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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 2

College Football is back and week 1 is in the books. So, what did we learn? The first big lesson is that defenses are back. Don’t believe me, just take a look at what Alabama did to Miami, the Georgia vs Climpson affair, or how VA Tech dropped North Carolina from their lofty pre-season ranking. All the victors had outstanding defenses, even Climpson who lost, but put on a great defensive effort. The second lesson is that the SEC rules, except for LSU where it appears Coach O has slipped back into his Ole Miss coaching ways. Oh, yeah, there was Vanderbilt, too;- the only private school in the SEC. We here in the south already knew how dominant the SEC is, because here, it just means more, but the rest of the nation now has to admit it. In the AP poll updated on Sept 9th, three of the top five teams are from the SEC:- Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M, which, of course, has sent the Daughter’s anxiety into the stratosphere. The third and final lesson is that the ACC is grossly overrated. All three of their teams that were ranked, lost, and it wasn’t even close. Ok, ok, Clemson lost, 10-3, but the score doesn’t tell how ineffective the Tiger offensive was, and how they were completely shut down. There were plenty of great games that made one sit on the edge of their seat. The Notre Dame vs. Florida State game did just that. There are some people that say God will strike them dead if they watch a Notre Dame game, so they missed out on a truly great game, even though ND won. These people must remember that God is a forgiving God and that no sin, even watching Notre Dame, can separate them from the love He has for us. Let’s move on to Week 2.

Iowa vs Iowa State – Allowance can be given to the Cyclones for their poor showing against Northern Iowa. In that game the highly-ranked ISU struggled to beat UNI. Maybe they aren’t used to the pressure of being ranked in the Top Ten, it’s possible they were overlooking this game in anticipation of their intrastate match-up with Iowa, maybe Northern Iowa is a far better team than anyone thought, whatever the reason, they weren’t ready for this game and it showed. As it was said, allowances can be made for them, but not here at CSF. When a team is ranked in the Top Ten, and they’re playing a non-ranked team in a lesser division, no excuse is accepted. The Cyclones have 18 returning starters, which means they only had to replace four. There’s no acceptable excuse to explain this poor showing. They are taking on their intrastate rival, who has been a far superior team for years. If they want to redeem themselves, they’re going to have to prove it and this weekend would be the perfect opportunity to give the voters justification for ranking the Cyclones so high. Pre-season Heisman candidate RB Bryce Hall rushed for only 69 yards in last week’s game. Seriously, this is the performance he gives? Last year the Cyclones lost their first game against the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, which was the kick in the afterburner needed to propel them into winning for the rest of the year. Maybe they needed this to kick in the apogee;- the jury will render their decision after this coming weekend.

Iowa took on upstart Indiana, who last year beat Penn State at the start of the season. The Hoosiers had delusions of grandeur for opener against the Hawkeyes, which were quickly extinguished. Iowa launched an onslaught onto IU, jumping out to a 31-3 lead at halftime. Indiana spent most of the game trying to figure out who they were, and it had nothing to do with the misspelling of Indiana on their jerseys. The Hawkeyes were serious about this game and there was no way they were going to lose. Iowa’s defense was the deciding factor, they returned two INT’s for touchdowns and a forced fumble to top things off. They shut down IU’s offense by holding gunslinging QB Penix to just 14 completions in 31 attempts for a measly 156 yards. Iowa’s defense continued their dominance from last year, where they haven’t allowed a team to score more than 24 points in game in the last 23 games. There are some that will say the Iowa way of playing football is boring, but it’s hard to argue with success, and, besides, that’s the way they play at Iowa.
What to expect;- Iowa’s defense is primed and ready, and their running game is just as dominant as it ever has been. Iowa State’s entire team is searching for an identity. Last year the Cyclones rebounded from their opening loss and won this game, but this is a new year, and this year they need to step up to the plate and belt a homerun. Otherwise, all that pre-season hype will be nothing but hot air. Coach Matt Campbell has done a remarkable job with the Cyclones, and by all the job offers he’s turned down, he appears to be determined to continue his work. Here at CSF, we’re big fans of Coach Campbell, but, the reality is he’s got his work cut out for him this week. Loyalty among us CSF fans is fleeting, as in, how did you do this week? Except for Bama, Army, and, for the Daughter’s sake, A&M. We’d like ISU to win, we’d like ISU to run the table and win the Big 12 that only has ten teams. Iowa is playing head and shoulders above the Cyclones, and will more than likely win.

Oregon vs Ohio State– is another top 25 match up for us to feast upon. OSU whipped Minnesota in the Gopher’s back yard, 45-31. Scoring 45 points in impressive, but in the first half, the Buckeyes were flat-out lost. Going into the locker room, they trailed, 14-10, and new QB Sensation C.J. Stroud was throwing the ball all over the place. The problem was, there wasn’t a Garnett and Grey receiver anywhere near where he was throwing the ball. He got his act together in the second half and ended up throwing for 294 yards and four touchdowns. The Golden Gophers didn’t just lie down and give up, they rowed hard, and they pushed the Bucks’ defense almost to their breaking point. If star running back Mo Ibrahim hadn’t broken his lower leg (or torn his Achilles tendon) in the third quarter there a distinct possibly that this game would have ended differently, but if a frog had wings, he could fly and he wouldn’t bust his caudal area every time he lands, so OSU won.

Oregon seemed to think that all they had to do was show up at the stadium, and the game was theirs. Whoa, Nellie (as Keith Jackson used to say), they were playing Fresno State, and there was a time not too long ago when Fresno’s motto was, “anyone, anytime, anywhere”. The Ducks jumped out to a 21-6 lead, which is when they shifted into cruise control. Fresno State dredged up memories of their past and proceeded to score two unanswered touchdowns, tying the game in the third quarter. Then, they had the audacity to kick a field goal to take the lead! The very idea! Upset alerts when off on phones all across the nation. With 2:57 left, QB Anthony Brown Jr. took a quarterback keeper 30-yards for the Quack Attack to re-take the lead and win the game. Oregon came out of the gates and they played remarkably, but they got comfortable and took their foot off the gas. This weekend, they’re playing in Columbus, OH. They can’t afford to take anything lightly. The Ducks have to unleash their Quack-Attack in full force, and their defense has got to pin its ears back and go full force. Senior linebacker Dru Mathis went down with a left knee injury last week, and that could hurt the Duck defense. There is hope that he will be able to play in this game, and they could need him.
What to expect;- since this game is being played in Columbus, Ohio State is going to have all the advantages, and we’re not just talking about homefield advantage. All the breaks go OSU’s way at home, and that includes the eye-sight of the officials. C.J. Stroud will not have time to slowly inch himself into the deep end. He needs to start off this game with an air burst of artillery fire and put the Buckeyes out front and keep them there. The Quack-Attack is going to test the Buck’s “bend but don’t break” defense. If Oregon finds the slightest leak in Ohio State’s defensive wall, the damn will burst and the Ducks will add a well earned scalp to their lodge-pole. The Ducks must score, and keep scoring, making Ohio State play catch up, which is not fun and Ohio fans don’t enjoy it. The Buckeyes will more than likely win, based on their homefield advantage, their brilliant Coach, and the fact that they are a very good football team.

Texas vs Arkansas – back in the days of yesteryear, there was a conference called the Southwest Conference, mostly just called the Texas League plus Arkansas, since it included all Texas schools with the lone member outside the Lone Star state being the Hogs. When that conference fell apart, because of the actions of the University of Texas, (big shock) the Razorbacks joined the Southeastern conference where they should have been all along. This rivalry is beginning once again. The Hogs would love to win this game, even though none of the members of this team remember those days long ago. Last week, the Razorback hogs thumped Rice, 38-17, but it wasn’t all that easy. At the half, they were trailing the Owls and the home crowd let them know their displeasure by booing the piglets as they went into the locker room. The Hogs then scored on five of their last six possessions, putting the game out of reach, 38-17. Head Coach Sam Pittman said, “We did about everything we could possibly do wrong in the first half.” Thankfully, they were able to overcome adversity this time. That all sounds good, but when the adversity is coming from Rice, where they’re more concerned about figuring out Aeronautical math problems than playing football, that doesn’t bode well.

Texas now has retread Head Coach Steve Sarkisian, who completed his rehabilitation under St. Saban as Alabama’s Offensive Coordinator where he performed brilliantly. Last week, the Longhorns took on Louisiana the Ragin’ Cajuns. The game began haltingly, with each team scoring once in each quarter. UL scored field goals while the Horns scored touchdowns. Then, in the second half, Texas opened up as if they finally understood the play-calls Sark was given them, and they finished off the pesky Cajuns, 38-18. Running Back Bijan Robinson is a preseason Heisman hopeful, and he rushed for 103 yards on 20 carries against a defense that was better than expected. The Longhorn fans, at least, the elder ones, also remember this rivalry but they don’t have the ill-will that Arkansas fans do, mainly because they usually beat the Hogs, but, having said that, they still don’t want to lose to their long lost conference partner. HC Sarkisian has his work cut out for him. Texas, despite the fans’ chants of being back, are not where they want to be. They need to execute their offense the way Sark had Alabama’s offensive humming, and they are a long way from that type of performance.
What to expect;- this will not be an easy game, regardless of who wins. Arkansas will come determined to win, and they’re going to play far better than they did against Rice. They’re going to be more aggressive on defense, and their offensive is going to push their abilities to the limit. But it won’t be enough. Texas has them overmatched, out talented and, even though it’s been many, many years since they played each other, the Horns still have them buffaloed. Texas wins.

Short Smokes:
Coastal Carolina is going to pluck the Jayhawks

Army whips up on Western Kentucky in a way that only the Black Knights can. Go Army, Beat Navy!

USC-South, with their graduate QB, will beat East Carolina and then think the Gamecocks will contend for the SEC East title.

Tennessee is not going to have a good time playing Pitt. The Panthers are favored on the Vols’ homefield.

Florida will not struggle, then again, they might, against South Florida

Tulane will avenge themselves against Morgan State

Texas A&M travels Colorado to take on the Buffs, with their new Buffalo Mascot, and the Aggies win. The Daughter will be happy.

Nebraska will host Buffalo and there is a very real possibility that the Cornhuskers lose

Air Force launches an assault on Navy and will succeed in sinking the Midshipmen

Alabama’s starters will not play the second half against Mercer.

Climpson will lick their wounds against South Carolina State and Coach Dabo will declare to the world that the Tigers have regained their form. He will, of course, be wrong, but they’ll probably still win. What if … .

West Virginia should have no problems with Long Island University, I didn’t even know Long Island had a University

UTSA will play against Lamar, and, after last weekend, these Roadrunners are proving to be tough to catch

App State travels down to Miami and all the Mountaineer players will be amazed to see the ocean. After that, they’re going to push the Hurricanes to the limit and just might win it.

NC State takes a trip into SEC country to play Mississippi State, and, it pains me to say this, but they could win this. Unless the Bulldogs pull another 4th quarter miracle.

Memphis goes across the Mighty Mississippi to take on Arkansas State. Hopefully, the Tigers win, hopefully.

Missouri and Kentucky start their SEC schedule against each other and it’s a toss up which Cat is going to win.

Washington vs Michigan at the start of the season looked like a heck of a game, but after the Montana Griz tripped up the Huskies, not so much. But, then again, Michigan still has Loudmouth Coach Harbaugh, so the Huskies can still win.

Utah and BYU will conduct their Holy War and CSF is picking the Utes

Stanford was embarrassed against Kansas State last week and it’s not looking good for them against USC

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