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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Championship Weekend

Championship Weekend


105AAC Championship Game – Memphis vs Central Florida – A lot of people haven’t had the opportunity to watch either of these two teams play. Now is a great time to remedy that deficiency. I doubt you’ll be disappointed, either. It’s also an opportune time to watch the Tigers and the Knights because it is highly probable that neither one of these Head Coaches will be here very long. Coaches Frost and Norvell are two of the hottest names out there. UCF is averaging 48 points per game. Last week they had their hands full with the South Florida Bulls. It took the Golden Knights a little while to get things going, but they managed to eke out a win against Charlie Strong and his gang. Memphis has already had one chance to beat Central Florida, playing in Orlando, and the Tigers did not fare well, losing, 40-13. In that game Memphis seemed flat. If they are on their game this time it could be a much different game. It is anticipated that this game will be high scoring with both teams tallying points. It could go down to whoever has the ball last will win. It’s very hard to beat a team twice in one season, it’s being played in Orlando, FL, again, UCF has the home field advantage, 3-30 points, so we’re picking the Knights.

ACC Championship Game – Clemson vs Miami – Clemson is following the same script they did last year when they won the National Championship, (Illegal Pick Play). The Tigers play with a 265dynamic quarterback that has to be at the top of his game for the offense to run. When QB Kelly Bryant was out, the South Carolina school lost to Syracuse. Now they meet Miami, who is making their first ever appearance in the ACC Championship game. The Hurricanes were chaining all their opponents when Pitt came out of nowhere and beat the “U”. Pitt beaat Clemson last year when the Tigers were the number 2 team in the nation. If the Miami defense does not produce turnovers the Canes don’t do well on a long field. Miami QB Malik Rosier takes advantage of working with a short field, but when they have to drive a long way, he seems to fold under the pressure. But that’s just the judgement from a limited perspective. In this Championship game it’s a win and you’re in for the CFB playoffs;- lose, and it means they are out but will still enjoy a New Year’s Day Bowl. Clemson has shown they can recover after a devastating loss. Miami lost on the last game of the season so we have no idea if they can recover. Tempted to pick the Canes, they are a “feel good” squad for 2017, but they’re not going to beat Clemson.

Great White North Championship Game – Ohio State vs. Wisconsin – If the Badgers win, they will make the CFB playoffs. They lose, and the entire conference might/will be left out. Not real sure if an OSU win guarantees them a trip to the CFP. Maybe, if they win big, as in really big, the Committee will choose Ohio State over Alabama. The Buckeyes are going to need J.T. Barrett to be 100% for them to win. The offense has to be dynamic, they have to keep the Badgers off balance. Not that JT does a great job passing against good defenses, but they need him to come through now. Like Alabama needed Hurts to come through against Auburn last week, and he didn’t. The “W’s” have played two teams with winning records all year. They have the most ludicrous schedule of cupcakes of any other Power 5 team. Now it’s time to put up or shut up. Win this game, and they can claim garlands the Badgers believe they’re being denied. This will make Wisconsin’s fifth trip to Indianapolis. So far they are 2-2. When OSU and Wisconsin played against each other in this game before, the Buckeyes won, 59-0. On paper Wisconsin has better numbers and the stats favor a win for the Badgers. However, looking at whom they accumulated those stats against makes one question whether they are for real. Going to pick Ohio State to win this one, and for the chaos that started weeks ago to continue.

IMG_7761Big 12 Championship Game- Oklahoma vs TCU – Back on November 11th , these two teams met and OU walked all over the Frogs, 38-20. In that game, Baker Mayfield and the Sooners attacked IMG_7801quickly and built up a comfortable lead, 38-14. According to TCU Head Coach Patterson, “It was just like 2008 with Sam Bradford. We spotted them too many points, and finally when we woke up, it was too late.”  I’m not sure what he means by when they finally woke up cause OU did whatever they wanted. The Horn Frogs QB Kenny Hill did not have a good outing. He threw for one of his lowest totals of the season. Now, they are playing for all the marbles. TCU has been built on defense, and that famed defense needs to show up and play their best game of the season. Kenny Hill cannot have a repeat performance of Nov 11th. The Sooners have to keep doing what they’ve been doing all year, except for that Iowa State game, and that’s to allow Mayfield to throw the ball and give him a break every now and then running it. OU has shown a weakness in the secondary, so maybe TCU can take advantage of that.  If OU wins they are in the CFP;- if TCU wins, it opens up a whole bunch of possibilities, none of which involve the Frogs making the playoffs. OU has been playing well, Mayfield has been brilliant on the field, not so brilliant off it. No way is CSF picking against Oklahoma.

431PAC 12 Championship Game- USC vs Stanford- There’s no playoff berth on the line no matter who wins, but the winner will get a major bowl bid, like the Fiesta Bowl. Earlier in the year, these teams met and the Trojans came out victorious. USC produced big plays to put the Cardinal in a hole from which they could not extricate themselves. Now they will go at it again. The biggest difference is310 that Stanford is starting a new quarterback, K.J Costello. He got the job late in the season, has only five starts, but he has signature wins over No. 9 Washington, archrival Cal, and No. 8 Notre Dame. According the Head Coach Shaw, “He’s got fire. He’s got passion. He’s got a strong arm and he’s accurate.” That’s high praise for a freshman. As it stands right now, Stanford is the hot football team, but that accolade is due to their star running back, Bryce Love. He was making waves toward a Heisman until he was hampered by an ankle injury. If that ankle is still causing him problems, it will leave Stanford a bit one dimensional. USC also has a dynamic QB in Sam Darnold, who has been playing this position second only to Oklahoma’s Mayfield. Southern Cal loves to break big plays that break the opposing team’s will. It will be up to the Cardinal defense to play disciplined, hard nosed ball. They are up to that task, but can they do it one more time? This should be a wonderful, hard-fought game, fun to watch, nice break from all the pressures of Playoff contention. Going with the Trojans to win, though.

140SEC Championship Game – Georgia vs Auburn- Winner of this game is almost guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. Auburn will be the first team to make it with two loses, it the Tigers beat the Dawgs again. Both teams have talent in their backfield, both have QB’s that can sling the ball, they have running backs that can chew up yards, but he key for both sides will be the 134Offensive and Defensive lines.  Georgia’s offense, caved under the pressure of Auburn defensive line when they played the Tigers, Alabama variety, a couple of weeks ago. Auburn harassed QB Fromm all game long. He had very little time to set his feet before he was running for his life. When Clemson beat Auburn in September, the South Carolina Tigers did the same thing to Auburn’s Stidham and in each case, the team with the best offensive line won. Auburn’s D-line is peaking at the right time. The Georgia Bulldogs have to establish their running game, with Chubb and Michel. If they can move the ball on the ground, it will put Auburn on their heels and give Fromm time to throw. Auburn is the exact opposite;- they have to establish the passing game to open up the running. The Plainsmen like to open the game with quick outside passes, like they did against Alabama. They are easy passes to complete and they cause the defense to be constantly backing up. UGA has a chance at redemption and it’s doubtful they will squander this opportunity. Georgia is my pick and it has nothing to do with me wanting revenge on Auburn…ok, maybe I want that a little. I could even stand a lot, an awful lot.


Short Smokes

Akron takes on Toledo in the MAC conference championship game, looking at the Rockets (Toledo) to win over the Zips (Akron)

North Texas will take on Florida Atlantic led by Lane Kiffin, who is doing a good job with the Owls. FAU wins. If North Texas wins, they get to play Army again, for the second year in a row.

Florida State will do a make up game against Louisiana Monroe. The Seminoles need to win this game to avoid a losing season. Noles probably win, but it would serve Jimbo Fisher right if the Warhawks won.

Fresno State takes on Boise State, just last week the Bulldogs beat the Broncos, Some folks think the Broncos took a knee in that one, so BSU is the pick this time.

UMASS will not do well against Florida Intl.

In a game of two win teams, Georgia Southern overcomes Coastal Carolina

Georgia State SHOULD beat Idaho

Appalachian State will finish Louisiana’s season on a down note, swamping the Cajuns.

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