BOZICH | College Football Hot Reads: Which pre-season magazine s - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | College Football Hot Reads: Which pre-season magazine saw Mississippi State coming?

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Being gap sound and packing my special teams while attacking every other college football cliché and rolling into the Week Eight edition of Hot Reads.

The college football magazines used to arrive in August. Then it was July. Now it's June. So they've been around since people were laughing at the idea of the Kansas City Royals playing the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. But now that we're halfway through the season, how have they performed?

I pulled out my editions of Sports Illustrated, Athlon, The Sporting News, Phil Steele and Lindy's. I graded them on how many teams in the current Associated Press Top 10 they forecast correctly, their best pick and their worst.

Let's go.

Athlon: B. Athlon nailed six of the current top 10 and also did the best job with Mississippi State, putting the Bulldogs 33rd. But Athlon probably does not want me to remind you it ranked Texas 17th, one spot ahead of Ole Miss. Or that it parked South Carolina at Number 9.

Phil Steele: B-minus. Phil Steele whiffed on Mississippi State, too, ranking the Bulldogs 34th. Who are some of the team's Mr. Steele liked better than Dan Mullen's team?

Try North Carolina (18th), UCF (21st) and Michigan (30th). Ouch.

Steele was ahead of the curve with TCU, ranking the Horned Frogs 14th.

Lindy's: B-minus. Lindy's also got six of the current AP Top 10. But Lindy's ranked Mississippi State 43rd while Michigan came in No. 20 and Cincinnati No. 24. And Dak Prescott of Mississippi State will probably finish the season ranked better than the nation's 19th best quarterback.

Sports Illustrated: C-plus. Picked six of the current top 10. Mississippi State did not make SI's Top 25 while Missouri did. SI included a Mississippi State player on its list of darkhorse candidates for the Heisman, but picked halfback Jeremy Langford over Prescott.

The Sporting News: C-minus. Picked only five of the current top 10, whiffing on Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Georgia. In fact, TSN picked Mississippi State sixth in the SEC West, while ranking North Carolina 24th in the nation. At least they didn't include Michigan in the Top 25.

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

North Carolina State at Louisville, 3:30 p.m.,  Game Plan, RSN – The Cards not only need to win this game, they need to win without a major sweat. The Wolfpack arrive with one of the worst defenses in the Atlantic Coast Conference – and they arrive several men short after head coach Dave Doeren suspended seven players earlier in the week. Louisville needs to figure out its quarterback situation and start to feel good about itself offensively before You Know Who comes to town Oct. 30.

The Line: Cards opened as a 14 1/2-point favorite and the number has jumped to 17 1/2. Jeff Sagarin's Predictor computer rankings favor the Cards by 20.39.

The Pick: Louisville 35, N.C. State 10.

Kentucky at Louisiana State, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network – Can Kentucky actually win this game? You bet. The recruiting gurus love the young talent Les Miles has assembled in Baton Rouge, but the quarterback situation is a mess and the Tigers play 17 true freshmen. Considering LSU is already out of the SEC West race, I wonder how motivated they're going to be to handle the solid team that Mark Stoops has assembled at UK.

The Line: The Tigers were a 13-point favorite on Sunday. The line is 10 on Friday. Sagarin says LSU by 13.68.

The Pick: LSU 28, Kentucky 24.

Michigan State at Indiana, 3:30 p.m. ESPN – This figures to be really ugly, considering Indiana is likely to start true freshman Alexander Diamont at quarterback. The Spartans' defense is as good as it gets in the Big Ten, no place for a guy who has never taken a college snap.

The Line: Spartans by 15 1/2. Sagarin says Michigan State by only 11.34.

The Pick: Michigan State 45, IU 7.

Western Kentucky at Florida Atlantic, noon – The Hilltoppers have had a week to figure things out on offense. If defensive coordinator Nick Holt has developed any legitimate answers, those answers should show against the Owls, who rank 11th in Conference USA in total offense, averaging only 325 yards per game.

The Line: Toppers by 4 1/2. Sagarin also likes WKU by 7.22

The Pick: WKU 45, FAU 35.

Virginia at Duke, ESPN3 -- Nobody talks about the job David Cutcliffe keeps doing in Durham, so I figure it's my responsibility to keep doing it every Friday, especially after Duke won at Georgia Tech last week. The winner of this game will be in a great spot in the ACC Coastal.

The Line: Blue Devils by 2 1/2. Sagarin says Duke by 4.61.

The Pick: Duke 20, Virginia 14.

HOT READS (five national stories to stir your interest in this weekend's games)

1. Why aren't more people talking about the solid job that Jerry Kill has done building a winning program at Minnesota? Matt Hayes of The Sporting News asks that question.

2. According to the Associated Press, Georgia tailback Todd Gurley will fall out of the Heisman Trophy race a little more this weekend by sitting out another game as the school sorts through his autograph issues.

3. Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is the latest writer to tackle the topic of why more college students have stopped going to football games.

4. Former University of Louisville defensive back Calvin Pryor, now with the New York Jets, is quoted in this story from The Oregonian about how college football players should handle autograph requests.

5. One of these days Oregon is going to change uniforms every quarter. But these days the Ducks only seem to do it every game. On Saturday the Ducks will pull out their uniforms from 1994 when former Kentucky coach Rich Brooks was in charge.

FAB FOUR (the four national playoff frontrunners)

1. Mississippi State (6-0) – Beating Texas A&M and Auburn by a combined 32 points on consecutive weekends is a solid argument to top this list.

2. Florida State (6-0) – If the Seminoles get by Notre Dame on Saturday (fill in the blank).

3. Mississippi (6-0) – In an age of offense, the Rebels defend. Nobody has scored more than 20 on the Rebels in six games.

4. Baylor (6-0) – The Bears visit West Virginia Saturday, and U of L fans can tell you that Morgantown is a tricky place to escape with your sanity.

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

1. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State quarterback – Prescott is definitely the flavor of the month in the national media, but I wonder if his popularity will peak too soon.

2. Everett Golson, Notre Dame quarterback – If Golson can lead a Notre Dame upset in Tallahassee Saturday night, he moves to the head of the class.

3. Tevin Coleman, Indiana halfback – He leads the nation in rushing yards and yards per game while averaging 8.83 yards per carry and scoring 11 touchdowns for the Hoosiers. If he played for Alabama or Ohio State, the polls would already be closed.


Former Louisville coach John L. Smith? With Michigan State making the trip to Indiana this weekend, this is the perfect time to update the profile of Smith, whose decision to leave U of L for Michigan State after the 2002 season was a turning point (in the wrong direction) for his career.

Smith is two seasons into his work at Fort Lewis College, a Division II school in Colorado. The Skyhawks had a huge victory over second-ranked Colorado State-Pueblo Oct. 11, but lost to Colorado Mines, 56-14.

Two years ago Fort Lewis lost all 10 games. Last season Fort Lewis improved to 4-7. This season the Skyhawks sit at 2-4. I hope Smith, who will turn 66 next month, is enjoying his golden years.


Florida State (at Louisville Oct. 30) – The Cards are off next weekend before greeting the Seminoles, who could arrive unbeaten (with the NCAA investigative team in tow) if they handle Notre Dame Saturday night.

Mississippi State (at Kentucky) – I like the Bulldogs' chances of arriving at Commonwealth Stadium ranked Number One because they're positioned to soar through this off week.

Michigan (hosts Indiana Nov. 1) – The Hoosiers need more than a week to regroup after losing quarterback Nate Sudfeld to a separated left shoulder, but they'll have only one Saturday off before visiting Ann Arbor. Michigan is off before visiting Michigan State next week.

Old Dominion (visits Western Kentucky) – The Monarchs, who have lost three straight, are idle this weekend.


Clemson (beat Louisville last week) – The Tigers have whiffed in both trips on the road, but figure to have a better shot at Boston College Saturday.

Louisiana-Monroe (lost to UK last week) – The Warhawks are idle this week.

Iowa (beat IU last week) – The Hawkeyes can make themselves bowl eligible by winning at Maryland Saturday.

Western Kentucky was idle last week.


Apparently Alabama coach Nick Saban is a now a horse racing fan. According to, Saban had a conversation with Bama golf coach Jay Seawell about dealing with the pressure of non-stop high expectations.

Seawell said that he used a lesson that he learned from watching the movie "Secretariat," to help him develop a plan on how to handle his team and the demands to keep winning.

"They (Secretariat's owners) had so much pressure on them because of their debt and the horse had to win the Triple Crown, the anxiety and the tension, and all that, and finally she (Penny Chenery) just said, 'Let the horse run,' and it won by 31 lengths at the Belmont," Saban said. "Well, that's what we're trying to let our guys do, just let them run. Just let them play."

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