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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 10 Preview

In a world turned upside down (that’s what the British band played when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown), it’s nice that we still have college football to watch. We’ve got riots, shutdowns, fights, lawsuits, fraud, cheating, lying, and all sorts of shenanigans going on, but we can take comfort that college football is still taking place this weekend and we can sit back and enjoy.  Even the MAC started playing Wednesday night. For the first time this year the PAC-12 is showing up, but, who cares? None of their teams have made the playoff in years and, well, none of them are a threat this year either, which is why they are playing the fewest amount of games. But, hey, on the plus side, we on the east coast and in the Midwest now have late games to watch!

Clemson vs Notre Dame – Talk about a difficult game, being raised in an environment where it was forbidden to ever pull for Notre Dame and then developing my own dislike for Clemson, this game makes it difficult to know who to pull for. ND losing is always a good thing, but we don’t want Clemson to be happy either. This will be the first game of the season where the Irish will face a team with a winning record. They haven’t actually been facing the top tier teams, and now they get the top dog of the (admittedly weak) conference. However, there is a catch, they will not be facing QB Trevor Lawarence. He has not been cleared since he came down with the Chinese Red Plague. So far, ND has the nation’s best pass defense, they’ve allowed two TD tosses, and haven’t given up more than 260 yards to anyone. Then, again, they’ve only faced one team, Louisville, that can throw a forward pass with any confidence. Starting Tiger QB DJ Uiagalelei is not one of the Heisman favorites, but last week against BC he did throw 30-41 passes for 342 yards. Not only that, but these South Carolina Tigers have RB Travis Etienne, who just happens to have run for more yards than any other ACC back, ever, and that includes Charlie Trippi (for you of my Editor’s generation). The Fighting Irish will get a lot of favorable press out of this game, win, lose, or draw. There will be commenters screaming at the top of their lungs that ND is back, baby! But in recent times, meaning from 1990 until present, whenever the Irish play a high caliber team, they lose, and it’s usually not pretty. There is scant reason to think this game will be any different. Now, if we could only figure out how to make it where Clemson wasn’t happy, of looked good while winning this game…….

Florida vs Georgia – In the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, each team should wear their home colors. Honestly, that should be a law somewhere because it always seems like these two teams take it up a notch when they do. Florida was riding high and thinking they were unstoppable until Texas A&M exposed their flaw, that they are very susceptible to the running game. The Gators did better against Missouri last week, but they’re going to have to step it up a lot more against Georgia. Not that the Dawgs are the DAWGS, like they were the past few years, but it’s still UGA and they’re going to bring a hard hitting rushing game. The Gators have QB Kyle Trask, who consistently has 400 yard passing games and makes TD tosses like he’s passing out candy, which is great for the Alligators…oh, sorry, just Gators. The Bulldogs had their own weakness on defense exposed, this was done by Alabama (hee hee) when the Crimson Tide literally punched holes in their secondary all game long. UGA could not keep up and fell further and further behind, especially after halftime. Trask and company will try to strike hard and fast every time they have the football, and they should be able to do that, but if they get a two touchdown lead, they need to draw out their drives a bit, not that they’re worried about Georgia’s offense striking quickly, but they need to wear down the defense. If the Dawg defense have fresh legs, they might produce some turnovers that could turn the game around, but if the Gators have the lead and gradually extend Georgia’s suffering, the amphibians (Gators) could do the same thing the Tide did to Georgia. For UGA to win, and let’s assume that they may, they will need to make sure to pound that Florida defense into the ground, rushing the ball so many times that even though the Gators know what’s coming, they won’t be able to stop it. QB Bennett IV isn’t going to set the world on fire with his passing game, but all he needs to do is complete enough passes to keep the UF defense honest. They cannot let Florida get a two-touchdown lead, they’re not built for a quick, high stakes poker game, the Dawgs need to control the clock, and keep Florida’s offense on the bench.

Arizona State vs USC – Taking their cue from Texas fans, USC fans are saying, “This is the year the Trojans are back!”, and like everyone says to UT fans, we say to USC fans, “Prove it.” The defense last year was like a sieve, they gave up more points than any other Trojan team, ever. But they do get all the starters back, sorry though they were, and there may be something to say about experience. We’ll see if that turns into preventing other teams from scoring. On the offensive side, Kedon Slovis is the established starter, now that JT Daniels has transferred to Georgia. Slovis should have a loaded receiving corps to throw to and a much- improved running game to balance everything out, that is, if it’s not underutilized like it was last year. The past few years have been very lean ones for the Men of Troy, and their fans are growing restless. Basically, this is a do or die year. Arizona State will counter with their own star QB in Jayden Daniels. He is a passer who’s been pretty darn good at hurling the ole pigskin. Last year he had some games where his decision making was, let’s say, questionable. But those kind of games should be well behind him, right? Right! Now the Sun Devils defense started off last year sketchy. When they played USC, they gave up 477 yards through the air alone, much fewer on the ground, but still a lot. By the end of the season they were performing much, much better, they were getting INTS, shutting down opposing passing, and neutralizing the running game. Since the Sun Devils didn’t have spring ball, and they haven’t played in a good long while, this may seem a bit harsh, but it’s doubtful this ASU defense will be where it left off last year. Also, there’s something about playing USC that just intimidates the heck out of Arizona State, and they’ve never been able to shake that monkey loose. They’re not going to this year, either.

Short Smokes

Army will make their first step in re-claiming to the Commander in Chief Trophy as they take down Air Force.

Indiana is going to beat Michigan,  it shall be hilarious to watch

Texas  will beat West “By Golly” Virginia because the game is in Austin, otherwise the Mountaineers would win

Liberty is undefeated but VA Tech is going to blow those Flames out.

Memphis beats South Florida,  even though neither team is what they were expected to be

North Carolina under no circumstances can afford to lose to Duke

Northwestern is playing far better than expected, Nebraska, is playing as expected

After last’s week upset over Michigan, it is highly possible that Michigan State overcomes Iowa

Boston College gets the Kansas version of the ACC in Syracuse

North Alabama will roar its mighty ROAR at Southern Miss, but it more than likely won’t cause us to win, darn it.

Has anyone else noticed that Cincinnati is undefeated? They’ll stay that way after beating Houston. Luke Finckle to Michigan!!!

Normally picking Penn State to beat Maryland would be a sure-fire pick, but not this year. Fear the Terp!

Minnesota takes on Illinois and Someone’s got to win this game!

Mississippi State will achieve that elusive second win against Vanderbilt

Texas Tech vs TCU honestly could go either way, picking the Horn Frogs cause they wear purple

Utah wants to be conference champions, they start that quest against Arizona

Oklahoma State is going to find it very difficult against K-State

For the first time in a very long time Florida State is favored over somebody. It happens to be Pitt. Who’d ‘a thunk it this year?

Texas A&M will face the wrath of the Daughter if they lose to South Carolina, as well they should, but the Aggies won’t because the Gamecocks have Coach Boom.

Baylor is not faring very well and they need to recover, but it won’t happen against Iowa State

Rutgers will more than likely lose by double digits to Ohio State, but they’ll still play the Buckeyes tough

Stanford and the Ducks, sounds like an old 60’s whiney, protest song. Anyway, Oregon wins.

Tennessee and Arkansas will be surprisingly entertaining. Picking the Hogs, cause, well, they’re playing UT.

Not sure how either Washington State or Oregon State will be this year, could be a fun game to watch, then again it might not be

Washington vs California it seems like these two should have very strong animosities toward each other, but they don’t, which is wrong, very wrong. Huskies win, because their mascot is a dog, and, that’s be honest, dogs are proof that God loves us, because the human race doesn’t deserve dogs.

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