BOZICH | Monday Muse: Diving into Louisville's pre-season poll love & skeptics
Five voters in AP poll put Louisville in the Top 12 -- and five excluded the Cards from the Top 25. How high have the last 10 national champions started the season? More Monday Muse goodies.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When you vote in the Associated Press college football or basketball polls, the customers always write.
E-mails. Tweets. Message board love letters. Three-page manifestos. Gift packages (I once received a Nebraska Cornhuskers Thermos from a fan determined to help me love the Huskers.)
Part of the game. There's no crying in polling.
With all the polls currently in the barn, it's a perfect opening snap for the Monday Muse.
1. Who REALLY likes this Louisville football team?
The Associated Press pre-season college football Top 25 arrived Sunday. Bobby Petrino's team, his third at the University of Louisville, was ranked 19th, third among teams representing the Atlantic Coast Conference.
It's two spots higher than where I have the Cards -- and in the neighborhood of where they have been placed in the pre-season magazines.
But there are 61 AP voters. Some like Louisville more than most like Louisville.
Who are the five voters who believe that Louisville will be fabulous and see the Cards as a BUY stock?
Here are the five who gave the Cardinals' their best pre-season ranking (Send them a Thermos):
*Jeff Miller, Orange County (Calif.) Register: His seat at the 50-yard line is secure. He's got Louisville 9th, ahead of Tennessee, Notre Dame and Michigan State. Nobody like U of L more than Miller.
*Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times & Ross Dellenger, Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate. They've each placed the Cards, 10th.
*Joe Dubin, WSNT-TV, Nashville. He’s got the Cards 11th, ahead of Notre Dame, Iowa and Ole Miss.
*Bill Landis, Cleveland Plain-Dealer. Make it 12 for Landis, who ranks the Cards ahead of Houston and Iowa.
No reason to supply e-mails for those guys. Love letters are generally generated by those who know they're right and you're stupid
You can find every ballot by clicking this link.
2. Who has questions about this Louisville football team?
Not everybody is convinced Louisville is a Top 12 team. Heck, not everybody is convinced the Cardinals are a Top 25 team.
Five voters left Louisville off their pre-season ballots. I'm guessing you'd also like their names -- to send them an even nicer Thermos.
I'll keep it simple. The five skeptics, their affiliations and the names of several teams they ranked ahead of Louisville.
*Adam Jude, Seattle Times: Nebraska 25, San Diego State 18.
*Ed Johnson, Albuquerque Journal: San Diego State 25, Texas A&M 18. (Did you miss the Music City Bowl, Ed? Asking for a friend.)
*Rob Long, WJFK radio, Baltimore: Western Kentucky 25, Toledo 24. (A lifetime supply of red towels.)
*Dave Southorn, The Idaho Statesman: Wisconsin 22, Miami 18.
*Marq Burnett, SEC Country: Utah 25, Northwestern 21.
Craft your love letter at your own peril.
3. What's the value of being ranked 19th?
One of the first things I did after seeing the AP numbers was look for the name of the team was ranked 19th in the AP pre-season poll last season.
It was Oklahoma.
I'll pause while you exhale.
The Sooners enjoyed a fabulous season -- until they ran into Clemson in the national semifinals. But OU proved it is possible to upgrade from a seat in the 19th row to a seat at the Final Four.
It can be done. Here is the rest of the story from the last five seasons. Two teams finished the year with a higher ranking. Two slid out of the Top 25. Georgia started where it finished five seasons ago.
The rundown on the last five teams ranked 19th prior to the first kickoff and how they finished the season:
2015 -- Oklahoma, 5th in the playoff.
2014 -- Arizona State, 15th, 9-3.
2013 -- Boise State, 8-5, unranked
2012 -- Oklahoma State, 8-5, unranked.
2011 -- Georgia, 19th, 10-4
4. AP pre-season ranking last 10 national champions
Where do college football national champions come from -- and I don't simply mean from the Southeastern Conference?
Typically, they come from the pre-season top five. That is where seven of the last 10 were ranked in the AP pre-season poll. Two of the last 10 started outside the top 10.
If you're making your list of the likely 2016 winner, I'd nominate Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Florida State or Louisiana State.
2015 Alabama, pre-season No. 3.
2014 Ohio State, No. 5.
2013 Florida State No. 11.
2012 Alabama, No. 2.
2011 Alabama, No. 2.
2010 Auburn, No. 22.
2009 Alabama, No. 5.
2008 Florida, No. 5.
2007 LSU, No. 2.
2006 Florida, No. 7.
5. Opening week point spread trends
It's unrealistic to expect major movement in Las Vegas lines for the first week of the season until we move into game week.
But let's look anyway at VegasInsiders.com, in case the wise guys are seeing things the rest of us are missing:
Charlotte at Louisville, Sept. 1: The Cardinals were favored to edge the 49ers by 39 ½ points when this game opened on May 18 -- and that's still the call.
Indiana at FIU, Sept. 1: The Hoosiers opened as three-point favorites in early May and moved to an 8-point pick by late June. They're still the choice by 9 as they have been since Aug. 9
Rice at Western Kentucky, Sept. 1: It's unusual for a team to be favored by 17 in a conference game on opening weekend, but WKU has stirred that kind of confidence from oddsmakers.
Southern Miss at Kentucky, Sept. 3: The Wildcats opened as 7 1/2-point favorites on May 18. The number slipped to 6 ½ last Thursday.
For entertainment purposes only, of course, here are all the opening week lines.
6. Charlotte 49ers football: Anybody home?
I don't want to say the Charlotte 49ers, Louisville's opening opponent, are a footnote in their own market, but I don't know what other description fits.
I went to the website of the Charlotte Observer, searching for news on the 49ers.
I found Olympic coverage. I found lots of copy on the Charlotte Panthers. I found Duke and North Carolina goodies. I found high school reports.
I found a story on the South Carolina Gamecocks.
I uncovered a story on Scottie Montgomery, East Carolina's new coach.
But Charlotte, the team that visits Louisville in 10 days?
The last story I found on the 49ers was about this one about the team's fifth-year seniors.
7. Keeping an eye on Florida State
If the Charlotte Observer isn’t worried about the 49ers, why should burn another Monday Muse item on Louisville’s season opener?
I won’t – not with Florida State going down another quarterback.
A week after the Seminoles said that Sean McGuire, a possible starter, was out with foot issues, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said Malik Henry, his prime freshman QB, was out because of an indefinite suspension. (The link.)
The Noles still have Deondre Francois, a talented redshirt freshman, so it’s not like they’ll be forced to play Chris Weinke or Danny Kanell.
But I’m guessing that isn’t the way Jimbo wanted training camp to work.
8. Vandy is Vandy
Vanderbilt fans don't like those three words.
I know. I've said them a few times and have the e-mails and voice messages to prove it.
But part of the Vandy is Vandy story-line revolves around moments like this: Paul Myerberg of USA Today is a fierce student of college football. He studies every team and uses that investment of time and analysis to rank all 128 FBS teams prior to the season.
He watched and studied Vanderbilt.
Myerberg ranked the Commodores 113.
That is last in the SEC, 42 spots behind Kentucky and 18 behind Missouri, the second-worst team in the SEC.
Derek Mason, the Vandy coach, was not pleased. This is what Mason told Adam Sparks of the Nashville Tennessean:
"With that USA Today article, we're mad. We've got a chip on our shoulders, offensively, defensively, special teams. That's a slap in the face and a kick in the mouth."
Vandy, for the record, visits WKU Sept. 24 and UK Oct. 8.
9. John Calipari's latest literary effort
It's certainly a coincidence that Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari has matched Rick Pitino book for book on the business/motivational side of the game.
No surprise at the announcement last week that Calipari's latest effort -- "Success is the Only Option," -- will be released in November.
But I was sure Calipari would go with something like "The 23-Hour Contract."
Just for funsies.
10. Poll Results
Which is the more impressive Olympic achievement?
Michael Phelps, 200-IM four-peat 70.8 percent
Usain Bolt, 100-meter dash three-peat, 28.2 percent
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