Sunday, January 08, 2017

Vindy's Picks National Championship Prediction and Bowl Recap

MOSCOW, Russia (ITAR-Tass)…Amidst sanctions brought this week against the former-USSR by the Vegas Vindicator for online-tampering that resulted in a sub-.500 regular-season for his picks and mediocre finishes for his “lock of da’ week” and “best bets” records, including dismissal of Russian members of his forecasting-strategy team for being moles, Vladimir Putin will stand-pat, at least for now, stating he would not fire-back by ousting American handicappers in his country. The Russian president also rebuffed the penalties as “simply a sad effort to justify a poor betting-year” for the prestigious prognosticator.
Boasting more total-starts this season than several-pressed-into-service quarterbacks combined in the 2017 NFL Playoffs, it’s…
(Leading the league in scoring-possessions inside…da’ Twilight Zone!)
#1 Alabama vs. #3 Clemson (“over 50 ½”): Great. Yet-another opportunity to excel, picking a game involving season-long forecast-Achilles Heel Clemson. We tanked the over/under for last year’s match, officially calling “under 50 ½” in light of a second-half track-meet that saw 40 points-scored and an ultimate 45-40 decision. Tide laid 6 ½ last time and appear to be doing so again. ‘Bama ain’t facin’ Sophomore QB Jake Browning this week and Tide drew 11 flags in that game, mostly-untimely ones on offense. Senior QB Deshaun Watson lit-up ‘Bama’s much-ballyhooed defense for 405 passing yards and four touchdowns (though the last of those came with 12 seconds left and cut the deficit from 12 to 5, permitting the Tigers to cover) and he won’t just sit-back and manage the game while expecting his defense to do the heavy-lifting. Across the field, Jalen Hurts is a true frosh under center but Tide quarterbacks generally bring upperclassman-skills from the git-go and new suddenly-new OC Steve Sarkisian can’t really hurt given that ‘Bama’s scoring-prowess is predicated on field-position via special teams and defense, who have a combined 15 touchdowns thus far and will probably contribute 10-17 points of their own to the scoreboard in this one. North Dakota State, dubbed “FCS Alabama” did not play for the I-AA crown for the first time in six seasons, with James Madison toppling Y-Town State for that trophy. Will its FBS-namesake falter as a result? Naaahhhh. ‘Bama’s taken the hardware four times in as many tries since 2009, covering three straight until nearly-wasting a huge-lead vs. the Tigers last season and recording three “overs” (all three easily “over” this number). Not as many spares and strikes as last year’s iteration and collectively, this pair registered five shut-outs in 2016, but Pachyderms incurred several untimely flags on offense during game vs. UDUB. We like…Elephants 34 Tigers 30
2016-17 BOWL RECAP
“A tale of two halves” comes to mind when describing our bowl season efforts, as we struggled outta’ da’ gate early in each “week”, hitting skids of 2-4, 2-5 and 2-3…leading Vindy to steal a line from Hillary Clinton and quip the “Picks may have short-circuited.” But after those slow-starts, we closed-out strong, posting finishes of 5-0-1, 6-1 and 5-2-1, respectively resulting in all three “weeks” ending up over .500 and an overall bowl-season of 22-15-1, a very-profitable .595! ‘Bama’s narrow-cover vs. da’ Huskies assured us of a no-worse-than-.500 finish ahead of the ball-drop in Times Square and the Florida-Iowa “under” secured the overall winning-record regardless of the rest of the January 2nd outcomes. Our upset-selections, whether “of da’ week” or “minor” fizzled at 2-5, including the confidence we put in da’ Alma Mater to beat Sudden Cal in the Rogue One……Rose Bowl (necessitating the replay of the Tourniquet of Roses parade for the Lion-faithful). We do take a little solace, knowing two of three “lock” choices came through. Our conference-of-choice…da’ Big Tenderized…in 10 post-season opportunities, produced 3 outright victories (just one by the Top Four, with Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan falling and Wisky edging Western Michigan and upsets by Minnesota and Northwestern), a 4-5-1 spread-record and 5-4-1 for Da’ Picks. Overall, chalk took 25 of the 40 contests outright (meaning underdogs pulled upsets an outrageous 37.5% of the time), but went public-bettor-meager-though-sportsbook-joyous 13-26-1 (.333) against the spread. This season’s bowl-parade featured lower-scoring affairs, with 24 (60%) finishing below da’ total. More than half those “unders” bookended the bowls, going 6-0 from December 18 through December 19 and 7-1 from New Year’s Eve through January 2. In related news, Vindy fared better making side-selections, posting a meh 10-8 on totals as official picks and 4-4 as “best bets”.

BTW, Vindy alluded to a possible undercover cyber-attack of his own, potentially infecting “komrade-komputer systems” with 2014’s Week One Forecast, which finished 3-12, ultimately leading Vindicator to abruptly-end that campaign for the duration of the season following a sub-par Week Two.

Tide wide-out Gehrig Dieter was named after Yankees-great Lou Gehrig and has brothers Nolan (named after Astros’ fire-baller Nolan Ryan and currently under-center at Bowlin’ Green) and Thurman (after Bronx Bombers’ catcher Thurman Munson). Therefore, presumably, daddy Derek Dieter was so-called in honor of “The Captain” Derek Jeter or Fresno State/Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr and…er…uh…oh, wait! In any case, we anticipate Gehrig carrying-on the family-tradition and bestowing his first-born male child with the moniker “Uecker” Dieter, as a tribute to National League journeyman- catcher, one-time league-leader in passed balls and eventual Miller Lite-commercial pitch-man Bob Uecker!
Apparently, ‘Bama has also signed the nation’s top high-school long-snapper Thomas Fletcher, outta’ IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Da’ Fletch proved his worthiness last Sunday, filling-in on special-teams to help Da’ Iggles beat Dallas, launching 10 perfect snaps on three FG-tries, three PATs and four punts!

Errata: we incorrectly calculated South Carolina +10 ½ over South Florida as a loss, when, in fact, the Poultry grabbed the spread-win, losing by just 7 in extras, making the Part II tally 8-6, not 7-7 (including our predicted minor upset by Okie State over Colorado, which wasn’t final at publication of our Part Three forecast).
Is it just us or does USC quarterback Sam Darnold look like the love-child of Sean Astin and Jon Gruden???!!!

Bacon Strips’ tight end Jeremy Sprinkle got himself benched just-ahead of the Belk Bowl for attempting to apply the “five-finger discount” eight times at the game-sponsor’s brick-n-mortar in Charlotte. Projected as the 7th-best guy at his position for the upcoming NFL Draft, one anonymous pro-coach said “We admire his persistence and belief in the old proverb…’If at first, ya’ don’t succeed, try, try again.”
Fans of Florida State RB Dalvin Cook in the student-section at the Orange Bowl sported chefs-hats. If those same folks met Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, would we hear the Russian boxer say…’If he diced…he diced”. If the whole football-thing doesn’t pan out, he can always make appearances on Iron Chef, Chopped and…Hell’s Kitchen??!!

The playoff-bound NY Giants were penalized in mid-December for using a walkie-talkie. Apparently, the No Fun League prefers teams forego modern technology and communicate via smoke signals, Morse code or sending a raven!
“With the first pick of the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, the Vegas Golden Knights select The Running Man’s *Subzero*!”

The Weber Kid joined Match.Com over the holidays…and he “New York Mets someone”!
Mariah Carey committed a gaffe during her New Year’s Eve outing. We here at Vindy’s Picks can sympathize, having experienced untimely glitches in our own performances over the years! (BTW, both of us are hopin’ for a presidential-pardon before Obama leaves office!)

“Wish We Had It Back”: In retrospect, we’d like to revise our choice of Michigan -7 over Florida State after noting…”Uncle Mo seems to side with da’ Noles…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”.
“Locked in a Box?”:  Joja’ (+1 ½ [and +2 on game-day]) pulled off the predicted SU win over TCU to put the final lock record in the black at 9-8 (.529).

Black Shirt: Our last ebony tee of 2016 goes to…WMU K Butch Hampton for missed PAT that allowed da’ Badgers to “push” rather than lose ATS. Honorable-mention to Bulldogs’ RB Nick Chubb for posting 142 yards on 17 totes, including a late TD to salt-away the aforementioned Joja’-victory over da’ Horny Toads! An iron-on tattoo (raise yer hand if yer old-enuff to remember those!) proclaiming “Black Shirt” to PSU WR Chris Godwin for 9 catches for 187 yards, including a pair of scores vs. Sunken Cal to gain the cover.
Shoppe Talk: Clemson…duh! After opening the season with back-to-back forecast wins, the Tigers have taken the Picks behind the woodshed going 1-10 (.090) the rest of the way. The Wolverines join the club with 5 straight losses (.000) and a lone win in last 6 overall (.142). Da’ Chop comes in on 1-5 skid (.167), while the Vols show up at 3-6-1 (.333)!

Vindy’s Bowl Recap Best Bets: Last Week:  2-2-1 Bowl Season: 6-5-1 (ZZZZZ-worthy .545) Season: 43-44-1 (.494)
LEFTOVER HASH (Yes, we know it’s redundant. Vindicator now conducts the annual “emptying of the clip” and expends all the stuff he had in the arsenal throughout the season that didn’t previously find its way into the forecast…until now.)

Car racing meets Pittsburgh/Youngstown State…Penguins of MadaNascar?
For the music-fest fans out there, apparently Ohio State’s X’s and O’s against Clemson were drawn up by Coachella!

In February, Caitlyn Jenner announced a new MAC lipstick partnership. We weren’t aware that the Mid-America Conference had rights to a brand of make-up!
Two Junes ago, UAB reinstated football, rifle and women’s bowling after originally disbanding those programs. The football -program will likely start up again in 2017. Meanwhile, da’ Blazers will have to be content shooting at women’ bowling balls at the intra-mural level until further notice!

On the telly…Food Network’s Guy Fieri checks-out NFL stadium-cuisine in da’ Bay Area…”Niners, Dive-Plays and Drives”. Or cruisin’ around campus at UTEP…”Miners, Dive-Plays and High-Fives”??!!
One of the Mizzou players boasted “capturing” former Tigers coach Gary Pinkelchu while on a hunt for Pokemon Go creatures!

In August, ex-UCLA WR Cordell Broadus, offspring of rapper Snoop Dogg, bolted the Bruins (again!), in hopes of, among other things, a career in movies. Can’t wait to watch him reprise his papa’s role in…”Hood of Horror”!
In related news, forget “under center”…da’ Bruins garnered a $280M deal from “Under Armour”! (Meanwhile, your humble host negotiated a $28 sponsorship deal with Underoos!

Starting last season, NFL officiating crews humped the approved-supply of footballs in knapsacks on and off the field to prevent team-tampering! Casino security-staff will now schlepp Vindy’s Picks in and outta’ da’ sportsbook fer similar reasons!
Multiple choice: NFL teams can win on… A) “Any Gibbon Sunday” B) “Any Gimli Sunday?!” C) “Any Kiffin Sunday???!!!” or D) All da’ above!

Walter Scott said it best when he penned, “What a tackled web we weave, when first we practice to receive.”
Because of Twitter, Vindy can’t see fans’ signs in da’ stands anymore without translating them as “D-at-at” or “D- hashmarks”!

If Michael Jordan helps reserve private rooms/homes/apartments for vacationers online, is it…His Airness B&B??!!!
LeBron & company were fitty-point chalk vs. Venezuela during the Olympic Games in Rio, but won by just 44. Slackers! We demand Mike Krzyzewski’s resignation as coach of the Olympic hoops squad. (Oh wait….!)

The NCAA announced that the potential overall #1 seeds for da’ Big Dance will get to select the city in which it faces its first pair of Tournament opponents. Gotta’ figure they’ll ask for sites closest to home, though we’d really like a contender such as Villanova or Kansas express preference for Munich, Germany; Honolulu, Hawaii; Green Bay, Wisconsin or the Bahamas!
In light of Vindy’s NHL Draft eligibility and previously-noted legalization of private-residence use of marijuana effective January 1st, he’s compelled to rename a segment of his weekly forecast to Between the Hash-pipes!

If Vindicator saves 15% by switchin’ to GEICO, do we see a certain commercial noting “Vindy King of Sportsbook… Vindy know…where Vindy go!”
And finally…as we head off to complete our bachelor’s degree in interpretive end zone dance and vie for one of those highly-coveted spots on “Carpool Karoake”, we leave the loyal readership with our annual Irish blessing… ”May da’ road-dog rise up to beat you.” (Sumthin’ like that!)

Air Forecast One has gone wheels-up!