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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 7 Preview



Preview 7


The Federal Government is still in a shut-down, slim-down mode. The rest of the United States has carried on life as usual without a hiccup. Cigars are still available, College Football teams are still playing this weekend so what’s to worry? Make sure the cigar humidor is stocked for the weekend, consult the local TV listing for games then sit back and enjoy the greatest sport on earth.

Texas LonghornsSpeaking of jobs, there is one that is on the line this weekend;- that would be Mack Brown’s. If Texas gets blown out again by OU, his time at Texas should be over, if they lose but keep it close, Brown’s job is still over, only he’ll be allowed to finish the year. If he has any hope of staying with the Horns, he has to win, and then win out the rest of year, as well. The past two years the Sooners have put this game out of reach by halftime. Texas has problems, mainly on defense. As in even after firing the defensive co-ordinator , they’re still terrible problems. They were ranked 15th in the nation before running into the BYU rushing game buzzsaw. Then they had one heck of a bad game against Ole Miss, who beat the stuffing out of the Longhorns, and made dates with the Texas Cheerleaders afterword. Against K-State they were able to win, then Iowa State had them on the ropes and if it hadn’t been for a bad call from the officials they would have lost that game as well. Now the biggest test of the year is Saturday. They lose this game and the entire season will fall into chaos. So what does UT bring to the table that is good? Quarterback McCoy has improved but he’s not setting the world on fire. Passing, they are ranked 42nd in the nation. Rushing the ball has been on the rise in the last two games, bringing them up to 48th. When they score 30 or more points, they win. Being held under 30 and they lose. The biggest problem is the defense. They just can’t stop a team that has a good ground game. To say they have holes would be an insult to holes. UT doesn’t have the stopping power. Not a good thing when the head job is on the line. Hope Mack Brown has a good doctor with some good sleeping pills;- he’s going to need them.

OU comes into the Red River Rivalry ranked 12th  in the nation and they’re undefeated  at 5-0. They had a little trouble with West Virginia, and again with TCU but still pulled out the wins. Against Notre Dame, they completely Oklahomaoverwhelmed the Irish. Now they travel to Dallas to take on their most hated rivalry. The Bell-Dozer is playing well and coming into his own. The talk is that the Sooners are headed to the BCS Championship game, but it’s up to them. Win out and they’re in-maybe. First they have to win Saturday. The past couple years this hasn’t been a problem. They love to pile on points, especially against Texas, the more points they score the happier Head Coach Stoops becomes. He always wants to ‘hang 50’ on the opponent. QB Bell has completed 72 out of 104 passes for 835 yards and 6 TD’s. OK, ok, there are other QB’s that have better numbers but remember, he’s only played in three games. The strength of OU is the running game, anyway, where they are ranked 17th in the nation, averaging 246 yards per game. Against Texas this is the perfect setup. A team that loves to run the ball against a team that can’t stop the run. The backs at OU are giddy with joy. Along with the running backs, having a Quarterback that weighs above 230lbs and likes to run is a wonderful plus. Defense wise, OU stacks up very well against the Longhorns. They rank 6th in the nation, only allowing 13 points per game. Their style of play is to swarm the other team, and force them into making mistakes, lots of mistakes. Just ask Notre Dame how that works. They are physical, and aggressive, and bring the game to the opponent. Against UT, look for QB McCoy to be placed in a pressure cooker. Let’s see here, UT can’t handle a rushing game, OU has a good rushing game, UT has problems moving the ball, and OU has a swarming Defense. OU is going to have this game put away by halftime… again, and Coach Brown needs to figure out where he’s going to spend his retirement.

Next up is Michigan vs. Penn State. This game between two rivals has the potential of being a good game. Michigan Michigancomes into the game 5-0 riding high and having big dreams of a BCS Bowl. Penn State is sitting at 3-2, having lost to schools that they normally wouldn’t lose to. The Nittany Lions are dreaming of being the spoiler. The Wolverines have beaten Notre Dame, Central Michigan, and Minnesota. They struggled with Akron and Connecticut, two teams they shouldn’t have struggled against, but did. Did the Wolverines over look these two? Or did it show some weakness? Against Penn St. they can’t have any weakness. PSU has cost them their dreams of glory before. The Maize and Blue come into the game ranked 18th. Not a high ranking for an undefeated Great White North Team, and for good reason. They rank 77th in Passing and 63rd in rushing. They struggle to move the ball. With a long field to play with, they fail. Given a short field, they’re able to score. Coach Hoke is doing a great job of rebuilding them into a good team again, but they’re not up to the elite level that Michigan fans are used to. Saturday, the Wolverine defense is going to be key. They’ve got to step up and assert their dominance early. If they come out and hit and show they’re the most physical team on the field, all is well. If they play a bend and don’t break style, it will cost them big dreams.

Penn St. is not ranked and hasn’t found a team identity. Last year it looked like the Lions were going to be walked all over by everybody! Then something clicked  and they played like their hair was on fire. If they hadn’t been on probation, they would have been the Great White North Champions. This year they’re missing that element, they’vePSU shown they can move the ball but then have failed to capitalize on the yards that are piled up. Coach O’Brien was dealt a tough hand, and what he was able to do last year was nothing short of miraculous. To follow that effort up is asking an awful lot, but ask of him the football world does. Everyone is used to Penn St. being in the upper tier of college football. The tradition of the school is still there and it calls out to the world and the fans hear it. They started off the year pretty well, beating Syracuse and Eastern Michigan, then they fell to Central Florida, yes, the Golden Knights came into Happy Valley and beat Penn State, 34-31. An upset? Yes. Was UCF playing above their heads? Sure. But it doesn’t matter, The Nittany Lions lost. Against Kent St, the Lions won, as was expected, but against Indiana they were embarrassed and got beat, 44-24. Has Indiana ever beaten Penn St? They have now. PSU needs to decide whether or not they can play with the big boys. If they beat the Wolverines, the season can be salvaged;- they lose and it’s all over. So what’s the biggest problem? Defense. They’ve been able to stop two teams so far, ESU and Kent St. Well, duh, they should stop them. Against better teams just can’t shut them down. They struggle against the pass. They don’t put pressure on the QB’s and covering speeding receivers has proven to be difficult. They’ve got to put pressure on Michigan QB Gardner this Saturday. They cannot, CAN NOT, allow him to leave this game with a clean uniform. They’ve also got to play lane discipline against the run. IF, and it’s a big IF, they make Michigan struggle, and make them start drives in their own territory, PSU has a chance. The Lions can pull out the win, but they’ve got to have their best game of their season. It doesn’t get easier for them, schedule wise. I believe this game will be closer than most people think. PSU knows what is on the line, Michigan isn’t feeling any pressure. The Wolverines will win but it’s going to be close.

Warning! Warning! There is the possibility of an SEC upset this weekend! Georgia vs. Missouri! I know it sounds Missouri-Tigersalmost ridiculous, but it’s true.  Last year Missouri entered the SEC and they had the mind-set they were going to show the mighty schools in the nation what new style football was all about. Georgia, they said, “Played Old Man Football”. At the end of that game Missouri walked off the field saying, “That Old Man Football is pretty good.” At the end of their season they were saying, “Dadgum, that Old Man Style Football is freaking awesome! We’ve got our work cut out for us.” The Tigers come into this game ranked 25th and sitting at 5-0. They’ve beaten Murray State, Toledo, Indiana, Arkansas State, and Vanderbilt. Yawn! Ok, Vandy is part of the SEC but no one is going to mistake them for one of the premier teams.  The Tigers have put up points like they nobody’s business. Averaging 46.6 points per game, that would be awesome if they were actually playing someone with a pulse. Now they enter the teeth of their schedule;- all SEC, all the time. Time to button up the chin straps and prove they’re for real. Against Georgia, they’ll move the ball. Who hasn’t? The Defense for the Bulldogs is not what they were last year.  Mizzou has a pretty balanced attack, averaging 285 yard passing and 258 yards rushing. All’s well and good, but it still goes back to who they’ve played. Against a weak schedule, they’re still giving up 22.4 points per game. Hmmm…..that’s not good. It appears the Tigers have the Baylor/West Virginia mentality of not stopping anyone but just scoring more. Against the Dawgs this isn’t going to work because UGA can score a lot of points, too. If they want to pull the upset they’ve got to slow down the high powered offense of Georgia.

Georgia comes into this game with some of the best games of this season under their belts. They started off the year with a fantastic game against Clemson, they came up short, but what a game! Then later on they played LSU in a game of big boys taking it to each other. It was a back and forth game that caused anyone watching it to sit on the GeorgiaBulldogsedge of their seats, and the Dawgs won. They found themselves in one heck of a fight against Tennessee, ( I’m telling everyone it was the “Grey” uniforms). Of course in that game, they lost running back Marshall for the season, and then two more receivers went down with injuries, neither of whom will play this weekend. The injury bug took a few others out of that game as well. The sideline for Georgia looked like a Triage center. If the Dawgs were coming into this game fully healthy it would appear unlikely that the Tigers could win.  But with so many key players missing, it puts it into the upset alert. QB Murray is having the season of his life. Most of his career he’s been told that he can’t win the big games. That allegation has been put to rest. Now he’s got to work with receivers he’s not used to and I’m sure they’ve had to change some elements of their gameplan. Offensively, UGA has been great, they’ve moved the ball and scored points, they’ve proven they can perform when the pressure’s on. These close games could be working in the favor of the dogs. They know they can win close ones, they know not to panic, and they know how to answer when it’s needed. This game has the potential to become a shootout. UGA’s defense has given up a ton of yards and a bunch of points, but they’ve made stops when needed. Against Mizzou they’ll need to make stops and the one thing they must do is to be the most physical team on the field. That “Old Man Style” football has got to resurrect itself.

Short Smokes:

crimson_tideKentucky travels to Alabama. Good Luck, Wildcats. Bama Rolls!

Oregon gets to go to rainy Seattle, but Ducks like rain. Washington might hang in the game until the fourth, but the Ducks win.

Clemson beats up on Boston College, but we’re still waiting for Clemson to Clemsonate.

Stanford takes on Utah and they better play better than they did against Washington. Cardinal wins.

Texas A&M goes to Oxford. If Ole Miss had played better against Auburn, this might be a game, but they didn’t and the Aggies are going to win.

Florida vs. LSU. It’s going to be a nasty game. Neither team likes the other and LSU could be still reeling from that loss to UGA. IF Florida plays their best, this could be a nail-biter. Tigers pull out the win.(Editor’s note: LSU wins big)

South Carolina takes on Arkansas. Coach Bielema is still looking for that signature win, could this be the game? Maybe. The Gamecocks have shown their weaknesses, Look out! Razorbacks win.

Baylor gets to score a ton of points on K-State.

Northwestern has trouble stopping the run, Wisconsin loves to run, Badgers win.

Pitt, at 3-1, takes on VaTech, at 5-1. Hokies should win but it wouldn’t surprise CSF is the Panthers pull this one out.

Maryland gets back into form against UVA, Cavaliers fear the Turtle.

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