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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 14 Preview

Week 14
In no other sport does the regular season mean as much than it does in college football. For all those naysayers and those that want to expand the playoffs, what do they think this weekend is? It’s the Quarterfinals, man! This is the playoffs! Some people are just never happy. Speaking of not being happy, who in the world was in charge of scheduling these conference championship games? The PAC-12 starts at 7:45pm, ACC starts at 8:00pm, and the Great White North (Big Ten) 8:17pm. Anybody else see the problem? Luckily, CSF has a set up to where we’ll get the three games playing at the same time.


SEC Championship

017Florida vs Alabama– In Star Wars, when Darth Vader confronts his old master he notices that his powers are weak, and Vader informs Obi-Wan, “The Student has now become the Master,” whereupon he cuts poor Obi in half. Coach Mc at Florida sat at the098 feet of St. Saban learning how to coach, and it’s apparent that he was a good student. He has taken a Florida team that, if Muschamp was still in charge, would probably have finished at or near the bottom of the SEC East. Instead, they are playing in the SEC Championship game. So major kudos to the Gators. But this is not a case of the student surpassing the master. St. Saban is still the Emperor of the South Eastern Conference and his powers have not grown weak. Last year many thought Bama would never be able to recapture the overwhelming defenses of their National Championship years. Surprise! They were wrong. There is not a better defense in the entire nation. These Stormtroopers are vicious and they don’t miss. On offense, they have Darth Henry, who is the leading Heisman candidate. Something about all this sounds vaguely familiar. Dominant Defense, Running back Heisman candidate, possible winner, didn’t they win a National Championship the last time they had this combo? Why, yes, as a matter of fact, they did. Look for Darth Henry and the offensive line to carry the offensive load against Florida. It’ll be tough, the Gators’ defense is good, but just as they wore out against Florida State last week, the Gators will wilt against Henry and Co in the fourth quarter. Florida’s offense has been anemic at best. Where’s Grier when you need him? Oh, yeah, PED’s. Oh, well. If they cross the midfield stripe in this game, it’ll be the will of the Force. Alabama wins the SEC Championship and moves forward in the playoffs. Roll Tide!


(it might be obvious that I am very much looking forward to the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie that comes out this month)

PAC-12 Championship
310Stanford vs USC– This is more or less the consolation game. Stanford could have made the playoffs but that second loss to 431Oregon knocked them out. There is the mathematical possibility that they could get in if Florida and North Carolina win their quarterfinal games. I could explain how, but it involves a lot of math. But, it is A CHANCE. Instead, they’re playing for the Rose Bowl. This will be the second time they’ve played this season.. Stanford won, 41-31 earlier, but USC was in turmoil and that had to be a factor. Now the Trojans appear to have steadied the ship. Coach Helton has been named the new head coach and this pleased the current men of Troy. Unimaginative hire, said the sports’ writers. USC basically laid a whuppin’ on UCLA last weekend in PAC-12 South title game. Now they get a rematch with the Cardinal. Stanford, for most of the season, has been the king of the west, but against Oregon, they crumbled, (we’re not going to mention the Northwestern debacle). Sure thought they would have played better against the Ducks, but they didn’t. Last week they needed a last minute drive with a game winning field goal to take down Notre Dame, and it was a thing of sheer beauty. The Irish beat USC, but, again, that was in the turmoil times. Stanford has beaten both. Should be a clear-cut decision that the Tree Team will win again. BUT! It’s not. Both teams have been winning, but it looks like the Men of Troy have been playing better. This is one of those games where I’m picking one and pulling for the other. USC is the pick to win, but Stanford is whom I want to win.

ACC Championship
460North Carolina vs Clemson– The Tigers, South Carolina variety, are the number one team in the nation. They are one of 265the last two undefeated teams, the other being Iowa, and both are looking forward to winning their quarterfinal affairs and moving on in the playoffs. One small problem; – that would be the Tar Heels of North Carolina, who have a ram with blue horns as their mascot. Not sure how a Ram represents a Tar Heel but there are several things in this universe that I don’t understand, – like quantum physics. And I’d say a blue horned ram being a Tar Heel is equivalent to quantum physics. It doesn’t take that much thinking to see that Clemson is going to have trouble with UNC. North Carolina will give up yards on defense. They have had games where the opposing team moved between the 20’s with ease. But the blue-horned Rams stiffened up in the red zone. They’re not in the same solar system as the Bama defense, not even close. But they’ve only allowed three teams to score 30 plus points. Their offense is a Ram with different colored horns. Can they move against the Vaulted Clemson defense, you can bet on it. But will they score? Difficult question, like quantum physics. If the offense is playing as well as they can, they will score, but the Sky Blue offense has not always produced or been consistent. Clemson’s Watson is picked to be a Heisman Finalist as he’s led an offense that has scored a bunch of points. Should be an easy pick to choose Clemson to win. However, the Tigers of the Palmetto State have had trouble when they play good teams. They only beat ND by two (as did Stanford – hehehehehehe), Louisville by three and they let Syracuse hang around far longer than they should have. So this game is not a given. Clemson will be the pick to win but it would not be a surprise to see North Carolina pull the upset. Would this get UNC into the playoffs? Larry Fedora says yes, but there’s some debate about their strength of schedule. It was almost as weak as Ohio State’s. The Committee likes the Big Ten, so I just don’t know. Best scenario, simplest, is for Clemson to win.

Great White North Championship (Big Ten)
231Michigan State vs. Iowa– There is no debate about one of these two making the playoffs. Whoever wins is in. Iowans are470 threatening the world with a corn shortage if their Hawkeyes are not given more respect. Since my Mountain Dews need Corn Syrup, I’m giving the Hawkeyes the respect they deserve. They have been the surprise team of the year. They navigated the regular season undefeated and no one saw that one coming. This should be labeled the Blue-Collar game. Neither team runs a spread offense, nor do they have high octane offense. They are both run first, run hard, and pass only when it’s a must. Their defenses are mirror images of each other, hard core, tough, and they never quit. This game is Old School Football! Michigan State is not undefeated, but they have had tougher, closer games. They needed a last second miracle to beat rival Michigan (best play of the year), and a last second field goal to topple Ohio State. That would have been the second-best play of the year but for Stanford’s kick against Notre Dame. But State did it, they didn’t give up, they never stopped believing they could win and it’s paid off. Iowa, no disrespect, has played a weaker schedule, but one can’t say they haven’t been tested. They didn’t need last second miracles in any of their games. They methodically, slowly, and deliberately played their game. This might be the closest played game all day. Either team could win. Since I picked Michigan State to win the Great White North Conference at the start of the year, there is no reason to waiver now. SPARTANS! PREPARE FOR GLORY!!


Short Smokes
Bowling Green battle Northern Illinois for the MAC – Huskies win
Southern Miss swoops down upon Western Kentucky for the Conf. USA title.
Temple and Houston battle for the AAC, Houston wins
Texas and Baylor will be playing, too…..Bears win (The Big 12, that only has ten teams needs a championship game, seriously)
West Virginia plays K-State. Wildcats, looking to going to a bowl game, take it
Citadel marches over Charleston Southern. Why not, they beat South Carolina, didn’t they?
Georgia State meets Georgia Southern. Eagles win. One of these teams is the Eagles. Which one? Look it up.
Montana vs North Dakota State is a rematch from the start of the season. This will be a good game. Grizz win again.
Air Force and San Diego State battle it out for the Mountain West supremacy, SDSU wins.

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