Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Vindy's Picks Week 1-2021


AMHERST, Massachusetts (UPI)...The UMASS Minutemen, winless last season on the grid-iron, got an unexpected upgrade to its football team via a little-known regulation. With the Vegas Vindicator, who showed-off his skills in the 2021 Draft Experience at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, which allowed fans to participate in combine-like skills-tests, Vindy put his talents on-display in the 40, 25-lbs. reps, hittin’ da’ blockin’-sled and runnin’ pass-routes! With NFL squads out of officially-sanctioned selections, UMass invoked a last-page of the rule-book option and traded-up to get the Vegas Vindicator as a one-time compensatory pick. Vindy was chosen as the 259th-pick as a combined “Mr. Irrelevant” and “best-player-available" by the New England-based squad as a multi-threat player at water-boy, equipment manager and clip-board guardian graduate-assistant! 


Following an off-season spent reportedly “couch-surfing” in Indiana with Mike Pence and his wife in-between appearances guest-co-hosting Jeopardy with Dr. Oz, cameo-spots on Floribama Shore and Iron Chef: Chapel Hill (editorial note: that day’s “secret-ingredient” was...Gatorade!)spendin’ time tryin’ to be “less-Chicago White Sox” and selling ketchup-packets on da’ Black Market, Vindy breaks the huddle with his preseason-forecasting team of...Bernie Sanders’ mittens, Green Bay Packers HC Matt LaFleur, “SoHo Karen”, QAnon Shaman, Denny Hamlin’s PJs, Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, the entire Oakley Union Elementary School District Board of Trustees, Drake from State Farm, First Pooch Major Biden, the Liberty Mutual hot-dog-stand vendor who actually sells “wet teddy bears”, disgraced former NHL-referee Tim Peel,  Bhad Bhabie; Rupert, the Discover Card “fraud-fighting turtle”, Brad Flowers of Apartments.Comthousands of Brood X cicadas, banned Olympic-sprinter Sha’-Carri Richardson, 12-year-old Syrian table-tennis Olympian Hend Zaza, JoJo Siwa and German equine Saint Boy to help the rest of the nation achieve “Nerd-Immunity” with... 


(As recovered from Nancy Pelosi’s stolen laptop!) 


#1 Alabama (-19) over #14 Miami (@Atlanta, GA): LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. We passed on that category last season, but we’re bringin’ it back now. In a rarity, Week 1 features no less than five (count ‘emfive!) match-ups with Top 25 teams on both sidelines. We’re gonna’ make calls on all of ‘em! Tide has been crapshoot on neutral ground and coin-toss vs. ranked foes. Taking the field live-fire for first-time without Mac-N-Cheese Jones behind center, getting the Bryce Young-and-da'-Restless instead. Points-against have slipped slightly each of the last three seasons, but bring back 8 starters back on D. Young sophomore-laden offense (though many would perform as Seniors on most other teams). Tide covered 8 of 11 last year after snooze-worthy 12-13-1 the previous three years. Defending National Titleist has just I-AA Mercer on-deck and should let it rip, getting reps for the only three returning starters on offense and has won and beat da’ spreads five consecutive openers before taking but not covering last season’s opener in 19-point margin at Mizzou. Often Hurried ‘Canes are in third-year under HC Manny Diaz. Points-scored improved 8 ppg last year but the scoring-defense regressed 7 ppg. Pelicans QB D’Eriq King might not be 100% fer this one and ‘Canes have covered just 1 of 6 neutral ground games over the last three years. . We prefer the NFL’s usual Monty Haul collection of ‘Bama draftees over the Cane’s usual history of underachievement... Elephants 41 A quarterback-dive fer da’ three-O-five 14 

#5 Georgia (+3) over #3 Clemson (@Charlotte, NC): MINOR UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne, who collectively accounted for 46% of Clemson’s scoring production last year, are gone. ML: Dawgs put highest number of underclassmen in starting roles of any SEC team. ML: 12-2 dog less than 9. Did well considering just 11 total returning starters last season (only 3 on defense, accounted for full TD regression in points-allowed). Ground game shouldLast meeting between the two sides was a 22-10 victory by State in 2018.  excel and potentially lead to “unders”. Tigers went undefeated in 2018, had one SU defeat in 2019 and absorbed a pair of losses last season. Had been 15-2-1 ATS the previous two seasons until pedestrian 5-5 spread record last year. Clemson had 26 players make first career start in ‘20, tying Mississippi State. CU also back-pedaled 8 ppg-against last year. CU is young on offense, Joja’s young at the skills, but brings back 8 on offense...Georgia 35 Clemson 27 

#19 Penn State (+5) over #12 WISCONSIN: UPSET PICK OF DA’ WEEK. For what it’s worth...full-disclosure...we flipped a coin between this and takin’ da’ “under 50”.  The Alma Mater started out the season 0-fer-5 for the first-time ever last season, but rallied to close-out the campaign with four straight victories. Three of the five defeats were by 7 or fewer. Lions have a new OC. Last meeting was 22-10 win by State in 2018. Marc Lawrence tabbed the Nits as a “mission team”. Phil Steele heaped even more confidence upon State, making them his #1 Most Improved Team and #8 Surprise Team.  While Da’ Varmints’ defense remained stalwart at 17 ppg-allowed, the scoring offense dropped from 34 to 25 (granted, the usual slate of non-conference games would’ve likely bolstered those numbers had it been played). Wisky’s gettin' a lot of preseason-love, but hopin’ a new coordinator and young offense (that lacks depth behind the starting QB) clicks quickly. In any case, the points are alluring!...WE ARE! 23 Badgers 20


#17 Indiana @ #18 IOWA (“under 46 ½”): UPSET ALERT. Hawkeyes are sophomore-laden on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Hoosiers have covered last five facing ranked teams (pocketing 3 of 5 outright, getting points in all of ‘em). Defense has moved-up nicely by 9 ppg-against over the past three campaigns (14-6 the last two seasons and perfect in 9 away-underdog opportunities over last three seasons!). Indy hasn’t recorded a hat-trick of consecutive SU winning tallies since...World War II! Hoosiers began the Alma Mater’s early-year demise with 36-35 triumph last September and have been money as road-’dogs in previous 7 chances. Birds opened 0-2 in ‘20, then cleaned-house 6 straight times and bring momentum into this one, while Indiana went down twice over final four of last year, but let’s say...Iowa 22 Indiana 19 

#23 UL-Lafayette @ #21 TEXAS (“over 59”): Opening from anywhere between +13 to +16, the bottom has seriously fallen outta the spread to its current +8 ½. In the past trey of seasons, Horns’ contests have finished above this total in 22 of 37 tries (59.7%). Burnt Orange has devolved each of those last three years. 247Sports analyst Brad Crawford has declared Texas as one of two most-overrated college pigskin squads (SoCal being the other-half of that dubious duo!). Despite Weeziana parking 10 of 11 in the straight up-victory column in ‘20, including a win over then #23 (and current #7), Cyclones club in Ames (taking double-digits), we can’t back an upset here, but points-a-plenty seems feasible. UT scoring has risen each of the last three seasons, while its ability to keep opponents off the board has faltered over the same period. If a Facebook charity-app meets a certain Group-of-Five conference, do we get the...”Go Fund-Me Belt”???!!!...Cattle 41 Cajuns 31 


BTW, while most contracts are front-loaded with incentivesVin’s salary was back-loaded with penalties for failing to meet certain expectations! Da’ Minutemenses are also 37 ½-point underdogs at Pitt to open the year! 

FYI...the rivalry between QB DJ Uiagaleilei and QB JT Daniels in the above-mentioned Joja’-Clemson melee dates back to the high-school prep-level of 2017 in Sudden Cal. 

As we note this time each year, from 1993-2008, at least two teams unranked in the AP preseason poll finished in the final AP poll that same season. In 2009, only Cincinnati did so, and in 2010, only Stanford pulled that off. 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!) 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 ended the 2014-15 season at #3, while Joja’ Tech came in at #8. Da’ Coogs of Houston and da’ Iowa Hawkeyes, who grabbed no votes whatsoever in da’ 2015 initial poll, finished at #38 and #9, respectively. In 2016, the Wisky Badgers were unranked in the #28-hole (21 tallies), but closed at 39, while da’ Alma Mater warranted zero “Ayes”, yet went home to #7. In 2017, 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. In 2018, initially-sportin' da’ Romulan cloaking-device, Florida and Wazzou  stood-in at #7 (again!) and #10 respectively in the final AP rankings! 2019 saw the Gilded Gerbils of Minnesota, starting the year more than a Baker’s Dozen from the rankings, but made the cut at #10 in the final rankings! Not surprisingly, in the unprecedented year-of-da-pandemic, no one rose from the preseason-ashes to make the penultimate Top Ten! Honorable mention to the Coastal Carolina Chants fer ending-up in the #12-hole after absorbing their only-loss in a bowl-game defeat to Liberty, keepin’ it outside da’ Top Ten.


And upon further review...goin’ back to 2002, a minimum of one team in the AP Preseason Top Ten each season has finished outside da’ rankings in the final AP Poll fer that year. Then-#8 Miami AP Preseason Top 10 finished with nary-an-*aye* in 2019 Final AP Poll! Then-#9 Auburn finished at #32 garnering 15 tallies, while then-#4 Wisconsin got all of two ballots. Last season, in the year whose name must never be uttered, even at a whisper, ever-again, August-love squads #6 LSU and #7 Alma Mater (Oh, the shame!) [both vote-less] and #9 Oregon (21 tallies) met the criteria! Yer mission...should ya’ choose to accept it, is to figure-out who da’ 2021 posers are among ‘Bama, Oklahoma, Clemson, Ohio State, Joja’, Texas A&M, Iowa State, Cincinnati, Notre Dame and North Carolina. 


Given the Huskers’ debacle in the season-opener at Illinois last week as a full-TD fave, are Nebraska-faithful ready to “Escort Scott to da’ Parking Lot”??!! 

In June, 17-year-old Hailey Morinco was caught on home surveillance charging a bear that was threatening her dog from atop a wall. Morinco fearlessly pushed the ursine off the structure and onto its back. Witnesses likened the Bradbury, California teen’s move to a “pancake-block”. As the video went viral, scholarship offers came pouring in from college football teams across the country! Hailey led her team in TFL and sacks in the New Mexico State Aggies’ opener against the University of Texas-Elder Pastor! 


Hooray fer Da’ Little Guy: In this week’s battle of FCS vs. FBS opponents, our best guesses for which lower-level squads win outright are (preseason FCS poll-rankings noted as #): Thursday 9/2 #11 Eastern Washington over UNLV; Friday 9/3 unranked South Dakota over KANSAS; Saturday 9/4 #24 Eastern Tennessee State over VANDY and #25 Holy Cross over UCONN.  

If an online-RPG meets baseball behind-the-plate officials, is it...“Forge of Umpires”?! 

For those not in-the-know, rapper Bhad Bhabie shattered records upon barely turning 18 in April for income-accrued on her site at OnlyFans, which we were surprised to learn had nothin’ to do with sports! 

Earlier this month, Valparaiso discarded its previous team moniker, the Crusaders, which is favored by hate-groups, in exchange for the Beacons. Oddly, our mind’s eye initially dropped the “e” and read that as...Bacons!


Havin' taken-in a nominal-amount of action during the Tokyo Games (‘cuz we’re a bigger-fan of Olympic Winter events), we propose, at least fer exhibition-purposes, that starting with the 2024 Games, futbol players must carry ribbons-on-a-stick or at least hoops while on da’ pitch, accompanied by music. Penalties or free-kicks can be awarded if said ribbon/hoops end-up off-side or as extension of the arms to be called hand-ball or otherwise illegal-touch and can result in yellow-cards if got overly-aggressive. Held-accoutrements can be waved to distract keepers during free-kicks or penalty-kicks!  

Ye Olde Taxidermy Shoppe Talk: Last Season:  Clemson, Miami and Oklahoma State all went 1-5 (.166), (On the flip-side, Ohio State finished 5-1 [.833] after helping ‘Bama achieve the predicted “over 75 ½” in the National Championship game last season!)  

Vindy’s Week 1 Best Bets: Last Season: A very-profitable 38-19 (.667) 

MICHIGAN ST +3 over Northwestern, Marshall @ NAVY “under 47”, Syracuse PK over OHIO, Brigham Young -11 over Arizona (@ Las Vegas)


Next week...more off-season silliness and our thoughts on...the NFL!