rssBlog EntriesComments


Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 11 Preview

105Memphis vs. Houston – Did you ever do a cannonball off the diving board into a pool? Remember the huge splash and waterspout it made? Memphis basically did a cannonball in the college football world by beating Ole Miss. The Rebels were sitting atop the SEC West with a signature win over Alabama (Again, there is no forgiveness for that). By dropping Mississippi, the speculation of a non-power five conference member joining the playoffs became a possibility. Then along sailed the Navy. Even with that Memphis loss to the Midshipman, this game between Houston and Memphis is still a huge showdown for the AAC title. The Tigers are still very dangerous and uncharacteristically good. Now they’re mad, embarrassed, and extremely dangerous. Until Coach Fuente arrived, most people outside of the Mid-South didn’t know that UM still had a football program. They knew they didn’t see any Memphis State scores anymore, but that’s about all. It’s a good time to take notice of Coach Fuente cause the betting is heavy that he will be coaching someplace else next year…like, maybe, Miami? South Carolina? The other USC? Memphis can recover and make it to a major bowl with a statement win over undefeated Houston. The Tigers, Tennessee variety, are led by QB Paxton Lynch, who has thrown for 19 Touchdowns with only two interceptions. But they’re not one dimensional, they have good running backs and an offensive line that can block. Their biggest weakness is the defensive tackling. Time and time again the defense has allowed far too many yards after contact. Some tackling practice is essential. Against the UH Cougars, they’re going to need for their defense to stiffen up. It may be impossible to actually stop Houston, but they can be slowed down. Houston is the lone undefeated team within the American Conference. They’ve been challenged twice so far this year, against Louisville, and again by Cincinnati. This weekend will be the biggest challenge they face. The UH offense is a scoring machine. They gain chunks of yardage and score a lot. Tough to defend, fundamentally sound. Stellar QB Greg Ward Jr leads the attack and he, like Lynch, is good. The defense seems to run out of gas late in games. Most of the time it doesn’t matter, but against Cincinnati last week it did matter and it almost cost ‘em the game. They cannot let up against Memphis. The game promises to be an offensive showcase for two future NFL QB’s. Don’t expect any iron curtain defensive play. Since both my parents grew up in the Bluff City, the Daughter was born in Memphis, and I still have friends in the Memphis area, how is it possible to not pick the Tigers? It’s not. Tigers Win.
IMG_7761Oklahoma vs Baylor– Baylor is easy to overlook. Oh, most everyone knows they’re undefeated and scoring points fast enough to smoke an abacus, and that they’re playing a true freshman quarterback who replaced their fallen junior quarterback, but there’s not a lot of love for Baylor. That’s mainly because the Bears haven’t played any teams of substance. The Big 12, that only has ten teams, has a very weak low end of the conference, but we’ve entered November and the schedule is heavily back loaded. OU will be the first ranked team BU has played all year. Yep, very first, ranked, team, ALL YEAR! Hey, Baylor, schedule somebody from a Power 5! Take on a challenge or two, for crying out loud. If you want to be the best, you have to play the best. Small wonder the Bears aren’t respected….but, I digress. The Baylor offense is highly proficient. The system depends upon speedy receivers and a QB that can get the ball to them. Precision accuracy with every throw is NOT, I say again, NOT essential. Receivers have to get in better positions than the DB’s, and speed IS essential on every play. The defense doesn’t have to571 stonewall anyone. When the offense gets up by 21 or more points, opponents reach into their desperation bag and try to swing for the fences on every throw. They hope, and we all know that hope is never a course of action. But how will the defense perform against a hard hitting offense like OU’s? Questionable, very questionable. The Sooners are going to do everything they can to keep Baylor’s offense off the field. Let the QB’s arm get nice and cold. Don’t think it can work? HA! Look what K-State did last week. They ran the ball up and down the field and ate up as much clock as possible. In the first half Baylor did what they always do, moved quickly, but by the second half, the wheels started falling off. If the Wildcats were just a little bit better talent-wise, they could have pulled the upset. Doubt this went unnoticed by Coach Stoops. Oklahoma has that loss to Texas, in which they were outplayed, but since that time they have been on a mission. The Sooners need to upset the Bears and throw the Big 12, that only has ten teams, into chaos. TCU went down to Oklahoma State, so a small tear in the time/space continuum has been created. For the Sooners to win the Twelve-minus-two title, they have to win out. Odds makers are favoring Baylor, playing at home, but not by much. Oklahoma needs this game more than Baylor, the gut says Sooners, head says Baylor…from the size of my waist it’s obvious that I go with what the gut says. Oklahoma wins.
247Oregon vs Stanford – For a few years Oregon has been the terror of the PAC-12, with national aspirations, but they always had to play Stanford, the “Freddy Kruger” of the Ducks’ title dreams. It was a nightmare. The Quack Attack would be rolling! They’d beat everybody, except the Cardinal. The Trees were a nut that Oregon couldn’t crack. But the mighty have fallen. Stanford is a part of the group of one-loss wonders (so is Bama. And Notre Dame.), who can still make the playoffs and compete for a National Championship, but they all have to win out. The Northwest Poultry (Ducks) would like nothing better than to play spoiler. Since the inexplicable loss to Northwestern, Stanford has turned into a better team than people gave them credit for at the start of the310 season. The offense is humming right along with Heisman candidate Christian McCaffrey. What makes this game especially interesting is the contrast in styles. Oregon is fast and flashy, style and finesse. Stanford is old school, smash-mouth, true and steady, Power and control. No one has a clue what type of uniform the Ducks will wear from week to week. Stanford hasn’t changed their uniforms since the 1960’s, nor are they going to. Oregon has all sorts of gadgets to signal their plays, from flash cards, to hand signals, and possibly smoke screens. Stanford uses a huddle where the quarterback actually tells the offense what the next play is going to be. Oregon players are quick and fast. Stanford players are big and eat a lot, while they study. This Oregon team has been inconsistent on offense and the defense is banged up and missing key personal. Stanford has the most balanced attack in the College Football world and their defense is freakishly good. Sounds like a true mismatch. The Cardinal should win Saturday, but, on any given Saturday, a dream can become a nightmare. Still picking Stanford.
017Alabama vs. Mississippi State– Alabama turned in a performance for the ages last week against LSU. The defense was stifling, the offense owned the line of scrimmage, Running Back Derrick Henry established himself as a top Heisman candidate. Can Bama do it again this week, or will there be a letdown after such an emotional win? Playing Charleston Southern, having an emotional letdown might not matter all that much, but this ain’t Charlestown Southern, this is Mississippi State, number 19 in the country, and quite capable of beating the Tide. Alabama has a tendency to have trouble with teams from the Magnolia State. Mississippi State will be led by mobile QB Dak Prescott, who is quietly having a stellar 210season. He’s thrown for over 2,000 yards and run for over 400. He is the type of QB that causes Alabama fits. The Bulldogs have dropped two games, to LSU and A&M, so winning the West is a remote possibility, but ruining 2015 for Alabama fans (including me) would be something they would brag about. Controlling the line of scrimmage against the hardcore front seven of Bama is Miss State’s number one priority. Easier said than done. Next would be stopping RB Henry. No one has been able to do that yet this year, and there’s little indication that the Bulldogs will be the first. He is a Beast. In their loss to A&M, the Bulldog secondary was torched as QB Allen threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns. With Henry carrying the mail, opposing defenses have to rely more on one-on-one coverage, which gives the advantage to the Crimson receivers. St. Saban has been preaching all week against a letdown, and it’s a sure fire bet that Mississippi State will bring the best they have. Should be an interesting game, but the Crimson Tide is my pick to win.
Minnesota vs Iowa– the Golden Gophers are likely to be the team that upsets the Hawkeyes. They both rely on power running and stout defenses. I’m not saying Minnehaha is going to pull the upset, but this would be my pick for an upset, if I was picking upsets. Otherwise, Iowa wins.

Short Smokes:
Pittsburg and Duke will be fighting for Second in the Coastal Division.

Georgia always wants to beat Auburn. Auburn wants to beat Georgia. Somebody’s going to win. It’s at Auburn. Guess who?

Florida can’t let up against USC-South.

Army will beat Tulane.

Texas could have a long trip back from West “By Golly” Virginia. Or, they could pretend that the Mountaineers are Sooners, and win. Who to pick, who to pick. WVU.

Doubtful that Illinois will upend Ohio State…pulling for it, but doubtful. I can hope, and we all know that….

TCU will recover against Kansas, won’t help their standings any, but they’ll recover.

Michigan State should be down-right mad and take it out on Maryland. Or the Spartans could be depressed and get beat, but I wouldn’t bet on the latter.

Purdue and Northwestern will complete in the Academic game of the week. Northwestern will win the football portion.

NC State is not scared of Florida State. The Pack won’t win, but they’re not scared.

Virginia looks for some respectability against Louisville, but Louisville still beats ‘em.

Washington and Arizona State battle for the bottom of the PAC-12. Washington wins (the bottom, or the game?).

Miami is in big trouble against North Carolina. Best scenario for the Canes is a quick death.

Notre Dame pads it’s record against Wake Forest. Or is it Northwest Arizona State Forestry Academy?

Clemson is on upset alert against Syracuse…strange but true.

Oklahoma State has fallen into the Iowa State trap before. Will it happen again? I’ll let you know next week.

K-State has to win against Texas Tech. Big order.

Michigan will upend Indiana or Coach Harbaugh will upend.

Arkansas and LSU has the makings of a great game. Don’t be surprised if the Hogs capture the Boot for the second year in a row.

Utah and Arizona will be better than expected.

Washington State and UCLA will be a great game to close out the night.

North Alabama looks to capture its Third consecutive Gulf South Conference Title with a win over West Alabama. Roar Lions!


Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.