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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 2- Preview

Week 2 Preview

It’s hard to get TOO excited in this second week of Valhalla (College Football Season) because there’s still a bunch of cupcake games – like the remainer of Ohio State’s schedule – until the Spartans come to town. But some teams gird up their loins, lace up the cleats and play some football. We like these games.

081Oklahoma vs. Tennessee– Last year Tennessee traveled to Norman, OK, and did performed poorly. They were overpowered, out-played and IMG_7761soundly thrashed. Coach Stoops, of course, crowed about how he didn’t think the SEC was all that tough. This is after he beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl (a sin for which forgiveness is impossible) and then the Vols. This time OU travels to Knoxville, so will the overcome be any different? The Vols are confident their offensive line is gonna be better. It could hardly be worse, allowing five sacks and relentless pressure on their young QB all game long. Against Bowling Green last week, the line did better as RB Kamara rushed for 144 yards and RB Hurd gained 123. Josh Dobbs, that young quarterback now a year older, only missed the century mark by eleven yards. Oklahoma’s defense may be tougher than Bowling Green’s, but it’s a good sign for the Vols. Tennessee’s “D” took some hits last week as they had a few backs go down with injuries, no report yet if any of them will be back for this game. Oklahoma beat Akron 41-3 last week, but the Sooners started slowly. After halftime, and a few choice words from the coaching staff, it changed. New QB Baker Mayfield wound up throwing for 388 yards and three touchdowns, most of those yards were in the second half. The running game, surprisingly, gained only 100 yards. Look for Oklahoma to throw the ball until Mayfield’s shoulder falls off. Tennessee’s defensive secondary will hard pressed to keep up for four quarters. Oklahoma’s defense is facing a more mobile UT QB who is also more accurate with his passes. Look for this game to be a lot closer than it was last year. It’s hard for me to pull for Tennessee, Orange is just not a good color for me, but they are SEC. OU is the heavy favorite but there’s something about Neyland stadium that has intimidated teams in the past. I hope Stoops has to mumble, and grumble, and apologize to the SEC after this game. And Johnson, at Georgia Tech, too.

Fresno State vs. Ole Miss– Last year the Rebels had two huge weaknesses, Bo Wallace and their absent running game. Bo Wallace could, all on519 his own, destroy any and all momentum Mississippi might have gained. He’s gone, and Chad Kelly has replaced him. Kelly is off to a good start, he hasn’t been arrested, no reports of him mouthing off to the coaches, and he hasn’t gone AWOL. The Rebels used five different running backs against UT-Martin and gained 388 yards on the ground. UTM is a division 1-AA opponent;- Fresno State is not. Ole Miss has never won the SEC West and has never been to the Championship SEC game, but if they do, in fact, have a running game, they’re going to be scary good. Could this finally be the year? It’s only been one game, let’s wait and see what happens next. New QB Kelly had good numbers for the limited amount of time he was in the game. He was 9-15 for 288 yards with one interception. It will be interesting to see if the “Land Shark” defense has improved from last year. They were lights out, they faded a bit toward the end, but the sharks looked hungry against the Skyhawks. That’s UT-M. They used to be the Pacers, a type of racing horse, but now they’re the Skyhawks, an imaginary unicorn, … or something. The Bulldogs will test Ole Miss more than UT-M did. Fresno State used to have the motto of playing anyone, anywhere, anytime. The 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) has essentially the same motto, minus the word “play”. Last week the Bulldogs of the San Joaquin Valley relied mostly on the running game against Abilene Christian. RB Waller, who was the Mountain West’s third leading rusher, ran for 154 yards as they won, 34-13. FSU-West who has usually relied on the passing game, has switched and is now running the ball. This will be an interesting match-up. Fresno State wants to run right into the teeth of the Land Sharks defense. Something has to give. FSU-West will probably still throw the ball, they used multiple QB’s last week. Both teams are bragging about their improved running game and both are bragging about their defenses. This is strength going against strength. Should be a great smash-mouth football game. CSF likes the University of Mississippi, but Fresno State has a habit of upsetting the favorite. The last time these two teams met, FSU-West had the lead well into the fourth quarter before losing.

065LSU vs. Mississippi State– Last year the Bulldogs came flying out of the gates at Tiger Stadium, and smacked LSU in the face a couple times before the Tigers realized just what type of a game they were in for. LSU recovered and came back in the fourth quarter, closing the gap, but fell short. That was the upset that caused the CFB nation to notice the team from Starkville, MS. Now the Tigers are looking for payback on the Bulldogs’ home field. (Remember when they were called the ‘Maroons’?) What can we expect from the Bayou Bengals? Not sure. Last week’s game against McNeese state was cancelled by electricity, in the form of unrelenting lightning. Thus, MSU has no idea how much, or if, QB Harris has improved. Neither does Coach Les Miles and LSU. The Tigers will rely on Fournette and their running game. Everyone knows this, right? Remember, the ‘Mad Hatter’ is bringing his show to town, intent on 210revenge. Can LSU pass the ball? Don’t know. Will they try to pass? Don’t know. They cannot be a one dimensional team, you’d think. They have a great running back but if they have no passing threat, look for everyone to stack the line of scrimmage and stuff the run. The next question is, what kind of defense are the Tigers going to have with new DC Kevin Steele? Don’t know. Awful lot of ‘Don’t knows’.

Mississippi State had a game last week. They went to Hattiesburg, MS and played the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. Back when I was a teenager they would play this game in Jackson, MS, and I would drive up with some friends and watch the game. Southern Miss was notorious for beating the Bulldogs. Heck, they even beat Alabama! That was a few years ago and USM has fallen on some hard times.. MSU won the game, but now easily. It was obvious that having Prescott back was not going to be enough to recapture last year’s magic. Prescott was good. He was composed in the pocket and ran the ball when called upon. He was effective. But, like LSU, the Bulldogs can’t be one-dimensional. Having the advantage of playing a game last week gave the Bulldogs the chance to see where they needed to improve and needed to make adjustments. So who has the advantage? LSU fans say it was better for them because MSU has no idea what to expect and they have film to study of Miss State. They have valid points. MSU says it’s better for them because they got to work out some of the kinks and make adjustments. Look for a repeat of last year, but this time LSU doesn’t make it close in the fourth. ( Ed. Note: Cocky that’s what CSF is.)

247Oregon vs. Michigan State– Sparty lost two games last year, both to the teams that played in the national championship game. Michigan State was/is a really good team. This year the Spartans play Oregon in East Lansing, MI, and the Ducks are quacking for a repeat of last year. MSU had the lead in the third quarter last year, Marcus Mariota was in the process of being sacked, he spun around, slipped from their grasp, and made a remarkable pass for a touchdown to take the lead. The Ducks never looked back. This year the Spartans need to win this game to get out of231 the shadows cast by Ohio State and Michigan. QB Connor Cook and a host of other players by-passed their opportunities to enter the NFL draft just so they could make a championship run at Michigan State. Against Central Michigan last week the Spartans struggled a little bit, but only a little bit. They should be ready. They want this. They need this.

The Ducks relied upon Mariota to carry the team last year and he delivered. This year they have transfer Vernon Adams who led them over his former team, Eastern Washington, 61-42. He had 246 yards passing and 94 rushing. RB Freeman rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns. The Oregon offense was impossible to stop last week. The worrisome part is that, against a smaller division school, the Ducks allowed 42 points. What happened to the defense? According to coach Mark Helfrich “Everyone made mistakes…and they were correctable mistakes.” They might be correctable mistakes, but are they mistakes that can corrected in one week, playing away, against a much better team? We’ll see. This should be a good game. Michigan State is a team on a mission, they appear to be focused and they want it. If they defeat Oregon, watch out! If Ole Miss has a running game, watch out! Are these two “watch out’s” destined to meet? Look for Sparta to defend their home turf. THIS IS SPARTA!!

Short Smokes:

Auburn should defeat Jacksonville;- if they don’t, I’ll laugh. A lot.

Ohio State starts their cupcake schedule against Hawaii

Notre Dame starts their ACC schedule against Virginia, Big WOW!

Alabama tunes up against Middle Tennessee. Probably.

Baylor has a 98% chance of defeating Lamar, but they might underestimating the Cardinals.

Boise State will test their mettle against ‘Hail Mary’- completing BYU

Idaho will do their best to defeat USC. Is Pat Hayden still on The Committee?

Army will defeat Connecticut. We hope. We pray.

Michigan will try and get in the win column against Oregon State. This could be different than what most folks expect. Andersen coached in the Big 10, or 14, last year. He knows Michigan.

K-State travels to San Antonio to take on UTSA, but I’m on call and can’t go. Dadgummit.

Penn State tries to block Buffalo

Can Washington State defeat Rutgers? Looks a little iffy, as in, no.

Iowa and Iowa State will battle it out for state supremacy

Kansas looks to recover against Memphis. Won’t work out for the Jayhawks

North Alabama has moved up to number 13 in the nation and will take on Mississippi College. Roar Lions!




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