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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 9

Week 9

It’s the last weekend in October which means it’s gut check time! November is the month where everybody gets separated, it’s the last turn before the home stretch. Anyone that thinks they deserve to be elite, now’s the time to prove it! Georgia, at the moment, is the lead horse, but Saturday is the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party and it wouldn’t be the first time Florida has disrupted the Dawgs season. Cincinnati is still second, even though they stumbled a bit against Navy last week, still got the win, but, man, it should not have been that close. Oklahoma loves playing from behind, as in, LOVES IT, maybe they need to feel the dregs of defeat before they figure out what to do, who knows. Alabama has the week off, and, whew, they need it. If anyone knows of a defensive coordinator that understands how to defend against the pass, please contact the Crimson Tide Athletic Department at Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Present DC Golding has no idea what to do when the opposing offense passes. Wake Forest is having their best year since Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his first fireside chat. And, has anyone else noticed but UTSA is undefeated and nipping at their heels is UTEP? The Miners, who have always lost more games than they’ve won, have flipped the script. It’s a great year in College Football! 

Michigan vs Michigan State – This is the first time in history when these two will meet each other with each one at 7-0. Not only that, but these two haven’t faced each other where both were ranked in the top 10 since 1964. Knowing this, there should be a lot more hype for this game than what they are getting, which only tells us that no one really believes that these two are Top Ten material. There’s good reason for that. Michigan, when one looks at just the stats, is ferocious at running the ball. They piled up 335 yards on the ground in three straight games but they were against Western Michigan, Washington and Northern Illinois, which is not something to highlight on their resume. The only “big” win they have is against Wisconsin, and the Badgers were more than willing to give up the ball multiple times. They were having a two-for-one specials that day. But the Wolverines do have some hope, their offensive line is one of the best in the country at run blocking and with the fewest sacks allowed. The defense is ranked second in the nation, behind Georgia, and they don’t turn the ball over. In the “Save Coach Harbaugh’s job” year, the Maize and Blue have relied on a slow methodical run game to win the day. They want to hold on to the ball as long as possible, three yards and a cloud of dust is what they like.

Michigan State –  Here come the Spartans! The last time they were undefeated at the end of October, they made it to the Playoffs, only to get trampled by some Crimson Elephants, but, hey, they made it! Here they are trying to repeat that success, and they’re best bet is their defense. In every game but one, they have at least three sacks. It was Youngstown State were they only got two. The D-Line has been fantastic against the running game as well. This defense is detail ordinated, where every player knows their assignments, there is no guessing. (I wonder if this DC would like a new job…say, down south, in Alabama) but, then again, this team is suffering from the same problem as their cross state rival. They haven’t beaten anyone with a winning record. Miami has been their biggest victory. So, stats are nice until one sees who they’ve actually played. However, this is a rival game, they don’t like each other, even though it seems MSU has more hate in their heart than UM.

What will happen-  The Spartans rely on big plays to get the ball down the field, their offense has struggled to move the chains on a consistent basis, and they seem to have trouble holding onto the ball.  Michigan is the number one ranked team in time of possession in the nation, except for Army, Western Michigan, Air Force, and Navy. There is nothing they do that is sensational or flashy, they just very slowly chew up the yards and wear defenses down, as in they move like molasses, but they are moving. What the Spartans have in their favor is Coach Harbaugh. He has a terrible record in big games, stretching all the back to his playing days. If Michigan wants to win, they need to make sure the loud-mouth-SEC-bashing coach is fasting on Saturday, no need to give him anything to chew on.

Georgia vs Florida – The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party! Let’s get it on! Florida is not the same fun and gun type offense they were last year under Kyle Task. They’ve had some good games, like when they played Alabama, they kept it close. That might be because Alabama Defensive Coordinator Pete Golding has never learned how to defend a passing team, or even a pass. The Gator offense leaves a lot to be desired, they are on fire at times when everything is working, and then, nothing. They get stuck in the mud and just spin their tires. The word dominate has never been uttered about Florida’s defense, at least, not since Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, but they could actually hold teams for awhile, and allow their offense to score a couple more times. Nowadays, the defense is being relied upon more and more, and they’re just not up to the task. Against Georgia, the defense has one job, stop the running game and make UGA pass the ball. Not sure which QB will be playing, but if it’s Daniels, he hasn’t played all year, Bennett is great at handing the ball off, but iffy at throwing. If the Gators can force the passing game they’ve got a chance.

Georgia – Nobody runs against this defense, no way, no how, and they don’t pass very well against them either, but the run is not permitted. Everything the Dawgs are, is pinned on the defense. They are the most dominate in the country, they allow the fewer points, fewer yards, and are number one in tackles for a loss. The D-Line has been feasting upon opposing offensive linemen, and they are terrific at forcing three and outs. But, if they do have a weakness, it would be the secondary. If the D-line doesn’t sack the QB, the secondary allows receivers to catch the ball. Now those receivers are tackled immediately, but the catch is made.  If Florida can get their passing game going, it will cause these defensive players to stay out on the field for extended periods of time and they’re just not used to that. This is the best defense Kirby Smart has had since his days as the Defensive Coordinator at Alabama. The reports are that QB JT Daniels is healthy and can play this weekend, but is this the best time for him to be starting his first game of the season? Maybe they stick with Bennet IV who is spectacular at handing the ball off. This kid has that down pat! He does throw occasionally, and has some good tosses, but that’s not his strength.

What will happen – What is expected is that UGA will come out of the locker room with steam blowing out their nostrils and like a steam locomotive they will run over any and all obstacles on the track. That’s what should happen, but not too long ago Georgia entered this game as a heavy favorite, HUGH favorite, and from the opening kick-off they couldn’t tie their shoes correctly, much less play the game of football. In one of the most bizarre games in history, they ended up getting smacked down by the Gators in an unceremonious way. Not saying that will happen this Saturday, but it could. Georgia is going to win, maybe not by a huge point spread, but it’ll be enough.

Ole Miss vs Auburn –  Winston Churchill, in a radio broadcast made the quote of “Russia is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Change the word “Russia” to “Auburn” and it fits. Bo Nix did not start the season off well, he got benched and then saved the day against LSU. At this point in the space/time continuum, he appears to be playing well. He’s not awe inspiring, but good, that might change by tomorrow, and then change again on Saturday, nobody knows. What he’s not doing is making those big, boneheaded decisions. The offense has been made simpler and that seems to fit for this Tiger Offense.  They like to run the ball and they have a lot of talent in the backfield where they rotate their backs all game long. No stand outs, but, put together, they make an opposing foe, especially at Jordan-Haire.

Ole Miss –  The Rebel offense is 2nd in the nation, just behind Ohio State, only the Rebels have actually played teams with winning records. The Lane Train offense is explosive, fast, and battle-tested. QB Marr Corral has cut back on his mistakes and gotten back into his Heisman form. The Rebels move the ball at Warp speed and they’ve gotten much better at it since the start of the season. The Defense, which was mainly ornamental, has also improved. They stepped up in a big way against LSU last week, they weren’t UGA good, but the improvement that they showed since August was impressive. The Rebs want their offense to be the focal point, nothing is going to change that, but if they ever get that defense to be even close to the elite level, they’ll be hard to beat.

What will happen – Auburn is going to be fired up for this game, they’ve some momentum, and they’ve cut back on their big mistakes. Taking down a top ten team like Ole Miss would do wonders for them. Not only that, but Ole Miss, Auburn, and Alabama each have one loss in the SEC West, so a shot at the title is potentially up for grabs to the winner. Even with all the improvements that the Tigers, Alabama variety, have made, it won’t be enough to keep up with the speed of Ole Miss. The Rebels of the South will run and pass all over the field, and they’re going to score points. Auburn will try to keep the ball for long periods of time as they run, run, run the ball in the effort to keep that Mississippi offense anywhere but on the field. This might not be a high scoring game, if Auburn is successful at keeping the ball, but the problem is Ole Miss will get the ball and these Tigers will not be able to stop them. Hotty Toddy takes down War Eagle.

Short Smokes

Cincinnati shouldn’t have any problems with Tulane, but they shouldn’t have had problems with Navy either.

Iowa has got to take down Wisconsin, they can’t afford another slip up.

Texas is going to jump out to a good sized-lead over Baylor, and then give it up. Is Aranda going to LSU?

Miami took down NC State, but they’re going to have a much worse fate against Pitt

Iowa State seems to have found their groove again, and should keep it up against West Virginia

If Oklahoma insists upon always coming behind it’s going to catch up with them, maybe not against Texas Tech, but it could

The Oregon Ducks are far better than the Buffaloes of Colorado

Wake Forest will continue their run of victories against Duke

Kentucky might slip up against Mississippi State, but might not

Oklahoma State  has the week off against Kansas

Ohio State will crush Penn State, even with all the hype that this game is getting

North Carolina needs this win over Notre Dame, they are desperate for it, but the Tar Heels won’t beat notre in a mud puddle, much less at South Bend

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