BOZICH | Monday Muse: No. 7 a lucky spot for Louisville? Brohm, - WDRB 41 Louisville News

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BOZICH | Monday Muse: No. 7 a lucky spot for Louisville? Brohm, OG, Maybin updates

Posted: Updated:
Rick Bozich looks back at mid-season college football polls from 2014 and 2015. Rick Bozich looks back at mid-season college football polls from 2014 and 2015.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Only 69 shopping days until Christmas and 15 until the release of the first 2016 College Football Playoff rankings.

What Bobby Petrino and his University of Louisville players want as a gift on Dec. 25 will start to come into focus at 7 p.m. Nov. 1 when the 12-person playoff committee releases its first set of rankings.

That means U of L has two more cracks to dazzle the committee — and hope for  a stumble by one, two or more of the six teams ranked ahead of the Cardinals.

But seven, the spot the Cards are currently ranked, is not an awful number. Why not?

Well, I’d advise you to follow the Game Plan and read the Monday Muse.

1. Seventh Heaven

I make no promises. I am not predicting that the University of Louisville football team will lunge forward from its current spot as the No. 7 team in the Associated Press and USA Today coaches’ college football polls to make the four-team national playoff.

But I’m also reporting this tidbit to folks who are counting the Cardinals out because they’re unlikely to overtake Clemson and win the Atlantic Coast Conference championship:

We are eight weeks into the season. I checked the AP poll at the eight-week mark in 2014 and 2015, the only seasons of the four-team playoff.

Last season that No. 7 team was Michigan State. The Spartans made the playoff before losing to national champion Alabama.

In 2014, the team ranked seventh was Alabama. The Crimson Tide made the playoff before losing to national champion Ohio State.

It gets better. Last season none of the Top 5 at the eight-week mark in the AP poll made the playoff. Here is where the four playoff teams were ranked at the eight-week mark:

AP: Clemson 6, Michigan State 7, Alabama 8, Oklahoma 17.

Coaches: Michigan State 4, Clemson 6, Alabama 8, Oklahoma 15.

In 2014, the eventual national champion — Ohio State — had not rebounded from its loss to Virginia Tech enough to crack the Top 10 by mid-October.

Here is where the four 2014 playoff teams were ranked at the eight-week mark:

AP: Florida State 2, Alabama 7, Oregon 9, Ohio State 13.

Coaches: Florida State 2, Alabama 7, Oregon 9, Ohio State 13.

And none of those teams had the star power of Lamar Jackson (except for 2014 Florida State and Jameis Winston.)

Play the next play. And set your DVR for Nov. 1.

2. Unbeaten Watch — Week Nine

Louisville needs help. Specifically, Louisville needs the six teams ranked ahead of them to lose. At least two will lose by season’s end because Texas A&M meets Alabama this weekend and Michigan and Ohio State collide next month.

There are currently 11 unbeatens remaining. In order, according to the betting lines in Las Vegas, here is the potential stumble list for this weekend:

Texas A&M underdog by 16 1/2 points at Alabama.  Bye-bye Aggies.

West Virginia favored by 4 1/2 at home vs. TCU. Could happen. Could.

Boise State favored by 9 1/2 at home vs. BYU. Might happen.

Alabama favored by 16 1/2 at home vs. Texas A&M. Won’t happen.

Ohio State favored by 21 at Penn State. Not going to happen.

Nebraska favored by 23 1/2 at home vs Purdue. Nope.

Western Michigan favored by 23 1/2 at home vs. Eastern Michigan. Move along.

Washington favored by 31 1/2 at home vs Oregon State. Haha.

Michigan favored by 34 at home vs. Illinois. Serious questions only, please.

Clemson idle.

Baylor idle.

3. Losing Style (Polling) Points.

Yes, beating Duke by 10 after the world expected Louisville to win by 35 hurt the University of Louisville football team.

The Cards stayed seventh in both the AP and USA Today polls. But they lost ground in the polls to teams ranked ahead of them, especially idle Texas A&M and Washington.

Last week, Louisville trailed Texas A&M by 9 poll points and Washington by 93.

This week the Cards are 50 points behind the Aggies and 136 behind the Huskies.

The numbers made a similar move in the coaches’ poll. The gap with A&M grew from 55 to 80 and from 128  to 159.

The playoff committee is a different beast. They’re expected to take a more thoughtful, less impulsive look at the teams. Non-conference schedule is supposed to be a big deal.

But human nature is human nature. Both media folks (AP) and coaches (USA Today) docked Louisville for a close game. It should not be surprising.

4. Louisville > Clemson

I don’t know Dieter Kurtenbach. I’ve never met him. I don’t remember reading many of his stories. I don’t follow him on Twitter. I don’t think he’s trying to unseat Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com in the battle for Most Favored Nation status among U of L administrators.

But Kurtenbach might get an audience after his latest offering at FoxSports.com.

I can reduce the column to several sentences: Clemson looked bad beating North Carolina State. It wasn’t the first time that Clemson huffed and puffed this season. It’s fair to say Louisville is better than Clemson.

It might be fair to say it, but I doubt that will be the view of the playoff committee. I also doubt many Louisville fans would embrace that view if the roles of the two programs were reversed.

But that is what Kurtenbach wrote — and you can read it by clicking this link.

5. Would Jeff Brohm be a good fit at Purdue?

Western Kentucky coach Jeff Brohm is not the first coach that insiders mention when they start dropping names that Purdue will look at to replace Darrell Hazell as the school’s football coach.

No, the name you hear first is Les Miles because a guy with Big Ten ties who won a national title at LSU is going to kick up bigger headlines even though he will turn 63 next month and got fired last month.

The Hot Young Coach list is topped by P.J. Fleck, who is doing great things at Western Michigan.

But Brohm’s name has cracked the next tier — as it should. He knows the passing game — and Purdue is a school that has sold itself as the place that produced Len Dawson, Bob Griese, Mike Phipps, Gary Danielson, Jim Everett and Drew Brees in its proud like of quarterbacks.

Purdue is not an easy job. Not a great recruiting base. So-so facilities. Tougher than most Power 5 school academics. 

But the Boilermakers have a spot in the softer (West) side of the Big Ten and they’ve been down long enough that the next coach has a chance to look good.

Here is a link to one story that features Brohm as a candidate.

6. The Maybin Report

I was surprised to see former University of Louisville basketball player and current radio talk show host Marques Maybin in the press box for Louisville’s game with Duke Friday.

Not that Maybin does not follow U of L football. He does.

But Maybin’s son, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, plays linebacker at Tennessee. He was voted pre-season first-team SEC and expected to be drafted no later than the second round in the 2017 NFL Draft.

On Saturday, Tennessee played host to Alabama.

I asked Maybin if he was bound for Knoxville.

No, sir. Maybin said Jalen was in Florida, recovering from a season-ending shoulder surgery. He has played his final game for the Vols.

“It’s football,” Maybin said. “It’s just football.” (Link to a story about the injury.)

(And a link to the story that Matt English and I did on Marques Maybin in July. You should look at it, Marques.)

7. Three-Star Mania in Chapel Hill

I can only imagine how Kentucky fans would react if John Calipari’s next recruiting class featured not one, not two but three recruits who have only earned 3-stars from rivals.com.

I don’t know if Roy Williams is tired of fighting Duke, UK and Arizona for the best of the best, but the recruiting numbers on UNC’s 2017 class are, well, interesting.

With the commitment over the weekend by Ohio big man Sterling Manley, UNC now has oral commitments by a trio of three-star guys, plus five-star guard Jalek Felton.

Not exactly Hansbrough, Ellington, Lawson and Thompson. But as my next item should remind everybody, recruiting guys do a lot of wishing, guessing and hoping that they did not get it wrong.

8. The OG Report

I just finished a 2,200-word story on Indiana forward OG Anunoby that will run in the college basketball preview edition of Basketball Times. I’m not going to scoop myself, but I will share one anecdote from Anunoby’s father, OG Sr.

Anunoby was one of the lowest rated recruits in the Big Ten last season (No. 280 composite by 247Sports), but he did take at least two other official recruiting trips before visiting IU. 

On one trip (Mr. Anunoby declined to identify the school), the players in that program and Anunoby moved into the coach’s yard for a game of baseball. Anunoby said that his son threw the ball so well that the basketball coach told him that if that school’s baseball coach ever saw OG throw a baseball he’d steal him for his team. 

Dad was not surprised. He thought OG’s best game was baseball. Anunoby excelled as a pitcher and center fielder through the ninth grade. Then he gave up football, baseball and track to concentrate on hoops.

9. The Tebow Report

I enjoyed Tim Tebow as a college quarterback at Florida. Tough, determined, productive. No joy to try to tackle.

I was entertained by the drama that surrounded him an an NFL quarterback. He won more games than he should have won. He made Skip Bayless a star. He should have found a spot as a part-time fullback or tight end in the pros.

But baseball?

You didn’t have be Tony LaRussa to smell failure coming from right field. You don’t skip years of development time and then just wander into the batter’s box and look like Mike Trout.

Ask Drew Henson, Josh Booty, Brandon Weeden, Quincy Carter, Chris Weinke, Joe Borchard and the others who thought they’d dabble in baseball when football wasn’t looking so wonderful for them.

Here are Tebow’s numbers with the Mets in the Arizona Fall League:

11 plate appearances, two walks, no hits, three strikeouts.

We can calculate his batting average together: 0 divided by 9 at bats is .000.

According to this story at the New York Daily News, one scout compared his skills in the outfield to Bugs Bunny and others suggested signing Tebow was just a ploy to sell tickets and merchandise.

You don't say.

10. Poll Results

A loss by which of these four teams would most improve Louisville’s chances of making the college football playoff?

Washington 69.1 percent

Clemson 13.7 percent

Michigan 9.5 percent

Ohio State 7.7 percent

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