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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 11

Week 11

CigarSmokinFootball is going on the road this weekend! The A&M Daughter, who, as it turns out, is the only Daughter, and I will be attending the A&M vs Ole Miss football game down at Oxford, Mississippi. We were supposed to attend the Alabama vs USC game last year in Jerry’s World, but because of the lockdowns from overbearing politicians, that didn’t happen so we exchanged the tickets. It’s got to be better than the LSU vs Alabama game, where my Crimson Tide broke its scoring streak of 34 points per game, where they only gained 6 yards rushing;- my goodness, Derrick Henry with a broken foot could have gained more than 6 yards against depleted Tiger team. Safe to say, Alabama is not the Alabama we’ve gotten used to, and I, for one, don’t like it. Michigan State couldn’t stand the heat of being ranked in the top five, so they got beat up by unranked Purdue. Why, Spartans, seriously…why? Even Ohio State struggled against Nebraska. The Buckeyes won, but, somehow they shouldn’t have. Several other teams struggled and turned belly up. Mississippi State couldn’t get it together until late in the game, and, by that time, Arkansas believed they could win, and they did. Ole Miss didn’t have a cakewalk with Liberty. Kentucky gave it up to Tennessee, and Baylor watched TCU walk off the field winners in their first game without Coach Patterson in 20 plus years. There’s something in the air this year which allows anything to happen, it seems, and it is. As a for instance, Bama lost shamelessly to A&M early on and barely squeaked by a depleted LSU squad, playing is Tuscaloosa. Looming ahead for the Tide is sneaky good Auburn, and that’s in Jordan-Hare.

Texas A&M vs Ole Miss – The Daughter is excited, she’s never been to Ole Miss on game day, and, honestly, if you haven’t put it on your bucket list, you should. Every college has their game day traditions, and each one is different, and special, but Ole Miss takes it up a notch. Everyone dresses up for the game, it’s not just a social event, it’s snooty-patootie social event. Turning to football, Rebels have a rocking and rolling offense. They mainly rely on the pass, but they’re pretty good at running the ball, too. The Rebs rely on quick strikes with deep passes, then they’ll use the run to throw the defense off. What Ole Miss doesn’t have is an effective defense. This isn’t unusual this year, for only Georgia, in the SEC, feels the need to stop opposing teams from scoring. Oh, Ole Miss has guys that play on that side of the ball, but they don’t dominate anyone, but they have improved since the start of the season. Against A&M, they’re going to be tested to the max. This Saturday, they’ve got to stop the Aggies on third downs. Okay, wait, they also need to be good on second and first downs, as well. The Rebs need to force a few Aggie punts. Not a whole lot, just once in a while.

Texas A&M – The offensive wasn’t in sync at the start of the season, then they lost their starting QB and the entire season appeared to be a wash. Against Alabama, they came out and played the most perfect game they were capable of playing, and they won. Since that time, they’ve been a different team. Their O-line gelled and began working as a unit, the running game shot off the ground like a rocket, and the passing game improved greatly when the QB stopped throwing the ball to people in opposite jerseys. They’ve turned into a well-grounded ball control team. The defense was good from the start, but they were on the field so much, because of the inept offense, that they were worn out in the fourth quarter. Now that they’ve been allowed to at least catch their breath before they’re called on again, they are much, much better.

What to expect –  Ole Miss – by the way, ‘Old Miss’, and/or ‘Old Mississippi’ is not only incorrect, but is a breach of Southern Honor, tradition, and history –  will come out the gates with guns blazing, every play intending to score, they’re going to use their whole arsenal of weapons. A&M will try to avoid getting into a shootout. As good as the Aggie defense is, they are probably not capable of shutting down a Lane Kiffin offense completely. They may be able to slow it down a bit and make Ole Miss work harder for the yards, but stopping them is not going to happen. The Aggies need to control the ball beyond belief, they need to run the ball so much that it makes ghosts of coaches from the Big 10 smile with memories of the three yards and a cloud of dust offenses. Not sure if HC Fisher will want to do that, but that’s what they need to do. When Ole Miss makes a quick strike, the Aggies need to make Mississippi’s offense wait half a quarter before they get to come back onto the field. With the offense starting cold every time they get the ball, that may prevent the Rebels/Black Bears/Land Sharks from scoring too much. Aggies need to win, they hold the tie-breaker over Alabama, and if the Tide trips up, and it’s highly possible this year, then A&M gets to face Georgia in the SEC championship game.

Oklahoma vs Baylor – This is a trap game for Oklahoma, although, the way the Sooners are playing, every game is a trap game. Even with the change at QB from Rattler to Williams, the Sooners are still struggling. They didn’t struggle that much with Texas Tech, but not many teams do this year. They trailed Kansas at halftime. Do you believe what you just read? Oklahoma trailed Kansas at halftime, and had to score 36 points in the second half to eke out a win. The last time they played at Baylor, two years ago, the Sooners fell behind, 28-7, in the second quarter, but rallied to win, 34-31. This Sooner team has troubles in the first half, they don’t stop opponents, and they don’t move the ball well. Then, in the second half they become a whole new team, they come from behind and end up winning the game. This isn’t the ideal way to win, but they do it and it’s worked, so far this season. Saturday they go up against just their second ranked opponent of the season. This should cause some concern in Norman. Even though QB Caleb Williams has inject new life into their offense, it may not be enough. Against the Bears along the Brazos, OU can’t get way behind. Well, maybe they can, but it’s not advisable.

Baylor – who was playing great, stubbed their toe against TCU. The Bears are coming off a tough loss, 30-28. Maybe they were looking forward to the OU game and forgot they were playing football in Ft Worth. Whatever the reason, Baylor needs to get over it, and fast. They’ve already got two losses within the conference, and a third will knock them out of contention. BU, when they are playing well, has relied on the run game. RB Abram Smith, who was a starting linebacker last year, has gained 125 yards or more in the last three games. He’s already topped 1,000 yards with 11 TD’s. What else would you expect from a former linebacker running the ball? Smith is not afraid of getting hit, as a matter of fact, he’s all for doing the hitting. When opposing defenses have been worn down from getting smacked around, RB Trestan Ebner comes out on the field and he’s the fast one, the Lightning for Smith’s Thunder. He tries to simply out run the defense that has tired legs. In the past, BU has been a pass-happy team, and, although they like to throw the ball, they don’t do it much. When they do, they’re pretty good at it.

What to expect –  Everyone says its going to be the same as any other OU game. The Sooners fall behind, then come back late in the game. Only, that would be the worst thing they could do this Saturday. If they get behind to Baylor’s Bears, it’s going to be lights for the Sooners. In their the other games, when OU starts their patented comeback run, the other teams feel the need to score quickly to protect their lead. Baylor doesn’t seem to care. If and when they get the lead, they’re going to grind the ball like Samson at the millstone. One slow step at a time, and they’ll keep that stone turning, slowly but surely crushing the Sooners.  As long the Oklahoma offense doesn’t have the ball, there’s no way they can come back. Baylor wins, the Cousin will be happy.

Penn State vs Michigan – Early in the season the Nittany Lions were invited to all the fancy parties, they were talked about in the  Who’s Who circles of college football, and life was good! Then they lost three straight games, and all those nice invitations stopped coming and no one was talking to them anymore. Maybe they were being talked about, but it wasn’t complimentary. They rebounded against Maryland, but that’s not enough to get back into good graces. Beating Michigan, who just happens to be ranked sixth in the nation, now that would attract attention. Penn State has the same thing that Michigan State had, and Michigan State beat the Wolverines, before losing to Purdue, – a strong defense. The Nittany Lions rank second in the nation in sacks and third in tackles for loss. Their pass rush is excellent, and they can stonewall against the run. Where they’ve gotten burned is when the opposing team passes. Kind-of like Alabama’s defense, if the opposing team can complete passes, Penn State struggles. The offense has not played a complete game. At times, they appear unstoppable, then they trip over blades of grass. They’ll drive down the field with purpose, and then they look like they want to play a game of jacks instead of football. They’re not going to play a complete game against Michigan, either, but, if they can play just a bit better than against Maryland, they’ll have better than a 50-50 chance.

Michigan –  who’s playing flakier Michigan? Nooooooooooooobody! In every game they play like they are on the verge of a meltdown. They’ve made it to 8-1, but to call them dominant would be a corruption of the word. They follow the tried and true Great White North moniker, run the ball, run the ball, and, when all else fails, run the ball some more. The Wolverines average 234 rushing yards per game. Where they get in trouble is when they turn the ball over, and they’ve been prone to do that all season. In their loss to their Baby Brother Spartans, they dropped the ball plenty. QB Cade McNamara started off being very protective in his passes, then when the pressure started to mount against Baby Brother MSU, and Nebraska, he chucked  several interceptions. There has been one thing that the Wolverines have done more than any other team, and that’s to do things that cause their fans to perform a facepalm, while shaking their heads, and asking, “why in the world did they do that?”

What to expect – Who the hell knows what to expect?! Michigan might come out and play with their hair on fire, only to trip themselves up by turning the ball over three to four times. Penn State could, COULD, come out and be the most consistent team they’ve been all season. Then again, they might not. Nobody knows. What we do know is that all the talking heads, who know about as much as the average fan, are all happy that Michigan, and Loud Mouth Harbaugh, are winning. This, of course, means that CSF is going the other way and picking against Michigan. If Penn State can be consistent most of the game, not all of it, just most, they’ll win. Michigan is who looks like they’re about to have a mental breakdown every game, is going to choke, yet again.

Short Smokes

Cincinnati needs to stop messing around and blow out South Florida

Boise State will beat Wyoming, only because its on the blue field

Alabama better stop whatever it is they’re doing and use this game against New Mexico State to get it all together.

Mississippi State would love to beat Auburn

Northwestern will try, but it won’t be enough against Wisconsin

Clemson, bless their hearts, will win, but it’s against UConn, so, yeah, no big deal.

This doesn’t happen often, but in the Syracuse vs Louisville game, The Orange is the pick. – it’s a strange year.

K-State will not lose to West “By golly” Virginia, not on their home field

Army rolls all over Bucknell

Utah better be on their toes, because Arizona, even though they’ve lost all but one game, are playing better than most people expect

Georgia will destroy Tennessee, but, oh, how I’ll laugh if they lose to the Vols. I’m for the Dawgs, but it’ll still be funny

Minnesota has found their way again and they’re going to upset Iowa

UTSA is determined not to lose this season and they’re not going to against Southern Miss

There was a time, many, many years ago, where the Miami vs Florida State game would be of national interest. Still the Hurricanes win

Boston College tramples Georgia Tech

Iowa State does the same against Texas Tech

Michigan State wins against Maryland, but only because the Terps don’t beat ranked teams.

Oregon State will beat Stanford like a beaver gnawing on a tree.

Arizona State does not play well in the northwest, but they’re still going to beat Washington, only it will be close

Virginia is perfectly capable of beating Notre Dame, but won’t in a million years

NC State vs Wake Forest is a far more interesting game than most people think, for both these teams are good.

LSU gave all they had against Bama, and lost, they’re not going to have anything left for Arkansas. Except, maybe, perhaps, the Tigers pounce on the Hogs and turn them every which way but loose.

Oklahoma State still believes they can win the conference, so they’re not going to mess up against TCU

Not sure if Oregon realizes they can’t lose to Washington State, hopefully someone told them.

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