BOZICH | College Football Week Two Hot Reads - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | College Football Week Two Hot Reads

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Taking it five games at a time, typing with a great motor and thrashing other college football clichés with my weekly College Football Hot Reads Notebook:

THE NUMBERS (a quick look a Saturday's local match-ups):

Murray State at Louisville, 7 p.m.: Most boards do not post betting numbers for FBS vs. FCS games, but CollegeFootballMatrix likes Louisville by 32; The Sagarin numbers favor the Cards by 33.05.

The Pick: Hard to make a case for a Racers' upset, even with Louisville ripe for a letdown. But if you disagree speak now, not Sunday morning. Otherwise, I'm going with Louisville, 52-7.

Ohio University at Kentucky, 3:30 p.m.: Vegas says UK by 13; The Sagarin numbers favor the Wildcats by only 9.

The Pick: The Bobcats are breaking in a new quarterback and running back. Frank Solich is a solid coach but the Bobcats labored to beat Kent State. Kentucky will build on its week one momentum with a 31-17 victory.

Western Kentucky at Illinois, Noon: Vegas says Illinois by 6; The Sagarin numbers favor the Illini by 9.54.

The Pick: I picked against the Hilltoppers last week and WKU won. If you think I'm going to hang the Bozich Curse around Jeff Brohm, guess again. Illinois 27, WKU 24.

Two other picks:

Oregon 31, Michigan State 24. Everybody is ga-ga about the Spartans, but Big Ten teams have been known to burp a time or two on the West Coast (see Rose Bowl highlights most any season) – and this game is in Eugene.

Charlie Strong University 13, BYU 10. This is a risky pick because Texas has lost its starting quarterback and center – and Strong has suspended even more guys this week. As Pat Forde noted Thursday night, everybody but Bevo has been suspended. The Longhorns might have to win 3-0.

RECORD LAST WEEK: 3-2. (Eric Crawford went 5-0. He's going with U of L, UK, WKU, Michigan State and Texas this week. I'll never catch him.)

Dr. Bo's Near-Death Encounter Because of A Louisville-Murray State Game

Murray-U of L games can be hazardous to your health. Trust me. I know.

I nearly disappeared into a trash bin in the U of L football locker room because of a Cards-Racers' game. I've told the story before, but it's good enough to tell again.

Louisville was determined to deliver a remarkable season in 1990. The Cards were loaded with NFL-caliber players. Howard Schnellenberger was in his sixth season on the job. The fan base was primed for liftoff.

Then Louisville went to San Jose State to start the season – and was fortunate that Ted Washington stretched out his mammoth paws to block a couple of field goals to help the Cards escape with a 10-10 tie.

Murray State paid the price for the Cards' frustrations the next week. U of L rolled the Racers, 68-0. It happens. What should not happen is a fake punt when you're up by seven touchdowns in the fourth quarter. But that's what Louisville did.

Weak sauce.

I wrote a column about it – and it wasn't a love letter to Cardinal strategy.

Two weeks later, when Louisville went to Morgantown and beat West Virginia, 9-7, with three field goals, the U of L players were waiting for me.

As I made my way around the locker room trying to talk to players, several guys said they had nothing to say – at least not to me. Hmmm. Checked my deodorant. Seemed fine.

I cornered a guy who always had something to say to me – linebacker Mark Sander, a player I covered at DeSales High School. Sander motioned me near his locker. He said that he wasn't supposed to talk to me because of what I had written after the Murray game, but he agreed to answer several questions.

After we were finished, I turned around and was surrounded by Louisville players. There were probably 30 of them, although it looked like 130. Defensive end Mike Flores, a fine artist, was standing at the chalkboard, sketching a game of Hangman. As I said, Flores is a legitimately fine artist. I recognized the face in the noose.

Me.

Schnellenberger's players had another gift: A serenade. They started chanting my name. I believe it was “BOZICH SMELLS.” Or “BOZICH STINKS.” Or something close to that.

One misplayed facial tic or irresponsible word and I'm certain I would have been quickly transported to Morgantown General Hospital.

Then came The Play of the Day.

Anthony Cummings, a Louisville receiver with amazing poise, stepped into the middle of the group. Cummings dispersed The Dr. Bo Fan Club by waving everybody away and escorting me out of the locker room.

Now you know why I always get nervous at Murray-Louisville football games, and why Anthony Cummings is my favorite Louisville football player of all-time.

FAB FOUR (the four national playoff frontrunners):

Strength of schedule is king, right? You get rewarded for quality wins right? So I'm pitching the pre-season rankings and selecting teams by what they accomplished in Week One.

1. Texas A&M. If you don't believe me, call Steve Spurrier.

2. Georgia. You didn't have to be Paul Finebaum to shriek about the way the Bulldogs handled Clemson.

3. Florida State. The defending champs have work to do, but that was a Power Five conference team (Oklahoma State) they beat Saturday.

4. LSU. It's not a typo. Three SEC teams in the Fab Four. (And you accuse me of leaning toward the Big Ten?) I know it's not going to happen. But the Tigers came from behind to beat Wisconsin. They belong in the discussion.

HEISMAN THREE (the three leading contenders to strike the pose in December)

1. Todd Gurley, Georgia halfback: Go ahead and book Gurley's flight to LaGuardia. He's a lock to make the Heisman finalists. Four touchdowns and 293 yards of total offense against Clemson? Even Herschel Walker was impressed.

2. Kenny Hill, Texas A&M quarterback: How long did it take Hill to inspire dozens of sportswriters (including me) to Tweet the words, “Johnny Who?” One series. Hill showed some serious quarterback skills against the Gamecocks.

3. Tevin Coleman, Indiana halfback: Coleman isn't going to win the award. I know that. But he was snubbed for Big Ten player of the week after he ran for 247 yards on 23 carries against Indiana State. He won't be snubbed here.

FAMILIAR FACE (a look at a college football figure with ties to Kentuckiana)

*Jim McElwain, head coach at Colorado State: Bobby Petrino is not the only offensive guru from the John L. Smith coaching tree who grew up in Montana. Don't forget McElwain, the wide receivers and special teams coach at Louisville under Smith.

McElwain started his third season at CSU the way any coach would love to start a season: The Rams popped in-state rival (and Pac-12 member) Colorado, 31-17. Colorado State is positioned to move to 2-0 with a victory at Boise State Saturday night.

If this keeps up, you can look for McElwain's name to mentioned with bigger and better jobs.

LOOKING AHEAD (who next week's local opponents are playing this week):

*Louisville: The Cards head to Charlottesville next Saturday for their first ACC road game against Virginia. After playing UCLA tough at home last week, the Cavaliers have a 3:30 p.m. home game against FCS program Richmond. Consider it a Must Win for Mike London.

*Kentucky: The Wildcats also leave home for their first conference game next week, visiting Florida. The Gators had their opening week home game washed away. They're favored to beat Eastern Michigan in a steamy 4 p.m. kickoff in Gainesville. Consider it a Must Win for Will Muschamp.

*Indiana: Off this week, the Hoosiers visit Bowling Green next week. Yes, the same Bowling Green team that Western Kentucky embarrassed last Friday. The Falcons, who lost their starting quarterback Matt Johnson for the season with a hip injury, figured to regroup at home against VMI. That game also kicks at 3:30 p.m.

*Western Kentucky: It's a trend. The Toppers also plunge into conference play by visiting Middle Tennessee State next weekend. Middle is a 16-point underdog at Minnesota, another game that kicks at 3:30.

LOOKING BACK: (who last week's local opponents are playing this week):

*Louisville: Miami will try to find its running game and fix Brad Kaaya's passing numbers in a home game against Florida A&M at 7 p.m. The Canes will win the game, but lose the halftime show.

*Kentucky: Tennessee-Martin does not figure to lose by 45 again, but UTM remains on the road, visiting Central Arkansas at 7 p.m.

*Indiana: Was IU's defense legitimately improved or was ISU simply inept on offense? We'll have more evidence Saturday after the Sycamores play host to Tennessee Tech. Well, at least a little.

*WKU: See Indiana item in above section.

SAY WHAT? 

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald is a media darling. He's quotable and often accessible. With 1.1 million Medill School of Journalism grads in the sports media business, there is always somebody eager to say great things about Fitz.

But Fitzgerald fumbled the start of this season. Not only did Northwestern lose (31-24) to a California team that went 1-11 last season. It's tough to write a warm and fuzzy headline on that one.

But Fitzgerald made it worse after the game. Northwestern wasn't ready for Cal's offense, in part, because the Bears went with a two-quarterback rotation that Fitzgerald was not expecting.

According to Avinash Kunnath of SBNation, Fitz put some of the blame on the media contingent that covers Cal:

Question: Were you ready for the two quarterback thing?

"The two quarterback thing was something we had no idea because obviously that's the first time they've ever done that. So credit Cal. Great plan for them. I think that when we finally got the adjustment that we felt solid about we were great until the last drive. Nice plan by them, good job.

"Unbelievable job by their bloggers and beat writers — lesson learned — not reporting that throughout all of camp because they did a great job with the element of surprise."

Translation: Thanks for not helping my coaching staff do its job by getting more information from the Cal camp.

Fumble, Fitz.

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