The guy sitting at the curb by my car outside my building looked vaguely familiar.
He flipped his lit ciggie in the street, looked over and grumbled, “Yeah, I oughta look familiar, but you Mr. Seedy K, you don’t remember, do ya?
“I’m an associate of the Vig’s. Gianni. Don’t be shakin’ your noggin’ like that. Of course it wasn’t a pleasant experience, our previous engagement. Deal with it. Actually I’m here to help you out. Not really sure why? But Joey sent me, actually rented me a place across the street.
“I’m enjoyin’ that you’re just standin’ there, not sayin’ nuttin’. You use too many big words, if you ask me. I don’t like to hear somebody talk that I don’t understand what they’re sayin’, if you know what I’m sayin’
“Anyway, Joey reads your stuff. He knows you’ve made a few enemies, he reads the comments. And your picks in the bowl pool, mamma mia, the Vig figures if anybody actually took your advice, they might express their displeasure at your, whaddaya call ‘em, prognosterations? He’d lose a good client, if you know what I’m sayin’. So I’m around to protect his interests.”
“Listen,” I finally get in a word, “I’m on a roll, 9-3 with my bowl picks so far. So I’m OK Gianni, you don’t have to . . . “
“Yo, dude, you capechin’ me? I got my marchin’ orders. You’ll see me around. Deal with it.
“Oh yeah, before I let you go, wherever it is you’re off to, gimme a Ben, will ya? There’s a shirt in the shop down the street I like.”
So, I got that goin’ for me.
Which is not so nice.
Why won’t the Vig leave me alone?
I said it last week, and I repeat. These picks are for entertainment purposes only. So, yeah, maybe I’m not doing so well.
It’s Get Right Time. The winners to this week’s slate of bowl games:
* * * * *
Lockheed Martin Bowl: Army vs. Missouri. The West Pointers couldn’t git ‘er done in America’s game. One never knows who is going to capture this Mother of All Grudge Matches. But the Cadets was stylin’ in those camoish unis. Mizzou? Tigers show me nothing. This game’s got that military tie-in. Let’s hear it for the soldiers.*
*Yes, this game was played last night. But, I picked Army. Honest. Check with the Vig, If you must. You see some shady character walking down Frankfort Ave with a cigarette in his mouth, wearing same fancy new shirt, ask him.
Union Home Bowl: Florida vs. UCF. Talk about a couple of squads from the Sunshine state that didn’t approach expectations, these are in the conversation. And, they’re not alone. But the only ones that matter for this paragraph. I don’t believe Billy Napier is going to be on the sidelines. These are the kinds of affairs that go to little brother, wanting to prove a point. Central
Frisco Football Classic: Miami (Oh) vs. North Texas. Both teams went 6 up, 6 down during the regular season, and are grateful for a place to play one more. Sort of a home game for the Mean Green, in this storied Classic that came into being about 15 minutes before Selection Sunday. Midwesterners prevail.
Easy Post Bowl: Memphis State vs. Hawai’i. Nothing says December football on Waikiki more than “best in class shipping API.” Nothing says earning a post season appearance more than finishing 6-7. Like the Rainbow Warriors. 6-6 State is favorite. But I never pick a schlepper school, prone to spend too much time in the sun. Apostrophes prevail.
Tax Act Bowl: Ball State vs. Georgia State. Do not confuse this with the similarly monikered TaxSlayer Bowl. Actually this is the Camellia Bowl, with the software tie-in. Which makes me realize how long it’s been since I’ve savored a late night burger at the Camellia Grill after a night of dancing my tootsies to the bone at Rock & Bowl. Sigh. The Peach Staters beat the Lettermen.
Quick Lane Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Nevada. I believe this is a successor to the Motor City Bowl. That’s what I’m going with. I was there once when Louisville lost to Marshall. It was in the PontiacDome. A facility of unsurpassed ugliness. When it was snowy, gray and ugly outside for the interminable ride from the airport to dome. Dirty slush everywhere. May I never have to relive that experience. The Broncos are from just a bit away in Kalamazoo. They’re used to all that. Western wins.
Peraton Bowl: Boston College vs. East Carolina. So, I went to Peraton’s website, and read their mission. The word that came to mind: Mercenaries. So, to avoid any risk that untoward characters besides Gianni might be intruding on my space, I shall say no more. And I’ll pick BC in this game at Annapolis. Because, you understand, the connection with Paul Revere, etc, etc.
Ticket Smarter Bowl: Houston vs. Auburn. When I see the tie in to this game, I can’t help but think of the old calypso tune, “Man Smart, Woman Smarter.” Which I first heard on Harry Belafonte’s breakthrough LP. (If you don’t know what an LP is, google it up.) This Birmingham battle is not being waged at Legion Field, which should be to the health, safety and relief of any of those inclined to attend. This one means more to the Cougars.
SERVPRO Bowl: Air Force vs. Louisville. So, yeah, who do you think I’m going with? Take a guess. The Cardinals. Good for you. You do pay attention.
Auto Zone Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Mississippi State. Mike Leach’s first head coaching gig was for the Red Raiders. His former Techers are still trying to figure out what the hell he was trying to say in team meeting rooms? And he hasn’t been there since ‘09. Now it’s the Bulldogs who take the field with quizzical looks in their eyes. Buddy Holly’s from Lubbock. Rave on, TT.
San Diego County Credit Union Bowl: NC State vs. UCLA. Talk about your unwieldy bowl names. Geesh. Couldn’t they just shorten it to the SDCCU Bowl? But noooooooooooooo. But, to talk about football — ya know, every once in awhile — these are a couple of better than average but not transcendent if possibly ascendent P5 outfits. The Bruins had higher aspirations. So, I’m thinkin’ the Wolfpack might be mo’ ready.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl: West Virginia vs. Minnesota. My personal mortgage buying experience is there’s no such thing as a “guaranteed rate.” So there was a time . . . oh don’t get me started. I was “guaranteed” a rate, showed up for the closing, and imagine my surprise when I noticed they’d bumped the interest up a half point. I was not a happy camper. Getting it straightened out, and new paperwork to close a lot of assertiveness. Not enough of which do the Mountaineers have to best the Golden Gophers.
— c d kaplan