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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 8

Ole Miss vs LSU – the Rebels are not getting the love that they got last year even though the offense has been turning out great numbers. The reason for this lack of admiration is the fact that they’ve only played one team that could put up a challenge and that was Kentucky, which the Rebs won, but barely. They’ve had two road games so far, one to Nashville for Vanderbilt, and the other to Atlanta for Georgia Tech, so not what one would call hostile territory. This weekend all that changes, as Ole Miss enters the meat of their schedule. The schedule has been pretty soft so far, but that doesn’t mean the Rebs can’t produce offense, this is a Lane Kiffin coached team after all. The offense is going to be just fine and looking at the numbers, this team has a far better ground attack than last year. Where Ole Miss is lacking is on the defensive side, big shock, right? The defense gave up way too many third downs against Kentucky and Auburn. No matter what the offense did that was productive, they never could put the other team out of reach because the defense wasn’t able to get off the field. Having said that, this defense is better than last years’, so there is some, minimal, improvement, it’s just not coming in leaps and bounds. LSU is coming off a nice win against Florida, but, then again, Florida hasn’t been able to match their first game performance. Nevertheless, a win against another SEC team, where it just means more, is a good win. The loss to Tennessee was a bad one, but after the Vols downed the Tide last week, LSU’s loss doesn’t look too bad. The Bayou Bengals secondary was torched by the Vols and the Tigers were unable to generate any sort of pass rush. If Ole Miss QB Dart is not challenged, and allowed to stay in the pocket, he’ll pick the LSU secondary apart. In three of the last four games, the Offense has gained 300 yards or more in the passing game. Most, if not all, those passes are very short passes followed by gaining yards after the catch. The tigers with QB Daniels are not able to stretch the field, mainly because he doesn’t allow enough time for the receivers to run that far before he tucks the ball and runs. LSU has not found its identity under HC Kelly yet, they are unsettled. Even in their wins, they are very shaky, and unsure. The powers that be, whoever they are, are predicting a close game and that LSU will use the home field advantage to eke out a victory. That is a bit overly optimistic on the Tigers. Ole Miss is going to gain the laurel leaves even though they don’t have a good record playing in Death Valley.

UCLA vs Oregon – for a while now there really hasn’t been any reason to write about any of the games out on the left coast. It was interesting when the left coast teams came over here and got thumpings at the hands of the SEC, but the Kale and Champaign league has not really had any marquee match ups, until now. Chip Kelly, Bruin HC, over the past couple of years, has built up a following of doubters, who were doubting that he would turn UCLA into winners, and, in their defense it was looking that way. Now, however, they are undefeated, ranked 9th and they’ve already taken down two top 25 teams, Washington and Utah. That’s not too shabby. Oregon, those wascally ducks, did not start off well, as a matter of fact, it appeared that their season was completely over after one game and all the bad mojo that had surrounded QB Bo Nix, while he was at Auburn, had followed him out west. Things were looking very bleak, indeed. However, since that time behind the woodshed, Oregon has won all their games but only one of those was against a ranked team and that was BYU, who they thumped, 41-20. AND QB Bo Nix has been consistent, and it’s been a good consistent, which was something he couldn’t do while at Auburn. Huh, so now these two teams are going to meet on Saturday and what-do-you-know there’s a lot buzz about this game. The winner will claim the top spot of the PAC 12 and have the inside track to the championship. Both of these teams rely on offense;- after all, it was Chip Kelly at Oregon that started this type of offense and has now brought it down to southern California. The Ducks have scored at least 40 points in all their games except against Georgia. UCLA has also scored 40 or more points except when they played Southern Alabama, where they were held to only 32 points and, oh, by the way, the Bruins won that game 32-31, not sure how to explain that one. Oregon is looking for the home field advantage to give them an edge. They need to score early and often and keep UCLA from getting the lead. Make those Bruins play catch-up the entire time. This might actually work, because UCLA is not used to playing in front of a crowd of people, even in their home stadium. It is entirely possible that the full-throated roar of the hostile crowd will scare them. Look for the game to be highly entertaining, fast scoring, and a lot of points. Even though the Ducks are favored, UCLA walks away with the win.

Kansas State vs TCU – This is the battle of the last two unbeaten teams in the Big 12 that only has ten teams. TCU is undefeated, and last week they took down Oklahoma State in epic fashion, two overtimes before that game was decided. The K-State Wildcats have been playing great except for the trip-up game against Tulane. Since that time, however, they beat OU, Texas Tech, and Iowa State, and QB Adrian Martinez has not been the turnover machine he was up in Nebraska, where he had 30 INTs and 30 Fumbles. At K-State he has fumbled only three times and has yet to throw an interception. The reason for this turn around is that K-State does not rely upon a passing attack and has taken on the philosophy of “only throw when absolutely necessary”. These Cats are ground-based and they will be the best rushing attack that TCU has faced. But there is something going on at TCU, too, where HC Sonny Dykes has brought something to this team. They are focused, they are determined, and they are winning. Oklahoma State is a tough team, and the Horned Frogs fell behind to where it appeared there was no way to come back, but come back they did. TCU kept at it and slowly but surely came back and won the game! K-State is not a team that plays from behind, they need to get the lead and stay on it, they want to grind out the clock and sit on that ball for as long as they can. TCU doesn’t seem to care, they have proven that they can win games no matter what they come up against. The heart wants K-State to win, but the head says TCU walks away with it.

Short Smokes:

Iowa has been known to ruin Ohio State’s season but not this year

Syracuse vs Clemson – hard to believe that both teams are undefeated, but only Clemson stays undefeated

Kansas tries to find its glory again against Baylor, but the Bears don’t wilt against the Jayhawkers

Army continues winning against UL Monroe. Go, Army! Beat navy!

Indiana vs Rutgers – yeah, sure, go with Indiana because…why not

Houston takes down Navy, which will make all Army fans happy

Duke has a better record and is playing better than Miami, the Hurricanes will win, but it’s going to be close

Is West Virginia for real? They just beat Baylor, can they do that again against Texas Tech? Nah!

Texas is winning, Oklahoma State needs to get back to winning, Longhorns win

Liberty vs BYU – it is highly possible, HIGHLY possible, that Liberty wins. Also highly possible that they don’t.

Purdue vs Wisconsin The Badgers could win this one; – but they won’t

Vanderbilt could honestly beat Missouri. Or not.

Arizona State vs Stanford, nobody knows which team is going to show up, they have both had games where they played over their heads. Gimmee AZ State.

Alabama vs Mississippi State, the Tide hasn’t fixed their secondary problems so this I going to be closer than it should be. Pete Golding – have I mentioned him before, over a million dollars a year salary, and …..NO IMPROVEMENT WHATSOEVER!!!

Texas A&M is going to have a terrible time against South Carolina, but the Aggies still might win and make The Daughter happy. Then, again, … .

Oregon State continues to impress by whipping Colorado

Pitt could be in trouble against Louisville, but they shouldn’t be

Washington has to find itself again and they should against California

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