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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 4 Preview

Week 4 Preview


North Carolina State vs. Florida State -FSU hasn’t played a game since opening against Alabama in Atlanta, and that seems like last season, it’s been so long. Due to Hurricane Irma and the recovery efforts, their game 202against Louisiana-Monroe was cancelled and the annual classic contest with Miami was postponed until Oct 7th. The Seminoles might be a little rusty, but they ought to certainly be well-rested. FSU has defeated North Carolina State the last four times they’ve met, and the Noles enter this game as a 12-point favorite. On the down side, starting QB Deondre Francois was lost for the season due to an injury sustained late in the Alabama game, and freshman QB James Blackman will be making his first start Saturday. Head Coach Jimbo Fisher is optimistic about the frosh, he was highly recruited, Fisher likes the way he has been working, and Blackman has been studying the playbook hard. But, he is a true freshman and is absolutely unproven. Another downside might be that the Seminoles could be a bit rusty. Sure, they have been working out, practicing, studying film, but that’s not the same as being in a game. In their only contest this season FSU showed that their offensive line was suspect against a strong pass rush -Alabama’s. NC State’s defensive line will never be mistaken for Bamas,’they may still cause problems for a freshman Quarterback.

North Carolina State– NC State started off the season by losing to South Carolina, not a resume booster. Kentucky subsequently beat the Gamecocks. The Pack has since beaten Marshall and Furman. NCth State has a star in the making in with quarterback Ryan Finley, who has thrown 192 consecutive passes without an interception. That’s the longest active streak in the nation. The offensive line will get a boost with the return of right tackle Will Richardson, who had to serve a two-game suspension. The defense has Bradley Chubb, who is being talked about as a high draft pick in the next NFL draft. The key to a Wolfpack victory will be how well their defense plays. If they are able to put pressure on the newbie QB, denying him time in the pocket to make his reads, they’ll have a chance. Not saying NC State has great chance, or even a very good chance, just saying they have a chance. NC State has a history of rearing up on their hindlegs and taking the measure of FSU. Hasn’t happened lately, but it has happened before. That said, CSF is picking Florida State to win the game.

IMG_7801TCU vs Oklahoma State– Most of the talk on this game is about Oklahoma State and quarterback Mason Rudolph;- something about high powered offenses generating a lot of points. But TCU’s quarterback Kenny Hill has been having a pretty good season, himself. He didn’t always perform this way when he was at Texas A&M, but it appears he has found his stride with the Frogs. He has completed 75% of his passes for 737 yards with eight touchdowns and only two INT’s. Not bad, not bad at all. But this game is not going to be determined by the Horned Frog’s offense. To beat Oklahoma State, TCU’s defense must rise to the occasion. They allowed 36 points to SMU, and, usually, that would be a bad thing, but the Mustangs, under new Head Coach Chad Morris, are a much better team than they have been in the past. Against Arkansas, the Gary Patterson typical defense was most impressive, smothering the Razorbacks, 28-7. They must, absolutely must, put a pass rush on OSU’s Rudolph. No pass rush, no victory. TCU under Gary Patterson has a history of having a strong defenses and this year is no exception. But against the high-powered, fast-paced, unrelenting Cowboy offense, the Horned Frog defenders have to be at the top of their game.

Oklahoma State– The OSU Cowpokes have played South Alabama, Tulsa, and Pitt, and Oklahoma State has looked virtually unstoppable. In their last game, against the Panthers, O-State opened up a 21-0 first quarter lead,IMG_7790 which by halftime had reached 49. Rudolph was throwing the ball with pinpoint precision with 497 yards and five touchdowns. This adds up to being the third best offense in the nation. The Cowboys have concentrated almost entirely on offense, but their defense will have to show up for this game. Against the run, and against the previously mentioned trio of teams, the D-Line had been holding their own. The secondary has had it pretty easy since opposing teams have had to throw bombs just to remain in the game. The bombs didn’t work. The defense doesn’t have to be the star of the game, but they will have to show up. There’s a difference between being Alabama good and just kind-of good. The Poke offense will face their first real test of the season because TCU ain’t no slouch. Actually, Tulsa wasn’t a slouch, nor was Pitt, and the Cowboys dismantled them. Win this one, and Oklahoma State should be in shape for their showdown against OU later on in November. Bear Bryant always said, “Offenses win games, defenses win championships.” This is just a game, so CSF is picking Oklahoma State, but it won’t be a shock if the Horn Frogs surprise them, and us.

210Mississippi State vs Georgia- The Dogs against the Dawgs! The Mississippi State Bulldogs enter Sanford Stadium for a showdown that no one had picked as a marquee event at the start of the season. The Bulldogs throttled LSU, 37-3, last week. Not many people were picking MSU do that, but they not only won, they outplayed the Tigers in every aspect of the game. Now the big question is, “can they do it again?” Answering this question is what separates champions from pretenders. If they want a place at the table (meaning Atlanta) at the end of the season, they are going to have to beat the SEC East favorite this week. You may not know about QB Nick Fitzgerald, but you will. He is no secret to those of us who do know about him. His prowess on the field comes as no surprise; actually, the entire MSU offense comes as no surprise. They are good, very good, they have great receivers and the running backs aren’t half bad, either. The surprising aspect is how physically they are playing on both sides of the line. LSU was supposed to have bigger players who would push around the little Bulldogs, but just the opposite happened. The offensive line push gave QB Fitzgerald a wide-open playing field. The defense then out-muscled LSU, shutting everything down. Georgia just might be better than LSU was expected to be, however. The Dogs’ offensive line is going to face another big bunch of boys in Athens and they’ll have to equal the effort they had against the Bayou Bengals. The MSU defense has been the biggest surprise. This weekend they will have to surprise even more. UGA has two running backs that are very physical and very fast, so the defenders have to get into the backfield and disrupt the flow. Under no circumstances can they allow the Georgia offense to get into any sort of rhythm.

Georgia– The Dawgs of Georgia are also at 3-0 and atop the SEC East? Georgia has not been tested in the Conference so far, they did go up to South Bend, IN, and beat Notre Dame, 20-19, then they’ve played Samford and140 App State. Beating the Irish on their home field early in the season is no mean feat, but it doesn’t count in the SEC standings. True Freshman QB Jake Fromm has not done a bad job since replacing their injured starter, Jacob Eason. He is 34-57 with 449 yards, five touchdowns and one INT. He should be starting on Saturday as well, even though Eason was back in practice this week. But the best news for the Dawgs is that Sony Michel will be back in the backfield sharing carries with Nick Chubb. This will give the Dawgs a big edge on the ground. Having one back at this caliber is one thing, having two would be considered rich, and rich they are. Should Georgia get the running game going, it will take a lot of pressure off QB Fromm. BUT they will first have to get the running game going, and that could be tough. The UGA defense has be considerably upgraded since Head Coach Kirby Smart arrived, no big surprise there, as he was the defensive coordinator for the Tide prior to moving to Georgia. Smart has been recruiting a varied array of talent, so that the defense can play from a variety of formations. They can employ the 4-3, the 3-4, or other formations to exploit an opposing weakness they find. This is a tactic Alabama has been using for years. Where did I say Smart was before moving to Georgia? It works. Most numbers are pointing towards a Mississippi State win, it’s not a big difference but the Maroon Bulldogs are favored. After much thought, research, and many flips of the coin, CSF is going for the Dawgs. Dawgs over Dogs. Maybe. Can I have one more flip? Two out of three? Georgia.

Short Smokes

Virginia travels to the Northwest to play Boise State. I’m going with the Cavaliers

Utah vs Arizona, the Utes win

Ohio State will actually fare well against UNLV

Louisville will rebound against Kent State. Did I just say that?

Army rolls all over Tulane. Beat Navy!

Texas A&M might cause The Daughter to be happy by beating Arkansas, but it could be close

Pitt will get rocked by Georgia Tech. Especially since Tech blocks are dangerous.

Alabama goes to Nashville and beats Vanderbilt, even though some of the Vandy players have been saying that Alabama is next. When you decide to assassinate the king, don’t miss. The Tide Rolls and it might get ugly.

USC needs to be consistent against California

Duke beats down North Carolina. When they’re down, kick ’em.

Purdue sees if they are for real against Michigan, and it might end well for the Boilermakers

Baylor’s woes continue against Oklahoma

LSU should do better with Syracuse than they did with Mississippi State

Penn State will roar over Iowa

Auburn better not struggle with Missouri or Malzahn is in deep water

Kentucky has its best chance in years to beat Florida, but they won’t

Michigan State adds to Notre Dame’s woes. Listening to the press whine will be great

Washington might struggle a tad with Colorado

Oregon visit Tempe, AZ, to meet Arizona State. The seat gets hotter under Coach Graham

Stanford really needs a win against UCLA. UCLA really needs a win against Stanford. Who’ll get it? The Cardinal.

North Alabama takes on rival West Alabama and their high flying offense, but the Lion Defense will shut them down. Roar Lions







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