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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 9 Preview

Week 9 Preview

Week 9 and where has this season gone? It seems like I just got up to make a sandwich before halftime, and already we’re in the second half of the 2019 season. Be thankful, oh, so thankful, for what we have had, what we have this weekend, and that the season isn’t over yet. Root-hog-or-die time, for most teams. Those going to bowls, i.e. six(6) wins, probably know it, Rutgers and others know that this just isn’t their year. Players have gone down to injuries, – it’s a contact sport, after all, -adjustments are being made, fresh cannon fodder back-ups are entering the line ups, fans spend a lot of the games holding their breaths, and a lot building hate for whomever they’re playing and referees (that’s short for all officials) (a sad, but true state of affairs), everything, and we mean everything, means something. There have been the usual upsets that nobody saw coming, while teams like Clemson, Oklahoma, Ohio State, LSU, and Alabama plod right on through their schedules. Time to separate the contestants from the pretenders.

Wisconsin vs Ohio State – Trying to think here, have we given a serious look at Ohio State in 2019? Don’t think so. Why is that? Oh, yes, that’s right, because they haven’t played against a team with a palpable pulse yet! Now, they get ready for Wisconsin, theoretically their toughest test of the season. Immovable defense versus unstoppable offense. OSU has had 7 games to work out any kinks, they have yet to be seriously challenged (have you noticed that they have all their serious games in Columbus?), yet here they are ranked number #3 in the nation. Oh, they’ve run up the score on everyone they’ve played, and, rightly so! If you can’t compete with the Buckeyes, either get better or stop accepting their big paychecks. And their offense truly appears unstoppable. Wisconsin’s defense started off the season as a defensive stone wall, so this was to be the perfect antidote for the vaunted Buckeye attack. Looking at Ohio State’s schedule, this is about as challenged as they’re going to be. However, a lot of the sparkle was dimmed when Illinois discovered, and exposed to the world, that Wisconsin only buries people who can’t fight back. Ohio State is led by Georgia transfer QB Justin Fields, and he has been putting on a clinic of why he was so sought-after. His passing game as been spot on, he’s made plenty of plays with his feet, and that’s good, because the Buckeyes’ running game has been, well, secondary at best. Against a formidable defense, like the Wisconsin of pre-Illinois games, OSU needs a running game. The offensive line is good, not great. They haven’t protected Fields all that much. For some of his rushing yards, he’s had to break out of the pocket. Whether this is because he’s a glory hog or because he’s been in trouble, who knows? Eh, the answer may lie somewhere in between. If he has to run for his life Saturday, he won’t be able to win the game single handedly. He has to have time to throw and he can’t be planted on his back all that much. Wisconsin is a wounded Badger, which makes them very dangerous. Going after a wounded Badger in the Badger’s den is an extremely perilous task. The Script W’s got caught last week with their pants down, and it cost them. Now they’ll be coming into the game with a huge chip on their shoulder. It’s root hog or die every single game from here on out. CSF fully expects them to enter this game with determination and a very bad attitude. What they want to do is make this into a slug-fest, the more physical this game is, the better. The visitors’ offense is going to rely heavily on the run, oh, what a shocker there, Wisconsin relying on the run. But, seriously, if all they do is gain four yards every carry, it will eat the time away and keep that OSU offense on the bench drinking Gatorade. OSU is picked to win, everyone wants Ohio State to win…Nah, CSF says embrace the chaos, Wisconsin upsets the cart and leaves Columbus with the victory.

Auburn vs LSU – Speaking of embracing the chaos, it would blow everyone’s mind if Auburn was able to beat LSU in Baton Rouge. It’s not that far out of the realm of possibilities. The Tigers in the Swamp, that’s LSU, believe they are the best team in the nation, and, to their credit, they’ve been playing like it. Their transfer QB from Ohio State, Joe Burrow, has been on fire. He’s been flinging the oblate spheroid all over the field and has yet to be stopped. The Bayou Bengals faced a serious test taking on Texas in Austin, and it was on the arm of Burrow that the Purple and Gold escaped with a W. LSU is airborne, all the time. Oh, sure, they run the ball every now and then, they’re not quite Washington State yet, but they don’t have that hardcore runner as they’ve had in the past. There is no question that the offense will show up for this game, they know they have to win, because Alabama is next and they want that game to be a battle of unbeatens. What is questionable about the Bayou Bengals is their defense. For a school that calls itself “Defensive Back U”, they sure haven’t played up to that moniker this season. Plenty of teams have been able to pass the ball on them, heck, even Vanderbilt had a good showing. The defensive backs better be on the balls of their feet. Bo Nix is a freshman who makes freshman mistakes, but he also makes almost incredible successes. Auburn got caught up in the swamp against Florida. They couldn’t do anything right, looked like a baby giraffe trying to stand and walk for the first time. Last week they took out their frustration on Arkansas, and everything fell back in sync. The Plains Tigers know LSU has a tenuous secondary, and they’re probably going to attack it. But the Plainsmen are not all passes all the time. Nope, they’re going to try and get their running backs into the secondary. Look for wide runs to the edge, jet sweeps, quick slant passes, and bubble screens and wheel routes. The Tigers will play fast and use that hurry up offense as much as possible. This is Auburn, and they have Gus Malzahn as their head coach, and sometimes he seems related to Jim Harbaugh. It’s entirely possible that he’ll try and prove how smart he is, and call horribly unrealistic plays. Since this game is not being played at night in Tiger Stadium, it’s not a sure fire win for LSU, but it’s not being played at Jordan Haire, either, so it’s not a locked-in win for Auburn, either. There is some doubt, just not much. LSU wins.

Arkansas vs Alabama – Normally this game would not deserve a write-up, the Hogs are playing poorly in all aspects of their game. They’ve been beaten, and beaten badly, and, there have not been many signs of improvement. So why should an Alabama fan, like myself, be worried? I’ll give you two good reasons, and only two. 1) Tua GOT INJURIED!!! Last week, against Tennessee, he rolled his ankle subsequently had to have another “Tightrope” procedure done. Same thing as last year, only on the other ankle. Speaking as one that has injured his ankle, he might want to invest in a couple of ankle braces, just saying. They seem to help out a lot. 2) Wisconsin got beat by Illinois. Yes, a Great White North upset can influence an SEC game. There is not a soul on this Arkansas team that doesn’t want to do what the Fighting Illini did. They would wear this victory as a badge of honor for the rest of their lives. Alabama better not be overlooking this game. Having said all this, there is one more point that needs to be made, that is, Tua getting hurt and the Tide having to start back-up Mac Jones just might be the adversity Bama needs for the team as a whole to step up their game. When the Crimson Tide wins a National Championship, there is always a point in their season where they had something bad happen that brought the team together, caused them to perform at the level by which they’d been recruited. Maybe this is it. Maybe it’s time for the Tide to roll! Roll Tide!

Notre Dame vs Michigan – Anyone that has paid attention knows that CSF is not a fan of either team, but it’s a big game and needs to be covered. The Irish, the perennial fair-haired darlings of the press, already have one loss, but they know that will not deter the loving press. However, losing to Michigan will. Sportswriters may do all they can to temper the loss, but it’ll be difficult to overcome. The Wolverines have a huge, YUGGE (as President Trump would say) problem;- choke artist extraordinaire Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. Under his self-proclaimed expert tutelage, Michigan has beaten 1 ranked team. That’s it, one. The Team showed a lot of moxie last week in mounting a comeback against Penn State that fell short, but not very short. The last time they played Notre, however, the Wolverines were humiliated, and a lot of the reason for that is none other than Harbaugh. Notre Dame is a ranked opponent again this season. It doesn’t matter that the game is being played in Michigan, the Irish are going win and it might not be pretty. Tick, Tock, Harbaugh, Tick, Tock. Tell your agents to get serious in their investigations of NFL openings. Tick, tock.

Short Smokes

USC better be wary playing Colorado on the Buffs’ field. Strange things happen in Boulder.

Oklahoma should, that’s SHOULD, have no problem with Kansas State, but don’t rule out the Cats.

Iowa will struggle against Northwestern, but the Hawkeyes  will still win.

Pitt is going to take Miami out behind the woodshed.

Army has got to beat San Jose State, I mean, come on Black Knights! Go, Rabble!

How A&M played against Mississippi does not give warm and fuzzies on how they’ll play against Mississippi State. The Daughter agrees, although reluctantly.

Illinois vs Purdue – are you kidding? Of course we’re picking Illinois!

Penn State encounters Michigan State. Yep, picking the Nittany Lions – but somewhere, in my memory, I remember when Michigan State upset unsuspecting souls, like, Notre Dame. Shudder the thought, MSU over PSU.

Texas will have their way with TCU.

Minnesota stays undefeated by rowing over Maryland

Iowa State has a history of beating Oklahoma State

Syracuse is going to add to Florida State’s woes.

Virginia shoots the Louisville Cardinals out of the sky

Arizona just might beat Stanford, and, why not?Everyone else has.

Indiana vs Nebraska – hmmm, if this all you’ve got to watch, take a nap. Huskers beat Hoosiers.

Duke travels to North Carolina  – it’s right down the road,and they’re going to lose. Ole Mack’s on a roll.

South Carolina will beat Tennessee, if the officials allow them to.

Texas Tech takes on Kansas – who the heck knows, the way the Jayhawks are playing. Ole Les is on a roll.

Clemson hosts Boston College – come on CHAOS! But it won’t happen – Who makes up these schedules?

Arizona State beats UCLA….maybe. Maybe not. Could be the Game of the Week.

Missouri and Kentucky, it’s a toss up. Could be the Game of the Week – wait, I’ve already said that.

California gets scalped by Utah. Drawn and quartered.

Washington State will challenge Oregon, but not very much, and not for very long.

North Alabama who are not doing very well, take on Kennesaw State in Georgia. Come on Lions, we need to win! Roar Lions!

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