Charlie Strong's first Texas team will not start the season ranked in the AP top 25.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Ten days until college football, 10 items to get you safely to kickoff (point-spreads added later):
1. Charlie Strong was not interested in opening a vein to the media during his four-season stay at the University of Louisville. Cooperative? Usually. Available? Sometimes. Insightful? Rarely.
Strong has taken his talents to Austin, coaching the University of Texas, a program that hungers to be included in the national football playoff every year, if not more frequently than that.
It appears that Strong is opening up a bit. He cooperated with Sports Illustrated for a upbeat profile that ran last month. And he talked to Jim Vertuno of the Associated Press for a story that has been included in the AP's preview package for the upcoming season.
The most interesting comment I saw was Strong's take on whether the Texas job is an insatiable beast, the way many have portrayed it. You've heard the talk: Strong better mix in a 14-0 during his first four years.
“It isn't a monster,” Strong said. “It's a program with all the resources you need.”
I hope Strong is right.
I also plan to check back with Strong if his team is still parked outside the Top 25 at the end of the season.
Remember, Mack Brown was forced out after 16 seasons, even though he won a BCS title. His predecessor, John Mackovic, was booted after six seasons. David McWilliams was bounce after five.
2. Agree or disagree: More than two-thirds of the Top 25 teams in the nation play in two conferences?
You might not agree (and I don't) but that is what the voters in the AP pre-season poll think – 8 teams from the Southeastern Conference and six from the Pac-12.
That's 14 of 25. Or 68 percent. Or more than the three other power leagues (Big Ten, ACC, Big 12) combined.
The SEC kicks off with Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana State, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Missouri. Some are arguing that Florida (4-8 last season) deserves some love. Why not toss in Tennessee while we're at it? Butch Jones has recruited up a storm.
Who does the world like from the Pac 12?
Oregon, UCLA, Stanford, Arizona State, USC and Washington.
Who are the biggest names missing from the Top 25?
Florida, Texas, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Michigan and Miami.
Remember: The AP poll has no bearing on the four-team playoff – other than helping to shape opinions of the playoff committee members.
3. Ken Hill worked hard to get to the major leagues. He pitched in parts of three seasons (1989-91) at old Cardinal Stadium for the Louisville Redbirds before he finally stuck with the St. Louis Cardinals.
When Hill finally stuck in The Show, he stayed there for a long, long time – 14 seasons, winning 117 games while pitching for the Cardinals, Expos, Indians, Rangers, Angels, White Sox and Rays.
Like opening at Yankee Stadium in the middle of a pennant race.
Kenny Football, anyone?
4. With all the four- and five-star talent overflowing on Nick Saban's roster at Alabama, you'd think the Crimson Tide would have another Joe Namath or Ken Stabler primed to take over at quarterback for A.J. McCarron.
At least not yet.
If you want to make Saban sizzle, ask him who his quarterback is going to be this season – Jacob Coker or Blake Sims?
5. Here is another question you'd better not ask Saban: What happened with Jonathan Ledbetter?
A four-star defensive line prospect who is ranked the 10th best overall player in Georgia,, Ledbetter committed to Alabama for the Class of 2015 last winter. Now Ledbetter has a different idea – he wants to play for Georgia, which, coincidentally offered a scholarship to his brother after he walked on to the Bulldogs last month.
And you wonder why there are eight SEC teams ranked in the pre-season Top 25?
6. For years, college football pundits waited for Chris Petersen to follow Dirk Koetter and Dan Hawkins and jump from Boise State to a more mainstream job. Petersen held on for as long as possible, turning down some wonderful opportunities.
After last season, Petersen finally weakened. He appeared to recognize that with the new playoff system, his chances of winning something substantial at Boise were more difficult than ever. So he jumped to Washington.
So who is the new Chris Petersen, the guy who is going to be mentioned for every hot job opening?
7. People continue to take sides on Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and the latest scandal in South Bend. Chicago Tribune columnist David Haugh, one of my favorites, files a reminder that this is not the first problem Kelly has encountered under the Golden Dome.
8. If you're making a list of the nicest uniforms in college football, you're probably going to include LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, USC and Miami. Oregon is determined to be on that list, but the Ducks try a little too hard for my money.
The web site Fansided, which if affiliated with Sports Illustrated, asked a different question:
He was interviewed about his job with the SEC Network and the love-letter he just finished writing about the league.
Said Finebaum,” When we went into this, we thought it was going to be a little bit of an in your face toward the Big Ten. I thought I would spend most of my time attacking the Big Ten in fun, and it's not even fun.”
Go back to analyzing Mississippi State's recruiting, Paul.
10. Some people like to say that Michigan coach Brady Hoke is on the Hot Seat. He won't be for long, if this prediction by Sharon Katz of ESPN.com is true – a 7-0 start by the Wolverines.
Let's call the roll: Appalachian State; at Notre Dame (which just lost three starters); Miami, Utah and Minnesota, all in Ann Arbor; at Rutgers and Penn State at home.