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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 1 Preview

Week 1 Preview

My second favorite Calendar date is fast approaching! It’ll soon be Labor Day weekend, and the College Football season will kickoff. You may not be able to hear them, but CF fans throughout the nation will be exulting. It’s not exactly “peace on earth and good will to man,” which is why it’s the second favorite holiday, but it is organized mayhem with chances to ‘set things a’right! We’ve all read the preview magazines, except my Dad, who still hasn’t seen Phil Steele’s edition. We’ve been glued to the internet, reading up on Urban Meyer, and DJ Durkins, and making our bets upon the outcomes. Maryland seems to be in a bit of disarray, not really sure what’s going on there, but it shouldn’t have much of an impact on the Great White North Conference. Texas might be pleased about it, though. Most big time teams start off with powderpuffs, but there are a few, and the number is growing every year, who come out the gates with a big game.

FAU vs Oklahoma – This is a game where, should an upset occur, it would cause a seismic effect throughout the college football world. Don’t bet on it. OU does not have a good replacement for departed Heisman winner Baker Mayfield in Kyler Murray. Their offense will struggle in the passing game. FAU is going to come into the game with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Lane Kiffin, like him or hate him, can make his offense move the ball and score points. Now it’s up to the Owls’ defense, which needs to perform big time. The Sooners will more than likely win the game, but they could struggle, and stranger things than an FAU win have happened.

Miami vs LSU – Last year Miami was back! Good vibes were felt in southern Florida,… until the last three games, that is. Now they have a chance to show 2017 wasn’t a fluke by taking on a good SEC West team in LSU. Miami can beat up unranked teams, good for them, but before anyone struts around with a golden chain around their neck, they need to have that signature win. A victory here would do that. The LSU Head Coach, Ed Orgeron, has a problem, and it’s a big one. Knowledgeable folks don’t believe in him, and he’s already on the hot seat. He has now based his head coaching career on a QB, an Ohio State transfer, Joe Burrow, who couldn’t win the starting job for the Buckeyes, and an offensive coordinator, Steve Ensminger, who are expected to resurrect an offense that hasn’t had a passing game in a decade, and this year it doesn’t have a star running back, either. The Tigers should win, “should”, because they’re in the SEC. That is why is picking them, but it’s an uneasy pick. A very uneasy pick.

Washington vs Auburn – The Huskies are looking to make a statement outside the PAC-12. They want folks, especially CFP voters, to sit up and take notice. They believe they have the next Heisman Trophy winner in QB Jake Browning. Not only that, but they actually think they’ve learned how to play defense. This is why they are traveling all the way down to Atlanta, which is just over the river and down the street from Auburn, to show the world how good they are. The last two games Auburn played a football game, they were in Atlanta, and neither went well for the Tigers as they lost to Georgia and Central Florida. Now they return, hoping to reverse their recent history. The Plainsman are boasting about their defensive line, and how good they are, and they better be outstanding, because they don’t have much behind them in the secondary. The Huskies’ strength (passing game) will go up against the Tigers’ weakness (passing defense). Going with the boys in Purple on this game, that’s Washington, cause Auburn is just ‘kinda’ purple. It might wind up looking bad for the Tigers.

Army vs Duke – Army will be looking to build its two year resume of winning. Duke is hoping to get back on the winning path. Ok, it’s not like the Blue Devils didn’t have a winning record last year, but they want more than just 7-6. The Black Knights of the Hudson have been on a tear for the last two years. Last year they won the Commander-in Chief’s Trophy for the first time, in….well, a while. Army is going to run the ball, doubt they’ll even attempt a pass. Duke seems to have trouble with that triple option. Army rolls to Victory. Go ARMY!

West Virginia vs Tennessee – The Mountaineers have a whole lot of faith in their offense led by former Florida QB Will Grier, and what wouldn’t the Gators give to have him back? To be honest, this is the best offense WVU has had in ages! They’ve set their sights on winning the Big 12 that only has ten teams conference, and they might do just that. They still need to find a defense, but, hey, why let a minor little detail disrupt one’s plans? Against Tennessee, they may not need too much to win. The ole ‘score a lot on offense’ approach should work. The Jeremy Pruitt UT era will take its first steps on the gridiron, and there isn’t anyone who knows what will happen. But, like little babies walking for the first time, fans will watch wide-eyed with wonder and quickly run to their aid when they fall flat. WVU will win, maybe even run up the score. All the Vols need to do is play a respectable game. UT fans are saying, “For the love of college football, play a decent game, Volunteers.” Maybe will, maybe won’t. I believe they won’t.

Michigan vs Notre Dame – There has been a lot of ink used trying to convince people that Notre Dame will be a powerhouse in ’18. CSF is not buying it. Far too often in the Brain Kelly era, the ND offense gets bogged down and stagnant. They will be trying to break through against a Michigan defense that was very good last year and returns most of those play makers. The Irish defense plays well for a while, but they can’t put together a complete game, so it’s doubtful they will wake the echoes after this game. The Wolverines are a team full of a lot of hot air, with not much substance to back them up, and we’re talking about the entire team, not just their cheerleading Coach Jim Harbaugh. Many people are expecting Ole Miss transfer, Shea Patterson, to earn the starting role and give the Wolverine offense the passing game they’ve been missing. There are reports that Patterson has not separated himself from the other QB’s vying for the starting job. Michigan has to be able to pass the ball, they have to, have to, have to, they are not good enough to be a one-dimensional team. This will be a season-defining test for both teams. Michigan is our pick to win it, reluctantly. If they were playing anyone besides Notre Dame, I’d pick their opponent.

Virginia Tech vs Florida State – It’s a bit unusual for teams to start off with a Conference Game, but that’s what this is. Coach Willie Taggart is changing everything at FSU, not sure that what he inherited there is what he needs there, but it’ll be very interesting to see what he does with all that talent. VA Tech has already gone through their coaching change throes, and the Hokies are looking to move up within the ACC. Taking down the Seminoles would be a great way to start the season. More than likely, the VaTech is going to ruin Taggart’s maiden voyage in the ACC.

Louisville vs Alabama – the big question on everyone’s mind is, “Who is going to quarterback the Crimson Tide?” For this game against Louisville, it shouldn’t matter, because it is very highly, almost an impossibility, that the Cardinal defense can match up with what might be the best offensive line in the nation. Just so everyone will know, is hoping Tua Tagovailoa is the QB. it’s always better to have a passing attack to go with the running game, and QB Jalen Hurts just isn’t a passer. Louisville will get their first look at Lamar Jackson’s replacement, Jawon Pass. It might not work in his favor to be going up against one of the best defenses in the nation. Coach Bobby Petrino has a way of sneaking up on big name teams. Just a guess, but I don’t think the Cardinals will sneak up on the Crimson Tide in Orlando. Bama Rolls.

Short Smokes

Texas A&M should enjoy the beginning of the Jimbo Fisher era by beating Northwestern State. If they lose, Fisher should resign then and there.

Stanford should win against San Diego State, but SDSU will not go silently into the night.

Colorado vs Colorado State, considering that CSU Head Coach Bobo is in the hospital with numb feet, the Buffs should win. Well, he got out of the hospital, but the Buffs should still win.

Rice will battle it out with Houston for the title of Champion of the City. The Cougars will win.

Ole Miss will be matching its young passing attack with Texas Tech, who already has a good passing attack. I’m sticking with the SEC team.

Clemson will be taking the easy way to start the season with Furman. Wow!…way to prove your mettle, Tigers.

Penn State will tear up Appalachian State. Remember that Michigan upset from years ago? Nah! No chance of a repeat against the Lions.

Kentucky will host Central Michigan. This could end up being a good matchup. Wildcats pull it out, at home.

Georgia takes the Clemson route by hosting Austin Peay. Come on, Dawgs, you are better than this!

North Carolina matches up nicely against California. Should be a fun game to watch. Picking the Tar Heels, because they’re from the South. Not the SEC, but still southern.

Arizona State starts the Herman Edwards saga by taking on UT-San Antonio. Pulling for the hometown Roadrunners, but the Sun Devils will win.

North Alabama starts their new life in the Football Championship Subdivision (from now on CSF will still be calling this division what it should be called, 1-AA) against Southern Utah. What a way to start a new division, by beating Southern Utah. Roar Lions! I might be a little optimistic with this pick….maybe….slightly…it’s possible.

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