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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 9

Week 9

Whenever Halloween falls on Saturday, the football games have that spooky extra element that adds to the drama already anticipated. The usual upsets are attributed to the haunting spirits that make their other-worldly contributions to their school’s team (and Auburn). When did Halloween spirits get involved in college football, anyway? As far as I can tell, it began in 1959 when LSU’s Billy Cannon returned a punt 89 yard to win the game against Ole Miss. (Of course it started with the SEC, it just means more) This improbable run happened late in the fourth quarter, and as he sprinted down the field, he broke several sure-fire tackles, creating his signature Heisman Trophy moment. Since that day, every game has the potential for a huge upset because the game is being played on All Hallows Eve!

Oklahoma State vs Texas – Texas has a big problem, and that is that their run defense has been inconsistent and allowed some teams to gash them at will. The Horns lack an effective pass rush which causes the secondary to get peppered with passes, leading to offensive shootouts. If they can stop the run, the Longhorns win, but if they allow OSU to rush for over 200 yards on the ground, they lose. Against OSU that run defense is going to be the key because OSU relies on the running game. They are averaging 216 yards rushing per game. The Cowboys has a simple game plan, hammer the UT defense until it breaks, and they will break. They might hang in there for the first half but they’ll snap in the second. IF Tom Herman wants to keep the job he has, then he’d better hope that his offense is able to score enough points before the defense breaks and this might work. Oklahoma State has had their way with Tulsa, West Virginia and Kansas, but when they faced an effective Iowa State offense, that vaunted Cowboy defense showed some weaknesses. The Pokes won the game, 24-21, but it was a struggle. It’s expected that the Texas offense, which is effective, will score, they just have to make sure they score enough points in the first half, before the OSU ground game dominates the clock in the second half. This game has the potential of spiritual interference, as the game is being played in Austin. UT is the underdog, they could use some help.

Arkansas vs Texas A&M – Arkansas is entering this game a jillion times better than they were last year, or in the past few years. But even when they were terrible, and they have been terrible, they gave A&M fits. The Aggies should have run all over the Hogs in the past few years, but they didn’t. This year, the playing field has leveled off. Arkansas’s defense has shown the greatest improvement. They are extremely effective on third downs, earning a new set of downs while preventing 60% of opponents doing the same. They are also very good at takeaways. Those six INTs they got against Ole Miss were extremely helpful, and allowed them to be Number One in the nation with ten interceptions. A&M has already turned the ball over 7 times so far in four games. This plays right into the Hogs’ wheel house. The Offense still needs some work as they aren’t world beaters yet, but, like we said, they are head and shoulder better than they were. Texas A&M’s strength is their running game. When they deploy the run package, other teams can’t stop it. Those big corn-eating, steak lovin, brutes they have on the offensive line push everyone around to where they don’t want to go. IF Jimbo Fisher would rely on the running game, this team would be so much better, but he won’t, and no one can explain why. He tries to put the game into Kellen Mond’s hands at the start. Then, when that doesn’t work, he switches to the rush and the Aggies move the ball into the Red Zone, then it’s like Fisher has a Joe Biden Attack, and forgets what he’s doing, and he goes back to Mond. This stalls the drive, and the Aggies settle for field goals. It’s unexplainable why Fisher does this, but him do. A&M has a big upset under their belt, Florida. That, and the home field advantage – and there is one in College Station -means the Aggies are favored. But this Arkansas team should have a better record due to the fact the Officiating crew flat-out cheated so Auburn could win. That’s Right, I said it, THEY CHEATED!!! The SEC can fine me if they wish, I don’t care. Which means Arkansas would be ranked higher. As pointed out, the Hogs love to cause A&M anguish, and they will again. The Daughter is in College Station this weekend and will more than likely be at the game, so there is no way CSF can pick against her beloved Aggies, but strange things happen in Halloween football games. Just saying, “Beware!”

Ohio State vs Penn State – In a Top Twenty matchup involving the prima donnas of the Great White North, there are actually people out there hoping for up an upset by Penn State. Hope, as I have pointed out numerous times before, is never a course of action. Ok, ok, this game is being played on Halloween, and it’s being played at night, in prime time, it is the perfect situation for the ghost players of the Nittany Lions Past to rise from their slumber and lend a helping hand. Let’s be honest, after last week’s performance, PSU could use some extra ghost players on both sides of the ball. How did PSU, who was picked to win, or at least vie, for the conference championship, fall to Indiana? Seriously! Ok, they overlooked the Hoosiers, not a valid excuse. They were depleted in the running back ranks because of Chinese Red Plaque, and injuries, but that is not a good reason. It’s next man up, boys. The defense needed to knock the rust off;- oh, give me a freaking break! They’ve been practicing just like everyone else. The truth of the matter is, Penn State is not as good as we expected them to be. Hurts to say it, but it’s true. The only reason they’re still ranked is because no one wants to admit they are were so wrong about the Nittany Lions. Ohio State walked all over Nebraska. QB Fields threw 21 passes and 20 of them were completed. That’s impressive whether you like OSU or not. He was also their leading rusher. To be honest, this is flare signaling something. If the Bucks can’t get their running game going, and have to rely on Fields or everything, the flare is a distress call. Even though Penn State lost to Indiana, they did get a prelude to defending a QB like Fields in Hoosier QB Michael Penix, Jr. and the Lions did rather well holding him down, – until that last drive. It’s hard to get a fix on the Buckeye defense because, well, it was the Cornhuskers they were playing. There is nothing more unpredictable or dangerous than a wounded animal backed into a corner, and that is the best way to describe this Penn State team, they either prove to the world that they are worthy, or the Bucks will gladly provide the coup de gras for them. IF Penn State pulls the upset, it would be the biggest Halloween news since Billy Cannon had his Heisman Moment. But if the Halloween spirits don’t show up to help, that flare sent up might be a victory signal by Ohio State.

Short Smokes

Clemson will be without QB Lawrence against Boston College, it might make the game closer but the Tigers still win.

Georgia had better be ready for a game against Kentucky, the Wildcats can pull the upset, they won’t but they could.

Michigan State lost to Rutgers last week, so, no, not picking them to beat Michigan

Kansas State is quietly climbing in the rankings, and will continue to do so against West “By Golly” Virginia – unless the game is in West Virginia.

Coastal Carolina is in the top 20, anyone know what a Chanticleer is? Anyway, they’ll stay undefeated against Georgia State

Iowa State gets a break and plays Kansas

Purdue appears to be better than thought, so, yep, they’ll upset Illinois

Wake Forest should not have any problems against Syracuse

UCF and Houston could be an exciting game to watch.  

Notre Dame has yet to face a team with a winning record, and still won’t against Georgia Tech

Do not underestimate Rutgers against Indiana

TCU and Baylor, not sure if this game is being played or not, but picking Baylor

Auburn has three wins, and in each of those, they had to have the officials make a controversial call in their favor, otherwise they’d be winless. Expect the officials to cheat again against LSU. Interesting theory, Auburn is paying off the officials so Auburn will win because it’s cheaper to pay them off than the buy out clause for Malzahn, – just a theory, wink, wink.

Iowa over Northwestern

Ole Miss better beat Vandy

VA Tech will beat Louisville, but it’ll be tough

Alabama rolls over Mississippi State, at least they darn well BETTER!!

Missouri falls to Florida

North Carolina will not slip up against Virginia

Oklahoma could find themselves in a serious game with Texas Tech

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