BOZICH | Monday Muse: ACC vs. SEC vs. SEC vs. ACC
The ACC moved ahead of the SEC on the football field last season but the debate for 2017 is already underway. Georgia fans are hot. Do you play Beat The Streak?
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — We need games. A quarterback controversy. A scrimmage. Something.
Until further notice (several weeks), all we have is words, plenty of them uttered, recorded and transcribed at conference football media days.
I’ll make the best of it and roll into the Monday Muse.
1. ACC vs. SEC vs. SEC vs. ACC
You’ve heard the ACC talking points from last season: National champion (Clemson); Heisman Trophy winner (Lamar Jackson of Louisville) and a 10-4 edge in head-to-head competition against SEC opponents. ACC folks are happy to talk about it.
You heard Nick Saban’s back-handed compliment of Florida State and Clemson last week, touting them as teams that were constructed like SEC teams.
July is the perfect time to pound your chest and beat the drum — which is precisely what ACC folks did last week in Charlotte at the ACC Kickoff function. The league has a football presence to match the muscle it has long delivered in basketball.
But the SEC is hardly ready to punt, not after winning eight national titles from 2006-through-2015.
The SEC must shed the growing perception that the gap between Alabama and the 13 other programs is larger than the gap in the Arkansas secondary. Phil Steele has five SEC teams ranked in his pre-season Top 25 — Alabama at Number One; Florida 9; Auburn 12; LSU 13 and Georgia 22.
How many ACC teams are parked in Steele’s Top 25 (I figured you would ask): Make it five — Florida State 3; Clemson 8; Miami 11; Louisville 17; Virginia Tech 25.
Here are five games that will separate the leagues this season:
Florida State vs. Alabama, Sept. 2 in Atlanta — These two expect to play for the national championship. The winner will exit opening weekend ranked Number One. The loser will have time to recover. And the SEC vs. ACC debate will rage.
Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech Sept. 4 in Atlanta — The Vols need a win to stop the complaining about losses to Vanderbilt and South Carolina. The Yellow Jackets closed last season with gusto, winning their final four, including victories against a pair of SEC programs (Georgia and Kentucky).
Auburn at Clemson Sept. 9 — Dabo Swinney says he does not expect a major falloff from last season’s national championship team, even without quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Tigers lost three of their last four but are expected to be the second-best team in the SEC West.
Louisville at Kentucky Nov. 25 — You understand.
Florida State at Florida Nov. 25 — The Gators are trying to three-peat in the SEC East, even though they haven’t kicked up much national love. If the Seminoles expect to win the national title, I would not advise losing their final regular season game.
2. Angry Dawgs at Georgia
Georgia failed to win the SEC East in Kirby Smart’s first football season in Athens. The Bulldogs also failed to make the NCAA Tournament during Mark Fox’s eighth season as the men’s basketball coach. Baseball? Georgia ranked 85th in the final RPI and its a state packed with great young baseball talent.
Think about this statistic: According to one disgruntled Georgia fan, there were 27 Georgia kids selected in the NFL Draft. None played at Georgia.
I pulled that statistic from a letter that a disgruntled Georgia fan wrote to Georgia AD Greg McGarrity. Seth Emerson of DawgNation.com shared the complete letter — and it’s an eye-opening look into The Complaint Department that athletic directors deal with at Power Five schools.
3. Mark Richt: Food Critic
Speaking of Georgia, I believe former Bulldogs coach Mark Richt is much happier away from Athens. He’s working at his alma mater — Miami — and if you check the latest recruiting rankings for the Class of 2018 at scout.com, Richt is the early, early leader for the best class in America. His Hurricanes are the pick to win the ACC Atlantic.
Richt and his staff have secured 18 commitments, 14 from guys ranked four-star prospects.
Think Richt is relaxed?
During his media session at ACC Kickoff in Charlotte last week, Richt broke down the Xs and Os of the proper way to eat a sandwich. (Link to the video).
Now all Richt needs to do is win at Florida State in Week Three.
4. Whatever Happened to Les Miles?
Sad times at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala. No Les Miles’ stream of consciousness to interpret, transcribe and entertain.
The dean of SEC coaches won’t be on the sidelines at Louisiana State this season, and quotebooks around the league will be poorer because of it.
Miles reportedly tried to stay in the game by pursuing jobs at Purdue, Houston and Minnesota, but he whiffed. No Les Miles going for it on fourth and two from his 17 yard-line this season.
What is Miles doing?
His daughter Smacker (I can’t testify that is her actual real name) said that she has encouraged her father to pursue work in the media. But he still wants to coach.
So when a job opens at Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Arizona State or Texas Tech, look for Miles, 63, to make his move.
5. Terry Rozier’s Future in Boston
The Boston Celtics are no longer waiting for Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish to walk through that door.
With the signing of Gordon Hayward as well as the drafting of Duke forward Jayson Tatum, the Celtics expect to overtake the Cavaliers as the Eastern Conference champions next season.
The Celtics have one local connection — former Louisville guard Terry Rozier, who just finished his second season in Boston. (Former UK guard James Young is a Pelican not a Celtic these days.)
Avery Bradley is gone. Some believe the Celtics are considering a move with Marcus Smart. Charlie Urrutia (no relation to Mario) filed a piece at fansided.com that suggests a larger role for Rozier next season because he has improved his pick-and-roll skills.
The window is about to open for the Celtics. Rozier should be a major player.
6. Book Recommendation
There are gaps in the sports calendar this month, but football is coming. Until it gets here, you’ve got time to prepare for the season.
May I suggest a book, especially if you’re an NFL fan.
Bruce Arians is the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. He’s considered one of the top offensive minds in the game with a special gift for working with quarterbacks.
Made sense for Arians to finally write a book — “The Quarterback Whisperer — How to Build an Elite NFL Quarterback.”
He teamed with Lars Anderson of Bleacher Report (and formerly of Sports Illustrated) for the 235-page book, which should help your understanding of what is required to play quarterback at a winning level.
7. Beat The Streak: Easier than Picking An NCAA Bracket
Although I write about point spreads and win probability, I’m not a gambler. I don’t think I’ve invested as much as $2 in the last three Kentucky Derbies.
But I do play Beat The Streak — for entertainment more than a financial windfall. There has been no financial windfall, unless you’re dazzled by a 10 percent discount on MLB merchandise.
Beat the Streak is entertainment. It’s a fantasy game sponsored by MLB. Every day you can pick one or two players that you believe will deliver at least one base hit. If they deliver, you have a streak of one (or two).
As long as your guys keep hitting, your streak continues.
If your picks string together hits in 57 straight games (one more than Joe DiMaggio’s iconic real streak) you win $5.6 million.
Nobody, even Dr. Bo, has claimed the prize in the 17 seasons since MLB started the game. This is my fourth season of competition. My picks have never registered more than 13 straight games, with a high of 9 this season.
Do you play?
What’s your strategy?
What’s your longest streak.
Send me your info at RBozich@wdrb.com. I’ll include you in The Muse next week if you’ve beat my 13.
8. Baseball Tip
The Boston Globe has always been a Go-To spot for me as a baseball fan — and I’m not Red Sox obsessed. The Globe’s Sunday sports section became enough of a Must-Read that for several years I had a Sunday-only subscription (along with a daily subscription to the Philadelphia Daily News).
I got hooked on Peter Gammons’ Sunday notes column, which filled an entire page in the Sunday paper. For several years, I’d clip the column after I was finished and mail it to my father.
Times change. Gammons moved on. Information is available everywhere.
But the Globe Sunday notes column remains a clean-up hitter. Nick Carfado handles the work these days. If you’re a baseball fan and you’re not reading Carfado, you’re missing out on information and entertainment.
9. Poll Results I
What will Louisville's predicted finish be in the Atlantic Division at ACC Kickoff this week?
Third 58.2 percent
Second 26.5 percent
Fourth of lower 8.6 percent
First 6.8 percent.
10. Poll Results II
Where will Kentucky be predicted to finish in the East Division at SEC Football Media Days?
Fourth place 43.2 percent
Top Three — 23.1 percent
Fifth — 17.3 percent
Sixth or worse — 15.4 percent
Copyright 2017 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved