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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 7

Penn State vs Michigan – We’re starting off with a top ten matchup! The funny thing about this so called “Top Ten” matchup is, there are still many who are questioning if Michigan, and, for that matter, Penn State, is actually worthy of being in the top ten. Michigan hasn’t played a team with a winning record yet. On top of that, their out of conference schedule is an absolute joke;- Colorado State, Hawai’i, and UConn, way to step it up there, Harbaugh. The Wolverines, for their part, have put up some nice statistics as they have skated through their cupcakes. 43 points per game while allowing only 11 points per game is impressive – against Cummings Grade School where my editor began his football career. The Nittany Lions haven’t exactly matched up against highly successful teams either, but, to their credit, they did travel to Auburn and beat the Tigers on their own turf. Luckily for the Lions, Auburn is playing terribly right now, but PSU didn’t know that when they scheduled this game;- at least they played an SEC team away from Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions also dealt with Purdue, who is much better than anyone thought they’d be. The Lions have been making a living out of running the ball and stopping the run, typical Great White North style of play, and Saturday we can expect them to do the same thing. The Wolverines’ defense is predicated on stopping the run. On the flip side, PSU defense is also very good at stopping the run and Michigan wants to throw the ball, – well, throw the ball more than most Great White North schools typically throw the ball. However, the jury is still out on whether Michigan QB JJ McCarthy is capable to performing in a high pressure game. Penn State has a lot of talent, athleticism, and they should make this a serious fight, but they must play all four quarters, got to keep it up all game, no let downs. If they’re able to get ahead early, they can draw out their drives and wear down that untested Michigan defense. The Wolverines, however, need for Penn State to have a bad game so they can capitalize on their misfortune. They’re playing at the Big House – no, not Shawshank Prison, that big house, but Michigan Stadium, that big house -so the Maize and Blue will have home field advantage and that will certainly work to their advantage, but they also have Harbaugh as their coach and he is the king of “Choke” jobs, and he’ll choke in this game too. Nittany Lions win.

Oklahoma State vs TCU – If you are person that likes it when the scoreboard is lit up like a pinball machine scoreboard, then this is the game for you. The Cowboys have one of the best offenses in the nation. QB Spencer Sanders already has 2,131 passing yards and 22 touchdowns, and that’s just six games into the season. That’s impressive. The Pokes are scoring an average of 45 points per game and are the top offense in the Big 12 that only has ten teams, and one of the best in the nation. But, true to OSU form, the defense is not so great, ranking, are you ready of this, No.104 in the nation. That’s means Oklahoma State represents the extreme at both ends;- I mean, what the heck, why doesn’t Coach Gundy even try with the defense? TCU is having a fabulous first year under HC Sonny Dykes. The offense which is billed as an “air raid” style attack, is actually quite balanced, the Horn Frogs running game is more efficient than the passing game, yet the aerial attack gets all the media attention. Anyway, the Horned Toads have been killing it on offense. They should have no problem scoring points on the 104th ranked OSU defense. The problem is, that the Horn Frog Defense is ranked worse than the Pokes’! TCU’s defense ranks 110th in the nation. So we have two high powered, very efficient offenses going up against two very poor defenses….everyone who is capable of scoring points in this game, will. Look for the score to be somewhere around 49 to 42 or even higher. Oklahoma State has a habit of blowing big games like these, especially on the road, but they just might pull this one out, snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Alabama vs Tennessee – There is not an Alabama fan who is not worried about who’s starting at QB for the Crimson Tide this Saturday. If QB Young is not able to go, then Tennessee is going to win the game, hands down. They might win it anyway. If we learned anything from the A&M game it’s that Bama’s Milroe is not ready for this level of QB play, and that QB Young has been a bit underappreciated. The Tide offense lives off the run game, it has to be able to run the ball for them to work, BUT there also has to be a passing threat, and it has to be real. Alabama doesn’t have break away receivers like they’ve had for the past decade. If the threat of completing passes isn’t there, then all the Volunteer defense has to do is put 8 to 9 men in the box to stop the run, which will completely shut down the Bama offense. The Alabama defense, played like champions last week. They were out on the field a majority of the game and they never let up, they kept the pressure on the A&M and were in the back field harassing QB King every time he dropped back to pass. Normally, this would indicate that your defense can’t get off the field on third downs, but the only times that the Aggies scored were off Alabama turnovers. The defense is going to be needed again this weekend, and maybe even a little bit more. Because the up-tempo offense that the Vols run is no secret, – it’s the exact same offense that Central Florida has run so well, and what Nebraska wanted when they hired Frost away from UCF, – the difference is that Nebraska never had the QB to run the offense and UT has, in QB Hendon Hooker, who has yet to throw an INT, and, let’s be honest, with Alabama’s secondary, he isn’t going to throw a pick this Saturday, either. The Vols average 46 points a game, and, so far, that offense has been unstoppable. The Vols defense has been pretty good against the run, not that they’ve been challenged much, but they’ve built up their stats. Howsomever, their secondary is one of the worst in the nation, ranking 128th out of 131. So for Alabama to win this game, the Tide has to be able to complete passes, and that isn’t in QB Milroe’s bag of tricks. If QB Young plays, then the Crimson Tide will be the one smoking cigars at the end of game. If he doesn’t, the Vols will finally get to light up their cigars which have been aging for 15 years. Some of us will be smoking a cigar after this game no matter what, it’s just a matter of whether it will be a happy cigar or a sad one.

Short Smokes:

Baylor should have a hay day against West Virginia, but they won’t. The Bears wilt against the Mountaineers.

Ole Miss is going to ruin Auburn’s day

Can Kansas be the next team to run it up against Oklahoma.

Texas might not be in the mood to toy with Iowa State

Minnesota is going to knock Illinois off their perch

Army, are you listening, Army? You are going to win this game against Colgate. Now stop mucking around and get it done.

Coastal Carolina is undefeated again, and Old Dominion will not challenge them

Highly overrated Miami might even their record against Virginia Tech

Georgia continues their reign of terror in the SEC East as they take down Vanderbilt

NC State is going to need to play WAY better than they have been as they take on undefeated Syracuse

Arkansas better get their giddy-up back on as they travel out west to face BYU

Wisconsin actually won last week, Michigan State hasn’t won in a good long time, the Badgers are going to pile more hurt upon MSU

Arizona is going to try and do the same thing Arizona State did, and that is to beat Washington, and they might pull it off.

LSU vs Florida this is anyone’s pick

Clemson is going to beat Florida State, but it might not be so easy

Mississippi State is going to take down Kentucky because the Wildcats have lost their mystique.

Purdue will whip up on Nebraska

USC is undefeated, but they’ve shown some weakness in their armor, and its possible, highly possible, that Utah wins. It just might not be probable

Washington State takes on Oregon State and look for the Beavers to win it. That’s Oregon State. Washington State is called the Cougars. These teams play out west after the sun has gone to bed.

San Jose State and Fresno State is the late game and for the night owls it could be a fun one to watch.

Nevada vs Hawai’i is the late late show, and if insomnia is a problem, then at least you’ll a game to watch. Right, I said Nevada and Hawai’i. Not a betting contest, not surfing, FOOTBALL!

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