LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- There's no class today for Jefferson County Public School students, but the Monday Morning Meeting doesn't (always) take holidays off. The Columbus Day debate includes U of L football, Notre Dame football and fearless World Series predictions . . .
1. Pittsburgh lost to Youngstown State. Louisville is 5-0. The Cards opened as only a 1 1/2-point favorite against the Panthers, although the line has now moved to 2 points. Explain.
RICK: Easy. Louisville 28, FIU 21. Louisville 12, Southern Miss 17. Cue the skeptical howls.
That cracked open the door for everybody to wonder how good the Cards are -- and the guys in Vegas knocked it down. The Sagarin computer ratings also agree that it should be a close game, likely because the Cards have played three straight games decided by a touchdown or less against so-so competition.
Oh yeah. The Cards have lost four straight to Pitt.
ERIC: All excellent points. For all practical purposes, we last saw the U of L football team everybody expected to see when they ran off the field for halftime against North Carolina holding a 36-7 lead.
Since then, the Cards have been outscored 65-52, not only against lesser competition, but against considerably lesser competition.
I know weather played a factor in those two games. But in such bad conditions, the ability to play physical, hand-to-hand football becomes a premium. And U of L did not prove itself clearly superior in that area, even though it had what appeared to be a clear physical advantage.
I don't know what the weekend forecast for Pittsburgh is, but the on-the-field forecast in most Big East games is the need to deal with big-physical lines, and the ability to tackle well consistently.
Until U of L gets back to some kind of offensive rhythm, and shows the ability to get some pressure on people defensively, not only is it not going to get big numbers from Vegas, it may be in danger of dropping down the Big East pecking order.
2. Notre Dame smacked Miami, 41-3. The unbeaten Irish have moved to No. 7 in the polls. GameDay is headed to South Bend Saturday. Is it finally safe to believe the hype about the Irish?
RICK: I believe. I do. But what I believe in is not Brian Kelly's offense, it's his defense. The Irish have not allowed more than 6 points in three straight games. They're second in the country in scoring defense, creating nearly 2 turnovers per game.
I know three of Notre Dame's wins have come against Big Ten teams and Miami isn't Nevin Shapiro's Miami.
But the Irish are faster and deeper than they've been in years. The defense is improved. The offense is solid. The hype is on.
ERIC: Yes, the hype is on, and I hate to say it, but for the first time in years, it's probably actually deserved in South Bend.
In fact, I'll go so far as to say the Irish will probably actually deserve whatever BCS bid they get this year, as opposed to just getting it on name only. They still have games left against Stanford, at Oklahoma and at USC, so we'll know exactly where the program stands after that. I don't think you can knock their schedule so far. The Michigan win is looking better, and Notre Dame generally plays as tough a schedule as anyone outside the SEC.
You hit on one reason -- Notre Dame's defense. But another is its ability to run the ball. They had 376 yards rushing against Miami and had two 100-yard rushers in a single game for the first time in a decade. Notre Dame isn't soft, and it appears to be improving.
3. The baseball playoffs are under way. Which two teams are going to be playing in the World Series?
RICK: Imagine it's 1961 again. Or 1976.
Your Reds vs. America's Yankees, my friend.
The Reds turned a negative into a huge positive when they beat the Giants after losing Johnny Cueto to back problems Saturday night. The bullpen is a strike-throwing heat machine with Marshall, Broxton and Chapman. They've won without a major hot streak from Joey Votto. He's due to heat up.
Ever heard of the Bozich Jinx? Well, I'm wrapping it around the Yankees and tying it with a bow. The way Ichiro, Jeter and Cano are playing, that's the only way to stop those guys.
ERIC: I'm scared to death of jinxing the Reds, but look, they haven't had the best of luck anyway and have seemed to get through it. The injury to Votto. Dusty Baker in the hospital. Cueto's problems started after the first batter of the first playoff game.
The team has the kind of resilience that's usually rewarded in October. And if they get the kind of pitching from Bronson Arroyo that he turned in against the Giants in Game 2, look out. I've never seen him better.
They appear well on their way.
In the AL? The Yankees definitely looked impressive in their opener in Baltimore, and Detroit has NOT looked impressive through most of the season. But I just have a feeling Detroit might have momentum. The Tigers have Verlander, and the middle of its batting order is as tough as any in baseball.
Detroit isn't a good defensive team and it hasn't been consistent all season, but I think it catches fire to get to the World Series.
Copyright 2012 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.
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