BOZICH | Tuesday Muse: Louisville should not fumble favorable schedule
If Louisville can clean up the fumbles and penalties, the Cards' schedule looks favorable. Michael Jordan will check out Lamar Jackson Saturday. The Monday Muse -- even better on Tuesday.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Sometimes holidays get in the way. News shuffles the schedule. Late (late) nights in Bloomington and Indianapolis turn the calendar upside down.
That’s a friendly way of saying that I hit the pause button on the Monday Muse Monday, especially after Denny and Susan Crum welcomed Eric Crawford, Mike Lacett and me to their home to talk about Crum’s remarkable recovery from the stroke he suffered less than a week ago in Alaska.
But the Muse is tougher to slow down than a 9-month-old Labrador puppy. (Just ask me.) It must go on – a day late, but undaunted.
1. Schedule Opens Nicely for Louisville
I know about the three crushing fumbles. I saw the flurry of penalty flags. I’ve been advised that I just missed another Louisville false start. I know there are serious questions about the availability of cornerback Jaire Alexander.
But there was certainly some encouraging news for the University of Louisville on the opening weekend of the college football season after the Cardinals subdued Purdue:
Bobby Petrino’s team is definitely scheduled for success. If they can handle Clemson at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium Sept. 16 (super-sized IF, I know), the Cardinals have a chance to be A Player on the national scene.
Work with me. On Saturday Louisville is a 10-point favorite against a North Carolina team likely to start a freshman quarterback with a defense that surrendered 469 yards in a home loss to California. (Cal, for the record, was picked to finish last in the Pac-12 North.) Is it basketball season yet in Chapel Hill?
Then comes Clemson.
Then comes Kent State, which lost to Clemson by 53 points.
Then comes Murray State.
Then comes a North Carolina State team that wobbled to a 35-28 loss to South Carolina, inspiring questions about the job security of coach Dave Doeren.
Then comes a so-so Boston College squad.
Then comes Florida State, which just lost quarterback Deondre Francois to a season ending knee injury.
Then … you get the picture.
Teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference lost four of six games against Power Five opponents on opening weekend. Overall the ACC went 10-4, but six victories came against FCS opponents. Color me skeptical about the strength of the ACC.
Louisville has work to do. But so does the rest of the ACC.
2. Conference Scorecard
I ran the conference numbers from opening week. I ignored the ridiculous number of games played against FCS opponents.
My rankings only include games against other Power Five conferences. The numbers:
1. Pac 12 3-0 – Hard to knock perfection, especially when it includes two road wins (California at North Carolina and Washington at Rutgers). USC did not look like a playoff contender. That was the flat note.
2. SEC 3-2 – Alabama is Alabama. Tennessee won but annoyed its fans. South Carolina handled North Carolina State. But Florida looked impotent against Michigan and Texas A&M ensured that Kevin Sumlin will get the Charlie Strong treatment this month.
3. Big Ten 2-2 – Hail to Michigan and Jim Harbaugh but Maryland’s win at Texas did more for Big Ten pride. Purdue looked better with Jeff Brohm in charge. Rutgers needs help. But schedule better guys.
4. ACC 2-4 – see above item.
5. Big 12 0-2 – This number doesn’t include Baylor’s burp against Liberty. If Oklahoma loses big at Ohio State Saturday, the Big 12 will be scrambling for love all season.
3. First Weekend Overreactions
If you turned off the television and simply followed the first week of college football on Twitter, you saw things like this:
Josh Rosen wasn't lying he can't do school and football..— Dan Dakich (@dandakich) September 4, 2017
And then Josh Rosen did Josh Rosen things, zipping the football to all corners of the Rose Bowl while leading UCLA to a thunderous rally to beat Texas A&M, which ignited a stream of sizzling social media rants from what appeared to be an account directed by a member of the Texas A&M board of regents.
Wasn’t a good weekend to be Kevin Sumlin.
Monday night everybody was having a wonderful time kicking and howling at Tennessee coach Butch Jones as the Volunteers surrendered a million yards against Georgia Tech’s triple-option running attack.
People were saying things like this:
Butch Jones has somehow gotten worse as an in-game coach— Barstool Rocky Top (@BarstoolTenn) September 5, 2017
Then Tennessee and Jones did something they often do, find a way to turn an ugly loss into a tougher than it needed to be victory.
My advice (even to myself): Count to 10 before delivering any Hot Takes on Twitter. Actually, make that count to 110.
4. Drew Brees’ Speech to Purdue players
As I mentioned over the weekend, Jeff Brohm has worked relentlessly at rebuilding Purdue’s winning tradition as well as the Boilermakers’ reputation as a program that develops top quarterbacks.
Brohm visited former Purdue star Drew Brees in New Orleans over the summer. Brees and Brohm clicked, and the future Hall of Famer came to Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday night for Purdue’s game with Louisville.
Brees is all-in, encouraging Purdue fans and former players to support Brohm. He also spoke to the Boilermakers’ players in the locker room prior to the game, a speech you can watch here.
Purdue plays its first game under the new permanent lights at Ross-Ade Stadium Friday night against Ohio University.
5. The Ceiling is The Roof
Memo to Eric Crawford and Tom Lane as they trek to Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill for the Louisville-North Carolina football game Saturday:
The Go-To picture Saturday afternoon will be any interaction between Michael Jordan and Lamar Jackson.
North Carolina needs a victory and needs buzz around its program, which lost its home opener to California last weekend. What’s the surest way to create a buzz at North Carolina?
Basketball, basketball, basketball.
Not only is UNC presenting the players from its basketball team their 2017 NCAA championship rings, Jordan has been invited to be a major part of the party as the Tar Heels' honorary captain for the game. (Link.)
If you’re on the sidelines guys, a Jordan-Jackson photo will be the money shot.
6. Cards’ Chad Green to the Rescue for Yankees
Dan McDonnell has sent a string of solid arms to professional baseball during his run as the Louisville baseball coach. One of his former pitchers has earned a prime position in the American League pennant race – Chad Green.
At Louisville, Green was the Number One starter for the Cards’ 2013 College World Series run. The Detroit Tigers drafted him with the plan to work him into their rotation until they traded Green to the Yankees where he was also supposed to be a starter.
Word from Planet Yankee is with Aroldis Chapman continuing to wobble, Green has taken a prime spot in the bullpen with David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle as the Yankees push to overtake the Red Sox.
“His control has been outstanding, and his fastball plays up out of the bullpen, and his slider has been good out of the bullpen,” Girardi told the New York Post. “Similar to Dellin [Betances], it’s been simplifying. He doesn’t need to be a three- or four-pitch pitcher anymore. He’s just been a two-pitch guy, and it’s been successful for him.”
If you love September and October baseball (like I do), keep an eye out for Green.
7. Brendan McKay Report
They say that eventually former Louisville baseball star Brendan McKay will have to pick a position in the pro game. He won’t be able to move between first base, designated hitter and starting pitcher. Why make a difficult game more difficult?
Many believe McKay will land at first base. That was before he was taken third in the 2017 MLB Free Agent Draft and given the opportunity to perform for two months with Tampa Bay’s rookie league team in Hudson Valley, N.Y.
The Renegades will conclude their season this week. How has McKay performed?
As a pitcher, McKay controlled opposing hitters, working 20 superb innings, striking out 21 while allowing only five walks, 10 hits and four runs. Tampa limited his exposure, but McKay was consistently strong.
As a hitter, McKay did not dominate the way he did at Louisville. Through Monday’s games, McKay has hit .227 with a modest OPS of .706. While adjusting to wood bats, he managed only eight extra-base hits in 119 at bats and has more strikeouts (32) than hits (27). It’s early. He’ll hit – and eventually make a call.
8. Tebow-ing to the Big Leagues
Give Tim Tebow credit. The guy is vigorous in pursuit of his dream.
Most of the vital statistics indicate it’s unlikely that Tebow will make it to the big leagues and stay. He turned 30 last month. He missed crucial development time playing football. There’s a hole in his swing. I’m not sure he has a position.
But Tebow is determined to be more than a gimmick to juice crowds on the road. He’s coming back for another season of professional baseball – and serving as the best drawing card and ambassador for sportsmanship in the game.
Tebow hit .226 with 34 extra base hits while earning a promotion to High Class A ball with the Mets. Look for him in AA ball next season.
Will he make it to New York City?
I believe he will, even if it might only be for a weekend of selling tickets. But credit the man for showing everybody how to pursue a dream.
9. John Wall: I’m the Best
If you love self confidence, you have to love former Kentucky guard John Wall.
Who’s the best two-way point guard in the NBA?
Steph Curry? No.
Kyrie Irving? No.
John Wall said it is John Wall.
In an interview with BallIsLife, Wall said that he is highly motivated to succeed and that he is the best two-way guard in the NBA. You can read the entire interview by clicking here.
Somebody get a link to Colin Cowherd.
10. Poll Results
Louisville opens with Purdue (Indianapolis), North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and Clemson (home). What will the Cards' record be after three games?
3-0 59.8 percent
2-1 31.7 percent
1-2 7.3 percent
0-3 1.2 percent.
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