BOZICH | Monday Muse: The "I Was Wrong" Edition - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Monday Muse: The "I Was Wrong" Edition

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Rick Bozich was convinced that Kentucky would beat Florida this season. Rick Bozich was convinced that Kentucky would beat Florida this season.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Predictions are risky business but I feel comfortable with this one: This will be your favorite installment of the Monday Muse.

Why?

It’s time for the “I Was Wrong,” edition.

We’re less than a month into the college football season, and it’s already time for me to consider putting a paper bag on my head. Predictions gone wrong, starting with this one:

1. Kentucky Beating Florida

The Wildcats had the Gators on the ropes in 2014. Add a year of experience and another recruiting class for Mark Stoops. Florida is offensively challenged and adjusting to a new coach. It was the Gator’s first road game. Commonwealth Stadium was juiced. UK was better at quarterback.

There were never more reasons to pick Kentucky.

It still wasn’t enough. Gators win, 14-9.

The Wildcats had the same issues scoring they showed last season against Tennessee (16 points), Missouri (10) and Louisiana State (3).

After three games, the numbers have not been there for the Wildcats on offense. They rank 102nd nationally in total offense, 85th in rushing offense and 95th in passing offense.

The per game total offense number is down about 26 yards from last season, while the passing average is down 40 per game.

Back to work.

2. Louisville Beating Clemson

I thought Clemson would be the Get Well Game for the Cards. Total focus. Total payback for 2014. Total motivation. Total togetherness and urgency to make certain this team did not open 0-3, a monstrous hole to overcome.

Not quite.

A missed field goal. A pair of breakdowns in the secondary. A running game that cannot be trusted. It’s more than the Cardinals could overcome.

Here is an ugly statistic: Louisville is averaging 1.32 yards per carry on third down rushing plays.

The Cards’ schedule (ranked 11th toughest nationally by Jeff Sagarin’s computer formula) and miscues have been more than the Cards could handle.

Sagarin’s computer ranking Predictor formula has Louisville about 20 points better than Samford, the FCS program that visits Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium Saturday.

After that?

Sagarin’s numbers have the Cardinals solid underdogs in back-to-back road games at North Carolina State and Florida State.

The trick now will be to avoid 1-5.

3. Western Kentucky Beating Indiana

WKU senior Brandon Doughty is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Indiana’s secondary is not one of the best defensive backfields in the country.

Who could have forecast that after intercepting one pass in the Hoosiers’ first two games, the IU secondary would intercept back-to-back throws by Doughty in the third quarter?

If you take another look at the video, you’ll say that Doughty underthrew an open receiver in the end zone on the first pick and then telegraphed a throw toward the WKU sideline on the second.

Either way, Jonathan Crawford, a true freshman playing in his third college game at safety, stole both throws. Instead of getting 14, 10 or even three points on those two possessions, the Hilltoppers did not get any.

Without halfback Leon Allen, WKU looked pass heavy against the Hoosiers. If that’s the case, Doughty must make better throws.

4. Indiana Losing to WKU

Who thought the Hoosiers would be one of the final 34 unbeaten teams in the FBS division?

Not me, especially after watching Southern Illinois ring up 659 yards on IU in the season opener and get this close to beating Kevin Wilson’s team on a two-point conversion.

But the Hoosiers have shown solid resilience and poise while defeating SIU, Florida International and Western Kentucky. The return of four suspended or injured starters has upgraded the defense. The offense is balanced.

Yes, Indiana’s schedule currently ranks 130th in the Sagarin ratings. The Hoosiers are likely to face Wake Forest’s backup quarterback Saturday in Winston Salem. Las Vegas isn’t certain what to think about that. There’s no line on the game.

If the Hoosiers can get to six victories, nobody in Bloomington will care about the schedule or circumstances.

Nobody.

5. Bobby Petrino Picking a Quarterback

This Quarterback Derby has been going on for a long, long, long time at Louisville. Not back to Unitas. But close.

After the revolving door last season, which was fueled by injuries, I thought Petrino would pick his guy for 2015 and go.

Not yet. Three games. Three different starters. At some point, Petrino needs to choose a direction and make a call. Samford looks like a spot to build the confidence for the quarterback who will be asked to win on the road against North Carolina State.

6. Charlie Strong Fixing The Texas Defense

Consider these numbers. In three games this season, Texas has allowed 111 points. During the 2013 season, Strong’s final University of Louisville team allowed 158 points in 13 games.

That U of L team did not allow 111 points in its first 10 games.

Strong changed his offensive play-callers after the Longhorns scored only three points in a loss to Notre Dame. But with Texas ranking 115th in the nation in scoring defense while giving up 37 points per game, Strong needs to talk to the coaches running the Longhorns’ defense.

Starting with himself.

Keep a close eye on Charlie. His next three games are against ranked opponents – Oklahoma State, TCU and Oklahoma.

Ugly is never far away in Austin.

7. Notre Dame Losing to Georgia Tech

Losing one starter, especially the quarterback, is tricky for any team to overcome during the opening weeks of the season. Two or three is a major problem.

After three games, all wins, Notre Dame is down six starters.

Yet the Irish continue to win, including a solid performance against a formidable Georgia Tech team last Saturday in South Bend.

Next? A gimme against UMass before the Irish travel to Clemson, one of three remaining games against a ranked opponent on their schedule.

If this keeps up, keep ND coach Brian Kelly on your short list for Coach of the Year. Steven Lassan of Athlon Sports says that Notre Dame is the first team since 2012 to open a season with three wins over Power Five opponents.

8. Believing the Arkansas Pre-Season Hype

The smartest thing I can do next summer is save the $30 I blew on the pre-season magazines. Everybody was talking up Bret Bielama’s Arkansas team, even though the Razorbacks had won only 2 of their last 16 games in the Southeastern Conference.

Toss in an inconsequential beatdown of Texas in a bowl game and Arkansas was a consensus pre-season Top 25 pick.

Not exactly.

Couldn’t beat Toledo. Couldn’t beat Texas Tech.

The only guy who looks worse than the people who picked the Razorbacks is Arkansas coach Bret Bielama. He used to love hanging 80 points on the dregs of the Big Ten when he coached Wisconsin. I doubt Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury is the only opposing coach who thinks Bielama talks too much.

If this keeps up, keep Bielama on your short list for Dweeb of the Year.

9. Picking the Washington Nationals to Win the World Series

The Nationals are not officially toast in their quest to overtake the Mets in the National League East, but they should be extra crispy by week’s end.

With about a $64 million starting rotation featuring Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister.

Moral of the story: Pitching and payroll are not everything.

10. Poll Results

Last week’s question was straightforward:

Have you downgraded your forecast for the Louisville football team after the losses to Auburn and Houston?

Yes – 83 percent

No – 17 percent.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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