BOZICH | College Football: Feeling the Hot Reads' heat, FSU ups - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | College Football: Feeling the Hot Reads' heat, FSU ups Winston's punishment

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Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston hasn't helped his chances of repeating as the Heisman Trophy winner Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston hasn't helped his chances of repeating as the Heisman Trophy winner

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Dialing up my motor to give 110 percent and crushing other college football clichés while delivering the Week Four College Football Hot Reads Notebook:

(In)Famous Jameis Finally Annoying Florida State Administration?

Jameis Winston does not need my vote to win the Heisman Trophy at Florida State this season. He proved that last season when he cruised away from Alabama quarterback A. J. McCarron to earn the 2013 Heisman by nearly 600 more first-place votes.

I did not vote for Winston last December. Not first on the three-player ballot. Not second. Not third.

Great quarterback. Serial knucklehead – who seems more intent on proving the latter than reinforcing the former.

If you thought Winston had learned anything after his assorted encounters with the police blotter, think again. But perhaps Florida State is finally getting tired of Winston's immature act -- or the FSU administration has become faithful readers of Hot Reads. Something happened.

Less than two days after FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said Winston would sit for the first half of FSU's home game against Clemson Saturday night, FSU interim president Garnett S. Stokes and athletic director Stan Wilcox had a better idea:

Winston will sit the entire Clemson game, against an opponent many consider the second-best team in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Only Friday I suggested that we'd know when Fisher was really upset with Winston because he'd sit him for an entire game against a real toughie like Wake Forest. 

This is what Fisher said when he announced his barbed-wire punishment earlier in the week: "We're in charge. It's our team. That's our thought. We went with the consequences and we're ready to move on."

Yo, Fish: Apparently not.

Apparently you're not completely in charge. Apparently Jimbo is so miffed by the entire situation that he has canceled an interview that he agreed to do with Samantha Ponder of ESPN on the networks' College GameDay show Saturday morning. Stay tune. Smoke in the FSU practice facility.

There's no need to dive into all the details of Winston's latest X-rated romp. I can't print the language he is alleged to have shouted while standing on a table from a public location on the FSU campus. The primary takeaway is that Winston still doesn't get it. But with all criticism being directed at the NFL for the behavior of its players these days this is not the ideal time to act like a fool. When the most popular sport in the America realizes it has a massive P.R. problem, college football better listen up, too.

We'll see if Winston finally figures it out. He can return for FSU's game at North Carolina State next weekend. I imagine we'll see him at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium for FSU's game against Louisville Oct. 30

Odds are that he'll return to the field against the Wolfpack, put up big numbers  and storm back into the Heisman headlines.

Don't believe me? Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com asked 11 Heisman voters (including me) for their latest views on Winston. Eight of the 11 said they would at least consider Winston's latest incident while casting their 2014 ballot. That means at least three are still all-in on Winston -- even if the FSU administration is not. (Link to Dodd's column.) 

Carry on, Jameis, carry on.

HOT READS (Five stories to stir your interest for this weekend's games)

1. What are the Must-Watch games in college football this weekend? Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times has the list of games to watch.

2. Is the gap between the strength of the West Division of the Southeastern Conference and the East Division getting larger? The Associated Press thinks so.

3. How did Big Ten football get into the sad shape it's in? Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune tackles the topic in this story.

4. Can East Carolina continue it its roll as the ACC-giant killer this weekend by backing up its win at Virginia Tech with another victory over visiting North Carolina? Keith Jarrett of Citizen-Times.com writes about the Pirates.

5. Where are the toughest places to play in college football? The Big Lead offers its picks.

THE NUMBERS (a quick look at Saturday's games of interest)

Louisville at Florida International, 3:30 p.m. FoxSports1: I believe Florida International, the place that once hired Isiah Thomas to coach its basketball team, prefers to be called FIU. OK, FIU it is. By any name this game is a colossal mismatch – and, hopefully, the final game of the four-game series.

Cards are favored by 27. Jeff Sagarin's Predictor numbers make it Louisville by only 23.92.

The Pick: Louisville 45, FIU 7

Indiana at Missouri, 4 p.m., SEC Network: Just when at appeared to be safe to wonder if the Hoosiers had upgraded their defense from completely unreliable to occasionally functional, Bowling Green scored and scored and scored in the second-half of a 45-42 victory. What is Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk (12 TD passes in three games) going to do to IU?

Las Vegas has the Hoosiers a 13 ½-point underdog while Sagarin like Missouri by 15.23

The Pick: Missouri 47, Indiana 21

Iowa at Pittsburgh, noon, ESPNU: Can the Hawkeyes do anything to help the Big Ten save even a little face? Considering Iowa lost to Iowa State last weekend, that's doubtful.

Vegas likes Pitt by 7. Sagarin also likes Pitt, but only by 1.07.

The Pick: Pitt 24, Iowa 17.

North Carolina at East Carolina, 3:30 p.m., ESPNU: ECU was the flavor of the week for its rousing victory at Virginia Tech last week, but doing the back-to-back thing is always a challenge.

Vegas favors the Pirates by 3. Sagarin says Pirates by 2.4.

The Pick: North Carolina 21, East Carolina 20.

Mississippi State at Louisiana State, 7 p.m., ESPN: LSU has not allowed any points since Bert Jones was the Tigers' quarterback, but the Bulldogs have a talented veteran quarterback and they've rolled to a 3-0 start. Sometimes you just have to take a chance on an upset. But I'm wondering if this was the right spot for me to take a chance. Too late.

Vegas says the Bulldogs are not ready for the upset. LSU by 9 ½. Sagarin likes LSU by 13.74

The Pick: Mississippi State 23, LSU 19.

Eric Crawford agrees with me on the first three games, but is showing more common sense by going with East Carolina and LSU.

Record last week: 2-3, missing on Louisville, Indiana and Georgia. Eric was also 2-3.

SEASON RECORD: Dr. Bo and Eric remained tied at 9-6, which would be a great number if it were against the spread instead of straight up.

FAB FOUR (the four national playoff front-runners)

1. Texas A&M – That opening victory against South Carolina looked even better after the Gamecocks toppled Georgia.

2. Florida State – The Seminoles could struggle with Clemson but that's why Winston is sitting 30 minutes instead of 60.

3. Oregon – The Ducks visit Washington State, which has already been beaten at home by Rutgers.

4. Alabama – Vegas believes that the Crimson Tide is going to wallop Florida. I agree.

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

1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon quarterback – A Sports Illustrated cover story this week explains his jump from third to first.

2. Todd Gurley, Georgia halfback – It was not Gurley's fault that the Bulldogs lost to South Carolina last weekend. He averaged 6.6 yards per carry, rambling for 131 yards and a touchdown. He's really good.

3. Kenny Hill, Texas A&M quarterback – Hard to question a guy with 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions with 117 passing attempts.

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

Tony Franklin, the former Kentucky offensive coordinator and passing game guru, is working his magic one more time – now at the University of California.

A year after the Bears struggled through a 1-11 season, Cal sits at 2-0 in 2014, with victories over Northwestern and Sacramento State. Good things will probably come to an end Saturday night when California visits Arizona, but at least the Bears will be entertaining.

Led by Franklin's imaginative approach to offense, California ranks 27th nationally in passing offense, averaging 313 yards per game. It shouldn't be surprising. Franklin and head coach Sonny Dykes built the most explosive offense in the nation at Louisiana Tech. They'll figure out ways to keep scoring in a league that many consider as tough as the SEC.

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

Wake Forest (at Louisville Sept 27) – The Cards will transition from one of the worst teams in the nation (FIU) to one of the worst teams in the ACC (Wake). The Demon Deacons (1-2) are 2 ½-point home underdogs to Army.

Vanderbilt (at Kentucky Sept. 27) – The Commodores (1-2) were extremely fortunate to beat UMass, one of the worst FBS teams in the country. Their luck will not continue this weekend. South Carolina comes to Nashville as 21 1/2-point favorites.

Maryland (at Indiana Sept. 27) – The Terps (2-1) have one of the better passing games in the nation and will tune up for their game in Bloomington by visiting Syracuse. The Orange are favored by 1 ½.

Navy (hosts Western Kentucky) – The Midshipmen, who have completed 11 passes (total) while winning two of three games this season, are 6 ½-point favorites to defeat visiting Rutgers.

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

Virginia – I received several chippy e-mails from Wahoo fans, claiming I disrespected their team prior to the Louisville game. I wonder how disrespected Virginia (2-1) feels by being a 14 ½ point underdog at Brigham Young.

Florida – Kentucky would benefit from the Gators (2-0) giving Alabama all the Crimson Tide can handle in Tuscaloosa. Vegas does not think that will happen. Bama by 14 ½.

Bowling Green – Chances are that the Falcons (2-1) will not do to Wisconsin what they did to Indiana. The Badgers are favored by 27.

Middle Tennessee – Middle gets a crack at Memphis this weekend, the same Memphis team that nearly won at UCLA. That might explains why the Tigers are favored by 12.

SAY WHAT?

Former Louisville coach Charlie Strong was asked how high school coaches in Texas have reacted to the disciplinary decisions and suspensions that Strong has been delivering at the University of Texas?

Said Strong, “As a coach, you can't be afraid to discipline players, you can't be afraid to challenge players because in the very end, the only thing you're doing is helping that young man in the long run.”

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