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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 12

Week 12

USC vs UCLA – HC Lincoln Riley’s first year at the USC helm was to get a bunch of players to transfer to the Trojans and then take advantage of that opportunity to lead USC to a spectacular year…so far. They’ve only lost once and that was on a two point conversion by Utah, they also darn near lost to Oregon State when the Trojans needed a last minute drive, aided by two big penalties, to score a touchdown before the Mighty Beavers beat them for a second year in a row. Since that time they have scored 30 or more points in all their games. The offense has appeared to be unstoppable. The flip side of that is not so good, as the defense appears to be unable to stop anyone, they kind-of do, but not really. They give up lots of points, lots of teams have scored multiple touchdowns on the Trojans and, truthfully, their schedule has been a joke. They’ve faced three teams that are winning above .500 and only one ranked team. HC Riley is doing the same thing he did at OU, just make sure they score more points than the other team, don’t worry about that “defense thing”. Which did get OU to the playoffs, where they lost in the first round every year, because that “defense thing” was taken seriously by their opponents. UCLA has also been on a tear, where they’ve run over lots of people. They actually appeared to be the dominant power on the left coast until Oregon walked all over them. Just when the Bruins appeared to have regained their mojo, they go and lose to Arizona. They lost to Arizona…still can’t believe they did that. That’s almost like Liberty beating Arkansas, or, Heaven forbid, Austin Peay downing Alabama Saturday. The UCLA “powers that be” whoever they are, were getting fed up with Chip Kelly and the apparent lackluster way his system was working, until this year when the Bruins has taken off like wildfire. UCLA is not going to make it to the playoffs, but they can still make it to the PAC-12 Championship game. For them to do that, they have to take USC down. USC is the favorite child of the press, they are praising their golden haired child like there’s no tomorrow. The problem is UCLA is going to run all over the Trojans because how in the world are they going to stop this offense, well, if, IF, the UCLA offense is running like they usually do, not what they did against Arizona. Also the Bruins aren’t completely sold on that “defense thing” but they do play it better than USC. What’s better than ‘not at all’? Pete Goldings’ version?

Utah vs Oregon – Last weekend the Ducks suffered a major setback. Not only did they lose to Washington, who they have a big rivalry with, but that loss completely knocked Oregon out of CFP consideration. Not that they had a lock on going to the playoffs, but they were doing so well since they lost that first game to Georgia. So the big question now is, can they recover? Up to now they believed they were going to win the PAC-12 and then off to the playoffs. It’s a big step to have all that pulled out from under their feet and be able to get up and play a tough Utah team. The Ducks also learned last week, and I can’t believe I’m writing this, that they have to have QB Bo Nix on the field or the offense just doesn’t run. If Nix is not injured and is playing this Saturday they should be alright, but even with Nix in there they have another problem and that would be the Utah Defense. The Quack-attack has been having a field day up and down the coast playing teams that don’t have or believe in that “defense thing”. When they played Georgia, who is a firm believer in that “defense thing” they got completely shut down, one might even say trounced it was so bad. Washington is not a hardcore believer in that “defense thing” but they’re not atheist either, and the Quack-Attack had a difficult time. They weren’t shut down like when they faced the Dawgs but they couldn’t score at the end of the game when they needed it, either. Utah has the 6th ranked defense in the country, not bad for the Utes. They, too, started the season off against an SEC school, where it just means more, and they lost as well. We try to tell everyone that down here it just means more, but who listens? Ohio State, that’s about it. Utah suffered their second playoff killing loss more than month ago, when they fell to UCLA, since that time they have recovered and won four straight. SO they’ve adjusted and gotten back on track. The Utes’ defense will be tested, they didn’t do very well against UCLA, which runs a very similar offense, so can they shut down the Quack-Attack? The powers that be, whoever they are, are giving the Ducks a three point advantage, mainly home field. It’ll be a close game. Oregon’s defense will not shut down, stop or even come close to slowing down Utah. The Utes will take advantage of the Ducks recovering from a playoff killing loss. Utah wins.

Illinois vs Michigan – The Wolverines love to run the ball, run, run, run, they run so much it would make Forest Gump proud, and they’re good at it, averaging over four yards per carry. But can they pass the ball? Eh, not really. QB JJ McCarthy has not been on fire when tossing the pigskin around. Oh, sure, he’s got some stats but stats lie, cause he padded those numbers against Rutgers, Nebraska, Rico’s Junior College for Typewriter Repair and the like. Illinois has been beaten by Michigan State and Purdue and what did these two teams do to win? Well, you’ll never guess, but…they threw the ball very well. Illinois is a lot like their coach, Bret Bielima;- very stout in the front, weak in the secondary. Michigan wins by running the ball, they are a very simple team, run, run, and run. Wear down the defense and then in the late third to fourth quarter put the game away. Not completely sold that is going to work. On top of that, this is a trap game for Michigan. Next week they face their hated rival Ohio State, who is also undefeated, and everyone is looking forward to that game, cause whoever wins that one is more than likely the conference champion and CFP bound. So if the wearers of the Maze and Blue are even slightly looking forward to next week, they’re going to get tripped up. Illinois is not a push over;- well, they’re not a push over THIS year. On top of all that one has to take into account that Michigan still has loud-mouth HC Harbaugh, who is a classic choke artist. This game is set up prettier than a picture, for Illinois at least in theory, they’ve got to go out and take advantage of it. Get that first touchdown, make Michigan start to doubt, make them sweat and if they can get that started, HC Harbaugh will take care of the rest and make some very bad calls. Michigan is favored to win, more than likely will win, but it would not be a surprise if Illinois pulls the upset.

Short Smokes:

TCU has everything on the line, they can’t fall to Baylor

Alabama tunes up for the Iron Bowl against Austin Peay. Maybe. You just don’t know about Bama this year.

Kansas State can still make it to the Big 12 Championship game if they don’t slip up against West Virginia

The mighty Beavers of Oregon State will take down Arizona State and OSU will keep their top 25 ranking

In the battle of the Catholics, Notre Dame shouldn’t have a problem with Boston College

Georgia is not going to get tripped up by Kentucky

Ohio State has an easy tune up against Maryland

Miami would earn praise upon praise if they upset Clemson, but they won’t

Penn State will bury Rutgers

NC State was supposed to be better than they’ve played this year, Louisville could take the Pack down

Tennessee is a heavy favorite against USC-South but beware of the Gamecocks, they’ve been known to pull off a miracle from time to time.

Ole Miss should beat Arkansas but those Rebels have been known to let a team beat them twice (you know, Bama beat them last week, and the Rebs can’t get over it)

Oklahoma State vs Oklahoma- Bedlam! Well, not so much an uproar this year, with both of them fizzling out, still the Cowboys are the pick to win

Washington is not going to stumble against Colorado

Texas A&M has a pillow fight with UMass so the Aggies should win…maybe…hopefully…for the Daughter’s sake they should win

Vanderbilt upset Kentucky last week, can they pull a two-fer and upset Florida? Get serious.

Army, come on now, you’ve got to take UConn. Go Army!

Liberty will pass all over VA Tech

In yet another pillow fight, Wisconsin vs Nebraska, go with the Badgers

Purdue will derail Northwestern like everyone else has

Michigan State – if they want to go to a bowl, the Spartans have to beat Indiana

Duke is the favorite to beat to Pitt….amazing isn’t it?

Washington State better not sleep on Arizona, like UCLA did

The Mighty North Alabama Lions take on Memphis! And it’s not going to go well for my Lions, not at all.

Kansas could make a huge statement by taking down Texas, HUGE statement

Minnesota will pad their numbers against Iowa

Maybe Auburn will beat Western Kentucky, maybe not

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