Thursday, August 31, 2023

Vindy's Picks Week 1-2023


IRVING, Texas (REUTERS)…Months after an ugly mismatch in January's “contest” between Georgia and Texas Christian that resulted in a 58-point differential, College Football Playoffs officials discovered a little-known passage in the procedural legalese that green-lights the committee to permit both the offense and the defense of a single squad to occupy separate spots as the best “teams” in the rankings. Already frustrating for traditionalist fans ruing the fact that two teams from the same conference have squared-off for the title, the latest soft-spot in the regulations suggest a lone-club could take the field and conduct controlled scrimmages against players from its own squad, adopting the concepts of the annual Spring Game, to determine the national championship.

Fer those scoring at home, we missed our TCU +12 call by a 3rd-world country-mile (Oklahoma 63-7) in the latest championship game, finishing the season at 42-42-3 (.500). The game was such a mess that even the most-staunch Joja’ fans in Athens and betting-backers nationwide tuned away from the broadcast at halftime into a more-riveting plot on the Lifetime Channel! Dropping the Big 12’s ‘22-’23 bowl-record to 2-6 (.250). 

Following an offseason vying for our clothing-optional community’s nude pickleball crown, blowin’ the doors off 5th-Graders on an episode of the Food Network’s “Kids Baking Championship”! (What???!!! We’re the Weber Kid!!!!) and workin’ our side-gig, makin’ mostly unanswered phone calls to local Raiders’ fans about their extended Derek Carr warranty plans and tryin’-out for a spot on said-team's Raiderettes cheerleaders' squad, ...we knock knuckles and break da’ huddle with our extensive preseason forecasting team of...George Santos, Miss USA/Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel, former Cowboys K Brett Maher, former VP Mike Pence, Chiefs CEO daughter Gracie Hunt, Donna Kelce, Pedro Pascal (sporting the team-captain designator), Paxton Lynch, “Cocaine Bear”, best-actress Oscar winner Ke Huy Quan, Tom Izzo’s NCAA Tournament first-round white-board, Drew Timme’s mustache (parental discretion is advised!), the Chuck & Da’ Chuckettes, da’ “Tennesse Three”, recently-retired Joja’ Bulldogs mascot Uga X, Airman First Class Jack Texeira, Tucker Carlson, Maggie Sajak (wearing the “Assistant Team Captain” patch), “Princess Peach”, “Barbie” and Victor “Wemby” Wembanyama, Leslie Van Houten and Megan unveil... 

(Providing better college football intelligence than a Chinese spy balloon!) 


West Virginia @ #7 PENN STATE (“under 50”): Bottom continues to fall outta’ this total. PSU Helmet-Stripe Game. WVU was picked to finish last in the Preseason Big 12 (now 14?) Poll by the media, behind conference newbies BYU, Houston and Cincy. Lions' backfield tandem of QB Drew Allar and RB Nick Singleton, both sophomores, is young but proven. Only a visit from the I-AA Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens on-deck fer the Alma Mater. Rest the starters early, evaluate some depth. As long as the Mounties don’t give up too many big plays on special teams...WE ARE 31 ‘Eers 7 #10

WASHINGTON (-14) over Boise State: The uncertainty of the Broncos’ future conference may or may not play into this. Boise has a new OC and a quarterback who has a habit of giving the ball to the guys in the wrong-colored jerseys. Huskies, in their final season before giving the finger to the 12-PACK, are experienced on both sides of the ball, garner Phil Steele’s #5 Most Improved Team label and won all seven games in Seattle last season following a 5-6 record the previous two campaigns. Sled Dogs took 5 games by a margin of 18 points or better behind QB Michael Penix in ‘22. “Under 58 ½” wouldn’t be a bad guess either...UDUB 34 BSU 17 

#17 TCU (-20 ½) over Colorado: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. “Oh, how the mighty have fallen.” The ‘22 Natty-Title Game runner-up has slipped to barely Top 20 in this year’s preseason rankings? Back in July, CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd proclaimed Buffaloes’ Deion Sanders as one of da’ 15 “untouchables” among college football coaches this season. Immediately following that statement, Colorado AD Rick George hired Kevin Costner under contract to play Eliot Ness and stay close to Sanders, in the event Robert De Niro reprised his role as Al Capone on the opposing sideline! Horny Toads are lookin’ to cleanse the nasty taste left on their tongues by embarrassing hologram “appearance” in 63-7 national crown tilt demise vs. Joja’, so Sonny Dykes won’t likely send a gentle “welcome” card and a candy-gram to Neon Deion a year ahead of his entry into the B12. Much respect to Prime Time at the I-AA level, and there’s much hullaballoo surrounding his arrival and house-cleaning at Boulder (Bison haven’t posted more than 5 outright victories in a season in over a decade), but this one’s too early to effectively gel all the new faces that came in via the portal and it’s gonna’ leave a bruise. Buffs extend road-losing skid to an even dozen. See our “Shoppe Talk” segment below, but this ain’t the HBCU...Froggies 47 Beefaloes 10 

Arkansas State @ #20 OKLAHOMA (“over 58 ½”): Best guess for “wish we had it back”. Might gonna’ regret not taking State +33, but we digress. Red Wolves, whose past three openers have exceeded this total (caveat: 2 of those contests were against FCS clubs) have a lot of upperclassmen on both sides of the ball and HC Butch Jones is in his third-year, but just 11 folks come back from ‘22. Points per game scored has fallen the last three campaigns and the D has allowed full-TD to opponents over that same timeframe. Sooners, on the other hand-off, got Phil Steele’s #8 surprise team and 2nd Most-improved in Brent Venables second stint as HC. State has covered 11 of last 16 getting points away from Jonesboro and 9 of 11 vs, nonconference foes. Is it just us or does anyone else out there feel like we’re tryin’ to talkin’ ourselves outta’ this choice??!!...Boomer Schooner 48 ASU 21 


#5 Louisiana State @ #8 FLORIDA STATE (“under 55 ½”) (@ Orlando, FL): Only match-up of Top 25 teams in Week 1. Tygahs start the year in the Top Ten for the 11th time since 1998 and first time in three seasons. Likewise, FSU hasn’t opened this high since 2017. Tough one to pick. ‘Noles will be urged to recall, early and often, squandering a two-TD lead in ‘22. Bengals will be reminded of losing the game on a blocked PAT on what woulda’ been a late tying score in the 4th Quarter. LSU O-line is young and Tigers have covered just one of last 4 tries on neutral ground. ‘Noles look good on paper, bringin’ back 17 starters and having incrementally gotten better on both sides of the ball under now 4th-year HC Mike Norvell. Brian Kelly did well taking LSU to a 10-4 record in his initial season in charge, but, even before we noticed a handful of Bengals recently weren’t gonna’ get to dress fer this one, including star RB John Emery, we liked...Tribe 27 Tigers 23 


BTW, don’t be surprised if the initial CFP rankings in October show #1 Georgia’s offense and #2 Georgia’s defense taking up two of the top 4 spots! 

We commenced the 2023 campaign with a 1-1 record (.500). Navy’s offense is still paddleboarding its way across the Atlantic from the Emerald Isle following its 42-3 defeat (we predicted “over 50 ½” vs. “Our Lady” (a pair of missed FGs [one by each side] clobbered this one), but San Josie & the Pussycats fought back enuff late to cover +30 ½ (see our “Black Shirt” segment below). 

In related news, NBC broadcasters announced the venue for the Middies/Irish contest as “Avida Stadium”. Having lost a decibel or two due to age, and after being a tanker fer da’ the better part of three years in Uncle Sam’s Army, We heard “Amoeba Stadium” and envisioned the stands to be full of one-celled organisms! (More on this topic next week!) 

As we note this time each year, from 1993-2008, at least two teams unranked in the AP preseason poll finished in the Top 10 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 #8 and #9, respectively. In 2016, the Wisky Badgers were unranked in the #28-hole (21 tallies), but closed at #9, 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. In 2021, the Wolverines began at #32, obtaining 12 votes, but finished at #3 behind the two title contestants, ‘Joja’ and ‘Bama. Oklahoma State just missed starting the outing in the Top 25, coming in at #26 (107 votes). Meanwhile Baylor was nowhere on the radar. Da’ Bears ended up in the six-hole and State concluded the year one notch lower at #7 (“but wait! There’s more! [see below]). In ‘22, five (count ‘em, five!) clubs starting outside the rankings finished in the Terrific Ten...#2 TCU (no preseason ayes), #6 Tennessee (180 votes), the #7 Nifty Lions (160 votes) #8 Washington (zero preseason tallies) and #9 Tulane (also devoid of August poll endorsements). 

And upon further review...goin’ back to 2002, a minimum of one team in the AP Preseason Top Ten each season concluded the campaign 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. 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! 2021 saw Iowa State put its first ball on the tee at #7 and North Carolina at #10 in August. Neither club was accorded any show of hands in the closing poll. Last year, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Baylor started out at #6, #9 and #10 respectively but were met with a winter bomb-cyclone vortex frost-worthy cold-shoulder response from the media, garnering nary a tick-mark between da’ the three of ‘em! Yer mission...should ya’ choose to accept it, is to figure-out who da’ 2023 posers are among Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, ‘Bama, LSU, Penn State, Florida State, Clemson and Washington. 

Hooray fer Da’ Little Guy: As usual this time of year, about three dozen I-AA teams will hit the road against FBS squads. Last season, eight FCS teams bested their higher-level opponents outright, including the University of Delaware, who beat Navy 14-7, and is scheduled to bring its Assailant Azure Chicken-Coop to Happy Valley in Week 2! Not a lot to choose from, but in this week’s battle of FCS vs. I-A opponents, our best guesses for which lower-level squad wins outright are...unranked Elon over Wake Forest, unranked Long Island U. over OHIO and #7 Incarnate Word over UTEP. 

Four FBS teams finished 1-11 straight-up in ‘22 (Northwestern, Colorado, South Florida and UMass [the latter two having beaten an FCS opponent]) and have each scheduled a non-conference opponent in the form of the Harper Valley PTA (raise yer hand if yer old enuff to know that reference) 

Multiple choice question...the Chinese spy-balloon was brought-down last February by..A) a NERF-Gun B) a high school archery team C) Penn & Teller during a road-performance away from Vegas or D) an extraordinary punt during practice fer da’ Pro Bowl! In related news, WR transfer from Memphis, now South Carolina Gamecocks punt-returner, Eddie Lewis cradled the debris of said Communist air-vessel, shot-down near Myrtle Beach, and was tackled, despite signaling for a “fair-catch”, inside the twenty. Fifteen yards were added from the spot of the foul! Chinese officials claimed the balloon was a “civilian aircraft”. was just carrying romantic couples wanting to get hitched in the skies over the U.S. as Valentine’s Day approached????!!!! Jus’ wonderin’! 

Just a follow-up version to last week’s thoughts regarding a Meatloaf tune...”Ain’t no doubt about it, we were doubly blessed. ‘Cuz we were barely second-string, they wouldn’t let us dress!” 

If da’ Bangles deliberately throw four pitches outside da’ strike-zone to a batter, are they issuing an “intentional-Walk like an Egyptian”???!! 

Black Shirt: A rare Week Zero “ebony tee of excellence” gets split between Spartans QB Chevan Cordeiro and WR teammate Nick Nash for playing pitch-and-catch in the EZ three times to keep San Jose State inside 30 ½ points late vs. USC. 

“Lock of Da’ Week”: Last Season: Despite a nifty 6-2 mid-season run, we went 1-4-1 the rest of the way to log a snore-worthy 8-8-1 (.500) overall. 

Shoppe Talk: Last season, these teams gave us fits...Kansas State (1-4, .250; 1-5, .167 back to ‘21), TCU (1-4-1, .200; 1-5-1, .167 back to ‘21), Utah (1-3, .250; 1-5, .167 back to ‘21). Also on the radar...Joja’ and Tennessee (each at 2-4, .333) 

Vindy’s Week 1 Best Bets: Last Season: 33-37 (.478....uggghhh) AUBURN (-35) over UMASS, Coastal Carolina +14 ½ over UCLA, Texas-San Antonio (-2) over HOUSTON, Fresno State @ PURDUE “under 47 ½” 

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

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Vindy's Picks Week 0-2023

 With just a pair of tilts featuring Top 25 teams, we’ll withhold our usual volume of opening-content fer now. Fresh off our stint as Ryan Gosling’s understudy in his role as “Ken” in the “Barbie” movie, we put forth... 


(As always, lookinPretty in Pink!) 

SAT. AUG. 26 

San Jose State (+30 ½) over #6 USC: Spartans finished 5th outta’ a dozen clubs during July’s Mountain Mae West Conference preseason poll. We'd like to think that reflects Senior-heavy San Josie’s improvement off a 5-3 conference record vs. an overall perception of weakness of teams outside the top four. Chevan Cordeiro also clocked-in at MWC All-Conference Team QB. Hopin’ those honors hold true against a SoCal squad lookin’ to assess talent-depth this week (and next Saturday). USC grabbed a Monty-Haul from the transfer portal. USC went 5-2 ATS non-conference in Coach Riley’s first year. Spartans, who did not lose more than 16 in ‘22, if nothing else, need to protect the ball (USC +22 turnover-margin last year, though State was also +DD in TO-margin). Most-recent meeting was a 30-7 victory by USC in L.A. in ‘21. Trojans will have plenty of room to substitute strings with just anticipated MWC bottom-feeder Reno up next, while State will likely leave its starting 22 on the pitch as long as possible to get experience for the upcoming schedule, including Oregon State on-deck...Troy Boys 41 San Josie 16 

#13 Notre Dame vs. Navy (@ Dublin, Ireland) (“over 50 ½”): Be advised, our original gut-feeling was “under”, however, upon further review, the four final totals between these two were 66, 72, 40 and 66. Midshipmen garner Phil Steele’s #14 Most Improved Team. Annapolis shows a seriously-unusually high number of returning-starters (17). Middies charged back from 22 points behind on the Emerald Isle last year but were down 35-32 at the final gun as the rally didn’t quite make it. That same week, we correctly made the Ensigns +17 in South Bend our “lock of da’ week”! Sailors won just 4 of 12 (and thus under new management). Phil Steele anticipates the Boat People to put it in the air more often behind an experienced offensive line, which could generate more scoring opportunities. Swabbies have gone 5-1-1 against the number in past 7 neutral site contests. Navy hasn’t finished straight-up above .500 since posting an 11-2 tally in 2019. USN coughed-up its initial neutral-site spread-loss in the last 7 seasons via 3OT demise vs. Army (20-17) last year (now 5-1-1). Meanwhile, the Irish snagged former Wake Forest star QB Sam Hartman thru the portal. We don’t think a combined fitty-one is too much to ask. May the jet-lag take more toll on the D-units, allowing the offenses to crank it up again enuff...Leprechauns 38 “The Last Voyage of Demeter” 24 


If a football team’s depth chart meets a classic Meatloaf tune, do we hear...”Though it’s colllld and lonnnely in the deep, dark night...I can see paradise by the scoreboard light”...Ain’t no doubt about it, we were doubly blessed. ‘Cuz we were barely second-string and we were barely-dressed!” 

And fer da’ Trekkies out there...”you haven’t read Vindy’s Picks until you read them in the original Klingon!” 

Back next week with our full-blown regalia! To be continued!