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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 4 Preview

Week 4

Most all the sportswriters are saying that we didn’t have but a couple of “meaningful” games in the first three weeks of the season, but those guys must write for WINNING teams. For teams that lost, I’m willing t bet they considered the games “meaningful”. But now, we can all agree, we get down to the nitty-gritty. Hu-Rah! Well, except Clemson. They’ve already played their “One” meaningful game.

Michigan vs Wisconsin – How did these two teams manage to have last Saturday off? What kind of Athletic Director said, “Whew, two games into the season our boys are going to need a break.”? Michigan’s last game was at home against Army, who was, back in the 40’s of the last century, and even more recently thirty years ago, a powerhouse, but not any more. Sure, the Cadets won 10 games last year, or was it 11, but it wasn’t against Ohio State and Alabama. The Wolverines eked out a victory, in two overtimes, because the Black Knights attempted a pass, knowing full well that “there is nothing a determined foot soldier cannot accomplish”. That, and the missed field goal attempt at the end of regulation. Had the Infantry stuck with the ground game, it’s highly likely that the Wolverines would already have a 1 in the loss column. The high price, low return style of coaching that Harbaugh is implementing is questionable at best. At the moment, Michigan is ranked 13th , but that seems overly generous. The new-look offense that Harbaugh is determined to run has a few glitches. Their biggest current problem is their turnovers. Five times in two games is a lot. Last year they lost only three fumbles the entire season. Former Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson didn’t have a great game, but it wasn’t bad, either. He threw for over 200 yards, no INT’s, but no TD’s, either. The running game is what kept UM within striking distance as Zach Charbonnet rushed for over 100 yards, scoring three touchdowns. Zach and the rest of the running backs had a difficult time holding onto the ball. In Wisconsin’s first two games, the Badgers shut out directional schools South Florida and Central Michigan. Way to go. The UW likes to run the ball, as in, QB Jack Coan has thrown for only 564 yards. Tua, at Alabama, nearly did that in one game. The Scripted “W’s” have been trying to produce a more balanced attack, so flinging the ball down the field successfully is something they’d like to accomplish on a more frequent basis. There is little doubt that the Badgers’ coaching staff has watched the Army – Michigan game, and, although they don’t run the triple option, it is evident that the Michigan defensive line is not very effective at stopping the run. On top of that, the high price, low results coach Harbaugh said the defense was constantly out of position and made too many mistakes, which is CYA for, “those Cadets ran the ball down our throats.” This is a big game up in the frozen northlands, both schools will be fired up, and both teams need to win this game. A loss by either squad virtually guarantees an absence from the CFB Playoffs – again. CSF’s pick, Wisconsin. They’re not flashy, not exciting, and they’re kind-of dull to watch, but Michigan can’t handle the power game they’re liable to get from the Badgers.

Auburn vs Texas A&M –This game should be called, “Who’s real?” The Tigers have had one big game, the Oregon opener, where Auburn came out winners.  They had a devil of time adjusting to the speed of the Ducks, but, to their credit, adjust they did, then had a true gut-check time before pulling it out. That was some remarkable play by their rookie QB, Bo Nix, but, is he for real? Saturday at Kyle Field he’s going to get a chance to prove it. The reports are that he is showing the maturity of a four-year starter, and not the wet-beak true freshman that he actually is. After that come-from-behind victory, the Tigers have whipped up on Tulane and Kent St. The Aggies have also had one big game and the offense, mainly Kellen Mond, can be summed up best in the words of Mel Brooks from the movie, History of the World Part I “They stunk on ice”. A&M’s offense got a lot of hype in the preseason, but nothing they’ve done has lived up to all that press. In that Clemson game, for some reason, QB Mond overthrew every receiver on the field. It was painful seeing it over and over again. On the plus side, the Aggie defense played exceptionally well. They disrupted the passing game of the Number One team in the nation, and they slowed, but didn’t stop, the run. If A&M’s defense hadn’t been on the field for so long, it may have turned out better. Saturday the Aggies have a chance at redemption. The Auburn Plainsmen have been playing well, all in all. It’s time to see if they can weather a hostile environment, which Kyle Field will be.. If, and it’s a big IF, the Aggies can get the offense scoring points, they might be taken seriously again. This will be a bell- weather game for both teams. Win, and you’re a candidate for SEC-West Championship;- lose, and it’s going to be tough sledding. CSF is going out on a limb and picking Texas A&M. So, Gig ‘Em Aggies…(Auburn will more than likely win, but..ssshhh….don’t let the Daughter  know I said that)

Notre Dame vs Georgia – Two years ago, Georgia had this fantastic quarterback, Jacob Eason, who was setting the world on fire. But, unfortunately, in the first game against Appalachian State, he got injured. The Dawgs had to start freshman, Jake Fromm the next week against Notre Dame, in South Bend. He didn’t have his highlight reel game, but he’s improved factorially since then. Eason transferred to Washington cause he wasn’t getting that starting job back in Athens. Fromm has become an elite QB, and he’s looking at having a much better game than he did in South Bend. In that game, it was the UGA defense that stole the show. This year could see a repeat, but I think the Bulldog offense is going to have something to say about that. Even with that great defense, Georgia only won by one point, 20-19. ND has not forgotten that the Bulldogs, coached by Vince Dooley in 1981, led UGA to the National Championship. Of course, there was this running back named Herschel Walker, and there wasn’t a soul living back then that was going to contain him. The Irish were looking for some revenge in 2017, but were denied. Saturday, they have to travel to Athens were they’ve never played before. It’s the perfect set up for them to extract the reckoning they desperately seek. There is one more reason, and it’s a big one, that UGA wants to beat the snot out of the Golden Domers. They are convinced they were cheated out of being invited to the playoffs last year and Notre only got the invite because of their “storied” reputation. After ND was thrashed by Clemson, the UGA players made it a point to state they should have been playing Clemson. Then they went and tanked to Texas and ruined that narrative. Notre Dame thinks all that talk is, and was, a bunch of hogwash. So both teams have plenty to prove, they are both undefeated, UGA 3-0 and ND 2-0, neither of them has been tested, it’s time for them to quit talking and get to playing. Either put up or shut up. Since this game is being played in SEC country, where it just means more, the odds are in Georgia’s favor. But this is Notre Dame, in a big game, and there is always, ALWAYS, a controversial call that will go the way of the Irish. Still going to pick UGA.

Short Smokes:

Utah vs USC – The Trojans lost to BYU, Utah has yet to lose, it’ll be tough for the Utes, but they’re going to win.  Unless the USC of old shows up.

Alabama is taking on Southern Miss.  Does not support the thesis that all games now are contests, so, move along, nothing to see here, except Tua will have another game where he throws 4 touchdowns.

LSU plays a conference game against Vanderbilt, so it does matter, kind-of, sort-of, in a way. Oh, it matters, it just means more, but Tigers still win, easily.

Back when the Old Ball Coach Steve Spurrier was the head coach of Florida, this game was a must see. He’s retired now and UT has fallen off the board, but, if the Vols want to play a comeback game, this is the time to do it. Seriously doubtful that will happen. I’m picking Florida, especially now that Franks is out.

California invades the south with Ole Miss defending, this might be a stretch, but the Rebels are going to win. “You hear that Rebels? You’re going to win!” Now don’t make me look bad.  

Michigan State has got to get back on track and they’ll do it against Northwestern.

Central Florida travels to steel town to take on Pitt, Knights are going to win decisively, won’t be pretty

Washington goes to BYU, where USC lost. Could be an interesting game, going with the Huskies.

SMU vs TCU, the battle of North Texas, Horned Frogs will be the victors.

Louisville gets a chance to knock off Florida State, and they will.

North Carolina cannot let Appalachian State get the lead, if they do, Heels lose, no comebacks

Both Kentucky and Mississippi State are coming off losses, Kentucky wins.

South Carolina, at 1-2, takes on Missouri, at 2-1. Should the Gamecocks lose, Coach Boom might not last the season.

After Kansas beat Boston College, Jayhawks taking on West Virginia makes this game take on a whole new meaning. Let’s see if KU does it again.

Stanford thought they’d contend for the PAC-12 North title, and they might, just not in football, not this year. The Trees are going to be chopped down by Oregon

Clemson already played their one tough game, so now they get Charlotte…geez.  

Oklahoma State has dined on lesser competition, now they take on Texas. It’s going to be a good game. Longhorns win, maybe. Cowboys upset Horns. Maybe.

Nebraska and Illinois, who the heck knows which will win? Either one could pull it out. The other one won’t. I’ll take Nebraska.

Arizona State hosts Colorado, the Buffs could pull the upset and they would, if this game were in Boulder. But it’s in Tempe. Sorry, Buffaloes.

Nope, no way UCLA upsets Washington State in Pullman, not going to happen.

Utah State against San Diego State has the makings of a stellar game. Could be worth staying up late to see. You can always sleep until Church time Sunday.

North Alabama has lost their last two games, not good, but now’s the time to turn their season around. There’s not a better way to do it, than kicking around Jacksonville State. Actually, kicking Delta State around would be more fun, but they’re not playing UNA this week. Roar Lions!

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