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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Championship Weekend

Alabama vs Ohio State

The pinnacle of the College Football season is here, finally. In a season that was born amidst doubt of even staging some contests – even though it just means more – (Florida may be excused because with all their opt-outs and other cowardly acts before the Oklahoma bowl game), we have completed the regular season,

.  Most teams played about ten games, but Ohio State only played half the games of everyone else. This way, their athletes only stood half the chances of being injured as every other elite foe. The conference championships have been dealt with, but the Buckeyes had to get a rule change just so they could participate (Poor Indiana. The Hoosiers had their best season in decades, and, for their troubles, and for abiding by the current rules, they got to stay home), the first round of the playoffs is in the books. The Buckeyes didn’t need any help…oh, wait, they did need the rules changed so that they could have players come back early from the Chinese Red Plague. Ohio State also had the motivation of playing against the constantly wagging derogatory tongue of Climpson Head Coach Dabo Sweeney. Now that the rules have been changed to favor one school over everyone else, we have reached the Title Game. At the time of this writing Ohio State hasn’t needed any other rules changed, so good for them. I have it on the best authority that the Great White North tried to delay even this Championship game for a week so the OSU Quarterback would have more kidney-healing time. Dealing with the SEC (where it just means more) they found was different from running rough-shod over the small Hoosier voices belaboring their relegation to the second tier because they followed the rules.

Ohio State– After all the coddling and hand-holding, they must now play the game. Against Climpson, they played the game of their lives. In the first quarter each team scored 14 points. Neither one appeared capable of stopping the other. Then, in the second quarter, the Buckeyes scored three TD’s, going into halftime with a 35-14 lead, and the rout was on. In the second half the teams scored two touchdowns each. The most interesting part of the second half wasn’t necessarily the score, but the body language of each team. Climpson, who came into this game as the favorite, was playing this game as if it didn’t matter, even when they got behind, no one in an orange uniform gave any indication that it bothered them. There was no urgency, no determination, nothing. It was a strange sight to see. On the other side of the field, Ohio State was in more of a case of shock instead of jubilee. It was almost as if they thought there was a rip in the space/time continuum and they were in the Twilight Zone. QB Justin Fields finally turned in a game which matched his hype. He took a wicked shot to the kidneys and needed medical attention to continue. Of course, it was a case of targeting, you can’t just go around hitting the OSU Quarterback in the midsection without suffering the consequences -I thought you had to target the head and/or shoulders of a defenseless player. Am I wrong? The biggest question now is can they reproduce this type of play? Nothing they’ve done this season has said they could, but it’s still a possibility. The other arrow in their quiver is RB Trey Sermon, who ran for over 300 yard against Northwestern in the conference championship game. Against Climpson, he only rushed for 193 yards, so he slacked up a bit. The Buckeye defense hasn’t shown they’ve been able to shut down anyone; – slow them up a bit, but not shut them down. Against Alabama, they’ve got their work cut out for them.

Alabama– The Crimson Tide comes into this game as the Goliath. All season long, the Tide has called for the best from their opponent. Opponents have given their best, and the best hasn’t been good enough. For the first time ever, the Tide went undefeated against an exclusive SEC schedule. There were a couple of close contests. Ole Miss caused some hypertension as they just kept scoring. In the conference championship, Florida couldn’t help but complete every pass they threw, and they kept it close. But, close counts in horseshoes, hand-grenades, and nuclear weapons, but not in football. It wasn’t enough to pull off the upset. In the first round of the playoff, Bama was presented a gift, as they were matched against Notre Dame, easiest playoff win in years. Alabama defeated the Irish easily. In the third quarter, the Crimson Tide team mailed in their effort, and we know how prone to, uh, error, mail-in votes are. In other words, they took their foot off the gas. Since that time, awards have been given out and DeVonte Smith won the Heisman. Although he got the highest award, the rest of the team raked up hardware as well. They won, best QB, best RB, best WR, best Offensive line, and best Offensive linemen. There were no awards on offensive they didn’t win. Okay, they didn’t win any on defense, but we’ll get to that later. All season long this offense has seemingly scored at will. They’ve scored over 30 points in all their games, and, in all but two, they scored over 40. Against Ohio State, it’s likely that they’re going to score like they’ve done all season. To top it all off, there is a chance that Jaylen Waddle will return. You remember, he broke his ankle playing in, what was it, the fifth game of the season? The more you’re exposed, the more chance you have of being injured. Ohio State took that lesson to heart this year. Should Waddle play, and play with vigor, it could energize the Crimson Tide Air Show to achieve new heights. The Bama defense has gotten better as the year progressed, but their back-sliding against Florida illustrates how fragile their improvement has been.

What’s going to happen– More than likely, Justin Fields will have a good game. He’s improved his passing, although he’s nothing like Kyle Trask, but still pretty good. He is also a serious threat to run the ball at any time. He’ll complete passes against Alabama, because, who hasn’t? He’s going to have plenty of incompletes as well. Improved, yes, but still not great. His biggest asset will be his feet. RB Sermon is going to have a heck of a time gaining yards. If there is anything Alabama’s defense has been good at, it’s stopping the run game. Except, if the QB is the one running the ball. Ohio State will have chances to move the ball, but they can’t settle for field goals. Every time they have the ball, they need to tally seven points. Alabama is going to light up the Buckeye defense like a Christmas tree. If OSU concentrates on stopping the run, Mac Jones and his merry band of Brothers will carve the Bucks up with the passing game. If Waddle returns, so much the better. If Ohio State keeps an overload of defensive backs on the field, look for Najee Harris to have a monster game. Either way, the Crimson Tide should score at will. The best thing the Tide can do is keep its’ offense on the field. Let the Buckeye offense cool their jets on the sideline. Ohio State has a good possibility of pulling the upset. Good dual-threat quarterbacks have been the bane of the Tide defense all year. Fields has to produce in the passing game as well as running successfully. Alabama is going to win, not just because I’m a huge Crimson Tide fan, but they are built to score, and score they will. When on defense, if they can just stop OSU 50% of the time, it’ll ensure the win. My High School team stopped opponents 50% of the time.

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