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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 4 Preview

Week 4

Florida State vs Clemson- This game was circled by both teams and by the rest of the ACC before the season started as the contest to determine the bully in their conference for this season. It’s brilliance might have been dimmed somewhat when Clemson fell to a fired-up bunch of Duke Blue Devils in their first game of the season, but it’s still an important game. Most of the talking heads had these two teams meeting in the ACC championship game at the end of the season, and that still might happen, maybe. FSU dazzled in their first two games, and that included their dismantling of then #5 LSU. However, last week when they visited Boston College, the Noles barely escaped with their scalplocks. They were ahead of BC, 31-10, and allowed the Eagles to mount a comeback that fell just short as FSU escaped with a 31-29 victory. Clemson shook off their season-opening loss, well, kind-of, by beating Charleston Southern and Florida Atlantic by a combined score of 134-31. Not sure it can be said they “shook” off their loss by beating those two teams. Let’s say they took advantage of their tune-up games. Now the two powerhouses of the ACC match up.  The key to Clemson is going to come down to QB Cade Klubnik and his wide receivers. Boston College showed that there are points to be had against the FSU secondary, but it also has to be noted that all that offensive outburst that the Eagles had was after Florida State had a huge lead and took their foot off the gas. Last year against Climpson (as the Tigers are known to the SEC faithful), QB Jordan Travis rallied the Seminoles in the fourth quarter, but came up short, 34-28. But this is a different FSU team. They rallied in the second half to shut down LSU, and in their other games they jumped out to early leads. Their defensive front has had some injuries, but they appear to be close to 100% for this game. All eyes are going to be on the offense, because that’s what sells tickets, but the key for Florida State is their Defensive Line. When they beat LSU, it was because they shut down the Tiger offense, and made QB Daniels uncomfortable every time he dropped back to pass. They stonewalled the run game, making the Bayou Bengals become one dimensional. This is exactly what the Seminoles need to do Saturday, as well. Clemson has the advantage in their rivalry, winning seven straight. The last FSU victory was way back in 2014. This game is in Death Valley, and Clemson is tough to beat on their own turf. There is the very real possibility that the Tigers have an ambush in the works, but, even with that, the pick is Florida State.

Ole Miss vs Alabama – This is going to be a very painful game, horribly painful, actually. In the black and blue division of college football, the Ole Miss Rebels bring their undefeated record to Tuscaloosa. The Rebs had their hands full for a little while against Tulane but were able to pull away as the game went on. Ole Miss is the favorite, they’re playing much better than Alabama, and it doesn’t matter what these high-tech computer models spit out. As the games progress, Mississippi plays better and better. QB Dart may start off a little slow, but then he finds his stride with receiver Tre Harris and RB Quinshon Judkins. They have scored a combined 100 points in the second half of their games alone. HC Lane Kiffin knows how to call plays, he has proven to be a master at it, and is still proving it. The one weakness that the Rebels have, and have had for years, is their defense. I doubt that the addition of Pete Golding as their Defensive Coordinator will reverse this tendency. The Rebs give up plays and allow teams to move downfield and then do their best to stop them in the red zone. When they play against an efficient team, this is hard to do. Having said that, Alabama is not an efficient team. They haven’t been proficient on offense in any of their games this year. At the start of the season, they were touted as having the best offensive line in the country. That has been proven to be a fabric of someone’s imagination. On top of that, the Quarterback play has arguably been their weakest threat. How this happened, somebody knows, but that somebody isn’t me. The last three Alabama QBs are all playing in the NFL, and somehow or other, nobody saw this big of a drop off happening this year. IF Alabama cannot run the ball effectively, and they have not done it so far, their passing game is not going to save them. This weekend, St. Saban is re-installing Jalen Milroe. He is good for at least two INT per game, and his history of fumbling takes your breath away. He hasn’t lost a fumble yet this year, and, please, please, don’t let it start now. The sole bright spot for the Crimson Tide has been their defense. They are far better at attacking this year. However, against Texas, HC Sarkisian was able to call plays where he got the mismatches that he wanted. Expect HC Kiffin to do the same thing. The Tide has got to attack the Rebels offense so hard and so fast that it gives us Bama fans flashbacks to the glory days where the Defense was the monster of the entire NCAA, comparing them to the Empire of Star Wars. If this game even creeps toward a shootout, it’s all over but the crying for Alabama. The talking heads are giving Alabama more credit than they deserve. It’s nice to hear, but it’s pure RAT POISON!!!!.Ole Miss is going to win because of HC Kiffin, and the fact that the Alabama offense hasn’t gotten it together, and Milroe will throw INTs. It’s going to be a very painful Saturday….I wonder if this is how A&M fans felt last year? I really don’t want to be able to answer that question, not with A&M at College Station looming on the horizon.

Ohio State vs Notre Dame – The Fighting Irish do not have a winning record against the Buckeyes as they sit at 2-5 in head to head matchups. This year, however, they have a new star at quarterback with Wake Forest transfer Sam Hartman, who has already thrown for 13 touchdowns and is completing 71% of his passes. ND has scored 40 or more points in all their games this season, with the only exception being North Carolina State. Saturday night the Irish defense is going to face their first true test of the season. So far, they have had a lot of trouble putting pressure on opposing QBs, registering only four sacks to date. OSU is not the same team they were last season. First year starter Kyle McCord has faced criticism as he struggled against the pass rush of the Indiana Hoosiers, although he did look better against lesser competition from Western Kentucky and Youngstown State, which, of course, he should have. The greatest strength the Buckeyes have has been receiver Marvin Harrison Jr, who has proven to be a Heisman hopeful with his determined play. WR Emeka Egbuka is a safe alternative on the other side of the line, as he has three touchdown catches. What OSU needs to do, however, is to run the ball, and they have to run the ball effectively. The longer they keep the ball, the better. QB McCord is alright, not necessarily great, yet, but he is good if the rushing attack is working. Last year this game didn’t break open until late in the third quarter when OSU was able to go ahead, 14-10. At that point the wind went out of ND’s sails. Ohio State has not been playing in their usual dominant way, they have some question marks. Of course, everyone is picking Notre Dame because, for some reason, they all love the Irish, but it’s not going to work out for them, the game may be close for the first half, but Ohio State is going to take off in the second half. You know my (and Lewis Carroll’s) expression, Beware the Jabberwocky? If ever it applies, it applies now. There be Ghosts lurking over the Notre Dame Stadium, and following the Irish teams. Watch out for the Ghosts! I’m telling you, Buckeyes, don’t get plucked off the tree by the Ghosts you never saw coming

Short Smokes

Purdue is having a tough year and it’s not going to get easier against Wisconsin

Michigan, in their quest to play no one that presents a challenge, will win against Rutgers

Oklahoma better be ready for Cincinnati

Army mounts a hell-of an attack against Syracuse and wins

Texas A&M will face a rejuvenated Auburn, but The Daughter says the Aggies pull out the win.

Colorado was able to beat CSU, now they face a much bigger test in Oregon. How will the Prime Time train handle this one?

Maryland has Michigan State right where they want them, in complete disarray.

Boston College played Florida State tough so if they keep it up, they’ll win against Louisville. But they won’t keep it up.

Kansas is at 3-0. Let me say that again, as it rarely ever happens, Kansas is at 3-0, and they might be 4-0 after the BYU game. Then again, Arkansas thought they would beat the Mormons, and you know how that turned out

Oklahoma State and Iowa State are two teams that are struggling mightily, safe to say this is a toss up.

Wake Forest chops up Georgia Tech

Arkansas is perfectly capable of taking down LSU, but they won’t

Oregon State faces the only other team left in the PAC-12, Washington State, both at 3-0, Beavers win.

Arizona is the favorite against Stanford…that just seems wrong somehow.

Baylor used to be competition against Texas, but not this year.

Iowa is going to play tough against Penn State, but the Lions win

Missouri stays unbeaten against Memphis

Minnesota should have no problems with Northwestern

Mississippi State vs South Carolina will be close, only because neither team is dominant

North Carolina has a habit of playing to their competition and it might come back to haunt them against Pitt

K-State recovers against UCF

In the two late games, USC will have no worries against Arizona State, and Washington will roll over California.

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