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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 11 Thursday Night Preview


Week 11 Thursday Night Preview


It’s November, which means each week’s games take us to a whole new level. Losing in this month is almost unforgiveable. It can cost BCS Championship dreams, or conference championships. To put it plainly, losing in November is costly! This Thursday night gives us, not one, but Two match ups with national implications. In the early game it will be Oklahoma vs. Baylor and the late game has the Oregon Ducks going up against their Arch-Nemesis Stanford;- high speed, multi-scoring offenses going up against hardcore disciplined defenses. If this doesn’t cause one to clear their Thursday night schedule, nothing will.

First up has former bottom feeders Baylor, who are now ranked # 5, playing # 12 Oklahoma. When Head Coach Art Briles arrived in Waco six years ago, the Bears were at the bottom of the Baylor BearsBig Twelve, which actually had 12 teams. He installed a fast-paced offense, recruited some young quarterbacks who had almost incredible throwing arms. One of them now plays for the Washington Redskins and has a Heisman Trophy sitting somewhere in his house in a climate-controlled  glass case. Now the Bears lead the nation with a 63.9 points per game average, 718.4 total yards per game and have been beating their opponents by an average of 48 points. Coach Briles now says, “I certainly think that people view us as a legitimate threat”. When you have your team scoring that many points per game, no, DUH, you’re a legitimate threat! Now the Bears of the Brazos enter the teeth of their backend loaded schedule.  Up to now the only test they had was Kansas State. Yes, the same K-State that lost to North Dakota State, they gave the Bears a nice scare. At the start of the 4th quarter the Bears were behind 21-25 and the defense of the Wildcats was wreaking havoc on them. A couple of well-placed throws by one of those incredible quarterbacks, and Baylor scored twice to win it. Last year BU didn’t give a lot of thought to playing defense, it must have been  thought that it was a bit beneath them. In the offseason, the coaches all got together and came to the conclusion that improvement on defense had become a necessity. Now, instead of just amassing points, they actually stop teams from scoring! Whew, what a concept! In only one game has a team scored above 30 and that was West Virginia. Of course, in that game the Bears racked up 73, so giving up 42 wasn’t that bad. None of the teams they’ve played knew how to run the ball efficiently, OU does. So the entire team is going to be tested Thursday.

Ok-la-ho-ma, Oklahoma, OK! Started off the season a bit slow. West Virginia gave them some trouble with neither team proving to be able to move the ball much. QB Knight was replace with Bell and the Sooners took off! They beat up on Tulsa and Notre Dame, had a bit of trouble with OklahomaTCU and then they just fell off a cliff against Texas. To say they didn’t play well would an understatement. OU regrouped and found their mojo again. They’ve already played against one high-octane offense in #10 Texas Tech and were able to contain them.  The offense does not have the same philosophy that Baylor does, they actually believe in a ball-control, time-consuming offense which they will desperately need Thursday.  OU’s offense is going to be the key to the entire game. They’ve got to run the ball and they’ve got to run the ball well. Like every time they hand off they need to gain at least 5 yards. Just keep handing the ball off, play after play after play, and then throw the ball just to keep the Baylor Defense from loading up the box every play. Keep the Bear offense in check by keeping it on the sidelines. If RB’s Clay, and Williams can keep moving the ball on long drives, OU will keep Baylor off the field. Let’s be serious, they are not going to stop the Bears. They may stop them some, but the Sooners’ best bet is to frustrate them by making that Bear Offense stand on the sideline. Then when they get on the field they’ll think they’ve got to push their passes to produce TDs to catch up. This game cannot be a shootout, Baylor loves shootouts, OU doesn’t. To keep it from becoming a shootout, OU has switched their defense from last year so that they have 3 defensive lineman and 5 defensive backs. So far, this has worked, except against Texas. Nothing worked in that game. Now the “D” is going up against the biggest test in the Big 12, which only has ten teams.

So who’s going to win? The numbers and stats all point to Baylor passing all over the Sooners. They score and score and score, and they have a defense that can stop second tier schools. OU is one of the big boys because they’ve earned that reputation. OU like to run and they know how to stop other teams. is picking….OU!  (half of CSF is picking OU. The other half likes Baylor)

The late game, starting at 9:00pm eastern, will feature the Champaign and Caviar’s Conference (CCC) version of the Game of the Year (GOTY), Oregon vs. Stanford! Actually, this game does have some national implications and a lot of eyes will be glued to the tube until late at night. Last year the Cardinal traveled up to Eugene, OR, and handed the Ducks their only loss of the season, which cost them the CCC Championship and the opportunity of getting beat by Alabama. Let’s face it, nobody in America was going to beat the Crimson Tide in the BCS Championship game, Nobody!Ducks  Ask Notre Dame, if you don’t believe me. All the thing that were on the line last year are on the line this year, but they’re playing on The Farm, Stanford’s home field. Oregon has the video champion football star, Marcus Mariota. The native Hawaiian has thrown for 2,281 yards, 20 TD’s, and no INT’s. No interceptions. Did you get that? NO INTERCEPTIONS! On top of that, he’s run for 511 yards with 9 TD’s. This clearly registers on the “Oh, Wow!” scale.  The Quack Attack rests strictly on speed, it’s like these guys drink three or four Red Bulls before the game. They move so fast it makes opposing teams appear to move in slow motion. The Ducks haven’t had a game yet where they failed to break 40 and stack up a ton of yards, mainly in the run game. If Mariota isn’t throwing the ball, he’s handing it off and watching his backs blaze a trail down the field. Or, he’s running himself, very fast, and very effectively. Oregon runs, runs and then throws the ball, more often than not, for a touchdown. In a couple of games they did have trouble in the first half, and, when I say trouble, it means the Red Bull took a little while to kick in. Once it did, off they went! Defensively, they haven’t been tested except, maybe, against Washington….no, not that Washington. Washington State scored 38 points on the Ducks, but two or three of those touchdowns came in the fourth quarter after “O” had pulled their starters and the second team as well, so this doesn’t count, either. Maybe they’ll be tested in this game, Stanford isn’t awed by the Ducks and they’ve moved the ball on them before.

Stanford has already had one let-down this year, against Utah, and it appeared to light a fire under them as they beat UCLA and Oregon State. UCLA was ranked # 9 at the time.  Stanford has Stanfordhad trouble besides Utah. They struggled against Army and they just escaped Washington. This is not the dominant offense they were in the past, when they ran the ball down the throat of defenses. They had good  “Luck”, who threw the ball all over the place, and is still doing so in the NFL, plus a hard-core running game. This year the running game is productive, they just don’t have that crushing feel about them. The passing game has taken a back seat and became languid. The Tree team is just not able to complete passes. They don’t have superstar receivers and QB Hogan is well behind Mariota in talent. All Stanford can do is run, which is what they did last year, to win. They ran the ball and controlled the clock. What’s the best way to keep Oregon from scoring? Keep that Offense off the field! It won’t be that easy as the Duck “D” is better than the Stanford Offense. So what does the Cardinal do? They have a defense, and it’s a good defense! They even have a Linebacker, Trent Murphy, who wrestles bulls. How bad is that? That’s tough! Folks down here in Texas like that. If he can hit a bull hard enough to knock it to the ground, how hard do you think those guys carrying the ball get hit? That’s gotta hurt. So the best thing Stanford can do is play defense like they’re wrestling bulls. They’ve got to own the line of scrimmage, disrupt the middle, and contain the ends. Easier said than done against Mariota and his minions. Hit those ball carriers so hard that at halftime they sit in a dark corner of the locker room rocking back and forth, dreading the second half. If they’re able to do this, Stanford has a chance of beating the Ducks.

Oregon wants revenge, they want pay-back. Stanford knows that if they win, the CCC crown is theirs for the taking and it will burst the Ducks’ bubble about playing Alabama. The Cardinal has too much trouble on offense, they’re not going to be able to match up with Oregon. It might be close for awhile, but the Ducks win. BIG.

Side Note: At the end of the Oregon’s games their fans have been heard shouting “We Want Bama!” At the last Alabama game a fan in Crimson held up a sign that read, “Texas wanted BAMA 37-21, LSU wanted BAMA 21-0, Notre Dame wanted BAMA 42-14….Good Luck!”


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