Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Vindy's Picks Week 1-2018


INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (FOX)…In June, Senegal, even with Japan in all other tie-breakers, got the boot following the Group-stage after officials invoked a rarely-utilized rule...number of yellow cards AKA "fair-play points". Senegal tallied more yellow cards than the Japanese squad and was subsequently-dismissed from the World Cup tournament. Local NCAA officials have recently agreed to a similar strategy when deciding ties among gridiron teams tied for Division and Conference titles. All other things being equal, winners will be determined by number of 15-yard penalties, such as "unsportsmanlike conduct", "unnecessary roughness" and "roughing the passer/kicker" throughout the season. The announcement was extolled by the Keydets of Army and Middies of Navy, both of whom typically rank near the top of the nation in fewest-yellow-hankies-incurred! The Never-ending Foul League, not yet committed, is expected to follow-suit according to sources close to NFL headquarters 

Meanwhile, following an offseason spent noshing on Crimson Tide Pods, raising field goal range-free chickens and getting to know his newly-married participation trophy-wife, Vindicator breaks the huddle with his 2018 Preseason Forecasting Strategy Team of Kim Yo Jong, Curling Gold Medalist Matt Hamilton’s mustache, “Putin’s chef” Yevgeny Prigozhin, Megan Markle, Savannah Guthrie, Yanny and Laurel, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Stormy Daniels, Lavar Ball, April the Giraffe, The Walking Dead’s “Lucille”, Prince T'Challa (AKA "Black Panther"), the Trump-Baby balloon, Ant-Man, “Fat Leonard”, and a bevy of North Korean Olympic cheerleaders to present... 

(Startin’ da’ season on offense in da’ “black-eye formation”!) 


#21 Central Florida @ UCONN (“under 75”): Beware. We changed this from our original choice of UCONN +23...Knights 41 Huskies 19 

FRI. AUG. 31 

#4 WISCONSIN (-37) over Western Kentucky: Badgers 49 ‘Toppers 9 

Utah State @ #11 MICHIGAN STATE (“under 51”): Sparty 34 USU 10

#13 STANFORD (-15) over San Diego State: This got a hard look fer “lock”. Trees are no bargain at just 13-13-1 ATS the past pair of seasons, but lost at SDSU 20-17 in 2017. Aztecs, who’ve dropped just two road games straight-up since 2016 (both in that year), won’t be able to run clock without with now-departed RB Rashaad Penny, who took his 173 rypg and 30 yards per kick-return to the Sunday League. Stanford’s Heisman-candidate Bryce Love should have a good-enough day to help Cardinal pile-on in a revenge-game...Palo Alto 29 Sudzu 6 


Louisville (+25) over #1 Alabama (@ Orlando, FL) Though Tide has won 16 of last 17 non-SEC contests on the scoreboard, Elephants are just 9-7-1 ATS. Bama’s also gone 10-1 outright on neutral fields the last three seasons and posted 5-2 spread-win record the past two years. Redbirds, went just 3-6 ATS against Top 25 opponents (including current 1-5 skid) the last three campaigns, are young on D and are without All-Third Rock From Da’ Sun QB Lamar Jackson. Alabama has beaten a season-opening foe by more than 18 just once in past four tries...Pachyderms 31 Cardinals 13  

Furman @ #2 CLEMSON: No line. 

Austin Peay @ #3 GEORGIA: No line. 

Oregon State @ #5 OHIO STATE (“under 64”): Buckeyes 42 Dam-Builders 10 

#6 Washington (+1) over #8 Auburn (@ Atlanta, GA): Regardless of the outcome, we tip our helmet to both sides fer havin’ the intestinal fortitude to face a Top Ten opponent right outta’ da chute! Tigers are winless in last three neutral-site outings on the scoreboard over past two seasons. Sled Dogs have split past four neutral-ground attempts over past three years. Phil Steele is calling fer UDUB to make the playoffs again, basically requiring an outright victory here. Fine. “In Phil, we *trust*”...Huskies 27 Aubie 24 

Florida Atlantic (+20 ½) over #7 OKLAHOMA: Owls 10 spread-victories in 2017 nearly matched their total ATS-wins over the previous three years and FAU has covered two outta’ last three matches vs. the Top 25, including 17-point loss at then-#9 Wisconsin last September. Sooners are very nice 13-4 as home-chalk the past two campaigns, but QB Baker Mayfield is gone...Boomer Schooner 31 Barnyard Fowl 24

#10 PENN STATE (-23 ½) over Appalachian State: Best guess fer “wish we had it back” with trip to Pitt on-deck fer da’ Alma Mater, who’s now minus Saquan Barkley in da’ backfield, but...Lions 35 Mountaineers 6 

#12 NOTRE DAME (PK) over #14 Michigan: Line opened at Big Blew –2. A game we’d rather watch than pick. Interesting match-up of Phil Steele’s #4 surprise team (Michigan) being hosted by his #1 surprise team (Irish). Wolverines’ scoring-O fell 15 ppg last season with just 4 starters back on offense (and a lone hold-over on defense!). Since Harbaugh took over, Big Blue has gone 4-7 outright vs. ranked opponents (2-5 last 7). Our Lady has defeated just one Top 25 foe in past 6 opportunities. Minus perhaps some redshirt folks, no players are left for Michigan from the team that suffered a 31-0 loss in last pairing in 2014 and Michigan’s last victory that came in 2013, a year after Mante Te’o’s imaginary-girlfriend hoax! Ignoring 2016’s 4 home-losses with just 8 starters back, ND has lost just one game in South Bend against a dozen wins in the shadow of Touchdown Jesus. Leprechauns haven’t failed in a home-dog role since 2013...Catholics 19 Wolverines 18 

Nevada-Las Vegas (+26 ½) over #15 USC: Basically-meaningless body-bag game to USC, who have look-ahead to important match in Palo Alto next, but Rebels, who grab program-exposure, will show up and try to atone fer historic ATS-loss in 43-40 home-defeat to FCS Howard this time last year...Troy Boys 38 UNLV 20
Southern @ #16 TCU: No line. 

Tennessee (+10) over #17 West Virginia (@Charlotte, NC): UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK...Vols 31 Mounted Ears 27 
Stephen F. Austin @ #18 MISSISSIPPI STATE: No line. 

TROY (+11) over #22 Boise State: Trojans lost 24-13 on the blue turf last season and no longer have a four-year starter at QB or a 3000-yard RB. They have covered last six getting double-digits at home and have won 8 of last 10 non-conference tilts outright. Troy has also covered last three games vs. the Top 25. Broncos have been solid 11-5 road chalk and doubled their spread-wins last season from 2016, going from 4 to 8...Mashed Taters 26 Troy 24 

#23 Texas (-13) over Maryland (@ Andover, MD): Box Turtles’ leadership is in major disarray. Unless Terps players come together fer themselves...Steers 30 Maryland 9 

Bowling Green @ #24 OREGON (“over 74 ½”): Mallards 52 Bee Gees 34


#9 Miami (-3 ½) over #25 Louisiana State (@ Arlington, TX): LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. ‘Canes no bargain having just one SU win in last three tries on neutral ground, but Coach Richt is in Year Three at Coral Gables, has 14 starters back and is no stranger to Ed Orgeron’s tactics, having been an SEC coach at Joja’. On the other sideline, Bengals have just 10 starters back and not only is the projected man-under-center not a returning QB, he’s a Big Tentacle-transplant in his first season in Baton Rouge altogether. Can’t fathom that many new faces gelling enough this early to cover a small line vs. an opponent of this caliber...Pelicans 27 LSU 13 


#19 FLORIDA STATE (-7 ½) over #20 Virginia Tech: Line opened at 4 ½. Bettors have moved it to a touchdown-plus...and we’re right there with ‘em! Coach Fuente is in his third year at Blacksburg, but has been a crapshoot ATS vs. Top 25 opposition, winning just only two of ten in the role. ‘Noles, though a tad young on defense, are on the mend following last season’s 0-6-2 ATS in ACC play. Jimbo Fisher went out on a nice 4-0 SU/3-0 ATS run. New HC Taggart will benefit...Da’ Chop 27 Hokies 17 


As we note this time each year, from 1993-2008, at least two teams unranked in the AP preseason poll finished in the Top Ten of the final AP Poll that season. In 2009, only Cincinnati did so and in 2010, only Stanford did so. 2011 saw no qualifiers! But 2012 saw a return-to-form with Notre Dame (#26 preseason) and Texas A&M (no votes in the preseason poll) finishing 4th and 6th, respectively after opening the season without a hashtag by their names. 2013 had four (count 'em, four!) teams make da' cut...title-game loser #2 Auburn, #3 Michigan State (which was #26 in the preseason poll), #5 Mizzou and #10 Central Florida. TCU finished the 2014-15 season at #3, While Joja' Tech came in at #8. 'Da Coogs of Houston and da' Iowa Hawkeyes, who saw no votes whatsoever in da' 2015 preseason poll finished at 38 and #9, respectively. Last year, the Wisky Badgers were unranked in the 28-hole (21 tallies), but closed at #9, while da' Alma Mater garnered nary a preseason-"Aye", yet went home at #7. Last year, neither Central Florida nor TCU (opened at #26 with 98 votes) got any August-love, but closed-out at #6 (second-time in five years fer da' Golden Knights!) and #9, respectively. 

And upon further review, going back to 2002, at least one team in the AP Preseason Top Ten each season has finished outside the rankings in the final AP Poll fer that year. Two or more preseason darlings have done so nine times. Georgia and Florida, #5 and #10 respectively to begin 2013, ended up with zilch in the poll published after that season’s National Title game. A closer look reveals that nine of those years saw a minimum of at least one SEC club get the dubious distinction (13 total from that conference over the current skid)...with at least one member of the SEC East failing in six of ‘em (8 total from that division), including 2014 preseason #9 South Carolina! The Big 12 gets honorable mention, showing five seasons with at least one qualifier, including 2014 preseason #4 Oklahoma (who had 7 votes in the final poll). 2015 saw then-#6 Auburn, #8 USC and #9 Joja’ get 0, 10 and 109 votes respectively (‘Dawgs just missed, coming in at #26). 2016 had the Frightenin’ Irish start at #10, but Our Lady would end the campaign vote-less.  Last year, preseason #3 Florida State fell down the rabbit-hole with no tallies. Again, we challenge the loyal readership to predict which team(s) from ‘Bama, Clemson, Joja’, Wisconsin, Ohio State, UDUB, Oklahoma, Auburn, Miami, and Da’ Alma Mater will end up in relative-obscurity when da’ season is done! 

Hooray Fer Da' Little Guy: In 2017, seven I-AA squads defeated I-A foes (all on the road). Eight more lost by 7 or less (three of ‘em by a FG).  Our picks for the FCS teams ranked or at least receiving double-digits in the preseason FCS Coaches Poll that have the best chance of knocking-off their FBS-opponent this week: #5 Kennesaw State @ JOJA’ STATE, #14 NC A&T @ EAST CAROLINA, #18 Nicholls State @ KANSAS, Northern Arizona (312 votes) @ UTEP and UC-Davis (12 votes) @ SAN JOSIE STATE.  (BTW, da’ Rice Bowels rallied with a dozen points in da’ 4th Quarter to edge visiting-and-unranked Prairie View 31-28 last week!) 

This weekend on da’ Big Screen...A certain Crimson Tide quarterback joins the Army as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal specialist in...The Jalen Hurts Locker”! 

During the Oklahoma Spring Game, Sooners QB Austin Kendall offered a mea culpa after hitting cheerleader Kylie Fears (now known as “K-Fearless”) in the chops with an errant throw. Fears did, however, corral and possess the ball, dragging a pom-pom and “surviving da’ ground” to get credit for da’ catch, giving Kendall and his offense a First-Down!
In February, Resorts World Casino opened in Monticello, New York, AKA the “Borscht Belt”. Casino officials are already petitioning to have colleges in the vicinity become a new NCAA conference!  

Cubbies relief-ace Brandon Morrow suffered a DL-worthy back-injury while removing his pants at home. Chicago officials immediately initiated a rest-of-season ban on droppin'-trou without the assistance of a teammate!

"Locked in a Box": Last Season: We enjoyed a rare 11-3-1 (.786). 

Shoppe Talk: We’ve stocked up on Febreeze and Glade for Clemson (37-2, .300 last year, 6-17-2 [.260] over the past 25 appearances), West Virginia (2-6, .333) and Notre Dame (2-5, .400). 

Vindy's Week 1 Best Bets: Last Season: 26-28-1 (.481). TULANE +6 over Wake Forest, Colorado –7 ½ over Colorado State (@ Denver, CO), San Diego State @ STANFORD “under” 49, UMass @ BOSTON COLLEGE “under” 63.
Next week...our thoughts on the Olympics, more off-season silliness and...da’ NFL 

And now if you’ll excuse us, we off to Starbucks to savor our first Pump-fake-Spice Latte of da’ season.