rssBlog EntriesComments


Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 6 Preview

042(9) Tennessee vs (8) Texas A&M– This is arguably the premier battle of ranked teams this weekend. Both teams are 5-0, but they’ve taken different paths to get there. The Aggies have beaten three SEC teams and two ranked in the top 25. The Aggies are used to relying on their offense to score a bunch of points and hope they can outscore their opponents. Kinda like what Texas Tech, and Washington State, are doing now. Not this year, though. The A&M defense has led the way and the offense, although at times inconsistent, has been just good enough to win. They are averaging a 13 point difference in their victories which keeps the other teams off their game. QB Trevor Knight, at times, has been brilliant, and looks like the answered prayer the Aggies needed, but at other times he looks like a stumbling, fumbling, bumbling, freshman in his first start. He may do all these in the course of the same game, every game! He has fumbled the ball over at least once in each game and then added three INT’s. He has sparked the running game, where he has busted out some nice long runs, taking the defense totally by surprise. Problem is, those aren’t called running plays for him, in most he was breaking the pocket and scrambling for his life. He just happened to break them open. So the running game stats look good, but to say A&M has mounted a formable ground game is a bit of a stretch. Their defense has been GREAT! The D-line has made it a priority to get to the QB early and often. They have been nothing but disruptive;- very impressive. If the Aggie record sounds familiar, it’s because it is! For the past three years at this point, Texas A&M has been 5-0, only to wind up 8-5 by the end of the season. So what are they going to do this year? The Daughter is convinced that this is the year of the Aggies within the SEC, she might be right. IF they can get by these next two games they’ll be tough to stop. They face Alabama after their BYE week, kind of doubt she’ll be talking to me very much next week.
081Tennessee has taken the mantle of the drama-momma of the SEC. They’re also at 5-0, but it’s a source of amazement how they did it. They have not dominated any team they have faced, and that includes Appalachian State and Ohio University. In all five of their games, the Vols had to come from behind to win, and, let’s be honest here, the other teams have helped them with turn-overs and bonehead stupid plays. Take the Georgia game;- on a Hail Mary pass at the very end of the game, not one Georgia player stuck his hand up in the air and tried to knock the ball down. So what’s to make of this Vol team? That’s a very good question, because no one knows! The one thing we do know is that they can’t get it together in the first half, then, somehow, in someway that defies the laws of physics and of nature, they pull out a win. Makes one think either they’ve made a Faustian deal with the devil, or the Lord has become a Tennessee fan. No way I can accept the latter, but would totally believe that a player, coach, or some UT fan has sold their soul to the devil for these victories. That actually makes perfect sense cause I’ve known some fans who would SO do just that. Biggest problem they face this week is that A&M has been a second half team as well, and the Aggie defense has been tougher as the game wears on. Tennessee’s greatest weakness is their offensive line, and that is where most games are won and lost. If they can block the A&M defensive rush, keep them from getting to the QB, the Volunteers have a chance to win. If they allow the Aggie front four, mainly the ends, to get to QB Dobbs and plant him in the ground every time he drops back, they’re going to need that Faustian deal to win. A&M marches to victory, The Daughter will jump and down with excitement and joy, then, soon after, start the smack talk with me in preparation for the Alabama vs A&M game in two weeks.

Army vs Duke– Army is coming off their bye week and they needed it, they had Buffalo down, only to run out of gas in the fourth quarter. Duke should have had a ton of steam built up after beating Notre Dame, only to fall to UVA. Now the Blue Devils face the Black Knights and are favored, but they’re going to lose. Why? Because Army is one of the surprise teams of the year! Go Army!

277Washington vs Oregon– Two teams that have surprised everyone. Let’s be honest, no one really believed that the Huskies were going to be this good. Sure, people said they’d have a winning record, and that they’d contend for the PAC-12 North title, but there wasn’t a lot of conviction behind those words. Even after they started the season 4-0, the jury was still out because they hadn’t played anyone with a pulse, and they had to go into overtime to beat Arizona. Not the usual way to become a dominant team. Then, last week happened, the night the Stanford Cardinal came to Seattle and the “Dubbs” beat the snot out of them. Everything the “Dubb-U” wanted to do, they did, and there was seemingly nothing Stanford could do to stop them. The Huskies ran the ball, passed the ball, and dominated the game on defense. They’re for real, now the nation has taken notice and the spotlight is on them. They have what should be a relatively easy test this week. Oregon has lost three games in a row and last week’s loss was not even close. There might be a mental block UW has to overcome. They have not beaten the Ducks since 2003. That’s a long time! This game is not in the friendly confines of the Seattle, their only road game of the year so far. So what do they have to do to win? QB Jake Browning has to have another game like he did against Stanford, one where he can do no wrong. He should be able to carve up the Oregon secondary like Washington State did. If he struggles the offense could bog down. Their running game has been good, but not real good. The defense has got to penetrate the Oregon line, get into the Ducks’ backfield, and scramble things up. They don’t have the luxury of focusing in on one player, every man has to execute his assignment every play. If the Huskies can leave Autzen Stadium with a victory, they might as well start renting pigs cause they’ll be hard to stop. (Ed. Note: a quote from Augustus MacCray in the classic, Lonesome Dove.)
Oregon, what’ going on in Eugene? They’ve lost three games in a row, something they haven’t done in eons, and they’ve looked so bad that there is247 talk of a coaching change on the horizon. Some say Mark Helfrich will not last the season. There might be some truth to that rumor because where there is smoke, there is fire, however small. The Ducks have not resembled anything like we’re used to seeing from Nike U. (Well, they never look the same as they’re constantly changing uniforms, but they haven’t played the way we’ve grown accustomed to.) As a matter of fact, they seem to be getting worse. Nebraska and Colorado squeaked out victories, but the Washington State Cougars had roasted Duck for supper. Oregon has yet to put together a complete game in their victories. They are struggling to know their assignments, and this goes from the QB on down. The offensive line is young, but they haven’t gotten it together. It’s obvious that they’re thinking too much instead of reacting. Against this Husky defense, they’re gonna need to tighten it up. It’s easy to chalk up this let down to youth and inexperience, but this is game five, There should be improvements, and there aren’t many. Its already going to be a long season. Oh, but they are wearing a different uniform, it’s blue and yellow, no green and they’re calling themselves the “Webfoots” on their jerseys. No wonder confusion reigns.



017Alabama vs Arkansas– Believe it or not there are some people out there wondering if Alabama is deserving of its number one ranking. They look at their schedule and claim they’ve only played one currently ranked team, that would be Ole Miss, but they forget USC was ranked when they played the Trojans. This was to be the resurgence of USC, the Men of Troy were back, until the Tide smacked them, 52-6. That being said, I will agree that Bama is facing the toughest part of it schedule, starting with the Razorbacks. The past two seasons Arkansas has given Alabama fits, they’ve both been low scoring affairs, 14-13, and 24-17. In both those game the Crimson Tide struggled to get its running game going and it was the effective play from the QB that saved them. This year doesn’t look any different. It would be nice if the running game would get going, but with RB Harris questionable, Scarborough has not even come close to what was expected and he has trouble holding onto the ball. Thank goodness there has been Jacobs who has done well, not great, not what we as Bama fans would like, (we are a bit spoiled, though, so take that into account). It is doubtful that a dominating running game will raise its head this weekend. Which means that this game will be on the shoulders of true freshman Quarterback Jalen Hurts and the Tide defense. QB Hurts needs to have the passing game of his young career, no hesitation on his decision-making, and he needs to be accurate. If he can have that type of game, the offense will be able to move and it will open up the running game. Right now Arkansas is going to load the box and dare Hurts to beat them. He can do it, but he has to show it. The defense will have to carry the load Saturday. The Hogs have shown they cannot block a rabid defense, see A&M. First, Alabama has to stop Arkansas from running the ball, shut it down, make them throw. But QB Allen is a good passer. The Tide’s front four have to put enough pressure on him to where the offense turns the ball over. Its what happened to Arkansas in the A&M game and Bama needs to make the Razorbacks do it again.
Arkansas has one big win under its belt, the victory over TCU in Dallas. The other three wins were games they should have won, or Coach Bielema 054 would be looking for a job. As this is the start of Bama’s toughest games, the same is true for Arkansas. It’s all SEC for them the rest of the season. What do they need to do to get that signature win over Alabama? First, hold on to the ball, no turnovers. (Alabama needs to follow this advice, too). Second, they have to run the ball. The offensive line has shown they are not as good as expected. It’s time to block and play so far above what they’ve managed so far that they all get nosebleeds. If the running game doesn’t produce, they may as well put an apple in their mouth and crawl up on the Barbeque cause they’re cooked. (You might say the same thing about the Tide – except for the apple). The Hogs, when their running game is going, are tough, with a strong upside, but they haven’t gotten that breakout win they need. Maybe, against Ole Miss last year, but I mean this year. It looked like they might get it against A&M, but then the second half did ‘em in. It’s going to be a tough game, but if they’re not intimated and keep their wits about them, they can win. I don’t think they’re going to, Alabama’s defense is just too good, but the Razorbacks can keep it close. Alabama rolls to victory. Roll Tide!


Short Smokes:
Texas vs Oklahoma – both teams are 2-2 and both have shown they can win as well as disappoint. OU wants revenge; Texas wants to win two in a row. Tough call, but the Sooners get the nod.

LSU travels to Florida – Les Miles hated that he had to play the Gators every year. He doesn’t have to this year. Maybe Orgeron won’t care. Gators win cause LSU still doesn’t have a QB

Iowa takes on Minnesota, which is an intriguing matchup, both teams lost games they shouldn’t have and both are looking for redemption. Pulling for the Golden Gophers to win.

Colorado is ranked for the first time in, well, forever, USC has a losing record. Colorado needs to win, it’s going to be tough but they’re going to do it, maybe on sheer will alone.

Virginia Tech will give North Carolina a great game but come up short

Houston sinks Navy

Indiana will give Ohio State fits, like they did last year, but still lose

Michigan will crush Rutgers. No big shock there

Florida State has a chance to ruin Miami’s season, and they will

Arizona will not do well against Utah

If Washington State had a defense, they’d beat Stanford, but they don’t and they won’t.

Southern Miss catches and wrings the neck of the Road Runners of UTSA

TCU walks past Kansas

Maryland’s perfect season ends against Penn State

Hopefully, NC State kicks Notre Dame to the curb.

Auburn and Mississippi State battle for last place in the SEC West. Tigers lose

GA Tech will not enjoy its visit to Pittsburgh

Oklahoma State continues winning against Iowa State, maybe. Did you see the ISU vs Baylor game?

BYU vs Michigan State, who knows, at this point?

Georgia needs to win against South Carolina and they should, if the hurricane lets them play. Coach Boom will still declare his greatness in the agony of defeat

UCLA taking on Arizona State will be worth staying up late for. ASU wins

North Alabama defeated number 2 West Georgia last Saturday and have moved up to the number three spot. They now take on Florida Tech, and in the words of Drill Sergeant Reesler, “Don’t mess this up!” (only his words were a bit more colorful) (Ed Note: LTC Riggs said the same thing to me as I left for Laos 54 years ago!)


Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.