BOZICH & CRAWFORD Monday Meeting: U of L ranking slide, BCS outl - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH & CRAWFORD Monday Meeting: U of L ranking slide, BCS outlook

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The Monday Morning Meeting is back, with Eric Crawford and Rick Bozich working on an agenda that includes U of L's falling BCS rating, BCS championship scenarios and NFL safety issues. Calling it to order . . .

1. Louisville loses to Syracuse and makes a 10-spot tumble in the BCS rankings. Are you OK with the Cards at 19?

RICK: Not completely. They should be thankful. They should be overjoyed. Check the computer rankings. Charlie Strong's team failed to make the Top 25 in four of the six formulas. Louisville and Rutgers have the worst average computer ranking (27) of any teams in the BCS Top 25.

The 45 points Louisville gave up Saturday stands as the most Syracuse has scored in a game this season, more than even Stony Brook (28) or Minnesota (10) gave up to the mighty Orange. Strong has tried to downplay the lack of dynamic play by his defense all season. He can't downplay it anymore.

ERIC: Here's a gruesome stat. In its two November games, U of L has given up 266.5 rushing yards per game, which ranks 110th nationally. That's even worse -- quite a bit worse -- than Kentucky's run defense has been the last two months, and the Wildcats were playing better competition. Still, I don't have a problem with where the Cards are ranked. A 10-spot fall is no small slide. Nor would I have had a problem if they'd dropped out of the Top 25. The ranking, frankly, is no longer relevant for them.

I think somewhere between 20 and 25 was probably the right spot, but if they're not impressive against UConn in two weeks I can see them dropping further. There are still plenty of goals ahead of them, including a conference title and a BCS berth. But on the scale of national respect, they slid back quite a bit, and are going to have to do some serious work in their remaining three games to regain ground.

Right now for U of L, it is about results, not rankings.

2. It's Kansas State first, Oregon second and Notre Dame third in the BCS rankings now that Alabama has been beaten. Is Kansas State vs. Oregon the BCS title game you want to see?

RICK: Not me. Oregon vs. Notre Dame or Oregon vs. Alabama would be my pick. And the computers agree because the Irish are ranked first in four formulas.

Can't we start the four-team playoff two years ahead of schedule? You could include the three unbeatens as well as the team that ends up winning the SEC.

I know Kansas State has won all but two games by at least 13 points. The Wildcats just don't move the needle for me. Is that me or is that them?

ERIC: It's you. I try not to fall into the trap of wanting a "name" team in the championship game. College football is too much about moving the needle these days. If K-State earns it, good for them.

Here's why I'm rooting for K-State to earn it, and it has nothing to do with the ratings for the national title game. If K-State gets to the championship, there are going to be some, ahem, other leagues who are ticked off about it. The SEC views that game as its birthright. If the Big 12 gets a "lesser name" team to the title game, even with a playoff upcoming, other conferences are going to start whining about the Big 12 having an advantage because it doesn't play a championship game.

So the Big 12 will wind up with a championship game. And it'll wind up needing to expand. And that would make life infinitely more interesting around here.

3. Michael Vick -- concussion. Alex Smith -- concussion. Jay Cutler -- concussion. That's just the injury report from Sunday. It wasn't a good day to be an NFL quarterback. Can the NFL ever make the game safer?

RICK: Probably not, but they'd better keep looking. I watched less than a quarter of the Bears-Texans game, but there were several shots of Cutler that made it appear that he was on the field in a daze. It's ridiculous.

I know the NFL has never been more popular. I also know that lawsuits against the league by former players have never been more popular.

The league needs to ignore the critics that say the game has become too soft with some of the new rules and keep searching for solutions that cut back on the serious brain injuries.

ERIC: Reports of all these concussions are proof that the league is taking the issue more seriously than it ever has, not necessarily that there are more concussions than there ever have been. I believe in past years players would play through the effects of shots to the head, and you'd hear far less about it. Far fewer players are given that option now.

Football has always been a brutal sport. As we now are getting to see more closely the effects of long careers on guys who have gotten older, many of the appropriate questions are being asked and addressed.

I don't know if the NFL can make the game safer, with the size and speed of the athletes always improving. But  it is making a serious effort to do that, and that's about all any league can do.

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