Mark Stoops of Kentucky and Charlie Strong of Louisville are stirring up plenty of college football talk this summer.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Goodbye, Peyton Siva. Hello, Charlie Strong. Farewell, Nerlens Noel. Greetings, Mark Stoops. So long, Victor Oladipo. Step right up, Kevin Wilson.
It's inaccurate to say the college basketball season ended Thursday night with the NBA Draft because the college basketball season never ends around here. But there is at least a pause for a water break, which makes this the perfect time for the WDRB College Football Notebook.
We've got coaches from Kentucky and Michigan State blowing kisses at each other. We've both Kentucky and Louisville drawing more love in the recruiting world. We've got Indiana kicking up respect from one of the most respected football yearbooks – and from Hollywood.
We've got a guy knocking Louisville out of his pre-season Top 10 because he says that Louisville has a Nobody Problem: Nobody good on the Cards' schedule, nobody on the roster people can name other than Teddy Bridgewater.
Get in your three-point stance!
1. Sparty Helmets Swiveling Toward Lexington
The surest way to be sure that people are aware of the work that Mark Stoops and his staff are doing on the recruiting trail isn't a dust-up on Twitter.
Nope. Comments like the ones that Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio recently made about Kentucky carry more sizzle. Ohio has long been prime recruiting territory for the Spartans. Dantonio knows Ohio well. He recruited for Ohio State and was the head coach at Cincinnati. Sparty relies on Ohio.
But UK has secured oral commitments from at least three Ohio guys who were also considering Michigan State – and that inspired Dantonio to say this to MLive.com recently when asked for his reaction about how UK's push into Ohio has affected MSU:
"I go back to where I say, 'What is the truth?' " Dantonio said. "It's about the people. Most people in the Midwest want to play where their family can come see them play.
"The second thing is, what you're looking for where you go to school is continuity. I don't know how much continuity they have at Kentucky.''
Now the gloves were off. And UK assistant Vince Morrow had several things to say to KSTV, including this forearm shiver:
"We're going to sell what we're selling here, and I'm speaking for me but also speaking for the head coach. We are not taking a backseat to nobody, so say what you want."
You can read Diamond Leung's complete rundown of the love between the programs by clicking here.
Somebody remind The ‘Book to send Dantonio a map, one that shows there are one or two cities in Ohio that sit closer to Lexington than they do to East Lansing.
2. When was the last time Kentucky and Louisville ranked in the Top 20 in the three national recruiting services?
Here are the latest numbers and rankings for the Wildcats and Cardinals:
Louisville: Ninth (ahead of Florida State, LSU and Michigan) with Rivals.com; 19th Scout.com and 17th with 247Sports.
Kentucky: Second (trailing only Texas) with Rivals.com; ninth on Scout.com and 10th with 247Sports.
Louisville's class swelled to 20prospects with the additions of Cameron Polk of Hamilton Southeastern High School outside Indianapolis and L.J. Scott, a running back from Marion, Ohio. Kentucky is holding firm with 19 commitments.
3. Cards Add Another Linebacker NOW
The recruiting services don't usually shuffle their team ratings for an enrolling class this late in the game, but Strong and his staff forced a re-examination Saturday. Louisville added an 18th member to its 2013 class when linebacker James Hearns, a 6-foot-3 linebacker from Tallahassee, Fla., decided to enroll at U of L.
Hearns had been committed to Florida, but needed academic work. U of L assistant coach Ron Dugans stayed involved, and Hearns committed to the Cardinals Saturday, choosing U of L over Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisiana State, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State and others, according to Rivals.
4. Who's Number One? Teddy Bridgewater
Brock Huard is a former NFL quarterback who has moved into the analyst role with ESPN. He's not Kirk Herbstreit when it comes to influence, but Huard seems to be gaining altitude in the analyst competition. He was asked for his picks as the top five quarterbacks in college football this season.
Huard did not flinch: 5. Marcus Mariota of Oregon; 4. Braxton Miller of Ohio State; 3. A.J. McCarron of Alabama and 2. Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.
That brings us to Number One: Charlie Strong's guy, Teddy Bridgewater.
Ahead of Manziel and his Heisman, and McCarron and his back-to-back national titles and flashy girlfriend?
"If he'd have come out in last year's draft, he would have been a top-five pick," Huard said of Bridgewater. "He is a franchise quarterback. He is everything the NFL covets. Some of these other guys have some limitations physically. He has none."
Indiana has considerable ground to make up in the hype game. Kevin Wilson and his staff have only secured six oral commitments for 2014. But there is still some interesting buzz around the Hoosiers.
Phil Steele's 352-page ode to college football just arrived in The 'Book's mailbox, and the 19th annual Steele Yearbook pegged Indiana as the third most improved team in the nation, behind Marshall and Buffalo.
IU finished 4-8 last season. Steele figures Indiana will win at least six games, qualifying for a bowl and finishing fourth in the Leaders Division of the Big Ten, ahead of Purdue and Illinois. He ranks IU's schedule difficulty at 38th.
What is the Hoosiers' Hollywood connection?
One of Indiana's six commitments is Alexander Diamont, a 6-foot quarterback from Venice, California in metropolitan Los Angeles. He is the son of Don Diamont, who had a pair of 11-year runs on The Young and The Restless. In 2009 Diamont moved over to another soap opera -- The Bold and The Beautiful. Here is the story.
He's also appeared on the cover of Playgirl magazine twice and been named as the Sexiest Veteran Soap Actor by Playgirl magazine. No word on how well he taught his son to throw an 18-yard out pattern.
6. Police Investigating Vanderbilt Football
Some say the price of having a good football team is your school will eventually show up on the police blotter. The folks at Vanderbilt could talk about that – if they were talking.
But they're not talking. They're not saying anything, other than four players have been dismissed from coach James Franklin's team and that Metro Police are conducting a sex crimes investigation at Vanderbilt.
The names of the dismissed players have not been released. Franklin did not return a telephone call to the Tennessean, according to this story.
There aren't many specifics, other than the incident being investigated occurred in a Vanderbilt dormitory.
Vandy won nine games last season, and most pre-season magazines are picking the Commodores to finish fourth, behind Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, in the East Division of the Southeastern Conference.
7. Big Ten Bashing – June Edition
Michigan coach Brady Hoke begins his third season in Ann Arbor with a team many expect to finish third or perhaps second in the Legends Division of the Big Ten. It's been a few years since the Wolverines have been serious players in the national championship debate.
Heck, it's been a few years since anybody from the Big Ten was a serious player in the national championship debate.
Hoke loves to talk – and The ‘Book doesn't have a problem with that. Talkers are what keep The ‘Book in business.
Drew Sharp, a columnist with the Detroit Free Press, also appreciates Hoke's ability to gab. But Sharp thinks Hoke gets a little silly sometimes. Like when he complained about all the love the Southeastern Conference gets.
In this column, Sharp makes the point that will continue to be made until the Big Ten beats the SEC in a football game that truly matters. SEC football starts the season about 30 yards downfield from the Big Ten.
Said Sharp, "Michigan underscores the collective Big Ten identity crisis. It can sell lots of football tickets, attract bowl partners from New York to California and generate strong national television ratings. But it's national championships that define the elite nowadays.
"Talking a good game sounds nice, but it can't overshadow the game itself."
8. Alabama Number One? Ohio State Number Two? Louisville Number 11?
Randy Chambers must not listen to Tim Brando. Or believe the pre-season college football magazines. Or remember the Sugar Bowl.
Chambers, a writer for Bleacher Report, attempted to predict the pre-season Top 25 in college football this season. He went with Alabama first and Ohio State second.
So far, so good.
But Chambers stuck Louisville at Number 11 – behind (in order, starting with Number Three) Oregon, Texas A&M, Georgia, Stanford, South Carolina, Clemson, Notre Dame and LSU.
That's five SEC teams.
Sounds like Chambers is one of those guys who swoons over everything the SEC does, the guys that Brady Hoke doesn't care for. Normally The 'Book doesn't care for Bleacher Report because a lot of the stuff is written from deep in the bleachers. But this was too good to pass up.
What does Chambers say about Louisville?
That the Cardinals will be playing a bunch of community colleges (his words) this season and that other than Teddy Bridgewater most fans can't name any Louisville players. I guess that includes DeVante Parker, Hakeem Smith and Calvin Pryor.
The ‘Book predicts this story (click here) will be Charlie Strong's favorite story during this off-season. Strong might even share it with his players.