BOZICH | College Football Notebook: Can Cats, Cards Hold Their G - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | College Football Notebook: Can Cats, Cards Hold Their Ground?

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South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier had to stop for some refreshments after his appearance at SEC Football Media Days. 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 Notebook.

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 do it.

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.

Here is the link to the Rivals.com story.

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 seasons.

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.

As this story by Pete Iacobelli of the Associated Press describes, Clowney has positioned himself as the nation's premier defensive player.

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 snapped.

It's worth a look – and that's why I posted it with The Notebook.

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 … Cincinnati.

The deal, a reported by Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com, is a bit of a head-scratcher. They'll play in Lincoln in 2020 and in Cincinnati in 2025. By then Bobby Petrino could be the coach at either school.

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 immediate impact.

"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 Jeremy Hill.

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?

"We'll let you know when we know," Miles said.

Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated is another guy who wonders what is going on at LSU.

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 quote:

"In 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

"And 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 season.

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 he fled.

Clear plenty of space on your DVR.

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