BOZICH | Monday Rewind: Bortles Eyes Bridgewater's Stage - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Monday Rewind: Bortles Eyes Bridgewater's Stage

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UCF quarterback Blake Bortles is coming to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Friday. No word on his girlfriend, model Lindsey Duke. UCF quarterback Blake Bortles is coming to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Friday. No word on his girlfriend, model Lindsey Duke.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Monday Rewind is not starting with a rewind today. That would mean talking first about Southeastern Conference football, and heaven knows everybody else is taking care of that.

In case you missed the e-mails, text messages and smoke signals from Birmingham, eight SEC teams – a record – are ranked in the latest Associated Press Top 25.

I'm not surprised eight SEC teams are ranked. I'm surprised voters didn't find a way to shoehorn Mississippi, Tennessee and Vanderbilt into the Top 25, too. What's the problem? They don't have losing records.

I'll get back to this raging love affair with SEC football. But first, let's begin with the quarterback matchup coming to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Friday night. I think you'll like it.

For the first six games this season, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has clearly been the quarterback to watch no matter which team the Cardinals have played.

The situation won't be so one-sided Friday night. Blake Bortles is coming to town.

Who is Blake Bortles?

Ask a teenage girl. The readers of Seventeen magazine voted Bortles the ninth hottest player in college football, a list headlined by A.J. McCarron of Alabama, with his teammate C.J. Mosley and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller right behind. Bortles is one spot ahead of Johnny Manziel.

Get this: Bortles' girlfriend, Lindsey Duke, is a magazine cover girl. They're pushing McCarron and Katherine Webb for the top spot as The Glamour Couple of college football.

No players from Louisville or any other local school made the Seventeen beefcake list.

No worries. The Cardinals have already handled another pretty boy. Ohio University quarterback Tyler Tettleton ranked 25th.

Not your thing? Me, neither.

But Bortles is somebody to watch. He ranks third in the American (behind Bridgewater and Garrett Gilbert of SMU) in total offense, averaging nearly 274 yards per game. Bortles has thrown one fewer interception this season than Gary Nova threw for Rutgers in a single game against U of L last Thursday night.

But Bortles struggled against the best competition, throwing a pair of costly picks in UCF's come-from-ahead home defeat to South Carolina. It's the only game UCF has lost this season.

Forget Seventeen magazine. What did say about him?

In 2010, he was ranked a three-star prospect. He took the offer from UCF over scholarships from Western Kentucky, Purdue, Colorado State and Tulane. According to Andy Staples of, Bortles thought he deserved offers from stronger programs, so he attended camps at Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Clemson in pursuit of those offers.

Didn't happen.

So Bortles has tried to make his way to the NFL through Central Florida, the school that produced Daunte Culpepper.

His completion percentage (.648) isn't as good as Bridgewater's .710. Bridgewater also has thrown twice as many touchdown passes – 18-to-9. But Bortles is a dangerous guy.

Ask Seventeen magazine.

SEC! SEC! SEC! SEC! --  There are eight SEC teams with winning records this season. There are eight SEC teams ranked in the AP Top 25. That's double the number of any other conference. The Pac-12, ACC and Big 12 all have four.

Never underestimate the power of the SEC public relations machine and the force it generates with its three-day media blitz every summer.

I'm not sure what Auburn did to deserve jumping into the Top 25. Actually, I am sure. The Tigers beat Western Carolina, 62-3. That's 1-6 Western Carolina of the FCS division of college football. That's all it took.

Auburn's signature win this season came against Washington State. The Tigers beat WSU, 31-24, in week one. Like Auburn, Oregon State is also 5-1. The Beavers beat Washington State, 52-24, in Pullman, Washington on Saturday.

Plus-seven vs. plus-28. At home vs on the road.

Auburn earned 156 points in the latest AP poll. Oregon State earned 21.

That, friends, is the power of SEC mania.

Here is the complete conference breakdown of the AP Top 25 teams:

SEC 8; Pac-12, ACC, Big 12, 4; Big Ten 2; American, MAC, Mountain West 1.

KENTUCKY TALE OF THE TAPE -- In 2012, the Kentucky football team opened its season by playing four ranked teams in its first six games – Louisville and Florida on the road, South Carolina and Mississippi State at home.

In 2013, the Kentucky football team has opened its season by playing four ranked teams in its first six games – Louisville, Florida and Alabama at home and South Carolina on the road.

UK started 1-5 last season. The Wildcats have repeated the 1-5 start this season. And the numbers on the scoreboard have been remarkably similar:

Last season Kentucky was outscored 181-123.

This season Kentucky has been outscored 176-122.

WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? – On Saturday Missouri went to Georgia and defeated the Bulldogs, 41-26.

On Sunday, this is how Ed Johnson of the Albuquerque News voted the two teams on his ballot for the Associated Press Top 25:

Georgia, which has two losses, was his pick at Number 10.

Missouri, which is unbeaten, was his pick at Number 21.

If Walter White were around, I'd ask him to give Johnson a visit. Wake up, Ed. There's a real football season going on.

How about Josh Kendall of The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C. I believe that is Southeastern Conference territory, correct?

Kendall has the distinction of giving Louisville its lowest vote. He has Charlie Strong's team ranked 15th. Guess how many SEC teams Kendall has ranked ahead of the Cardinals?

Try six – Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Missouri and Georgia.

Kendall ranks eight SEC teams in the Top 19 because he's got Florida 16th and Auburn 19th. Josh, you forgot Ole Miss.

OPPONENT METER – Ralph Russo, the national college football writer for the Associated Press, filed some interesting numbers on his Twitter account Sunday. Russo looked at the AP Top 25 and calculated which teams have played the teams with the best – and worst -- records.

The results?

The five best: 1. Georgia, .784 winning percentage; 2. Washington, .704; 3. Florida State, 655; 4. Texas A&M, .600; 5. Florida, .568.

The five worst: 1. Northern Illinois .359; 2. Louisville, .361; 3. Texas Tech, 363; 4. Miami, .375; 5. Fresno State .387.

I'll take it a step further: There are 14 unbeatens left in college football. I counted how many games each unbeaten team has played against FBS opponents with a winning record:

Three: Ohio State (Buffalo, Wisconsin, Northwestern)

Two – Florida State (Pittsburgh, Maryland); Louisville (Ohio, Rutgers); Fresno State (Rutgers, Boise State); UCLA (Nebraska, Utah); Alabama (Virginia Tech, Texas A&M).

One – Clemson (Georgia); Miami (Florida); Houston (Rice); Baylor (Buffalo). Northern Illinois (Iowa); Oregon (Washington); Missouri (Georgia).

Zero – Texas Tech.


1. Alabama

2. Oregon

3. Ohio State

4. Clemson

5. Florida State


7. Louisville

8. Missouri

9. Louisiana State

10. Miami

Copyright 2013 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.


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