rssBlog EntriesComments


Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 6

Last week could have been called the first of several pending Separation Saturdays, but all it really did was to set up THIS week’s Separation Saturday, and, almost assuredly, as long as notre dame remains, there will keep on being Separation Saturdays until the Irish return to the CFP. Alabama heard rumblings from all the people who were worried about them playing Ole Miss, (I was one of them) so they put those fears to rest by taking the Rebels out behind the woodshed and spanking them good. Bama fans enjoyed the game as they munched on popcorn, suggested by Ole Miss HC Lane Kiffin in an interview gone wrong before the first kickoff. Iowa evidently believed that it was a good time to show Maryland what interceptions were by snagging six, which led the Hawkeyes to a 51 -14 road victory. A last, poor Arkansas, the Hogs thought they were on the way to SEC stardom but ran into an abattoir called Georgia. That’s a slaughterhouse/packing plant, for the uninitiated, and the Dawgs fairly cut and packed the Razorbacks. Oklahoma barely got by Kansas State, while the Irish, who are almost always overrated, fell to the Bearcats of Cincinnati at home. The quest for the Nation champion continues. As spice for this venture, this week part of this quest pits Father (the Bama fan) against The Daughter (the A&M fan). She’s more worried about this game then she lets on, but, to her credit she’s putting up a game (that’s a pun) front.

Penn State vs Iowa – Against power schools the Nittany Lions have barely slipped by this season, winning, yes, but just slipping by. The Lions’ running game has been sporadic. Against Indiana and Ball State, they were good, but against Wisconsin and Auburn, they averaged under four yards  per carry. Not in recent history has PSU been known for their passing attack. Also, they have not performed well on third downs, only converting 36% of their chances. Against the Hawkeyes they’re going to need to do much better than that. The one thing they have been good at is not turning the ball over and that’s what the Hawkeyes have been feasting upon. PSU’s offense, not many big plays or breaking long runs, but they just keep pounding on the brick wall until they bore you into fracturing. Slow, consistent and mistake- free.

Iowa –  The strength of the Hawkeyes has been their defense. They force turnovers, they get to the quarterback, and they’ve been able to disrupt most everything their opponents try to do. They’ve been suffocating the life out of offenses, and a big component of this strategy has been take-aways.  Against Indiana, they got three, Iowa State four, and Maryland, they got an impossible to overcome seven. This has given their offense a short field so many times this year that it’s become ridiculous. However, The Iowa offense has not done a whole lot to move the chains, and they have an inefficient passing game. Against Maryland, the passing attack was good, but before then, they only passed the ball to break the monotony from the running game. Another aspect they need to work on is that the offensive line doesn’t protect their QB very well when they do call a passing play. This could be because they’re so used to run blocking that they get confused, but whatever the reason, they’re going to need to do better against the Nittany Lions.

What will happen – This contest will more than likely be a real Slobberknocker. Both defenses are battle tested and each one wants to show their supremacy. Penn State probably won’t melt down, making mistakes, so Iowa can’t count on feasting on turnovers. It’ll be an intense, hard-hitting game, might need popcorn for this one. Look for Iowa to hold on to the ball for a majority of the game, thus wearing down the Lions’ defense more than the Hawkeye D will be worn done by the sporadic Lion offense. It’ll be a low-scoring game, probably a late fourth quarter drive that decides the game. It’s being played in Iowa City and PSU is not a good road team, Hawkeyes win.

Oklahoma vs Texas – Oklahoma has been playing with fire, they’re not ripping through teams and playing their scrubs during the second halves of games. They’ve gotten their wins by relying on their defense and just enough offense to get the win. What’s been plaguing them is that their running game hasn’t been very good, so the pressure builds on QB Rattler, who, up till now, hasn’t been up to the challenge. He hasn’t been able to rip off any big plays, he’s not been very good at scrambling when he’s needed to, and most of his passes have been under ten yards. Its not that the offense is bad, it’s just not what everyone has gotten use to from the Sooners. They don’t turn the ball over often, and they’ve only have made a few mistakes, but, fortunately, those mistakes have not cost them any games- so far.

Texas- The Longhorns come into this Red River Rivalry with the hottest offense in the Big 12 that only has ten teams, for now. They’re number one in the league in scoring, yards, running, and passing efficiency, exactly what was expected when they hired Steve Sarkisian. They changed QB’s and put Casey Thompson in as QB1, and, for right now, he seems to be the right fit. RB Bijan Robinson is working on becoming the best running back in the 2021 edition of college football, and the Horns love big plays and converting third downs. Their defense is not a shut down type of “D”, they like to play that “bend but don’t break” style of play, which failed them against Arkansas. They shut out Rice, but, come on, the Owls had a big Aeronautical Engineering test that Monday and they were studying on the sidelines.

What will happen –  Texas is going to come out of the gates swinging for the fences. They need to get a quick lead and make OU play catch-up. The OU offense has been playing a “not-to-lose” type of play and they haven’t had the pressure of coming from behind placed on them yet. The Sooner defense must rise to the occasion and play far better than they have been playing. The jury is still out on whether the OU offense has another gear they can use, for, so far, they’ve been grinding their gears searching for overdrive. Texas is going to get the lead they want and they’re going to hold onto it, desperately. Maybe this will be a game worthy of some popcorn.

Georgia vs Auburn – Strange things happen at Jordan-Haire Stadium. A couple of years ago, the Dawgs had the lead, but, in the last minute, the Tigers threw a pass down the middle, it was deflected by not one but two UGA defensive backs, and it fell right into the arms of an Auburn receiver streaking down the field, who grabbed it and carried it into the end zone for a winning score. Auburn’s defense was leaky, at best, at the start of the season, but against Penn State and LSU, they have bowed their necks and played far better than they had previously. Last week the Tigers, Alabama variety, got their first win in Baton Rogue since the 1980’s, and the fans threw a tremendous amount of toilet paper into the air back at Toomer’s Corner. QB Bo Nix has struggled, but he seems to have gotten comfortable with the offense not depending solely upon him to bring home the bacon. They need to play ball control, no mistakes, no turnovers, no nothing. They’re going to need to play a perfect game, using the passing attack only to throw the Bulldogs defense off their guard. But stranger things have happened at Jordan-Haire. Just saying, … .

Georgia- The Dawgs more than likely have the best defense in the Nation. They are completely dominant, they are number one in just about every category, and they guard the endzone like they’re the Spartans at Thermopylae. “This is where we hold they line! This is where Persian come to die!” They’re that serious about shutting out other teams. The offense has been chewing up yards like a dog eats treats. Nothing has stopped them, and it all starts with their offensive line. They’re the reincarnation of the Redskins Hogs. In every game so far they’ve been the stars that have shined. The passing game, well, let’s continue to talk about the running game, because with J.T. Daniels on the sideline, the Dawgs haven’t had much of an aerial attack, – not that they’ve needed one. QB Stetson Bennett IV had to take off his monocle and top hat, (anyone whose name is Stetson Bennett IV has to have a monocle and top hat) and has played mistake-free;- not great, not fantastic, but mistake-free. His main job as been to hand off the ball and then get out of the way, which he’s done remarkably well.

What will happen – The Georgia defense is going to dominate; they’re going to shut down Auburn in such a way that it’s doubtful the Tigers will cross the 50 yard line. The only chance the Plainsmen have is to stop the UGA running game and put the game into Stetson Bennet IV’s throwing arm. If the Tigers can play mistake-free, and that’s a big “IF”, they might have a chance. Even if they play mistake- free, they’re still going to need the Ghosts of Jordan Haire to conjure up another incredible finish if the Tigers are to beat the Dawgs. It’s happened before. UGA wins and it’s not going to be pretty.

Alabama vs Texas A&M – The Daddy/Daughter Bowl! The Aggie offense has been spinning its wheels, they’ve got skill players who are good, but the quarterback play has been iffy, at best. Their offensive line has been the main problem. When the front seven works, they grind out the clock with their rushing attack, dominating time of possession, but in their last two games, they haven’t shown that they’re capable of dominating anyone. Their defense, which was supposed to be their strength, has not been able to get any turnovers. They’ve failed to get a takeaway in their last two games, both losses. But, they’ve had a habit of tackling Alabama running backs behind the line of scrimmage in prior years, and they’re going to need to do that on Saturday. They’re out of the Playoffs, even the Aggies realize this, they have nothing to lose, so why not beat Bama? Really, why not?

Alabama – comes into this game leaning heavily upon their running game. RB Brian Robinson had a huge game against Ole Miss, the team ran the ball 50 times for 210 yards producing four TDs. But this Saturday Robinson is a bit banged up, he’s still playing but his back-up RB Jase McClellan is out for the year with a knee injury. So, it’s next man up. Roydell Williams and Trey Sanders are going to be asked to answer the call. It wasn’t until last week that the Alabama defense showed their potential. For most of the game, they completely shut down the high-powered Ole Miss offense. They stuffed the Rebels four times in six tries on fourth down plays, making Lane Kiffin’s play calling seem pedestrian, at best. The defense may need a repeat performance against the Aggies at Kyle Field deep in the heart of Texas.

What will happen – The Aggie offense isn’t built to put its foot on the gas, it’s not organized to consistently pull off big plays, and it doesn’t play up-tempo. They’re supposed to run the ball down the throats of their opponents, but they just haven’t been able to do it. QB Zach Calzada has not been very efficient. The defense does a good job early in the game, but the Offense has too many three and outs, not giving the “D” enough time to rest. Alabama, on the other hand, has kicked their offense into high gear and doesn’t appear stoppable. If the Bama defense plays like they did for the first three quarters against Ole Miss, the Aggies will have too many problems to overcome. Once again, Alabama will win on their march to another National Title. The Daughter will be mad, I’ll get an ear full on how upset she is about it, but it’ll be worth it. Roll Tide!

Short Smokes

Against Temple, Cincinnati will not have any lingering effects from beating Notre Dame. The Bearcats will beat the Owls, too.

Arizona State will beat Stanford, because the Cardinal only knows how to Duck hunt

Ohio State might have a tough game against Maryland, if the Terps don’t turn the ball over again, and again, and again, and again, etc.

Michigan State runs rough-shod over Rutgers

Arkansas vs Ole Miss could be a tighter game than expected as each team needs a recovering win

Florida gets a break from competition against Vanderbilt. But Vandy did beat UConn last week, so the ‘Dores will be fired up.

IF Tennessee plays like they did against Mizzou, they’ll crush South Carolina. Then again, they could play like they have against everybody else, and lose.

West Virginia will play Baylor tough, but the Bears of the Brazos will prevail

Georgia Tech vs Duke – low scoring, nothing fancy, no big plays, but the Blue Devils win

Virginia should beat Louisville but the Cavaliers have a habit of losing when they shouldn’t

BYU will remain undefeated against Boise State because they’re not playing on the Blue Field

Wake Forest unleashes upon Syracuse, won’t even be pretty

SMU gallops over Navy

Florida State is having a tougher time this year than expected, and it’ll get worse against North Carolina

Wisconsin is going to be tripped up by Illinois. Remember, you read it here.

Oregon State has found the will and the way to win and that will continue against Washington State – Fear the Beavers!

Normally, TCU would be favored against Texas Tech, but this isn’t a normal year

Michigan is undefeated somehow, but there’s a feeling within the Force that they’re going to have a difficult time with Nebraska

Notre Dame needs to win against Virginia Tech, as in they NEED this win, but they’re not going to get it.

LSU has plenty of top talent to show against Kentucky, but they also have Coach O, and he’s not helping the Tigers. Who’s the greater handicap as a Head Coach, Orgeron or Urban Meyers? I think both know the Hooche-kootche dance moves.

Utah has a terrible record against USC, terrible, even when they’re favored, they lose to the Trojans

UCLA will have few problems with Arizona, no matter how much the Wildcats Bear Down

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

Leave a Response

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