The Monday Morning Meeting is back after a Labor Day break, with no shortage of items on the agenda . . .
1. Louisville is listed as a four-point favorite against North Carolina Saturday. You get three points for playing at home. What does Las Vegas know that the rest of us are overlooking?
RICK BOZICH: I'm thinking this is one of those things that happened in Vegas that is supposed to stay in Vegas because it doesn't make much sense in Chapel Hill or Louisville. I'll say this: Charlie Strong won't have to worry about his team coming out with fake juice, considering it means Vegas thinks the Tar Heels would be favored on a neutral field.
I realize Carolina is averaging 476 yards of offense per game. That's got to explain part of it. But the Heels gave up 426 yards to Wake Forest, which ran for four touchdowns while beating Carolina Saturday. UNC has been through NCAA turmoil and a coaching change. This game will move the excitement needle at U of L and the Cards are a touchdown better. Bad line.
ERIC CRAWFORD: There are no bad lines, only bad bets! In one way, this is consistent with Las Vegas oddsmakers -- they don't have much respect for UK. Consider the same 3-point home cushion when noting that UK is favored over Western Kentucky in Commonwealth Stadium by 4-1/ 2 points.
Vegas thinks U of L hasn't played or beaten anybody, and it thinks UNC is the closest thing to somebody U of L has encountered yet. U of L better not have shifted out of "prove something" mode yet.
2. That's back-to-back solid offensive games for Kentucky. Is there reason to believe the Wildcats can win six games and get 60,000 back in Commonwealth Stadium?
RICK: I'm not ready to rush out and predict six wins and a bowl game, but the Wildcats are considerably better on offense than they were last season. They're averaging 456 yards per game. That's almost 200 yards more than the 267 they averaged last season. Kentucky only had 534 yards total in its first two games against Western Kentucky and Central Michigan last season.
That was an impressive finishing kick against Kent State, which should bring more fans back for the WKU game Saturday night. It's going to take a big effort against an SEC team to get people to believe again, but the product is certainly more entertaining this season.
ERIC: Yes there is reason to believe it. Not only is the offensive execution better, but the scheme is better. But no, I don't believe it. Kent State averaged nearly 5 yards a carry against the Wildcats, and while the short passing game looks good, the downfield game isn't there yet and its only a matter of time until a good defensive team takes away the underneath stuff.
UK's offense is improved, but its defense will be tested Saturday. WKU has put together an effective passing game, and after watching Louisville's wide-open receivers against UK, probably feels like it has a pretty good chance.
UK averaged less than 60,000 fans for all games last season -- if you take away the U of L game. I expect that's going to be the case again this season.
3. Now that John L. Smith has air-balled his future at Arkansas, how worried should Louisville be that the Hogs will pursue the Arkansas native who coaches the Cards?
RICK: On a 1-to-10 scale, I'd say 11. As long as Louisville keeps winning, Charlie Strong's name is going to pop up for nearly every opening for jobs in the SEC and perhaps the ACC and Big 12. I can't imagine a more unpleasant week for John L. -- files for bankruptcy, his quarterback gets hurt, his team blows a lead and loses to Louisiana-Monroe. Game, set, match, he's not going to be the coach after this season.
Charlie's ties to Arkansas and the SEC already have media members in Razorback Country mentioning his name. Get used to it.
ERIC: They're mentioning his name, and I don't think they'll be alone. You're right that Strong is moving up lists as we speak. But I don't think Arkansas is a destination he'll be particularly hot to get to.
It's a great program that will pay a ton of money, but the situation there might not be the most conducive to career advancement. Following Bobby Petrino is a tall chore in any circumstance. In the current one, you've got a program that likely will be in more disarray than the one Strong found at Louisville.
I expect there will be offers that turn Strong's head. Arkansas would be one he'd have to think long and hard about.
Copyright 2012 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.
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