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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 1

Week 1

On the day of the Rapture, the Holy Scripture tells us that there will be a blast of a trumpet followed by a great shout! In most locales, no one will be confused this weekend when college football fans shout out in relief of all their pent-up emotions of the long dry spell of NO COLLEGE FOOTBALL! However, in SEC country, both the Rapture and the official start of another College Football Season are eagerly anticipated. It just means more. The long wait is over and the nation can relax. Some people call this weekend, “Cupcake Weekend”, and they’re mostly right, but for some unfortunate souls, their seasonal dreams begin and end on Weekend 1. No matter, it’s college football, and the griz were all gone, anyway.

Texas State vs Texas State – Our first muffin munching takes place Thursday night at College Station. The Aggies host the Bobcats. There isn’t much doubt in anyone’s mind that A&M will win, but my daddy said when Jim Wacker was coach of Southwest Texas State (Lyndon Johnson’s alma mater and forerunner of Texas State), it was not a foregone conclusion that ANYONE was gonna beat the Bobcats. Those days are long gone, and now the question is whether or not the Aggies will work out most of the kinks before they face Clemson next week. There has been a lot of hype concerning what Jimbo Fisher is building in College Station. This will be year two and there is a lot of expectation for these boys to live up to. The Daughter will, of course, hold them to these lofty dreams. The Agro-Americans better enjoy this game because the rest of the schedule is a bear. The Bobcats are hoping to make a game out of it, they have not had the best of years lately, and standing up to the largest school in Texas, forcing the Aggies to play sixty (60) minutes to earn a victory, might propel the Cats into a good year.

Rice vs Army – The Black Knights are coming off a great season where they won 11 games. The year before last, they won 10, and there is no reason to think they won’t be just as good. At the end of the 2018 season, no on wanted to take on Army. In the Armed Forces bowl they walked all over the Houston, tagging them with 70 points. That was then, this is now. Rice had a horrible year, winning only two games. Head Coach Mike Bloomgren is doing his best to provide a jumpstart to the system by bringing in some transfer players. Harvard quarterback Ron Stewart joins the team as one of the transfers. He had a pretty good year in the Ivy League, but this could prove a bit different. Now if this was a physics competition, the Owls might keep the score close, but it’s not, and the caissons are going to roll all over Rice. Go Army! 

Ole Miss vs Memphis – There are few teams in the nation that are favored in all their games, and Memphis is one of them. That says a lot for what Coach Mike Norvell is doing with the Tigers. Its also says a lot about what is expected from the Rebels of Ole Miss by the pundits. Not much. Both teams have had big turnovers in their coaching staffs. UM – hmmm. They’re both UM -Memphis brings in seven new assistants and the Rebels have brought in Rich Rodriguez and Mike MacIntyre. It’ll be very interesting to see how these two former Head Coaches preform as assistants. Should the Rebels pull off the win, then maybe, just maybe, they won’t finish last in the SEC West. In the past, when Ole Miss was good, Memphis, and Memphis State before that, still caused the Rebs plenty of trouble. Don’t expect anything different in this one.

South Carolina vs North Carolina – The battle of tobacco road is on! I know, I know, Tobacco Road is actually the series between Duke-NC State-UNC-Wake Forest, but I couldn’t hardly call this the battle of King’s Mountain, could I? The Gamecocks are looking to rebound from a disappointing 2018. They are expected to have much better depth on both Offensive and Defensive lines, which should help them as they will be able to keep fresh legs in the game. Last year the biggest obstacle they had was turning the ball over, which they did with agonizing regularity. QB Jake Bentley contributed in the turnover game as much as anyone else, throwing 14 interceptions, six in the red zone. No question, he has to improve if they are going to have a good year. North Carolina is looking to catch lighting in a bottle twice. They rehired coach Mack Brown. He hasn’t coached a game in five years, being a color commentator for ESPN. Back in 1996 and ’97, he led the Tarheels to 10 win seasons and then bolted for Texas. Can he bring UNC out of the depths of the ACC? That’s asking an awful lot of a fellow in his first year back on the sidelines. North Carolina was terrible last year. They won twice, but they played twelve (12) games. There were some close contests, where they were in the mix, but they still managed to lose. Highly doubtful they’ll beat USC-South. They might, though. This is South Carolina we’re talking about, and if there is a way for them to give the game away, they’ve been known to do it.

Duke vs Alabama – Why is Bama opening the season up with Duke? I mean, come on! This is not what the Tide is known for. Well, it’s not entirely Alabama’s fault. It appears that they agreed to open up the season with an ACC opponent, but when it came time for the other teams in the ACC to stand up, they all withered away, so Duke was appointed as the opponent. That doesn’t say a lot for the Atlantic Coast Conference.Is there anyone that honestly believes the Blue Devils will beat Bama? If so, please raise your hand….anyone?…anyone at all? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Alabama, without a question, is better than Duke and I look for the Crimson Tide to prove it. What this game is going to do is give the new starters for Alabama a chance to actually perform and learn in a real game. On the last day of practice, starting Linebacker and Butkus Award nominee Dylan Moses sustained a season-ending ACL tear injury. That is not what Bama needed. The Crimson Tide was already thin at that position and now it’s gotten worse. It may not make a big a big difference in this game, but, later on down the road, yeah, it surely could. The youngsters will be older then, too, so the difference may not be crippling.   

Oregon vs. Auburn – Well, we actually have a real game after all. In Arlington, Texas, these two teams are going to duke it out (pun intended). Auburn only lost to LSU by one point, but losing to Tennessee by six, and then getting a beatdown by Alabama 52-21 brought on the calls for coach Gus Malzahn to be sent packing. IF he didn’t have such a big pay out in his contract, he more than likely would have been fired. Now he is given another year to redeem himself and he has taken back over the play calling duties. Two big things stick out for the Tigers. One, they have not had a 1,000 yard rusher since 2009, and that’s gotta change. If they aren’t able to run the ball with their entire veteran offensive line returning, then the Plainsmen are in deep trouble. Two, they will be starting true freshman Bo Nix. He is considered a promising recruit who is accurate in the passing game, can scramble, but, still, he’s a freshman. The Ducks just might be more than the Tigers asked for. Oregon has Justin Herbert returning as Quarterback. He has plenty of Heisman hype, he’s considered one of the best QB’s in the nation, and they have their offensive line returning to protect him. On defense they also have a bunch of players returning, but they lost defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt, who had been the mastermind of their improvement. Coach Andy Avalos has been brought in from Boise State to continue the improvement Leavitt began. Last year, Auburn faced Washington to kick off the year, and the Huskies had a quarterback that was supposed to be a world-beater – but he lost to the Tigers. Auburn needs to duplicate that victory against a PAC-12 foe this year. If ANY team within the PAC-12 wants to prove they are worthy of a CFP berth, Oregon has the best shot. To pick a winner, well, CigarSmokinFootball is going against the rule of picking the SEC when they play outside the conference. Ducks take it. Maybe. Probably. Could. I dunno, maybe I should stick with the SEC, after all, it does mean more. Bo Nix, it boils down to a kid who was playing high School football when the Tigers beat the Huskies. Still, Justin Herbert. Ain’t no Heisman for losers in this one.

Short Smokes

UCLA takes on Cincinnati – this might not turn out well for the Bruins. Then again, it might.

Georgia Tech vs Clemson – not going to pick the Yellow Jackets. I would like it if they won, but, no, not this time.

South Dakota State vs Minnesota– if this was North Dakota State, yeah, we’d pick them, but it’s not. Go Gophers – Row the Boat!!!

Tulsa vs Michigan State – Spartans over Golden Hurricanes, because there has never been a hurricane in Oklahoma

Wisconsin will down South Florida, but it could be closer than the Badgers care for.

Colorado State vs Colorado – Toss up. You do care, right?

Oklahoma State vs Oregon State – the Cowboys rope the Beavers.

Florida Atlantic on the road at Ohio State and the Lane Kiffin coached team will have a few plays that catch the Buckeyes off guard. Not enough, but it could be fun.

Kansas will win their opening game for the first time in years, taking on Indiana State

Toledo falls to Kentucky

Mississippi State beats up on Louisiana Lafayette

James Madison has beaten major Power 5 teams before, and it could happen again at West “By Golly” Virginia. Care to risk a wager?

Directional School Eastern Washington falls to Washington

Tennessee will give false hope to their fans as they beat Georgia State

Northwestern vs Stanford could end up being one of the best games of the weekend

Will Arkansas beat Portland State? Maybe, maybe not. Who knows anything about the Razorbacks this year?

If Florida State loses to Boise State, Willie Taggart should find a new job.

Georgia opens with SEC foe Vanderbilt and wins, unless the Dawgs pull another Sugar Bowl Swoon.

Virginia takes on Pitt and the Cavaliers better be wary. Panthers are sneaky critters who pack a bite and can nip you in the backside.

Texas wins against Louisiana Tech –  All the world will claim the Longhorns are back!

Fresno State wants Southern Cal, and it is possible that the Bulldogs could get their wish. It’s not probable, maybe, but there is an outside chance. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The Trojans haven’t shown a lot of toughness lately.

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