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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 11

South Carolina vs Florida – The Gamecocks have won five of their last six games, they’ve become bowl eligible, when they weren’t expected to be, and now they take on Florida. USC-South surprised just about everyone when they beat Kentucky, who was ranked 13th at the time. Up until then the Gamecocks were winning what they should and losing where it was expected. They whipped A&M, but, then, who hasn’t this year, and they had their glorified scrimmage with Vanderbilt. In this week’s game, it feels like both schools are on the cusp of breaking through and moving on toward bigger and better and things. Despite all the attention that QB Spencer Rattler has generated the strength of this team is the rushing attack. South Carolina is 5-0 when they rush for over 100 yards, and they are 1-3 when they don’t. This may bode well for the Gamers as Florida’s defense has a habit of giving up plenty of rushing yards per game, like, 134 per game. It also doesn’t hurt that the Gators defense has been dismal at times. Yet at other times the Gator D has risen to reach the level of merely a disaster. It ranks as one of the worst  defenses in the nation, and they illustrate this talent mostly on third downs, as they’ve allowed more third down conversations than anyone else in the SEC, where it just means more. Not only that, but they love to give yards away in the air, too, up to 220 yards per game. But, – and I wish Alabama would develop this ‘but’ –  they are good at takeaways. The Gators have been getting two or more per game and that’s helped them out more than they know. Not only that, but USC-South turns the ball over at least two times per game, minimum. Where the Gators shine is on offense, that is when QB Anthony Richardson is on his game. If he’s not at his best, they don’t shine so much. South Carolina’s defense likes to play that ‘bend but don’t break’ type of play, you know, the type of defense that gets burned a lot…right, Alabama? But the Gamecocks can, and do, actually stop the opponents from time to time. Florida only stops them when they take the ball away, and, like I said, that’s averaging only twice per game. USC-South should, SHOULD, be the more productive which should, SHOULD, lead them to more points. Anyone want to bet on this? Gators by 21. 

North Carolina vs Wake Forest – The Tar Heels are 8-1 and the Demon Deacons are 6-3 and yet the powers that be, whoever they are, still have WF as the favorite. Wake was on a tear for the first half of the season, they darn near beat Clemson, did beat Army, but Climpson was their only blemish, …that is, before their last two games. Against Louisville, the Deacs tripped, stumbled, tittered, staggered, and finally fell, as they were blown out of the stadium. Then they lost to NC State, but it was a much closer game. What has gone wrong in Winston-Salem?? There’s no clear answer to this query, it wasn’t just one thing, the entire team has gotten their signals crossed. Before, the offense, under the guidance of QB Sam Hartman, was slinging the ball all over the field and they were able to run the ball, too. The offense was clicking along that railroad line, just a click- a-dee-clacking, then a wheel jumped the track and it derailed the entire team. WF needs to bounce back, and they need to bounce back in a big way. The defensive secondary might be their Achilles heel, as they’ve allowed good passing teams to, well, pass all over them. Usually the Deacon offense bails the team out, but when they can’t produce the glaring inefficiency of the defensive secondary stinks up the place. Kind-of like it does at Alabama this year, Right, DC Golden?? You inefficient, low-down, blankety-blank-blank…Anyway, luckily for the Deacs, this game is at home where they have played much better. UNC, by all accounts, should be the favorite, their only demolition was administered by Notre Dame, and the Heels should have won that one. The reason the Tar Heels are not taken more seriously is that they haven’t actually beaten anyone where it would impress anyone. They’ve beaten three teams with winning records, Duke is one, and, sorry, but beating Duke is not going impress. Pitt, who is just barely off life support, and then they beat Appalachian State, a division 1AA team who beat Texas A&M in College Station when the Aggies were ranked in the Top Ten, remember? But even with those wins, none of them would be impressive enough for any Homecoming Queen to agree to a dance. That’s just the way it is. Now, I’m not saying it would get them a date with the Homecoming Queen but taking down Wake Forest would garner some due attention. That might be hard to do when the defense is so porous. Both teams are going to be relying on their offense to gain the laurel wreath, and this game might one of the highest scoring games of the day. Most likely the total will go over 80. Look for a back and forth game, with plenty of lead changes, but the Tar Heels come out on top.

TCU vs Texas – The Horn Frogs are one of the few remaining undefeated teams in the nation. All the other ones are the teams that are ranked above them in CFP slots 1-3. TCU is good, but there seems to be some reluctance in ranking them this high. The reason for this is because they’ve won, but they haven’t won impressively. Take last week for example, Texas Tech has the Frogs on the ropes and, then, in the fourth quarter, TCU turned it on and scored three touchdowns to win the game. Makes people wonder, “well, why didn’t they play like that in the first three quarters?” This is an excellent question, why didn’t they, and even HC Sonny Dykes can’t answer that one. It’s just what the Frogs do. It is known that in this Dykes’ new culture which has taken root, the team doesn’t care much what people say about them, or, if they like what they do or not, all they care about is winning. In the famous words of Al Davis, “Just win, baby.” Texas, for their part, have torn some team ups, and they’ve been dominant, like when they played Oklahoma, and they upset Kansas State last week, in a game that most everyone had picked the Wildcats to win. Because the Horns beat the Wildcats in Manhattan, College Gameday is coming to Austin and the eyes are on Texas. This Longhorn team usually comes out strong in the first half and then slows down in the second half, and allows teams to come back and beat them, when they shouldn’t…like that Alabama game. TCU, for their part, usually saves their magic for the second half, so it is very possible that UT jumps out to an impressive lead, only to blow it when TCU comes storming back. Most of the oddsmakers, powers that be, whatever people are calling them, are giving the Longhorns the nod, they cite home field advantage, momentum, and that Texas has RB Bijan Robinson. TCU honestly doesn’t give a rip where they play, who’s there, or what these talking heads have to say. They’re in this to win and winning is what they do. Look for TCU to do just that, “Just Win Baby!”

Short Smokes:

USC shouldn’t have too much trouble with Colorado, – no one else has.

Ohio State is not going to trip up on Indiana

Missouri is in the perfect spot to upset Tennessee, but the Tigers will fail again

LSU should be careful against Arkansas, Sam Pittman doesn’t care what happened against Alabama

Illinois gets back on track to a major bowl against Purdue

Oklahoma finally gets their sixth win against WVU. WOW! November, and the Sooners are just now bowl eligible.

Liberty rolls over UConn

Michigan State, what has happened to MSU? Terrible, but they still win against Rutgers

Duke extends its victories over VA Tech

Pitt gets into a bowl with their victory of Virginia

Michigan will crush Nebraska

Alabama could very well lose its third game in a row at Ole Miss, highly possible, because DC Golden has no idea how to defend against Lane Kiffin

Louisville could upset over-ranked Clemson,-  more than likely won’t, but they could

Penn State runs over Maryland, this won’t be pretty

NC State could very well blow it against Boston College, it is in their nature to do such things

Iowa State has a history of taking it to Oklahoma State when they shouldn’t

Army, come on, man, you gotta beat Troy. Go Army!!

Wisconsin and Iowa will battle it out for the middle of the pack in the Great White North Conference

Minnesota gets to Ski-U-Ma over Northwestern

Miami is going to try and get to .500 against Georgia Tech

Mississippi State has, in the past, from time to time, caused Georgia some trouble, doubt that is going to happen this year. Southern Miss has beaten Alabama in the past, too. And Army has beaten notre, and Delta State – whoops, almost committed the unpardonable sin.

Washington versus Oregon is going to be an offensive dream

Kansas State rebounds against Baylor, – or is it the other way around?

Kansas is fully expected to beat Texas Tech

Tickets are kind-of cheap for the A&M vs Auburn game, and there are plenty on sale, too!
The Daughter is not happy

Florida State and Syracuse might be surprisingly entertaining

Oregon State Beavers beat California Bears

Utah storms all over Stanford

UCLA crushes Arizona

For late night entertainment, Boise State gallops over Nevada

San Jose State overcomes San Diego State

And for the Insomniacs, Utah State takes on Hawai’i    

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