Rick Bozich has been checking the early college football rankings.
NOTES WRITTEN WITH GLOVES ON (SADLY):
*We’re less than three weeks from the arrival of several pre-season college football magazines, and here’s one of the first things I’ll be checking:
Will Bobby Petrino’s University of Louisville squad be ranked in the Top 25?
Looks like a photo finish.
Athlon Sports has already released the teams it has ranked 12-through-25 on its web site (AthlonSports.com) – and there is no sign of the Cards. The only Atlantic Coast Conference team to make the Top 25 is Clemson at 21 – unless you count pseudo member (and U of L November opponent) Notre Dame, which is 13th.
Mitchell Light, managing editor at Athlon Sports, said Louisville will be ranked 28th.
Charlie Strong’s first Texas team is ranked 17th, even though the Longhorns have major issues at quarterback.
But there is a dissenting opinion. Phil Steele also publishes a popular yearbook. Steele has not released his selections yet, but he has predicted the teams that he believes will be ranked in the Associated Press pre-season Top 25.
Louisville made that list – at Number 25.
In his blog, Steele says that he originally wrote that Louisville was a team that could take a step back in 2014. Now he believes the Cards could be favored in nine games with the exceptions being Florida State, Clemson and Notre Dame.
The Cards finished last season ranked 15th in the final AP poll.
*Nobody would call Anthony Hickey the best point guard in the Southeastern Conference last season. But you could win with him.
Hickey, Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 2011, led the SEC in steals. He had 20 points with eight assists when Louisiana State took Kentucky into overtime in Rupp Arena in February. Hickey has been starting for the Tigers since his freshman season.
Not any more.
LSU coach Johnny Jones announced Tuesday that Hickey and two other players would not return to the Tigers. There have been hundreds of transfers since the end of the college basketball season but Hickey is one of the more surprising names. He’s a solid player.
Hickey’s father, Anthony Sr., told Harris that he and his son would weigh their options before picking his next school. The story said that because of a change in SEC rules two years ago Hickey could be eligible to play immediately, even at another SEC school because he was a player who was “run off.”
The word is that Marshall is the frontrunner for Hickey’s final season.
*If you’re starting a pool on the next University of Louisville baseball player to make the major leagues, give me Adam Duvall, who played for the Cards and Butler High School.
Duvall, an 11th round pick in 2010, leads the Class AAA Pacific Coast League in home runs (13) and runs batted in (39). He needs to improve his on-base percentage (.329) and draw more walks (only 13), but Duvall has the hit tool and is only 25.
But Duvall’s biggest issue is that he plays third base for Fresno, the top farm club of the Giants – and San Francisco has a talented third baseman in Pablo Sandoval.
One of Duvall’s teammates is another former U of L star – Chris Dominguez, whose career has stalled in AAA. Dominguez, 27, has played at that level for three seasons – and is hitting .276 with four home runs and 22 runs batted in.
*Baseball America’s latest projections for the first round of the MLB Free Agent Draft in early June features two local players – U of L relief pitcher Nick Burdi (23rd pick to Detroit) and Indiana catcher Kyle Schwarber (24th pick to Pittsburgh).