Critical Year for U of L Cards, Part I: How We Got Here

Warning: Some content contained herein may be painful for diehard Louisville Cardinal football fans. 

November 9. 2006.

It was the moment Cardinal Faithful had believed would arrive since The Schnell had proclaimed it inevitable years before.

The Cardinals were not only on the cusp of a seemingly implausible dream come true, they had breached the perimeter.

Yes, Schnellenberger, not as wise about the future of college football as he thought, had jumped ship in a pique. He didn’t like that the school prexy had joined a conference. So The Pipe left for a one and done campaign as Supreme Commander Sooner Nation.

Yet his promise remained in the hearts of the loyal, though the vision faded somewhat in the campaigns right after he abdicated. There was the immediate and precipitous decline under Ron Cooper. A revival of belief under John L. Smith. But he too didn’t buy in entirely, going AWOL in Mobile during a bowl game after some success.

Enter the savant. Bobby Petrino 1.0. Continue reading Critical Year for U of L Cards, Part I: How We Got Here

U of L Football Media Day Takeaways

To a greater or lesser degree, most guys on the sidelines, be they in charge or just assisting, develop a facility for coachspeak.

It allows them to meet and greet the media, appear as if they’re passing along info with some gravity, while not revealing much anything of value.

If abysmally hapless when it came to coaching, former Cardinal mentor Steve HisLastNameShallNotBeUttered was a true master when it came to prattling on in an imperious manner that sounded like football genius while saying absolutely nothing of consequence.

(For the record, while he can prevaricate, Cardinal head man Bobby Petrino, is less a coachspeaker than most in the profession. His responses are generally less cliché-filled.)

One way the lingo phenomenon manifests itself is through the use of vaguely descriptive code words. Take Tight Ends Coach Chris Klenakis for example. Not a Q & A can pass without him extolling how his charges are “grinding.” Which, one must assume, is to say they are working hard but still have a way to go to be where they need to be.

New Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder, with a resumé as vast and glossy as any coach ever to don a Cardinal crested Climalite polo — SEC, Big 12, South Bend and my dad’s alma mater Wayne State — has developed his ability accordingly.

“Ascending” is the word he kept invoking, when what it seems like he was really saying is his defense is still in the early stages of learning his system. Which is better to hear, one supposes than the antonym, but not as heartening as, oh, “I’m really pleased, they’re really getting it.” Continue reading U of L Football Media Day Takeaways

Seedy K’s Take It To The Bank Pigskin Final Four

Considerably more football fans than any reasonably intelligent person might have guessed have surprisingly inquired what teams I think will make the CFP (Formerly known as BCS) playoff this upcoming season.

Their wish, etc, etc . . . so, after the following bit of introductory tomfoolery, Seedy K’s Pigskin Final Four shall be revealed.

My original intent for a hook was to co-opt a term oft used by Louisville’s first Heisman winner Paul Hornung back in the early days of cable when he had a weekly wagering show.

That term is “unbuckle.” Which was his way of saying he felt a pick was a lock against the spread, a sure thing, a no way the game will come out any other way.

There are two reasons why I’m not using that term, though I’m certainly killing time here advising you why.

One, “unbuckle” took on a whole new meaning vis a vis Hornung when in October ’06, while he was delivering a pep rally speech before his alma mammy Notre Dame battled UCLA, his pants fell to his ankles. Literally. Fortunately he was behind a rostrum, though those sitting behind him took it in, which we know from a photo displaying their muffled but obvious bemusement.

(In case it might come up on Trivia Night, the answer to the question that’s crossed your mind is “boxers.”)

The second reason for not using the term is that my personal counselor at the bar (who FYI has taped every one of our conversations to cover his buttocks) advises I don’t have enough insurance to pay any potential claims, should an unwitting reader rely on my prognostications to his/her financial detriment.

Which is to say to you loyal readers, “caveat emptor.”

Legal counsel now having confirmed that with the above disclaimer, I have effectively covered my own ass, let’s have at it.

Presented hereinafter, in alphabetical order, the four schools that shall, one guy’s shaky opinion, be competing in the Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl on December 29, with the victors competing for the “national championship” ten days later. Continue reading Seedy K’s Take It To The Bank Pigskin Final Four

Elam Ending Goes Prime Time

So  without compunction, I’ll steal a great line and paraphrase Jon Landau who, when he was still just a music critic, presciently wrote, “I’ve seen the future of rock & roll, and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”

I’ve seen the future of basketball, and its name is the Elam Ending.

(Landau, as you might know, became Springsteen’s manager. Maybe I’ll be named Grande Poobah of Hoops. Czar Seedy I.)

If you have even a passing obsession with the game we love, you’ve heard of it, right? A new and completely different and scintillating way to end games, developed after years of thought and research by a guy named Nick Elam. Duh!

At the first dead ball after there are less than four minutes to play, the game clock gets turned off. Seven points are added to the total of the winning team, or the score if tied. First team to reach the target wins. Continue reading Elam Ending Goes Prime Time

Just Cardinal Hoops Talk . . . Really

Oy. it’s enough to give a guy heartburn. (Though that might be thanks to the gourmanderizing I perpetrated on myself last night right before bedtime.)

Lawsuits. Now x 2. Fans suing the NCAA. Players suing the NCAA.

Then there’s that litigation of former employees suing the school after being fired.

Now there’s that pizza splatter all over the football program and the university since that Papa J has swan-dived off the side of the mountain onto the rocks below, fashioning his own professional demise, leaving lots of pissed off folks in the U of L community.

So . . . for a breath of fresh air . . . can we talk about some actual Cardinal hoops for a bit? I mean Coach Mack and Jordan Nwora did a meet and greet day before yesterday?

Yes, but one other item first.

Signage. Continue reading Just Cardinal Hoops Talk . . . Really

Five but Not All ’13 Cards Sue NCAA

I am he/ As you are he/ As you are me/ And we are all together

Those would be the lyrics of the Beatles iconic tune that Russ Smith and Peyton Siva and Chane Behanan and Wayne Blackshear and Montrezl Harrell are likely not singing this day, if they’ve digested the gist of the lawsuit filed by their 2013 teammates against the NCAA.

Those plaintiffs are Luke Hancock and Gorgui Dieng and Tim Henderson and Michael Marra and Stephann Van Treese, who have in essence demanded that ruling body of college sports clear their names but not those of their teammates, declare the claimants again champions and winners of the victories taken away.

Maybe it’s just me, but the whole deal smells like those involved in the suit are throwing their teammates under the bus. Where’s the one for all, all for one team spirit?

And who’s the Walrus? Continue reading Five but Not All ’13 Cards Sue NCAA

Seedy K’s Premature Preseason Pigskin Presumptions

Unless you have a Phil Steele shrine in your man cave — votive candles, incense, 8×10 glossy of college football’s reigning guru, all nestled atop your Lamar-signed game jersey — you probably have no clue who Ed Marynowitz is.

OK, maybe you do . . . if you grab lunch regularly with the HVAC dudes in Roll Tide t-shirts and the plumbers in houndstooth ballcaps at the Popeyes on McFarland Road in Tuscaloosa. Even then that former administrator who has now moved on from his spot on the Crimson Tide football staff was never nearly as close to well known as, say, once beloved but now a hated rival Kirby Smart or don’t let the door hit you in the butt Lane Kiffin.

Obscure as Marynowitz duties as associate AD for football were, they inform why Nick Saban is a very very very very very good, great actually, and duh successful college football coach — arguably the best ever — and the mentor of your school, even if his name is Meyer or Fisher or Swinney or Patterson, is good and somewhat successful but a cut below.

Marynowitz’s duties were primarily to track other school’s assistant coaches and coordinators across the land, gather info and develop dossiers so that Saban will be way ahead of the curve when it comes time to replace his own assistants who move on. Like this off season, when he had about a half dozen empty seats in the coaching staff meeting room. Continue reading Seedy K’s Premature Preseason Pigskin Presumptions

College Hoopaholic Goes Pro (And Other Matters)

So, there’s this cheese I really like that I can only get at one place in town.

Gouda with truffles. Damn expensive, but so tasty I treat myself more often than I should.

Went to get some the other week, and the store was out, said they’d have another shipment in a month or so. Settled for something else the fromage expert behind the counter suggested . . .

. . . which was OK, but not what I really craved.

You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you find you get what you need. Continue reading College Hoopaholic Goes Pro (And Other Matters)

Mitchell, Rozier & the Dean/Jordan Meme

So, if you happen to be a Louisville Cardinal fan and happened to be out and about last night and couldn’t watch in real time so you taped the Jazz/Rockets game to view later before bed or today, hoping that our main man in the Beehive State was able to lead his underdogs to another W in the Western semis . . .

. . . well . . . (Spoiler Alert!) fuhgettabout any prolongation of the series.

Buuuuuuuut, if you haven’t watched yet, just fast forward to the 3d Q, during which interlude, one Donovan Mitchell, former matriculator on the Belknap Campus, went . . .

. . . en fuego. (Or if you prefer the first translation Google spit out, en llamas.)

Donovan was, it ain’t hyperbole, Jordanesque. It was a fashion show of twists and swirls and crossovers and Eurosteps and reverses and banks and follows and deuces and treys. He tallied double deuces. Which, to put in proper context, was a greater sum for the period than the entirety of the home team, which just so happened to win more games this season than any other.

Plus he was dishing out no look dimes that were, dare I say it, Magical. Continue reading Mitchell, Rozier & the Dean/Jordan Meme

Cardinal Love in the Crescent City

I’m in New Orleans for JazzFest.

So, after my workout this morning, during which I wore one of those shirts the Cardinal soccer team donned when Lynn Stadium opened, I walked down to the corner to a coffee bistro to caffeinate.

A brother behind me in line asks if I really follow the Cards?

To which I replay, oh yeah, I’m a big, long time fan.

So then he asks, what years was it that Milt Wagner played?

That was early 80s. He was on the team that lost to Georgetown in the semis. And, he had to sit out a year because of a foot injury, but came back to play on the ’86 championship team.

The guy’s nodding, then asks me something about Pervis?

And, oh yeah, I interject, that loss to the Hoyas was right here in the Superdome.

Then he asks me another question about that era.

To which I reply, you tryin’ to test me, to see if I’m really a Card fan? If so, bring it, I’ve been following them since before you were born.

So he laughs, we chat, he’s from New Orleans, but shares how those early 80s Cardinal teams were his favorites.

After a few minute chat about U of L hoops, we bump fists and he exits.

About thirty seconds later, he walks back in the shop, points at me and says, “The McCray brothers. I love the McCray brothers. They were the best.”

— Seedy K