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Week 12 Preview

Week 12

There are times in our lives where we of the football world must divert our eyes from the SEC, the heart of college football, and set our gaze elsewhere. Week 12 is one of those times.

231Michigan State vs. Ohio State– Up in the frozen north the weather has grown cold, winter coats are out, and, of course, there are always a few guys in the stands without their shirts on. These guys are consuming alcoholic beverages, trust me. Did I ever attend a football game without a shirt on, you ask. I pretend to have heard nothing. Michigan State has a puncher’s chance of making it to the playoffs. Holly Holm had a puncher’s chance to beat Rhonda Rousey, and we know how that turned out. All the Spartans have to do is keep throwing punches. Michigan State has played at the level of their opposition all season, they’re tested, they’ve had games where they had to dig down deep and pull out a win. It can be argued that in some of those games they shouldn’t have been that close….agreed, but they were, and they did. Ohio State has had a cakewalk of a season, 78th hardest schedule in FBS. They have played three teams with winning records, Penn State (legitimate win), Western Michigan (not a legitimate win), and Northern Illinois (not legitimate). Everybody else on the schedule has been very weak. All the news about the Buckeyes, all season long, has been the turmoil and drama within their own program. They’ve had infighting, position squabbles, and outside negative behavior – and these are just the things we’ve heard about. Imagine what’s going on that hasn’t been reported. Now the Spartans enter the big horseshoe, and for the first time, OSU will face a good team. How good MSU is remains to be seen. Before the season began this game was circled up in East Lansing, MI. In Columbus, OH, it was over looked as a tune up game for “That School up North”. Ohio State has the talent, they seem to have a monopoly on recruiting in the frozen tundra, but they don’t look like they’ve fully utilized it. In the words of Tim Tebow, “Hard work will overcome talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.” The talking heads are picking Ohio State, they’re undefeated, and the defending National Champions. Michigan State has already fallen once, so a win over the Bucks, knocking OSU out of the playoffs would restore a lot of faith in Sparty. But, here at CigarSmokinFootball, the decision is easy, “Spartans never surrender! Spartans never quit! SPARTANS PREPARE FOR GLORY!” (Leonidas, at Thermopylae, and we all know how that turned out).

571Baylor vs. Oklahoma State– When TCU went up to Stillwater, we pointed out that neither the Horn Frogs nor the Baylor Bears fares well there. TCU did their part a coupe of weeks ago when they were dismantled by the Pokes. Now, Baylor, after losing to Oklahoma, will be limping into the arena where dreams go to die. BU has had the easiest schedule of anyone in Division I. Sorry, Ohio State, maybe you can have that honor next year. When the Bears were tested at home, in the rain, by the Sooners, they failed to meet the challenge. Now they have to suck it up, toughen up, and face the leader of the Big 12, that only has ten teams, on their turf. John Wooden said, “Sports don’t build character. They reveal it.” We shall see what kind of character the boys from Waco possess. The chance for redemption has been set before them on a green platter with white stripes. All they have to do is win Saturday. It doesn’t have to be pretty, or cute, or even impressive. “Just Win Baby!” – Al IMG_7790Davis. Oklahoma State has no plans of letting that happen. As a matter of fact, they’re a bit testy about it. The Pokes were not envisioned at the front of the pack this late in the season, but they rather like it and want to hold on to it. Twice this season they’ve faced teams similar to Baylor. Against Texas Tech they started off slowly and had to mount a comeback in one heck of a shootout. Against TCU they came out of the gate like a bucking bull and from the opening kickoff, it was evident OSU was winning. Then the Pokes go up to Iowa State, who, if not for Kansas, would be ranked last in the league. OK State had to fight and scratch to barely get a win. Which Oklahoma State will be playing this week? If they don’t bring their A-game, it’s going to be a long day. It will be interesting to see if Baylor can come back from their loss, and, let’s be honest, the last time Oklahoma St. had everything before them, they lost it. With every member of the PAC-12 having at least two losses there is a glimmer of hope for a Big 12 team to make it to the playoffs with one loss, but if you’re a Cowboy fan, why chance it, just keep winning and you’re in. The game is in Stillwater, Baylor has been exposed, OSU is the frontrunner in the Big 12 that only has ten teams, and no conference championship game. Pokes have the initiative, Pokes have the lead, Pokes have the weapons. MOLON LABE! Pokes win.


IMG_7801TCU vs Oklahoma– Are the Sooners for real? Seriously, the team that lost to Texas in the Red River Rivalry is now one of the hottest teams on the planet? It appears that they might be the Ohio State of 2014. They lost to a losing team early enough in the season to be able to recover. Down in Waco the Sooners whacked the Bears (in Mafia lingo). Now the Horn Frogs of TCU will make the trip to Norman, OK. The Frogmen have already lost to one Oklahoma school, they cannot lose to the second one. Then, they need for the Sooners to beat Oklahoma State next weekend, and they are pulling for Oklahoma State to down Baylor this weekend. Sounds like a Soap Opera going on here. Be that as it may, Texas Christian needs a lot of help to have any chance of making it toIMG_7761 the playoffs. Without QB Boykin, Kansas nearly got their first win of the season, but this is nothing new. KU has played TCU tough for the past couple of years. Not sure why this game gets the Jayhawks excited, but it does. One of those mysteries of life. Since the loss to OKST, the world has lost interest in the Horn Frogs. Once the Belle of the Ball and now they’re yesterday’s news. Boykin watched his chances for the Heisman slip away in the last two games (kind-of like Fournette did at Alabama and Arkansas). Oklahoma struggled early in the season but they seem to have found their stride. It’s not a pretty stride, mind you, they look a bit wobbly, and still vulnerable, but they are winning and taking down #6 Baylor at Waco, in the rain, didn’t hurt. Last year when these two teams met up, the Froggers won by four points. The OU defense will be the key to the game;- if they can STOP TCU, Sooners win. If they try to CONTAIN the TCU offense, Sooners lose. Look for OU to win this game and have a huge showdown with OSU next week. I’m assuming (and we all know what that does) that the Cowboys beat Baylor this week.

Michigan vs. Penn State– Michigan had a tough time with Indiana last week, one they were not expecting. Penn State has had a pretty good 386season, but gone largely unnoticed because they haven’t beaten a big name school. Now they have a chance to include a signature win along with a winning record. But the Wolverines are a bit tougher, and should win. Having said that, it would not surprise if this game went into overtime. It’ll be close.

North Carolina vs Virginia Tech– In the words of Admiral Akbar from the movie Return of the Jedi “It’s a Trap! “ seems very appropriate. The452 Tar Heels have been shredding everyone except South Carolina and that was because Coach Spurrier was still there at the time and I’m sure he had some smart aleck remark that knocked the Heels off their game. No one has really come close to stopping UNC. Va Tech has had a very disappointing season, which has led to Coach Beamer turning in his letter of retirement mid-way through the season. Saturday will be the last game he’ll coach in Blacksburg, which is why this is a trap game. VA Tech would love nothing better than to send their long time coach out with an upset win over a ranked team. Tar Heels should win in a walk, but the Hokies are preparing something special and just might play spoiler. (Is it true, that Fedora is a candidate to replace Beamer next year? Just asking)

220LSU vs Ole Miss– We weren’t really going to skip the SEC, seriously. Last year, Mississippi was riding high – until they played LSU and got beat, bringing them back to earth. This year, both teams have had highs and lows. Both teams are coming off a loss to Arkansas. Ole Miss’s loss was a bit more dramatic. Both teams had a chance to win the division crown, but blew it. Now it will be a question of who wants to keep scrapping and who has given up. LSU has yet to recover from their beat down by Alabama, and it appears they have given up on this season. Ole Miss’ defense can stop the one trick pony of the Tigers, Louisiana variety, but can they move the ball on offense? The Rebs are playing for revenge, and that will be the edge. Rebels win.

Short Smokes:
Memphis against Temple will be a fascinating game, Owls win though.
Iowa State and K-State will play for their 4th win of the season. One of them will get it. I like K-State.
Purdue goes down, again, against Iowa this time.
Illinois vs Minnesota – both need this game to get closer to bowl eligibility.
Miami has been doing much better and should wreck Georgia Tech.
NC State needs to win against Syracuse to get to six wins.
Nevada vs Utah State – they always play hard against each other.
Duke should right their ship against floundering Virginia.
Arizona completes their regular season against in-state rival Arizona State. I ain’t picking a winner.
USC and Oregon have resurrected their seasons and now play each other. Whadda you bet USC wins?
UCLA and Utah are both coming off devastating losses, someone has to win, right? Utah. No, UCLA. No, Utah. No, UCLA. No,… .
Northwestern looks to knock Wisconsin out of the top 25. It’s hard for a Wildcat to beat a Badger.
Louisville travels to the Steel City, which is like, what, 60 miles, maybe, to play Pitt. Just a bus ride, right? Closer than Tuscaloosa is to Starkville. I see a good game developing.
Auburn should, “Should” win against Idaho, but no promises. After all, the Alabama Tigers beat Jacksonville State with Jeremy at the helm.
Alabama, at 9-1, takes on Charleston Southern, also at 9-1. Something says to pick Bama.
New Mexico looks to continue winning against Colorado State.
Washington goes Beaver hunting at Oregon State.
Mississippi State will be yet another victim of the late season Arkansas surge. I think Alabama is making it easy for Arkansas, prepping these squads before the Hogs play them.
Georgia does not have a guaranteed victory against Georgia Southern. Wonder if the Eagles will even attempt a pass?
Tennessee hosts Missouri and will send them packing with a loss.
Texas A&M better be very careful playing Vanderbilt. The Daughter would be most upset if they lost to the Commodores.
Boston College has upset Notre Dame before, it can happen again. Oh, man, but I wish it would.
California will travel across the street to play Stanford. Then Cal will travel back across the street without their derrières.
Colorado and Washington State will close out the night with another nail biter.
North Alabama will be hosting Newberry College in the first round of the Division II playoffs. Lions win, Roar Lions!


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