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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 14 Preview

Week 14 Preview

Rivalry Weekend has arrived, the REAL culmination of another College Football Season! Sure, the bowl games to come are important, they’re even fun, and great fundraisers. No matter what the record is, it is immaterial when rivals play. Many times the team with a losing record will rise up and thump (or trump) their enemy with a winning record. These rivalry games are fueled by good ole fashion hate, with alcohol injection. Having all that hate build up inside and then having the opportunity to let it all out, is just too good to be true. How can you not have great games? Just think, as we all sit down to celebrate being thankful, deep down inside of every one of us, we are thankful that we get to hate that rival. It adds to the enjoyment. To outsiders, they would think we have taken leave of our senses, but they just don’t get it. This is Hate Week and it feels GOOD!!! And don’t forget, Mr and Mrs America, and all the ships at sea, in the SEC it just means more.

Ole Miss vs Mississippi State – First off this Holiday weekend will be the Egg Bowl. This is the last game of the season for the Rebels, win, lose, or draw, their season is over. Miss State could make it to a bowl game by beating Mississippi. Conversely, depriving the Bulldogs of bowl consideration would make the Rebels year. The coaching staffs use the symbolic Egg Bowl as a recruiting tool;- it means that much. Both teams have not come close to living up to preseason expectations, although, it must be stated, that bar was not set real high. Ole Miss seems to be finishing the season stronger than State, even though State has the better record. The game is in Starkville, it’s on Thanksgiving night, my brother, my sister-in-law, and other lifetime acquaintances graduated from Ole Miss. Neither team helps Alabama by winning, so I’m going family ties. Ole Miss wins by a Rebel Yell, or, a fifth of same!!

Virginia Tech vs Virginia – In the Commonwealth Clash, they play for the Commonwealth Cup, which, makes plenty of sense. Or, does it? I thought Kentucky was called the Commonwealth on their flag, and Pennsylvania is a commonwealth, but neither of them are involved in this affair. In the early part of this past season, the Hokies were playing so poorly that there were rumors that HC Justin Fuente was on the hot seat. But, then it turned around, and, believe it or not, they lost to Notre Dame by only one point! At South Bend!  In their last two games they have shut out their opposition. These Hokies have become a good 8-3 team. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, began the season playing great, then they kind-of stumbled and bumbled over their own two feet, losing three in a row. They have won their last three games, but two of their opponents have losing records and the other is a FCS school, so, yes, they won, but they don’t seem to have that killer look in their eyes. It has been 15 years since UVA last beat VA Tech. Last year the Wahoos came very close to ending this streak, but they fell short. Now they have the Turkeys on their home field during Turkey Week. UVA needs to win this game, they’ve got to win this game, which is why VA Tech will extend their winning streak against the desperate Cavaliers..

Washington State vs Washington – The Apple Cup! The Cougars failed to score at least twenty points only once all year, and that resulted in their loss to Utah. In all their other games, Washington State has scored a lot of points, as in, man, do they score points! The problem is that they permit the other teams to score just about as many. Last week the Coug’s QB Gordon threw for over 600 yards and 6 TDs, and they still needed a miracle finish to get past Oregon State. Winning 54-53 is hardly a great endorsement. Washington, or, UDUB, has been the poster boy for inconsistent play, and it doesn’t even extend from one game to the next. Nope, they’ll do it all in the same game. One minute they’re playing great, one gets up to grab a snack, and by the time they sit back down the Huskies have given the game away. Wait? How? What? Before I explain, this is a great illustration of why, when you settle in to watch some College Football, you bring your snacks, drinks, and PortaPotty with you.  Both teams are at 6-5, the game is being played in Seattle, WSU counts a trip to Seattle a treat, so this cross-state expedition won’t bother the Cougars. The way both teams have played this year, there is no concrete reason for a favorite, so, Heads, Huskies;- Tails, Cougars.

Ohio State vs Michigan – Some people call this “The Game” and there is no love lost between these two teams. Ohio State finally has to leave the Horseshoe for an important game. The Buckeyes are coming in cocky, stuck-up, and arrogant. They’re undefeated, they’ve yet to be challenged, and they’ve beaten Michigan 7 straight times. It’s actually worse than seven, for, going all the way back to the Millennium, 2000, OSU has only lost to the Wolverines three times, and only once since 2004. Michigan, however, does have one of the greatest living coaches on earth, a Legend in his own mind. HC Harbaugh has yet to deliver on why he was hired at Michigan. He was given one primary mission, and that was to beat Ohio State. The Favorite Son has yet to do it. He came close once, three years ago, but since this is neither Atom bombs nor hand grenades, close doesn’t count. The Michigan fans have grown weary of his bluster, and bragging, and prophesying, and running down the SEC. (Maybe they like his campaign against the superiority of the SEC). Either deliver a win against Ohio State or go back to Stanford, or somewhere in California! The Wolverines, to their credit, have been playing much better in the second half of the season. I’m sure it’s been due to superior coaching (dripping with sarcasm), but when a coach keeps losing to their next door rival year after year, the natives get restless. Penn State’s defense is not outstanding, but when the Lions played the Buckeyes, they kept Ohio State’s attack in a stall for most of the game. I doubt Michigan’s defense is good enough to imitate this effort. Ohio State is going to win again, for the eighth time in a row. It’s just a matter of by how much, and will the Wolverines keep their coach around to suffer the indignity of a ninth straight loss?

Alabama vs Auburn – The Crimson Tide has had some tough breaks, like broken bones and ligaments and tendons and menisci, this year, yet they’ve only lost one game, and that was to LSU, who is ranked #1 in the country. The Tide almost came back in that one, but that darned clock beat ‘em to the end. Now it’s cross state rival Auburn, and the Red Elephants are without their star QB, Tua Tagovailoa. The recluses sitting in dank basements waiting for their mom’s to bring them cucumber sandwiches are saying that the Tide is a questionable favorite to win. Does anyone else, besides me, remember when Ohio State last won the National Championship? They did it with a backup signal caller, and nobody, including me, thought they had much of a chance? Well, current Bama QB Mac Jones is not Cardale Jones, not even close, actually, Mac is much better. Alabama is going to have to rely more on it’s running game, and Najee Harris is fine with that. Doubtful the Tiger’s will stop the Bama offense. In the SEC, and this is, definitely, SEC football, it just means more. A larger question is, will the Bama defense stop Auburn? Hmmm…that’s a bit of a pickle. In the Plainsmen losses this year, there has been one common denominator and that has been the opposition putting pressure on their young QB. When QB Bo Nix is pressured, and pressured a lot, he makes hurry-up throws, quick decisions, and tends to overlook open receivers. And, overthrow open receivers. The more times he’s pressured, the worse he plays. If Alabama gets to Nix on a regular basis, he’ll revert to high school football, even if it was Championship high School football. If he isn’t pressured, this game will be much closer than my blood pressure can tolerate. Alabama is my pick, as if there were any doubt.

Wisconsin vs Minnesota – Not sure if this is a big rivalry, kinda like A&M and South Carolina. Wisconsin and Minnehaha don’t like each other, and they play for the Big AX trophy, but, big rivalry…eh..not sure. The winner of this game gets to play Ohio State in the Great White North Championship game on a NEUTRAL field, not in Columbus, Ohio. The Badgers are favored even though they’ve lost two games. One of those losses was to Illinois. That’s not as bad as a loss to Rutgers, but, lllinois? Maybe a few years ago, or in the future, but in 2019? Really? Honestly, even if Minnesota had beaten Iowa last week, it is doubtful they would be picked to win this one. No matter how well the Gophers play, there doesn’t seem to be that root-hog-or-die mentality. They are rowing their boat okay now, though, more power to Coach PJ Fleck. However, people don’t take the Gophers seriously on the big stage. Wisconsin has that murderous trait, and that would be their defense combined with RB Jonathan Taylor. Both have turned in some serious head-shaking numbers. Each team needs this game to have a shot at the title. The rowers from Minnesota appreciate the role of the underdog, and they’re going to hang tough, but, yeah, we’re going with the masses on this one and picking Wisconsin. It hurts. I like PJ Fleck.

Oregon State vs Oregon – The Civil War! No, not THE WAR that pitted the North against the South, the Yankee invasion of our sacred heritage. Oregon had nothing to do with that war, whatever population they had saw fit to sit that one out. This namesake is straight-up street fighting. Oregon was playing flawless football, except for their incursion into the SEC against Auburn to kick-off the season. The Ducks were playing some serious football. Then, last week, they drop one to Arizona State, and it’s not like the Sun Devils got some sort of miracle bounce of the ball,  that led them to victory. No, ASU flat outplayed, out hustled, and out ran the Ducks. Maybe Oregon was caught shining their resume, or maybe they thought they had this game in the bag just by showing up in Tempe. Whatever it was, the Sun Devils were ready for it. Oregon State lost to Washington State last Saturday, but they weren’t muzzled like the Quack Attack was. O-State matched WSU touchdown for touchdown, but let the lead slip away in the fourth quarter. Beware, though, these Beavers have played much better than expected. They haven’t set the world on fire – who has, outside of Louisiana and Ohio –  but they have caused attentive observers to take notice. The Beavers are serious. However, Oregon got humiliated last week and they don’t take kindly to losing two in a row. Ducks win, probably, but, what if … ?

Clemson vs South Carolina – for years USC-South owned this game, but that was before Coach Boom and Dabo. Tigers win, by a lot

Georgia vs Georgia Tech – Bulldogs swat the Yellow Jackets

Texas Tech vs Texas – Doesn’t matter, the Longhorns should be playing A&M on Thanksgiving day. UT needs to get over the fact the Aggies are in the SEC and make this game happen!

Texas A&M vs LSU – Hey, Aggies, remember last year when y’all took the Tigers to 7 overtimes and then won the game? Yeah, it would be great if y’all could pull something like that again this year. I’m not sure this is the same Bengal that crawled out of the Bayou as last year, but it would help us a lot if you did. Thanks, signed, every Alabama fan out there, real and imagined.

Vanderbilt vs Tennessee – By winning this game the Vols will be bowl eligible. Who would have thought that was possible?

Iowa vs Nebraska – Thought it would be funny to pick the Cornhuskers, but just couldn’t do it.

Missouri vs Arkansas – what luck the Tigers have! Playing Arkansas to get bowl eligible. Sure fire way to get that 6th win. This year. Wait’ll next year (the lament of losers)

Cincinnati vs Memphis – Should Memphis win, and then win their conference championship game, is there a possibility they could go to a New Year Day 6 bowl? Possibility, yes;- probability, no.

Northwestern vs Illinois – Ok, this is a rivalry, why not. Illinois will win, cause Northwestern has no idea how to win a game this year.

 Notre Dame vs Stanford – The Irish will beat a losing team and the sportswriters will declare it the victory of the century.

Indiana vs Purdue – The Hoosiers are going to win, it’s just a matter of by how much

Iowa State vs Kansas State – Actually, I have no idea who is going to win, but it could be a great game.

Colorado vs Utah- Utes need this one to make it to the Conference Championship Game. A loss, and they’ll drop off the Tuesday CFB charts.

Louisville vs Kentucky – Hmmm….UK wins, because its on their field.

Florida State vs Florida – Turn you heads if the site of a massacre upsets you. The Gators and going to gnaw Renegade’s legs off .

North Carolina vs NC State – My head says UNC, my heart says, NC State- Go Wolfpack!

Rutgers vs Penn State – Rutgers wants the season to end quickly, and the Nittany Lions will be happy to grant their wishes

Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State – Bedlam! OU should win, but OSU has a recurring habit of tripping the Sooners up. The game is in Stillwater, and the Sooners have not been stellar as of late. Pokes are going to pull the upset.

Baylor vs Kansas – the Jayhawks will hang in this game far longer than they should. They won’t win, but they’ll be playing hard at the end.

UNLV vs Nevada – Nevada has the better record but UNLV is going to win. Why? Cause they lost their coach. We’re rolling the dice against the odds. Rebels.

Arizona vs Arizona State – Sun Devils just beat a bunch of Ducks, now they’re going to whip the Wildcats, too. Unless they don’t.

California vs UCLA – Not sure if this is even a rivalry, why is this game scheduled for this weekend? Who selected this game to be slotted here? Would you rather watch Alabama-Auburn, or smoke pot – I mean, cut crusts from mini sandwiches, and THEN smoke pot –  and sip champagne in California? UCLA wins. And, who cares?

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