Thursday, December 29, 2016

Vindy's Picks 2016-17 Part III

WASHINGTON, District of Columbia (AP)…It wasn’t over when the Vegas Vindicator finished Election Night in a third-place tie with Jill Stein. It wasn’t over when the Electoral College confirmed Donald Trump’s win on December 19. Quoting a Yogi Berra-Game of Thrones mash-up, the Weber Kid quipped, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s Hodor.” Supporters of the world-famous forecaster have besieged outgoing-Vice President Joe Biden with phone calls, texts, e-mails and social-media comments to not certify the Electoral College outcome, clamoring to see their hero occupy the key-seat in the West Wing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Vindicator, who ran on the “Peace thru superior parlay-power”-platform, hopes that Biden, hailing from Delaware…Weber’s old stomping-grounds… in his role as President of the Senate, will throw the red challenge-flag, even at the cost of not only da’ challenge, but da’ time-out as well.
A 2-5 start to Part II beckoned us to recruit currently-suspended Duke-hoops Junior-guard Grayson Allen to trip the bookies as the forecast started to go south. A perfect 4-0 result on December 28 gave us life, but a 0-2 tally (with Colorado-Okie State just underway as we go to press) leaves us at an unsatisfying 6-7 on the “fortnight”. Comin’ to ya during a sleep-over at the local IKEA, it’s…
(More toxic than water in Corpus Christi!)

DEC. 30
Georgia (+1 ½) over Texas Christian: LOCK OF DA’ “WEEK”. Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill hasn’t been all that profitable fer the Frogs, putting 15 TD-passes and a Baker’s Dozen picks in the history books. Joja’ s won and covered three of last four post-season efforts, including touchdown-victory over da’ Alma Mater in last year’s TaxSlayer Bowl. UGA FR QB Jason Eason   served up 14 scoring-throws, sending just 8 to the wrong-colored jersey. Joja’ had unremarkable 4-4 SU in unremarkable SEC East. Still, Aggies won 24-23 at Kansas…Bulldogs 27 TCU 16

North Carolina vs. #16 Stanford (“under 54 ½): Cards’ new supporting-cast has had a whole season to get in-sync with RB Christian McCaffrey on offense. SU has won 3 of 4 nonconference tilts each season since 2011 and has already recorded the hat-trick thus far in 2016, besting K-State, Our Lady and Rice by 13, 7 and 24, respectively. Stanford has seven games “under” this total altogether on da’ campaign. We foresee UNC, who boasts a pair of outright victories over FCS clubs, movin’ da’ ball, but coming away with three-pointers instead of sixes…Trees 27 ‘Heels 19

South Alabama (+14) over Air Force: First time since 2010 that all three service-academies play in the bowls. Flyboys went 0-fer-five against the number givin’ double-digits in 2016…Pilots 30 Jags 23

#24 Nebraska (+6) over Tennessee: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK #1. Both sides looking to end the year on a higher-note after poor-showings in regular-season finales. SEC East has been a major disappointment (nice-improvement of Vanderbilt, who took out Rocky Top by 11 in aforementioned finale, notwithstanding). Vols have lost a single non-conference game in each of the previous three seasons and haven’t dropped one in four tries thus far. Huskers are equally adept, going 3-0 to-date and 11-4 coming into this season. NU has been betting-gold in the post-season of late, winning two of three outright and beating the spread in all three, getting points in the whole trio. Huskers could hit 10 dubyas for first time since 2012 with the victory…Corn Flakes 29 Vols 23

#6 Michigan (-7) over #10 Florida State: For all his exploits, ranging from a Spring-training game stint as first-base coach for the Detroit Tigers to climbing a tree with a recruit, Jim Harbaugh’s team didn’t quite meet betting-public expectations (Sports Illustrated asserted ESPN’s David Purdum noted the Wolverines grabbed more preseason wagers than any other club to win da’ National Title, dropping the odds from 15-to-1 to 7-to-1. Still, the Orange Bowl ain’t a bad launching-pad for 2017 campaign that will see him have all of his signees on the field. “Uncle Mo” seems to side with da’ Noles, who posted four consecutive triumphs to close out the regular-season, while Big Blew was on the wrong-end of the final score in two of last three and have been the wrong side ATS in 6 of last 7 games decided by a TD or less, but Wolverines trashed Florida off defeat by Ohio State in 2015…Michigan 37 FSU 24

DEC. 31

#19 Louisiana State vs. #15 Louisville (“under 59”): Second-choice fer “lock”. Eighteen of combined two-dozen culminated as “under” this total. From 2009 thru 2012, Heisman Trophy-winning teams won and covered each of their post-season contests. The outright-victory trend continued since 2013 with qualifying-squads winning 3 outta’ 4 (two of those gained by last season’s Bama’s National Champions), but tanking against the line in 3 outta’ 4.   Heisman-also-ran RB Leonard Fournette will be absent for this contest in order to “focus on the NFL”???!!! Love him or hate him for that decision, we respect the honesty…LSU 26 Da’ Ville 16
TAXSLAYER BOWL (@ Jacksonville, FL)

Kentucky vs. Georgia Tech (“over 61 ½): Bees 38 Wildcats 34

#1 Alabama (-14) over #4 Washington: First semi-final fer the CFP Championship. Tide gains nothing but psychological-edge with big win here vs.  UDUB, needing no style-points, just more points on the board at the end to vie for third national title in six years against Buckeyes-Tigers victor. Having a freshman under center means little because freshmen that start in Tuscaloosa play at upperclass-experience levels. ‘Dogs QB Jake Browning and his merry-band of receivers line-up across from best defense they’ve faced, while many of ‘Bama’s players have experienced play-offs/BCS outings before. Packiderms grudgingly-allowed 34 total points over final five and 58 over last seven tilts. Sled Dogs have zero margin-of error. Cher will perform at halftime with the Huskies’ band and sing….”If I could turnnn-back Tiiiiide…”…Alabama 42 UDUB 24

#2 Ohio State (-3) over #3 Clemson: Gridiron sports-betting version of the “ugly sweater” contest. Collectively, the Buckeyes and Tigers beat the spread 4 times in last 15 joint--tries. Clemson has walked off the field in victory four times in last five bowls, winning ATS in all of ‘em. State won and covered each of last three bowls and topped all three ranked-opponents on the year (though covered just once). Winner faces Peach Bowl-victor for the National Title. Heisman-bridesmaid Deshaun Watson was quoted as saying “I’m the best player in the country.” Nothin’ wrong with a little self-confidence, but there’s gonna’ be a QB on the other sideline vying to out-perform him and a defense across the line-of-scrimmage wanting to eat his lunch given that bulletin-board material!...Buckeyes 29 Clemson 24
JAN. 2

#20 Florida vs. #21 Iowa (“under 40 ½): Gators come in on crutches, having lost 3 of last 4 and are still prone to nightmares over last season’s Citrus Bowl 41-7 pasting by Michigan. Iowa ended regular-season on three-game win-streak, including the defeat of said-Wolverines and can-of-whoop-ass on Nebraska, yielding 26 total points over that span, and limited 6 of 9 Big Tent-Peg opponents to 17 or less. Birds already had a dozen victories this time last year and will add a 9th to this season’s win-tally…Hawkeyes 17 Crocs 13

#8 Wisconsin (-8) over #12 Western Michigan: Badgers have had far too much time to  about  major-collapse vs. Penn State in the Big Tentacle Conference Championship and will look to score early-and-often vs. Western Michigan, who had a great year, but permitted a lotta’-points-against in conference play. Wisky faces first non-Power Five squad since 21-19 loss to upstart Horny Toads in 2010 post-season, who joined the Big 12 a couple seasons later.  Broncos have beaten the line six times in as many chances vs. ranked-opponents, but WMU’s only Top 25 foe in 2016 was fellow-MAC’er Northern Illinois and shows 2-4 ATS record vs. B10 in past four years, with the four losses coming by 9 or more. Badgers are covering two of every three non-conference games over the last four campaigns…Varmints 34 Westy 17

#5 Penn State (+7) over #9 Southern Cal: UPSET PICK OF DA’ “WEEK” #2. The veteran-readership knows from experience that we don’t back the Lions in a ‘dog-role on the money-line lightly. Selection of the Alma Mater to win outright here isn’t just alum-loyalty or false-bravado. We truly believe the Lions have the talent, RB Saquon Barkley #22 in rypg at 100.2 with 16 scores and #14 QB Trace McSorley at 258.5 ypg and 25-5 TD-to-pick ratio,  to take out the Trojans…and gettin’ almost a full touchdown to-boot is a bonus. Meanwhile, a closer-look at Troy’s eight-game win-streak reveals two victories over teams with winning-records…by 4 at home vs. 10-win Colorado and 12-win Washington. Much respect for those dubyas. The remainder came vs. two clubs with five wins, three squads with four wins and 3-win Arizona. If the lengthy lay-off hasn’t impacted the Happy Valley momentum and Lions’ special-teams don’t revert to early-season form...WE ARE 24 USC 20

#7 Oklahoma (-3) over #17 Auburn: War Eagle has toppled 16 non-SEC opponents in 19 opportunities over the past four seasons. Three of those victories came against nobody-special this year but a 19-13 home-loss to CFP #3 Clemson is respectable. That said, Auburn lost by 13 to A&M, 7 at Joja’ and 18 in the Iron Bowl. Boomer Schooner, after an auspicious 1-2 beginning, tore a swath a mile-wide through the entire conference slate behind QB Baker Mayfield. Oklahoma has lost badly to Clemson in each the last two post-seasons. They face a different group of Tigers here…Sooners 42 Aubie 36

BTW, when Vindy got the results of the Electoral College vote, it was not “how Antonio Brown must feel when he’s dancing in the end zone.” In related news, Vindy stated he’s also in-line for the recently-vacated honorary United Nations Ambassador of Empowerment for Women & Girls after the sudden ouster of Wonder Woman!

As part of his New Year’s resolutions, Vindy will be purchasing a Pokemon-gym membership!
Da’ Big 12 is looking into getting’ a channel on the telly dedicated to its own conference (last of the Power Five to do so). Found somewhere on your TV Guide between Shakespearean-fare Big Twelfth Night and season holiday programming called the Big Twelve Days of Christmas!

If an infamous Game of Thrones marriage-sequence had been filmed in Lincoln, Nebraska, would it have been known as the “Big Red Wedding”???!!!
Donald Trump during his campaign said he “plans to drain Da’ Swamp”. We wonder how the folks in Gainesville feel about that!

Vindy’s Picks…a world-leader in fake news!
Is it wrong that while we watched Ben Hur on Christmas Day, a particular scene of horse-drawn chariots circling the track to take their starting-positions just-ahead of the beginning of the race made us of think of the grounds-crews that cover the baseball-diamond with tarp during rain-delays?! And that the subsequent race-sequence flashed-us back to Danny Zuko beating Leo Balmudo on “Thunder Road” in Grease???!!!

Bizarre random thought…would a film about the Marines’ bowling team be entitled “Full Kegel Jacket”???!!!
“Locked in a Box?”:  Maryland-Boston College unexpectedly soared “over” the 44-point total, moving us back to 8-8 (.500).   

Black Shirt: The coveted-undergarment is gladly bestowed upon Texas A&M QB Trevor Knight for the pass that fell short on a late 4th-and-8 conversion try, preserving our Kansas State (+3) upset pick of da’ week!
Shoppe Talk: Da’ Iggles of Boston College (0-4, .000) hosed us for the fourth time in as many chances, while Wazzou betrayed the Picks for a fourth-consecutive outing after opening the year at 2-0 (.333).

Vindy’s Bowl Predictions Part III Best Bets:       Last Week:  2-1 Season: 41-42 (.494)
Georgia-Texas Christian “under 49 ½”, Stanford -2 over North Carolina, Michigan-Florida State “over 51 ½”, Weeziana State -3 over Louisville, Iowa +3 over Florida 

Don’t touch that dial. We’ll back by January 8 with our pick for the National Championship game, annual bowl- recap and…leftover “hash”!!!! (And there’s no app for ‘dat!)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Vindy's Picks 2016-17 Bowl Predictions Part II

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (CNN)…Even as the Atlantic Coast Conference levies fines on Louisville and Virginia Tech for passing-along game-plans leaked by ex-Demon Deacons assistant coach Tommy Elrod, the Vegas Vindicator made the trip East to come forward, saying he, too, got some Wake Forest X’s and O’s on the down-low. The fab forecaster defined the clandestine-communications as “interesting-reading”, but will dodge NCAA sanctions because he did not field a team against the Deacons in 2014. In fact, Vindicator pressed counter-charges vs. the former-aide because Sin City bookies revealed they received picks and strategies ahead of Vindicator’s weekly picks, resulting in a collective 9-20 tally through Weeks One and Two of 2014, ultimately-leading Vindy to abruptly-terminate his campaign for the remainder of that year.
We opened Part I with just two correct choices through the first half-dozen bowls, generating a “here we go again” mentality, but we went 5-0-1 the rest of the way to finish at a good 7-4-1 (125-128-6, 494), including our “lock” and “upset” picks (though the “minor-upset pick” did not materialize). Nicely-wrapped with ribbon and a bow, right next to the basket of Hatchimals, Ken Bone red-cardigan sweater (with white tie and black-rimmed glasses accessories!), flammable Galaxy S-7 phone and tandem You Can Be Anything Barbie and Love2Learn Elmo Attack-Drones… while pickin’ “in fog as thick as peanut-butter” …and makin’ its way through the sportsbook in the “Chair of Cheerleaders”, it’s…
(“It came without ribbons…it came without tags…it came without ‘packages’, box-scores or flags!”)

DEC. 26
ST. PETERSBURG BOWL (@ St. Petersburg, FL)

Mississippi State vs. Miami-Ohio (“under 57 ½”): Bulldogs 31 Redhawks 16

Maryland vs. Boston College (“Under 44”): LOCK OF DA’ “WEEK”. We expect an ugly grinder between two teams that offer pretty-good defense against mediocre opponents and little in the way of scoring in-general (though Turtles hung fitty on Purdue and recorded 36 at nominal-D Indy). Over/under on drives ending in FG-attempts is seven. First team to 15 wins…Terps 16 BC 13

Vanderbilt (+5 ½) over NC State: Wolfpack 23 Admirals 21
DEC. 27

Army (-10) over North Texas: A rare bowl-rematch of a contest that happened during the regular-season. Congrats to Army for breaking Navy’s death-grip on that annual clash, though had Middies been able to put a couple of injured-starters on the field, it’s likely Annapolis woulda’ prevailed again for the 15th time in a row.  Nonetheless, the Platoon will be brimming with confidence for this one as the result. Assuming better ball-security, West Point could get its 8th victory and best SU win total since 10-2 season in 1996. UNT, completing the hat-trick of clubs with sub-.500 win-loss records (Hawaii was the first at 6-7) to bowl this year, makes first postseason since belting UNLV at this same venue in 2013. BTW, penalties against the Soldiers for also receiving Deacon-plays in advance are TBA.  Doin’ push-ups ‘til da’ bookies get tired, but gettin’ revenge for late-October 35-18 demise at Denton… Black Knights 31 Mean Green 13

Temple vs. Wake Forest (“under 41”): Deacons make first bowl since 2011, but youth on offense is painfully-obvious, in particular during 1-5 SU skid to end the year, scoring 14 or less in 5 of ‘em. Owls more-veteran D allowed cumulative 33 points over final five contests (all “under”, though three were “over” this minimal total)… Barnyard Fowl 27 Wake 7

Minnesota (+10) over Washington State: Coogs 23 Gophers 17

Boise State (-8) over Baylor: By our numbers, this duo posted a joint, wallet-wilting 6-16-1 record vs. the point-spread.  Broncos have the better defense, and while no longer an unknown-threat, Broncos should hem-in Bears, whose most-recent victory came on October 15 vs…Kansas, long-enough. Improved-times await first-year coach Jim Croce…(sing it with us…”If Iiiiiii could save tiiiiiiiime-outs…in a bot-tlllle…the First Down that I’d like to doooo…”)…um…Grobe…next season. For now, it’s “Motel 6…we’ll leave da’ light-beer on for ya!”…BSU 34 Ursines 20

DEC. 28
NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL (@ Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY)

Northwestern (+5 ½) over #22 Pittsburgh: Full disclosure? Ahead of line-publication, we were gonna’ back whichever club was gettin’ points here.  First ranked-team takes the stage on the bowl-season. Part of us applauds the renewal of the Pitt-Penn State rivalry series, while the other nine-tenths hopes the Wildcats mop da’ gridiron with da’ Panthers, who basically cost da’ Alma Mater a CFP-berth with three-point win at Heinz Field in early September. Wildcats lost by 4 at Columbus, while Pitt owns Clemson’s lone demise in 43-42 win. NW yielded more than 24 points just twice and held powerful Western Michigan to 22. Won’t shocked by the upset, but we’ll call it…Pittsburgh 23 Northwestern 20

Miami (-2 ½) over #14 West Virginia: Tough call given the pairing of squads that are combined 1-4 straight-up and 0-fer-five against the spread in their collective past ten bowls. Mounties’ only losses came to Oklahoma and at Oklahoma State. Scoring D was better-than-sufficient minus those two matches and 35-32 win over defense--minded BYU. “Mo” seems to minimally-favor da’ Canes, who won four consecutive conference games coming in over Morganbillies, who took four of final five Big Twelve games, but that record included a pasting of Kansas and narrow-victories over fading-clubs Texas and Baylor. Da’ U posted decisive-wins against fellow-bowlers Pitt and NC State. Pelicans QB Brad Kaaya was 5th-best QB in the ACC and showed worthy 23-7 TD-pass-to-INT ratio… Coral Gables 27 West-by not-da’ Godfather 21

Indiana vs. Utah (“under 54”): Hoosiers held Michigan to 20 points at Ann Arbor as one of seven games that finished below this total and just missed “under” this at Columbus, losing 38-17. Fer those of ya old-enough to remember the commercials-in-question (and the oil-can-like containers) “Fawster’s…Australian fer beer!”…Utah 24 Indy 23

Kansas State (+3) over Texas A&M: MINOR UPSET PICK OF DA’ “WEEK” #1. Part II best guess for “wish we had it back”, but in OT, we like…Purple Persians 30 Aggies 27
DEC. 29

BIRMINGHAM BOWL (@ Birmingham, AL)
South Carolina (+10 ½) over South Florida: Seriously-considered an “upset pick of da’ week” here as Gamecocks went 6-6 vs. a much-toucher schedule. USF’s coach has left da’ building (once more) for da’ five-point, greener pastures of Oregon. Sing it with us…”On da’ road again. It’s me, Willie Taggart, and I’m on da’ road again…”…Bulls 26 Poultry 21

BELK BOWL (@Charlotte, NC)
Arkansas (+7) over #18 Virginia Tech: UPSET PICK OF DA’ “WEEK”. Bacon Strips 29 Hokies 27

#13 Oklahoma State (+3) over #11 Colorado: MINOR UPSET PICK OF DA’ “WEEK” #2. Potentially the best of the pre-New Year’s Eve games. Previously, we made reference to 1980’s Colorado team, which was, of course, part of the Big Eight rather than da’ Big 12, which came-about in the mid-Nineties. Our bad. Cowpokes could post third 10-win season in four campaigns, while Bison get first bowl-appearance since 2007 and first opportunity to win a bowl since 2004. Buffs, who were chosen by respected-tout Phil Steele, to finish in a last-place tie with Arizona in the 12-PACK South (though nearly made his “most-improved” list) won ten games outright, covering nine (though 3 ATS defeats came over final five contests). Might come down to turnover-margin. Both sides throw fairly-well, but OKSU QB Mason Rudolph shows the edge at 25 touchdown passes vs. 4 INTs over collective CU 21-10 ratio, with starter Sefo Liufau garnering 11 scoring-throws and 6 picks.. Cowboys won three of five SU in the underdog-role (two vs. Top-25 opponents in Stillwater). Kicking-game definitely favors OKSU, with Bison nailing FGs at about 68% and having missed three-PATs. Steele suggested Colorado was a year-away from bowl-contention. We’ll tweak that slightly and say CU was a season-removed from a post-season triumph…Stillwater 31 Buffaloes 28

BTW, the former Wake Forest aide-in-question denied responsibility for the leak, blaming Russian hackers, Chinese hackers and Hillary Clinton’s personal e-mail account instead.

Continuing to take a few creative-liberties with one of our favorite Christmas TV shows/movies…”He parlayed and parlayed ‘til his forecast was sore. Then Da’ Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means running-up da’ score.”. “Then what happened next…down in Whoville, they say…was the Grinch’s hard-count drew three off-sides that day!”
A Canadian vendor in Anchorage, Alaska sells boots with button-activated, retractable spikes in the heels. Several NFL teams have contacted the salesman to inquire about applying the technology to pads and helmets!

On the big screen this weekend, Macaulay Culkin resurrects his role in…”Home-Game Alone”!
Pulling da’ string on da’ classic “See ‘N Say” toy (raise yer hand if ya had one of these back in the day!), we hear…”The referee says…’Upon further review, the call on the field tree-stands.’”

President-elect Trump, this week, appointed Florida Panthers team-owner Vincent Viola as Secretary of the Army. The former West-Pointer said his first priority would be to equip players and soldiers alike with camouflage hockey-sticks that included night-optical devices, grenade-launchers and selector-switches for single-shot or full rock-n-roll!
All Vindy wants fer Christmas is a highly-coveted spot on Carpool Karoake to sing Muskrat Love, Disco Duck, MMM-Bop and Dust In Da’ Vin!!

Bizarre random thought…if cheap pasta meets Olympic grappling…is it “Greco-Ramen wrestling”?!
“Locked in a Box?”:  Arkansas State (+5 ½) came through nicely, toppling UCF, lifting da’ lock tally to 8-7 (.533)    

Black Shirt: A seasonal “ugly sweater” version goes to Wyoming WR Tanner Gentry for a pair of late 4th-Quarter TD-catches that let the Cowboys (+8 ½) cover vs. BYU.
Shoppe Talk: The Houston Cougars get a holiday-berth for tagging us with fourth straight forecast loss (0-4, .000)

Vindy’s Bowl Predictions Part II Best Bets:       Last Week:  2-2   Season: 39-41 (.488)
Northwestern-Pitt “under 65 ½”, Indiana +7 over Utah, South Carolina-South Florida “under 61 ½”.

To all our loyal readers, we offer the annual Yuletide greeting…”Pass on Earth. Goodwill toward linemen.” And “have yerself a Vindy little Christmas.” We’ll back around December 29 with Part III of da’ bowl picks.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Vindy's Picks 2016-17 Bowl Predictions Part I

PASADENA, California (ITAR-Tass)…Following the successful appearance of its inflatable tanks, jets and mobile missile-launch systems, which Moscow-insiders claim  help keep foreign governments and intelligence agencies guessing about the true quantity and capability of its aging arsenal, in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, which President Vladimir Putin’s propaganda-machine hailed as a “show-of-force on American soil”, just in front of Santa’s traditional arrival at Herald Square, Russia will enter a similarly-designed float in the 2017 Tournament of Roses parade ahead of the USC-Penn State gridiron-clash in the 103rd Rose Bowl. Currently, the Soviet float-committee is working feverishly with FTS to acquire enough of the required-floral material to create the participant-platform in time.  
Basking in the correct double-pick of Army +6 over Navy and “under 47” last week and little left to lose facing a 118-124-5 (.487) deficit on the season, we’re pickin’ to the whistle, with…
(The preferred forecast of Russian hackers)

DEC. 17

Texas-San Antonio (+7) over NEW MEXICO: Lobos, who needed minor upset of Wyoming to end the regular-season to get here after losing 3 of first 4 this year outright, including road-defeats at New Mexico State and Rutgers, but going 5-1 in Albuquerque, play second bowl since 2007 and 4th straight in their own backyard. UNM boasts best rushing game in the nation, exceeding even Army and Navy.  We think Roadrunners would be competitive against all of New Mexico’s home-opponents except maybe Boise State (Lobos’ lone loss). UTSA posted 6 wins, including a pretty good Middle Tennessee State squad and lost by just 13 at Texas A&M. San Antone’s rush-defense ain’t bad at #48 in the country, allowing 157.8 yards per game, 4 yards per carry and just 18 touchdowns. Host-team shows just a pair of wins by more than 7…Wolves 38 Beep-Beep 34

Houston vs. San Diego State (“over 54”): Minus 16-point outing at SMU, Houston’s offense has been potent, while the Coogs also gave up a lotta’ points away from home. Aztecs lit it up too all season (17-3 win at Fresno too notwithstanding). Sudzu’s defense was stout most of the year, but allowed a combined 97 to Colorado State and Wyoming in late November, as well as 42 at South Alabama earlier. Houston can post back-to-back double-digit SU wins seasons by taking this…Cougars 37 State 34

Toledo (PK) over Appalachian State: Mudhens’ only defeats came to the two teams that played for the MAC Championship. Sing it with us, Elton John-fans…”She packed my baaaags last niiiight…pre-flight” 27 App State 24

Arkansas State (+5) over Central Florida: UPSET PICK OF DA’ BOWLS #1. Home-town, but not home-field advantage for da’ Knights, who went winless in 2015, limp-in after consecutive two-TD losses to Tulsa and South Florida. Red Wolves opened the year putting four straight in the “L” column, but tore-up the Fun Belt, going 7-1. On paper, it’s pretty-much even. If ASU can win the turnover-battle, they can carry out the hardware. In any case, we’ll take points…Arkansas State 28 UCF 24

R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL (@ New Orleans, LA) (Superdome)
UL-Lafayette (+4 ½) over Southern Miss: MINOR UPSET PICK OF DA’ “WEEK”. Phil Steele’s preseason choice to win the CUSA West fell short. Golden Iggles bookended sweet victories at Kentucky and against Louisiana Teck around 4-6 SU campaign. Ragin’ Cajuns garnered respect from Phil Steele, claiming #3 most-improved team in his preseason-mag ratings. Fifth straight appearance the Nawlins’ Bowl for Laugh-At-Us…whose won and covered the entire quad to-date…UL-Lafayette 31 Sudden Mist 23

DEC. 19

Central Michigan (+11 ½) over Tulsa: Golden Wave 34 CMU 24
DEC. 20

BOCA RATON BOWL (@ FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL)
Western Kentucky (-5) over Memphis: ‘Toppers’ D in most cases is serviceable. Western Kentucky hasn’t dented the board for less than fitty since late-September near-miss vs. Vandy. Tigers, who upset Houston in regular-season finale, have yielded 42 or more five times…WKU 49 Memphis 34

DEC. 21

Wyoming (+8 ½) over Brigham Young: We’ve stood behind the Cowboys most of the season. Not gonna’ stop now. Mormons entered the year having lost four straight neutral-site contests and did little to help that number, splitting games vs. Arizona and West Virginia on common-ground. BYU has been staunch on defense, going 7-4 “under”. Cougars haven’t bested their bowl-opponents or the line in each of the last three years. Wyoming has sent 10 games “over” this total and is 6-1 ATS as the ‘dog, winning five outright…BYU 26 Wyoming 21
DEC. 22

Idaho (+13 ½) over Colorado State: LOCK OF DA’ “WEEK”. Vandals have one more season after this one before takin’ it down a level and now they come to play? First post-season opportunity for Idaho since 2009 and second since 1998??!! We note that at 8-4 outright, Spuds recorded just 2-2 SU/1-2 ATS in non-Sun Belt play, but losses came in consecutive outings at CFP-contestant UDUB and Wazzou. Rams beat no one special until surprisingly-knocking-off New Mexico and San Diego State to finish out the slate. Only caveat on this pick is Idaho’s 21-point loss vs. Troy, but it came after tight 3-point road -win at UNLV…CSU 42 Idaho 34

DEC. 23

Old Dominion (-4) over Eastern Michigan: Virtually no bowl game experience in this match-up. ODU makes inaugural bowl since joining FBS. Iggles see first post-season berth in damn-near half-a-century (last showing up in 1987 California Bowl). Eight-win Panthers entered season covering just once in eight non-conference tries and did nothing to reverse that trend, going 1-2 ATS in other-than-CUSA-play in 2016 and come in off puzzling two-score loss to Florida International in finale, but…Old Denomination 34 EMU 27

Louisiana Tech vs. Navy (“over 66”): With Middies QB Will Worth in da’ line-up, this woulda’ been an easy “over”. Without him, it’s just a tad-bit more in doubt and Zack Abey won’t get any more prep than the usual week since Middies played Army last Saturday. Nonetheless, Ensigns have advantage in their opponents’ relative-unfamiliarity with the option, with LT last facing Army in early 2013. In addition, even with Worth under center, Navy’s ground-game wasn’t grinding-out low-scoring wins vs. the more high-powered offenses they faced. Meanwhile, Bulldogs are not anywhere near the same defensive-mindset as Temple or Army. In da’ broadcast-booth of the Army-Navy classic, the Donald quipped …“I don’t know if it is necessarily the best football…”. Accurate or not, gotta’ figure that quote’s been plastered all over da’ Sailors’ (and Soldiers’) bulletin-board since loss to Army. Boat People’s 3-0 SUATS tally in past three years’ bowls prohibits us from making LT -3 ½ the official selection… Weeziana Tech 41 Swabbies 34

Troy (-3 ½) over Ohio: Best guess for “wish we had it back”. Despite a 35-3 loss mid-November home-defeat by streaking-Arkansas State club, we like Troy’s 6-point road loss at now-CFP #2-seed Clemson over Bobblecats’ 9-point road-loss at now-AP Poll vote-less Tennessee and 6-point defeat by Western Michigan in MAC Title game because season-opening 3OT 56-54 boo-boo vs. Texas State to start the year still haunts us (and hey, a couple of faves have to come through, right??!!!). Game-contestants get 15 minutes to wander through said-sponsor’s brick-and-mortar and grab everything they want off the shelves as bowl-swag!…Troy 24 Ohio U. 19
DEC. 24

HAWAI’I BOWL (@ Honolulu, HI)
Middle Tennessee State @ HAWAI’I: OFF (Taking a few liberties with a ring-side sequence from Rocky IV…Rocky:I see three of ‘em out there”. Paully…”Hit da’ one in da’ Middle Tennessee State”.)

BTW, U.S. military forces will ensure local parade-goers, as well as fans of both teams will be armed with spray-bottles of bleach or salt & vinegar in the event the float-in-question becomes a threat to national security! Meanwhile, classified intel indicates the former USSR will try to infiltrate the Grand-Marshal spot, attempting to replace Olympic gold-medalist swimmer Janet Evans with…Anna Kournikova!

Given injuries to starting and back-up players at the position, Vindicator has battled TE Trey Burton all week for the right to be the long-snapper for the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Baltimore!  Coach Pederson said it’ll be a game-time decision!
With all-apologies to LifeLock…”Vindy’s not a handicapper. He’s a handicap-monitor. He only alerts sports-gamblers when there’s a point-spread…’There’s a point-spread.’”

Seven turnovers in an Army-Navy game? Surprising. What’s not surprising?...How much money Vindy saved by switchin’ to GEICO.
Just after the 2016 New Year, North Korea issued a statement saying it “could wipe out Manhattan”. The Jaspers hoops team quickly responded, saying “Bring it on!”

Black Shirt: Goes to Army QB Ahmad Bradshaw, whose three turnovers killed an equal number of Cadets’ drives and led to only seven Navy-points, helping keep the final score under 47.
Vindy’s Bowl Predictions Part I Best Bets:       Last Week: 0-0 Season: 37-39 (.487)

Texas-San Antonio-NEW MEXICO “over 62 ½”, Southern Mist-UL-Lafayette “under 58”, Idaho-Colorado State “over 64 ½”, Troy-Ohio “under 48 ½”.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Vindy's Picks Army-Navy 2016

ARLINGTON, Virginia (CNN)…The University of Central Florida was okay with it. Clarkson College was okay with it. But the Army took exception to the naming of the new professional hockey team in Las Vegas as the “Golden Knights”, given that its elite parachute squad already bears that moniker. Owner Bill Foley continues to contend that registration and trademarking of the name was done legally on the up-and-up, but out of respect for his alma mater, for whom he himself was part of the “long, gray line” almost a half-century ago, agreed that in exchange for keeping his NHL team’s name intact, players will jump out of perfectly-good airplanes into opponents’ rinks ahead of road games.  Team members will also go through the Army’s Airborne School at Ft. Benning, Georgia prior to the initial puck-drop on the 2017 season!
Meanwhile…the wingers, centers, defensemen and goalies are still proactively tryin’ to figure out how to fit their chutes into duffle bags already full of pads, helmets, hockey-sticks and…
(Drawin’ more protesters than the Dakota Access Pipeline!)
Army (+6) over #Navy (“under 47”) (@ Baltimore, MD): Line’s dropped from opening 8 ½ and could be lower than pair of field goals by kickoff. Middies were uncharacteristically in trouble even before starting QB Will Worth was sidelined with an early ankle problem during AAC Conference Championship game. It’s been a reversal-of-fortune in the turnover-arena for both teams this year. The Platoon was minus-8 this time last year, while the Ensigns strolled in at plus-15. Those numbers are now minus-3 and even, respectively. Worth’s departure contributed to Navy’s lowest scoring-output of the year (10) and first home-defeat since early-October of 2014 (loss to pretty-good 8-5 Western Kentucky). No surprise there. Worth was top-passer and top-rusher for the team, accounting for 8 aerial scores and 25 rushing scores. Next best rusher has half his yardage (almost a century-mark per game) per game and 20-fewer touchdowns (in 3 fewer games). Middies’ likely-starter under center has no starts, no touchdowns and two picks and will make first start of the year in a game of this magnitude (not nationally, but rivalry-wise). Some interesting stats emerge here. Marc Lawrence notes Navy has beaten the line just once in past seven after losing outright as a favorite and Army hasn’t covered last five tries getting less than 16 off a bye. Phil Steele notes Army has lost three of the four played in Baltimore, with the lone victory coming 92 seasons ago. As always, this contest features two of the best ground-games in the country (brides-maids to just New Mexico) and should keep the clock moving, limiting possessions and scoring-opportunities, particularly on the Army sideline, which has adopted traditionally a Joja’ Tech- or Gandalf-like (fer our fellow Lord of the Rings geeks out there) “You…shall not….pass….!” philosophy (FBS-last 79.9 ypg) Army also stops the run well. Navy does too, but those stats might be a tad-deceiving given Navy’s often large-leads that cause opponents to forego the run and try to throw to stay close. Soldiers have gone 7-2 “under” (including an “under” in OT) in FBS play. Boat People show 7-4 “over” but again, a significant portion of their scoring-potential is on the pine here. Comparing a common academy-foe, Black Knights lost by 19 on da’ Hudson River to Air Force, while Swabbies went down by 14 at Falcon Stadium. Neither has been exciting ATS…Army’s gone 5-4 in FBS play, Middies show slightly-better 6-4-1. President-Elect Trump will be in da’ stands on game-day. There’s prolly something clever we could say about that, but it escapes us currently. West Point could gain a sweep of AAC division-winners with the victory in light of season-opener road-triumph at said-conference champion Temple (by 15!). One knock on Army is fact that just two of five losses were decided by 7 or less in 2016, following four of five defeats by same margin last year. Momentum is a basically a push…Salty Dogs come in at 9-4 SU, Cadets have lost 5 of last 8. Army, averaging again-misleading-30 ppg, posted 60 or more three times…at UTEP, vs. UL-Lafayette and vs. FCS Morgan State, otherwise remaining eight matches show max of 31, with six of those at 21 or less. Vindy’s Picks has been on the right side ATS or total ho-ho-hum 3-2 over last five meetings (correctly backing Army twice and Navy once, failing on Navy once and over-under once). If it comes down to a FG to win it, ‘vantage Annapolis because Army’s kicking-game has been “not just a job, it’s been an adventure” (6 of 12 for mere fitty-percent success rate). No reason Army can’t can walk away triumphant, but little voice in Vindy’s head says win goes to…USNA 19 West Point 17

BTW, Vindy ain’t even qualified to para-sail!

As opposed to what the military branch-in-question sarcastically-refers to as “five-jump commandos”, Sin City skaters could actually have “jump-master” wings by the end of the regular-season! (And could be called upon to reinforce the 101st Airborne Screamin’ Iggles in the event of foreign or domestic hostilities!!)
Last April, members of da’ 173rd Airborne Brigade, on a training-mission in Germany, dropped supplies, vehicles, commo equipment and indirect weapons systems a long, long way above the Earth’s surface. A trio of Hummers was demolished after inadvertently wriggling-free of rigging as chutes opened. Investigators concluded the incident “was no accident”, but rather “a practice-run for retribution” in the event the Vegas hockey team used an unauthorized “Knights”!

Takin’ a few liberties with a Clint Eastwood quote from “Heartbreak Ridge”…”We pick swift. We pick silent. We pick deadly.”
If a Middies hockey player makes a big hit on an opposing-player, would it be “a ship-check and a beauty!”? If the player-in-question was part of Akron’s hockey team, would it be “a Zip-check and a beauty!”???!!!

Vindy caught a quick-glance at a headline last week referencing the “Fight for 15” and immediately wondered why folks were protesting in favor of personal-foul penalties!
Black Shirt: Sewing 11 of ‘em for the Penn State defense in light of late goal-line stand that completed da’ Lions’ rally and sent the Alma Mater to the Rose Bowl. Honorable-mention to New Mexico State QB Conner Cramer’s 35-yard scoring-throw with about a half-minute left to give the Aggies the cover over South ‘Bama and recording our first winning “best bets” tally in four weeks!

“Locked in a Box?”:  Navy’s loss to Temple drops the “lock” record to 7-7 (.500). (This time last year, we went 2-8 in championship week and were meager 4-10 (.286) for the lock tally).
Shoppe Talk: Vindy’s Army-Navy Best Bets: none    Last Week:  3-2 Season:  37-39 (.487)

Don’t touch that dial! We’ll be back circa December 16 with Part One of our infamous bowl predictions!