BOZICH | Monday Muse: Missing Louisville rival? Was 'robotic' On - WDRB 41 Louisville News

  • What annual game would you add to the University of Louisville's football schedule?

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    20 votes
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BOZICH | Monday Muse: Missing Louisville rival? Was 'robotic' Onuaku unhappy?

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Rick Bozich presents his latest take on college football, college basketball and the home run Derby. Rick Bozich presents his latest take on college football, college basketball and the home run Derby.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Spirits soared across the South Monday. Southeastern Conference football media days began its four-day run in Birmingham.

Adam Duvall, a slugger from Louisville, will swing his Louisville Slugger in the MLB Home Run Derby Monday night in San Diego. The NBA Summer League rages in Las Vegas.

Who says these are the dog days of summer? Monday Muse strongly disagrees.

1. Louisville’s Missing Rival

After several seasons of pretending the Michigan-Notre Dame football games was nothing more than a shrug, the Wolverines and Fighting Irish finally acknowledged how silly they’d been acting.

A sizzling series that disappeared after the 2014 season will resume in 2018 because Michigan vs. Notre Dame is simply one of those games that should be on the schedule every season.

Jim Harbaugh understands what Brady Hoke did not understand.

That inspired me to start asking this question:

Is there a program that has departed the University of Louisville schedule that you’d love to see return to the Cardinals’ calendar?

It’s tricky. Louisville has moved into its fourth conference since the program became ultra serious about football during the Howard Schnellenberger Era three decades ago.

With the jump to the Atlantic Coast Conference, there’s the sense the program has outgrown several rivals it once played. Kentucky is still there – and the game has moved to the final slot of the season, the traditional spot for a rivalry game.

But if you could add one former rival to the Louisville schedule, which one would it be? Here are the nominees:

*Cincinnati. The schools have played 54 times. It’s an easy road trip located in prime recruiting territory. UC remains an ambitious program, although the coaching departures of Mark Dantonio, Brian Kelly and Butch Jones make it difficult to keep the faith.

*Memphis. Another rivalry with history, a history that began in 1948 and includes 43 games. Memphis basketball and football was part of the Louisville sports fabric for so many seasons it seems as if the programs never had the proper chance to say goodbye.

*West Virginia. The Cardinals and Mountaineers have only played 13 times, but so many of the games were compelling that it seems as if they played every year.

There was Schnellenberger’s introductory game in 1985. The triple overtime classic in 2005. Upsetting the third-ranked Mountaineers in 2006. Charlie Strong’s breakthrough victory in 2011.

Those are your choices. Or you can simply say you’re fine with Kentucky and an eight-game ACC schedule.

2. Louisville’s Potent Offensive Legacy

Expectations are percolating that Louisville’s offense will be more prolific than the offense the Cardinals have played the last two seasons since coach Bobby Petrino returned from Western Kentucky.

Lamar Jackson is the quarterback. Big things are expected. The collection of receivers is deep and talented. The running backs are solid. The offensive line needs to make a jump.

A reminder of Louisville’s offensive legacy arrived with this Tweet by @PickSixPreviews. Somebody ran the numbers on the highest scoring offenses in college football over the last 20 seasons. Louisville ranked 12th during that period, averaging 31.95 points per game.

That’s better than Florida, Clemson, LSU, Alabama, Virginia Tech, Miami and many other programs.

It’s also better than the numbers the Cardinals have generated the last two seasons – 31.2 in 2014 and 28.7 last season.

3. Any Top 100 Players in The House?

Sports Illustrated is ranking the Top 100 players in college football this season because that’s what web sites must do when we’re still nearly two months from the first batch of games.

The countdown has finally reached the top 10, a group likely to include guys like Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, LSU halfback Leonard Fournette and Stanford all-purpose star Christian McCaffery.

I had to ask: Did any local players make the cut?

I found two – Indiana offensive guard Dan Feeney (ranked 61st) and Louisville linebacker Devonte Fields (at 44).

If you’re convinced that SI forgot somebody, make your case and send me an email at

4. Adam Duvall vs. The World

If you predicted former Butler High School and University of Louisville baseball player would slug his way to the Home Run Derby Monday night in San Diego, you did not share the prediction with me.

I didn’t have Duvall there. Like the Reds, I thought he would share left field in Cincinnati in a platoon arrangement.

Now, 23 home runs and 61 runs batted in later, Duvall is one of eight players who will compete in the Home Run Derby at Petco Park, matched against Will Myers of the Padres.

What does Las Vegas say about Duvall’s chances of winning the title former Red Todd Frazier won last season?

Duvall is listed as a slight underdog against Myers. If you bet $100 on Duvall, you’d win $100 plus your wager. If you like Myers, you’d have to wager $135 to win $100.

Overall, Duvall is tied with Myers as the fourth betting choice in the eight-player field. A wager of $100 will return $650.

For entertainment purposes only, of course.

5. Does Chinanu Onuaku Have A Complaint?

The Houston Chronicle posted a story prior to the start of the NBA Summer League about the presence of the Rockets’ two frontcourt players from the University of Louisville – rookie center Chinanu Onuaku and Montrezl Harrell, a second-year forward.

Inevitably one sentence jumped off the screen from the fourth paragraph of the story. It comes from Onuaku. This is what Aaron Reiss wrote:

“Less than five minutes into his own interview, his first in a Rockets uniform, Onuaku said he was looking forward to playing in the NBA, where he won't ‘feel like a robot’ the way he did in college.”

The story, which you can read by clicking this link, provides no further explanation from Onuaku.

But that wasn’t the first time Onuaku said something that I would file under warm and fuzzy. Keep an eye on Houston.

Onuaku’s numbers – two points, eight rebounds – were a bit robotic in the Rockets’ summer league game against Sacramento Sunday. He played about 18 ½ minutes and managed only three shots.

6. Bluegrass Boys Head to New Albany

Looking for a live basketball fix?

Coach Michael Stinnett has you covered. The Bluegrass Boys team of former local college stars, primarily from Kentucky, will play an exhibition game Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Scribner Middle School in New Albany, Ind.

The team features former UK stars Joe Crawford, Perry Stevenson, Erik Daniels and Ramel Bradley as well Scotty Hopson (Tennessee) and Brian Williams. More information on the game is available if you click on this link.

7. From Preps to Pros

Kevin Garnett did it. So did Kobe Bryant. And LeBron James.

Once upon a time, players were cleared to fly directly from high school to the NBA. That changed about a decade ago. Now players are essentially required to play one season in college, although guys like Thon Maker and Emmanuel Mudiay have dribbled their way around that rule.

Today most of the conversation has been about requiring players to invest two years in college basketball. They’d enter the NBA as more mature and developed products, which would help the quality of the NBA game as well as college basketball.

But there is also another way being discussed: A return to players having the opportunity to skip college ball and take an immediate shot at the NBA.

Rob Dauster of presented his take in this story.

As I’ve said before, I’m for the baseball rule. If you don’t want to go to school, take the professional route out of high school. But once you commit to the college game, you’re committed for three seasons. You make the call.

8. Does Football Need A Combine for Underclassmen?

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and Nick Saban of Alabama don’t agree on many things, but this is one idea that appears to bind them:

An NBA-style combine for underclassmen that would allow players to make intelligent decisions about leaving school and heading to the NFL.

Basketball upgraded its decision-making process this year. Underclassmen had nearly an extra month to choose their paths. They were allowed to participate in a combine in Chicago in mid-May before they were required to make a decision about remaining in the draft.

Several players, like former Kentucky forward Marcus Lee, Nigel Hayes of Wisconsin and Melo Trimble of Maryland, played in Chicago and then chose to return to college. Good for them.

Meyer believes the football process could be improved by providing the players with more opportunities to collect better information. Ohio State lost nine underclassmen after the 2015 season, but two of Meyer’s players were not drafted.

You can read his take at this story from

9. IU’s Josh Newkirk Makes Top Transfer List

Replacing Yogi Ferrell as Indiana’s point guard will be the most challenging assignment for a newcomer in Big Ten basketball next season. The job falls to Josh Newkirk, who played two seasons at Pittsburgh before transferring to IU last summer.

The eyes of college basketball are already on Newkirk. Joe Boozell of lists Newkirk as one of seven transfers to watch for the 2016-17 season. Boozell says that Indiana appears to be “a point guard away from being a serious contender.”

Word from IU’s summer drills has been positive on Newkirk’s development. He’s a solid defender and ball-handler who has reworked his jump shot with the assistance of The Shot Doctor – IU assistant coach Tim Buckley.

10. Poll Results

Will former U of L baseball player be named to the National League All-Star team?

Yes – 75.6 percent

No – 24.4 percent.

Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

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