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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 3 Preview

Week 3

Do you know the difference between a muffin and a cupcake? A cupcake has icing n it. Tennessee apparently hasn’t learned this truth, at least, it isn’t self-evident, but they have one more chance, against in-state powerhouse Chattanooga, before the Vols have to play for real. Most of the annual cupcake games have taken place. The big boys get to beat the little boys, but the little boys get enough payday (icing) to finance their athletic budget. But we’re now at the point where most everyone has to buckle up their chinstraps and get serious about their seasons. The teams are tuned up, not too many injuries, and we have an idea where who will start for whom. There are still a few hold-outs that need to win at least once in return for their pay-outs, like, say, Tennessee.

Pittsburgh vs Penn State – This game between Pennsylvania rivals has been played 99 times, with the Nittany Lions holding a 52-43 advantage. with four games ending in a tie. In the olden days, college football games could end in a tie, like, when my editor was going to college. This intrastate game is called the “Key Stone State Rivalry”. What an inventive moniker! That is pure and simple sarcasm. Last week, against Buffalo, PSU got off to a very slow start, allowing the Buffs to go into the locker room with a 10-7 lead. The Lions were struggling. Head Coach James Franklin must have given the old “win one for the Gipper” talk that set his player’s seats on fire, and they responded by scoring 28 points in the third quarter. I wonder if he mentioned anything about scholarship losses? Then the Lions added ten more points in the fourth for a final margin of 45-13. CSF, that’s me, is not entirely sure how that halftime speech went, but the turnaround in the second half leads to some imaginative speculation. Pitt, on the other hand, has already lost to Virginia, and then responded by beating Ohio, 20-10. That’s the Bobcats of Ohio University, not the Buckeyes of THE Ohio State University. QB Kenny Pickett came alive in the last game for the Panthers, throwing for 321 yards, including one touchdown. Against PSU, the Pitt squad probably won’t have the luxury of leisurely coming back. It is doubtful that the Panther defense will be able to stop the Nittany Lions, but since PSU has been allowing teams to get ahead of them in the first half, they better cease and desist against Pitt, or this game could turn into a showcase for the ACC. HC Franklin needs to fire the boys up before the game starts, and not wait for second half heroics. CSF would like for Pitt to win the game. We have nothing against Penn State, but Pitt warmly welcomed the Army football team, and the Corps of Cadets, when my editor visited in 1958. Don’t laugh, such kind remembrances carry a lot of weight. Be that as it may, the Nittany Lions will win.

K-State vs Mississippi State – This is a game that may only interest me outside the fans of both schools. Being forced, against my will, I hasten to add, to spend part of my childhood in the state of Kansas, my Jayhawk classmates would say that the Big 8 (as it was called in that day, and they actually had 8 teams)  was better than the SEC.. Even back then, I knew that in the SEC, it just means more. The K-State Wildcats have had two tune-up games, whipping up on Nicholls State and then Bowling Green. Now they face a real challenge. New Head Coach Chris Klieman, formerly the Coach of North Dakota State Bisons, scourge of the Division I-AA playoffs, has these Cats playing like they are serious. Former K-State coach Bill Snyder, Hall of Fame coach, you know, wouldn’t have it any other way. So far, it appears that he has brought the ND State mentality along with him. They play like they’re not afraid of anybody, and they compete with a mindset that they can win! Against lesser competition, the offense has been on fire with a balanced attack. They score running the ball, throwing the ball, and kicking the ball, and that’s all you can ask. The Mississippi State Bulldogs have the legacy of the SEC, where it just means more, weighing on their shoulders. MSU has also had two tune-up games, against ULL, and Southern Miss, and they scored 38 points in each game. They might have to do better than 38 this weekend. The Bulldog defense is what is going to be tested. First, they have to stop the run. Their main goal has be to make K-State a one trick pony and make the Wildcats rely solely upon the passing game. This may not stop the Cats, but it should slow them down. MSU relies upon the run game to move the ball. The more they run, the better. They need to control the clock, each and every series needs to eat up as much time as possible. The more they keep the Wildcat offense off the field, the better. The Big 8 no longer exists, it’s now the Big 12 that has only ten teams, but I’m sure my old Jayhawk classmates still talk smack about the SEC. Therefore, CSF, aka me, will be pulling for and picking Mississippi State to win. Not me, says the here-to-fore silent editor. I’m for K-State.

Alabama vs South Carolina – The last time Bama played the Gamecocks in Spartanburg, the Number 1 ranked Crimson slunk out of town in defeat. That was a while ago, almost a decade, and no one on the 2019 team was a part of that loss. Except St. Saban, he was there, and he suffered the humiliation of losing to a bunch of Chickens. Chances are, he might be seeking a reckoning, he has been known to carry a grudge or two. Not revenge, not vengeance, a reckoning, as described by Doc Holliday in Tombstone. For USC-South, things are different then they were last time. They had a much more dynamic quarterback then and a more dynamic coach as well. This statement could be dated, cause new QB Ryan Hilinski may turn out to be as dynamic as they come. The Crimson Tide has a prolific offense where the pass has seemingly replaced the run. That would be thanks to Tua and his band of merry receivers. Deep in his hardened heart, I think Saban would rather run, but that dadgum passing attack is just too darn good! It is extremely doubtful that the Gamecocks will stop this offense, but, as illustrated in the Natty earlier this year, Bama is fully capable of stopping themselves. The Tide defense needs to show they can become the dominant monster we have all loved and grown accustomed to. In this game, the Alabama defenders have the perfect opportunity to return to the days of yore. Alabama should win, and they should beat the spread, which is set at 25 points. They should have won 10 years ago, too.

Arizona State vs Michigan State – First off, we are hopeful that the Spartans do not wear those bright 80’s neon pants again. Who in their right mind thought those were a good idea? The Sun Devils are in their second year under the tutelage of Herm Edwards, who most people thought was out of his league. He has proven that he is decidedly not out of his league;- quite the contrary, I think Herm’s success had a lot to do with Mack Brown’s new gig at North Carolina. It might even be said that Herm has found his element. ASU is not ready to contend for the PAC-12 title, you would think, but the PAC-12 is such a chardonnay and kale league that any one of its teams could win any title anytime – until they step out of conference, that is. This is out of conference. The offensive line has one returning starter, and, so far, this has proven difficult to overcome. The Sun Devils rank 95th in rushing, and they only average 131 yards through two games. They are ranked 98th in sacks allowed, and 111th in tackles for a loss. Not the resume one would want going up against the number one defense in the nation. That would be the Spartans, at this point. I still hold out hope that Bama’s defense will jell and take over the top spot, but, for now, it’s Michigan State. I think that MSU is highly underrated by the rest of the world. They have a huge number of returning starters and most of them are on defense. When Head Coach Mark Dantonio has a great defense, the Spartans perform better than expected. If anyone is going to take the Great White North crown away from Ohio State, look no further than the state of Michigan. No, not to Ann Arbor, they can’t beat the Buckeyes, but to East Lansing. Spartans need to win this game, and they should. Just, please, no neon.

Army vs UTSA – The Black Knights gave Michigan the scare of their lives last week, now they travel again, to hometown San Antonio, to take on the Road Runners. Both teams are 1-1, but Army’s loss was almost a win. There is no almost win. You win or you lose. Period. Hopefully, the Cadets and their coaching staff learned the futility of a pass in their loss to Michigan. Under no circumstances known to man should the Black Knights attempt a pass. IF they adhere to this lesson, Army will beat UTSA. If they don’t, well, it could lead to a miserable day. The Army goes rolling along! Go Army!

Short Smokes

Georgia whips Arkansas State. Whoopee.

Ohio State has had trouble with Indiana in the past few years, and the Buckeyes will again, but they’ll still win

Maryland runs up the score against Temple. Can you believe what Locksley has going at College Park?

Chattanooga could very possibly beat Tennessee, but they won’t. They could, though

NC State against West Virginia could be a very interesting game, Wolfpack pull it out

Colorado hosts Air Force. After last week, no way we pick against CU

New Mexico vs Notre Dame…..yawn Wait! New Mexico coach is former Notre Dame coach. Do you think he’ll “wake the echoes”? Nah.

Stanford falls to Central Florida I’ll bet Condoleza Rice never dreamed of this when she was at Stanford.

Memphis crushes directional school South Alabama

USC visits BYU and will walk away the victor

Minnesota vs Georgia Southern in the past we’d say GS could win this one. This is not the past, and Eagles won’t win.

Iowa takes on Iowa State. Underestimate the Cyclones at one’s own peril

Colorado State will hand Arkansas another loss. Or not. I predict a Razorback victory.

Miami will finally win against Bethune- Cookman The Canes will, won’t they?

Look for Auburn to beat Kent State….big deal.

Can Kentucky finally break the curse and beat Florida? It’ll be close, but no.

Texas A&M shouldn’t, that’s shouldn’t, have much trouble against Lamar. The Daughter smiles, briefly. Or, Mond could self-destruct and the Daughter could request another audience with Coach Fisher.

It was thought that Syracuse would give Clemson a game, but after last week against Maryland, that hope vanished. Tigers win going away.

Virginia is going to beat Florida State. The Noles an’t what they used to be.

TCU and Purdue might be a nail biter of a game.

Oklahoma destroys UCLA, just like everybody else does.Go Jaylen!

Can Arizona beat Texas Tech? Nope, won’t even be close. Kevin Sumlin’s having troubles, eh?

North Alabama will recover from their horrible loss, and take Alabama A&M out behind the wood shed. I hope they’re not still lamenting the shellacking they got up in the Big Sky country. Roar Lions!

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