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Week 12 Preview

Week 12 Preview

Week 12 is upon us, if the first 11 weeks haven’t gotten one interested in this college season, nothing ever will. The run for the final four is still up for grabs, some teams have an easy road ahead of them (Florida State), but if there is one thing that we’ve learned it’s that anything can happen at any time.



The Easy Coast Conference has a couple of games that should spark some interest. First off, a game that used to make the entire nation tune in;- 212Florida State – Miami. Just about everyone is pulling for Miami, except the Tallassee demographics. It used to spell death for FSU, wide right, wide right and wide left, but times have changed. Now the Seminoles are the team sitting at the top of the rankings while the Hurricanes struggle for relevance. Florida State brings their undefeated record and ugly baggage to South Florida. But are the Seminoles the baddest team in the nation? No! In Passing they are ranked 10th in the nation, rushing…104th. In SEC terms, that would spell disaster. The Hurricanes have the number 1 rated QB in the ACC, Brad Kaaya, a true freshman that wasn’t even supposed to start this season. The “U” is coming off a three game win streak where they won in decisive fashion. A win over FSU would go a long way in proving they are for real. FSU is has won all their games, but they come skulking in after struggling against Virginia, Louisville and Notre Dame. The Irish didn’t do Florida State any favors getting blown out by Arizona State. No one is expecting a close game, they are generally picking FSU to win, but here at CigarSmokinFootball, we don’t think it’s going to go that way. FSU is having too much trouble, they’re relying on comebacks, and they’re probably going to struggle Saturday as well. The Hurricanes will give them a game. It’s going to come down to late heroics for either team to win. We’re picking FSU, but we darn sure ain’t pulling for them.


Duke, who didn’t experience a winning season from 1995- 2012, are now sitting in the driver’s seat of the ACC Coastal. Their greatest concern is that they might be overlooking VA Tech for next week’s match up against North Carolina. I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime, but here we are. Last year the Hokies got a Blue Devil wake up call when Duke upset them in Blacksburg 13-10. Coach Beamer said it was at that point he realized that Duke was for real. VA Tech is on the verge of dropping four straight within the ACC, the first time since they joined in 2004. They are also looking at breaking their string of 20 straight bowl appearance. They have to win two of their three remaining contests to become bowl eligible. The slide rule boys, Duke, have only lost to Miami. They struggled against Pitt, winning in overtime. What’s with the Blue Devils? The offense is good at rushing, 38th, passing, …eh, not so much, 88th. The strength of this team is its defense. They’re ranked 11th in the nation. That’s darn good! Duke should win, they’re riding high, and, let’s be honest, the Hokies are not playing very well, not at all.

In other ACC action, Wake Forest and NC State will battle for last place, Clemson takes on Georgia Tech, which might be the highlight game of the ACC, and Pitt travels to Chapel Hill to face UNC.



Big 12 that only has ten teams

The Small Man Conference doesn’t generate much excitement for the up-coming weekend. TCU takes on Kansas, we’re going out on a limb and picking the Horn Frogs. Oklahoma is going to try their luck against Texas Tech. Even though the Sooners were walloped by Baylor, we’re still picking OU.

Texas, just in case nobody has noticed, is one win away from being bowl eligible. Coach Strong is bringing his boys along just fine, thank you. 160The Longhorns will be facing a struggling Oklahoma State team. Since Texas was blown out by K-State, they have beaten Texas Tech, 34-13, and #23 West “By Golly” Virginia, 33-16. Say it isn’t so? But it is. Swoopes is never going to be mistaken for an elite quarterback, but he is starting to play a consistent type of game. The offense is focused more on the run and completing short passes. The defense has learned what tackling is all about, and, if they can keep up this style of play, they’ll do pretty well. The Cowboys have lost three straight, all to nationally ranked teams. OSU plays a bunch of young’uns who should be getting A LOT of experience. Against the Longhorns, they will need to cut out the mistakes. Don’t turn the ball over;- seriously, this rule should be understood by now. They also need to stack the box to stop the run. Band members, cheerleaders, trainers, everyone needs to participate. If they can force UT into a passing game, they should be able to stop the Horns’ offense. OSU needs to take their high-flying passing attack off life support. The Longhorns struggle when they play a well oiled offense. Texas needs to win this game to go bowling, because their next game, against TCU, might not go very well. OSU needs this game to go bowling, too, because they have Baylor and Oklahoma left to go. Since the Pokes always give Baylor trouble we’re going to pick Texas to win this game.

Great White North

Ohio State goes to Minnesota to play the Gophers. The Buckeyes is coming off a big win against Michigan State, they were expecting a nice big bump in the rankings, and they didn’t get it. Now they think they’re being disrespected. Against Minnehaha, they’re going to need to be as good as they were against the Spartans last week. The problem is, can they stop a hardcore running game two weeks in a row? Not sure. The Gophers enter this game believing they can play against anyone. They’re going to get their chance to prove it. Their last three games will all be against ranked teams, but, first, the Buckeyes. What needs to be done? Simply stop the run. The Bucks ran wide against the Spartans all game long, Minnesota needs to limit this and force Ohio State to throw the ball. Easier said than done. Urban Meyer said he doesn’t mind his team looking back at their win and enjoying it all through the week. The practice wasn’t has hard as it has been in other weeks, allowing them to heal up a bit from their tough game. If they over look this game, even a little bit, they could end up losing it. The sportswriters are talking about how good the Buckeyes are, and how they have arrived on the national scene. This smells like a trap to me. OSU has won the last eight meetings and they think they’ve already got number nine locked up. CSF is going to pick Ohio State to win, but would not be surprised if Minnesota pulls off the upset.

Nebraska goes to Wisconsin where they have two major problems. One is Wisconsin;- the Badgers have become the Cornhuskers’ evil nemesis since they entered Great White North play. The other problem is that Nebraska does not play well against ranked teams on the road. They have lost four of the last five to ranked opponents on the road under Pelini. Husker players have been asked to explain this, and they all say they are at a loss as to why. Obviously, they are too close to the situation to realize what the problem is. It’s the “Curse Of The Hat!” Pelini wears his hat like a dunce cap. If he would just take the bill of his hat and pull it down about three inches, -he’s got a big forehead-, it would solve the problem. Both teams have fantastic running backs, Wisconsin has Melvin Gordon, averaging 166.8 yards per game, and Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah totals 187.9 all-purpose yards per game. That makes for a good storyline, but Abdullah is now sporting a knee brace since he got hurt against Purdue. If he’s not able to perform at his usual level, its going to make it SO difficult for the Cornhuskers to ekk out a win. Nebraska has only faced one ranked team on the road this season, Michigan State, and at the start of the fourth quarter they were down 24 points. They did close the gap against the Spartan backups to lose, 27-22. Wisconsin has lost two games, one to LSU, and another to Northwestern. Northwestern? Say what? Yep they lost that one. The winner of this game has the inside track to Indianapolis for the GWN Championship game. Both teams will concentrate on stopping the run. Wisconsin’s defense ranks third in the nation at keeping teams from scoring, Nebraska, 16th. CSF is going with our SEC mentality, defense, defense, defense, and, right now Wisconsin, has the better defense. Besides the “Curse Of The Hat” is real and will plague the Cornhuskers until Pelini leaves. Or, pulls his hat down. At least it’s not a golf visor. Badgers Win.

Northwestern plays Notre Dame and if they’ve ever had a chance to beat the Irish, it’s now. Michigan State thump Maryland, and Rutgers should beat Indiana.


How can a fan not like the SEC? It’s beyond me how a person can not be excited about SEC games. #1 Mississippi State rides 80 miles to take on 190#5 Alabama. I’m worried about my Crimson Tide. These two schools are the closest of any two SEC campuses, but they have been separated by a much wider margin in terms of football success. Alabama is a national/traditional powerhouse, they are expected to compete for a national championship every year. That’s their mentality and they have backed it up more than any other school in the nation. MSU is new to this whole being on top of the world thing. The Bulldogs’ track record against the Crimson Tide is not impressive. They struggle against hardnosed defenses. Now they are Number One, Prescott is the leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy, the shoe is on the other foot. MSU’s MO is to jump out to a big lead and then hold on for dear life. They had to hold on against Kentucky, Arkansas, and LSU. In all those games they had a nice big cushion and then let the other team come back. If there is any team in the nation that can beat MSU currently, it’s Alabama. Bama has the defense that can put a cork in the Bulldog rushing attack. Prescott can’t carry this team on his shoulders all game long. They have to get Josh Robinson, the “Human Bowling Ball”, more involved out of the backfield. They’ve been susceptible to the pass. Lucky for the Maroons, Sims is still the QB for Alabama. The bad news is that Amari Cooper is healthy and is still a game changer. Alabama plays like a different team in T-town. In their last two home games they have dominated Florida and Texas A&M. For the Crimson Tide to win they have to get their passing game to be at its very best. Cooper should be, Sims….who knows? The also need to pound the ball with the upmost efficiency. Darth Henry needs to bludgeon the MSU defense. Yeldon, who lost his Darth Lord status against LSU for fumbling the ball, is not expected to play. If they can make the Bulldogs worry about the run, Cooper should find one-on-one coverage for scoring strikes. Both teams control their own destiny. Whoever loses can pretty much count themselves out of the playoff hunt. I am a Crimson Tide fan, through and through, so I have to pick Alabama to win, but I’m worried, as in, very, very, worried. Hey, Alabama, some words of advice, “STOP TURNING THE BALL OVER!!!”


Last year Auburn beat Georgia with one of the luckiest plays ever seen on TV. Now the Tigers, Alabama variety, may have lost their lucky streak. Against A&M their luck ran out and they fumbled the game away. Georgia remembers that lucky pass play and they want payback. Both teams are 7-2. In the Bulldogs’ losses, they didn’t play well, dropping games to South Carolina and Florida. In their wins, they played like they were champions. It’s Jekyll and Hyde with this team. Good news is, they Todd Gurley back for this game. Better news is they still have Nick Chubb, who has made the most of his opportunity to shine. With both these running backs in the backfield, it’s going to be tough for Auburn to stop. One never knows about Gurley, when he’s going to break one, we just know it’s going to happen. Auburn has lost to Mississippi State and A&M. in the MSU game they were outmatched, and against A&M, they were surprised. They should have lost to Ole Miss, and they didn’t do well against South Carolina. If Georgia plays like they can, Dr Jekyll, Auburn is going rely on hope to stop the Dawgs. But if the Bulldogs play like Mr Hyde, Auburn will win. It all depends on which Georgia shows up. CSF is going to pick the Bulldogs, but we’re not sure how that potion of Dr Jekyll works, or when Mr Hyde appears.

South Carolina plays Florida and the Gamecocks better be careful. Kentucky gets Tennessee, and if the Cats want to be a factor in the East, they need this game. Missouri faces a revitalized A&M team and that spells trouble for the Tigers, Missouri variety. LSU takes on SEC-winless Arkansas, don’t expect the Hogs to win this one either. (Ed. Note: Razorbacks will beat LSU!)


Arizona State has become a national power team, … so far. They still have a few hurdles to overcome, but they are on the right track. After 601falling to UCLA in a horrible game, the Sun Devils have taken the lead in the PAC-12 South. All they have to do it beat the two bottom teams in the North and their intrastate rival, Arizona, and they’re in the Left Coast Conference Championship game. Easy, right? Not so fast, my friend. Going into Oregon State has been an enigma for the Sun Devils, one they can’t figure out. This Saturday they’re going to try and stop a nine-year losing skid to Oregon State in Corvallis. Oregon State is not having its best year, they have given up 40 or more points in each of their last three games. ASU has been scoring lots of points, in many different ways, just ask Notre Dame (he-he-he). Taylor Kelly appears to be back in form after coming back from an injury, but in the last two times he faced OSU combined, he threw for only 336 yards, one score and three INT’s. That won’t hack it. The Sun Devils believe in Kelly but he’s going to have to overcome this Beaver hex on him. Oregon State is not without its own superstar in Sean Mannion, who holds just about every passing record west of the Rockies. The Sun Devil defense is going to have its work cut out for them. If there’s one thing we’ve all learned it’s that Arizona State’s defense can produce turnovers (e.g., the Notre Dame game), and Mannion has thrown a total of 8 INT’s against ASU in the last two years. Might not want to do that come Saturday. Looming large for the Beavers is that they can score, but they can’t stop the other team from scoring more. In their last four games, all losses, they have given up an average of 37.7 points per game. This is playing right into Arizona State’s hands. Relying upon the hex of Corvallis to pull them through this one is hoping, and hope is never a sound course of action. Sun Devils win.

Washington goes to the desert to visit Arizona, and the Wildcats will be inhospitable hosts. Arizona wins. Utah takes on Stanford and the Utes are known for beating up on the Cardinal.

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