LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – This is the next-to-last Saturday without college football. No reason to despair or howl at your dog. Only 11 days until the season begins – and I'm here with 11 items buckle your chinstraps.
1. Eric Crawford will have more about Louisville's public scrimmage later on Saturday. Eric, John Lewis and I all watched the 2 ½ hours of football.
Reggie Bonnafon, the freshman quarterback from Trinity, looked like a sophomore, especially with his 65-yard strike to Matt Milton. Michael Dyer ran well before he bumped a knee. DeVante Parker still looks like a guy with seven hands.
Those are all offensive guys – and they are not the ones that U of L athletic director Tom Jurich complimented first. Watching from the field, Jurich said he was impressed by the way the Cards' defense performed.
The guy Jurich really liked?
Safety James Sample, who played two seasons at Washington before starring at American River College in California last season. Sample, who wears number 2, was usually around the ball Saturday.
“He looks like a pro to me,” Jurich said. “I like his size and the way he hits.”
2. The Associated Press college football Top 25 will be released Sunday. I'm not certain if Joe Giglio of the News and Observer in Raleigh, N.C. is one of the 65 voters. Giglio did participate in the poll last season.
He wrote that despite the losses of Charlie Strong and Teddy Bridgewater, Giglio does not understand why the pre-season magazines have doubted the Cards, especially considering the experience that returns in the offensive line.
3. News about Louisville travels fast – even to Texas. The folks in Austin are aware of the comments that University of Louisville receiver DeVante Parker made about his frustrations with the Cardinals' offense last season. Parker voiced concerns that Louisville fans debated all season – the sense that former U of L head coach Charlie Strong and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson were content to get ahead by two scores and let the Cards' defense win games.
Texas fans are watching and wondering if that is indeed the Strong offensive strategy.
Wescott Eberts of BurntOrangeNation had ridden to the rescue of the new UT coach and his offensive coordinator, writing that perhaps Strong and Watson are ready to hurry and dial it up.
4. The national reviews on the Notre Dame academic scandal have been mixed. Stewart Mandel of FoxSports.com teed up the Irish and said the school's 5-star academic reputation has been soiled by the suspension of four players, including three starters. Not so fast, wrote Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated, the place that once employed Mandel. Staples wrote that Notre Dame showed that the administration takes academics seriously by suspending four top players. Other schools would have been tempted to cover things up.
What did the hometown guy at the South Bend Tribune say?
5. I told you Friday that I will be following the progress of Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel. He is the quarterback who starred at Columbus East (Ind.) High School three years ago.
Then Kiel committed to Kevin Wilson of Indiana. Then he de-committed. He committed to Les Miles of Louisiana State. Then he de-committed. Then he signed with Notre Dame. He transferred after sitting his entire freshman season.
Kiel is ready to play for the Bearcats, the team that is favored to win the American Athletic Conference. It will be an interesting season for Cincinnati, which will play its home games at Paul Brown Stadium downtown while its campus facility is being renovated.
“It's time to learn from your mistakes and your successes,"UC coach Tommy Tuberville said. "He'll probably have a little of both. We need him to just lead the offense. Hopefully we can see that same leadership that we saw from him last spring at the end."
6. Bad news for my faithful followers in Berkeley. Danny Sheridan, America's oddsmaker, has picked the California Bears Number One.
And that's not a good thing because Sheridan has named California the worst team in the country from the five major conferences. The Bears finished 1-11 last season. The one was a seven-point victory over Portland State.
Here is part of what Sheridan said: “The talent is beginning to pile up in Wildcat country. But like a senior citizen with an iPhone, it remains to be seen how quick Mark Stoops can figure out how to use it.”
7. Jerome Bettis played for Notre Dame before he moved to the NFL. Brian Kelly might want to import Bettis to South Bend to talk about going to class and writing your own papers.
This is what Bettis did: Talked to the Mississippi State football team. He did a marvelous job. Watch for yourself.
8. As I noted earlier, the AP college football poll will be releases Sunday. Here is my prediction for how the top five teams will shake out: 1. Florida State; 2. Alabama; 3. Oklahoma; 4. Ohio State; 5. Oregon. That's one team from each of the five major conferences.
9. This is awkward. When Louisville played Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl after the 2006 season, Petrino was the Cardinals' coach. He's back on the job at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, eager to plunge into the ACC.
Remember who coached the Demon Deacons in that game?
It was Jim Grobe, who did marvelous work at a place where few guys have won consistently. Grobe was eventually forced out of the Wake job after last season. And now he laments his decision not to leave earlier, especially when he has the opportunity to take over at Nebraska, but declined.
You should hear from Grobe this season. He's landed a job as a television analyst for ACC football.
10. Paul Finebaum doesn't need any more publicity. He already gets too much. He's made a marvelous living pitting Auburn crackpots against Alabama nuts. It's monotonous. It's simple. And it's lucrative.
But I needed a few more items to fill out the list, so I'll throw Finebaum a bone because Gene Wojciechowski, a friend, assisted him with a new book, which is titled, “My Conference Can Beat Your Conference.”
Actually, perhaps the co-author is Mike Slive.
11. Some coaches love working in front of the microphones – and some would rather be locked in a room with video and a notebook.
The Wall Street Journal put together an interesting graphic of Most Talkative and Least Talkative coaches from every league's pre-season Media Day festivities.
Mr. Mute – Kirk Ferentz of Iowa, who said only 1,108 words. Mr. Motormouth – Steve Sarkisian of Southern Cal, who aired it out at 6,100 words. (Your link.)