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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Upcoming 2012 Season


Its that time of year, the College Football magazines have been out for a couple of months, the college football players are getting ready to report to their schools for football camp to begin, and us football fans are sitting in front of tv’s with abated breath for the greatest weekend of the year, Labor Day Weekend. The kick-off of college football season! Will the SEC win a 7th BCS Championship in a row? Is there a school that can rise up and dethrone the mighty SEC? Will the SEC beat each other up and no school make it to the BCS Championship game? How will Texas A&M and Missouri fare in their new conference? Or will TCU or West Virginia contend for the Big 12 (that only has 10 schools) title? Maybe USC or Oregon will win the PAC 12, or maybe the new coaches at ASU, Arizona, UCLA, and Washington State will make a big enough splash to upset the balance in the Pacific timezone. (well maybe not, but they will make a splash).  What’s going to happen in the ACC? Can Florida State live up to the hype? Is Virginia Tech up for the challenge of gaining the ACC title? Then there is the Big 10 (that has 12 schools), what’s going to happen in the Great White North? Maybe Nebraska will rise up and conquer, or it could be Michigan who regains? Wisconsin or Michigan State might reign as Kings of the Frozen North? No matter what happens its going to be a great season. So now’s the time to load up the cigar humidor, sharpen up the cigar cutter and fill those lighters with fluid. Because there is nothing better than enjoying great cigars while watching America’s greatest game.    

First we have to cover the Kings of College Football, the SEC. Alabama is coming off winning its crimson_tidesecond national title in three years. What St. Nick Saban has built in Alabama is remarkable, there is no questioning that fact. Alabama has become the Ford assembly line in college football. It doesn’t matter that the Crimson Tide has lost talent to the NFL draft, they just put another NFL prospect in their place. The 2012 Offensive Line of the Tide is the best in the nation. They have elephants on that line that are just mean, and really like pushing people around. They look forward to crushing people and with the running backs that Alabama has in the backfield that does not bode well for the rest of the nation. A.J. McCarron will have plenty of time to set up and throw passes down field to their new corps of receivers. Alabama can make run for the title and anyone that says otherwise has been drinking heavily.

LSU, is claiming to be the would be Kings of the nation for 2012 and they might prove themselves to be right. They have 13 returning starters that went through the 2011 regular season undefeated only to get crushed in the BCS game. That’s got to hurt and I’m sure they have not forgotten that sting and they are determined not to feel that pain again. They are motived and they are hungry. They have this new Quarterback named Zac Mettenberger, who actually knows how to throw the ball down field and he’s pretty good at it to boot. But the key to LSU winning the BCS title will boil down to their defense. If their Defense lives up to expectations the Bayou Tigers might be lifting the crystal trophy in January.

ArkansasThe other team in the SEC West that might be really good is Arkansas. The Razorbacks were poised to have a break through season and finally get past the Alabama/LSU barrier. But thanks to some really bad decisions by Bobby Petrino and his bad motorcycle skills the program in Arkansas might not be able to live up to the expectations. Tyler Wilson is arguably the best QB in the nation. He had a fabulous spring training where offensive coordinator Paul Petrino compared him to none other than Superman. That’s some high praise. Arkansas went out and hired John L. Smith to cover this season, hoping that he will be able to provide some much needed stability. Will the leadership of Smith be enough to save this season? Its doubtful, and that is a shame because Arkansas had everything they needed to make a run for the SEC title. 

What’s going on in the plains of Auburn? Gene Chizik seems to be building program there. He has two new coordinators this season with their offensive coordinator favoring a pro-style attack. Frazier emerged as the leading QB for the team but he’s more of a dual threat QB then a drop back passer. The Tiger’s running backs are going to be key if Auburn is going to put up a bunch of points. The defense of Auburn was very young last year, and inexperienced. Now that they’ve had a year to get seasoned, the coaching staff there is really hoping that they have matured into a formable force. They better be because the SEC West top tier teams are not getting any weaker. Auburn will have some wins this year but making a run for the SEC title is at least another year away.

Texas A&M, the newbies of the SEC West. This team has heard nothing this past year except they are now in the “Big Boy” league. How are they going to do remains to be seen. They could end up getting crushed,  they might actually do alright, nobody is really sure what they are going to do. Last year the Aggies had some really good leads on some teams going into the second half of their games only to watch that lead melt away and lose. Now they have a new coach who really coached the heck out of Houston last year. Kevin Sumlin starts off hisTexas A&M first season at Texas A&M and in the SEC. Talk about a double whammy. Not only that but he has to break in a new quarterback after Tannyhill left for the NFL. They do have two proven play makers at receiver which should work well with Sumlin’s type of offensive. The defense of A&M is going to have to step it up, they are going to be tested in their new league, where the running game is the absolute king of the league. The Aggies defense is going to have to be mean and they can’t have any let downs like they did last year.  Having said all that don’t count on the Aggies laying down and playing dead, they are going to fight tooth and nail in every game they play. They might win three or four SEC games this year, which would not be a bad start.

Mississippi State… hum…. what are the Bulldogs going to do this year? They appear to be going to a pass first attack on offensive. They are going to have to be good at if they expect to gain success. They will be able hone in that attack in the first half of the season. They will have to rely on their defense to be really stingy while they work out the kinks and those kinks are going to have to be worked out because the second half of the season is going to be brutal and their going to need everything they’ve got just to make it through that half and have a winning record. It remains to be seen how they are going to do, but not a lot is expected of this Bulldog team.

Last in the SEC West will be the University of Mississippi. When was the last time Ole Miss won an Ole MissSEC game? Well its been a while and in a league like this that is not a good sign. Hugh Freeze was hired to turn this team around, which is what he is known for, but lets get serious, he’s turned high school teams around and smaller college teams around but this is the SEC West. Freeze has spent the off season listening to horror stories about the opposing defensives that he is going to face. Ole Miss has talent but its raw and untested. Its going to take time to turn this program around how much time will it take? This season should give us a good indicator how far the Rebels are from even being considered a good team.    

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