Charlie Strong has asked his friend, Urban Meyer, about a Louisville-Ohio State football game.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Johnny Manziel is making so much news that he'll soon be getting his own channel. The NCAA is in retreat, penalized 15 yards for too many men in the marketing department. Bobby Petrino is glad that Western Kentucky's first football game is against Kentucky.
We're less than three weeks until the serious blocking and tackling begins. No need for a delay of game penalty. Let's roll the credits for the WDRB College Football Notebook.
Louisville Vs. Ohio State? It's Up To Urban
I hope you sorted through all the off-the-field noise and saw the most intriguing scheduling news of the week: Louisiana State and Wisconsin are poised to play a two-game series in 2014 and 2016.
The first game will be booked for Reliant Stadium in Houston next season and then the rematch will be played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay in 2016. That's correct. A team from the Southeastern Conference is actually going to play a Big Ten team North of Nashville.
Has Mike Slive signed off on this?
That's great news. It's also an indication that with the new college football playoff system going on-line next season more coaches are actually worried about their strength of schedule. They know they can't schedule four wins against Morgan State and the St. Mary's Intramural Champs.
So Eric Crawford and I asked Louisville coach Charlie Strong about a non-conference game that seems like a natural to us – Louisville vs. Ohio State at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Strong and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer are best friends. Strong said he has already popped the question.
"We talk a lot," Strong said. "I have asked him to play me. I don't know if he will. I don't know if he wants to. But I'd love to."
There's no question that Louisville could have benefited from the game this season with the Buckeyes ranked second in the USA Today coaches' pre-season poll and the Cards parked at No. 9. Strength of schedule is going to be an issue for the Cards all season. Strong said he asked Meyer for a game more than a year ago.
Said Strong, "Before we got in the ACC, I was like, ‘We need to play a big-time opponent … Urban, why don't you play us?' He said, ‘Let's think about that.' "
I hope Meyer is still thinking about it. Sounds like a winner to me.
Teddy Bridgewater: The Anti-Manziel
Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is the kind of football player who will bring national attention to the University of Louisville football program. Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports and Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com have already interviewed Bridgewater for pre-season pieces. Greg Couch of FoxSports was in town Thursday for the Cards' football media day.
If you read his piece, you'll discover that Couch left impressed by much more than Bridgewater's ability to read defenses or throw the 17-yard out pattern. Couch liked the way that Bridgewater handled all the questions about college players getting paid, the eBay autograph controversy and Louisville's position in the national championship debate.
Here is part of what Couch wrote:
"Bridgewater sounds like so much of a salesman of the amateur ideal that you wonder if he really even means it, or if maybe he was coached to say it. The momentum is strongly against what he was saying. But the thing is, he makes the sales pitch so well, and it's only fair to take him at his word."
Kentucky's Starting Quarterback: You Make The Call
Who is your pick to be Kentucky's starting quarterback when the Wildcats open the season against Western Kentucky in Nashville Aug. 31?
Jalen Whitlow got most of the love coming out of spring practice and has been listed as the likely starter in several pre-season publications, even though Whitlow only threw for three touchdowns in 161 passing attempts last season.
Maxwell Smith is the most experienced guy in the group. His yards per attempt average is considerably better than Whitlow's and he's also better at getting the Wildcats into the end zone, delivering eight touchdowns in 150 passing attempts in 2012.
Looking for a long shot? That would be sophomore Patrick Towles, who completed 19 of 40 throws last season but is considered to be the strongest arm in the trio.
Glenn Logan, author of the Sea of Blue blog, did an excellent job of analyzing the quarterback competition on Friday. Here is a link to his post.
By a percentage basis, this is how Logan ranked the chances of each guy taking the first snap against WKU:
Indiana allowed 62, 45 and 56 points in the Hoosiers' final three games last season. So the Hoosiers slid from 4-5 to 4-8, losing to Wisconsin, Penn State and Purdue by an average margin of nearly 31 points.
Most people blamed the defense.
Kofi Hughes, Indiana's senior slot receiver from Indianapolis, says the finger is being pointed in the wrong direction. Hughes, who made 43 catches and scored three touchdowns last season, said the IU offense has just as many areas to improve in 2013.
"It has a lot to do on the offense," Hughes said "A lot of people like to talk about the defense being kind of, I guess, the weaker part of our team.
"We had so many yards and so many plays out there and yet we weren't putting up the right amount of points. At the end of the day, our mindset as an offense is if the opposite team scores 100 points, we've got to score 101. So that's on us. Our red zone scoring has to go up. We've got to score points."
The Antonio Andrews Checklist
Western Kentucky paused – briefly – during the Hilltoppers' preparations for their Aug. 31 season opener against Kentucky for media day Saturday. Western coach Bobby Petrino had a number of interesting things to say when I visited Bowling Green on Tuesday and he remained quotable Saturday, delivering this take on the WKU opener:
"I'm excited about it. I don't know if you could have a better opener for us because it motivates you all winter long. It motivates you through spring ball and all summer. Our players are excited about it.
"It's exciting for us to go play at LP Field and hopefully we will have a bunch of guys in red down there supporting us. It should be a great crowd, a great college football game."
Know this: Petrino told me that he likes his offensive line, tight ends and backs. Petrino will have to develop a quarterback and several wide receivers. That is his specialty. But the coach is really impressed with Antonio Andrews, his senior running back. And he should be. Andrews gave WKU 3,161 total yards last season.
"He can do so many different things," Petrino said. "His ability to run between the tackles. He can bounce it and take it outside. He's got great vision and is powerful. He's a hard guy to tackle.
"But he can catch the ball out of the backfield. He returns punts and kickoffs, which is something that amazed me when I came in and watched the video of him returning punts and kickoffs, just to see his vision. He's very talented."
Who's Not As High On Louisville? Phil Steele
Phil Steele is no longer just a college football yearbook guy. He's also a college football website guy. He blogs. He Tweets. He's definitely a triple-threat performer.
National Top 10: 1. Alabama; 2. Oregon; 3. Texas A&M; 4. Ohio State; 5. Stanford; 6. Georgia; 7. South Carolina; 8. Notre Dame; 9. Louisiana State; 10. Florida.
Louisville: 24th nationally, ahead of Cincinnati (47) and Rutgers (51).
Kentucky: 81st nationally, last in the Southeastern Conference.
Indiana: 75th nationally, ninth in the Big Ten.
WKU: 109th nationally, fifth in the Sun Belt.
Top Ohio U. Cornerback Will Miss Louisville Game
It hasn't been easy uncovering news about the Ohio University Bobcats, Louisville's opening opponent from the Mid-American Conference. Athens, Ohio is not a regular spot on the college football pre-season media tour.
But I have been able to uncover a few interesting items, starting with this one:
Ohio coach Frank Solich has suspended top cornerback Larenzo Fisher for the first two games because of an off-the-field incident. Fisher, a junior, made 50 tackles and broke up eight passes last season. Not a good guy to be without when you're trying to defend Bridgewater and his receiving corps.
The Bobcats were the media pick to win the MAC East Division. Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton, the son of former Baltimore Oriole Mickey Tettleton is ranked the 12th best player in the league. Halfback Beau Blankenship, who set a school record by running for over 1,600 yards last season, has been named to the watch list for the Doak Walker Award, which is presented to the nation's top running back.
And season tickets for Ohio University football are available for $4.50 per game.
The All-Autograph Team
You knew this was coming in the aftermath of the drama of how much money that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was or was not paid for signing autographs during the off-season.
Jon Solomon of the Birmingham (Ala.) News created college football's 2013 All-Autograph team. Essentially it is a list of current players whose autographs are currently listed on eBay. Solomon lists the number of items for each player, the highest asking price for his top item and the top bid. Here's the link.
As expected, the players with the most items on the site are Manziel (210), South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (171), Georgia halfback Todd Gurley (131), Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller (117) and Bridgewater (99).