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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 3 Preview

Week 3

I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with the SEC, but it’s safe to say we’ve got “trouble, right here in River City”. It’s not that Alabama just couldn’t, or didn’t, compete against Texas, or that Texas A&M fell hard to Miami, even though those weren’t good. It’s that no one in the SEC dominated any quality opponent. Ole Miss beat Tulane, but, wow, was it a struggle. Of course, it must be noted that this was the Tulane team that beat Heisman winner Caleb Williams and Southern Cal in their bowl this calendar year. Miss St took down Arizona, only barely, and the Mildcats are at the bottom of the PAC-12. Auburn edged California, had to score in the 4th quarter to take the lead for the first time in the game. Down here in the South we like to say “It just means more,” and it does, but our conference isn’t proving it. As for the rest of college football, not much is going according to plan, just ask Michigan State how its going. You know, it might be interesting to ask Michigan State anything, come to think of it.

LSU vs Mississippi State– This will be an interesting to game because everyone wants to see how MSU will do with their new head coach and there is no telling how LSU is going to react after falling hard against Florida State. Last week the Bayou Bengals took out their frustrations on poor Gambling, who got smacked around all game long. Have HC Kelly and the players worked out their aggressions? We don’t know. MSU did well in their tune-up game, and, according to HC Arnett, played well against Arizona to where he thought they were going to bust the game wide open a couple times but it failed to materialize. So, either the Bulldogs play to the level of their competition, or they couldn’t take it to the next level. The Bulldogs are fielding a veteran heavy led team. LB Jett Johnson is leading the defense and the QB Will Rogers is looking to put himself in the national conversation by leading the offense. Last year this game was at LSU, and for three quarters, Miss St had the lead. It wasn’t until the fourth period that LSU finally got something together and managed the win. It would not surprise anyone in Mississippi if Mississippi State outplays LSU again. Louisiana State is in trouble, they thought they were a top 10 team, with a Heisman candidate QB, first game in the season, and all of that was shown to just be hype. The Tigers have to find their identity and beating Grambling doesn’t cut it. For a team having all the hype about them to get manhandled the way they did against Florida State, it is going to take A LOT for this team to prove themselves. Here’s some advice, and it’s free, and you know what they say about advice? It’s worth what you pay for it (Ask another MSU, Michigan State, how their $10,000 advice paid off);- don’t let Mississippi State out-play you a second year in a row. LSU’s secondary looks very suspect, and their defensive line needs to bow their necks and get after the QB every time he drops back to pass. The offense is still led by QB Daniels, but if they can’t get the ground game to chew up yards, Daniels’ arm and decision making is not going to save them. Mississippi State is going to win this game, it might close in the fourth, but the way this year is going, this would fit the trend.

K-State vs Missouri – Back in the days of the Big Eight, these two schools hated each other, they only found mutual ground on the fact they both hated Kansas University more. They are now out of conference to each other, but that hasn’t softened their stance toward one another. Last year when they played, the Wildcats gave the Tigers a shellacking, 40-12. Currently K-State is on a roll. They buried their 1-AA opponent easily, and, last week, against an upset-minded Troy team, they shut the Trojans out as well. Missouri, for their part, is also 2-0, but their 23-19 win against Middle Tennessee State was not that impressive. Even HC Eli Drinkwitz admitted it was closer than they thought it would be. Mizzou has a balanced attack, they are averaging 161 on the ground and 215 through the air, which has been good enough so far. Against an aggressive Kansas State defense they are going to need to stay balanced and keep the “D” guessing. The one thing they can’t do, in concert with their LSU conference pals, is get behind early, and be forced to become one dimensional. It’s not that QB Cook couldn’t step it up, it’s that his supporting cast is not up to par. The Tigers defense got more than they bargained for against MTSU, and now they’re going to have to pin their ears back and show they can keep up with the efficient Cats’ offense. QB Will Howard, against Troy in the second quarter, engineered a five-play, 66-yard drive in the closing minute and finished it with a 39-yard touchdown pass to place the game out of reach for the visitors from Alabama. Bad day for Alabamas against the Big 12. All Kansas State has to do is to keep doing everything they’re doing and they’ll be just fine. The defense is playing tough, they actually held Troy to -1 yards in rushing for the second half of the game. The offense appears to be a well-oiled machine, and if they keep chugging along they’re going to find themselves getting national attention. K-State is going to win this game, it’s just a matter of how much.  

Minnesota vs North Carolina – The Gophers have a very simple offensive game plan;- run the ball, then they’re going to run the ball, and then, when everyone is sick of them running the ball, they’re going to run the ball some more. So far this season, this plan has worked. Last week, against Eastern Michigan, they ran the ball 52 times for a total of 296 yards, and in so doing, they held on to the ball for 40 game time minutes. Against the Tar Heels HC Fleck doesn’t see any reason to change this plan, after all, the more that UNC offense stays on the bench, the better. Can the plan of ground attack actually work? Why, yes, it can! This is exactly what App State did last week against the Heels, and they darn near pulled the upset. (Darn near: atom bombs, horseshoes, and hand grenades – but not football wins) UNC’s defensive front overwhelmed South Carolina in the season opener, but against App State they were gashed with rushing yards, and this is why the Gophers like their game plan. The Tar Heels have this QB named Drake Maye, maybe you’ve heard of him. He is, at least so far, as advertised. He has been smooth, keeping it together, and when he runs, he’s looking downfield to throw. He has played and done what he’s supposed to do. Having a nice running game to support him has been a huge advantage. Last week when RB Brooks couldn’t go for the Tar Heels because of injury, RB Hampton was the next man up, and he ran all over the place for a total of 234 yards! When the UNC offense is able to get into a rhythm, they become a nightmare to stop. The problem arises when they have to spend long periods of time cooling heels (that’s a pun) on sideline and not able to get into that all-important rhythm. IF North Carolina wants to win this game, their defense has got to become far more aggressive and get opposing offenses off the field quickly. This is going to be an interesting game, it may be a bit slow and resemble football games from the 1940’s, but, hey, if it works, go with it. UNC is everyone’s choice to win, and they should win, but there are weakness, and Minn-ha-haa just might be able to exploit them.

Short Smokes:

Florida State is going to roll over Boston College (I’m going to be at this game)

Penn State is a two-touchdown favorite over Illinois and that’s being conservative

South Carolina would love nothing better than to take down Georgia, that’s not going to happen.

Alabama travels to South Florida and they better get it together quickly, because last week’s game was an embarrassment.

Oregon State is playing well, and that’s going to continue against San Diego State

Duke will continue undefeated by besting Northwestern, A2 b3òåz-6

Ohio State is like Michigan, they want no out of conference challenges so they’re playing Western Kentucky

A&M has as much to work on as Alabama does, and they’ll get another tune-up against UL Monroe before the schedule gets tough. HA! What about Texas and Miami?

Tulane is a very good team and they’re going to have no problems with Southern Miss.

Washington has perfect timing as they travel to Michigan State, whose program has been thrown into chaos by their sexual avoidance advisor and their head coach. Spartans will probably win just for spite

Tennessee vs Florida used to be a huge rivalry, as in, HUGE! And then both schools fell off the charts and it’s never recovered. Tennessee, unfortunately, will win.

Texas Tech is going to stomp all over Tarleton State and that’s because Tarleton beat my UNA Lions last week, for the second year in a row!

This might be Ole Miss’s year in the SEC West, look out for the Rebels! Georgia Tech is going to try and slow them down, but they won’t.

Arkansas will tackle the Mormons of BYU  

Syracuse is going to be 3-0 after they defeat Purdue.

Pitt and West Virginia will battle it out, and the Panthers will just “ekk” by with a win. Unless West Virginia mines one, digs one, you know, West Virginia coal mines

Colorado will continue their winning ways against Colorado State and HC Deion Sanders gets to talk even more. True. Is he interested in Saban’s job?

Fresno State is the favorite against Arizona State. Really. I mean it.

Did everyone see what Kansas did to Illinois last week? Because the Jaybirds are playing well, and Nevada is going to witness that first hand.   

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