BOZICH | Monday Muse: Clemson vs. Louisville disrespect angles - WDRB 41 Louisville News

  • What's the key to the Clemson-Louisville game Saturday night?

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    Louisville pass defense against inexperienced Clemson QB
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BOZICH | Monday Muse: Clemson vs. Louisville disrespect angles

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Rick Bozich opens the college football week with the Monday Muse. Rick Bozich opens the college football week with the Monday Muse.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Better put some extra mustard on this edition of the Monday Muse. You never know when Lee Corso, Desmond Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Rece Davis and the ESPN crew will be looking for bonus material for College GameDay.

If you've got a storyline for Saturday's Clemson-Louisville game you believe is being overlooked, send it my way (rbozich@wdrb.com). Until then, the Monday Muse is a much happier place with the college football season percolating again.

1. Revenge for … DeShaun Watson?

In case you missed the memo, you can't have a monstrous college football game without somebody being disrespected.

Impossible. Can't happen. Not allowed. Against the law.

If you're looking for disrespect angles for the Clemson-Louisville game, there are ample nominees:

Louisville for being a 3-point home underdog; Clemson for being picked behind Florida State in the ACC Atlantic race; Lamar Jackson for not being considered one of the top five quarterbacks in America during the pre-season; Louisville for going 0-for-3 against the Tigers since joining the ACC; Clemson because SEC fans continue to howl the Tigers' beat Alabama with an illegal pick play.

To that list, add another I had not considered:

Clemson needs to win for the honor of … DeShaun Watson.

I'm usually on top of the disrespect angles, but I overlooked this one:

Matt Connolly of TheState.com in Columbia suggests Clemson will be motivated to shut down Jackson and beat the Cardinals again because they are convinced Watson, not Jackson, was the best college football player in America last season -- and deserved the 2016 Heisman Trophy. (The link.)

Watson might be in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Saturday night, but he won't be playing for the Tigers. He's a Houston Texan. The Texans' schedule breaks right for Watson to visit Louisville. Houston plays in Cincinnati Thursday. Saturday should be an off day.

Why not support the guys who helped you win a national title next year -- and avenge the Heisman that they believe (I guess) you should have won?

2. Clemson Brings The Heat

When most people think of Clemson football they think of Death Valley, players charging down the hill, the flashy orange uniforms and Dabo Swinney.

I think of Defensive Lineman University.

Booger McFarland of the SEC Network is a king-sized fan of the Clemson defense.

Clemson always has guys who look bigger than Shaquille O'Neal but run faster than Usain Bolt. Lot of them. More than anybody in college football -- and I know Ohio State thinks it has four first-round picks on its defensive line and Alabama is routinely unblockable.

The Clemson guys are better. They certainly looked better Saturday against Auburn, rolling through an SEC offensive line for 11 sacks, part of their 14 tackles for loss yardage in a 14-6 victory.

After two weeks, Austin Bryant is tied for second nationally with four sacks -- and he's not considered their best NFL prospect. That player would be Christian Wilkins, who had 10 tackles against Auburn.

Clemson ranks third nationally, behind Old Dominion and Hawaii, with 13 sacks in two games. Lamar Jackson has been sacked twice in two games.

Something's got to give.

But remember: A year ago Louisville ranked 126th nationally in sacks allowed with 47, while struggling to the finish line against Houston, Kentucky and LSU. This will be a reasonable snapshot of the progress assistant coach Mike Summers has made with the offensive line. Jackson was sacked five times by Clemson last season.

3. Baker Mayfield: Competitor or Clown?

Chances are you've seen the video. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was so juiced by the Sooners' second-half play while winning at Ohio State Saturday night that he looked like a 7-year-old who gulped his father's triple espresso.

Somebody stuck an Oklahoma flag in Mayfield's hands and he decided the best thing to do with it was try to plant it in the Ohio State logo painted across the field turf.

Fans of The Ohio State University were not pleased.

Boomer Sooner Nation laughed -- and howled that the Ohio State players sang their victory song after winning in Norman last season.

Who wants to break the tie?

I will.

Ohio State sings after every victory. That wasn't a skit they cooked up for Oklahoma. I saw them do it in the corner of Memorial Stadium at Indiana Aug. 31. Big Deal.

In a world where coaches and players mouth the sound bites about character and sportsmanship, Mayfield had a chance to show some Saturday night.

He whiffed.

4. Turnover Awards: College Football's New Big Thing

Channel surfing was mandatory last Saturday night. If you watched the conclusion of the Georgia-Notre Dame game, you likely had the same question I had:

What was that Halloween costume Georgia defender Davin Bellamy slipped on top of his uniform after delivering the game-clinching sack against the Fighting Irish?

It looked like it was stolen from the set of Flash Gordon or Conan the Barbarian, a pair of shoulder pad outfitted with spikes.

Allow me to help you catch up with the culture: The new thing in college football has become the turnover award. If you do something spectacular during the game, you no longer have to wait until the following Monday to be given a sticker to place on your helmet.

You get rewarded on the sidelines. At Miami, it's a gold chain. At Georgia, it's the spiked shoulder pads. (The link.)

Nominations are open for awards at all four local schools.

5. Conference Power Rankings Update

I promised a week ago that I would present weekly conference power ratings, based on a league's performance in non-league games against Power Five programs. I'm adding a second component to the formula, subtracting points for ugly losses to non-Power Five (or FCS) programs.

Roll call:

Pac-12 (4-1 overall, 1-1 last week) -- I could be talked out of this one and not because Oregon State lost a home game to Minnesota. The Arizona schools made the Pac-12 blush by losing out of league games to Houston (Arizona) and San Diego State (Arizona State). Good thing Willie Taggart and Oregon held off Nebraska to support the Pac-12's strong opening week.

2. Big Ten (6-5, 4-3 last week) -- Again, we can fuss about this because the Big Ten lost the game it needed to win with Ohio State continuing to look offensively challenged against Oklahoma. But road wins by Minnesota, Iowa and Indiana packaged with Penn State's dismantling of Pitt deserve recognition.

3. SEC (4-4, 2-2 last week) -- Yes, the SEC lost the two signature games with Arkansas burping against TCU and Auburn losing to Clemson. But the league gets credit for Georgia's gritty win at Notre Dame.

4. Big 12 (2-3, 2-1 last week) -- Lots of chirping about Oklahoma's win at Ohio State as well as TCU's win at Arkansas. Nice work. But don't forget how bad Kansas (Central Michigan) and Baylor (Texas-San Antonio) are at the bottom of the league.

5. ACC (4-6, 2-2 last week) -- Hat tips to Clemson and Duke, but Virginia was outclassed by Indiana, Pitt backtracked against Penn State and I won't give you the details of Syracuse's home loss to Middle Tennessee.

6. Stats Shakeout

Lamar Jackson is in a world of his own in the statistical shakeout on a national level -- first in total offense, fifth in passing yards per game and 24th in rushing yards,.

Here are several other players to chart on the national level:

*U of L receiver Jaylen Smith ranks third nationally in receiving yards per game at 150.

*Indiana's J-Shun Harris II ranks fifth nationally in average punt return at 21.8, including one for a touchdown. The performance earned Harris recognition as Big Ten special teams player of the week, not bad for a guy who missed the last two seasons with knee surgeries.

*Louisville's Reggie Bonnafon is 16th in punt return average at 13.7.

*Kentucky's Sihiem King is 15th in average kickoff return, giving the Wildcats an average of more than 30 yards on the three returns.

*Louisville linebacker Jon Greenard ranks 10th in tackles for loss, eight spots ahead of Kentucky's Josh Allen.

7.  First Coach to Exit

No head coaches have been asked to turn in their office keys after two weeks, but coordinators have not been as fortunate. (The link.)

Two bad games is all that is required in 2017. East Carolina and Missouri both bounced defensive coordinators after shaky performances last week, which leads to the inevitable question:

Which school will be first to position itself at the head of the line in the Chip Kelly Sweepstakes?

Arizona State, Texas A&M, Arizona and Arkansas top my list -- unless the fuss that Notre Dame fans are kicking up about Brian Kelly is given more juice by an ND loss to Boston College or Michigan State away from South Bend the next two weekends.

8. Terry Rozier: In or out in Boston?

This is the year the Celtics make their big, big push to overtake Cleveland and LeBron James, right?

The Celtics signed the free agent they wanted in forward Gordon Hayward and they also celebrated the unexpected addition of former NBA Finals MVP Kyrie Irving.

It's a good time to be a Celtic -- and former Louisville star Terry Rozier wants to be there for the push for another banner.

Is that what Boston has in mind? Rozier believes he is safe, although others have floated the story line that Rozier is the team's best trading chip if general manager Danny Ainge and coach Brad Stevens decide another trade is necessary.

According to this story, Rozier "laughed off," the idea of being traded during a recent radio interview. I hope he is correct.

9. Poll Results Part I

Toughest non-league game on the Louisville basketball schedule

Kentucky  86.8 percent

Purdue 5.1 percent

Indiana 4.8 percent

Seton Hall 3.3 percent

10. Poll Results Part II

Biggest concern about the Louisville football team?

Penalties 50.9 percent

Fumbles 49.1 percent

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