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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 10 Preview

The selection committee released its first top 25. Of the top four schools, three of them were in the SEC, (1) Mississippi State, (3) Auburn, and (4) Mississippi. The have-nots whined about there being an SEC basis and how its ruining college football. Kirk Herbstreit was asked if ESPN had an SEC bias. His response can be summed up in this, “The reason people think there is an SEC bias, is because the SEC wins.” For this week’s preview let’s take a look at the Power Five and how they stack up.


Florida State will be the champion of this conference, the only meaningful contest they have left on their schedule is at Louisville. Should the Cardinals beat the Seminoles, FSU can kiss its chance at being in the final four good-bye. There are no opponents within the ACC that can rival212 its image as a top tier team. Duke is at 6-1, with total command of the ACC costal division. Saturday they take on Pitt, 4-4, and there is a distinct possibility that Pitt wins this game. It doesn’t mean that Pitt is on the same plane as Florida State, cause they’re not, but the Panthers are pretty good, just not elite. Behind Duke is Georgia Tech, and the Jackets take on Virginia, who is doing all it can to make it to a good bowl game. Boston College, at 5-3, who upset USC, has lost to Pitt, Colorado State, and Clemson. Their opponent is Virginia Tech, who upset Ohio State and then lost to East Carolina, Georgia Tech, Pitt, and Miami, (the loss to Miami was pretty decisive). North Carolina, who has become the poster child for unpredictability, reminds me of Michigan State a few years ago;- will they play well this game or phone it in? No one knows until after the game. The Tar Heels face Miami, who honestly doesn’t have a real signature win this season. On the national stage, none of these teams will affect the selections committee, because they’ve all lost multiple times. Right now the ACC has four ranked teams, Florida State is the only one in the top ten, Clemson ranks 21, Duke 24th and Louisville at 25th. The only way to keep four teams ranked is for Louisville to upset Florida State Thursday night. (By the time this will be published the game will have already been played)


The ACC just doesn’t have the competition that the other conferences have. The only way anyone from this conference advances to the Final Four is to win out, or for Yellowstone to erupt and take out half the nation. But, geologists say we’ve got a couple of thousand years before that happens, so the ACC shouldn’t depend on Yellowstone this year.
Big 12, that only has ten teams.
357Who within the Big-12, that has only ten teams and no championship game, has the best chance of making it? Right now, there are three teams with one loss, TCU, K-State, and Baylor, but they have five teams ranked in the top 25. Only problem is, Oklahoma and West “By Golly” Virginia already have two losses apiece. TCU’s loss was to Baylor, who lost to WVU, who wasn’t even ranked when they played and the fact that neither team has a defense worth mentioning hurts, it hurts a lot. K-State, the other one loss team, would appear to have the best shot, because they’ve only lost to Auburn, who is ranked #3, and they darn near won that one. The only ranked teams that any of these teams play are each other. WVU already has two losses and might have another one after Saturday as they play TCU. K-State has two things the others don’t;- 1) Coach Bill Snyder and 2) a good Defense that actually stops opposing offenses. Quick anecdote: Coach Bill Snyder was asked why the Wildcats don’t commit penalties very often, his response was, “Well, if they get penalized, we shoot ‘em.” That is why K-State is in the running for the final four. Who wants to get shot?


Traditional powers Texas and Oklahoma are already out of the running. Oklahoma State is on a downhill slide that will continue against K-State. Or, it might not, they have a history of beating K-State, but it won’t matter to the Committee, except to eliminate the Wildcats. Then, Texas Tech, Kansas, and Iowa State will not help within their conference. On top of that, with no Conference Championship game. It’ll be difficult for them to say they belong when all the others will have played one extra game against a ranked opponent. Big 12, with only ten teams, is going to have a hard time making it.
Great White North Conference
The Great White North title is Michigan’s State’s for the taking. All they have to do is beat everyone left on their schedule. Simple. Win ‘em all, 231including Ohio State, who the Spartans fear not, and it’s done. Will this insure they enter the final four? CSF says, “yes”, but for any other team from the GWN, “no”. Wisconsin and MSU are the only ones that faced any highly ranked teams from a power conference. Both lost. The other schools either refused to play someone from a power conference or scheduled one of the teams that are at the bottom of the league. Indiana is the exception, well, Wisconsin, too. They faced Missouri and LSU, both from the SEC, and split the games, 1-1. The rest have got to suck it up and play the big name schools, and they have to win those games. Nebraska is a one-loss team, to Michigan State, but who was their toughest out of conference foe? McNeese State! They needed a miracle play to pull out the win. This is not the way to impress the Committee. Maybe there is a Curse of the Hat, after all.
Maryland and Penn State are both playing well, but each has three losses and one is going to give the other a loss Saturday. Rutgers will fall to Wisconsin but it won’t help the Badgers’ cause. Michigan and Indiana are both out. Iowa only has two losses but beating Northwestern is not going to help them because losing to Iowa State,- ok, in an instate rivalry, anything can happen, – but losing to Maryland is a huge blackeye.
The saving grace that the Great White North Conference has may be that they have a conference championship game, and the Big 12, that has only ten teams, doesn’t. If not for that fact, the GWN would be the weaker conference.
The PAC-12 is a good conference, they have plenty of competition, and they’re willing to take on outsiders! They’re just top heavy. Oregon is the cream of the Northern division, Stanford has already lost three games but would love nothing better than to ruin the Ducks’ season by beating them. Fear not, the Quack Attack is humming along quite smoothly. Washington, Oregon State, California and Washington State, all have losing conference records right now. The Southern Division, as all southern divisions should be, is tough. Both Arizona schools are in the running, and Utah, believe it or not. USC,… aw, too bad, Pat Hayden,… UCLA and Colorado are out of contention. Should Oregon run the table, they’ll be in. If Arizona State, Arizona or Utah runs the table, they’re in. Considering that they all play each other in the south, two of those teams are going to drop out. The PAC-12 Champion is more than likely in;- actually, it’s a good bet the West Coast Champion will be in.
A lot of people out there are complaining that the SEC gets more coverage than anybody else. Everyone in the SEC says, “Whaaa! Stop you’re crying. If you want to be the best, beat the best”. Florida State did it last year and look at them, they’re ranked number two in the nation and I can’t find a soul outside Tallahassee that honestly believes they’re the number two team in the nation. The reason the SEC is thought to get more coverage and talked about more is because they WIN! See the top of this article.
#3 Ole Miss hosts #4 Auburn. Who, in the college football nation, is not going to be tuning in for that game? Nobody! Everyone that has even the slightest interest in college football will be keeping up with this game. Why? Because this game has meaning to it, the outcome will have a 535national impact. Should Auburn lose, it will hurt K-State;- a War Eagles win helps the Wildcats. Ole Miss loses and it opens the door for another team to assume the 4th spot. Arkansas plays #1 Mississippi State. The Razorbacks, who have not won an SEC game going on two years now, might actually give the Bulldogs of Mississippi, a game. I doubt they will but everyone knows within the SEC its possible! Beilema’s having a hard time accepting this fact. Tennessee playing South Carolina would be one of those games everyone would watch if Coach Fulmer were still at UT, just to watch how Coach Spurrier would get under Fulmer’s skin. Its still going to be a good game because, honestly, within the SEC nobody likes anybody very much. Don’t believe me, watch the World’s Largest Cocktail Party, Florida vs. Georgia. It doesn’t matter that Florida is having a down year. If the Georgia Bulldogs get the chance to stomp the Gators into swamp mud, they’ll do it, and vice versa. But when an SEC team plays an out of conference foe, the whole conference pulls for the SEC team, (except Tennessee, we all want UT to lose). If LSU was playing an out of conference team, the fans of Ole Miss would suck it up and pull for the Tigers. They might have to spruce up the cokes with an added adult beverage, but they’d do it. Because they know, should LSU win, it helps the Rebels out. SEC fans know these things.


North Alabama takes on Delta State, have I mentioned that I do not like Delta State? Well I don’t they were a rival when I played for UNA and my feelings have not changed. Not. One. Bit. Roar Lions!

Next week I’ll cover more of the games.

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