In opening I would like to say thanks to all our vets on this Memorial Day.
With the academic year coming to a close the headlines are slowing down but there is still plenty to talk about. Here are a few of the top stories.
Academic; the NCAA recently released their annual Academic Progress Rate (APR). Once again the University of Louisville has excelled as 9 teams posted perfect scores. They are: mens basketball, football, mens tennis, mens and womens golf, womens lacrosse, softball, womens soccer and volleyball. They showed that student athletes can excel on the field & in the class room. Also mens basketball and womens golf are in the top 10% in their sport in the latest multi year APR which measures academic eligibility, retention and graduation. They both posted perfect APR’s for the four year period from 2009-13. Overall over 100 student athletes recieved their degrees this spring, including Teddy Bridgewater who left early for the NFL draft.
The Louisville Cardinals enters the 2013-14 basketball season ranked in the top 3 and as one of the favorites to win the national championship. If that happens, the Cards would be the first team to repeat as national champions since the 2007 Florida Gators and would be the smallest team to win the title in nearly 50 years.
Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino will have to replace two key starters from last seasons team, PG Peyton Siva and C Gorgui Dieng. Siva finished his career at U of L as arguably the Cards greatest point guard. His leadership and playmaking skills at both ends of the court will be missed. Dieng left early and was a first round pick in the NBA draft. His shot blocking ability and overall post presence will be greatly missed.
Hello my fellow Louisville and college sports fans. The state of Card Nation can be described in one word, hopeful. Besides scoring enough style points this Cardinal football team has done all that they can do. They are 5-0 and currently ranked 8th in the country. All of this is pretty incredible considering that just four years ago they were struggling just to make a bowl game. It’s been a rapid climb back to the top, thanks to coach Strong. Cards fans came into this season with a shot at the national championship dancing in their heads, so where do they stand after week six?
We knew the Cards were along shot for a title shot and that their destiny wasn’t solely in their own hands. That they would need help from their scheduled teams, from their conference and that they would need teams ahead of them to lose. So far none of this has happened. The American Conference (AAC) has been worse than expected, who knew that was possible. The two best teams the Cards have played are Kentucky and Ohio. It’s understandable to wonder what if Ohio State had balls and chose to play the Cards instead of San Diego St? Or what if ESPN could have swooped Virginia Tech for the Cards in the opener against Alabama? What if the Big East didn’t fall apart and West Virginia and TCU was still on the schedule? There’s a lot of ifs and buts about the schedule but it is what it is.
So why do I describe Card Nation as hopeful? There are some positives to look forward to. Besides joining the ACC next season and having teams such as Florida St, Clemson, Miami and Notre Dame on the schedule and opening the 2015 season against Auburn, there are some positives for this season as well. The Cards have the best conference teams ahead of them yet so the schedule will get more difficult, starting this Thursday night against Rutgers (4-1 1-0) at home. On 10-18 Central Florida (4-1 1-0) visits Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. On 11-16 Houston (4-0 1-0) comes to town before the Cards finish the season at Cincinnati (3-2 0-1).
A shot at the national championship may be out of their reach but a second straight BCS Bowl bid, third overall, is well within their grasp. Current projections include Florida State in the Orange, Baylor in the Fiesta and South Carolina in the Sugar. One can’t discount the Rose just yet either. Since the Cards defeated Alabama in the Fiesta back in the 90’s, pre BCS era, the Rose remains the only BCS caliber bowl that they haven’t won.
If the Cards can’t play for the championship then we still have a couple of ACC teams to pull for. The current BCS projections has two ACC teams ranked in the top six. Alabama has a solid lock on the top spot but what happens when/if they lose? Here are the BCS projected top ten according to BCSGuru.com.
1 Alabama 0.9980, 2 Oregon 0.9107, 3 Clemson 0.8750, 4 Stanford 0.8661, 5 Ohio State 0.7804, 6 Florida St 0.7704, 7 Georgia 0.7671, 8 Oklahoma 0.6502, 9 Louisville 0.6191, 10 LSU 0.6111
The actual BCS rankings will be released after week 7.
Here are the current AAC standings
1 Louisville 5-0 1-0
2 Houston 4-0 1-0
3 Rutgers 4-1 1-0 (beat Arkansas)
4 Central Fla 4-1 1-0 (beat Penn St, lost to South Carolina)
5 USF 1-4 1-0
6 UConn 0-4 0-0
7 Cincinnati 3-2 0-1
8 Memphis 1-3 0-1
9 SMU 1-4 0-1 (Louisville does not play this year, 8 game schedule)
10 Temple 0-5 0-2
The Louisville Mount Rushmore was a tough one. The general consensus was that–while Johnny Unitas was a superstar–his star was so NFL-related as to question his inclusion in a Louisville Mount Rushmore. The Confidential is not too bold as to ignore criticism. Where, as here, there is a legitimate beef, the Confidential listens. We removed Unitas from the list.
With two holes to fill, the decision becomes a bit easier. Darrell Griffith is beloved to Louisville hoops fans. Unlike Unitas, he did most of his real damage in college–benefiting the program directly. He left school as the all-time leading scorer. His jersey has been retired. He won a national championship. He even earned the moniker Dr. Dunkenstein–an exciting player coming before Phi Slamma Jamma and Michael Jordan. He would have been #4, but now he is #3.
The battle for #4 becomes tougher. On the one hand, Rick Pitino just won a national championship. On the other hand, Rick Pitino is at Louisville because of athletic director Tom Jurich. Although the Confidential’s initial thought was to defer Jurich for a later edition, the fan outcry was significant. Jurich hired Pitino. He hired Charlie Strong. Both of those programs are top 10 and headed to our beloved ACC. He has been in charge of Louisville’s rapid climb in revenue–despite the paltry sums generated by the TV revenue from Big East (and lesser conference) membership. Louisville sports is as powerful as it has ever been–and most of that is due to the efforts of Tom Jurich. Someday he will have a field, arena, or stadium named after him. For now, he will have to settle for a spot on the Confidential’s Louisville Mount Rushmore.
The Final Louisville Mount Rushmore: Denny Crum, Howard Schnellenberger, Darrell Griffith, and Tom Jurich.
Other Mount Rushmores:
For more on the Louisville decisions, see the original discussion…
The Louisville Cardinals come into the 2013 football season with a top 10 ranking and lofty expectations after their stunning upset of #3 Florida in the Sugar Bowl. Being the favorite in all of their games has the fans dreaming of an undefeated season and a possible shot at the national championship. Perhaps their biggest challenge will be overcoming complacency. To help keep the team focus they will wear wristbands that say “earn it”. Earn it has been often mentioned during August camp and the players seem to be buying in, some even turning away from the social media. To give them more drive and focus is the lingering memory of their two upset loses last season to Syracuse and UConn. With only a few starters missing from last year team the 2013 Cardinals should be even better. Read more…
The Confidential has been having some fun with league-wide coaches Mount Rushmores. Football and Basketball, plus polls for each of football and basketball to share your thoughts. In fact, it was so sufficiently fun and controversial that we are going to do school-wide Mount Rushmores now. And we will only put three people on the list, leaving you–our readers–to comment as to who should be the fourth. We will not do polls anymore. For today, let’s go with a school that is still one year away from formally joining the ACC: Louisville.
With the Louisville Cardinals historical 2012-13 year coming to an end with a disappointing CWS performance its time to start looking ahead. Before we focus in on the 2013 football season lets jump ahead a bit. It’s still early in the 2014 recruiting process but the Cardinals are putting together one of their best classes ever. Louisville first ACC class brought in 15 commitments already, a number that is highly unusual for them. ESPN, Scout and Rivals are still evaluating the 2014 class and as the athletes compete in their senior season there will be many changes in the rankings. Even though its still early, lets take a look at some of the Cards top commits. Read more…