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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 5 Preview

Week 5 Preview

Week 5 is when league play starts for real, except for Auburn, poor fellows, they need a break. You have no idea how much I enjoy writing that. Games are much more significant, the hitting is harder, the victories sweeter, unless it’s a Georgia victory. Then it’s just going to horrible for everyone around me. So put on your helmet, buckle the chinstrap, grab a shield, hoist your lance and stand a LINE! Give them nothing but take from them EVERYTHING!! (Have I forgotten that I’m not in Sparta again?).


042Mississippi State vs. Texas A&M– In 1940 and ‘41 the cost of a first-class stamp was $0.03 cents, the first multilane US Superhighway opened in Pennsylvania, McDonald’s opened its first hamburger stand, and the Minnesota Golden Gophers were the NCAA Football Champions with a record of 8-0 in each season. This was also the last time that Texas A&M started off back-to-back seasons at 5-0. Today they are 4-0 and are hosting Mississippi State (3-1) this Saturday. It is doubtful that the Aggie players, as they practiced this week, thought about 1941. Hey, Aggies, at the end of that season Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, ever wonder what would have happened had the Japanese attacked during Rivalry Week of the 1941 football season? That bloomin’ atomic bomb would have been operational a lot sooner to get this war over with and get back to our passion of college football. This is an honest passion. A million years ago, my Daddy had a Special Forces team in Laos, and he told his Team Sergeant that they had to get after the bad guys and clean ‘em out so he could get back in time for the football season. I digress, but I enjoy doing so. The Aggies had a tough time last week with a struggling Arkansas team. A&M struggles against the Hogs traditionally, all the way back to the Southwest Conference days. TAMU is now a passing team. Kyle Allen is ranked second in passer rating and has a conference high of 11 touchdowns. Against the Razorbacks he threw for 358 yards. His main target has been Christian Kirk, who, incidentally, scored the game winning TD in overtime. This is why I find it mind-blowing that Coach Sumlin keeps pulling Kyle Allen in the third quarter and putting in freshman Murray, who knows how to do one thing and one thing only, run the ball. He doesn’t throw well and he almost refuses to hand the ball the off. It kills all the momentum the Aggies have going for them. WHY, Sumlin, WHY? Mississippi State’s defense is questionable, as in, it’s hard to get a good read on whether they’re good or their opponents have been that bad. Against Auburn the Bulldogs look like world-beaters, but Auburn’s offense was, well, terrible. The Daughter could have suited up against Auburn and looked like an All-American. And against LSU, if it wasn’t for that great big, fast, strong running back the Tigers have….Oh, what’s his name? I’m sure it will come to me,…..MSU did rather well stopping the Tigers. A&M’s passing attack will test whether State can actually hold up. Mississippi State has arrived at the time of reckoning. QB Prescott was drawing rave reviews last year about his abilities and how he was making a case for the Heisman. This year he’s missing his supporting cast and it’s made a difference. His rushing yards have dropped as the Bulldog running backs are not much of a threat. So Miss State has to rely on the passing game more and more. Which is fine, as long as they’re making first downs and moving the ball. It’s kind of a shame, though, cause, A&M’s defense has had a terrible time stopping the run. Arkansas ran the ball right up the middle whenever they needed to gain some yards. The best back MSU has is 5-foot-8 and weights 165lbs. Maybe Prescott will revert to 2014’s prescription of running as well as passing. Last year the Aggies won, 51-41, and the fact that The Daughter believes her screams and cheers drive A&M to victory, is beholden to pick Texas A&M.

Minnesota vs. Northwestern– A lot has changed since 1940-41, Minnesota is no longer the perennial National Champions, but they’re coming back – a little. They opened the season against No. 2 TCU and played them tough, losing, 23-17. Since then, they’ve only averaged 20.0 points against Colorado State, Kent State, and Ohio. Against the Bobcats, (The Daughter knows the story of how the Bobcats got their name) they needed a touchdown in the last minute to win. They’ve also struggled against CSU and Kent St. Not exactly what I expected from Minnehaha at the start of the season. The Ski-U-Mah’s rely on the running game, passing only when absolutely necessary. They are not setting the world on fire with either approach. Northwestern stunned the nation by shutting down Stanford, made everyone wonder if Stanford was that weak or Northwestern was that strong. Stanford has proven pretty darn strong since that Wildcat game. Northwestern is no stranger to out of conference successes, but when it comes to beating their conference foes, something goes wrong on the way to the fair. Except for Illinois in 2013 they wouldn’t have had a victory in the Great White North Conference. Both Minnesota and Northwestern teams are saying the right things, like, “Now we get into conference play and we’ve got to pick up our play.” October has not been kind to the Evanston school as they are 6-14 since 2010. If the Wildcats could play only of conference teams, their record might do better. They’re now 4-0 with a victory over Stanford, who beat USC, so the question arises, is this Northwestern team good, or are they just lucky? How they play against Minnesota will give a great indication of what to expect. How do you pick a winner in this game? There are plenty of reason for each team to win but there’s equal and opposite reasons for each team to lose. I have an idea! No, not a spelling contest, let’s settle it on the field this Saturday. CSF is picking Minnesota because the fans do the Gopher dance between the third and fourth quarters. “I’m alright!, Don’t no one worry about me….”

571Texas Tech vs. Baylor – If one is looking for a game where there’s going to be offense, lots of scoring, and very 557little defense, look no further than Arlington, Texas for the Texas Tech vs. Baylor Saturday Special. Baylor will have two firsts: 1) their first conference game, and, 2) playing their game against a team with a winning record in 2015. The Bears have put up over 700 yards a game and scored more than one can get his hands around. Get this though, the Bears are the number one rushing team in the nation averaging 379 yards per game and only seventh in passing. Can you believe this? They say there are lies, damn lies, and statistics, and this is the latter. It might have something to do with who they’ve played, but it still causes a shock to the system. Don’t expect BU to run much Saturday, Texas Tech’s defense went head to head with Arkansas and shut down their running game, which is much stronger than Baylor’s. The Bears will rely on the pass but it’ll be doubtful if they can keep the average of over 700 yards per game. Baylor will be defending its two-time conference title. Let’s be honest, they were the true champion last year, they beat TCU. TT, however, came “this close!” to taking down the Horned Frogs last week. If it weren’t for a tipped pass in the end zone, the Red Raiders would be undefeated. This kind of defeat just might make the Raiders more dangerous. They traded punches with TCU, they didn’t back down, they didn’t panic, and, in their minds, they should have won. They now have confidence and a lot of it. Will they be able to grasp that brass ring? It’s tempting to take Texas Tech, but Baylor has been good for the past three seasons, so, what the heck, let’s go for the upset. Red Raiders win. Perhaps. Perhaps not.

017Alabama vs. Georgia– At 2:30 central time, only one person is allowed to call and that is The Daughter and even then it better be an emergency, or she better be watching the Alabama vs. Georgia game and wants to talk about it. Other than that, the War of the Worlds could commence and I’d have to wait to join the fight after the game. Georgia is hosting the contest and they are the favorite. But this has happened before, remember? In 2012, the Dawgs were ranked number one in the nation, picked to win the National Championship, and then the Tide rolled into town. Bama built a 31-0 halftime lead and never looked back. UGA looked for payback the next year in the SEC Championship game, one deflected pass five yards from the end zone burst their bubble. They haven’t played Bama since. Now they want to play Bama, they can’t wait to play Bama, they need to play Bama. They’ve got them at home, and Nick Chubb is running the ball like a man possessed. If it weren’t for that LSU running back, ole What’s-His-Name, Chubb would be the talk of the SEC and the nation. To help him out, Virginia transfer QB Lambert has proven to be much more efficient than expected. He may not have set the 140world on fire, but he’s been smart, patient, and has taken care of the ball. If he keeps this up he going to lead the Dawgs into the SEC championship game. UGA has an offense that is very good, like, the best in the SEC. They’re going to be tested, because Alabama’s defense is the best in the nation. No one has yet been able to run against this front seven, they’ve been a Stonewall of Yellowhammers. If Georgia can’t run, will Lambert be able to pick up the slack and throw the Bulldogs through? Don’t know. Chubb is the heart and soul of this team, if he’s not producing, it could stall Georgia out. Bama’s secondary is, at best, questionable, and often porous. Alabama’s offense, on the other hand has been, like me, confused. Against Ole Miss the coaching staff out-thought themselves, they tried to be too clever, and too smart, and it led to confusion, and me cussing at the TV. Jake Coker darn near pulled the comeback of the year when he finally got in against Ole Miss. Against ULM it appears he had a Oh-hum performance, but there’s those damn lies again … or is it statistics? His receivers were having the ball hit them right in the hands and they’d drop it. No reason, no explanation, they’d just drop it. If I had any hair left I would have pulled it out. Derrick Henry is a huge load carrying the ball, why Alabama has not used him more, I can’t explain, he could be just as good as that….What’s that LSU’s running back’s name? It escapes me, it’s right here on the tip of my finger, but I just can’t find the right keys, … but they are not using Henry to his best advantage. Georgia’s defense is good but they’re not nearly as dominating as Ole Miss’s was, and The Tide, when they held on to the ball, moved the ball and scored Touchdowns. They should be able to do that again. There are a lot questions about Alabama, can they hold on to the ball, can the receivers catch it, will they be confused on offense? If they just answer the first two, the third question will disappear. Alabama’s defense will save the day and keep UGA from running the ball. Bama’s going to pull out a win. Not sure they’ll score 31 points in the first half, but it would do wonders for my reflux if they did.

Fournette!! That’s the running back from LSU’s name, knew it would come to me…maybe he’ll be able to crack 300 yards as LSU takes on Eastern Washington.


Short Smokes

Memphis plays South Florida Friday night, all my friends in Memphis are going crazy

South Carolina looks to upend Missouri without Matty Mauk

Pittsburgh wants to beat the hurricane and VA Tech in Blacksburg

Army rolls into Penn State

Kansas battles Iowa State for the bottom of the Big 12, that only has ten teams

Texas will try keep up with TCU. Good luck, Buena Suerte, all those words. The Horns will need ‘em.

West “By Golly” Virginia looks to surprise Oklahoma in Norman

Purdue is in trouble at Michigan State

Undefeated Iowa wants to continue its run at Wisconsin

Louisville could have problems with NC State

Air Force and Navy start academy play. (I said, ‘military play’, but my editor said ONLY the Military Academy is military. Have I told you that my editor went to West Point?)

Nebraska might lose to Illinois

Boston College and Duke should be a great game

Florida State is going to clear-cut Wake Forest

North Carolina wants to upend Georgia Tech

San Jose State could beat Auburn, and the SPARTANS just might

K-State vs Oklahoma State, a must-see game

Ole Miss takes on Florida in the Swamp. Hotty Toddy, Rebels

Arkansas wants to reverse its fortunes against the Vols, but one of them is going to lose, again.

Hopefully, Clemson will stop Notre Dame and break the Luck of the Irish.

Arizona and Stanford have late game slots. Not as exciting as if Zona had beaten UCLA.

North Alabama, ranked 9th takes on Valdosta, ranked 8th. Going to be a tough game! Roar, Lions!


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