By Rick Bozich
WDRB Sports

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Let’s pretend that North Carolina is not going to pretend that it’s 1997 again by fetching Mack Brown to coach the Tar Heels’ floundering football team.

Not unless that also means Lawrence Taylor is coming back to play linebacker and Dre Bly will get another run at cornerback and Tom Osborne takes charge at Nebraska and Steve Spurrier grabs control at Florida and I can get back to playing pick-up basketball four days a week.

Hey, I’ve got no issues with 1997.

But let’s pretend that the North Carolina job remained open for at least as long as it takes you to read the Monday Muse because my premise is these coaching jobs do not exist in a vacuum.

If you fail to recruit the candidate of your choice, you’re in the shark tank scrambling with everybody else that has a job to fill.

On Monday morning, five Power Five programs were in Coaching Search Mode. How does the Louisville job compare to the other four open spots?

I don’t care if North Carolina hires Mack Brown, Watson Brown or Charlie Brown, that’s my opening topic for the Monday Muse

1. Louisville Vs. The Competition

My sources said they do not expect a decision on the BrohmWatch Monday. Jeff Brohm is working outside the office, reportedly trying to protect and upgrade a Purdue recruiting class that already ranks among the 25 best in the nation.

But what happens if Louisville athletic director Vince Tyra cannot convince Brohm to leave Purdue, a job and place the coach legitimately enjoys and appreciates.

Then Tyra must check the credentials of the same prospects who have been mentioned at the Power Five openings at Maryland, Colorado, North Carolina and Texas Tech.

Where does the Louisville job rank in that contest?

I bounced the question off several football gurus I trust and settled on this ranking:

5. Maryland -- All the Under Armour money in the world can’t erase the negatives of life in the Big Ten East, no real rivalry connection to the Big Ten and the death of one of the Terps’ players last summer.

4. Colorado -- Another program floating as a conference outsider in the West Coast-centric Pac-12. The Buffs are more than two decades past their glory days -- and they still depend on recruiting second-tier players from Texas and California.

3. Texas Tech -- Football school in a football state but the Red Raiders are considered Plan C (or worse) in Texas. The Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies suck all the attention from the room.

2. Louisville -- The Cards were on a great run until they learned how quickly it can all disappear this season. But you can sell competing against Clemson and Florida State, an upgraded stadium and the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner. Just don’t say much about how awful this roster is.

1. North Carolina -- State school on the winnable side of the ACC. Fertile recruiting base. Uniforms designed by Michael Jordan’s Jumpman creators. Classroom attendance optional. No wonder Mack Brown is coming back.

2. Apologies to Steve Kragthorpe

Former U of L coach Steve Kragthorpe would not make the Top 10 on my list of college football coaches most likely to get punched on the field after a college football game, but that is what happened Saturday night in College Station, Texas.

Kragthorpe, a program assistant at Louisiana State, said he was punched in the chest after LSU lost that titanic 7-overtime tussle with A&M.

It wasn’t just anywhere in the chest. Kragthorpe said he was hit in the area near his heart, which affected the performance of his pacemaker, which he needs in his battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Mark it down as another reason these brawls that unfolded at several rivalry games last weekend are silly and dangerous. They need to stop.

And, I’ll say it again, none of Kragthorpe’s three teams were close to as awful as the squad that played for the Cardinals this season.

3. Apologies to Mike Sanford

I understand that the Western Kentucky football team has underachieved in back-to-back seasons.

I also understand that Willie Taggart, Bobby Petrino and Jeff Brohm did a terrific job of raising expectations in Bowling Green.

But cutting a first-time head coach after two seasons?

I don’t care what North Carolina thinks, it isn’t 1997 in college football any more.

In case you missed it, Jack Harbaugh went 8-13 during his first two seasons at WKU, 11-21 over three years and 15-27 over four.

Imagine if Western had a 2-year plan then. Or if Louisville had a 2-year-plan under Howard Schnellenberger. Or Kentucky with Mark Stoops.

4. Apologies to Dabo Swinney

Maybe Tyra should place a call to South Carolina. Dabo Swinney has work to do to prepare second-ranked Clemson for the ACC title game against Pittsburgh, but on Sunday Swinney sounded like somebody splashed vinegar in his egg nog.

The Tigers closed out a perfect 12-0 season by thumping six-win South Carolina, 56-35, and Swinney detected grumbling from folks who thought Clemson needed to win by more.

I’m guessing Clemson fans will not complain again -- unless the Tigers lose to Notre Dame or Alabama.

5. Apologies from AP Poll Voters

There’s no reason to look back for the preseason AP college football Top 25. Brett McMurphy of stadium.com has already done the work.

He found that not one, not two but three teams that started the season in the Top 10 finished the season with five losses.

Hot Seat, anyone?

6. Biggest Overachievers

Kentucky came from off the board to force its way into the Associated Press Top 25 and the Wildcats held their spot at No. 16 after defeating Louisville Saturday.

How many other teams moved from unranked to the Top 25? And did anybody make a bigger jump than Kentucky?

Your answers:

Nine other programs surged into the Top 25 from unranked in August.

The biggest jump was made by Mike Leach and Washington State. The Cougars earned zero votes in the preseason poll and were ranked No. 12 Sunday.

I also give special mention to Army, which jumped from unranked to No. 23. Any time a service academy delivers, they deserve applause.

7. Guess Who Kevin Durant Likes?

Kevin Durant might not be a fan of Draymond Green, but the league’s best player not named LeBron dispensed love for another NBA guy last week.

At 10-10, the Sacramento Kings have been one of the NBA’s surprise teams, and Durant thinks the Kings have a point guard who will do great things in former Kentucky star De’Aaron Fox.

Too bad the Lakers didn’t figure that out before their burned the second pick in the 2017 NBA Draft on Lonzo Ball.

8. Who’s Number One?

Gonzaga edged Kansas by one first-place vote to become the third team ranked No. 1 in college basketball this season -- after less than three full weeks of games.

Hello, chaos.

What do the computers say? The Zags or the Jayhawks?

Actually, Ken Pomeroy’s formula still prefers Duke, with Kansas No. 2 and Gonzaga No. 6.

Jeff Sagarin’s predictor numbers also tilt to Duke with Kansas No. 11 and Gonzaga 4.

Bart Torvik’s site starts Duke, Virginia, Gonzaga, Kansas.

And the (finally vanquished) Ratings Percentage Index says Kansas No. 1, Duke 4 and Gonzaga 8.

9. Hat Tip to Scott Padgett

I can’t imagine another coach who did more scrambling during the off season than former Kentucky star Scott Padgett, now in his fifth season at Samford University in Birmingham.

Padgett lost three graduate transfers to Power Five programs, including point guard Christen Cunningham, who has been a key player for Louisville.

Padgett went to work. His Bulldogs have won seven of their first eight, beating Ray Harper and Jacksonville State as well as Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne. Their only loss was to Ohio State in a game Samford led at halftime.

How does 7-1 sound?

“Sometimes, things happen for a reason,” Padgett said in a text message. “I love this TEAM!”

10. Rick Pitino Tweet of the Week

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