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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 12 Preview

Week 12 Preview

We are entering the last few weeks of the College Football regular season, and, if one dwells on it, one can have panic attacks that we’re coming to the end of another season. I’m already feeling light-headed. Ergo, I won’t think about it. These last few games will determine who goes to the playoffs and who thinks of how unfair the Committee is in leaving them out. If anyone loses in the current top four, you can just about bet they’ll be out;- it’s that close. Other than that, the rest of the field is jockeying for the best position to land in the best bowl.

North Carolina vs Pittsburgh – The Tarheels need this game to get to .500. If they lose, even Old Man Mac is going to have a very difficult time taking them to bowl qualification. I wouldn’t put it past the old man, though. He has made UNC more competitive, and I am old enough t remember Mack Brown’s shenanigans at Texas when they didn’t exactly set the world on fire and he talked them into a top tier bowl game. This UNC squad just hasn’t gotten over the hump to become a winning team. Pitt is already bowl eligible, but their standing within the ACC Coastal division needs to be improved. It’s doubtful the Panthers will leap-frog UVA and take the lead, but, should they win out, Pitt will get a better bowl invite. North Carolina should make this game competitive, but the Panthers will win the field. And the game.

Alabama vs Mississippi State – Bama has to recover from that horrible loss to LSU, and, yes, it was horrible. The truth is, the Crimson Tide should have no problem drowning the Bulldogs, but we’ve seen other teams allow a loss to beat them two weeks in a row. It’s doubtful St. Saban will permit that to happen with Alabama. If there is any formula for Alabama to achieve the Top Four at CFP time, Bama MUST NOT LOSE. At Mississippi State, the season hasn’t gone as they wished. There is still a chance for the Bulldogs to make it to a bowl game, and beating Alabama will just about fill that requirement. Should State lose, then even beating Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl will lose all its luster. Alabama is going to win, and, honestly, they might be mad and take out their frustrations upon the Bulldogs.

Indiana vs Penn State – The Nittany Lions are in a bit of trouble, kinda like Alabama. Both were undefeated and both took a spill last week against their opponents. It was close, but the Lions were rowed over. This week it’s Indiana, who is quietly sitting at 7-2, and, just to make this game a bit more difficult, the Hoosiers lost their starting QB, Michael Penix Jr, who had surgery Monday to repair his right sternoclavicular joint. I’d have to consult my editor as what joint that is, but it had to be repaired. The Hoosiers only losses have been to Ohio State and Michigan State, so it appears Indiana has a rough time facing schools with “state” in their name. Penn State has this word in their name, so PSU is going to win.

Florida vs Missouri – The Gators still have a shot at making the SEC Championship game, they need for Georgia to lose, but under no circumstances can Florida drop a game. Missouri has fumbled, stumbled, bumbled, for most of the season, but the Tigers still have a chance to make it to the post season. All they have to do is win one more game and they’re bowl eligible. Mizzou HAS to win this game, and I doubt they’ll pull it off. It’s possible, just not probable. Sorry, Dave Ewards.

Michigan State vs Michigan – Poor Spartans, they were honestly supposed to be much better than they’ve shown. They just haven’t been able to get it together. Unlike their namesakes, the Real Spartans, like in the “300”, whenever MSU has faced stiff competition, they have folded like a house of cards. Michigan and their legendary, at least in his own mind, coach Harbaugh, was supposed to assume the mantle as the new masters of the Great White North, but they didn’t. They’ve fallen from grace, not once, but twice, and three times if you count their double overtime escape from Army West Point. However, in the second half of the Penn State game, the Wolverines got it together and they’ve become a different team, playing with a purpose. Michigan will more than likely win, but this is a rivalry game to determine who’s the Big Brother and who’s the Little Sister in the state. It is entirely possible that Michigan State will pull the upset, I’m not betting any money on it, but it could happen.

Navy vs Notre Dame – Both teams are ranked in the Top 25, the Irish have lost two games and the Midshipman have lost one. Navy has won in South Bend before, they’ve actually won this game more than once, and within the recent past. ND is the bettors’ pick to win, and it’s probably a safe pick, but, here at CSF, we like the service academies. Except the Air Force Academy. We don’t like the Air Force Academy. We pull for the chaos, so we’re going to pick Navy, this week. If you think I’m picking them in December against Army, you are mentally compromised.

Georgia vs Auburn – There has been plenty already written about both teams, so no need to return to last night’s campfire. Georgia is the better team on paper, and on the field – when they want to be. The Dawgs have a more experienced QB and their offensive and defensive lines are better. Auburn has only lost two games, so far, but they just might be playing for the future of their coach. The Tigers have been known to beat the teams they’re supposed to beat, but to fold against ranked teams. Most of the time. This failure to beat the big boys has angered the fans base, the alumni, and the deep-pocket boosters. Every year that goes by, the buy-out for Malzahn get lower and lower, and the Arkansas Head Coaching job is already vacant. I wonder if a swap without expending all their dollars is possible for the Razorbacks and the Tigers? But, today we’re talking about beating Georgia. Beat the Dawgs, and Auburn has many options. Georgia should win, but, remember that pass that was tipped by two Georgia defenders before the Auburn player snatched it and ran it in for the winning score? It was at Jordan-Haire. This game is at Jordan Haire. Hmmm.

Minnesota vs Iowa – The Gophers just got done chalking up their first win against a ranked team in years, and I know they celebrated all day Sunday, because that game was at home, before a sold out crowd. Now they have to see if they can repeat that performance on road. The Iowa Hawkeyes are not as talented as PSU was, but beating them on their homefield is gonna be difficult. If Ski-u-mah can pull off this victory, the Western Division Title and a trip to the Conference Championship Game is theirs. There is something about Minnesota that gets folks, like me, to pull for them, even when they’re not the underdog. We’re no different. Go Gophers!

Oklahoma vs Baylor – Right now, the Bears are undefeated but the Sooners are a ten point favorite. OU had a struggle getting by Iowa State last week. They needed a televised mugging to stop the Cyclones’ two point conversation. When the Sooners played Kansas State, they were manhandled, but still mounted a comeback. Baylor might have gotten caught looking ahead to this game, because they had a devil of a time getting past TCU. That game went three overtimes. IF Baylor can win, the Committee might take them seriously, and the Bears might get the opportunity to face OU again at a neutral site. Lose, and Baylor still might get to face OU again at a neutral site.

South Carolina vs Texas A&M – The Gamecocks are on a downward spiral, and they may be playing for the future of their coach. That’s presuming that they want to save their coach. If USC (South) does, they might have picked the perfect game to do it. The Aggies have not exactly set the world on fire. They’ve won, but not against ranked teams, and they’ve struggled when they shouldn’t have. Remember their affair with Arkansas’ Razorbacks last month. It is entirely possible that this could be the tightest played game of the day. But these are the Aggies, and it’s The Daughter’s team, and these facts better cause them to win.

Short Smoke

USC is going to lose to California. Then again, they might not, but they could.

Arizona is going to get smoked by Oregon, the Ducks are playing for a spot in the Final Four.

Boise State will have no trouble with New Mexico. How is that every BSU game seems to be on the Smurf Turf?

Arizona State vs Oregon State is another one of those games that will be much better and closer than anyone thinks.

Louisville will fall against NC State.

Air Force is going to beat up on Colorado State

LSU will not be neighborly with Ole Miss. This will not be over quickly and the Rebels will not enjoy it.

Stanford and Washington State is a battle of who doesn’t want to end up on the bottom with Arizona. Not the battleship Arizona, this is the football team Arizona.

Wyoming has the better record but Utah State is picked to win. CSF is going with the Cowboys. That’s Wyoming.

Duke will kick around Syracuse. Hmmm.  

Kentucky willrun the score up on Vanderbilt just like everyone else does. Poor Commodores.

Virginia Tech has turned the corner and crossed over to the category of good teams. Georgia Tech has not, yet. Wait’ll next year.

Kansas State is hosting West Virginia. The Wildcats are going win.

Iowa State needs a victory against Texas. The Cyclones are a far better team than their record indicates, and Matt Campbell is probably  going to be someone else’s coach next season.

Memphis vs Houston – the Tigers should remember that they’re more than likely  playing for their coach, because he’s probably not going to be there after the end of the season. He might be gone before then, but not if the Tigers lose.

Clemson takes on Wake Forest. Even if WF hadn’t lost last weekend, they still wouldn’t be the pick. Maybe the Demon Deacons can keep it close, for a while, maybe…kind-of, …sorta.

Ohio State takes on NY/NJ television viewing populace, er,  I mean, big, bad, tough Rutgers. But wait, there’s more, Ohio State is going on the road! Won’t matter, OSU is going to score a bunch of points. Rutgers might score. They have scored this season, in other games. What do you bet that all Buckeye players are off probation, suspension, etc, prior to the CFP?

Florida State will beat Alabama State. Even if the ‘Noles weren’t in disarray, FSU would still win.

Army is back, and they remember how to win. It was 1956, late September, and Cadet Editor was a Plebe attending his first Army football game. The opponent was VMI. Army was triumphant. This will be a repeat performance.

Kansas will fall to the curse of playing Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Really, it’s a curse against any team from Kansas.

Wisconsin and Nebraska are pseudo-rivals, like A&M and South Carolina. I’m not sure if there’s a trophy for this game, but, give it time, there will be. How about the Badger –Husker corn stalk?

North Alabama has been losing most of the season. Luckily, this week they play against Gardner-Webb, who has also been losing this season. The UNA Lions are going to win, because, well, I graduated from there, Roar Lions!

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