Louisville Fans Should Hope For the Death Penalty

It has been one hell of a week for the University of Louisville. Head basketball coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were both put on administrative leave this week following reports from the FBI that most recent signee Brian Bowen had received improper benefits from Adidas, the schools athletic apparel sponsor.

First things first: Pitino and Jurich both deserve to lose their jobs and if you think otherwise, you’re delusional. They are both some of the dirtiest characters in college athletics and have finally been outed for it. Good riddance to both. Which leads me to my second point: this situation could have been avoided (or at least lessened) by paying college athletes. It’s a disgrace that the NCAA is still a middleman to all this and I hope this will be a catalyst toward getting these athletes paid.

Something that Louisville fans may not be thinking about, or fans in general, is that this latest scandal raises questions about the legitimacy of the past 20 years of Louisville athletics. It’s pretty clear at this point, given his handling of the situation, that Jurich is not running his programs in a way that is acceptable by NCAA standards and when you look at the entire athletic department, some questions that should have been asked before now become more glaring. How does a university like Louisville develop all it’s sports into top 25 programs in under 20 years? The statistics counter Jurich hiring outstanding coaches in every sport, especially to a midwest city like Louisville. But let’s pretend he was able to lure all these coaches above the board. One is Pitino and another is Bobby Petrino, so you’re not off to a great start character wise. And maybe Dan McDonald is the Nick Saban of college baseball, but how is it that the biggest programs in college baseball are essentially the teams from California, the teams from Texas, the teams from the south, and then Louisville. Maybe McDonald is that persuasive, but I’d rather play in one of those other places for a variety of reasons. Women’s basketball came out of nowhere when it hired Jeff Walz in 2007, who had been a lifetime assistant. Again, maybe Walz is THAT DUDE. But you’re now talking about a university essentially lucking into TWO top 3 coaches in two separate sports, and neither of those sports is basketball, which your university was built on. This is obviously all speculation on my part, but I have serious questions about how some of this stuff got done.

Now, getting out of the politics of it, where does (and should) the university go from here? You have a top-10 program who was about to go into the season expecting a run at a title now facing the likely possibility of receiving the death penalty. They are looking for a coach for this season, because they will still compete this year despite the FBI and NCAA looking into everything. I think there is almost no chance, given the Katina Powell situation earlier this year coming to a close, that Louisville avoids the death penalty. So, what should Louisville be hoping for?

Honestly, I think at this point, the death penalty would be the best case scenario for the basketball program. To be clear, this would destroy a lot of money coming into the university and the city, but last time I checked, the FBI doesn’t care about your cities economics. But, in terms of the program itself, you need a reboot. Louisville is a top 7 all-time basketball program, with a storied history and a big following. I believe that if you don’t clean house completely and sit it out a few years, you will forever have a cloud over the program. The new coach will have an absolute disaster of a mess to clean up, plus the NCAA penalty will be so harsh, it will feel like a death penalty while still being able to play the game. It’s college purgatory and will set the program back much farther than it already is.

So let’s paint a much prettier picture. It’s 2023. Louisville got the death penalty. All the players on the roster, who may or may not have received benefits as well, are all gone. The entire coaching staff, gone. Assistants, secretaries, everybody is gone. You have a new athletic director, one who is going to build it right. He’s already run Petrino out of town, because at this point the university can’t afford to take anymore PR hits, and because Petrino isn’t as good a coach as he was. He’s already hired a young upstart for the football team (Jeff Brohm?) and now, he’s looking for the same for the basketball program. David Padgett did an admirable job for the 2017-18 season, the team made the tournament as a six seed and got beat in the second round. He was playing against a stacked hand. The new AD goes to hire another young guy as the basketball coach, one without any direct coaching ties to Pitino (Bashir Mason, Matt McCall, Will Wade?) and he is given a 7 year contract. Plenty of time to build it his way and evaluate as they go. Louisville has been scrubbed clean of all the dirt it accumulated and the reputation has been (somewhat) restored. I like that picture a whole lot better than letting Padgett flounder for a few years trying to salvage a burning ship. He may stop the fire, but the ship needs some major work before it’s operational.

UofL Has Lost It’s Moral High Ground

I think it’s about time something was said, and it’s not an attack, although that’s how it will be perceived. The University of Louisville has lost it’s moral high ground in the scape of the NCAA. And to be honest, in hindsight, I’m not sure how much of one it ever had.

Growing up as a Louisville fan lead me to a certain feeling of privilege. From the days of John L. Smith and the tail end of Denny Crum’s tenure with the basketball team, we always had the “plucky underdog” feel. We never got the air time that it seemed like Kentucky did, and we developed things the “right way”. We were on a “collision course” and we were along for the ride.

Things didn’t start to feel strange until Bobby Petrino left in 2006. He left the university in the dead of night. I still remember being on our home computer and seeing the update on ESPN. I told my parents and they thought I was joking. Bring in Steve Kragthorpe, and all of a sudden we had “behavioral problems” in the locker room. I’m not going to defend Kragthorpe, because at the end of the day, a coaches job is to win. I will say, though, that maybe Petrino wasn’t bringing in the most high quality individuals to play for him.

Petrino went on to ungracefully leave from the Atlanta Falcons and have a fresh scandal in Arkansas involving a volleyball player and a motorcycle.

In 2009, we were all first introduced to Karen Sypher. I won’t go into it here, because honestly if you’re reading this, you know what happened. While it isn’t a basketball related issue, and I agree that it isn’t a fireable offense, it’s a terrible black mark on the university.

Then came Katina Powell. To say it bluntly, Pitino should have been fired. Adding in the Sypher issue years ago, this was an issue with recruits, in on-campus dorms and if he didn’t know, then he should have. It’s his responsibility as the head coach. The thing that truly bothered me about this though, is that once everything came out, there wasn’t at least a bigger uproar of people calling for his termination. The fan base, from my observation, was largely defending everyone except Powell and Andre McGee, the ringleader of the whole thing. I expect fans to be irrational about their teams, but I heard almost no fans calling for a firing. That’s embarrassing to me, and it also signaled something.

The standards of our higher education facilities have plummeted in favor for more money and exposure. To be clear, the NCAA is at fault as well. The entire idea of college athletics is such a cess pool of dirty, disgusting practices that I find it hard to pull for anyone involved outside of the student-athlete themselves.

These major examples aside, we haven’t even talked about James Ramsey, the university’s former president. He oversaw over 20 scandals, almost all financially related, between 2008 and 2016 when he resigned. This includes bribery, cover-ups and theft.

The whole reason for this stream of thoughts is at the beginning: the moral high ground. I didn’t get the sense that the Powell situation humbled anyone, which is concerning. The irony of mocking Kentucky for years about losing their championship banner due to some kind of violation by John Calipari, only to be at risk of losing Louisville’s own is not lost on me. The Powell situation was everyone else’s opportunity to knock Louisville, and it was met with backlash, like this fan base hasn’t been doing the knocking. It was hypocritical at best, ignorant at worst.

Again, I know this is going to lead to a lot of backlash against myself. Unfortunately, I know how fans are. I think, though, that it’s something every fan base, not just Louisville’s, needs to hear. Looking in the mirror every once in awhile isn’t such a bad thing.

What now?

Louisville got handed a sobering loss to cap off the disappointing end to their 2016 season with a 29-9 defeat to LSU in the Citrus Bowl. The end of the season has spawned a plethora of finger pointing and in some cases name calling, letting everyone know who the children are among the fans. And while there is blame to be shared, it is not just one persons fault. There are levels to everything, and right now, the football program is broken. Not irreparably, but broken nonetheless.

So where do we go from here, both as fans and as a program? I broke it into sections, and I’m no coach or athletic director, but I do think this is the most sensible and efficient way to approach 2017 in a much better standing.


Obviously you’re coming off a Heisman-winning season from Lamar, but he has a lot to work on. His accuracy, especially on the short and mid-range passes, as well as the fumbles must improve. Additionally, Bobby needs to let Lamar be Lamar. He was always most competent when Bobby let him run more of the read option and take off when he wants, instead of trying to force him to be a pocket passer. I understand trying to develop him for the pros, I’m just talking in terms of a successful season for the University of Louisville. Secondly, Jawon Pass or Malik Cunningham, whoever wins the backup job, needs to develop and get some time early in the season. Lamar had an incredible run of health this year given how many times he was hit, and depth behind him will be crucial from the young players. I also believe Kyle Bolin may transfer. I don’t see the point in making him the backup with Pass and Cunningham coming in, so it depends on how much he wants to play.

Running Backs

There is a big step down here. Brandon Radcliffe, Malin Jones, and fullback Lamar Atkins all graduate, with LJ Scott transferring. That leaves Jeremy Smith, a lot of unproven talent, and incoming freshman Colin Wilson (4*). That leaves a lot to be desired, especially assuming the offensive line does not drastically improve. I’d like to see more straight runs from the backfield, but outside of that, it’s largely the Lamar show in the backfield for next season anyway.

Pass Catchers

Overall, the quantity of losses here isn’t that high, but the loss in quality is huge. Cole Hikutini, Keith Towbridge, Jamari Staples and James Quick are all huge contributors on the offense right now and will be tough to replace. Look for Traveon Samuel, Seth Dawkins, Jaylen Smith and Dez Fitzpatrick to more than fill the gaps at wide receiver. Charles Standberry and Micky Crum are the frontrunners to fill in at tight end. Overall, I’m not too worried about the talent here, but I am really high on Micky Crum for next season.

Offensive Line

Oh boy. So they lose Tobijah Hughley and Khalil Hunter, and possibly Lukayus McNeil. McNeil made mention before the season that he would see where he was as a prospect after the season. His brother is his dependent so he wants to jump to the league as quickly as possible, however based on his performance this season, I don’t think he will be a high prospect in the NFL. So assuming they bring McNeil back, that leaves Kiola Mahoni and Geron Christian as the remaining returning starters. Overall, I felt like Christian had a decent year, certainly better than any of his line mates, and he is still young. I’d like to see Ronald Rudd (JUCO), Cole Bentley (3*) and Robbie Bell (redshirt Fr) push for starting positions on the line. I do think, depending on how those three develop, that the offensive line will be largely improved next season.

Defensive Line

The only senior of note is DeAngelo Brown, which is a huge, and I mean HUGE loss for us up front, especially in Grantham’s defensive scheme. They also stand to lose James Hearns if he chooses to go to the NFL. Those would be two huge loses, but they are fairly deep on the defensive line. Kyle Shortridge and GG Robinson are both talented enough to take over for Brown, even with it being a drop off. On the ends, Drew Bailey, Chris Williams and De’Asian Richardson all played well this season and should stabilize the outside should Hearns jump.


I had very little complaints about our linebackers this season. Keith Kelsey was a rock in the middle, with Devonte Fields, Stacey Thomas and Jonathan Greenard all performing well around him. Unfortunately, there’s a very real possibility that they lose Thomas in addition to the graduating Fields and Kelsey. If that is so, Greenard, along with up-and-comer Amonte Caban, transfer Gary McCrae and a returning Trevon Young could be the top names to fill those big shoes.

Defensive Backs

This is probably the group I’m least excited for next season. They definitely lose Josh Harvey-Clemons, and Shaq Wiggins and Chucky Williams aren’t locks to come back. We saw how the defense looked in the bowl game without some of these guys, and that’s what gives me pause for next season. They would obviously have all offseason to work with the guys, but the coaching staff should be looking to define the starters as quickly as possible. Lucky for them, incoming stud CJ Avery (4*) will be on campus in about a week, and players like Jaire Alexander, Zykiesis Cannon, Khane Pass and Dee Smith all were generally strong performers this season. It will be interesting to see who comes out of this group come September.

Special Teams

Mason King and Blanton Creque were, in my opinion, really strong performers this year. King might be the best punter to come through the program since Wade Tydlacka and Creque was very solid once given the starting job. Not worried about this area for next year.

Ultimately, I think that next season is obviously predicated on better coaching. The offense sputtered every time they got into the red zone and I think there are some minor play calling issues to correct. Bobby of old is dead and gone, and isn’t coming back. The ballsy 4th down calls and opportunities to step on the opponents throat are gone as well. So the offense has to become crisp, efficient and exact. On defense, Grantham has done a phenomenal job given the amount of bad situations the offense put them in this season. He, however, needs to be more cognizant of his talent. I know his defensive scheme involves blitzing early and often, but when 3/4 of your secondary is replacements, you can’t be that aggressive. A few minor tweaks here should do the trick.

And lastly, the fan base has to evolve. The constant whining and panicking every time something goes wrong has to stop. Louisville is on the cusp of consistent elite status, both in basketball and football. Not there yet, but knocking on the door. So it’s time the fans act like it. When Stephen Johnson drops a bomb to start the game and the entire stadium panics, the players sense that. It sounds dumb, but evolving as fans to expect greatness while not overreacting to a slight step back is a crucial part of this process. Louisville could be in its third straight national title game, but if Malik Cunningham throws a pick six to start the game, and the entire fan base loses its mind, that’s a recipe for disaster.

So be proud of what was accomplished this season. The first Heisman trophy in school history, the first College Gameday in school history and being ranked in the top 5 are no small accomplishments. But continue to aim higher and 2017 can be the Year of the Cardinal Pt. Deux.

Lamar and the Other Guys

Photo: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The Heisman Trophy will be presented to the nations “most outstanding player” on Saturday night. For many Louisville fans, this is the last chance to capture something remarkable on what looked to be a special season before losing the final two games of the season. Lamar Jackson has been the Heisman frontrunner essentially since the beginning, but the last two games have let the field gain some traction.

To get it out of the way early, I do believe Jackson will run away with the trophy, and I believe he is the most deserving of it. My rank of the finalists is as follows:

  1. Lamar Jackson, Louisville
  2. Deshaun Watson, Clemson
  3. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
  4. Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma
  5. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan

The historical numbers certainly favor Jackson. Teammates inevitably hurt each other for the most part, due to the fact that the votes tend to get split between them. That being said, there has been one defensive player to  win the award (Charles Woodson, DB) which still puts Mayfield and Westbrook over Peppers. There is also a quarterback bias in recent years. In total, 44 of the Heisman winners have been halfbacks/runnning backs, and 33 have been quarterbacks. However, since 1990, there have been 6 running backs selected and 17 quarterbacks selected. All of this favors both Lamar and Watson, who most believe are the two front runners.

So when we rule out the three farthest from contention, we’re left with the two ACC quarterbacks. Watson was a finalist last season, finishing third behind Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry, who won the award. Here’s how the two quarterbacks stats match up:

  • Watson: Passing- 3914 yards, 37 TD, 15 INT ..Rushing- 524 yards, 6 TD
  • Jackson: Passing- 3390 yards, 30 TD, 9 INT ..Rushing- 1538 yards, 21 TD

Jackson has almost 500 more yards of total offense and 8 more touchdowns than Watson does. That’s a huge difference when you consider Jackson also played one less game.

The two biggest knocks on Jackson is the teams record (9-3 with a loss in Death Valley to Clemson) and his turnovers down the stretch of the season. In the loss to Kentucky, Jackson had 3 interceptions and also had the game-ending fumble to seal the win for the Wildcats. However, in their head-to-head matchup this season, Jackson went toe to toe Watson. Jackson finished with 457 yards of offense and three touchdowns with only one interception. Watson finished with 397 yards and five touchdowns with three interceptions.

What Would This Mean for the University of Louisville?

Lamar is the schools first player to be invited to New York as part of the ceremony. Of the 81 Heisman winners, only 36 current FBS schools have a Heisman winner in their history. That means only 28% of the 128 schools have winners. That’s a huge deal and would be program changing. Louisville built a statue for Johnny Unitas in the stadium. I can’t imagine what they will do for Lamar if he wins.

We all know the “first player to…” numbers Lamar has put up this season, so I won’t rehash them here. But there is something to be said for a player, who after 81 seasons of Heisman trophy presentations, is still doing things no one has ever seen. I remember in 2007 when Tim Tebow won the Heisman and everyone made a HUGE deal about the fact that he finished with 30+ passing touchdowns and 20+ rushing touchdowns, and Lamar has done that this season. In my mind, there is Lamar and the other guys. Hopefully of Saturday night, the voters will agree.

Kentucky 41, Louisville 38 Game Notes

Fuck that whole bunch from Lexington. Let’s get it!

  • Brandon Radcliff proposal. Dawww.
  • I still get goosebumps when they play the Ali intro. Seriously the best work our media team has done in my memory.
  • Kentucky has film on Jaylen Smith right? Can’t believe they let the huge pass over the middle to start the game.
  • And Lamar with the run in. That drive was very systematic. It’s going to be a long game for the Kentucky defense.
  • Wow. Huge blown play over top for Kentuckys first score. I mean a complete breakdown in communication and awareness by the secondary. Awful start for the defense.
  • Lamar’s accuracy has to get better. The overthrowing wide open receivers has to stop. It’s arguably his biggest weakness.
  • Also, fumbles when he runs. Even when they’re overturned.
  • Offense starting to look bad. I don’t understand running the ball two plays in a row and I don’t understand the timing on some of the runs. Second and long with this offense isn’t the time to hand it off to Radcliff.
  • The defense is looking like they also haven’t seen tape of the Kentucky offense. Some terrible breaks to let up first downs.
  • Bennie Snell is going to be a pain in our ass for years, ladies and gentlemen. Get used to him, unfortunately.
  • And Boom is Booming. 14-7 Kentucky.
  • I’ve noticed that Lamar has started dropping WAY back when he has to pass. He knows he doesn’t have an offensive line in front of him. And it’s affecting his play. 
  • Nice strike to Bonnafon gets the game tied up. Hopefully it continues.
  • Defense finally gets a nice, momentum stop and the offense gets a huge boost from the kick catch interference on the punt. Things starting to fall into place for Louisville.
  • Soft Bobby making an appearance again. We get stopped on the 1 and kick a field goal. Firstly, terrible play calling yet again in the red zone. And then we kick the field goal. Should have gone for it. Coaching scared is what lost us the Houston game. 
  • James Quick is having himself a game so far. Looking really solid.
  • I love the shovel pass to Hikutini for the touchdown. I just love shovel passes. A shovel pass in this offense is particularly devastating because Lamar commands so much attention on the ground. They aren’t looking underneath for an option until it’s too late.
  • Chucky Williams getting burned again. Awful over top coverage by the defense. Just awful.
  • 24-21 at half. Not what I was expecting at all.
  • Ok, I love Mario Benevides, and maybe it’s because they have only a few minutes, but his analysis at halftime is totally useless. I do believe it’s the time constraints though. Mario is a smart guy and a smart player, he has more insights than he shares during the halftime.
  • Jaire with the breakup over the top to start the second half off. Bobby may have made the right adjustments there.
  • Fields is visibly frustrated by Johnson’s elusiveness. He’s been a pain in the ass for sure. I wish it were Drew Barker.
  • Run right up the middle by Snell on third and one should not have been a touchdown. You know they’re running it and he essentially went untouched. Defense looking like a real liability right now. Can’t stop the run or the pass.
  • Lamar rips off the huge read option run and makes sure the offense is rolling, despite the defense.
  • Every. Single. Third. Down. They get conversions.
  • All tied. 31-31. 
  • Lamar with a pick on the first play sets us up for a bad stretch heading into the fourth quarter.
  • Ronald Walker was completely oblivious to the ball and let up a huge touchdown to start the fourth. It was by far the least aware I’ve seen a defender in any game this year.
  • Interception of Hikutini’s hands might be a dagger. Defense doesn’t seem to be able to stop them and we might not have it to come back from 2 scores down.
  • D’Asian Richardson had a HUGE stop at the point of the handoff, but it was completely negated by the huge Kemp play right after it. You could hear a pin drop in the stadium before Richardson’s play, and the crowd was loud immediately after.
  • I love the Heisman pose after Lamar runs it in. Makes a statement in my opinion. 
  • Huge takeaway by Chris Williams to flip the momentum. Brilliant continuation of the play to force the turnover.
  • Started the season with #LamarLeap, might end it with #LamarLeak. The fumbles….
  • Well. That was something.

The sideline never seemed to be inflated. It showed in the way we played and the way we handled the adversity. Oh well. 

Offensive MVP was easily Cole Hikutini. Had 7 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. 

Defensive MVP for me was D’Asian Richardson. No stats that I could find on him, but he seemed to be the only defensive linemen able to get in the backfield and make plays.

On to the bowl game, wherever that may be.

Houston 36, Louisville 10 Game Notes

I have become increasingly nervous about this game. I woke up in a Jeremy Ito-induced sweat last night. Rutgers, you have not been forgotten. I’m glad you hate the B1G so far. Ugh. Let’s go!

  • Houston uni’s = flameeeeeeeessssssss
  • Speaking of, wish we had gone all-white or all-white with chrome. Alas.
  • Florida State also deferred Houston.
  • Malik Williams. Smh.
  • Hey, Wake lead for 3 quarters right?
  • Loud crowds bother us. All year they have.
  • Gonna have to roll Lamar a lot. They will be forcing him to throw.
  • The punting has been incredible for the most part this year. Amazing turn of events.
  • Defense gets settled in and forces Houston to punt. Time for the offense to settle down.
  • If I see another false start, I’m going to lose my shit. It’s not rocket science guys!
  • Defense once again makes a stop. MVP’s.
  • Jaylen Smith is one of the most gifted receivers to play here. He’s only a true sophomore!
  • Second fumble of the game. I mean…I just don’t even know.
  • Defense holds again. 10-0 Houston. Could be much, much, much, much, much worse.
  • I hate penalties.
  • #FuckinHughley
  • Well, the best thing I can say about the first quarter is that it’s over. Moving on.
  • Mason King is my favorite Louisville punter ever.
  • And we’ve moved to the “pick on Washington” portion of Houston’s offense.
  • Fucking trick play…
  • 17-0. This may not be our night.
  • Ed Oliver will be playing on Sunday’s. Just saying. None of our linemen will be. Zero.
  • The game plan for containing Ward has been fantastic. It’s the rest of the players that we aren’t stopping.
  • 24-0. About as bad as this could be going.
  • This is a truly young team. Lead by mostly 19 year old sophomores. Look at the poise on the defense compared to the offense. Mostly lead by seniors.
  • And as I say that the defense gets burned on another trick play. 31-0.
  • Ok, let’s unpack this first half. The Playoffs are gone. The Heisman has slipped a bit. The offensive line is hot, hot garbage. Lamar is doing what he can, but he essentially has one other player on offense (Jaylen Smith). The defense has done what it can, but just like the rest of the season, turnovers and the offense have kept them on their heels. They’re tired and Trumaine Washington needs to go back to Florida. I don’t think I’ll be updating in the second half, unless something major happens.

Well that was something. I know it’s been said a million times at this point, but that was one of the worst offensive line performances I’ve ever seen. Any level. Anyway, I can’t continue to beat what everyone has been saying into the ground. Have to get better.

Kentucky, you’re still next.

Louisville 44, Wake Forest 12 Game Notes

Cards will need a lot of help tonight. Let’s get into it.

  • Jaylen Smith on the first play fumbles it. Not a good start at all. 
  • Cards got lucky to only let a field goal up after the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. I actually like the two strikes rule with that penalty. 
  • Staples drops a sure touchdown. Bad start for the receivers overall.
  • The “get hype” videos for the defense are the worst thing the media team has done this year. It’s not the players fault either. They didn’t need it, and the music sounds like it’s being played through a paper towel roll.
  • Defense getting gashed by the running game early. Getting pressure on the QB when they pass though.
  • Well, Pittsburgh just screwed our playoff hopes I think. 
  • Lamar getting no time to operate in the pocket. O Line looks like shit.
  • Just heard the phrase “NC State is gonna beat Clemson”. Louisville fans are special.
  • Kelsey turns the tide of the momentum with the fumble recovery. 
  • Offense finally started to roll before the Radcliff fumble. Wake takes over and drives the ball down the field for another field goal. 9-0 Wake and we’re in trouble.
  • Lamar has a huge run and fumbles. I’ve never seen such poor ball handling by a team. It’s amazing honestly.
  • 12-0 Wake. Cards need to WAKE up. I know, poor effort.
  • Cards finish the half with a solid drive that stalls in the red zone. I don’t understand why our red zone play calling has been so awful. Weird passes and bad running play have ruined several drives this season. 
  • At least we get some points. 12-3 at the half.
  • Awful pass interference call against Jaire starts the second half. Defense finally gets a punt though.
  • Huge read option give to Radcliff changes the complexion of the game and the Cards down 12-10 now with plenty of time. 
  • Great call by the coaching staff going back to the read option after the touchdown. Defense bit on Radcliff and Lamar got a huge gain. 
  • And terrible job by the coaching staff not passing on 3rd and 10. Missed field goal to boot.
  • I think the conference on the intentional grounding was the other ref saying “If you don’t reverse this, we aren’t getting out of here”.
  • Wake coach, what a dick. Challenging an intentional grounding, which you can’t do. These refs are awful. #ACCAnarchy
  • Radcliff was a man possessed on the touchdown drive. Ran strong, angry and mean. Cards take the lead 16-12 after the failed 2 point conversion.
  • Again, D’Angelo Brown is one of, if not the, most underrated player we have.
  • Your special teams captain, DeVante Peete ladies and gentlemen.
  • Nasty hit, but definitely not targeting. Just an awkward play.
  • Radcliff with his third score and now we’re rolling. Finally looking competent. Good thing other top teams aren’t playing well either.
  • Defense starting to exert its will over their O Line. Passing situations leading to tons of sacks.
  • Lamar broke a tackle from the same guy twice on one play. 
  • Ronald Walker with the pick 6 to officially seal it. Right as USC extends its lead against Washington and Iowa takes the lead against Michigan. Poetic.
  • Cards finish it off with a nice Malik Williams TD. 44-12 final.

A strong performance in the second half to clinch it. Lamar finishes with 298 total yards and 1 touchdown. Off night for him. The MVP has to go to either the entire defense or Brandon Radcliff, who had 141 yards and 3 touchdowns. Great team win for sure. 

Side note: Washington got knocked off by USC and Michigan lost to Iowa. If you’re into that sort of thing. 

Houston, you’re next.

Louisville 52, Boston College 7 Game Notes

Obviously, Louisville loves playing Patrick Towles. This game was no different. Enjoy.

  • 69 yard TD run from Lamar to open the game. Nice. Nice.
  • I love DeAngelo Brown. One of the most underrated players on the defense.
  • Offensive line gave Lamar a lot of time early on. Probably says more for Boston College’s defense, but still.
  • Lamar looking great. Quick with a deep touchdown catch and the offense is rolling.
  • Defensive is looking pretty crisp so far. Hard hits, solid tackling, not too many broken reads.
  • Bomb to Jaylen Smith is Lamar at his best. Absolute beast.
  • Well, that was certainly a first quarter.
  • A real live fumble sets Louisville up. Bobby is coming for blood.
  • Quick up to 2 TDs now. 
  • Hikutini with the TD. Not sure how many different ways I can talk about a team dominating an opponent like this. 
  • Chucky!
  • Lamar with an injury, Bolin comes in. Bolin looking not great.
  • Remember last season when we alol fought over who should play, Lamar or Bolin? Good times, goooood times.
  • Lamar should have never tried to tackle the guy that picked him off. Good QBs don’t do that because of this exact situation. Disrupted the whole flow of the game by putting Bolin in.
  • Street names. Feathers. Announcers are some mixture of terrific and terrible.
  • Lamar is a magician. Plain and simple. I am never not surprised or impressed by him.
  • Seems like the team starts to fall apart when Lamar isn’t playing. As long as he is, that’s ok I suppose, but just strange.
  • Got the Dubya.
  • Lamar Jackson’s “private area”.

1 down, 2 to go. #BeatOhioState #BeatWashington

Wake Forest, you’re next.

Fansplaining: Why Clemson fans are so mad at Louisville and Lamar Jackson

Photo: Joshua S. Kelly/USA Today Sports

Since the University of Louisville lost to Clemson 42-36 at the beginning of October, the Louisville fanbase has noticed a change in behavior from our previously friendly hosts. Clemson has long held a reverence among college football fans as having one of the most hospitable fan bases in the country. Just a bunch of good ole’ preppy bunch that will gladly welcome you into their tailgate for a beer and brat. Always considered the lovable bunch that suffered a #Clemsoning (or two) every year that inevitably ruined Clemson’s chance at national prominence.

Now enter October 1. Lamar Jackson brings Louisville within inches (literally) of knocking off the vaunted Clemson team, and elevating the Louisville program into the national lexicon. So Clemson gets its win, a very strong win at that, and hey, it was a great game, right?

Clemson fans have developed a strange obsession with wanting to refute any national mention of both Louisville and Lamar Jackson, while not being able to enjoy the win and their #2 ranking. They are likely to run the remaining schedule and go back to the playoff for a second consecutive year.

So the Louisville fan base has just one question for the Tiger faithful. Why you mad bro?

While I do find it strange and frustrating the sudden disdain Clemson fans have for Louisville, I do understand it. I do. I’m here for you Clemson fans. I want to explain your change to the masses and help you find peace in your undefeated season. But to truly understand the Clemson dilemma, you have to go back to 2012.

In the 2012 season, Florida State beat Clemson and finished 12-2, 7-1 in the conference and edged out Clemson (11-1, 7-1) for the Atlantic title. Clemson had won the division previously, but this was the start of the Florida State reign. The next season, Jameis Winston’s first season starting, Florida State won the final BCS Championship and again kept Clemson from national prominence.

In 2014, Louisville’s first season in the new ACC, Florida State made it to the first ever College Football Playoff unscathed, only to lose to Oregon. Clemson was again second in the Atlantic Division, but Louisville gained a win in conference play, with Bobby Petrino’s system starting to catch on with Charlie Strong’s remaining players.

Last season, sensing an opening with Winston jumping to the pros, and touting their own Heisman candidate at quarterback, the Tigers finished the regular season undefeated and found themselves in the National Title game against Alabama. While Alabama ultimately won 45-40, Clemson showed they were for real and should be a top threat this season in returning to the championship. Lead by most of their offense returning, including running back Wayne Gallman and third place Heisman candidate Deshaun Watson, they finally had their opening.

Enter Lamar Jackson. Louisville was slowly adjusting to the ACC and building their recruiting up, but Lamar Jackson was the game changer Louisville needed to elevate the program into the limelight. just two weeks after completely dismantling Florida State at home, Jackson led the Cardinals into Death Valley and showed everyone in the country that they were for real. Jackson was already garnering tons of national attention as one of the most prolific playmakers college football has ever seen, and Watson was off to a rocky start, despite Clemson remaining undefeated.

I’ve seen it argued that if Clemson loses a game, and still wins in the ACC Championship, that Louisville should get the ACC nod into the Playoff. I’ve seen it argued that if it wasn’t for the referees in Ref Death Valley, that Louisville would have indeed won the game and should be undefeated, so they deserve the nod. I’ve also seen it argued that both teams should make the playoff and we will see the result on a neutral field.

I’ve heard every week that Lamar has already locked up the Heisman trophy. I’ve heard that he’s the greatest player college football has ever seen, and that he is 5x better than Michael Vick (from Michael Vick). And I’ve heard that Deshaun Watson just isn’t the same player he was last season. That Lamar’s number are so far ahead of everyone else’s that he could average enough points alone that would beat most teams.

This is why Clemson fans are panicking. They had their opening. They were primed for at least a couple years of uninterrupted dominance and shots at the National Title, along with a Heisman trophy. And, in their opinion, Louisville ruined it. Louisville has taken all the national attention for the ACC, Lamar has taken the Heisman conversation by the throat, and Clemson got left standing in the cold.

The thing about all of this is: Clemson will probably get to the playoff. They win out and they are in. They control their own destiny, and proved that they could even hang with Alabama last season.

Louisville is coming. They put everyone on notice by hosting their first ever College Gameday, and thoroughly destroying Florida State. Lamar Jackson will be back for at least one more collegiate season and the quarterbacks coming up behind him (Jawon Pass, Malik Cunningham) show the tools to continue Louisville’s ascent. And by the way, Bobby isn’t going anywhere.

Florida State will rebound too. Deondre Francois is going to be a problem if Jimbo can figure out how to keep him upright, and Florida State is recruiting in the most talent rich state in the country. They have several young stars on the defense and are already showing the turnaround is in place. But for this season, enjoy yourselves Tiger fans. You’re undefeated, ranked #2 and likely going to be able to showcase yourselves for a second year in a row on the grandest stage of them all. Just don’t get comfortable at the top.

Updated 11/3/2016: I misspelled Deshaun Watson’s name in the Michael Vick paragraph. I had it very politely pointed out by a Clemson fan. My deepest apologies.

Louisville 32, Virginia 25 Game Notes

Due to a work conflict, I was unable to watch the game in real time. That being said, I tried to keep up on Twitter and so it will be weird watching the game already knowing the outcome. We’ll give it a go though.

  • D’Asian (Johnny?) Richardson got away with contact to the QB’s head on the first defensive drive. Strong start for the D though. Hard hits and flying around the ball.
  • First drop by Quick wasn’t totally his fault. Was overthrown. Should have caught it and would have had a TD, but it was overthrown nonetheless.
  • Second drop by Quick was terrible. Lamar did enough to make a play, Quick just couldn’t pull it in.
  • Punt coverage terrible and sets up Virginia for its first score of the game. First time the punt coverage team has let someone through like that this season. Good defensive stop. Defense has bailed out the rest of the team numerous times this season.
  • Staples with the tough grab over the middle. Easily the most reliable receiver we have.
  • Quicks third drop was brutal. Have to wonder if the sun was in his eyes? Lamar overthrows an open Seth Dawkins on the next play.
  • Virginia came into the game believing they were going to win. You can tell in the way they’re carrying themselves. Bronco Mendenhall is going to get them going soon.
  • Virginia continuing to pick on Trumaine Washington.
  • The running game had not been effective at all until Lamar breaks a big time run. Finally some signs of life from the offense.
  • Lamar hits Jamari on a dart for the Cards first touchdown. Great sequence of plays for the offense.
  • Fumble was mix of Jeremy Smith and Lamar. Jeremy didn’t clinch on the ball, Lamar tried to pull it too late.
  • Virginia QB with a beautiful lob into the end zone on their first TD. The placement was perfect and the WR beat Jaire to it.
  • Virginia with all the momentum at the start of the second quarter. Their defense is hyped, the sideline is hyped, and has Louisville’s offense on the ropes.
  • Jaire with a great INT to stop the drive. Jaire has been a fantastic revelation in the secondary this season.
  • The offensive line is going to get Lamar killed one day.
  • Louisville let Virginia believe and that was why the offense struggled so much in the first half. Any team is a much less dangerous team if you break their will.
  • Micky Crum got his ass ripped on the 4th down play by Bobby. He has been a big letdown this season. I think he is supremely talented. But he needs to get his mind right if he wants to jump into the starting role when Cole leaves.
  • Reggie’s drop was brutal too. Negated by the holding on Hughley (Fuckin Hughley) but Lamar made such a good play to get it to him. Lamar made a great play to Traveon on the next play.
  • Another holding by the offensive line. Penalties and turnovers will really hurt us at some point this season.
  • And missed tackles. Good lord Trumaine.
  • Virginia drives for the 17-7 lead. Definitely was starting to worry at this point.
  • Lamar throws an INT to set up Virginia deep in their own territory. He’s been pretty inaccurate so far. Luckily, Virginia misses the field goal. Probably the point where the momentum shifts.
  • Hikutini is the spark plug of the offense. Lamar can make a play when there isn’t one and when he has to, but Hikutini gives the offense the feeling that everything is going to start rolling. I’ve noticed that with him this year. Hopefully they can replace him next season.
  • Reggie shushes the crowd after his touchdown. The Cards are rolling.
  • Jaire with his second pick of the game returns to the 13. Again, he’s been fantastic this season.
  • Reggie quiets the crowd with his second TD of the game. Now were rollin.
  • Zykesis Cannon had a great pass breakup on the drive that Virginia scores its last TD. I really like him.
  • Defense let up a lot on the final drive. I still argue that they get worn down in these types of games and eventually break a bit. It was a ballsy call on the fourth down pass though. Thrown on a rope down the middle of the field. Virginia’s crowd is into it.
  • Final drive. The whole thing I’ve been waiting to see. Much easier to stomach knowing the outcome.
  • The fourth down throw through two defenders… Just insane by Lamar.
  • And the cap with the beautiful play by Lamar to Jaylen Smith for the touchdown. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful play.

We squeeze out the victory, and with a few undefeated teams losing, we maintain position.  A lot of credit to a well coached Virginia team, but just as in the Duke game, talent wins out. Lamar finished with 361 and 4 TDs with 90 on the ground and Staples finished with 120 and a TD. Now we need FSU to pull this out against Clemson and Clemson lose again, or Clemson win the rest of their games. My brain hurts. Boston College, you’re next.