #6 WISCONSIN: Wisky 21 Gophers 11
#7 Oklahoma: IDLE (next vs. Oklahoma State)

Michigan State (+12 ½) over #8 PENN STATE (“under 55”): Another double-pick. Lions will know the results of “The Game” prior to taking the field for this one. That’s probably not good in either instance. But Alma Mater ain’t makin’ the playoffs in any case with two defeats. Teams that fought hard in narrow-wins or narrow-losses have not fared well spread-wise in their next game. Hope Sparty is physically-and-emotionally-depleted after tremendous defensive effort in one-point loss vs. da’ Buckeyes, but PSU just needs a victory and an OSU victory to have a chance at Big Tender crown...Lions 20 MSU 16
#9 COLORADO (-10 ½) over #20 Utah: Wazzou coach Mike Leach must’ve seen something in game-film of the Buffs, foregoing a couple of mid-range FG attempts in efforts to convert on more-than-one 4th Down scenarios (albeit unsuccessfully). Bison benefitted from multiple drops by Coogs’ receivers in the first-half, including what shoulda’ been an easy TD. Both sides are comparable in offensive-balance. Utes face #2 pass-D and Buffaloes look a bit like the squads that always came down to wins or losses in late-season games vs. the Huskers for shots at the National Title a couple of eons ago. Utes have lost two of past three contests, most-recently to shadow-of-its-old-self Oregon…Colorado 27 Utes 14

#10 Oklahoma State: IDLE (next @ Oklahoma)
#11 LOUISVILLE (-25) over Kentucky: Cardinals 54 Wildcats 20

#12 USC (-17) over Notre Dame: Leprechauns have just had their victories in 2012 and 2013 revoked due to academic shenanigans. This year’s Irish seniors might take that as motivation or just one more uninvited-weight in a bad season. Trojans 42 Not-So-Lucky Charms 20
#13 Florida @ #14 FLORIDA STATE (“under 45 ½”): Gators D did what it does best, staving off LSU at the goal line…twice…in Death Valley…for the win and a fourth cover in five games. Can it muster enough to replicate the feat one more time to slow RB Dalvin Cook ahead of conference championship match vs. ‘Bama? Tribe has taken three straight in this series, including 27-2 last year, but has stumbled against the better-quality teams on this season’s schedule, losing to North Carolina and Clemson, both in Tallahassee and slipping away from NC State in Raleigh…FSU 19 Florida 16

#17 West Virginia @ IOWA STATE (“under 58”): ‘Eers 27 Dust Devils 20
VANDERBILT (+8 ½) over #24 Tennessee: Rocky Top 23 Admirals 17


BTW, Tom Brady categorically-denied any knowledge of balls being deflated ahead of any Patriots’-opponents’ attempted extra-point tries to make them travel shorter-distances and lower-elevations.
Last Spring, the NCAA put da’ kibosh on satellite camps because the SEC got its panties in a bunch over da’ B10 conducting them below da’ Mason-Dixon Line, but would later reinstate them, recruiting Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk as sponsor and naming them… “Shatellite Camps”!

Vindy’s Picks….bringin’ ya all the big rivalries…USC-UCLA, Oklahoma-Texas, Ohio State-Michigan, Florida-Florida State and…Vin Diesel-Da’ Rock!
It’s now in stone…Sin City’s new NHL franchise will be called the Vegas Golden Knights. Personally, we (and other Monty Python & Da’ Holy Grail fans) woulda’ preferred “Black Knights” because “*None* shall *pass*… da’ puck!” BTW, Central Florida and Game of Thrones “The Mountain” have filed suits for copyright-violations!

An April newspaper article entitled “Bob Knight throws support behind Trump”, but upon further review, it turns out the fiery ex-hoops coach simply threw a folding chairat Trump!
“Wish We Had It Back”: In retrospect, we’d like to revise our choices of …Michigan -23 ½ over da’ HOOSIERS and A&M -7 over da’ Roadrunners, both of which we predicted as best guesses for “wish” pick.

“Locked in a Box?”:  Rutgers was kind enough to hit the scoreboard for…oh, wait….it didn’t hit the scoreboard…vs. the Alma Mater, keeping the total well-“under” and upping the lock-tally to 7-5 (.583).     
Black Shirt: The coveted clothing goes to Cowboys CB Antonio Hull for deflecting an attempted two-point conversion pass with zeroes on the game-clock to bring home our Wyoming (+9) outright over San Diego State upset pick.

Shoppe Talk: Florida did us a pair of solids this week, not only covering in upset of LSU, but also keeping our other official call of “under” intact (but don’t slither too far away as yer still in the running for post-season “awards” at 3-7, .300!). Meanwhile, usual-suspects A&M (2-7, .222) and Clemson (3-7, .300) jobbed us again!
Vindy’s Week 13 Best Bets:       Last Week:  2-4 (now 3-7 the last 2 weeks)   Season: 32-32 (.500)

Rutgers @ MARYLAND “under 51 ½”,  SAN DIEGO STATE (-11 ½) over Colorado State (“under 55 ½”), Boston College @ WAKE FOREST “under 36 ½”, Wyoming -3 over NEW MEXICO, Virginia +18 over VA TECH, Charlotte +7 over UTSA, Arkansas State -6 over UL-LAFAYETTE

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Vindy's Picks Week 12-2016

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (FOX News)…Days after  visiting the White House for similar purposes, Donald Trump got together with NCAA president Mark Emmert to hash-out the “smooth transition of Power Five” conferences, including the shift of teams in blue states to red states! Emmert noted the two “disagreed on a number of items, but will work diligently to bring-about a seamless change-of-possession”. Reversing course on an earlier accusation, the Donald said he was “pleased that all top-four College Football Playoff rankings included schools based in red states”.
We basically wasted a 2-0 start, for the second straight fortnight, to finish 11-11 (95-99-3, .489). A new university study in Seoul, Korea suggests listening to one’s choice of music can mitigate acute or chronic pain. Therefore, we recommend the readership crank up their fave tunes to diminish physical and emotional discomfort associated with…

(Accompanied by one-hit wonder…”Afternoon Defense” by da’ Starlight Vocal-Band)

#3 Louisville (-14) over HOUSTON: Cardinals 41 Houston 20

Arkansas State (+8) over #25 TROY: This got a look for “lock” and “upset pick of da’ week.”. Trojans’ first-ever presence in the Top 25 also signals the Fun Belt making its initial 2016 sojourn into the rankings. Phil Steele’s mag had the Trojans at #5 in the conference behind Arkansas State, winner of four of the last six Stun Belt crowns, and Apparition State, whom Troy beat by 4 last week, yet made it his #7 most-improved team. State opened with four losses in a row, including 28-23 defeat by FCS Central Arkansas (currently 9-1 and #12 FCS poll), but is surging on current 5-0 SU/ATS run and are giving up less than 4 ppg less and 41 ypg less than Troy.  Much-respect to Troy, whose only defeat came by 6 at Clemson in early September, but …Troy 34 Red Wolves 31
FRI. NOV. 18

Nevada-Las Vegas (+28) over #22 BOISE STATE: We changed our initial pick here. Consider yerselves duly-advised. Yes, the Rebels come-off win in triple-extras over Wyoming, who’s responsible for Boise’s lone loss on the year to-date. Broncos picked up just their third spread-win, walloping the ‘Bows by 38 in a game that wasn’t even that close. Vegas needs to win here and against Reno to bowl. Not gonna’ happen, but Tony Sanchez can feed off last week’s upset-victory. UNLV has failed to cover in two of three following SU wins this year, but have lost by no more than 23 in any road game in 2016. But then, the 5-5 Chippies of Central Michigan ain’t one-loss Boise State. Hometown Heroes are 2-3 ATS as road-dogs this year against much-smaller lines and were 10-4 coming into the season in that role. Broncos have trek to Air Force on-deck and gave up 31 to San Josie on the Blue Carpet…Boise State 51 Sin City 27
SAT. NOV. 19

Tennessee-Chattanooga @ #1 ALABAMA: No Line.
MICHIGAN STATE (+21 ½) over #2 Ohio State: Spartans’ white-wash of Rutgers accounted for our only “best bet” win last week.  MSU finds itself a home-dog for second time in four weeks after seeing no such role in the previous four years and Marc Lawrence’s Playbook. Com notes the home-team in this series has been the incorrect side the past seven match-ups. Buckeyes won 14-7 in 2015, lost by 10 in 2013 conference championship and have Michigan on the horizon. Sparty’s year is disappointingly toast, but if they can beat OSU, and the Buckeyes topple Michigan next week, they could hold that over Big Blue the entire offseason. Expect MSU to go all out…Buckeyes 30 Michigan State 17

#4 MICHIGAN (-23 ½) over Indiana: Second-best guess for “wish we had it back”. Wolverines will likely be minus dual-threat QB Wilton Speight for this one. Ahead of the Hawkeyes game, Michigan wallpapered the pink-painted visitors’ locker room at Kinnick Stadium with UM images. How’d that work-out for ya, Mr. Harbaugh?!...Michigan 37 Indy 13
WAKE FOREST (+21) over #5 Clemson: Tigers 26 Deacons 13

#6 Wisconsin (-26) over PURDUE: Wisconsin 41 Choo-Choos 10
#7 WASHINGTON (-26) over Arizona State: Huskies will regroup after loss to USC. Sun Devils’ hologram “defense” will provide little-more than target-practice…Sled Dogs 52 ASU 13

#8 Oklahoma @ #10 WEST VIRGINIA (“under 66 ½”): Sooners 29 Mountaineers 24
#9 Penn State @ RUTGERS (“under 57 ½”): LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. In light of nice SU/ATS win over Iowa, Coach Franklin is callin’ fer yet-another white-outat Rutgers! Not sure the color-coordination will be necessary to secure the victory in East Brunswick, though the spread-win could use some assistance (see our Black Shirt segment below). Lions have moved up to #8 in the playoff rankings this week and RU could be on the wrong end of a 4th shutout this season, but we’ll conservatively call…Simbas of State College 39 Scarlet Knights of Da’ Round-Robin Table 6

#11 UTAH (-14) over Oregon: Utes 45 Rubber Duckies 27
#20 Washington State (+4) over #12 COLORADO: Buffs opened givin’ almost a TD. Public came in hot-n-heavy on da’ pass-happy Coogs, who’ve put all three 12-PACK road games in the win-column, to decrease line to 3 ½. Now back to 4.  Bison’s only demise came at hands of who-are-those-guys?-USC and lost 27-3 to Washington State in 2015. Cougars, behind huge passing-attack, average about nine more ppg than Colorado, but CU allows about six-fewer ppg than Wazzou. Changed our initial-pick here too, more than once…Buffaloes 28 WSU 27

#13 Oklahoma State (+4) over TCU: MINOR UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. This was our original choice for “lock”. Serious-overreaction to Toads’ rout of embroiled Bares team last week. Kermits had been perfect 13-0 SU in Ft. Worth 2014 thru 2015, but have already logged three defeats at the partisan-venue and have covered just once on the campaign layin’ points…Cowpokes 42 Frog Legs 31
#14 WESTERN MICHIGAN (-34 ½) over Buffalo: WMU 48 Bulls 10

UCLA (+10 ½) over #15 Southern Cal: Akin to Michigan State, Bruins aren’t going to the post-season, and will put all they’ve  got into the rivalry game…Trojan Horse 24 Bruins 17
#21 FLORIDA (+13 ½) over #16 Louisiana State (“under 39”): We implement the rare double-pick on a single game. Gators and Bengals finally meet after original game on October 8 was postponed due to inclement weather. Injury-riddled Crocodiles still managed to cover vs. the Game-Hens, while LSU took out the frustrations of the goose-egg vs. ‘Bama on the Razorbacks. Florida’s gained a little spread-momentum, covering three of last four after opening 1-4 and see first home-dog spot on the year and 5th in nearly 4 seasons. Sadly, it’s gone just 1-3 on those occasions. Bengals found nice complement to Leonard Fournette in the person of RB Derrius Guice, but have been just 6-8 SU on the road in last 14. UF’s purpose-in-life this season is apparently to make Vindy’s life miserable, so no faith in either selection. We’ll be satisfied with a split…Tigers 20 Florida 12

SYRACUSE (+20 ½) over #17 Florida State: Seminoles 34 Orange Sauce 17
Alabama A&M @ #18 AUBURN: No line.

#19 NEBRASKA (-15) over Maryland: Corn Pops will probably not have QB Armstrong on the field for this one…and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Box Turtles have been taking cues recently from Rutgers and have dropped five of last six to the line, with four of five defeats on the year by 21 or more. Maryland’s one cover on the road came at…currently 3-7 Florida International. Big Dread has alternated ATS wins and losses each week since starting Big Ten play. If the pattern continues, they’ll find a way to win by less than 15. NU recently got the go-ahead to grow hemp on campus. Players are hopin’ their home playing-surface gets switched from Field Turf to…natural grass!...Huskers 31 Maryland 14
#23 TEXAS A&M (-27) over Texas-San Antonio: Best guess for “we wish we had it back”. On the heels of three losses in four games, including one-point loss in College Station to Ole Miss after being up by two-scores late, sending A&M from CFP #4 to nearly-unranked, a blow-out win would be cathartic and restore some confidence for pending visit by LSU next, on a short week. Roadrunners, who were smoked at Weeziana Tech last week following convincing-upset at Middle Tennessee, could go bowlin’ for first-year coach Frank Wilson after winning just three matches in 2015 if they can upend Charlotte in the regular-season finale and have covered three times in four tries in games subsequent to outright losses this year…Aggies 48 UTSA 17

WYOMING (+9) over #24 San Diego State: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. Cowboys’ mysterious 3OT loss in Sin City gives Rebels hope of post-season (though they’ll likely need an upset of Boise or academic excellence to play in December with a losing record). Aztecs have already clinched a berth in the conference championship game and have allowed miniscule total of 42 points across half-dozen MWC contests. Wyoming, 5-0 SU/4-0 ATS in Laramie, including upsets over Boise State and Air Force, could get into the Mountain West Championship game by winning out due to tie-breakers over the Broncos and Lobos, should they beat New Mexico two Saturdays from now. Since the beginning of 2013, Sudzu is very-nice 22-8-1 against the spread vs. conference opponents, but… Wyoming 34 SDSU 31

Apparently, the letdown-concept has been banned in Tuscaloosa for 2016 as we incorrectly-backed Mississippi State (+29) against the Tide off tight 10-0 win over LSU. Taking a few creative-liberties with a quote from The Karate Kid...”Pain…does not exist… in this dojo, does it??!!” “NO, Sabansei!!” “Fear…does not exist…in this dojo, does it??!!!” “NO, Sabansei!!!”
During summer camp, the UNLV Rebels got put their paces by a bunch of US Marines on the first strength-and-conditioning day of the offseason. Barked one instructor at the offense…”You want da’ ball???!!! You can’t handle da’ ball!”

On da’ Big Screen this weekend, JK Rowling’s-take on retired Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch… ”Fantastic Beast-Mode and Where Ya’ Can Find Him”!
Star Texans defensive player meets well-known credit card motto…”JJ Watts in your wallet?!”

Mike Tyson tweeted his kudos to Cincinnati’s women’s hoops team for winnin’ a 4th consecutive national title in April. UConn, of course, took that crown. Iron Mike subsequently claimed Steve Harvey hacked his Twitter account!
Upon Kim Jong un’s declaration that North Korea “will remain heavily-armed”, Trump named Dennis Rodman as Secretary of State.

Back in July, the Final Four of a bracket-pool sponsored by the Las Vegas Review-Journal for potential monikers for a Sin City pro hockey team saw Outlaws, Bighorns, Aces and Scorpions.  We cast our vote for the last of those, in hopes the team-unis would mimic the outfit worn by the Mortal Kombat character-in-question!
“Wish We Had It Back”: Yep, we got a case of “buyer’s remorse” for…pickin’ UDUB -8 ½ after noting “ (USC) Trojans starting to resemble team predicted in the offseason….”

“Locked in a Box?”:   Da’ Utes’ romp over Arizona State stops the “lock’ slide and puts us back-in-black at 6-5 (.545).  
Black Shirt: Gets awarded to Western Michigan RB Javion Franklin for the fumble that was returned 47-yards for a Kent State TD just over two-minutes into the 1st Quarter, helping the Golden Flashes cover +20 and commencin’ our Week 11 forecast with a win. Honorable mention to Hoosiers QB Richard Lagow, whose fumble at his own 9-yard line with less-than-half-a-minute to play down by 7 was returned for a Penn State score, allowing the Alma Mater to cover minus-7 ½. Fist-bump to Red Raiders K Clayton Hatfield for missing a late PAT that kept the Cowboys-Texas Tech game, which finished 45-44, “under 90”!

Shoppe Talk: We’re firin’-up da’ purses and shoes as Florida (as noted higher) failed to cooperate again (1-7, .125). We’re stuffin’ Bulldogs this week as UGA shows up at 1-4-1 (.200). Da’ Aggies, mercifully “off” when we published Week 11, tread water at 2-6 (.250). Clemson (3-6, .333) gets a breather after falling to Pitt. Baylor returns, now 1-5 in last 6 appearances (3-6, .333) overall.
Vindy’s Week 12 Best Bets:   Last Week: 1-3 (Oy vey!!!!)  Season: 30-28 (.517)

Iowa @ ILLINOIS “under 45 ½”, Duke +8 over PITT,  SMU +13 over South Florida, CENTRAL FLORIDA +1 ½ over Tulsa, Missouri @ TENNESSEE “under 66 ½”, EAST CAROLINA +7 over Navy

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Vindy's Picks Week 11-2016

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (UPI)…Less than 24 hours following the election, a sequel to the original “Naked Trump” statue was intentionally-damaged again here in Sin City. Undeterred by the damage done to the initial sculpture, artist Joshua Monroe produced and displayed the new version. That piece of artwork, dubbed Naked-Bootleg Trump, featuring the former-candidate au natural and toting the rock in the opposite direction as his entire offensive-line in an attempted misdirection-play, was found covered in graffiti shortly after the polls closed on Tuesday night. While the unidentified tagger-in-question is still on the loose, a group of Democratic-voters dropped the faux Trump–representation behind the party-line-of-scrimmage for a loss, barely avoiding a flag for taunting.
Yeah, we reached double-digits in prognostication-wins for the third time this season and twice in three weeks, but with all but one of the ranked-teams (Utah) in action, kicking-off the fortnight at 2-0, and getting no love from the top seven teams in last week’s AP Poll, our faulty-forecaster went just 8-12 the rest of way, culminating in a 10-12 outing (84-88-3, .488). Wearing at least some pads, cleats and an athletic-supporter is…
(Squatting in Les Miles’ Baton Rouge mansion until further notice)

KENT STATE (+20) over #14 Western Michigan: Stayin’ with our first reaction to this and tryin’ not to over-think it. This time last week, we were extolling da’ Broncos road-prowess ATS, and they didn’t disappoint, routing Ball State. Golden Flashes made one previous cameo in da’ Picks this year. We backed State +44 in Week 4 at then-and-still #1 Alabama, but they were whitewashed 48-0. KSU’s other loss by more than 4 points this season came by 20 at the Alma Mater. Flashes have just a pair of FBS wins, though one came last week on da’ MAC road, knocking of the Central Michigan Chippies as two-TD underdogs. While being out-statted in all but yards-per-carry and FG% by opponents, Kent is still being outscored by just 4-points per contest.  The last meeting between these two was a 32-14 Flashes’ triumph in Kalamazoo in 2013, the year in which WMU’s lone victory came by one at UMass in the Minute Rice’s first official year as part of the conference. State entered the season with 18 returning starters and has been competitive in really all but the Crimson Tide game. Goin’ out on a limb and hopin’ Western Michigan gives a look to some of the reserves ahead of its bye week…WMU 34 Kent State 16 (This one’s already in da’ books as a forecast win given Broncos mere-16-point win of 37-21).

#13 Utah (-5) over ARIZONA STATE: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Both took some time off last weekend. In fact, Utes were only AP ranked-squad not in action, off one-TD defeat by the Huskies. Visitors are on nice 5-2 spread-run and have taken 4 of 6 outright in 12-PACk play so far but have finished 4 contests this year with a margin of five or less. Sun Devils’ five-point demise to Wazzou before da’ bye was first home-loss of 2016 (ain’t bad considering just 10 starters back from 2015). State is one win short of bowl-eligibility. Given trek to Seattle next, they’ll probably need to beat rival Wildcats in finale to get it. Solar-Beezlebubs’ scoring-defense is unholy, yielding 37 or more six times already. Utes, ironically, have lit the board for more-than-36 once. We got duped into thinking Florida State -5 ½ looked too easy at Raleigh in Week 10, but…Utah 41 ASU 28

#15 North Carolina (-10 ½) over DUKE: Blue Devils got a bye half-way through four hotly-contested games, but not sure they have the depth to hold that pace vs. juggernaut ‘Heels…UNC 34 Duke 19
FRI. NOV. 11

Boston College (+21) over #20 FLORIDA STATE: We just cannot, in good conscience, lay three touchdowns with Tribe team showing three defeats already, barely-dodging a fourth last week when a Wolfpack defender bungled a gimme-pick  in the end zone just before the eventual deciding TD-pass for State. Gilded Iggles no-bargain at 4-5 SU/3-4-1 against the line (by our numbers), but again, sport a stellar stop-squad and lost to da’ Noles by 14 twice in past three years, sandwiching a 20-17 “L” last time here in 2014…FSU 24 BC 13
SAT. NOV. 12

Mississippi State (+29) over #1 ALABAMA: We’re ignoring Bulldogs’ upset of then-CFP #4 Texas A&M. Alabama has been the right side of the spread once in past five post-Weeziana State games…Tide 37 MSU 13
#2 Michigan (-22) over IOWA: Iowa fans will likely point to mere 17-9 defeat here by Wisconsin a couple Saturdays ago as reason to consider the cover, but Jim Harbaugh’s MO is piling-on, not tight defensive struggles. Big Blue still has awhile before trip to Columbus. Last meeting was here in 2013, won 24-21 by the Birds. Iowa’s covered just one of last five in Iowa City (albeit they were getting points only in previously-mentioned Badgers game)…UM 44 Iowa 13

Pittsburgh (+20 ½) over #3 CLEMSON: Panthers are better than 23-point loss to Miami suggests and look for their sixth-win overall. Pitt fares well ATS getting more than a touchdown on the road and off consecutive SU losses. Tigers closed out 2015 regular season with four straight spread-losses. The top six teams (and seven of the top 8) all won and covered last week. Not gonna’ happen back-to-back…Clemson 42 Pitt 28
#4 WASHINGTON (-8 ½) over Southern Cal: Trojans starting to resemble team predicted in the pre-season and smoked Oregon, but who doesn’t these days…Huskies 34 Troy 24

Wake Forest (+35) over #5 LOUISVILLE: This got a look for “lock”…Cardinals 31 Deacs 23
MARYLAND (+29) over #6 Ohio State: Buckeyes 38 Box Turtles 13

Illinois (+26 ½) over #7 WISCONSIN: Frankly, there might not be 27 total points scored in this one. Varmints are in three-way tie at 4-2 SU in conference in West division with Nebraska (who’ve they already bested) and Northwestern (season-finale foe). Badgers have missed just a pair of games ATS on the campaign, but are averaging paltry 18 ppg in last five games in Big Tenure play. It’s all fun-n-games ‘til someone loses an Illini-formation… Wisky 29 Illinois 10
#8 Auburn (-10) over GEORGIA: Tigers 28 Joja’ 10

#25 Baylor @ #9 OKLAHOMA (“over 80”): Sooners loss of second-leading rusher Shock Linwood, who will ride da’ pine for “attitude issues”, won’t be much of a factor given just two touchdowns from said-RB, while leading rusher Terrence Williams and third-leading rusher QB Seth Russell have recorded 8 scores each. Bears validated our “upset pick of da’ week” at the hands of the Horny Toads last week and we didn’t miss Oklahoma’s 34-24 final-score over the Dust Devils by much, predicting 38-28. Despite ongoing “under” trend for both sides, this series has resulted in high-scoring outcomes in four of past five…Sooners 51 Bares 38
Mississippi @ #10 TEXAS A&M: OFF

#11 West Virginia (+2) over TEXAS: Mounties 35 Steers 32
#12 Penn State (-7) over INDIANA: Lions are tied with Ohio State at 5-1 in the Big Tempura, one game behind Michigan. Should PSU win-out and the Buckeyes take-out Michigan, things get real interesting in the East division of the conference. Hoosiers still need a dubya to make the post-season, but best effort in Bloomington to-date was either 6-point victory over now 5-4 Maryland or 27-22 loss to the Huskers. Alma Mater looks energized since breaking into the Top 25…Nifty Lions 30 Indy 20

#16 Colorado (-15) over ARIZONA: Bison 30 ‘Cats 10
Texas Tech @ #17 OKLAHOMA STATE (“under 90”): State 42 Tech 34

Georgia Tech (+14) over #18 VIRGINIA TECH: VT 34 Bees 30
#19 Louisiana State (-7) over ARKANSAS: Best guess for “wish we had it back”… LSU 27 Arkansas 17

Minnesota @ #21 NEBRASKA: OFF
South Carolina (+12) over #22 FLORIDA: Gators 19 Fightin’ Fowl 14

California (+14 ½) over #23 WASHINGTON STATE: Coogs 48 Berkeley Bears 35
#24 Boise State (-17 ½) over HAWAII: Boise 42 ‘Bows 20

With the Republican candidate being voted into office, the winner of the NCAA pigskin crown next January raises da’ Trump National Championship Trophy, while da’ loser gets “fired” from the FBS!

Rejoice, football fans! We forgot to mention in Weeks 9 and 10 that we’re in the midst of a 27-day stretch in which at least one NCAA or NFL game has been/is being/will be played, having started Thursday October 27 and ending (barely) on Tuesday, November 22!
In a rare occurrence, there were no new teams admitted to the AP Top 25 this week!

The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego last week rebuffed a local parish fer asserting that voting Democrat was a” mortal sin” leading to eternal damnation in Hell. The ruling-authority however, did not deny that wagering with Vindy’s Picks would result in a similar fate!
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson recently went on record as sayin’ “If I didn’t want to get hit, I’d be playing tennis.” To which we respond, “Mr. McEnroe….Mr. John McEnroe….to da’ white courtesy-phone, please.”

Off a record-setting 23 penalty flags last week, da’ Oakland-Soon-to-Be-Las Vegas Raiders will add yellow to their team-colors!
As da’ college hoops regular-season tips-off on Friday, we’re just wonderin’…does a team facing an opponent who has the possession-arrow have the ability to request an exorcism???!!!

On a related topic, we’re reminiscing about Charles Barkley and Samuel L. Jackson crooning the “Pina Colada Song”. Sing it with us… “If you like settin’ picks at midnight…with some dudes from the Cape…”
 “Wish We Had It Back”: So many to choose from, but we identified Maryland +30 ½ over Michigan in our Week 10 forecast as being most-likely for this category!

“Locked in a Box?”:  Boise State (-29) could manage just a two-score victory over San Josie, completing the anti-hat-trick of “lock”-losses and lowering our record, once 5-2, to 5-5 (.500).     
Black Shirt: Goes to Cowboys safety Jordan Sterns for picking-off K-State QB Jesse Ertz in the end zone as the clock hit zeroes, preserving our “minor upset pick of da’ week” in Okie State’s 43-37 win.

Shoppe Talk: Florida was defeated by the Sooooeeeey Pigs to fall to 1-6 (.142). Clemson deceived us again to go to 2-6 (.250) and apparently, the bAggies spent too much time readin’ their own press-clippin’s (as we feared), losing outright to Mississippi State, also falling to 2-6 (.250) for da’ Picks! Baylor sees daylight after suffering the predicted “upset pick of da’ week” as we noted above.
Vindy’s Week 11 Best Bets:       Last Week: 4-1   Season: 29-25 (.537)

AIR FORCE -6 over Colorado State, Wyoming -7 ½ over UNLV, Army +13 over NOTRE DAME, Rutgers-MICHIGAN STATE “under 56”