South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier had to stop for some refreshments after his appearance at SEC Football Media Days.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Soon there will be games. Blocking.
Tackling. Face-painting. Tail-gating. The works
But not yet. Until then, there is the WDRB College Football
HOLDING RANK: Those are not misprints. The guys who rank
college football recruits for a living are convinced that both the University
of Kentucky and the University of Louisville have currently lined up Top 25
recruiting classes for 2014.
Both the Cardinals and the Wildcats have drawn significant
oral commitments from a line of impressive prospects. Both programs have done
well and intend to do better.
But remember, a national letter of intent cannot be signed
until early February. As several Division I coaches have told me, the only
thing an oral commitment does is tell the competition which school they have to
beat for a player. Guys change their minds. Opposing coaches convinced them to
So what are the chances that both Kentucky and Louisville
finish the ranking in the Top 25 in February 2014?
According to Dallas Jackson of Rivals.com, very good for
Kentucky, not as good for Louisville.
Jackson, in consultation with Rivals recruiting writer Mike
Farrell, says that Kentucky's class projects to finish at No. 19 or better.
Louisville, meanwhile, will have to secure more commitments from four-star
prospects or the Cardinals' class will finish between 33 and 36.
SEND IN THE CLOWNEY: I'm convinced that Heisman Trophy
voters will be looking for an alternative to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny
Manziel. Heisman voters are a fickle group, and they've proven repeatedly that
they're not comfortable giving the trophy to the same player in consecutive
Ask Tim Tebow. Or Billy Sims.
Blend in all the drama whipping around Manziel during this
off season, and the door has already been cracked open for somebody like
Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, Braxton Miller of Ohio State and Teddy
Bridgewater of Louisville.
Never forget this name: Jadeveon Clowney, the mammoth
defensive end at South Carolina.
He handled himself like a champ at Southeastern Conference
Media Days in Hoover, Ala. He confirmed his other-worldly time of 4.46 in the
40-yard dash. Stopwatches melt in his presence. He talked about how he has
spotted fear in the eyes of opposing quarterbacks – and named them.
Clowney even gave Manziel tips on how to keep his name out
of the tabloid web sites.
MUNCHIES STRIKE THE HEAD BALL COACH: South Carolina coach
Steve Spurrier gave his usual command performance at SEC Media Days.
He admonished the NCAA for not creating a system to give the
families of players the funds to attend road games – something like $300 per
game. He scolded Notre Dame for not making the plunge and becoming a full-time member of the
Atlantic Coast Conference. He asked media members for the name of the
conference Louisville will be playing in this season.
You could never tell that Spurrier is 68, one year younger
than Bear Bryant was when he coached his final season at Alabama.
But all that politicking left Spurrier tired. Apparently
Spurrier ordered the car to stop as he and his players were making their way to
the airport in Birmingham for their flight back to Columbia on Tuesday night.
As Spurrier was putting ice in his cup, he posed for a picture that Clowney
It's worth a look – and that's why I posted it with The
WOULD THE HUSKERS ANSWER A CALL FROM THE CARDS? Not sure if
you saw this one, but Nebraska has agreed to a home-and-home series with …
But if the Cornhuskers are looking to travel, maybe it's
time for the University of Louisville to make a call. I know the Cardinals'
schedule is about to be upgraded by the move to the ACC, but I'm thinking
there's room for a high-octane game on the card for both teams in say 2030.
RISING FROM THE COUCH: Former Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch
was one of the first guys on the Mark Stoops' bandwagon after Stoops was named
the replacement for Joker Phillips as the UK football coach.
Couch hasn't seen anything to shake his faith in Stoops. If
anything, he's more bullish on Stoops than he was when he arrived from Florida
State last December.
"He's exceeded all expectations," Couch said. "It's been
impressive. The biggest thing was getting the fan base back excited about
Kentucky football. He's done that. Recruiting is off the charts right now. He's
tapping into Ohio, guys who can play right away, four-star guys who can make an
"I'm excited for where the program is headed. Obviously it's
going to take some time. There are a lot of holes to fill. With the schedule
they're playing, it's going to be a very tough first year. I do think they're
going to be more competitive. I think they'll be more exciting to watch.
"Down the road, the next two, three, four years, I'm excited
for where Kentucky football is going to be."
BENCH THIS TIGER: Manziel, Clowney and Alabama coach Nick
Saban generated most of the headlines at SEC Media Days, but, as usual,
Louisiana State coach Les Miles talked like a guy who prepped for the event
with his attorney.
Two years ago the Tigers stormed into the pre-season dealing
with the fall-out from a fight that involved several players in a Baton Rouge
parking lot. Last season was all that nonsense from Tyrann Mathieu.
This year's designated LSU knucklehead is running back
Miles isn't certain what he is going to do with Hill,
although it certainly sounds as if he is going to make him run the stairs at
Tiger Stadium a few times and then hand him the football.
According to this story by Eric Adelson of Yahoo! Sports,
Hill troubles began in high school when he was placed on probation because of
an encounter with a 14-year-old girl that reportedly occurred in a locker room.
Now Hill is dealing with a six-month suspended sentence and
two years of probation for reportedly sucker-punching another 20-year-old in a
parking lot. Hill pled guilty to a simple battery charge last week.
Miles said Hill remains on indefinite suspension. What does
the future hold for Hill?
COLLEGE FOOTBALL VS. DOG FIGHTING: There aren't many more
insightful observers of American culture than Malcolm Gladwell, the long-time
writer for The New Yorker.
Gladwell has delivered a string of best-sellers – "Blink,"
"The Tipping Point," "Outliers." Gladwell is a guy who understands how to
connect the dots.
College football fans won't enjoy hearing what Gladwell has
to say about the game. He compared it to dog-fighting when the Michael Vick
controversy kicked up several years ago – and Gladwell did it again in this
interview with Fareed Zakaria of CNN.com.
GGladwell isn't kidding, as you can tell by this breakout
what way is dog fighting any different from football on a certain level, right?
I mean you take a young, vulnerable dog who was made vulnerable because of his
allegiance to the owner and you ask him to engage in serious sustained physical
combat with another dog under the control of another owner, right?
"Well, what's football? We take young boys, essentially, and we
have them repeatedly, over the course of the season, smash each other in the
head, with known neurological consequences
why do they do that? Out of an allegiance to their owners and their coaches and
a feeling they're participating in some grand American spectacle."
RUSHING HOME FROM LEXINGTON: The Louisville-Kentucky game
will kickoff at noon on Sept. 14 from Commonwealth Stadium. This is Kentucky's
year to host the rivalry game, which means it will be played the third week of
the season instead of the first.
It also means this: It will be the opening window on a
Saturday crowded with other fascinating games that will have fans scrambling to
get home from Lexington.
Take a good look at the list:
Alabama at Texas A&M. Heisman Trophy candidates at
quarterback for each team. Alabama trying to avenge its only loss from last
Mississippi at Texas. The Rebels are itching to make the
transition from a program that has recruited well to a program that can contend
in the SEC. Texas is trying to reverse the slide from three consecutive seasons
with at least four losses.
Tennessee at Oregon. It's probably unrealistic to expect
Butch Jones to pull a shocker in his third game on the job at UT, but the Ducks
are also breaking in a new coach. The world will be watching to see how much
Oregon misses Chip Kelly.
Wisconsin at Arizona State. How are the Badgers going to
survive without Bret Bielama? The Sun Devils won eight games last season. This
game will provide a clue for Badgers' fans.
Vanderbilt at South Carolina. The Commodores are a sexy pick
to finish fourth in the SEC East, which makes this a trap game for the
Gamecocks, who play Georgia a week earlier.
UCF at Penn State. Many consider the Knights the biggest
threat to Louisville in the American Athletic Conference. If that's so, they
should be able to challenge a Penn State program that will start to feel the
impact of its five-year NCAA probation.
Notre Dame at Purdue. Once upon a time, the Boilermakers had
a history of making the Irish sweat.
Ohio State at California. OK, the Golden Bears hired Sonny
Dykes to fix their 3-9 program. The Buckeyes believe they can play for the
national title. This is their only non-conference road game.
Maryland at UConn. Randy Edsall returns to the program that