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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Bowl Preview Part I

December 19th
New Mexico Bowl
New Mexico (7-5) vs. Arizona (6-6)
362Arizona didn’t expect to play in Albuquerque in their bowl game. They thought they’d have a shot at playing in the Rose Bowl, but one night early in the season, UCLA put those hopes to rest. Once the Wildcats stumbled, they were relegated to the back burner with hopes of a better 2016. So much so that Coach RichRod actually interviewed for the South Carolina vacancy, and was offered the job. He turned it down, though. The Cats backed into bowl consideration and needed a double overtime victory over Utah to earn a bowl invite. They had some injuries, mainly to AllStar LB Scooby Wright, who should be healthy for this game.
New Mexico came pretty out of the bottom of the Mountain West and garnered some big wins that caused people to wonder what’s going on in the Land of Enchantment. This has been Bob Davie’s best coaching performance ever. Who knew a former Notre Dame coach could actually coach? The Lobos have peaked at the right time of year as November has been great, going 3-1, and beating the likes of Boise State, Utah State, and Air Force, all bowl teams. This is basically a home bowl game for the Lobos, they should be fired up, they have all the momentum coming into this game, no excuses now.
Arizona is lucky to be here and will more than likely be disappointed, NM will be hot to trot. Lobos win.


Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
BYU (9-3) vs Utah (9-3)
The Holy War rival is back, in Sin City, kind-of ironic.
BYU needed just one more win over a name recognition program and they would have landed a major bowl. But, losing to UCLA, Michigan, and593 Missouri, plus losing your starting QB again, put a big damper on the team that’s trying to make it as an independent. The Cougars played well, this is a good football team, but being without a conference affiliation is going to hurt BYU far more than help them. Which has to be at least a reason why Bronco Mendenhall bolted for Virginia and the ACC. Look for BYU to try and keep the ball away from the Utes. If the Cougs can move the ball and keep Utah’s offense on the sideline, they’ll have a chance of pulling it off.
Utah was the queen bee of the PAC-12 North, they were beating everyone until USC took them apart like left-over turkey. The Utes rebounded, but ended the season with two depressing losses, to Arizona and UCLA. They darn near lost to Colorado, too. They had so much promise but just failed to capitalize. They’ll have no problem getting ready to face BYU, which is like, what, 15-20 miles away from them? They’ve played for years and detest each other. Utah’s defense will make the difference. If they play like they can and produce turnovers, Utes win. If they play like they did against USC, it’ll be BYU hoisting the game ball.
Without Bronco Mendenhall as coach, BYU will fall to the Utes.

Camellia Bowl
Ohio (8-4) vs. Appalachian State (10-2)
Ohio was playing great! They were winning, and even played Minnesota from the Great White North tough, losing by only three points. The rest ofYEIWIFXSAMQZDOO.20131127184356 the MAC was scared of the Bobcats, and then Western Michigan happened, they weren’t scared, and it threw Ohio into a three game losing streak. BUT, they regrouped with a big win over Northern Illinois, who beat Toledo. Ohio doesn’t attract headlines, but they’re always steady and very well coached. No surprise to see them in the post season year after year.
Appalachian State – Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, App State went to Michigan and beat the Wolverines on opening day, and that was the last anyone ever heard of the Mountaineers. Ok, actually, they’ve been playing and winning the Division 1AA title for quite a few years. This is their second year in the upper house and they’ve made it to a bowl game. This program has a great foundation and an impressive record. They didn’t do that well against Clemson, but, so what, no one else did either. Usually a team can get a bit flustered in their first bowl game but the Mountaineers expected to be here, they’ll be just fine.
This will be a close game and might be one of the best bowl games, but steady Ohio will pull out the win.

Cure Bowl
San Jose State (5-7) vs Georgia State (6-6)
GSU PanthersSan Jose State got a bowl invite solely because there weren’t enough teams with 6 wins to fill the slots. They played BYU and Nevada tough down the stretch, but they have a problem holding on to a lead. For some reason they can’t finish out the games;- something, somewhere goes wrong. They’ve had a lackluster season but hopefully they’ll play like they belong. Not making any promises, though
Georgia State was 2-6 and looking pitiful, then something…SNAP! They went from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde and pulled off four straight wins, even knocking off instate rival and powerhouse Georgia Southern! Someone needs to check the Panther’s Gatorade jugs for foreign substance, this just isn’t right. They are now playing in the school’s first ever bowl game and as long as no one is checking their Gatorade jugs, they’re a threat to win their initiation into the bigtime.
Georgia State continues its romp and stomps the Spartans.

New Orleans Bowl
Arkansas State (9-3) vs Louisiana Tech (8-4)
ArkansasStateRedWolvesArkansas State has the old attitude of Fresno State, they’ll play anyone, anywhere, anytime. They started off the season at USC and then took on Missouri. They lost both games, but they weren’t cowed. Toledo was the only other team to beat what used to be the Indians. Since October the Red Wolves have been undefeated and scoring more than 40 points in every game but one, where they got 37. ASU is solid with a good team and great leadership. They want to win this bowl, they’re dying to win this bowl.
Louisiana Tech is a bit wishy-washy this year. Some Saturdays they are great, with Florida QB transfer Driskel throwing that ball all over the field. Other times it makes you scratch your head in disbelief. Truth of the matter is, they don’t play well when facing a good solid defense. If Driskel has plenty of time in the pocket, the Bulldogs do well;- if he has to fear for his life, eh, not so much.
ASU has been on a roll and there is no reason to believe they won’t continue. Red Wolves Win. (Why can’t they just call themselves the Wolves? It’s so much better.)

Dec 21st
Miami Beach Bowl
South Florida (8-4) vs. Western Kentucky (11-2)

SWestern%20Kentucky%202007outh Florida has gone through its rebuilding and now they are in a bowl game for the first time since 2010. Coach Willie Taggart has done a fantastic job in the Tamp Bay area. It was touch and go how they would do this year, but after scoring an upset over Power Five school Syracuse, it pushed them to finish at 7-1. They played Navy tough, but lost. They like to bully their way with the running game, which would be a smart thing to do against Western Kentucky. Whatever they do, they’ve got to keep WKU offense off the field. Run the ball, run the ball and run the ball some more.
Western Kentucky made a statement at the start of the year by stopping a two point try against Vanderbilt to seal their win. They have been playing like mad men ever since. As QB Brandon Doughty goes, so do the Hilltoppers. When he’s on target, which is most of the time, stopping this offense becomes very difficult. They are fast and efficient. They are coming into this game highly motivated and determined to end their season on a high note.
Might not be the best idea to vote against Western Kentucky, so I won’t.
(think they’ll have South Beach Beauties walking around the stadium in thongs and such? Yeah, I doubt it too)



Idaho Potato Bowl
Akron (7-5) vs. Utah State (6-6)
From the Sunny Beaches of Miami to the frozen blue field of Boise Idaho.
Akron has their first winning season in more than a decade. The seniors on this team can still remember their freshman year when they went 1-11.dyrky5xof3z0e3j41gxde75rh Now they have made it to the post season. The Zips haven’t had a fantastic year, they’ve beaten the teams they should have and lost to the ones they were supposed to. They’ve been good cast character in the Mid-American conference play. Now they get a chance to make a statement. Their defense is their strength and if they can set the tone of the game from the first snap, they just might end the season on a high note.
Utah State – a lot was expected of the Beehive State Aggies but nothing came of it. Most people will point out that dual threat QB Chuckie Keeton was out more than half the season and it was only because of him that they played Utah close. I say poppycock! Utah State was a lot of hype with little to back it up. This last stretch of November games have been marred with fumbled snaps, sloppy play and bonehead penalties. They made it to the post season but somewhere along the way, Utah State gave up.
Akron is coming in on a high, Utah State is searching for something positive. Zips win.



Boca Raton Bowl
Temple (10-3) vs. Toledo (9-2)
Temple both of these teams came close to achieving their goals, only to miss it by that much. The Owls started the season with a huge victory over3071919_300 Penn State, nobody but Temple fans saw that coming, and even they had doubts. Then they almost, almost, beat Notre Dame but gave up the ghost in the last minutes. They recovered and played well the rest of the way, except against South Florida. The Owls have had the best year this school as seen in, well, ever. They’re not going to let it stop now.
Toledo came out of nowhere and instead of being a sacrificial lamb to the Razorbacks of Arkansas they beat the Hogs and claimed their first victory over an SEC team. The nation took notice. For most of the season it appeared the Rockets were going to win them all and make a New Year’s Day appearance. Then Northern Illinois came a’calling and knocked them off. The Rockets regained their feet for the rest of the season and could have won their conference, but then Twilight Zone fever hit and they lost to Western Michigan.
One team still appears to have motivation, the other team has to find theirs again. With Toledo losing their coach, look for Temple to run to victory.

Poinsettia Bowl
Boise State (8-4) vs. Northern Illinois (8-5)
BoiseStateBoise State my buddy and Ms Idaho Afton would tell anyone that BSU has had a very down year. They beat Washington, who is now coached by their old coach, but that was about the highlight of the year. They lost two consecutive home games and that hasn’t happened since 1997. Then they didn’t even get a chance to defend their Mountain West Crown. One has to wonder about the Bronco’s motivation level. If they can get some of their MoJo back they can still come up with a bowl victory.
Northern Illinois – when this team is up, they are up! They think they can play with anyone, but when they get down on themselves, they’re like a high school teenage girl who’s crying and can’t stop and no one knows what started the crying. They were playing Ohio State tough and darn near pulled the upset, but then they turn right around and lose to Boston College, who didn’t even know where the endzone was. Then they destroy Toledo’s undefeated season and then lose another one they shouldn’t have. What in the world is this team doing?
The Huskies have had post-season success before, but whether they play like this year is anyone’s guess.

GoDaddy Bowl
Georgia Southern (8-4) vs. Bowling Green (10-3)
ga-southern-genericGeorgia Southern has made big impressions on Division I teams over the past couple of years. A few years ago the Eagles took Alabama’s number one defense to task and ran for more yards than anyone else that year. Alabama still won the game and the national championship. Then they played Florida and beat them without attempting a pass, one of the all-time classic upsets EVER! Now they are a Division I team and playing in their first bowl game. GSU is used to success, the bowl game does nothing but give them more motivation. The only question will be, “Will they attempt a pass?” Maybe, but there won’t be many of them.
Bowling Green when a school has a color in their name they must make that color part of their uniforms. Watching Bowling Green hurts my head, I keep thinking their uniforms should be green! But brown and orange it is for them. Strange. Anyway, this team of Falcons has played a very tough MAC schedule and even beat Purdue, but so did everyone else, so not so impressive. They had a huge chance to be “THE” team that took down Toledo, but botched it and lost big. On top of that they’ve lost their head coach and are in search of another. BGU has this feel of being kind-of down.
Georgia Southern has been quite a favorite of CSF for a long time, no way we’re picking against the Eagles.

Dec 24th
Bahamas Bowl
Middle Tennessee (7-5) vs. Western Michigan (7-5)
Middle Tennessee The Blue Riders started the season 2-4 and were looking at a bottomless pit. Then they played Marshall and blocked a field middle-tennessee-logogoal attempt in the third overtime and took the victory. That gave them a spark and they went on to win five in a row. Now they get to play a game on the beach in the Bahamas were there are no bad days.
Western Michigan had very big expectations back in September, they didn’t know they weren’t going to beat Michigan State so they played them hard and earned a ton of respect. Then they meet an Eagles team from Georgia Southern and get butchered. Things fell apart from that point. They were able to right the ship and finish the season with a victory over their first ranked opponent, No. 24 Toledo.
The Broncos finished well but still think they should have done better. They should have done better. Middle Tennessee thinks they are a team of destiny to have made it here. MTSU wins.

Hawai’I Bowl
San Diego State (10-3) vs. Cincinnati (7-5)
San Diego State did not do well playing teams away from the West Coast. They got beat up pretty good against South Alabama and Penn State. SanDiegoStateAfter dropping the Cal game they were back in territory they knew and proceeded to beat everyone else. They became a very consistent team that scored a goodly amount of points, but unlike other west coast teams, they actually played well on defense.
Cincinnati was not the most steadfast team in ’15. They’d play a couple of great games and then they’d take the field and look like middle schoolers playing tag. Right now the biggest question is whether or not QB Gunner Kiel is even going to make it for this game. So far, he’s been out of practice for the week because of personal issues.
Playing in Hawai’I has got to be awesome, its just a great place to be, period. On the surface this game looks like a mismatch and it is. Aztecs have more fun on the Islands.

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