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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 9

Georgia vs Florida – The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party kicks off in Jacksonville, FL, once again. The Georgia Bulldogs are still the number one team in the nation, they have a great offense and once again a killer defense, they’ve walked all over most of their opponents. However, there is one thing that they haven’t done and that’s been tested. Most knowledgeable fans would say this game isn’t going to be a test for them, either, and, on paper, they’d be correct. But this is a rivalry game and anything can, and usually does, happen. Florida, under head coach Billy Napier, was supposed to dominate the ground game, but it’s been their passing attack that has led the way in their paths to victory. QB Graham Mertz, who transferred from Wisconsin, wasn’t known for his passing ability when he arrived in Gainesville. That may be due to the fact that Wisconsin hardly ever passed the ball. As a Gator, though, he’s been completing 76% of his tosses. Against South Carolina he threw for 423 yards, and three-touchdowns. Against the Georgia defense, no one has been able to run the ball against their brick wall, but the Dawg secondary has shown vulnerability. If Florida is going to take down the Monsters of Athens their best bet has to be their passing game. UF might also be catching UGA at the most opportune time, as TE Brock Bowers will not be playing due to injury. Georgia’s offense has been able to run the ball to their heart’s content, but when they needed to complete passes in close games, like against Auburn and USC-South, they turned to their big TE Bowers, who has proven to be almost unstoppable. Can they step up their passing game without their number one target? We’ll have to wait and see. QB Carson Beck will have to be on point and as sharp as he’s ever been. More than likely UGA is going to hug onto the ball and rely on the run. Florida’s defense has been erratic in one game – they’ll be able to stop the run,- in another they can only stop the pass. If their run stopping ability shows up, they should be able to keep this game close. The Old Ball Coach himself, Steve Spurrier, has given his two cents on this game, and he predicts a major upset! Well, of course he does, he played and coached at Florida. However, he’s been right more times then he’s been wrong. Georgia is the consensus to win, but it would not be a surprise if this was a close game.

Oregon vs Utah– Last week the Utes destroyed USC at the Colosseum, pretty much knocking the Trojans out of the playoffs. Now they host the Ducks while riding on a huge wave of confidence. Oregon, on the other hand, fell to Washington two weeks ago, and then, against Washington State, they won, but they were not dominant, they seems a bit off, but they still won. Against Utah they face a hard core defense, well….as hard core as a defense can be on the west coast. The Ducks need to get back into form if they’re going to beat Utah. QB Bo Nix, who generally did not perform well at Auburn, has turned into a completely different player out west. His decision making process has improved greatly and his passing has been spot on, so much so, that he’s one of the top considerations for the Heisman. Utah has been playing without their star QB Rising, who got his knee torn up in the Rose Bowl and has yet to take a snap. QB Bryson Barnes has stepped up to the plate and performed greatly. The offensive attack has been well balanced and kept opposing defenses on their heels. This is mainly thanks to their offensive line, which is the key to their success. The only loss the Utes have was to Oregon State, where they couldn’t get anything together. Oregon’s offense hasn’t been as fast as we’ve gone accustomed to, but they still move pretty fast, and every one of their plays can turn into a big gainer at any time. If Utah’s defense wants to keep their standing as the biggest, badest, defense in the league, their going to have to turn in another performance on par with what they accomplished last week. Oregon is the pick to win, but Utah has the homefield advantage and it could be just enough to push them on to victory.

Tennessee vs Kentucky– The Vols are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Alabama, which is the way it’s supposed to be, and it caused me great joy! Now they’re going to have to recover quickly. When they lost to Florida, they were able to regain their footing against UTSA, but now they don’t have a cupcake;- instead they have a legitimate threat. Kentucky needs to find their mojo again, they were on an absolute tear until they faced Georgia, who flat-out embarrassed the Wildcats. They followed that poor performance with a mistake-filled game where they got more penalties in one game then they had all year, which led them to lose to Missouri. In their last two games, UK’s passing attack has been absent, to where they’re struggling just to get 50% completions. When they were able to complete passes, it allowed UK to open up their rushing attack like they were horses at the Kentucky Derby. Most teams have been having a hard time playing against the funky curveball style of the Wildcats. Tennessee is able to play well, against Alabama they came out of the gates like wildfire, but in the second half the Vols were not able to adjust their play, and the Crimson Tide did. Tennessee must be able to run, if their running backs are not Johnny-on-the-spot, their entire offense falls apart. QB Joe Milton has been able to hit enough passes to keep opposing defensives on their heels, but he can’t carry the game on his shoulders. Once again, Alabama proved that (I just can’t mention that loss enough). The Vols defense has been great against the run, keeping opposing teams under 200 rushing yards per game, but their secondary has been weak. For Kentucky to win this game, they are going to have to get their passing game back in form. Kentucky needs to recover, they must recover, their backs are against the wall. In nature, a wounded, cornered animal is always dangerous.

Look for the Wildcats to use homefield advantage to get back into form and take down the Vols.

Short Smokes

Florida State is not going to have many problems with Wake Forest

Oklahoma is a better team than Kansas, but if they’re not careful, they could get upset

Penn State played terribly last week, but it won’t matter against Indiana

Army will roll over UMass like Patton’s tanks rolled over the Germans

Texas A&M is a heavy favorite against South Carolina which means it’ll be a close game

West “By Golly” Virginia is going to have a tough time against UCF

Clemson, who has fallen off the radar, just might lose again to NC State

Can BYU lasso the Longhorns? Yes, they can, but they’ll come up just short

Pitt took down Louisville who beat Notre Dame, but the Panthers will lost to the Irish

Mississippi State is going to prolong Auburn’s misery

Minnesota will do what everyone else has done against Michigan State, which is to beat them

Virginia pulled off their greatest upset last week against North Carolina, now they have Miami

Iowa State will struggle against Baylor, but still win

USC will destroy California

Wyoming will stampede Boise State

Washington remains undefeated against Stanford

Ohio State rolls over Wisconsin Probably. This is Beware the Jabberwocky time. Finkle’s history has all been Ohio State, but he hasn’t gotten the job there, so this is his chance to show the Buckeyes whom they should have hired

Ole Miss sings a lot (and drinks a lot) of Hotty Toddy against Vanderbilt

Colorado vs UCLA should be good close game

Washington State will have their hands full with Arizona State, but still win

Oklahoma State piles on the points against Cincinnati

In the last game, Oregon State visits Arizona and the Wildcats could very well pull off the upset, something’s going on down in Tempe

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