What We Missed

Elephant in the room: I haven’t posted on here in over a month. I’M SORRY, okay guys? If it makes you feel any better, I suffered my first 0 view day on New Year’s. That’s right, we started off the New Year at rock bottom. Nowhere to go but up. Here’s absolutely everything we’ve missed that matters.

Big fan of this here website? Check out this cool year in review thing wordpress did for me and absolutely no one else. Or don’t man, I don’t care.

NBA:

  • So the lockout ended. I purposely didn’t post anything about the NBA here during the lockout in my own little protest, and then went on hiatus  for the first month and a half post-lockout. And I really like the NBA. So excuse me if I get a little long winded here.
  • First off, I love the 66 game season. I love that the season started on Christmas day. I love that teams are playing 4 games every single week. Was the lockout the greatest thing that ever happened to the NBA? yeah, probably.
  • If you haven’t seen TNT’s intro to the NBA season, seriously, do yourself a favor. I know you guys don’t click my links, but seriously click this one. Right here. Click it.
  • Since the lockout ended Chris Paul has ben a member of the Hornets, the Lakers, the Hornets again, and the Clippers. I like the Lob City boys, but I don’t love them. Paul’s got 4, 5 years tops left on his bum knees. Eric Gordon is going to be a star for 10 more years. Chauncey could have easily filled the void at point guard until they drafted someone else. The Clippers are really really good this year. But longterm, I don’t know if I would have pulled the trigger on the Chris Paul deal.
  • The Celtics are old. And boring. And weak. And they stink. I miss Kendrick Perkins. And Baby. And Leon Powe. And Tony Allen. I even miss Delonte West, if for no other reason because him and LeBron hate each other. What I love is Rondo, KG, Ray, and Paul Pierce. A lot of people want to blow up the team and start over. Please. It’s hard enough on me…just let me enjoy these four guys as long as I can.
  • Oh yeah, the Heat are scary good. I hate everything.
  • Hey, Vince Carter’s a Maverick. Go figure. I guarantee there is no better way for you to spend the next 10 minutes than to watch this video. I also guarantee none of you will watch that. It’s cool guys. Just know that if you keep treating me like this, I might go on hiatus for a month and not post anything.
  • It’s a shame that the Timberwolves are the worst franchise in the NBA, because Kevin Love is easily having the best season in the NBA this year. 24 points and 15 rebounds a game. He continues to get better every night. Is he the MVP? No, that race will once again comedown to Rose and LeBron, and deservedly so. Their teams are winning. But no one’s playing better than Love.
  1. Chicago
  2. Miami
  3. Atlanta
  4. Philadelphia
  5. Indiana
  6. Orlando
  7. Boston
  8. Milwaukee
  1. Oklahoma City
  2. Memphis
  3. LA Clippers
  4. LA Lakers
  5. Portland
  6. Dallas
  7. San Antonio
  8. Minnesota

Bet on it.

MLB:

  • My Red Sox imploded and fired the best manager in baseball for the worst baseball personality on television. But who cares, right?
  • The Angels WAY overpaid for Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. Good luck with that in 4 years guys.
  • That’s seriously about it. Way to go baseball.

College Football:

  • So Louisville didn’t go to the Orange Bowl. But they did win the Big East. And they did go to the Belk Bowl and showed more fight in a losing effort than I’ve seen in a long time, in what was basically a road game against NC State. The future is very, very bright for this team, with basically everyone coming back (sorry Vic, Scruggy, Dex, and Philpott), and a 2012 recruiting class that has somehow topped the loaded 2011 class. I love you Charlie Strong. I always will…
  • West Virginia just scored on Clemson again.
  • I like RG3. I really do. But Tyrann Mathieu would have had my vote for Heisman. I’ve never seen a defensive player dominate games the way he did. Plus, I like his hair. So what? Luckily, we get to keep watching him for at least one more year.
  • The BCS really screwed it up guys. LSU won the SEC, beat the Rose Bowl champions, the Orange Bowl champions, the SEC East champions, the Cotton Bowl champions, the defending National champions, and the current National champions on Bama’s home field. And they have absolutely nothing to show for it. Credit to Alabama wh won the only game that really matters in this system, but the fact is that they did not deserve to be there. That much was clear when they lost to LSU in November. Oklahoma earned their shot. Alabama didn’t. But, they made the most of the chance they were given so congrats to them. They didn’t do anything wrong. The system did.
  • Most important thing to come out of the National Championship game: Steve Kragthorpe and Ron Cooper still have not won a National Championship.
  • On December 31, 2011, Illinois defeated UCLA, 20-14 in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. The win put Illinois at 7-6 on the year, making a bowl game despite starting the season 6-0 and finishing the regular season with 6 straight losses. The loss finished UCLA at a record of 6-8. Yes, they made a bowl game with a record of 6-7. This game was, without question, the lowest point NCAA football has ever experienced. Seriously, they should be embarrassed that this bowl game was allowed to happen. On the bright side, it looks like when our website here hit rock bottom, the bowl system was down there to keep it company.
  • Meanwhile, WKU is still waiting to hear where their 7-5 season will be rewarded with a bowl game.
  • Teddy Bridgewater’s going to win the Heisman next year.

NFL:

College Basketball:

  • Louisville got off to an amazing start this season, improving to 12-0 after a 70-60 win over Western Kentucky. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, the university canceled the rest of the season. I’m sure it was for the best. There were rumors that they played the St. Johns game anyways, in a closed gym, but nothings been confirmed. Too bad. This team had real potential. Maybe next year.
  • Here’s what we know about college basketball this year: Syracuse, Kentucky, and North Carolina are really, really good. Baylor and Missouri have been very impressive, but come on, no one’s buying that, right? Ohio State, Michigan State, Florida, and Duke are suffering from bipolar disorder. Indiana might really be back this time. Murray State has arrived. And the Big East is really not that good compared to years past. Of course, they might be better if that 12-0 Louisville were still playing. I just wish there was some sort of explanation for why they quit on the season like that? At least they aren’t quitting on the court. Now THAT would be embarrassing! LOLZ, amirite?!
  • Speaking of the Big East, on January 5, 2012, Pittsburgh lost to DePaul and Villanova lost to South Florida. On the same night. I’m not joking. That actually happened. Villanova, believe it or not, is probably the worst team in the Big East this year. And Pittsburgh has firmly placed itself on the bubble. Y’all weren’t kidding about that 2012 stuff, were you? Plus, Louisville can’t participate in any form of postseason, because they decided not to play the second half of their season, remember? Seriously, what’s up with that??
  • Some other stuff in college basketball is happening, but I don’t care anymore.

Last, but not least, I’d like to dedicate this post to the people who wanted it the most. They did not sleep, did not eat until they got what they wanted. That’s right, Graham Withers! The people asked, and I gave.

The truth is, I don’t have a lot going on to prevent myself from posting more often. I just got lazy. It started because I promised myself I wouldn’t get on at all during finals week, which was just a couple days after my realignment post. But then I didn’t get on for like 4 more weeks. I just need more motivation. If you all could start mailing me like 20 bucks, once a month, that would really help. And I’d be able to buy the domain name “www.kevinspradlin.com”. Wouldn’t that be great??

I’ll be back soon. I want to delve deeper into the disappearance of the 2011-2012 Louisville Cardinals Men’s basketball team. Also, I’ve always wanted to write something about the show Friday Night Lights. And seeing as though I just finished the show, I might finall get to it.

GO SPRINGFIELD ARMOR

Conference Realignment Only Sucks If You Suck.

Confession: I love conference realignment. If you ignore the fact that your own school/conference is probably getting screwed, and just look at it as an outsider, it’s pretty exciting.

Today was arguably the biggest day of conference realignment yet. The Big East officially became “The Big C-USA + the Catholics” (I’m copyrighting that).

As much as I enjoy the excitement, I’ll admit that this thing is all a mess right now. And it takes someone who enjoys it all to sort out the mess. Luckily for you, one person knows all the secrets of realignment, and I’m here to share it with you.

Believe it or not, there’s currently 21 schools who can, in some way, call themselves members of the Big East Conference. And that number will probably be 23 by next week. I’m going to tell you where everyone of them will end up, and how it will effect every other conference.

Note: I honestly believe everything I’m about to say will happen, but I’m also fully aware that none of it will ever happen.

First lets look at the eleven football AND basketball members of the Big East. This includes Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Rutgers, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, South Florida, and noobs SMU, UCF, and Houston. SMU, UCF, and Houston just joined today, so let’s just say they’re staying put for the time being. We all know West Virginia, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh are headed out – WVU to the Big 12, Cuse and Pitt to the ACC. That leaves us with Louisville, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Connecticut, and South Florida, and those five schools want nothing more than to get out. And I’m going to get them out. Anyone who knows anything about conference realignment agrees that the Big 12 isn’t going to stay at 10 teams. Its doesn’t make sense. 12 teams = conference championship game. Conference championship game = money. The obvious choice is Louisville, who barely missed out when the Big 12 was looking for number 10. Plus, Louisville coaches have been telling recruits that there is “no doubt” they’ll be in the Big 12 by 2013. For the 12th school, look for Cincinnati. This makes sense regionally, with Louisville and West Virginia joining, and you get the built in rivalry of Louisville and Cincinnati. Plus, Cincinnati and West Virginia don’t really like each other. And Louisville and West Virginia really don’t like each other. These schools need each other. I think Rutgers gets into the Big Ten. They feel like a Big Ten school, and the Big Ten is going to need one more school, for reasons I’ll explain later. Connecticut gets their ultimate wish of the ACC. They are a perfect fit for the conference; basketball powerhouse, who gives a crap about football? This puts the ACC at 15 schools, so they’ll need one more, and South Florida makes the most sense, being in, you know, South Florida, right next to Mami, and close to Florida State. That puts the football-basketball schools at just  newcomers Houston, SMU, and UCF. Reach back into the C-USA bag and pull Memphis out, giving them what they’ve been clamoring for for about ten years, an invite to the Big East. Also, say you’re sorry to Temple and invite them back. This is humiliating for the Big East, but it makes too much sense to not do it. Now we have SMU, Houston, UCF, Memphis, and Temple as football and basketball members. Sounds…fun.

Now the football only schools. Right now we’ve got Boise State and San Diego State, but pretty much everyone agrees Navy and Air Force are headed for the same situation. These guys aren’t going anywhere. This puts our Big East football Conference at SMU, UCF, Houston, Memphis, Temple, Boise State, San Diego State, Navy, and Air Force. Don’t worry, I’m going to even them out at 10 members in just a minute.

Now let’s look at the real victims of this Big East blowup, the basketball-only schools, aka The Catholics. We’ve got Notre Dame, Providence, Villanova, St. Johns, Marquette, Seton Hall, Georgetown, and DePaul. Right away, I think Villanova joins the football conference to give the football conference its 10th member I promised. This move has been rumored for years, and its only a matter of time before it happens. It makes too much sense for everyone involved. Next, I see Notre Dame defecting to become a full time member of the Big Ten. We no longer live in a time where Notre Dame can make the BCS every year without an automatic bid. Regionally it makes perfect sense, being in the same state as Indiana and Purdue, and you get the built in super-rivalry that is Michigan vs Notre Dame. Now we have six basketball only schools who have two options. Option 1) They get out and form their own basketball only conference. There’s only six of them, so they look to add other hot mid major programs in the area who aren’t big on football, such as Butler, George Mason, VCU, etc. Option 2) They stay put and join up with the ten football members, and the basketball conference moves to a much more reasonable 12 teams. Although I like the sound of Option 1, I think Option 2 is much more likely.

So lets look at where our six power conference stand at now.

The Big East now looks like this:

  • Basketball conference: Marquette, Seton Hall, St. Johns, Providence, Georgetown, DePaul, Villanova, Houston, SMU, UCF, Memphis, Temple
  • Football conference: Houston, UCF, SMU, Memphis, Temple, Villanova, Boise State, San Diego State, Navy, Air Force.

Is this ugly? Yes. Is it hard to believe that the Big East could change this much in a couple years? Absolutely. But right now, its the best option.

The ACC now looks like this in both sports:

  • Duke, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Virginia, Miami, Florida State, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Connecticut, South Florida.

16 schools is an absurd amount of football teams. They’ll play 9 conference games a year, and certain teams still wont see each other for years at a time. But the ACC really only cares about basketball, and they will be looking to, and will succeed at replacing the current Big East as the class of college basketball.

The Big 12 now looks like this in both sports:

  • Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech, TCU, Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, West Virginia, Louisville, Cincinnati.

Regionally speaking, this is pretty ugly. But the fact is that its a great group of schools. Texas, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma will continue their reign in football, with West Virginia, TCU, and God willing, Louisville catching up after a few years of Big 12 recruiting. Meanwhile, West Virginia and Louisville likely take over on the basketball side of things along with current powers Kansas, Kansas State, and Texas.

The Big Ten now looks like this in both sports:

  • Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Northwestern, Rutgers, Notre Dame.

This is a great conference. Watch for the football to only get better as Nebraska gets settled and Notre Dame joins the mix. The already solid basketball conference will be more of the same, with the nice but not great addition of Notre Dame.

The SEC and Pac 12 stay put, with the exception, obviously, of Texas A&M and Missouri joining the SEC. I honestly don’t see those moves having any effect on the football conference, although both could be good additions to a weak basketball lineup. The Pac 12 is a great conference on the rise, especially in football. One move to watch out there is Boise State. If Boise continues to succeed in the Big East like they have everywhere else, they’d be a natural fit for the Pac 12. And since the Pac 12 loves to partner their teams up so much, look for BYU to go with them, should that ever happen.

Now. See guys? Wasn’t that fun? At least now you know exactly what’s going to happen. So sit back, enjoy, and watch as none of this comes true.

A Tale of Two Coaches

When Charlie Strong left Florida to become the Head Coach of the Louisville Cardinals, in December of 2009, he was taking over a rubbled mess of a program. He was going from the University of Tim Tebow to the University of Adam Froman. Louisville was a once proud program, winning the Orange Bowl in 2006 under Bobby Petrino. But after just three seasons under Steve Kragthorpe, the program had fallen about as far as it could. They had gone 15-21 in those years failing to reach a bowl in each. Star players had transferred, and the recruits had stopped coming.

In Strong’s first year, he inherited a strong group of seniors, most of them the last group of Petrino players at the school. Led by the breakout season of running back Bilal Powell, the leadership of seniors like Doug Beaumont, and the quarterback carousal of Adam Froman, Justin Burke, and Will Stein, the Cardinals shocked the Louisville fan base, by posting a 6-6 regular season, and made a bowl game for the first time since Petrino left. They would go on to win that Beef O’Brady’s Bowl against Southern Miss, 31-28

Then he started recruiting. First he landed hometown, Elite 11 quarterback, DeMarcus Smith. Then he grabbed another high profile Louisville recruit in Devante Parker. Then he went down to Miami and snagged 4-star recruits, Eli Rodgers and Gerod Holliman, along with 3-star recruits Andrew Johnson, Jermaine Reve, and Charles Gaines. When Holliman was ruled ineligible, he replaced his with the equally talented safety Calvin Pryor. When Smith decommitted, Strong went out and grabbed the biggest recruit in Louisville history, 5-star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, also out of Miami. And a week before the season, he grabbed Adrian Bushell, a transfer from Florida, who would quickly become the team’s best cornerback. (Also, look for DeMarcus Smith and Gerod Holliman to be on the Louisville sidelines after all in 2012.)

Coming into the 2011 season, expectation were even lower than the year before. And that was okay. This was a rebuilding year. Planning for the future. The Cards were picked seventh in the Big East, and with a new running back, three new receivers, a 5’7″ walk on quarterback backed up by a true freshmen, and a completely re-done secondary, a 5-7 prediction seemed almost generous. After home losses to FIU and Marshall, it seemed things may have been even worse than expected. Then, Strong got in a dispute with offensive coordinator Mike Sanford over who should be the starting quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, or God bless him, Will Stein. Teddy and Charlie won. Sanford was fired and Shawn Watson took over the offense. And a funny thing happened. The Cards started winning. They won five out of their final six games including a road win over ranked West Virginia, and the first win at South Florida in program history. With a final record of 7-5, and 5-2 in the conference, Charlie Strong had taken this program from doormat to Big East Champs in just two seasons. And as we sit here on the final week of the college football regular season, his team still has a chance to make the BCS.

All that in just two seasons. Funny thing is, it may not have been the best two season turn around in the state of Kentucky.

When Willie Taggart left Stanford to become the head coach of Western Kentucky in 2009, the former Hilltopper quarterback was taking over nothing. At this point, the program had played more seasons as a FBS program than they had wins as a FBS program. One. They had gone 0-12 in their first full season as an FBS team, and didn’t have much to show for it other than a talented running back in Bobby Rainey.

In his first season, Taggart and the Toppers struggled, like any team in this position would. Inconsistant quarterback play, and a poor defense led to a 2-10 record. What’s worse, the two wins both came on the road, extending the Toppers home losing streak to a staggering 15 games. The only positive to take out of this first season was the play of Rainey, who flourished under the former Stanford running backs coach, rushing for 1649 yards and 15 touchdowns.

That offseason, Taggart was able to bring in the top recruiting class in the Sun Belt, but the start of the season erased any positive vibes in the program. After a close, heartbreaking loss to Kentucky, the Toppers lost at home to Navy 40-14, and a humiliating effort, at home,  against FCS opponent Indiana State, 44-16. Add a close home loss the next week to Arkansas State, and the program was as low, if not lower than it was the day Taggart took over. They were 0-4 and the home losing streak had extended to 18 games.

And then, something really crazy happened. For reasons that are still unknown to, well, anyone, they just started winning. First, a double overtime thriller against MTSU. Then a road shutout of FAU. Then, on October 22nd, the home losing streak finally came to an end with a blowout win of Louisiana Lafayette. Another road overtime win, this time against Louisiana Monroe, was followed by a last second field goal to beat FIU (the same FIU that won in Louisville just two months before). The Toppers closed the season with wins against North Texas and Troy. Seven wins in their last eight games. The only loss came on the road against the number one team in the nation, LSU (and for what it’s worth, they scored more points against LSU than Alabama did). From 0-4 to 7-5 with a 7-1 record in the Sun Belt. The Hilltoppers are now bowl eligible for the first time in program history. And as we sit here on the last week of the college football regular season, Western Kentucky still has a chance to finish tied for the Sun Belt championship.

In two seasons, Charlie Strong took a 4-8 program that was crumbling, to a 7-5 Big East champion. In two seasons Willie Taggart took a 0-12 “program”, to a 7-5 bowl eligible team. Obviously, Strong has done this against far better competition. But something to consider, Strong has done it with his own players. Willie has turned his school around with nothing more than the 0-12 players that were left to him in 2009. This is no knock on Charlie Strong, who brought some incredible talent into the Louisville program, and that’s half the job of being a college head coach. But it is a lot easier to win with the players you hand pick than the ones left to you. Either way, the state of Kentucky has lucked into two of the best up and coming coaches in college football today. Who knows how long they’ll be around, but it’s going to be a lot of fun to continue watching them do their jobs while they are here.

Wait, did I forget someone?

Oh yeah, Joker beat Tennessee.

Louisville: 34, South Florida: 24

Today is November 28, 2011. From November 25th through December 2nd, only one team can claim to be Big East champions, and that team is the Louisville Cardinals. So no matter what happens on Saturday, remember this week. This was a good week.

  • Louisville won the Big East on Friday morning.
  • We all know this was Louisville’s first win at South Florida ever, but the first regular season win in the Sunshine State since 1972? Really happy to have that monkey off our backs.
  • They started the season 2-4, but now they’re Big East Champs.
  • Teddy had, once again, (I sound like a broken record here) the best game of his young career. 19 for 28, 241 yards, and a career high 3 touchdowns. Also, no interceptions. Good enough to get him Big East offensive player of the week and National Freshman of the week. He’s pretty much wrapped up Big East Rookie of the Year, and I really hate that they actually do call it “Rookie of the Year”. So, I’d say, despite what Matt Jones told you to think during the Murray State game, this guy was always worth the hype. Yeah, I haven’t forgotten that tweet, Matt.
  • They lost at home to FIU and Marshall, which sucks, but then won 5 out of 6 and now they’re Big East Champs.
  • Michaelee Harris has had the best season of our receivers this year. Devante Parker only catches touchdowns, and he catches a lot of touchdowns. But I think, and I’ve thought this since the day he committed, when we look back in four years on these three freshmen receivers, it will be Eli Rodgers who ends up with the most impressive numbers. You may not have noticed, but he’s the second leading receiver on the team, behind Harris, and not very far behind in any category.
  • They haven’t won the Big East since 2006, but they won it this year.
  • Speaking of 2006, the Cards have kind of been tearing it up in the pros. Harry Douglas caught a TD this week, Elvis gets sacks like Elvis gets sacks, Deion Branch continues to be on of the NFL’s best quarterback’s favorite targets, and Amobi Okoye is putting together a nice comeback in Chicago. Oh, yeah, and Michael Bush was finally given the chance to start in Oakland when Darren McFadden got hurt, and it turns out Michael Bush is better than Darren McFadden. Who saw that coming? Me. I did. Remember what made you, boys.

  • In all seriousness, congrats to the Wildcats on their win against Tennessee this weekend. No team deserves to lose to a mediocre school like that for 26 straight years. Plus, with Louisville winning the Big East (Louisville won the Big East?), WKU winning their 7th straight Sun Belt game, and UK finally beating UT, its nice to see the whole state of Kentucky having such a great weekend. Now, who has the longest losing streak against one school now? Oh..it’s still UK? okay, thats kind of hilarious.
  • After Krag1N1 hit, it didn’t seem like we’d ever win this conference again, but then we won the Big East just two years later.
  • Hey speaking of coaches, how about that Charlie Strong kid? The guy takes over a joke of a football program and wins his conference in just his second season, and has a chance to get them into the BCS. Maybe that is why he was worth that huge extension, Matt Jones. Yeah, haven’t forgotten about that either, Matt.  (The point I’m trying to make here is that when Matt Jones tries to talk about anything other than UK, he embarrasses himself. Probably why CBS fired him.)
  • I’m running out of different ways to say it, but yeah, we won the Big East.
  • The football team hit it big time this week guys. No, I’m not talking about the fact that they won the Big East, although they did do that. I’m talking about THIS.
Thats right. Others Receiving Votes. Oh how I’ve missed you AP poll. I know you’ve missed me too. Don’t fret. Daddy’s home.
  • The Chris Philpott bullet.
  • 2011 Big East Champions = The Louisville Cardinals.

We won the Big East, and no one can take that from us. If Connecticut beats Cincinnati on Saturday, well, it gets a lot better. I love this team. I love Teddy Bridgewater, I love Chris Philpott, I love Greg Scruggs, I love Dom Brown, Eli Rodgers, Adrian Bushell, and Anthony Conner. I love Charlie Strong. And I love Louisville football. I’m going to miss this season.

CONN STRONG

Man Enough To Admit My Mistakes

On October 25th, when Louisville lost to Cincinnati 25-16, their third loss in a row, dropping them to 2-4, I was sitting in my dorm room, and I sent my dad a text that said I didn’t know if Louisville was good enough to win another game. They had lost home games to Marshall and FIU, and had looked very unmotivated in losses to UNC and Cincinnati. I said that’d they would need to get lucky to avoid a 2-10 finish.

I LIED.

Louisville: 34, Connecticut: 20 – Louisville: 69, Butler: 53

This was without question the most exciting weekend to be a Louisville fan in a long, long time. The football team beat UConn to become bowl eligible and now have a real shot at a BCS bid. (No, seriously. Stop laughing.) The basketball team, just about an hour later, proved that its going to take more than an injury to their best player and three other injuries to key players to bring down this season, as they handled two time defending national runner up Butler (again). We’ll talk about all this, but first, let’s take care of that elephant in the room.

This blog had it’s 15 minutes of fame this weekend. And it may even carry over to this post, who knows. In case you missed it, Mike Rutherford read that post I wrote about him last week. And tweeted about it. So a ton of people read it. So I posted it on Card Chronicle. Mike put it on the front page. And guess what. A ton more people read it. We really hit it big boys. Something called “Big East Tweets” even tweeted about it. That might be a big deal! But the best part of it all, was that between Mike’s twitter and the link posted on Card Chronicle, more people accessed my blog that day from the link on my facebook page than anywhere else. Which means, first and foremost, my own personal friends were the ones to thank. You guys rock. Seriously. I know this blog isn’t for everyone, but to everyone who decided to give it a shot last week, I appreciate it. I wouldn’t have had the courage to post it on Card Chronicle if it weren’t for all the hits you guys gave me.

Enough about that. Let’s remember what got us here and talk about some sports.

  • I don’t like Connecticut. In any situation. I’m really glad we got to add them to the “See yalls later” farewell tour along with Syracuse and West Virginia (Don’t worry, Pitt will get their’s come Big East basketball season). (Yes, I am now fully aware that I wrote this, even though UConn is not leaving the Big East. Oops. I wrote it at 2 am. I will gladly refund anyone’s subscription fee over this issue.)
  • Adrian Bushell rules. I’ve said it before, but behind Teddy Bridgewater, bagging Bushell a week before the season started was the second best recruiting move Charlie Strong has made at Louisville. And NO ONE NOTICED WHEN HE DID IT!
  • Great game by the defense. Gave up 20 points, but UConn never seemed to be in much of a rhythm. Dexter Heyman, for the second time this season had a huge interception to clinch the game. And Malcolm Mitchell had a pick-6 to end the game…I think. What was that, exactly?? I don’t know, but he definitely scored.
  • Two whole weeks without a single Chris Philpott field goal attempt. I’m about as pissed off about this as you can get.
  • Even though it had almost no impact on the game whatsoever, I was not a fan at all of the benching of Teddy Bridgewater. The last thing you want to do to a freshmen quarterback is rattle his confidence. I trust Teddy to be mature enough to get past it, but we’ll see.
  • Sometimes, our running game rulez.

Louisville beats South Florida. Pitt loses one game. Cincinnati loses one game. We go to the Orange Bowl. That’s all it takes. I cant believe I’m actually saying this, but the Louisville Cardinals are in first place in the Big East.

Wait, you thought we were done?? No, no. Not on this, the ultimate of Cardinal Saturdays. First basketball recap, GO.

  • Kyle Kuric and Chris Smith played like two seniors are supposed to play. And couldn’t have come at a better time with their best teammate, Peyton Siva, stuck on the bench with a sprained ankle. Kuric led the way with 17 points and 6 rebounds, while Smith had 15 of his own.
  • Jared Swopshire is back and it feels so good.
  • Chane Behanan got his rebounds, leading the team with 7, like he always will, but had his first “Oh that’s right, he’s still a freshman” game on offense scoring just 4 points. I guess he’s allowed a few of those. Helps having Swop and Van Treese back to back him and Gorgui up.
  • I think Russ Smith and Elisha Justice did an great job filling in. Obviously, they were no Peyton Siva, but who is? They got the job done. Can’t ask for more. Well, okay, maybe more than 1 combined assist, guys?
  • I can’t wait until Brad Stevens takes over as Louisville’s head coach when Ricky P retires.
  • Butler is still a good team. They may not make the Final Four again bu- ahh who am I kidding? Of course they will. They always will.

Saturday wasn’t a great day to be a Louisville fan, it was the best day to be a Louisville fan. Let’s do it again, say Friday?

The Search for the Head Chronicloid.

Now for a personal note.

Earlier this season, I attended the Louisville – FIU football game. A game which, under normal circumstances, I would never speak of again. But these are no normal circumstances. I witnessed something that night that would drastically change the course of this season.

I’ve been sitting in the same seats at these games for 11ish years now. By now, I know most of the people around us. The brothers, old people Mom is friends with. That guy who sits next to me, who’s really nice when he’s sober, but becomes beliggerant after one drink. Then theres those that have left us. Elvis. Old man and old lady. Okay, so I don’t know any of them by name. But they’re like Cardinal Family. With the FIU game being my first of the year, I looked around to see who had returned. Most were back, with the addition of my sister, Shelby, and brother in law, Brian, just a row in front of us and a few seats to the right (the exact location will become important). As I looked around I thought I spotted a familiar face sitting down on my row. But not any of those faces I remembered from years past. Could it be? Mike Rutherford, author and creator of Card Chronicle, the very blog that inspired this blog you’re reading? I asked my Dad if he thought it was him too. Of course my Dad doesn’t know what Mike Rutherford looks like. Most people probably don’t. I dismissed it. Clearly I was just trying to convince myself I was sitting near a local celebrity.

Fast forward to the Syracuse game. I’m sitting in my seat, watching the game, alongside former Kentucky fan (since converted) Ethan Guetig. Someone comes down our row. I stand up to let him through. Could it be? That same familiar face that I saw at the FIU game? I’ve had enough. I ask Ethan to help. However, Ethan, being a Kentucky fan at the time, only knows what Matt Jones’ butt looks like. He’s no help. I pull out my phone and go to the website itself, Card Chronicle, to see exactly what Mike was wearing to this game (Yes, he posts this information before every game). Everything matches up. I shoot my sister a text. “Don’t freak out, but Mike Rutherford is sitting right behind you.”  I have no idea if she even knows who Mike Rutherford is, but, she had to be warned. Well guess what. SHE ALREADY KNOWS. Turns out, Shelby and Brian had done enough eavesdropping during the game to determine it was definitely Mike. Creeps. Now, with all the confidence in the world, I shoot Mike a tweet to let him know I’m near. “Don’t look now, but @CardChronicle sits on the same row as me at Louisville football games.” Ethan thinks this is weird. Clearly I have no fear. If “our fearless leader” as he’s called on other blogs, is just sitting just mere feet from me, I want to know! If the man who told me about Chicken Knowles, and convinced me to send the 17 year old kid in Houston tweets nonstop, is sitting just mere feet from me, I want to know! If the guy who convinced me to go on a gay sports website and vote for Louisville point guard Elisha Justice as the “Hottest Male Athlete in the World” is sitting just mere feet from me, I want to know! (I have no shame in that story. I did it, and guess what. Elisha won. No…we all won. Elisha Justice. Hottest Male Athlete in the World, 2011.) Anyways, Mike must not check his twitter during the games, because aside from a reply from GoCardsAttitude, who replies to anything tweeted about Louisville, I heard nothing in return. Discouraged, I headed back to Bowling Green feeling like an utter failure, and a disgrace to Chronicloids everywhere.

Fast forward again. It’s the Wednesday before the Pitt game. I’m sitting in the library, thinking about my studies, and not Louisville football, when inexplicably, I remember the incident of the last game. I’m not just going to sit around and let this happen again. It’s time to take action. I shoot Mike another tweet (or two, or three). “As Louisville heads into their final home game this weekend,” I tweet, “I think there’s only one question on everyone’s mind. Will @CardChronicle finally work up the courage to look down the row and introduce himself to me?” See what I’ve done there? Pressure’s on him. I’m feeling witty, so I add, “My guess? No. Guess I’ll have to do all the work. Possible icebreaker: I ALSO like the University of Louisville.” Get it? Anyways, I go back to my studies and put the tweets behind me. Hey, maybe some of my Louisville followers will get a laugh out of it! Wait. What’s this? A reply from @CardChronicle? “haha. If I don’t say hi, feel free to make the move.” Crap this guy’s good. Now the pressure’s back on me.

Well, round about here, but I didn’t make the move. But there was definitely one moment where I was trying to enter the row while he was trying to exit, and I got out of his way, and he nodded and said thanks. So I mean, come on…he knew. Why not make the move you ask? I’m not too sure. Maybe I just wanted to let the guy watch the game in peace. Maybe I didn’t want to sound like a screaming fan girl. You see, I’ve actually cyber-spoken to Mike Rutherford before. Aside from the occasional comments back and forth on Card Chronicle, we both follow each other on twitter, and have made comments on each other’s tweets. Also, I once emailed this very blog to Mike, seeking some sort of feedback from the expert. He responded, and gave the feedback graciously. What a nice guy, right? I told him to feel free to keep up with the blog on the link posted, or  just follow me on twitter. He obliged, as I received a new follower later that afternoon from Card Chronicle. You see what I’m getting at here? There’s a real chance that Mike is reading this very blog post right now. So Mike, if you are, thanks for reading. And it’s okay, I forgive you for not introducing yourself. I didn’t do my part. Phone works both ways ya know, bro? Anyways, welcome to the section 215 Cardinal Family Mike. Even if you go the way of Elvis and the old people, and never come back, you can proudly say you are the only family member to inspire a 1000 word blog post from myself.

See ya next year Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

UPDATE:

So, yeah. He totally read it.

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