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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 12 Preview

Week 12 Preview


Usually, the Saturday before Thanksgiving is when teams play “scrimmage” games against less powerful opponents as they get ready to play their main rivals. It’s true this year, too, mostly, but we’ve got some good matchups thrown into the mix that will keep you glued to your TV.

251Washington State vs Colorado– Two of the best-kept secrets of this football season face off in what should be the premier match-up of the day. Here at CSF, I have been preaching all season that something was boiling in Boulder and percolating in Pullman (How about that allegory, folks?). Since beginning the 2016 campaign with inexcusable losses to Eastern Washington and Boise State, the WSU Cougars have been on a tear. Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State, California, you name it, eight straight victories, something that hasn’t been done at Washington State since Pluto was a pup (1930). Head Coach Mike Leach, who is a – no, THE – pirate scribbles on his bedraggled sheet of notes (he is left-handed, by the way, as befits a buccaneer). Look for this as you watch the contest. WSU has a rushing attack. I know, I know, you find this hard to believe, and I do, too, but this causes opposing defenses to refrain from all-out blitzes 100%. Don’t get me wrong, the Cougs still pass like mad scallywags drinking rum, but it’s an interesting diversion from the usual Leach Air-Raid attack. The Cougars are going to need to be balanced against Colorado if they want to chalk up another “W” at BoulderDid I mention that, in addition to running the pigskin, sometimes, these Cougars also play defense, and it’s has been this defense that has turned the team’s season around. Running the ball, tackling opposing ball carriers in the field of play, what is this world coming to? West Virginia’s doing it, too. Texas Tech still isn’t, but Leach isn’t there anymore.
Colorado is also riding a nice streak, they’ve won four in a row, something that hasn’t been accomplished since the mid 1990’s. CU has been the 459kicking boy of the PAC-12 ever since they moved over from the Big12 (which left them, with the defection of Nebraska, with their nominal ten teams. Reckon it was too much trouble to change their name. Oh, yeah, Big 10 was taken, but they have fourteen schools, so, … hmmm. At least the Atlantic Coast Conference doesn’t have teams fro Oklahoma, say, or Texas, – yet). Back to Colorado;- it’s been tough skiing, sledding, or snowboarding, for the Buffaloes this century. Until they hired Mike MacIntyre as their head coach. It’s taken four years, but, wow! has it paid off. So what is the change? They are playing disciplined football, they know their assignments, and they execute those assignments. They are not relying upon one namesake player to carry the team. It’s a very team oriented culture now, and, son-of-gun, it works. The Buffaloes do not score as much as the Cougars but their defense doesn’t give up as much, either, only 17.9 points per game. Colorado is going to test Washington State’s defense. They want to keep the Cougars out on the field as long as they can, pounding that defensive line. If the Buffs control the time of possession, they’ll win the game. Both teams are leading their respective division and both need to win if they want to make it to the Championship game and a possible Rose Bowl trip. Colorado is picked to win, they’re at home, their skiing, sledding, and snowboarding is more polished than Washington State’s, but if they underestimate the Pullman Pirate and his minions, Buffaloes will stumble.


098Florida vs LSU– The Hurricane game! I remember back in 1990, Alabama was supposed to play Texas A&M early in the season065 but it got postponed because of a hurricane. They decided to play on a Thursday night, and, BAM! just like that, Thursday night football was born! Alabama won, by the way (you don’t think I’d have mentioned it if Bama had lost, do you? That’s a special kind of stupid). Now we have The Gators and the Tigers squaring off, for some reason they decided not to play on Thursday night. LSU needs a Quarterback that can make the passing game a threat. The Bayou Tigers can batter you with their land attack, but, if that doesn’t work out, there is no Plan B. Florida has a better Quarterback then LSU. Florida has had several quarterbacks this season better than LSU, but the Gators can’t keep a signal-caller healthy to save their lives. They’ll play somebody, probably better than LSU’s QB, but still not that super star they’re looking for. Florida needs to win and hope for a Tennessee loss to make to the SEC championship game. It’s all going to depend on the Gator defense and Mizzou’s football program, performing in Knoxville. If Florida stops Fournette, and, what’s his name, Derrius Guice, they’ll win. If they don’t, they’ll lose. Sounds simple, and it is, if you’re Alabama’s front four, (need I remind you it was 10-0?) but there’s no other way to put it.

231Ohio State vs Michigan State– How in the world did Ohio State make it to number two in the committee selection? If Penn State wins its next two games, which they should, and the Buckeyes wins their next two games, Penn State goes the Great White North Championship game! Not Ohio State. Both States have to win out to have a shot. Against Michigan State this year, it looks like an Ohio State cakewalk. MSU finally halted its bleeding by beating Rutgers last week. Will that win cause them to remember they are the SPARTANS? Will they remember last year, at Columbus, and that field goal, and beat Ohio State? Probably not, but wouldn’t it be great for the Spartans to win and upset the apple cart one more time? Yeah, it would be. THIS IS SPARTA! (Leonidas said as he kicked the Persian representative into the bottomless well). (I liked that). (I would like for MSU to win).


Oklahoma State vs TCU– The Cowboys have only one conference loss, to Baylor, and since that game they have ripped off six wins. Last week’s IMG_7790game was a white-knuckler, but still a win. Now it’s TCU, a team that is struggling. The Horned Frogs can’t seem to find their footing. Right when they think they’re on the right track, they trip over their own feet. The Pokes have to win out to secure the conference title. They should beat TCU, but overlooking this game and prepping for Oklahoma will result in a Cowboy getting bucked off. Ain’t never been a bronc, what can’t be rode, ain’t never been a cowboy what can’t be throwed.


541Oklahoma vs West “By Golly” Virginia– Are the Mountaineers for real or not? We’re about to find out. If they beat the Sooners, I’ll jump on the WVU bandwagon. Ok, maybe not on the bandwagon, but I’ll walk alongside it. OU is undefeated inside the conference, they’ve been playing much better since they got stomped by Ohio State. What was it that Woody Hayes said, “There’s nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you.”? WVU has not been this consistent since Bobby Bowden was their head coach and that was a long time ago. A long, long time ago. They can beat Oklahoma, it’s just going to be root hog or die time. Neither team likes to slug it out, but it could come down to a haymaker match.


Short Smokes


Alabama hosts Chattanooga who has a winning record, the Mocs won’t be a push over, but the Tide still wins. And Chattanooga pockets $500,000. (You hear that Michigan? Even when Bama plays a lower level school, they still play one with a winning record.)

North Carolina faces the undefeated Citadel. Anyone else smell an upset creeping in here? (Ed note: me. I do)

Texas A&M butts heads with UTSA. That’s University of Texas, San Antonio. I do not detect a pending upset. (Ed Note: me neither.)

K-State should aid Baylor’s downward slide

Army will become bowl eligible by beating Morgan State

Iowa pounds Illinois. Maybe. Talking heads picking the Illini.

Nebraska will beat Maryland but it won’t be easy

Wisconsin will win against Purdue

Virginia will not stop Georgia Tech enough to win

Miami and NC State are going scrap, it’ll be close and hard fought, Wolfpack wins

Utah against Oregon. Utes ought to bag some crippled Ducks.

Florida State travels to upstate New York to discover cold weather and beat Syracuse

Western Michigan will still be undefeated after playing Buffalo

San Diego State versus Wyoming could be another great game without much fanfare. Cowboys have to contain RB Donnel Pumphrey to win

Virginia Tech ought to beat Notre Dame. No comment.

Pulling for Missouri to upset Tennessee, it won’t happen, but I can still hope

Texas will get its bowl-eligible sixth win against Kansas

Michigan does not play a team with a losing record, or a winning record, of course, because Indiana is 5-5, but the Hoosiers usually play UM tough. The game is in the Big House. What is that, now, eight out of ten games at home? Or is it nine out of eleven?

Minnesota jumps all over Northwestern. We need for the Gopher Coach to eat another Dilly Bar on the sidelines. He should do this every game.

Stanford has been winning lately and will be ready for the rivalry game against California. Wouldn’t surprise me if Bears won. Not nearly as much as I was surprised by Duke beating North Carolina last week.

Clemson should have no problems against Wake Forest. These Demon Deacons are playing hard-nosed ball, but they’re not as good as Tigers.

Arkansas and Mississippi State, toss up. Good game to watch.

Washington recovers against Arizona State. They’d better, the Apple Cup looms.

Vanderbilt, for some unknown reason, always plays Ole Miss tough. Rebels win, but they’re going to earn it

Penn State slaps down Rutgers on their march to the Great White North Conference Championship game

USC and UCLA battle it out for supremacy in Southern California. Men of Troy are playing better and scoring more. USC wins

North Alabama gets a BYE in the first round of the playoffs. Next week in Florence, Alabama, they’ll meet the winner of Valdosta State vs North Carolina-Pembroke. Roar Lions!


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