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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 8

Week 8

Penn State vs Ohio State– Who wants the game more? Talk about evenly matched, these two teams are almost on the same latitude,m they’re so even., They each have six wins and no losses, and both have kind-of, sort-of, proven themselves. So it looks like it’s going to come down to who wants the victory the most. Penn State, under Head Coach James Franklin, needs a major signature win, like beating Michigan, or Ohio State, or, Heaven forbid, Alabama, to broadcast that the Nittany Lions are back. Under Franklin’s tenure PSU has been good, but they’ve never gotten over their Ohio State & Michigan hump. Both teams are about as tuned up as they can get. Penn State has two good wins;- their first was against a much-better-than-it-appeared-at-the time victory over West Virginia. Their second came against offensively inept Iowa, whom they pasted, 31-0. The Lion’s boast about having the number 1 defense in the nation, but when their numbers were achieved against “powerhouses” like UMass, Delaware, and Northwestern it’s hard to put a lot of stock in that number 1 ranking. Their secondary is good at shutting down a passing game, but, against Ohio State, that probably won’t be tested severely. This is where the padded numbers might come back to haunt them, as they have to shut down the Buckeyes’ running game. The PSU’s offense has been pretty well balanced, they move the ball down the field in a slow, methodical, way, but, so far, no one has been able to stop their stately marches. Ohio State has to be feeling good, after they defeated Notre Dame, who just destroyed high speed USC. However, the Bucks have problems of their own. HC Ryan Day is teetering upon being placed on the hot seat, as he’s lost to Michigan two years in a row and there was plenty of flack being put up at the start of the season that they were underperforming against lesser competition. QB Kyle McCord has yet to win the fans over, even though their passing offense ranks 15th in the nation. The offense did just enough to beat Notre Dame, but they have not shown the overpowering, go-for-the-jugular offensive fire power the Buckeye faithful have grown used to. This’ll more than likely be a defensive battle, so expect a low scoring game. Which team holds on to the ball the longest and is able to wear down the other’s defensive line will get the victory. This appears to favor Penn State, but that’s why the game must be played, because what looks good on paper doesn’t always equal the performance on field. Going to go with Penn State, winning by a field goal.

Tennessee vs Alabama– The Crimson Tide hasn’t looked good all season long. Oh, sure, they beat A&M and they took down Arkansas but they haven’t been the Alabama we (and yes I mean we because I’m a huge Alabama fan) have grown accustomed to. Last year the Vols snapped a 15 year losing streak with a last second field goal to win the game in Knoxville. However last year, Alabama had Bryce Young at Quarterback, and this year the Tide has been down graded to QB Milrose who hasn’t turned in a mistake-free game all season. Alabama has improved since their 10 point loss to Texas, but how much they’ve improved has yet to be determined. The big offensive line has got to stop making mistakes, and it’s time to live up to expectations and become brutal in the run game. If, and it’s a big “IF,” the offense can move the ball on the ground, pile up first downs, dominate the line of scrimmage, they’ll wear down the Vols. By the fourth quarter, Tennessee’ll be battered, bloody, and the best part will be, it’ll keep Milrose from passing much, because when he does pass a lot, he throws INTs. The less he throws, the better. The Bama defense has improved but they’re not the Imperial Force they’ve been in the past. Tennessee likes to run the ball and they like to play at a fast tempo. For some reason, they couldn’t get it going against Florida, when they should have. Their QB position has also been downgraded from last season, to Michigan transfer Joe Milton, who does not do very well when the pressure is on him. UT relies heavily on the run, they rank 6th in the nation and in the past couple of weeks they have racked up over 300 yards per game. Alabama’s defense has shown, at least so far, that they can stop the run. When Texas beat the Tide, QB Quinn Ewers had to make several clutch throws and he ended up passing for 349 yards. QB Milton hasn’t turned a game of that sorts in his career. So, which fans will be lighting up victory cigars at the end of the game? It had better be me and the rest of the Alabama fans! But for this to happen, the Bama defense has to turn in their best game of the season, and the rushing attack has to eat up yards like they’re Pac-Man eating up dots. If they allow that UT high speed attack to spend a lot of time on the field, those horrible orange-clad fans will be the ones enjoying the cigars. Alabama has their backs up against the wall in every remaining game, they can’t afford to lose any, and, hopefully, St. Saban will have them ready. Alabama is going to win, hopefully.

Duke vs Florida State At the start of the season, if anyone would have even suggested that this game would be a premier game, they would have been drug tested immediately, yet, here we are. The Blue Devils are the Cinderella team of the year. They bested Clemson to start the season and they’ve been riding that wave to victory after victory. They stumbled against Notre Dame, but they weren’t blown out as usual. Last week with star QB Leonard out, they were able to overcome NC State by 21 points. Now they travel to Tallahassee to see if their luck holds out. What’s going on in Durham, NC? Well, its an easy answer;- they play solid, mistake-free football. They hit their blocks, they’re not turning the ball over, and their defense doesn’t back down. They’re not scared by anyone, they enter every game believing they’re going to win. Florida State, this week’s opponent, is playing like it’s Bobby Bowden patrolling the sidelines again instead of Mike Norvell. They’re not as dominant as the 90’s Seminoles, but they find a way to win. Against Boston College, they weren’t on point, but they did what they needed to do. They then defeated their ghosts and beat Clemson, which took a monkey off their back, shades of yesteryear, and in their last two games, VA Tech and Syracuse, the Noles have played freer and with a lot more confidence. Duke is going to have their hands full, but they’re going to play tough, They know that if they’re able to scalp the Seminoles, that Notre Dame loss won’t look so bad. The game won’t be decided until late in the third quarter, possibly even the fourth, but Florida State’s deep bench will prevail.

Short Smoke:

UCF is just plain overmatched against Oklahoma

Air Force, ranked in the top 25, has a field day with Navy

Mississippi State vs Arkansas- both teams need to win, the Hogs want it more

Rutgers is playing far better than Indiana

Boston College and Georgia Tech are evenly matched, go with the Eagles

Baylor still hasn’t found themselves, but they might still win against Cincinnati

Memphis is playing pretty well, and UAB isn’t

Washington State could be catching Oregon at the right time;- then again, it might be the worst time, as the Ducks need to make a statement

Missouri will add to South Carolina’s woes

Iowa has lost only one game so far and Minnesota more’n likely won’t make it two.

Wisconsin is still trying to find themselves but so is Illinois, Badgers pull out the victory

Nebraska vs Northwestern, pick ‘em. I pick Ne-bras-ka.

Pitt beat Louisville and the Panthers might be feeling cocky as they take on Wake Forest

Oklahoma State should fall to West “By Golly” Virginia…should but may not.

Texas is going to dominate Houston, and then some

North Carolina is a heavy favorite against Virginia

Ole Miss will destroy Auburn, I will enjoy it.

TCU falls to K-State

Michigan will have little to no trouble against Michigan State, as they continue to play only teams with losing records

Utah- if the Utes had Rising back, it could hand USC their second loss


Clemson, who has fallen out of favor in the College Football Playoff, can regain some creditability by beating Miami

In the Late Game, Arizona State will not enjoy their trip to Seattle as the Huskies punish them for keeping them up late

UCLA gets Stanford in the Late Game double header.

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