rssBlog EntriesComments


Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 11 Preview

Week 11 Preview

It’s Week 11, if this weekend doesn’t get your blood pressure up, then nothing will. Of course, if you’re a communist-loving soccer fan, then this weekend means nothing;- then again, you wouldn’t be visiting this site. We have two top games where undefeateds are battling it out. At the end of the day we’re going to have two fewer undefeateds and two are going to be one step closer to the pinnacle of the CFB mountain.

1(2)LSU vs 2(3) Alabama – this is one of the game every football fan on earth has been looking forward to, whether they are an SEC fan or not. This is it. Time for our first History lesson of the day. LSU has had the philosophy for years that they would have, (1) a big dual-threat quarterback. Whether he could pass or not was immaterial as long as his dual legs worked. (2) The Tigers believed in having a bludgeoning big running back that beat you to death behind a bruising offensive line. (3) DBU, defensive back university, the best DB’s in the country. (4) gargantuan defensive line that smothered smaller lineman who fell underneath them. Am I going too fast for you? Alabama has had the antidote for LSU philosophy by having (1) an incredibly accurate passing quarterback with otherwordly receivers. This quarterback can be one-legged, it doesn’t matter. (2) The Tide defensive line was impenetrable. (3) Our receivers can beat your DB’s. (4) Big ole’ heavy eaters who could move tank-traps out of the way for the running backs. With this history lesson in mind, which, by the way, has resulted in, what?, seven, or is it eight consecutive Alabama victories, let’s see what we have this year. Both teams have plenty of questions and intrigue. First off, LSU;- the Tigers haven’t won this game since 2011. Apple had just come out with their Apple 4 phone, now they’re on Verizon 10, or something. Les Miles was the coach at the time, and the fact that he couldn’t beat the Tide led to his dismissal. It’s not that he is a bad coach, for look at what he is doing with Kansas. The Tiger faithful have grown tired of falling short. This season it appears they may have the team to get the job done. However, there are few concerns. Go back to point #3 above. For a school that claims they are the “Defensive Back University”, or DBU, they haven’t played like it. Referencing the Texas game, they had such a hard time stopping the Longhorn’s passing game, as in, they didn’t, that the offense had to pile up points faster than the defense let them slip away. Looks like point #3 is a concern for LSU. Go to point #2, the big running back. The Bayou Bengals ain’t got one. Another concern for the LSU coaching staff.  Now n to point #4, the LSU Defensive line versus the Bama Offensive line. Line play, the elixir of my editor’s heart, the activity of the gods. The biggest match up that has decided their past games has been the LSU Defensive Line against the Alabama Offensive Line. The Tigers’ line has not been what they were in the past. Right now they are ranked 11th in the nation, but only 39th in sacks. As their record shows, they’ve played well enough to win, but this will be the best offensive line they’ll face. The Linebackers have been solid against the run but they can’t afford to get worn down. We, LSU, need a new narrative, and maybe the Tigers have found it in QB Joe Burrow. It’s a new ballgame , that’s a pun, at Baton Rouge on offensive. Point #1 for LSU, this is not your grandaddy’s LSU quarterback. Burrows passes so well that he is a Heisman candidate, same as Tua at Bama. Thanks to this offensive ability, the Tigers have outscored Auburn, Texas, heck, everyone they’ve faced. There is not a doubt that the offense will move the ball, they will, but will the defense be able to play better than they have so far this season?
Alabama, is not the Crimson Tide of the past. Let’s examine the same four points from out history lesson. Point #2:- the Alabama defensive line is NOT impenetrable. Bama has built its reputation on being able to stop everyone up to, and including, the 1st Armor Division. This year, not so much. The South Dakota Light Infantry Division could find a hole through Bama’s porous defense. I was told earlier in the season that I was not allowed to use multiple injuries as an excuse, FINE. The defensive line is playing more freshman than even ever in the St. Saban era. They’ve improved as the season has progressed, but they’re not up to the Alabama standard. They stop the run pretty well, especially without the great LSU backs to haul down, but they don’t pressure opposing QB’s. In order to beat LSU, they have to get pressure on QB Burrow. Under no circumstances can they allow him to stand in the pocket without looking over his shoulder and listening for hoofprints. Burrows is the best answer to Point #1 that the Tigers have had in a long, long time. Where do we stand in history? LSU has improved point #1, point #2 is not as good as in the past, point #3, DBU, not as valuable a degree as in the past, and, point #4, frightening. LSU has a great defensive line. Can Alabama counter this?

The biggest question of them all, Will QB Tua Tagovailoa start? The sports world is all in a tizzy over this question. Allow CSF to answer this for you;- OF COURSE HE IS STARTING! St. Saban can play the game all he wants of not giving out information, but I know, you know, everyone knows, that unless Tua lost his leg entirely, he is starting. If Alabama has any hope of winning he has to start and he has to play to his off the chart ways. Which is the real question, will he be able to perform as he has been? When he played after the same surgery in the National Championship Game last year, he didn’t deliver.  This go-round, he has had less time to recover. Right now the Crimson Tide has the best receiving corps in the nation, bar none, point #3, but they can’t do their amazing feats if someone isn’t getting the ball to them. CSF suspects Alabama is going to rely on the running game and do their best to wear out the LSU D-Line, lots of luck in this strategy, which will take pressure off Tua and keep him from running around. Point #4 for Alabama, those young offensive linemen have been dragging tractor tires around with them these last two weeks, I hope, because it is cut bait or leave time against LSU’s defenders. Healthy, or greater than 80% healthy, Tua will beat Burrows, a little bit. The receivers will beat the LSU defensive backs. It boils down to the trenches.  Bama’s young, but eager defense, against the big ole mean veterans in LSU’s front seven. Bama’s heavy eaters against the inexperienced LSU defensive front. Alabama fans are concerned, LSU fans are excited. I simply cannot pick against Alabama, can’t do it, and I’m not going to now. Alabama is going to win, it’ll be close, but they are going to win. However, I seriously doubt that I’ll have any fingernails left after the game.

5(4) Penn State vs 13 Minnesota – There is more wagering in Penn State winning this game than there is in Minnesota winning. The Nittany Lions have played better teams, they beat Iowa and Michigan State on the road, not that the Spartans are great this year, and they beat Michigan. However, in the game against the Wolverines, they weren’t able to stop UM in the second half. If Michigan had gotten their act together earlier they might have pulled the upset. Ahh, alas! Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, “It might have been.” The Gophers have their best record since the 1930’s, back when they were the scourge of the NCAA. Believe it or not, my editor doesn’t even remember that time, at least, I don’t think so. (Careful, careful, young grasshopper scribe!) So far this season, The Gophers (That’s right, Gophers. Reminds me of Ground Hog Day) have beaten everyone they’ve played, but none with a winning record. They put a whipping on Illinois, who knocked big, bad, Wisconsin out of the undefeated ranks. That’s got to count for something. Coaches on both teams have done a spectacular job and are in the conversations of replacing coaches elsewhere. HC Franklin is being talked about taking over the USC job, and HC Fleck is being talked up down at Florida State. Penn State relies heavily on the passing game, if they’re not able to move the ball through the air, the ball doesn’t move. Minnesota has a more balanced attack. They can throw the ball and they do it rather well, but with a solid rushing game to compliment them, this could cause trouble for the Penn State defenders. The Gophers (there’s that animal again;- I can envision him looking Bill Murray in the eye) defense has done well, but as the season has gone on, the Gophers “D” has improved. PSU’s has not played consistently. The Lions’ D has been a brick wall sometimes, and then they’ll switch to more like a sieve, all in the course of a single game. Both teams have doubters, but the one thing Minnesota has is that they have grown to believe in themselves. The Nittany Lions are favored to win, they have the history, the pedigree, and higher ranked players. But, CSF is pulling for the scrappy underdog, Ski-U-Mah! Go, Gophers. Tear up that golf course! (it was a gopher, wasn’t it?)

20 Kansas State vs Texas – When was the last time K-State entered this game national ranked and the Longhorns weren’t. It’s been a while. Even though the Wildcats have two losses, Oklahoma State and Baylor (Carole Robin smiles), they are all the rage after beating Oklahoma, and it’s not just that they won, it’s how they won. The Cats offensive line pushed the Sooners defensive line around like they were the bullies on the beach, although there’s not a beach in sight from Manhattan. They then followed that up by stomping on their archrival Kansas. Texas entered the season ranked and ranked pretty high, but they’ve lost to LSU, TCU and Oklahoma. Texas has a potent passing attack, and, even in their losses, they were prolific, but they are one dimensional. Kansas State was able to knock OU QB Jalen Hurts off his game. If they can accompish the same in Austin, the Longhorn passing game will fall short. Kansas State is going to win and they’re going to use the same formula that worked against OU. The offensive line is their strength, and they’re going to flex their muscles come Saturday.

Short Smokes

Washington has dropped a few lately, Oregon State has been winning, the game is in Corvallis, OR, so Washington is going to win.

Ohio State plays yet another team with a losing record, Maryland. I think Ohio State and Clemson should play each other instead of league championship games.

Florida  adds to Vanderbilt woes, as if the ‘Dores didn’t have enough.

Baylor will crush TCU

SMU recovers against East Carolina

Army, please, beat UMass, we need it

Can Arkansas beat Western Kentucky? They can, but they won’t

Texas Tech vs West Virginia both teams are pretty much even, so pick’em

Purdue takes down fellow Egg Heads, Northwestern

Boston College will win, Florida State is a mess

Virginia beats Georgia Tech, duh

Stanford is going to lose to Colorado

Wake Forest continues their winning ways against Virginia Tech

Cincinnati vs UConn, ok, sure, like we’re going to pick UConn…I don’t think so

Louisville, believe it or not, is going to win in Miami

The bottom has fallen out at USC so Arizona State will be the victors

Illinois becomes bowl eligible against Michigan State

Iowa vs Wisconsin will be a typical Great White North matchup, going to pick the Badgers

Ole Miss wins against New Mexico State, if they don’t, fire everyone, don’t even let them on the bus home

There is no way Georgia is going to lose to Missouri. Ok, there is a way, but I don’t know it

Hey! Listen up, Appalachian State is going to beat South Carolina

Clemson shouldn’t have any trouble against NC State, but the Wolfpack have caused the Tigers problems in the past.

Tennessee is going to fall against Kentucky. Then again, they might not, but we’re hoping they do

Iowa State might, just might, cause Oklahoma problems, but the Sooners still win

Wyoming will push Boise State, but come up short

The late night showing will give night owls the match up of San Jose State vs Hawai’i, Spartans win. That’s San Jose State. Hawai’i is the Fighting Rainbow Warriors.

North Alabama gets to take on Monmouth. Doubt it will go well for my Lions, but, Roar Lions, anyway!

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.