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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 2 Preview

Week 2

What a way to start off the College Football season! Colorado upsets TCU and sends Coach Prime on a mission to brag and rant and yell about himself as much as he desires, and he desires a lot. Purdue got upended by Fresno State at home! Boston College was nicked in over time by Northern Illinois, Texas Tech allowed Wyoming to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in multiple overtimes. Army led their entire game until the end, (but we’re not allowed to talk about that). Florida State manhandled LSU to the point that it was embarrassing for the Tigers. Then Duke, who’s players have to worry about writing papers on Astro Engineering and Quantum Physics, topped the weekend with the most astounding upset of the all by beating #9 Clemson! The SEC, where it’s SUPPOSED to mean more, went 0-3 against quality out of conference games. We’ll have to wait and see if they can regain their composure this week.

#11 Texas vs #4 Alabama – In a rematch game, the Longhorns make the trip to Tuscaloosa, AL, and they have revenge in their eyes. Last year, on their friendly home turf, they had the Tide on the ropes and it was looking like they might pull off the victory when Bryce Young finally got it together and led the offense down the field where they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a last minute field goal. UT has not forgotten, they believe they should have won, and they believe that they can win this one, as well. QB Quinn Ewers was having a fantastic game last year until he was taken out with a shoulder injury and the argument could be made that if he had stayed in the game, it would not have been close enough for just a field goal to win. It’s a valid argument, as valid as any losers of football games offer.  The Horns, in their tune up game against Rice, had a very slow start, as they scored only one touchdown and three field goals in the first half against the Owls. In the third quarter they got it together and scored three touchdowns, making the game virtually out of reach for Rice. Last year, against Bama, the Horns may have been the superior team for most of the game. They are looking to see if they have improved enough to show whether that’s true or not. Alabama, for its part, didn’t have much trouble with Middle Tennessee State University, nor should they have, for crying out loud, they’re Alabama! Anything less than a dominant performance would be unheard of in a game like this. Having said that, there are a few things that were noticed, not by any of the high priced, big wig, sports writers, – no, they’re too busy trying to declare that Jalen Milroe has wrapped up the starting QB position and the debate is over. Why they’re jumping to this conclusion is unclear. Alabama’s offense, that was billed as the return to “murder ball,” did not show a “Murder” mentality against MTSU. The offensive line allowed two sacks, and quite a few hurries. They were also supposed to open up huge gaping holes in the defense for the running backs to literally waltz through,  but that didn’t materialize, either. If the offensive line, which is one of the biggest College lines ever, can’t live up to their billing against Middle Tennessee, what’s going to happen against Texas? There was one big difference and one prophesy that does appear to be true, and that is, the Alabama defense is MUCH more aggressive, they are far more dominant than they have been in recent years, and that was nice to see. Not many are giving Texas much chance in beating Alabama, and, as a Bama fan, I hope they are correct. But this game is going to be much closer than they, the big wig, la-de-da, over-paid sports writers, anticipate. The defense is going to go after the Longhorns and if the Tide wants to win, it has got to be the defense that sets the tone, because the offense has not shown it’s up to the task. QB Ewers for UT, has to fear for his life every time he steps back to throw the ball. Bama has to stop, not slow down, but STOP the UT offense. That way the Horns’ defense is on the field the most and gets worn down. Alabama is the pick to win, but it would not be all that much of a surprise if the Longhorns pulled the upset. I’ll still get mad and throw my Alabama jersey at the TV if they do, but it just won’t be a surprise.

Texas A&M vs Miami – In another rematch game, the Aggies make the trip to face the Miami Hurricanes. Last year Miami was bragging that they were back, the terrors of South Florida had risen from the ashes, and the ACC, along with the rest of the world, should brace for impact. That threat didn’t materialize, and instead of forming into a hurricane, they drifted apart over the ocean and developed all the characteristics of a tropical depression, dropping all the remaining important games on their schedule. In last year’s bout, the receivers should have cheated and caked their hands with “stick’em glue”, because they were dropping passing left and right. They were open, mind you, they just couldn’t catch the ball. The run game didn’t help out much, either, and that was the fault of their offensive line. HC Mario Cristobal addressed that concern in the transfer portal, and picked up two very good O-Line players, one from UCF and the other from Alabama (a back up at Bama, but still good). He also fired his offensive Coordinator and brought in Shannon Dawson. The offensive line must provide protection for QB Tyler Van Dyke who was a bit fragile last year. When he was upright, he could perform as a fully functional quarterback, but he wasn’t upright enough.  Against the Aggies, the Canes need to provide as much protection as they can without getting caught committing holding penalties. The A&M defense is trying to beef up their front line and looking to apply pressure on opposing QB’s. The Secondary of the Aggies was one of, if not the, highlights of the team last year. This year, they have three returning starters and one transfer in Tony Grimes, who looks to add some versatility to the secondary. The interesting part of A&M will be the offense. Last year HC Jimbo Fisher was calling the offensive plays, and had complete control over the entire Offense. This year he has hired Bobby Petrino. Maybe these two current and former head coaches can get along. If they cannot, the offense will collapse and it will all be over but the crying for any and all Aggie fans. Conner Weigman appears to have all the skills needed to be a high caliber quarterback, but he needs a stable environment to grow and get some help from the ground game. Last year’s main work horse, Rb Devon Achane, must be replaced, but no one has made that distinction of separating themselves from the others, so the Aggies are going with a run by committee approach, which can, and does, work as long as everyone is on the same page. This means that Petrino and Fisher are in agreement. I don’t see this happening, but, maybe, for this first real game of the season, they can agree on something, and Jimbo can keep his fingers out of Petrino’s gameplan. Do you believe this will happen? The entire Miami defense is getting an overhaul from last year, starting with replacing the Defensive Coordinator on down. There are a lot of unknowns with this defense, and to get a gauge on how well they are, or can be, this game is going to be their bellwether. My spy, The Daughter, was at A&M’s season opener, and even though the Texas Aggies won, she was not impressed with the defense against the markedly smaller team from New Mexico. There is work to be done with both teams, and they have a lot of ground to make up, for they both fell from grace last year and ended up at the bottom of the respective barrels. The Aggies should win, but for that to happen, no mistakes, no boneheaded calls, no mismanagement of the clock, and no allowing Miami big plays. This will be one of the more interesting games of the day, so hold on for a wild ride.

 Ole Miss vs Tulane – Before any nay-sayers out there accuse me of previewing a cupcake game, let me remind you that the Tulane Green Wave beat high powered USC in the Cotton Bowl and finished ranked ninth in the final AP poll. According to Ole Miss HC Lane Kiffin the desire for there to be a nine-game SEC schedule will be initiated because the Green Wave has that type of talent. QB Michael Pratt is the key to the Tulane offense;- as he goes, so they go. In their tune up game against South Alabama last week, he threw for 294 yards and rushed for 39. He was seen limping a little at the end of the game but assured everyone that he is fine. HC Willie Fritz has taken this Tulane team and made them part of the national conversation. Look for the Green Wave to butt heads and try to swamp the Rebels. This defense is serious. They didn’t beat USC because USC was upset they weren’t in the playoffs, this Tulane team had to score 16 points in the final four minutes of the game for them to get the victory, 46-45, and that’s against the Heisman Trophy winner, Caleb Williams. This teams returns a good number of its starters, its all-star quarterback and now they’ve got a “Can-do” attitude. They want to prove to everyone that last year was no fluke. For them to be taken as a legitimate contender they need to beat Ole Miss, and they have the capacity to do just that. The Ole Miss Rebels know they are not going to be able to sleep walk through the game. Their offense has to be operating on all cylinders because this will probably not be a low scoring game. The Rebels, with Kiffin, know how to move the ball, and score, and they’re going to do that. Tulane might throw some sand in the gears, but they won’t stop the Ole Miss offense. The real question is, can the Rebs defense, with new defensive coordinator Pete Golding,  stop the Tulane Green Wave attack? Nobody is sure of that answer. Golding came over from Alabama, where he did not prove that he could stop anyone. Slow them down, sure, but not stop. There wasn’t a Bama fan around that was sad to see him go. Against 1-AA Mercer, his Rebel defense did just fine. Ole Miss’s “D” under Kiffin has always been weak, playing a bend but don’t break style. If the Rebels’ defense EVER becomes good, Ole Miss will be almost impossible to beat. Tulane is heading into Golding’s defense and they just might pick it apart. Tulane has an attitude and they’re looking for the opportunity to prove they’re the real deal. Ole Miss is the pick to win, but just barely.

Short Smokes

Georgia continues their stroll through the tulips as they take on menacing Ball State.

Ohio State will follow UGA’s example and face Youngstown State, who used to give the Buckeyes a handful.

Penn State will walk all over Delaware, who are the Blue Hens

Notre Dame visits Raleigh and it’s possible they lose to NC State. It’s possible that they subdue the Wolfpack, too.

Utah vs Baylor a week ago was listed as a serious game, and then the Bears lost to Texas State in the opener, the Utes now crush the Bears.

K-State welcomes sometimes giant killer Troy, so the Wildcats better be careful

Clemson licks their wounds against Charleston Southern, still laughing over their loss to Duke.

Michigan, who never schedules any Power Five out-of-conference opponents, takes on UNLV, the cowards

Iowa and Iowa State battle it out for the bragging rights of the state, the Hawkeyes usually win.

Vanderbilt wants to have a signature win against Wake Forest, but will come up short

Army has not choice but to beat Delaware State. Delaware State? After Louisiana Monroe? Don’t tell me the Army ain’t woke.

Nebraska faces red-hot Colorado, at home, gotta go with the Buffs

Washington survives the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa

Tennessee won’t stumble against Austin Peay, darn it.

Could App State upset North Carolina? Yes. Will they? No.

SMU is fully capable of giving Oklahoma more than they bargained for

Texas Tech, who lost to Wyoming, now takes on Oregon. This will not be pretty for the Red Raiders

LSU limps home to face Grambling

Wisconsin vs Washington State, a definite must watch, could be highly entertaining

Cincinnati is not afraid of Pitt, nor do they like them. Panthers still prevail

Arizona marches to Dixie to face Mississippi State, Bulldogs introduce them to SEC style football.

UCLA better be ready for San Diego State, they nearly gave it up to Coastal Carolina last week.

It used to be that Southern Miss would pull a huge upset once or twice a year, that’s not going to happen this year against Florida State.

Auburn will be representing the South out west against California. If the Plainsmen falter, it gives me more reason to hate them.

In the Night Owl game, Oklahoma State will be testing new ASU head coach Kenny Dillingham’s Arizona State’s identity.

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