BOZICH | U of L football underrated? Street & Smith's believes so
Louisville football underrated? Kentucky football top riser in SEC? Indiana football with first-team all-American? WKU still the pick in Conference USA?
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The college football magazines are here -- 100 days before the start of the 2017 season.
I spotted four at the local news stand Monday night. I purchased two -- Street & Smith 2017 College Football Yearbook as well as Athlon Sports' national yearbook.
Street & Smith features Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson on the cover. Athlon's national edition (at least the one available here) features four quarterbacks, but not Jackson. It does, however, include an interview I did with Jackson last month.
I'll share some goodies from the Athlon yearbook later this week. First, Five Takeaways From Street & Smith:
1. LOUISVILLE FOOTBALL IS UNDERRATED: Street & Smith's ranks the Cards No. 15 in the nation and third in the ACC Atlantic Division. If you don't rank the Cards that high, you're underrating Bobby Petrino's team.
Louisville is ranked The Most Underrated team by the yearbook, just ahead of Kansas State and Northwestern. The magazine likes the addition of Mike Summers as the offensive line coach as well as the strength of the secondary.
2. INDIANA LINEBACKER TEGRAY SCALES IS THE REAL DEAL: Two local players were named first-team all-American. One, of course, was Jackson. The other was Scales, IU's senior linebacker who led the Big Ten in tackles last season. Scales had 93 solo tackles and chose a fourth season in Bloomington over an early jump to the NFL. He can run and he can hit.
3. KENTUCKY FOOTBALL IS ON THE RISE: The magazine picks Mark Stoops' program as the team on the rise in the Southeastern Conference, noting how close the Wildcats came to finishing second in the East division last season. For the record, the Wildcats are picked fifth in the East, ahead of Missouri and Vanderbilt. That's correct: One spot behind shaky South Carolina, even though UK has beaten the Gamecocks three straight.
4. WESTERN KENTUCKY WILL REIGN ON: No Jeff Brohm, no problem. The magazine picks the Hilltoppers to win the East Division of Conference USA in coach Mike Sanford's first season and then proceed to the Boca Raton Bowl again. WKU quarterback Mike White is the magazine's selection as the league's leading Heisman Hopeful -- and he was also named the Best Tweeter in CUSA. (That's @MW_XIV, if you're ready to follow White.)
5. BOWL MANIA: WKU is not the only local program predicted to play more than a dozen games. Street & Smith's projects the Camping World Bowl for Louisville and the Birmingham Bowl for Kentucky. Indiana? Nothing encouraging to report there. The Hoosiers are not projected to be bowl eligible.
Oh, one question: What's the Camping World Bowl? It's the old Russell Athletic Bowl. It will be played in mid-December in Orlando, Fla., featuring teams from the ACC and Big 12.
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