BOZICH | Hot Reads: Analyst wonders if Charlie Strong is "Dead M - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Hot Reads: Analyst wonders if Charlie Strong is "Dead Man Walking"

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Former Louisville coach Charlie Strong needs to win two of his last three games to avoid a losing season at Texas. Former Louisville coach Charlie Strong needs to win two of his last three games to avoid a losing season at Texas.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Milking the play clock, staying ahead of the chains and attacking other college football clichés, in the Week 11 edition of College Football Hot Reads, which returns after a week away in rebounding drills.

Get in your three-point stance.

Is Charlie Strong a “Dead Man Walking?” at Texas?

Let's not have any confusion about this: I believe Charlie Strong will succeed at Texas, even though his Longhorns are 4-5 and are likely to be underdogs in their final three games, including Saturday against West Virginia.

Strong took control of an underachieving program, thinned the herd and started to create his preferred culture. The winning? Stay tuned.

But Dave Bartoo disagrees?

Who? What? Why?

Dave Bartoo. He's an around-the-calendar, college football fan/analyst who lives in Oregon and created the College Football Matrix. You can view his site at or purchase his magazines on your iPad. I did last August.

Bartoo crunches numbers, uncovers trends and makes predictions. He created his Dead Man Walking theory. Here is a simple way to explain it:

Any coach whose team under performs by at least four games in his first season will not survive to the fifth year at his current school. You under perform by one point by losing any game Bartoo has projected you to win. (He posted his season win total before the season in his on-line publications.)

Bartoo believes that Strong will under perform by at least four games during his first season at Texas. Before the season, he predicted Texas to win nine games. The Longhorns can max out at seven in the regular season, but they're currently 4-5 and five appears to be their final destination.

“The numbers really do not like him,” Bartoo said. “I know that he's cleaned house and had some injuries. He's still got 70 guys with the kind of talent that most programs and coaches would give their left arms to have.”

Counterpoint by me: Texas has lost to four teams ranked in the top 18 in the current college football playoff poll -- and the fifth loss is to a BYU team that has won five of nine games.

Bartoo said that in the eight seasons since he created his Dead Man Walking theory, none of the coaches who have under-performed by at least four games during their first season have made it to year five, a list that includes Lane Kiffin of USC and Charlie Weis of Kansas.

He said that Randy Edsall of Maryland is primed to become the first exception.

So unless Strong wins two of his final three against WVU, Oklahoma State and TCU, beware.

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

1. Has Alabama-Louisiana State moved to the top of the list as the best rivalry in college football? Andrew Gribble of makes his case – and it's a good one.

2. Should Florida be fine with Will Muschamp if the coach gets the Gators to December with an 8-4 record? Friend of Hot Reads Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports discussed that topic and more with a Florida radio station.

3. Who are the best running backs in the Southeastern Conference? Mark Long of the Associated Press tackles the topic.

4. West Virginia was apparently eager to schedule a home-and-home series with a team from another Power Five conference. I thought Louisville would be a reasonable fit, considering geography and the fascinating games the schools played during their time together in the Big East. Wrong. WVU picked somebody else.

5. David Cutcliffe is doing things at Duke that no football coach has done in Durham. How much is he worth to the program? has a discussion with former East Carolina coach Steve Logan.

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

Louisville at Boston College, 7:15 p.m., ESPN2 – Must win for the Cards with Notre Dame and Kentucky looming. Time to forget that Florida State defeat.

The Line: Louisville by 3. Sagarin Predictor ratings favor Cards by 3.86.

The Pick: U of L 24, BC 21.

Georgia at Kentucky, noon, ESPN – Is this the day the Wildcats become bowl eligible? Probably not, but UK often plays Georgia tough.

The Line: Georgia by 10 ½. Sagarin says Bulldogs by 12.96.

The Pick: Georgia 31, UK 21.

Penn State at Indiana, noon, Big Ten Network – I don't see Indiana winning another game until next season.

The Line: Penn State by 6 ½. Sagarin says PSU by 3.79.

The Pick: Penn State 35, Indiana 14.

UTEP at Western Kentucky, 4 p.m. – Please tackle somebody Hilltoppers. Please.

The Line: WKU by 7 ½. Sagarin only likes WKU by 0.36.

The Pick: UTEP 37, WKU 35.

Ohio State at Michigan State, 8 p.m., ABC – Winner goes to the Big Ten title game. Loser stays off Twitter and the message boards.

The Line: Michigan State by 3 ½. Sagarin likes Sparty by 4.46.

The Pick: Michigan State 13, Ohio State 12.

SEASON NUMBERS: Eric Crawford is 31-19 and has jumped to a five-game lead against me. Can't catch him this week. Probably won't catch him this season. We only disagree on the last two games -- WKU and Ohio State.

FAB FOUR (national playoff front-runners)

1. Mississippi State (8-0) – But the Bulldogs still have to win at Alabama and Ole Miss to land the plane.

2. Florida State (8-0) – Who's going to beat the Seminoles? Virginia, Miami, Boston College or Florida? You know the answer to that.

3. Oregon (8-1) – Saturday's trip to Utah the last tricky moment for the Ducks.

4. Michigan State (7-1) – Most people have Auburn or Alabama in this spot. Sparty can gain ground by popping Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes.

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

1. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State quarterback – As long as the Bulldogs keep winning, he's the feel good story.

2. Marcus Mariota, Oregon quarterback – The national polls call him the front-runner. Been that way most of the season.

3. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin halfback – Looks like a two-man race, doesn't it?

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

Notre Dame (hosts Louisville Nov. 22) – The Irish have to win at Arizona State Saturday and then beat Northwestern at home before the Cardinals get to South Bend.

Tennessee (hosts Kentucky Nov. 15) – The improving Vols (4-5) have an extra week off before the Wildcats reach Neyland Stadium.

Rutgers (hosts Indiana Nov. 15) – The Scarlet Knights (5-4) also have an extra week before trying to become bowl eligible against the Hoosiers.

Army (visits WKU Nov. 15) – Army has a chance to win its third game when Connecticut visits West Point Saturday.

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