BOZICH | Tuesday Muse: Can Louisville crack Clemson/Florida Stat - WDRB 41 Louisville News

  • Where will the University of Louisville football team finish in the Atlantic Division of the ACC this season?

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BOZICH | Tuesday Muse: Can Louisville crack Clemson/Florida State ceiling?

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For one week only, Rick Bozich presents the Tuesday Muse. For one week only, Rick Bozich presents the Tuesday Muse.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Sometimes the Monday Muse has one of those days. Other stories in the hopper. Loose connections. Unanswered telephone calls. Misplaced power cords. I could go on.

But I won’t – other than to say WDRB photographer Matt English and I have been working on a package about former University of Louisville basketball star Marques Maybin, who is emerging as a local radio talk show talent nearly 13 years after he suffered a terrible motorcycle accident.

That story will air (and appear on Thursday. Matt and I think you’ll not only enjoy it, you’ll learn something about Maybin’s incredible joyous spirit and perseverance.

I also hope you’ll also forgive me for presenting the Monday Muse on Tuesday.

Carry on.

1. The Clemson/Florida State Ceiling

Players and coaches from the Atlantic Coast Conference will gather in Charlotte Thursday and Friday for the league’s annual media days. I believe this is a reasonable question:

Is this the season somebody other than Florida State or Clemson wins the Atlantic Division?

That hasn’t happened since Boston College earned a tie-breaker over FSU in 2008. Over the last seven seasons, the Seminoles have won the league four times and the Tigers three.

In the last three seasons, Florida State is 17-1 in games against teams in the Atlantic Division. The loss was to Clemson last season. The Tigers are 16-2 in similar competition. They lost to FSU in 2013 and 2014.

Louisville, meanwhile, is 8-0 against North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Boston College and Syracuse, but 0-4 against FSU and Clemson.

Look for Clemson to be the pick over FSU in the ACC media vote this week. Both the Tigers and Seminoles are consensus top five picks in the pre-season publications.

2. Trap Game Warning

Bobby Petrino will likely direct me to run the steps at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, but I’ve never been good at taking it one game at a time.

Neither are the folks at They’ve made their list of 16 Trap Games for the 2016 season – and Louisville qualified.

I can’t argue.

The Cards will play host to Florida State at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium Sept. 17. Two weeks later Petrino takes his team to Clemson.

That makes Sept. 24 a prime candidate for an Open Date if I would have been advised on building the schedule. But I wasn’t.

In between the Cardinals’ two most energizing games is a game that won’t seem like fun on the final Saturday in September. Louisville is booked for Marshall.

As TheBigLead notes, the Thundering Herd have won 20 of their last 21 home games. What TheBigLead did not note was the team to win at Marshall during that 21-game stretch was Western Kentucky, which delivered a 67-66 overtime victory in 2014.

Marshall, for the record, will prep for Louisville off back-to-back home games against Morgan State and Akron.

You have been warned.

3. The Tyler Ulis Show

There were 33 players selected ahead of former Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis in the 2016 NBA Draft. Chances are more than one will be asked to justify how management let Ulis slide into the fourth pick in round two.

The only point guard who outplayed Ulis during the 2016 NBA Summer League was Tyus Jones of Minnesota – and Jones was a 2015 pick out of Duke with NBA experience.

Ulis was named to the second-team for his Las Vegas performance, where he averaged 14.5 points and 6.3 assists, igniting the Internet over the weekend by draining a deep game-winning three.

If you’re a Ulis fan, get your Phoenix Suns’ jersey now.

4. Troy Williams Equals Ben Simmons.

Former Indiana star Troy Williams did not make the first- or second-teams at the Summer League, but he might have if they had played another week.

After a slow start, Williams finished like a guy who has no plan of playing in the Developmental League or overseas.

In his final three games for Suns, Williams averaged 20.3 points and nearly seven rebounds. He attacked the rim relentlessly, drawing 24 free-throw attempts. The three-point shot needs work. Williams made four of 15. (Summer league stats link.)

But his overall Summer League scoring average (12.3) was the same as one other player – top overall pick Ben Simmons. And Williams shot a better percentage (.543 to .409)

5. Brendan McKay Watch

Corey Ray and Will Smith played their way into the first round of the MLB Free Agent Draft last month. The Cardinals have another guy who figures to continue the tradition for coach Dan McDonnell’s program next season – Brendan McKay.

But will McKay be selected as a pitcher or as a first baseman? He’s been voted the top two-way player in America the last two college seasons.

I’ve talked to several baseball observers while working on stories on former Cards Zack Burdi and Adam Engel. Their best guess?


My sources said McKay is likely to be taken in the first round as a pitcher because he is a solid left-hander with excellent control who has proven he can win the Atlantic Coast Conference. They said that as a first baseman McKay could slip to round two.

McKay had two hits for the USA Basketball national collegiate team Saturday in Japan. In an earlier series against China, McKay led the team with a .585 on-base percentage and won his only pitching decision.

6. On The Marks

Former Louisville starting pitcher Justin Marks is no longer on the top prospect lists. He’s 28 and pitching for his third professional organization – the Tampa Bay Rays.

But Marks is not ready to surrender his dream of returning to the big leagues. He proved that Saturday night by grinding through a 130-pitch no-hitter against the Syracuse Chiefs.

He struck out seven and walked two for the first nine-inning complete game of his pro career. Marks, who grew up in Owensboro, made one big-league appearance with the Royals in 2014.

"At this point in my career, I'm just focused on the next game that I can throw," Marks told Robert Emrich of "I'm still hungry to get out there and I still want to get back to the big leagues.

“At this point, I'm taking it game by game. If I can put together a couple of good starts and keep it going from there, I'm all about that. I'd be a fool to say I'm going to live off this start and this is gonna gain me anything. I just have to keep rolling and things work out.”

7. Cutting a Sharp Engel

I advised you over the weekend that former University of Louisville center fielder Adam Engel was my pick to become the sixth former Cardinal to play in the major leagues this season.

I wasn’t playing.

Neither is Engel.

Driven by a 12-game hitting streak with the Class AA Birmingham Barons, Engel played his way to a promotion Sunday, earning a spot at the top of the batting order with the Charlotte Knights, the White Sox top Class AAA farm team.

Engel kept hitting in his new environment, banging out singles in this first two at-bats Monday. He’ll be here to face the Bats at Louisville Slugger Field next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

With the White Sox tumbling out of the American League wild card race and in need of speed and another outfielder, don’t be surprised to see Engel in Chicago in September (or August).

The biggest boost to Engel’s career came last November when he went to the Arizona Fall League and left with the batting title and the MVP award.

“Confidence wise, it meant a lot,” he said. “I played in A ball before I went there. Going there, there were a lot of guys from Double-A and Triple-A.

To see how they played the game, it’s not that much different.”

8. Poll Results I

Which rivalry game would you like to restored to the University of Louisville football schedule?

West Virginia 43.5 percent

Cincinnati 37.5 percent

Nothing, it’s fine as it is 16.7 percent

Memphis 2.3 percent

9. Poll Results II

How many football games will Kentucky win this season?

Five – 43.8 percent

Four or less – 27.7 percent

Six – 21.2 percent

Seven or more – 7.3 percent

10. Poll Results III

Where will Kentucky finish in the East Division of the SEC?

Fourth – 27.4 percent

Sixth or worse – 26.8 percent

Fifth – 26.3 percent

Third or better – 19.6 percent

Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved

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