While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. I’m not going to say Florida State is going to destroy Auburn. But I can’t help but think some of the Tigers players might not get over the whole happy-to-be-here mindset. Call it 34-21 FSU. A few things have struck me about the Seminoles the past few days. They are huge. They are incredibly prepared. Jimbo Fisher is as thorough and detailed a coach as there is. He told me he keeps voluminous records on every coach he plays. “I keep a running record of all the guys we’ve played against and books (on) all the guys we’ve played against for the last 10, 15 years.” I asked him for the book on Charlie Strong. Probably coming in the mail.
2. Fisher said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn’s free-wheeling offense greatly “affected Chad Morris,” the Clemson offensive coordinator and former Lake Travis head coach. “You see a lot of the Gus stuff Chad did at Clemson,” Fisher said. “He’ll have all those trick plays.” You can bet on a trick play or five in Monday’s game.
3. An ESPN honcho told me he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Mack Brown finds himself at ESPN in a college football analyst role. Neither would I. He’s a natural fit, although GameDay expert Lee Corso is still under contract and isn’t eager to retire. He has to act quickly if he truly does want to coach again. He will turn 63 next August and would be 64 before he coaches another game if he sat out next season to assess the landscape.
4. Pressure’s on Bob Bowlsby. Jerry World is hosting this season’s Final Four for the first time and expects to shatter the NCAA record with more than 80,000 spectators. The last time a Big Eight/Big 12 city hosted a Final Four was in 1988 when Kansas knocked off Oklahoma in Kansas City, Mo., so the heat’s on for the Big 12 to show up strong. Four conference teams — Oklahoma State, Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas — were ranked in the top 16 in last week’s Associated Press poll, Kansas State will probably crack the Top 25 after upsetting Oklahoma State, and Texas and Oklahoma are receiving votes. The Big 12 is the nation’s best conference with the top RPI.
5. Sure, Charlie Strong’s media-shy, but his media demands are about to go through the roof. He won’t have to worry about scolding the local press for ignoring Louisville’s spring football as he did last year when he banned the media for a week for committing that offense. Reporters in that state were just a little concerned with another event that week, like a Final Four with both Kentucky and Louisville, a topic of some interest in the Bluegrass State. Of course, a national reporter also wanted to drop by that same spring for a piece on Strong’s football team and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater but was told not to come because the coach didn’t want to do any interviews. That needs to change if Strong truly wants to give himself the best opportunity to succeed at Texas, but as I said on a local radio station, given a choice between a good football coach and a coach who’s good with the media, I’d take the football coach every day. That said, he won’t do himself any favors if he disregards the press and boosters.
6. Asked if he set out to hire a black coach, athletic director Steve Patterson told me, “No, I did not. But my father and I have a reputation of trying to take the best candidate.” Patterson spoke of the many racially ground-breaking hirings that he and his father, Ray, made and said, “It’s been very interesting to watch the emotional reaction of a lot of people close to this program and this university. It’s actually been very moving. I genuinely try to look at the best person for the job and who had the best overall attributes. We didn’t hire Charlie Strong because of the amount of melanin in his skin.”
7. One impressive thing about Strong’s tenure at Louisville was his absolute commitment to academics. A school spokesman said 93 of Strong’s 98 Cardinal players — including 15 seniors on the current roster — have graduated. “That’s better than our record,” a high-ranking Texas official said. … Equally impressive is the coach’s discipline. If a player missed a class, he ran laps in the stadium. If he missed again, the entire team ran. A third instance? The whole team and coaches run.
8. Jimbo Fisher gave his endorsement to Strong in Sunday’s press conference. “Charlie’s an excellent coach, a very good guy, a good recruiter, and I think he’ll do an excellent job. I think you’ve got a very good coach.”
9. Really enjoyed “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and my grade went up afterward, the more I recalled terrific and funny scenes. Country club scene is off the charts hilarious. Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t act. He became Jordan Belfort. Jonah Hill should be a great candidate for Best Supporting Actor. Gave it 8½ ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: The next head coach of the San Antonio Spurs will be Fred Hoiberg, now at Iowa State.