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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 10 Preview

There are only two top 25 match ups this weekend. We can’t blame the schedulers too much because at the beginning of the season they were thinking there would be more marquee games, but, thanks to a few teams failing to play up to expectations (Oregon and USC, we’re talking to you), we’re at two. Alabama-LSU, and Nebraska-Ohio State. We probably couldn’t stand three such games on one day. First, the Service Academies. All stand!

Navy vs Notre Dame– They play this game every year and they always play at South Bend. The reason for this is that during World War II, Notre Dame did not have enough students to stay in business, and they were considering closing down the school. Navy came to their rescue;- they sent some of their midshipman to South Bend and that was enough to keep the school open. In return, Notre Dame plays Navy every year, the Naval Academy gets a nice big paycheck out of it, but middies don’t attend Notre Dame anymore. You’d think the Navy’s representative would have tried to have the game played at Annapolis every once in a while. Instead of South Bend, they are playing in Jacksonville, Florida, just like Georgia and Florida did. Navy still gets a big paycheck. The Midshipmen have beaten ND on occasion, like, twice in 50 years, so it can happen. Don’t hold your breath for it, but it can. The Cubs won the World Series, didn’t they?

ArmyAir Force vs Army– Both teams are 5-3, Army has been the bigger surprise of the two. Air Force, in the recent past, has air forcebeen the better team, but that’s yesterday, and yesterday’s gone. I believe you could write a song with those words. The Black Knights have taken the unsuspecting college football world by storm this year, and their record should be better than it is. It’s the best Army has played in years. Cadets are learning how to win again, which is actually good for our Country, for, as Saint Douglas MacArthur said: “Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that, on other fields, on other days, will bear the fruit of victory.” Really, he said that, it’s engraved in the stone at the Cadet Gym. This is the first leg of the Commander in Chief’s Trophy, and it’s been awhile since Army won it. Once upon a time Army wore the best, the coolest uniforms in the history of college football for this game, when their entire vesture, helmet, jersies, pants, was like their ACU (Army Combat Uniform) suits. It was Awesome! Hope they do it again this year. Army Wins.

065(1) Alabama vs (15) LSU– Neither team likes the other, I think it’s safe to say that. The last time the Bayou Bengals won was when these two played to a 6-6 tie in regulation and LSU won in overtime, 9-6. That was….hmmmm…let’s see here……2011. LSU’s new interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron wants to be the new Head Coach without the Interim, but he knows he has to beat Bama. This will not be the first time he has faced Bama as a Head Coach. Remember, he was the head coach at Ole Miss from 2005-07 and he was terrible. In Conference play he went 3-21 and never even came close to beating Bama. Now he’s with LSU and he has one of the best backs in the nation, RB Leonard Fournette. Last year Fournette was one of the best backs in the nation, too, but that didn’t work out for him against the Crimson Tide defense. LSU has to try something different this year, but what will it be? They need an offensive line that blocks, and we’re not talking about brush blocking, cause that won’t work against Alabama’s Big Uglies. Against Southern Miss, Missouri, and Ole Miss, they got away with it, kind-of. But if the O-Line doesn’t play the best game of their lives Saturday, it’s going to be a very long day. Fournette can’t run from his back in the backfield. The Tide held him to 39 yards rushing total, and that includes one 24 yard run, his longest of the game. But that was yesterday, and yesterday’s done. Tiger QB Danny Etling is a big improvement over former QB Brandon Harris, but now he gets to face a pass rush like he’s not seen before. His time in the Great White North conference at Purdue, did not prepare him for this Saturday. In the SEC, it just means more. If he has any chance of completing downfield passes, his line has to hold out those red jerseys. No one else has this year. I know it’s a tall order, a very tall order, but to achieve great things, one (or one team) must overcome great odds.
Alabama has their own problem to solve, passing the ball. The offensive line is very good at pass blocking, the receivers can and do catch balls 017thrown in their vicinities, and they’re able to get extra yardage after the catch. They’re good, Saban said so. The problem is first year QB Jalen Hurts. He’s gotten a lot of press about his ability to run the ball and extend busted plays, he’s good at that, but that’s not the main purpose of having a QB – except at Louisville, inside the red zone, and then the Cardinals are supposed to block while Lamar Jackson glorifies himself. But Alabama quarterbacks have to be battlefield commanders, and they’ve got to throw the ball where it needs to be thrown. Hurd’s not doing this. He looks and acts befuddled when he drops back to pass, he’s too quick to tuck the ball and run. It’s obvious that he’s not comfortable in the pocket and don’t think those big ole Bengal linemen and linebackers haven’t noticed this. Hurd started off the year passing the ball just fine, he competed against Blake Barnett, remember? But something has happened. Maybe his girlfriend dumped him, or maybe he’s too scared of airplanes flying with banners, or the yellerhammers are pecking too loud, I don’t know what it is, but he’s got to get his act together! Alabama has too many playmakers on the field for him not to throw to them. The running game is going great with RB Damien Harris leading the way. Bama’s defense has been and still is the star of the team. This might be the scariest defense in the past 50 years. Scary for others;- Bama fans love it. They’re good, they’re very good. The defense delights in scoring touchdowns, and possession of that funny-looking belt is a highly sought award. If Alabama loses this game, it’s going to be because the offense is predictable, one dimensional, and that should be a crime, a felony, because this team is built too well for them to stumble over their own shoestrings. Where is Blake Barnett when you need him?

Nebraska(9) Nebraska vs (6) Ohio State– Nebraska and Ohio State are essentially playing an elimination game. Whoever wins this game has the inside track to make their Conference Playoff and the Final Four. A loss, is, well, a loss is a loss. Cleveland’s Indians lost, for instance. The fat lady done sung. The Cornhuskers were undefeated until the played Wisconsin last week. Huskers lost, and now they have to win if they want to snag that brass ring (an old euphemism from when there were merry-go-rounds). They’ve played pretty good ball up to now, but is there anyone who really thinks they can beat the Buckeyes? Here at, we doubt it. When QB Tommy Armstrong is pressured, he’s known to make bad decisions, and these bad decisions put the rest of the team in untenable situations. Their running game seems up for the challenge, they’ll have to duke it out and play their best games, but it can be done. Ohio State’s defense has weaknesses, but can Nebraska exploit them? The Black Shirt defense was given the blueprint by Northwestern, you have to stop QB JT Barnett. Keep him the pocket, don’t let him run, make him beat you with his passing. Better yet, sack him and recover his fumbles. It’ll be interesting to see if the Cornhuskers can pull this off.
Ohio State has already lost to Penn State. Last week the Buckeyes didn’t do themselves any favors against Northwestern, except that they won. ohio state logoNow is the dividing line between the football playoff, New Year’s Day Bowls, or the Sun Bowl. Don’t get me wrong, I love El Paso, and the Sun Bowl, and Mount Franklin, and the desert, but is this where the Buckeyes want to play in a bowl game this year? Ohio State was supposed to challenge Alabama’s supremacy for King of the Hill this year, but now we doubt. The Buckeyes can run the ball, not like they have in the past, but they are good. Passing has become more of a guessing game as alluded to above. But the biggest weakness is the defense. Last year they nearly had a dominant defense, they were supposed to take that next step this year and be Alabama good. Instead, they’ve taken a step back Ohio State is the favorite, playing at the Horseshoe, and the Bucks will probably win, but they’re not my favorite by very much.

TCU vs Baylor- neither team is going to make the playoffs, so what’s new, but this is usually an entertaining game to watch. Both rely on a quick strike offenses, with very fast receivers making short to medium range catches and turning those into long runs. TCU is not having a banner year, they’ve fallen by the wayside and are looking for a big win. Baylor is embarrassed after losing to Texas and they need to rise from the ashes, shake themselves off, and get back to winning. The Daughter will be attending this game and it’ll take all she has to put her Aggies aside, pull for the Bears, but she says she can do it.

Short Smokes

Oklahoma is not going to have fun against Iowa State. Sooners win, but it could be interesting

Boise State pounds San Jose State

Virginia Tech will gobble up the Blue Devils

Stanford wins again against Oregon State, but don’t be surprised if the Beavers pull an upset here

Wyoming continues its winning ways against Utah State

Ole Miss better be ready to host Georgia Southern. The Eagles have a habit of winning when they shouldn’t

Vanderbilt succumbs to Auburn

Louisville takes Boston College down

Texas out shoots Texas Tech

Michigan State may or may not beat Illinois

Wisconsin will out fight Northwestern

Georgia Tech Yellow jackets will not rout the Tar Heels

Pittsburgh and Miami will be another good game, Panthers win

Virginia chops down Wake Forest

Maryland will not beat Michigan, but wouldn’t it be great if they did?

Minnesota adds to Purdue’s troubles

K-State has a good chance of beating Oklahoma State, more than likely won’t. Unless Bill Snyder intervenes. Bill Synder can figure out how to beat anyone.

Florida is in trouble against Arkansas

South Carolina wins again, this time against Missouri

Washington State will spot Arizona a few points before the Cougars outlast the Wildcats

North Carolina State has upset Florida State before. What’s to keep them from doing it again?

Oregon has a shot at beating USC, but more than likely won’t

Georgia is going to get beat by Kentucky. Did you read that correctly? Georgia, the Dawgs, will fall to Kentucky’s Wildcats, in football, no less.

Washington has to beat California if they want to leap-frog Texas A&M into the top four. No problem.


North Alabama will be storming all over West Florida in Florence Alabama. The Lions will Roar to victory!


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