BOZICH | Monday Muse: Should Baker Mayfield's behavior diminish his Heisman changes?
Should Baker Mayfield's behavior affect his chances of winning the Heisman Trophy? Donovan Mitchell surprises his mother. Should Louisville be favored by 10 against Kentucky?
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Putting together a Heisman Trophy ballot is supposed to be a stress-free part of the job. Perhaps fun.
No ridiculous deadline. No need for 750 words. No extensive interviews.
Identify the three best players in college football and proceed to GO.
Then Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma got involved and stirred up memories of Johnny Manziel, Jameis Winston, Cam Newton and rogue Heisman winners.
Mayfield, without much argument, is the leading candidate for the 2017 Heisman. His behavior Saturday at Kansas made his Heisman outlook the perfect opening topic for the Monday Muse.
1. The Baker Mayfield Dilemma
If I understand the situation correctly, a very public, very defiant, and very obnoxious crotch grab is not a disqualifier for the Heisman Trophy, according to voting principles for the award.
Too many interceptions? You’re out. A fumble at the wrong moment? The end. Three or four losses? Whack.
But a sideline crotch grab (at Kansas Saturday), planting a team flag on the logo in an opponent’s stadium (at Ohio State) or being charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and fleeing last spring?
Strike the pose, baby. You da man, especially when you have completed nearly 71 percent of your passes for 3,816 yards and 34 touchdowns.
In 2014 (post Johnny Manziel), the Heisman Trust eliminated the words “with integrity” from its Mission Statement about what is expected from its Heisman winner.
I have not settled on my top three Heisman candidates. Still two more weekends of football. Let’s see who performs this weekend as well as in the conference championship games. There is Mayfield. There is Lamar Jackson of Louisville. There is Bryce Love of Stanford. There is Khalil Tate of Arizona. There are others. (Jackson, for the record, leads Mayfield by 37-yards per game in total offense.)
But on Saturday, after Mayfield did his thing, I posted this Tweet:
I’ll toss the question to you: Should Baker Mayfield’s serial knucklehead behavior diminish his Heisman candidacy?
2. Cardinals by Double Digits against Wildcats?
As I told you last week, Louisville will be the favorite Saturday for the Governor’s Cup game at Kroger Field. Even before the results of the weekend, the Cardinals were listed 6 1/2-points better than Kentucky in Las Vegas.
Apparently oddsmakers were more troubled by Kentucky’s string of close calls against Eastern Michigan, (improved) Missouri, and Tennessee than they were by Louisville’s losses to Boston College and Wake Forest.
The number took a major jump Sunday. Louisville opened as a 9 1/2-point favorite and was listed as the pick by ten points at 4 p.m. (EST) Monday.
I decided to check the Massey Composite numbers from 81 college football rankings for a more complete look.
Louisville overall ranking — 31. The Cards are ranked as high as 19th in one formula and as low as 49th in another.
Kentucky’s composite number — 49. The Wildcats are ranked as high as 35th and as low as 74th.
Kentucky has failed to cover the point spread in six of its last seven games, according VegasInsiders.com.
After failing to cover over five straight games in mid-season, Louisville has beaten the spread in three of its last four.
Still, ten seems like a large number considering the Wildcats are at home and beat the Cardinals last season.
3. Donovan Mitchell For the Win
I know this is several days old, but it never gets old watching a young man show love for his mother, the way former Louisville basketball player Donovan Mitchell did when he surprised his mom with a new Audi last week.
Don’t overlook this tidbit: After a month of games, Mitchell ranks fourth in scoring among NBA rookies.
His 14.8 points per game average for Utah trails only Ben Simmons (18.1), Kyle Kuzma (16.5) and Lauri Markkanen (15.6).
If you want to watch Mitchell perform, the Jazz visit the Indiana Pacers March 7.
4. Kentucky Basketball Note
I don’t know where this Kentucky basketball team will rank among the nine that John Calipari has coached in Lexington. Let’s wait until at least the end of the November before we make that call, OK?
But I have uncovered one interesting stat about the Wildcats that suggests this has been the least dominant Calipari team at the start of the season:
It’s the first Calipari UK team that has not won at least one of its first four games by 20 or more.
UK’s average winning margin is 10.3, the lowest during the Calipari Era, considerably less than the 2014 Final Four team that won its first three by 33.3 points per game or the 2012 national champs, who won their first four by 27.
5. Archie’s Welcome to Indiana Moment
Indiana played its best half Sunday while wiping away a one-point halftime hole to defeat lowly South Florida at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers (temporarily) solved their penchant for turnover after turnover after turnover.
But the most unforgettable snapshot did not come from Robert Johnson or impressive freshman Aljami Durham. It came from first-year coach Archie Miller, who earned his first technical foul for throwing a towel and a note card.
Both items landed on the court during game action near the IU bench.
Automatic T — even though Miller was not perturbed with the officials. He was perturbed with his guys for not grabbing an offensive rebound.
6. Ranking the College Football Openings
In case you missed the memo, nervous athletic directors are not waiting until the season ends to push for coaching changes in college football. Seven FBS jobs are open — and the list is expected to add Texas A&M, Nebraska, Arkansas and others.
I’ve taken my crack at ranking the openings. Not much has changed. Florida will remain at the top of the list unless Alabama, Ohio State or Notre Dame open.
Until that happens, let’s consider what another national college football observer says.
Murschel starts with Florida, proceeds to Tennessee and goes from there.
7. Report Card on 2017 Hires
Before we lapse into overdrive on the newst job openings, let’s look at the Nine jobs at Power Five programs that opened after last season.
I have listed the coaches in order of improvement in season win total (although every program has at least one game to play).
Jeff Brohm, Purdue — A year after finishing 3-9, the Boilermakers are plus-2, heading into the Old Oaken Bucket game with Indiana Saturday with a legitimate chance to double their victory total and advance to a bowl.
Willie Taggart, Oregon — The Ducks are plus-two from their ugly 4-8 finish last season, and the only annoying development for Taggart has been a denied report he has not been thrilled in Eugene.
Ed Orgeron, LSU — Some still think LSU can do better, but the Tigers are plus-one and Oregon became more of a folk hero with his ability to laugh in the rain in Knoxville Saturday.
Tom Herman, Texas — With six wins, the Longhorns are plus-one from the final year of Charlie Strong, but considering the hurricane of hype that arrived with Herman, it doesn’t seem that way.
Justin Wilcox, California — He’s already matched last season’s five-win total in a tough job.
Tom Allen, Indiana — Pretty simple for Allen. Beat Purdue and he has achieved expectations and six wins.
Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma — Took over a team that was expected to contend for the national title and has won 10 games.
P. J. Fleck, Minnesota — The Gophers were flatted by Northwestern Saturday. They’re down four wins from last season. A little less TV time and a little more coaching.
Matt Rhule, Baylor — The Bears are down six wins, but Rhule inherited a toxic waste site.
8. Roman Oben Fires Back at Michael Irvin
I always enjoyed talking to Roman Oben when he played offensive line for the University of Louisville for Howard Schnellenberger and Ron Cooper.
Intelligent, thoughtful, analytical guy — as well as an excellent player who performed in the NFL for a decade and earned a Super Bowl ring.
If anybody is qualified to give the business back to Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin, it’s Oben.
And he did. When Irvin made a ridiculous comment that it is easier playing wide receiver than offensive line in the NFL because linemen only have to block for three seconds, Oben fired back on Twitter with this line:
"3 Seconds???" Followed by several laughing emojis.
9. Poll Results I
Louisville opened as a 9 1/2-point favorite at Kentucky Saturday in the Governor’s Cup Game at Kroger Field. Your thoughts?
Too many points 52 percent
Not enough points 16 percent
Sounds right 32 percent
10. Poll Results II
Do you worry about fights in college football stadiums, especially when you follow your favorite team to a road venue?
Yes 36.3 percent
No 63.7 percent
Copyright 2017 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.