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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Thanksgiving Day Games

Happy Thanksgiving! This will be the end of the regular season for most college football teams, except for the Big 12, that only has ten teams. Next up: the Championship games, Bowl games, and the 4-team playoff! Our Turkey day games will both be played in the great state of Texas! One in Austin, TCU against Texas, and the other in College Station, LSU facing A&M. Both games feature the color purple. Just an observation.


LSU vs. Texas A&M

Last game mentioned first. This is a showcase of two teams that followed similar paths this season, both started off great! Texas A&M destroyed South Carolina, somewhat of an upset, according to preseason pollsters, and LSU mounted a fantastic comeback to beat Wisconsin. Both ran through their early schedules but then they met Mississippi State. Not on the same date, you understand, but the same opponent. Neither team, A&M nor LSU, just lost those games, but their weaknesses were exploited and exposed for other squads to see. LSU was shown to not have a passing game and A&M didn’t have a running game. Neither team was strong defensively, and neither QB was living up to his hype. A&M made a change at QB after losing three games in a row, each loss being worse than the one before. LSU did not play well against ranked teams. Even though the Bayou Bengals beat Ole Miss, they shouldn’t have. I feel certain sure they sent a thank you note to Bo Wallace for that one.


Texas A&MA&M started off the season with three questions, 1) who was going to replace Heisman winner Manziel 2) had they developed a running game and 3) Can the defense step up to SEC standards? They are ending the season with the same three questions. Freshman QB Kyle  Allen, who replaced Kenny Hill, who, early in the season was instructing the press on what he wanted his nickname to be, appears to the be the answer to the first question. Questions 2 and 3 still need to be addressed. All of the Aggie losses have come against SEC foes, and it’s not apparent that Coach Sumlin has learned that Defense is the key within the SEC. The corollary to that axiom is that a running game is a huge plus. A&M has one more game to regain some of their moxie. Their upset win against South Carolina has lost about all of its shine due to the play of the Gamecocks. They needed to beat Auburn to serve as their new signature win. Taking down LSU would be a step in the right direction, but they still end the season with at least two of their three questions unanswered. Maybe Will Muschamp, recently employed by the University of Florida, will be able to help out on question #3. I don’t, and I don’t think Sumlin does, have an answer for the running game question.


LSU has a lot of young players up front on both lines, and against ranked teams, and current hot-playing Arkansas, it cost them. There were LSUtimes when it looked like they were coming together, like, in the win over Ole Miss. This could have been a springboard for success. Their running game was working, they had taken down the #3 team in the nation. Then they played Alabama in a hard-fought game, but the Tigers, Louisiana variety, lost. That could be forgiven but they followed the loss to the Tide up by laying an egg in Arkansas and getting shut out, trampled, by the Hogs. Now they are on the verge of losing five games this year, something they haven’t done since 2008. The best weapon the Tigers, Louisiana variety, has is the running game. As it goes, they go. They have got to run the ball against A&M, something that, with the Aggie defense, shouldn’t be much of a problem. Of course, they still have to stop the passing game of the Aggies and that could be a problem. This game will go to whichever defense shows up. On paper, it doesn’t look good for A&M. Sorry, daughter, but LSU should win this game.

TCU vs. Texas

If the gamblers in Las Vegas were playing this game, TCU would walk all over Texas. However, the game will be played on the green, whether it’s Astroturf, grass, or something in between, and if I was a TCU fan, I’d be worried. TCU entered the season with a new offense and a lot of questions. The Longhorns started with a new Coach who was determined to change the entire culture of football in Austin. Both “news” have worked. Now the game ought to be a battle of heavy weights. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look, shall we?

TCUWe all know that TCU is a possible Big 12, that only has ten teams, champion and could be a playoff team. The Frogs have turned themselves into an offensive juggernaut. They might have tarnished their defensive history somewhat, but it’s been a great turnaround. Against Baylor neither team could stop the other and it was like the shootout at the OK corral. The Horn Frogs lost that game, 61-58. After that, they went on a tear, but in two games of their last three, there is cause for concern. The first, against West ‘By Golly” Virginia, They could not get their passing game online, and everything TCU did seemed to sputter. In the second half they were able to piece some things together so they could kick a last minute field goal to win, but it was an ominous signal that the Frogs might be vulnerable. Then they crushed that perception against K-State, only to follow up with a horribly played game against Kansas. The Jayhawks almost pulled an equivalent of an Arkansas, and won a conference game. It didn’t happen, but beating the Jayhawks by one is not a signature win. Now they have to travel to the Texas State Capital to face a much better team than the Jayhawks. If TCU plays like they did against KU, and if I was wearing purple, I’d be downright scared.

Texas is not the same team that took the field at the start of the season, and not just because they have a different QB. They have a new attitude,Texas Cheerleader and a different look in their eyes. They conduct themselves much better. At the moment they are on a three game win streak. They beat #23 West Virginia, who gave TCU fits, and it wasn’t even close. The Horns beat Texas Tech as well as Oklahoma State. Looking at just the last three games you might think this team was headed to a major bowl game, or the Playoffs, but they’re not because they didn’t play well at all at the start. They have played five ranked teams and lost to four of them. Granted, that’s more ranked teams then Florida State has played, but Texas still has to win more than twenty percent. Now they face their sixth ranked team and they’d better be prepared. QB Swoopes is never going to be mistaken for a Heisman Trophy candidate, at least, not this year. The Longhorns’ running game, that started the season very sluggish, has developed into the major strength of their team. Against TCU they’re going to need that running game. IF they can stick to the run, grind out the clock, and keep that Horn Frog offensive off the field, Texas might pull off the upset. The Horns are perfectly capable of winning this game. The defense has found its groove, and there are a lot of burnt orange jersey around the ball carriers. The offensive line likes to block and they need that desire. TCU outranks UT in every offensive category. Passing: TCU 8th UT 80th. Rushing: TCU 28th UT 77th. But in defense, Texas ranks higher, 24th, with TCU 35th. TCU should win this game, should win, but it looks like these two teams are heading in opposite directions. Texas is heading up. Alas, TCU seems to be, well, let’s be kind on Thanksgiving, slipping. I dunno, maybe, kinda, sorta, …

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