BOZICH | Tuesday Muse: Jackson gets one vote; What's next for WK - WDRB 41 Louisville News

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BOZICH | Tuesday Muse: Jackson gets one vote; What's next for WKU, IU?

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — If you muse, you lose. News trumps muse. The muse moves slower in the holiday mail.

The truth is that Jeff Brohm’s jump from Western Kentucky to Purdue Monday forced me to call an audible on the Monday Muse, delaying it one day. But the muse must go on.

So here it is, a day late, but presented with several extra holiday bows.

1. My Vote for Lamar

I’m not supposed to say how I voted for the 2016 Heisman Trophy. You’re required to rank your top three candidates.

The first instruction on the computer ballot tells voters to click a box promising not to share their vote until after the winner is announced Saturday night in New York City.

I will play by the rules.

But I can say which player I voted for in the Associated Press balloting for Atlantic Coast Conference offensive player of the year. 

Lamar Jackson, the Louisville quarterback.

Sorry Deshaun Watson, but that was easy.

DeMarcus Walker of Florida State earned my vote for best defensive player. Duke linebacker Joe Giles-Harris was my top newcomer. Dabo Swinney of Clemson was my top coach. Those awards should be announced soon.

Eric Crawford and Mike Lacett will be in New York City this weekend for the Heisman announcement, providing wall-to-wall coverage at WDRB and I'll even tell them how I voted -- after the announcement.

2. It’s The Big Ten

When you list the coaches who have helped shape Jeff Brohm’s coaching philosophies, Howard Schnellenberger, Dennis Lampley, Tony Dungy, Mike Shanahan, Steve Mariucci and Bobby Petrino belong on the list.

They’re all at least one spot below this coach — Brohm’s Dad, Oscar.

During a furious 2 1/2-hour period Sunday afternoon when Brohm returned from Nashville after interviewing with five representatives from Baylor, he faced a challenging decision.

Remain in the hunt for the Baylor job. Accept a generous, upgraded offer from Cincinnati. Take an eye-popping offer from Purdue that would pay him about $20 million over the next six seasons. Or stay at a place he loved: WKU.

Brohm huddled with his brothers as well as his representative Shawn Freibert in Bowling Green but made certain that his father was on the speaker phone.

When it was Dad’s turn to speak his advice was simple:

“It’s the Big Ten. You don’t have to make another move to be where you want to be. You can do it there. They want the style of football that you play. They’re hungry for a guy like you. And it’s the Big Ten.”

It’s the Big Ten. Sounds like something to put on a recruiting T-shirt.

3. Indiana Summons Shawn Watson From the Bullpen

A departure for one coach means an upgrade for another. 

The locks were changed on Kevin Wilson’s head coach coaching office at Indiana last week. Tom Allen was bumped up to replace him.

But Allen has coached the improved IU defense this season. The Hoosiers need another voice on offense as they prepare to play Utah in the Foster Farms Bowl

Allen has one — Shawn Watson, the guy who earned hours of praise as Teddy Bridgewater’s offensive coordinator at the University of Louisville and just as many hours of scorn in less than two full seasons of coordinating the offense with awful quarterbacks at Texas.

Watson was the first of several fall guys Charlie Strong was forced to have while trying to save his job in Austin. He moved to IU this season and served as a quality control assistant coach, which means he mostly analyzed film and assisted with game plans.

Now Shawn Watson is back on the field, working with the offense.

Good for him. He deserved better at Texas.

4. Final U of L, UK, IU, WKU Schedule Check

Upon further review, Louisville’s football schedule looks better than it did a month ago. The Cards played seven opponents who earned bowl invitations, delivering victories against Florida State, Wake Forest, Boston College and North Carolina State.

Kentucky did nice work against teams that proceeded to bowl bids, too, winning four of nine games. On the plus side were the wins against South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Louisville. On the minus side, losses to Southern Miss, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.

Seven of Indiana’s 12 opponents qualified for bowls. The Hoosiers beat Maryland. Only Maryland. You've got work to do Shawn Watson.

WKU finished 4-3 against bowl-worthy opponents. They beat Miami (Ohio), Old Dominion and Middle Tennessee. They lost to Alabama and Vanderbilt. They split with Louisiana Tech.

5. What’s Next For WKU Football?

To the string of names percolating as Brohm’s replacement as the WKU football coach, let me add one more:

Shane Beamer, the son of former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, who once coached at Murray State. After serving as associate head coach and running backs coach for his father for five seasons, Beamer joined Kirby Smart’s first staff at Georgia as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach this season. He has also worked at South Carolina, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Georgia Tech.

Other names that have been mentioned include Ohio State offensive coordinator Ed Warinner, USC offensive coordinator Tyson Helton, Ole Miss offensive coordinator Matt Luke and Tennessee Titans quarterbacks coach Jason Michael, in addition to WKU assistants Nick Holt and Tony Levine. (For the record, Warinner's grandfather was Al Warinner, a from State Senator from Albany, Ky.

“We’ve gone 38-14 over the last four years with three bowl appearances and two conference titles,” WKU athletic director Todd Stewart said in a text message. “Have to keep the train rolling.”

6. Remembering Murderer’s Row

Remember those three teams the University of Louisville played to start its home season?

They’re not the reason the Cardinals’ strength of schedule currently ranks 41st in Jeff Sagarin’s power ratings and 43rd in Ken Pomeroy.

Evansville sits at 4-4, losing to Middle Tennessee by 11 on a neutral court. William and Mary is 3-4 and just lost to Central Michigan and Hampton by double figures. Long Beach State will carry a nine-game losing streak into its game with Pepperdine Wednesday night.

7. Whatever happened to …

Three former University of Louisville basketball players decided to dribble away to other programs in search of more playing time or maybe fewer demands to bend their knees and remain in their defensive stances.

Are they doing anything elsewhere?

You decide.

I’ll rank them in order of their current productivity:

You say Louisville needs one more perimeter shooter: Shaqquan Aaron is making shots for USC, one of 11 remaining unbeatens. 

Aaron is the Trojans’ third leading scorer at 12.4 points per game but he’s made 40 percent of his 35 shots from distance. He has not been a great rebounder and his overall field percentage (43.6) says he’s also not a guy who attacks the rim.

Forward Akoy Agau, back from knee surgery, is a sometimes starter for a mediocre Georgetown team that has lost four its first nine games. Credit Agau with 5.4 points and 3.4 rebounds. He’d still be a sub at Louisville.

Guard Anton Gill is playing his way to the bench at Nebraska. He has missed 30 of 38 shots and 15 of 20 three-pointers. That’s not going to work, even for a Nebraska team picked to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten.

8. Playoff Tidbits

Did you know that every program that has qualified for the College Football Playoff in three seasons has been a Nike school?

Or that Alabama has more playoff appearances than either the entire Big 12 or the Pac 12?

Or that the Crimson Tide are the only program from the Southeastern Conference to make the playoff, which I only mention because in the six seasons prior to the switch to the four-team festival, four SEC programs made the final game in the BCS Era — Bama, Auburn, LSU and Florida.

9. Christmas Gift Suggestions

Looking for a gift for your favorite sports fan who likes to read?

Let me make two suggestions:

The first is from Sports Illustrated — a jumbo-sized coffee table book titled, “College Football’s Greatest.” It’s packed with pictures and stories of the game’s greatest players (ranked by position), coaches (Bear Bryant ahead of Nick Saban at #1) and rivalries (Alabama-Auburn trumps Ohio State-Michigan).

Plenty to look at and then fuss about.

I will also recommend Bill Doolittle’s new and improved look at the Kentucky Derby, which debuted last spring but is packed with unforgettable photos from the first Saturday in May.

10. Poll Results

Which local college football team did the best job of exceeding expectations this season?

Kentucky 53.7 percent

WKU 31.2 percent

Indiana 7.6 percent

Louisville 7.5 percent

Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

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