BOZICH | Monday Muse: Charlie's mistake? Lamar Heisman lead; Car - WDRB 41 Louisville News

  • What is the biggest threat to Lamar Jackson's chances of winning the 2016 Heisman Trophy?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts
    26%
    166 votes
    Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers
    20%
    132 votes
    Washington quarterback Jake Browning
    5%
    32 votes
    Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson
    16%
    107 votes
    Texas halfback D'Onta Foreman
    2%
    16 votes
    The Kentucky defense
    31%
    201 votes

BOZICH | Monday Muse: Charlie's mistake? Lamar Heisman lead; Cards' Bahamas threat

Posted: Updated:
Charlie Strong could have been a legend in Louisville. He had a different plan. Charlie Strong could have been a legend in Louisville. He had a different plan.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Say this about Charlie Strong: He’s consistently been a winning topic in my Monday Muse.

Strong has coached 36 games at Texas — and there’s been reason to take the temperature about his future in Austin about 35 times.

Now I’ll have to find another Go-To Topic because Charlie Strong is about to learn what John Mackovic, Fred Akers and David McWilliams found out:

Don’t mess with Texas (football fans).

Let’s get to the Muse.

1. Charlie’s Folly

Charlie Strong had a chance to build a legacy at the University of Louisville. Could have stayed for years. He decided that he preferred to build a portfolio.

Now the final chapter of his career story is off to rewrite.

It didn’t have to be that way. 

At Louisville, Strong had all the pieces that he needed to succeed and make his name as significant as Camp, Schnellenberger or anybody who has coached at U of L.

His athletic director, Tom Jurich, gave him everything, including (most importantly) his first opportunity.

Fans were crazy about him. Players wanted to play for him, especially guys from Florida, his recruiting sweet spot. He developed three 2014 first-round draft picks from his final U of L team. 

His program was moving closer to auto-pilot, winning 23 of 26 games in the final two of his four seasons as a Cardinal. His national platform was primed to expand as Louisville moved into the ACC, providing signature games with Clemson and Florida State every season.

Wasn’t enough.

It’s never enough for so many guys who coach at the highest level of the college game. It’s part of their competitive DNA. Schnellenberger and John L. Smith made the same mistake. Heck, Nick Saban thought the best thing to do was coach the Miami Dolphins. 

I get it. That’s how those guys separate themselves. Strong waited so long for his first head coaching shot, who could blame him for accepting when one of the five best jobs in the game offered an opportunity to an African-American coach.

But Texas was a terrible decision for Strong — and many people said so before he announced he was going.

Texas expects perfection — and improvement from that point.

At Texas, Strong needed to scrub the locker room and culture. Players departed. He made shaky decisions on his coaching staff, crushing any continuity. Defense, his calling card, became a mystery to Strong. 

He lost games that a Texas coach cannot lose. Five by at least three touchdowns in 2014. Iowa State 24, Texas 0 last season. Four opponents scored 45 or more to start this season.

Kansas 24, Texas 21 on Saturday was The End. That made Strong 16-20. Texas fans expect 16-2.

Now Charlie Strong will get his buyout check for about $10.7 million.

But he’ll never have the legacy he would have had if Strong had stayed at Louisville.

2. Where will Jeff Brohm coach next season?

The college football coaching carousel is about to take off like Jimmie Johnson chasing a checkered flag.

LSU needs a coach. So do Purdue and Baylor. Add Texas to the list and probably Oregon.

North Carolina State, Illinois and Cincinnati are possibilities.

Once the music begins, the map will light up because Florida State, Houston and other jobs could open if Jimbo Fisher and Tom Herman chose to cash in.

Jeff Brohm is intelligent, creative, dedicated, driven, seasoned and poised. He has represented Western Kentucky like a champion.

He’s also successful, proving more this season with an unproven quarterback and rebuilt defense than he did the last two seasons with Brandon Doughty.

An athletic director will see that and realize the Brohm can help his program win.

Which one?

Too soon to tell. But keep your eye on Cincinnati.

The Bearcats could be looking for a replacement for Tommy Tuberville. They showed they could win with Butch Jones, Brian Kelly and Mark Dantonio. Brohm knows the recruiting area as well the competition in the American Athletic Conference. 

3. Bowl Projections

Bowl projections will be everywhere for the next two weeks. Be prepared. Play matchmaker. I did.

Louisville vs. Michigan in the Orange Bowl.

Kentucky vs. an ACC team in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.

Indiana vs. a Pac-12 team in the Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara, Calif.

Western Kentucky vs. Memphis in the Boca Raton Bowl.

4. Heisman Contenders Still Chasing Lamar

On a night when Louisville would have benefited from having Superman, Batman and Flash at quarterback in Houston, Lamar Jackson played more like Jimmy Olsen than he has all season.

He took 11 sacks. A mortal quarterback would have taken at least 20. He fumbled. He completed less than 47 percent of his passes.

It was not a Heisman moment — with national TV cameras catching every negative-yardage play.

If Jackson was being chased by Melvin Gordon, Andrew Luck or Darren McFadden in this Heisman Trophy race, he might be at risk of being overtaken.

But he isn’t.

Jackson’s top challengers?

Jalen Hurts, Alabama’s freshman quarterback? Michigan linebacker Jabrill Jabrill Peppers? Washington quarterback Jake Browning? Texas running back D’Onta Foreman?

It’s still Jackson — and the field. He’s still had the best season. This race won’t get interesting unless he has a meltdown game Saturday against the Kentucky defense, the one that Jackson overwhelmed last season.

5. Poll Results I

Where will Louisville be ranked in the College Football Playoff Poll Tuesday?

No. 11 or lower 40.6 percent

No. 10 20.5 percent

No. 9 16.6 percent

No. 8 12.8 percent

No. 7 5.8 percent

No. 6 or higher 3.7 percent

6. Beware Wichita State, Not Michigan State

The promotional material suggests that Michigan State is supposed to be the biggest threat to Louisville at the eight-team Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in in the Bahamas this week.

Don’t believe the hype. 

Michigan State (2-2) was routed by Kentucky in New York last week and blew out Florida Gulf Coast by one point in East Lansing Sunday.

I dropped the Spartans from my Top 25 ballot in the Associated Press college basketball poll. No inside game, no real threat. Denzel Valentine’s not walking through that door.

Louisville is the team to beat. The Cards’ biggest threat is the team they’re likely to play in the semifinals — Wichita State, which routed Long Beach State, 92-55, and Tulsa, 80-53.

7. Tony Bennett’s Powerful Statement

If you were making a list of college basketball coaches willing to boot their best inside player off the team barely a week into the season, which guys would you include?

I’m waiting.

Tony Bennett of Virginia moved to the head of the line over the weekend.

Ask Austin Nichols, the guy who was supposed to lead the Cavaliers in rebounding and maybe scoring, too, this season.

Nichols is officially an ex-Cavalier. Bennett dismissed him for at least his second "violation of team rules." Nichols was an excellent player at Memphis who transferred and sat out last season in Charlottesville.

Now his UVa legacy will fall short of Jeff Lamp and Ralph Sampson. He scored 11 points in his only game.

"As a coach, you don't want to do hard things, unless you think it's the right thing for your team and for a young man involved,'' Bennett said after Virginia beat Yale 62-38. ''It's just one of those situations. We always talk about there's a standard we have.

"Certainly showing compassion and grace, but there's also accountability and truth that comes with every situation, and with this case, that's how we dealt with it with Austin. I love Austin. My hope is that this will be a turning point for him and he'll take the right steps.'' (Link to story about Bennett's decision.)

How many other coaches would have made that call?

8. Taking a Whack at ESPN

Like every media institution, ESPN is scrambling to determine and secure its place over the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years.

Cord-cutting, mobile devices, competition from other sources … you know all the factors.

But here is an interesting take on what ails the four-letter network: Political bias.

Ben Shapiro of The Daily Wire delivered this column wondering if ESPN has lost viewers because of the network tilts toward the Left, citing its praise of Caitlyn Jenner, National Anthem protestors and several other items.

You might disagree — or be nodding your head. It’s worth a read. (Click here.)

9. Number One Seed’s Most Embarrassing Moment

A Number One seed has never lost to a Number 16 seed in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament.

But results from the NCAA men’s soccer tournament suggests it’s going to happen.

Why?

Top-seed and unbeaten Maryland lost its opening match, blowing a 4-1 second-half lead before stumbling to Providence, 5-4.

Technically, that is not a 1-seed losing to a 16. The soccer field is 48 teams, not 64. So Providence would likely be closer to a 12-seed. 

But the point remains relevant.

It’s also beneficial for the University of Louisville, the overall 4 seed, With the Terps eliminated, the Cardinals are the highest-seeded team remaining on the left side of the bracket.

10. Which team should be Number One in the AP college basketball poll?

Kentucky 44.7 percent

Indiana 25.2 percent

Villanova 14 percent

North Carolina 9.5 percent

Louisville 5 percent

Other 1.7 percent

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