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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Preview of Week 14 Part 1


Thanksgiving Day is the time when families get together to celebrate the blessings that the good Lord has bestowed upon us. One of the things I’m thankful for is a great year of college football and this weekend is shaping up to be one of the best of the year. Starting on Turkey Day evening, after everyone has stuffed themselves until they see blue dots, plant yourself in front of the tele (that’s British for ‘television’) for what should be the beginning of the greatest weekend of College Football all year.

We start with two games, Texas Tech vs. Texas, and Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State. First Texas Techup will be the Texas fray. Texas Tech was on fire, scorching teams left and right, hanging up big numbers, but they really are on fire, as in, crashed and burned. The last four games have been against the big boys of the Big 12, which has only ten teams. The Red Raiders have had two weeks to prepare for the Longhorns, which may or may not be enough time. The Tech attack has fallen on hard ties, of late, but we’ll still give a loud ‘HOORAH!” for Kliff Kingsbury, He’s done a great job in his first year as Head Coach in Lubbock.
Oh, how the eyes of Texas have been upon this team. A lot of folks were ready to give up Texas Longhornson the season and call it a loss. Nothing was going well, Mack Brown’s career was over (I was one of those hoping so) and UT was trying to recruit St. Nick Saban to leave Tuscaloosa. (Side note: if he does leave Alabama, he loses his halo.) Texas did not play well in its last game against Big 12, which has only has ten teams, leader Oklahoma State, and after seeing what the Cowboys did to Baylor, it’s a wonder the Horns didn’t lose by more. Maybe Texas is not as bad as they seemed.
Like it or not, Texas should be playing against Texas A&M, this is the weekend for rivalries, but UT threw a hissy-fit when the Aggies left the Longhorn Network dominated Big 12, which has only ten teams, for the SEC. Texas Tech and Texas is not a rivalry and it’s not going to be, but it should be a good game. Texas is going to win.

The Egg Bowl! The annual game for supremacy in the state of Mississippi, between Ole Miss and Mississippi State – sorry, Southern Miss and Delta State. The trophy they play for is called the “Golden Egg.” No, it has nothing to do with the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. Back when the trophy was created, in 1927, the shape of the ball was more Ole Missovoid and blunter than what is used today. It’s still an oblate spheroid (you didn’t think I knew that, did you?) but it resembled an egg more than a football. The two teams met for the first time in 1901 with State winning, 17-0. But Ole Miss leads the series, 61-42-6. Turkey Day they collide again. Ole Miss is having the better year. The Rebels has been on a rise since Hugh freeze showed up, and State has been falling, to the extent that Dan Mullens is being listed as one of the coaches on the hot seat. Nothing would help him out more than beating their intrastate nemesis. Ole Miss has had an up and down year. They should have beaten Auburn, but they didn’t, and they should have beaten Texas A&M, but they didn’t beat the Aggies, either. But, Mississippi Statewould’a-should’a- could’a doesn’t count. I’ve said all season that this team is better than their record reflects, but they are missing a few key elements, like a big-time Quarterback. Once Freeze fills those slots, look out for the Rebels. They could make a run for the SEC West Title soon, and they need to make it soon, because Ole Miss is the ONLY SEC West team –aside from newcomer A&M – that has not played in the SEC Championship Game. Ole Miss is going to beat Mississippi State. (Author’s note;- one of the best games I’ve ever witnessed was in 1983 at the Egg Bowl, visiting my brother. MSU was behind by one point, 24 seconds left, and the Bulldogs lined up for game-winning 40 yard field goal. Freshman kicker Artie Cosby kicked the ball straight and true, but just inches before the ball passed over the crossbar, a 40mph wind gust blew through Jackson stadium and suspended the spinning ball in midair. It then fell harmlessly to the ground. Rebel fans erupted in celebration. That game is now called the “Wind Bowl.”

Friday, the football games just keep a’coming! The Battle for the Golden Boot, Arkansas vs. LSU. The trophy is actually a depiction of the shapes of the two states as they appear on a map, and it does resemble a boot. First meeting was in 1901, with LSU winning, Arkansas15-0. LSU leads the series, 36-20-2. The Trophy came into being in 1996, four years after Arkansas joined the SEC. They have had some legendary encounters. Should the Razorbacks happen to win this game, it would join that legendary list! The Hogs do not have an SEC victory this season, and LSU is their last chance to secure one. Arkansas has lost 8 straight in 2013, but hope is on the horizon. They took Mississippi State into overtime before the Bulldogs pulled out a win. Transfer Head Coach Bret Bielema, from the Big 10, which has 12 teams and is adding two more, has had an eye-opening experience in the SEC. Only playing two or three big games a year, like they do in the Great White North Conference, is different from playing in the SEC, where every conference game is a fight! Why is it that new coaches don’t realize this? It seems that every new coach that comes enters the league is surprised by this.  Someone needs to do his homework.

LSU is coming off a great win over Texas A&M, where they flat-out shut down the Aggie offense. Johnny Manziel was horrible. According to my daughter, Manziel does not LSUdeserve the title of Johnny Football after that performance. So, until she recants, I will honor her wish. Actually, I agree with her. But, LSU did play the perfect defense to embarrass the Aggies. The only losses the Bayou Bengals have are within the SEC. LSU is very young, especially on defense. They’ve had their growing pains, and now it’s time to grow up and show up. Maybe they did against A&M. Against the Hogs, they don’t have to worry about the pass, they’ve shown they have some vulnerability against the run, but it’s got to be a very good run team to beat LSU. Looking at their losses, opponents all ran the ball extremely well. Arkansas does run the ball well, but even with this advantage, the Hogs are not going to win. LSU Victory.

Civil War! It baffles me how the Oregon State vs. Oregon game got the title of the Civil War since Oregon wasn’t even involved in the War of Northern Aggression. I guess that Oregon Statein the Champagne and Caviar League, internecine wars are civil. After researching the series title, I found that is it was not uncommon for riots to break out between fans, so much so that in 1912 and 1913, they played in Albany. In even-numbered years, the game is played in Corvallis, Oregon State’s home field. Odd-number years, it’s played in Eugene, Oregon’s home field. In 1961 the Platypus Trophy was lost with no other type of trophy replacing it. In 2005 it was rediscovered and is now back in circulation. Both teams are coming off losses. OSU was destroyed by Washington State, and the Beavers have lost four in a row. If Oregon State has any hope of salvaging their season, a win against the Ducks would do it.

If last week taught us anything, it’s that an unranked team can beat Oregon. Arizona Duckstrounced the Ducks. There’s just no other way to say it. The Wildcats played like madmen and Oregon didn’t have an answer. What makes this more ironic is that Oregon players were bad-mouthing the Rose Bowl, saying they’ve already been there, and won that, and that they didn’t want to go to that bowl game again. Ha, Ha, Wish Granted! The Nike School will not even get a chance to win the PAC-12 and enjoy the Champagne and Caviar. Talk about Karma. Now let’s see if Arizona beats the Ducks twice. The Beavers have beaten the Ducks  when it seemed improbable, but the odds are that Oregon will win.

The Apple Cup, the rivalry game between Washington and Washington State. These two teams have played each other since 1900 for a total of 105 meetings.
Washington leads the series, 67-32-6. Both teams are coming off wins. Washington Washington StateState is having a better than expected year. They’ve beaten Duck- Slayer, Arizona, Stanford-killer Utah, and they beat a Kiffin-coached USC team. They have lost to the Ducks, Cardinal, Beavers and Sun Devils, so to say they’ve got their work cut out for them is an understatement. However, the Cougars are much better than they were last year. So much so that Head Coach Leach just accepted an extension of two years on his contract, which solidifies his presence in Pullman until at least 2018. The Cougars don’t fear the Huskies, not one bit. Washington is coming off beating the Beavers of Oregon State. The Huskies were projected to have a better Washingtonseason than what they’ve produced. They played Stanford close, but they didn’t play Oregon, Arizona State or UCLA close. They can be good, but, honestly, they’re a bit of a disappointment. They were expected to bring the level of the middle of the PAC-12 teams up. They didn’t live up to that poster-child status. They played extremely well against Oregon State, so if they play that well come Friday, WSU is in deep trouble. It’s anybody’s guess which Husky team will show up. The Apple Cup should go to Seattle, but it isn’t going to happen. Washington State Cougars pull the upset and take the Cup to Pullman!


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