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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 6 Preview

In “Les Miserables”, the hero Valjean, joins the fight at the barricade and manages to save the life of his tormentor and pursuer, Javert. Javert’s response, “The law is inside out, The world is upside down.” Could apply to how this football season has gone so far. Teams that we all thought were frontrunners have faltered and some weak sisters have shone far brighter than we expected. Alabama was written off for dead after losing to Ole Miss, but Georgia is willing to testify under oath that Bama is alive and well. Ole Miss, who was skipping down the Yellow Brick Road after the Bama game, was knocked off by those evil flying monkeys wearing Florida jerseys.   Florida was expected to be at least a year or two away from challenging and here they are the favorites to win the SEC East! Michigan State gives no warm and fuzzies, Ohio State is undefeated, but against who? Northwestern is undefeated, now that is a big WOW! Stanford resembled befuddled mathematicians in Evanston on Sept 5th, but now they’re athletes… who are mathematicians. One can appreciate Javert’s state of mind.


Illinois vs. Iowa– Case in point;- when was the last time Illinois started the season at 4-1 and was ranked higher than Wisconsin, Minnesota and 470Nebraska? Who the heck knows, but, here they are. Last week, against the Cornhuskers, the Illini were down 13-0 late in the 3rd quarter. They won, 14-13. Now they take on the undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes, who just downed division favorite Wisconsin, in Madison. How have the Hawkeyes made this run? Defense. The Hawks are the only team that has not allowed a rushing touchdown this season. Wisconsin came close to breaking that streak in the 4th quarter but fumbled the ball. You remember what Coach Heisman said about fumbling. The Iowa D-Line has been solid and the linebackers, exposed on the perimeter last year, have been outstanding. The offense has not been outstanding and if they get in a shootout, they’ll probably come up short. But so far they’re very happy running the ball for three yards and a cloud of dust. If they get past Illinois, and then Northwestern, they could run the table. The Illinois Fighting Illini racked up a bunch of points against Kent State, and Western Illinois, but stumbled against North Carolina. Redemption came against the Cornhuskers. Should the Illini get past Iowa on the road, they will be the favorite in the rest of their games until they meet Ohio State. By then the Buckeyes might have fallen from their pinnacle and the Illini could have a chance. Since Illinois RB Ferguson is listed as doubtful for the contest with Iowa, you have to favor the Hawkeyes.

California vs. Utah– Utah has made a career of playing the role of the plucky, underdog team that every once in a while surprises the big 288traditional teams. After defeating, and by defeating, I mean crushing, Oregon, the Utes are in the national spotlight. Ranked 5th, they are in the unfamiliar role of being the favorite. Of the top-ranked teams, the argument could be made that this team has beaten much stronger opponents than anyone else. Now they host California, with ESPN Game Day on campus. Coach Kyle Wittingham, who turned down the job at Tennessee because of the pressure associated with coaching in the SEC, has brought that intense magnifying glass to his program in the PAC-12. How the players react remains to be seen, as this is their first game since defeating the Ducks. Will the attention that Wittingham feared in the South be the undoing for the Utes out west? California had a record of 1-11 two years ago, and the Sonny Dykes hire was looking like a mistake. 2015, they are ranked 23rd and off to their best start since 2007. The Bears are one of the two remaining undefeated teams in the PAC-12. (Quick! Who’s the other undefeated PAC-12 team?) Cal QB Goff is the seventh rated passer with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions. That would be a career stat in the three yards and pile of dust Great White North Conference. Can the Golden Bears keep it up? Last year they started the season 4-1, only to lose their next six. The same magnifying glass that is looking at Utah will be on Cal. Someone has to relish all the attention and play their game. Utah is favored because of the quality of their opponents, but it would not surprise CSF if Cal proved to be Utah’s undoing.

131Northwestern vs. Michigan– Normally CSF would turn its attention to the comfortable confines of front porch swings, fried chicken, cornbread, and sweet tea (and Community Brand coffee) that are common in the SEC. Or CSF could write about the Texas State fair. Oklahoma and Texas always play on this Saturday, but OU is 4-0 and Texas is 1-4. This year’s game might not live up to past thrillers. Having said that, watch the Longhorns play for their ailing mascot, BEVO the Something-or-other, and down the Sooners. Remember, the “World is upside down and the Law is inside out”. Back in the frozen tundra of the Great White North Conference, Northwestern travels to Michigan, which is shaping up to be one heck of a defensive battle. Coach Harbaugh is looking like the best hire ever at Michigan. The Wolverines have pitched two shut outs in a row, against BYU and Maryland. This is the first time the Maize and Blue has had two shut outs in a row since 2000. They haven’t had three in a row since 1980. Northwestern, remember, shut down Stanford to begin their season. Both teams rely on defense. Michigan allows an average of 7.6 points per game, Northwestern gives up 7.0 points per game. The Wolverines are the nation’s best on stopping third down conversations;- second best….Northwestern. Probably not going to be a high scoring affair. Then again, the Wildcats are gaining a 391 yards per game, 248 yards rushing, the highest in the GWN, and scoring 25.4 points per game. That’s a high number in the rock ’em sock ‘em Frozen conference. Michigan is not far behind. How in the world did Northwestern, who was picked to finish last, and Michigan, who would need two or three years under Harbaugh to get out of their funk, reach this level of success this early? Don’t know, but here they are, at the barricades, fighting like hell.

Short Smokes:

LSU was to travel to USC-South, but due to the fact that almost the entire state of South Carolina is flooded, they’ll be playing in Baton Rouge, LA. Does South Carolina still get to wear their home jerseys? Yes, because LSU wears white at home…AH-HA it was trick question. Doesn’t matter, LSU has Fournette.

Ole Miss will recover against New Mexico State

Baylor’s high flying circus will be in Lawrence, KS. Tickets are available at the KU athletic department. Don’t buy them.

Oklahoma vs. Texas- remember it’s the Texas State Fair week, and Bevo is sick unto death.

Will Maryland be the team that upsets vulnerable Ohio State? No.

Indiana (4-1) plays Penn State (4-1), another who would have guess it situation

Desperate for a win, Virginia takes on Hard Chargin’ Pitt

Clemson looks to continue its run against Georgia Tech. Watch out. The stage is set for a Clemsonizing.

Georgia needs to play a full four quarters against Tennessee. UT only plays for three

Navy goes to South Bend against Notre Dame- the one time of the year I pull for Navy, don’t let me down!

Both Wisconsin and Nebraska need to win. Unfortunately, they play each other

Minnesota should recover against Purdue. Hmmmm. What was the Michigan State-Purdue score?

Iowa State will be running with Texas Tech. Tech runs faster.

Oregon State and Arizona could be a fantastic game.

Oregon will be dressed in Lewis and Clark tribute uniforms against Washington State. The Ducks’ uniforms do look very cool

Boise State will butt heads with Colorado State. My friend, BSU graduate Afton, just happens to be Ms. Idaho 2015. I have a signed picture, everyone else is jealous

Last year Alabama escaped Arkansas, 14-13. This year they’ll play the Hogs much better. Roll Tide!

Oklahoma State and West “By Golly” Virginia will produce a lot of touchdowns

TCU will actually have to play against a defense in K-State, and the Wildcats have the Wizard, Bill Snyder.

Florida wants to knock off last year’s SEC-East Champion Missouri, in Columbia. Gators beware, or, Gators, Beware!

Miami and Florida State will battle it out for the wide right victory

Arizona State, who stunned UCLA last week, cannot have a let down against Colorado. The Buffalos are getting better.

Can Michigan State put Rutgers away and hold the lead, or will they allow the Scarlet Knights to mount a come back in the 4th? Come on, MSU, You Are Sparta!

The Daughter gets to rest her voice as the Aggies from Texas A&M need an extra week to get ready for Alabama.

The last time the University of North Alabama made a trip to Oregon, they played Portland State, and after that victory the Lions were ranked number one for the first time in school history. They then went on to win three consecutive Division II National Championships. Saturday the mighty Lions will be playing the Western Oregon Wolves in Monmouth, Oregon. Will history repeat itself and this game propel UNA to another top ranking and the winning crown? YES! Yes, it will! Roar Lions!


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