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What to read while Jacques Chirac picks your pocket

That one doesn't even make sense.

Last week ESPN unveiled its rankings of the top programs in college football over the last decade, ranking each Division I (or Division I Bowl Subdivision or whatever the hell it is now) program from one all the way down to 119. The rankings were made up by a composite of the ballots of 15 employees of TWWL, and Louisville came in at a highly respectable 18th.

Fourteen of the 15 "experts" invited to partake in the exercise had U of L - which has played in nine bowl games, won four conference championships and a BCS game in the period - in their top 25's. The only person to leave the Cards off the elite portion of his list, as Rick Bozich tells us, was none other than the most absent-minded, unqualified, overpaid head coach ever to pace the hollowed sidelines of Notre Dame Stadium: Mr. Bob Davie.

Louisville was the highest ranked team from the Big East, just nudging No. 19 West Virginia. At No. 52, Pitt was the third highest ranked Big East team, followed by No. 58 South Florida, No. 63 Syracuse, No. 69 Cincinnati, No. 70 Rutgers and No. 77 Connecticut. Kentucky was 73rd and Indiana was 94th.

Big Ten expansion talk has been all the rage on the internets since last week's announcement by Commissioner Jim Delany that the conference was looking into adding a 12th team. At least two Big Teneleven bloggers are quite keen on the possibility of Louisville being the program that makes a conference championship game in football a reality.

Though the consensus is that U of L to the Big Ten could never happen because it isn't a member of the Association of American Universities, the possibility of another Big East team - more than likely Rutgers, Pitt, West Virginia, Syracuse or Connecticut (in that order) - having an invitation extended their way is very real. While my money is on Missouri if and when this whole thing goes down, talk of yet another shakeup in the Big East has all the makings of a recycled high school soap opera. If 2003 was Beverly Hills 90210 (Louisville was Brandon), then 2008 might just be The OC (Rutgers is so Seth Cohen).

And we were just getting settled.

Though it was reported on Friday that Tom Jurich had been in contact with Notre Dame AD Kevin White about a possible football series, Jurich told Fox 41 on Sunday that the talks had fallen through and that the series is not going to happen.

There's a lovely article in the Tallahassee Democrat about former cornerback William Gay, who signed with the Steelers last week.

Larry Johnson's holdout in Kansas City means that Kolby Smith has been taking some snaps with the first team, which be good news if he weren't having such a hard time holding onto the ball.

Running backs are fumbling at a rate much too high to please coach Herm Edwards. Rookies Kolby Smith and Marcus O'Keith, as well as Derrick Ross, have been victimized.

"We put the ball on the ground too much," Edwards said. "You can't do that. Last year as a football team we put the ball on the ground 25 times, and the opponent got it 14 times. That's almost one a game, and you can't do that if you're going to be a good football team on offense. You can't turn the ball over."

After fumbling twice early in camp, Smith has paid more attention to securing the ball. Defenders, Jared Allen in particular, have tried to pry the ball from Smith.

"I've talked to him about it," Edwards said. "He understands you can't put it on the ground."

Though Brian Bennett's Sunday feature piece on Harry Douglas was excellent, the stuff he left out but published on his blog may be even more demanding of a read. Ochenta y cinco is easily one of the most likable players to ever don a Cardinal uniform, and I'm convinced that in '07 he'll solidify his rightful position as one of the most talented as well.

While preseason talk of coaching hot seats in college football is usually limited to those unfortunate souls who have done less with more at historically successful programs,'s Olin Buchanan believes that because of the immense talent he's inherited, no seat in college football is hotter than the one in which Steve Kragthorpe currently sits.

Louisville, Ky. (Nuclear): There was a time when the mercury didn't climb that high here until basketball season, but Steve Kragthorpe has entered a situation in which he can only win if he doesn't lose. With 14 starters - including quarterback Brian Brohm - returning from a team which was 12-1 a year ago, Cardinals fans are talking national championship. If Louisville falters, guess who will be blamed.

Rejoice, I've finally found someone who's placed Louisville ahead of West Virginia in his preseason Big East rankings. Jeff Frank, my new favorite contributing editor at The Sports Network, says the Cards are a steal to win the national title at 20-1 odds, and has them besting Rutgers and the Mountaineers to claim their second consecutive conference title.

They say Jeff Frank is Phil Steele, Nostradamus and Jessica Alba rolled into one.

If you need an additional reference on your resume Jeff, I'm here man.

Lastly, you can catch your first glimpse of a Steve Kragthorpe practice this weekend as U of L's first three workouts of the 2007 season will be open to the public. The Cards will practice at The Oven on Thursday, Friday and Saturday beginning at 5:20 p.m. each day.