Five of the 10 voters who gave Louisville the Cards' lowest ranking in the pre-season AP college football poll live west of Dallas.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – In two weeks there will be coaches to second-guess, officials to rip, freshmen to hype, quarterbacks to shuffle and upsets to celebrate. There might even somebody in the media who has done something silly. Or Johnny Manziel.
But not yet.
The Monday Replay is eager for college football to begin so real video can be replayed. Until then, all the howling must focus on what's happening off the field. That's a lot. Let's snap the ball.
*Louisville arrived at Number 9 in the Associated Press pre-season college football poll, even though 29 of the 65 voters placed the Cardinals at No. 8 or higher on their initial ballots.
That means the Cards were dragged down by 10 voters that ranked Charlie Strong's team at Number 11 or lower. Maybe they don't like Louisville's offensive line, the way the Cardinals handled Fan Day or they just haven't been paying attention.
My first question: Were the Cardinals a victim of Southeastern Conference bias, knocked down a spot or two because of skepticism by writers who cover the SEC?
No. Put that storyline away.
The Cardinals are dealing with another strain of the bias bug: Western Bias.
Let me explain: Five of the 10 voters who placed the Cards at 11 or lower work a connecting flight west of DFW – one in Los Angeles, one in Spokane, another in Boise, one in Reno (Reno? There's college football in Reno?) and a fifth from Albuquerque.
Strong and his staff love to magnify copies of stories that question how good U of L is. Western Bias should make an appearance on the wall of skepticism.
*One ballot stood out – and not only for where Louisville was ranked.
Meet Mitch Vingle. He writes for the Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette. He ranked Louisville 21st, six spots lower than any voter and 12 spots lower than the consensus. That's quite a credibility gap.
Vingle uses a different crystal ball than the 64 other voters or any of the pre-season magazines. The web site PollSpeak.com does a superb job of organizing and presenting the AP ballots. Their profile page on Vingle shows that the Cardinals were one of four Top 25 teams that received their lowest ranking from Vingle. (Click here to see his ballot.)
That, of course, means that Vingle also rated five teams higher than anybody else, including Arizona State at Number 10.
No surprise that PollSpeak voters named Vingle the worst voter of the week.
I sent Vingle an e-mail asking for the reasons that he voted Louisville 21st. He was a good sport. This was his response:
"I vote the preseason poll based more on my research and comparing talent. In other words, just because I believe Louisville will win many games doesn't mean I believe it has a better team than many."
*Of course, here is the name of the guy who can do the most to help – or hurt – Louisville: Chris Fowler, host of ESPN's College Game Day show.
All votes are equal, but an endorsement from Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso and Desmond Howard on the Game Day crew is a little more equal.
Fowler needs to see more from Charlie Strong's team. He voted the Cards 13th, placing Louisville behind Florida State, Texas, Oklahoma State and Louisiana State. (Click here for Fowler's ballot.)
*Charlie Strong has already reminded his team that USC started last season ranked first in the AP poll – and finished the season unranked. But the Cards are not ranked first. They're ninth.
What happened to the team that started the season ranked ninth in 2012? Or 2011? Or 2010?
Glad you asked.
2012 – South Carolina. The Gamecocks finished eighth.
2011 – Oklahoma State. The Cowboys finished third.
2010 – Iowa. The Hawkeyes were ranked 27th in the final AP Poll.
2009 – Oklahoma State. The Cowboys didn't fare as well this time, ranking 30th in the last AP poll.
2008 – Clemson. The Tigers disappeared from the final poll, failing to earn a single vote.
*Purdue named Rob Henry, a senior, its starting quarterback for the Boilermakers' season opener against Cincinnati. On Saturday Auburn gave its job to Nick Marshall, a junior-college transfer.
Word is that leaves one team from the Southeastern Conference (Kentucky) and four from the Big Ten (including Indiana) that have yet to name their starters.
I don't want to know the name of the starter. I want the name of the second-teamer because that's the guy everybody will want in the game by the third quarter of the season opener.
*Seven players from Louisville's 2013 College World Series baseball team signed professional contracts after the team left Omaha. Two were selected in the third round – pitcher Dace Kime (Indians) and Jeff Thompson (Tigers).
Baseball is a funny, funny game. The two guys who are enjoying the most successful summers were last two Cardinals selected – Cody Ege (15th round, Texas) and Adam Engel (19th,White Sox).
The Rangers have already promoted Ege once. He's 3-0 as a pro with 29 strikeouts and only three earned runs in 22-1/3 innings.
Engel is hitting the way coach Dan McDonnell thought he would hit for the Cardinals. He has pushed his average to .302 with 11 hits in his last five games. He's also stolen 20 bases in 25 attempts.
Both guys are a long way from the big leagues. But it's a start.
*Text message exchange last week between Peyton Siva and Rick Pitino before Siva departed for Detroit to begin serious preparation for his first NBA training camp with the Pistons:
Siva to Pitino: "I've got bills and taxes. Is there any way I can come back for a fifth year?"