BOZICH | Monday Muse: Who's defending Heisman winner -- Lamar Jackson or Sam Darnold?
Lamar Jackson vs. Sam Darnold; Tom Crean vs. Jim Boeheim; J.J. Redick vs. Fiscal Insanity. Plenty of topics for The Monday Muse this week.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Only 54 days until the first college football weekend, but who wants to wait until the end of August to pick the national champion, the first coach fired and the Heisman Trophy winner.
Not me. Not you. Not anybody who cannot wait until Purdue vs. Louisville, Kentucky vs. Southern Mississippi, Ohio State vs. Indiana or Eastern Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky.
1. Lamar vs. Darnold & Buechele
Lamar Jackson could not be found on the Heisman Trophy Hot Sheet on July 4, 2016 -- and if you follow the hype percolating around the 2017 college football season, it's fair to ask if Jackson is the front-runner to win the Heisman again this season.
I think not.
Early reports from the Heisman Hype Machine show that USC quarterback Sam Darnold and Shane Buechele of Texas have moved to the head of the class.
Why do I think that?
Sam Darnold won the college counselor QB competition here at The Opening ... with the highest score they've ever recorded in the event.— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) June 30, 2017
Darnold just earned accolades for winning an award at a summer quarterback camp/clinic Nike operates in Portland every summer. Inside sources say he recorded the highest score in the history of the event, although the sources did not say if the history started with Unitas, Montana or Brady.
That followed the news from the previous weekend in Louisiana. Buechele, the sophomore quarterback who was just good enough as a freshman (11 picks) to help get Charlie Strong fired at Texas, won the Air-It-Out Competition at the Manning Passing Academy. (The link.)
Both guys can really throw. They're legit players. But neither is a threat to run for 21 touchdowns the way Jackson did last season, when he also threw for 30 for Bobby Petrino and Louisville.
In college football, everybody is always looking for The Next Great Thing. And that, starting with Darnold and Buechele, is something Jackson will have to overcome this season.
2. Boeheim vs. Crean
Tom Crean worked the NBA Draft podcast at The Vertical for the second consecutive season to mostly encouraging reviews. Critics applauded his preparation, insights and candor.
But Crean is learning what others who write and speak for a living discovered long ago: Candor has a price.
Crean stirred snark and anger within the Syracuse fan base after he questioned the NBA readiness of Syracuse forward Tyler Lydon, who was taken 24th by Denver and promptly traded to Utah.
Crean wondered about Lydon's ability to defend as well as his ability to make shots, even though Lydon's entire game is based on shot making.
Guess how that was received in Syracuse?
With a string of comments about the 61-50 loss that Syracuse pinned on Crean’s best IU team four years ago. Even Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim piled on, telling Syracuse.com that, "he's an idiot." (The link.)
Questioning the NBA readiness of a guy who did not rank as one of the Top 25 scorers in the Atlantic Coast Conference while averaging 13.2 points per game is hardly a Skip Bayless take.
Welcome to the media, coach. Don’t ever change.
3. Redick vs. Reality
There are 23 million way to respond to the $23 million contract former Duke star J.J. Redick is getting to leave the Los Angeles Clippers for the Philadelphia 76ers.
You can ask: Are you sure that’s for one year, not four?
Or you can note that during the 2017 playoffs, Redick was the fifth leading scorer for the fourth-best team in the Western Conference, a team that lost its opening playoff series despite having home-court advantage. This happened, in part, because Redick a shooter, made 9 shots from distance in seven games.
Or you can report that Redick's full-season scoring average was his lowest since 2013 while his turnovers were his highest since the same season.
Oh, and he turned 33 last month.
4. Hottest Seat Update: Butch Jones or Brian Kelly?
When Lincoln Riley was named the replacement for retiring Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, it was the 22nd FBS coaching position to turn over for this season. A year ago the number was 28.
It's safe to predict at least 20 jobs will flip over the next six months.
Which two fan bases are shaking the chains for change?
Athlon Sports ranks Jim Mora of UCLA, Kliff Kingsbury of Texas Tech and Paul Haynes of Kent State 1-2-3.
Street & Smith's disagrees. Completely. They go with Brian Kelly of Notre Dame, Butch Jones of Tennessee and Hugh Freeze of Ole Miss.
Phil Steele does not play the Hot Seat Game.
CoachesHotSeat.com does play it -- with daily updates. On Monday morning, the top three at that site were Freeze, Kelly and Todd Graham of Arizona State.
Former Lexington Herald-Leader sports writer shared an interesting piece. It was written by Marvin West, the legendary former sports editor of the Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel. (The link.)
West waited until the second paragraph until he labeled this season "make or break," for Jones with the Vols, noting his Southeastern Conference record is 14-18.
I'd still go with Kelly first. Notre Dame went 4-8 last season, losing to Duke, North Carolina State and Navy. Even Johnny Majors knows that's worse than 14-18 in the SEC.
5. Jim Harbaugh: Year Three Comparisons
Five years once was the standard period to take a snapshot of the work delivered by a new college football coach. Now it's five weeks.
Kevin McGuire posted this interesting tidbit at NBCSports.com:
3rd year as head coach…— Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) July 2, 2017
Saban = title @ Bama
Meyer = title at OSU
Dabo = ACC champ
Franklin = B1G champ
Harbaugh lost Sun Bowl at Stanford
In year three at Alabama, Nick Saban won the national title. Ditto for Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Dabo Swinney won an Atlantic Coast Championship at Clemson while James Franklin won a Big Ten title at Penn State.
I guess that means McGuire believes Harbaugh should be expected to win a Big Ten title (or more) this season at Michigan.
Phil Steele ranks the Wolverines 16th. They’re ninth at Street & Smith's and 10th at Athlon. Michigan still has issues at quarterback. And needs to prove it can beat Ohio State.
6. College GameDay Back to Louisville
Everything seemed possible for the University of Louisville football team when ESPN brought College GameDay to town last September -- and the Cardinals' overpowered Florida State, 63-20.
Today, I wonder if this is possible: A return trip to Louisville by the ESPN crew, or maybe a road game where the Cardinals are involved in GameDay mania.
As you'd expect, somebody has already placed a magnifying glass over the schedule and charted the most likely stop for College GameDay this season. (Link.)
But Louisville is listed as the leading Other Option on Week Three when Dabo Swinney brings his defending national champion Clemson team to town.
The competition that weekend will be significant -- Texas at USC; Miami at Florida State and Tennessee at Florida.
7. Two More Scheduled Victories
There are officially two more FBS programs cleared to take their places next to Texas State, Georgia State and other schools athletic directors will rush to recruit with a guarantee check and three-year scheduling contract.
The addition of Coastal Carolina and UAB bump the list of FBS programs to 130. (The link.)
Credit Arkansas for moving quickest on this one. The Razorbacks are the only Power Five program booked with Coastal Carolina this season, Nov. 4 in Fayetteville. Sounds like Bret Bielama has one eye on that Hot Seat List.
8. Schwarber Shakeout
Baseball announced the members of the 2017 all-star teams Sunday.
No Kris Bryant. No Anthony Rizzo. No Addison Russell. No Jason Heyward.
In fact, the World Champion Cubs will be represented by one player -- closer Wade Davis, whose World Series ring came from the Royals not the Cubs.
One other name is missing in the Cubs' all-star snub -- outfielder, catcher Kyle Schwarber, the Indiana product.
He's played eight games for Iowa since his demotion from Wrigley Field. Schwarber is not pouting. Schwarber has gotten on base in half his plate appearances, hitting four home runs in 26 at bats.
The Chicago Tribune sat down with Schwarber for this story.
9. Poll Results I
Is putting three players in the NBA Draft Lottery without winning an NCAA championship a reason for Kentucky coach John Calipari to beam or blush?
Blush 78.9 percent
Beam 21.1 percent
10. Poll Results II
Should college basketball coaches be paid bonuses for playing more difficult non-conference schedules?
No 61.9 percent
Yes 38.1 percent
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