Season on the Brink

Send lawyers, guns, and money/ The shit has hit the fan

So, the Big Ten, a week after putting out a well reasoned and seemingly possible to effectuate schedule, went all Bo and Woody.

It punted on 3d & long.

Like a loyal puppy, joined at the bowl of roses, the PAC-12 soon followed.

Oh, it’s easy to be cute, or try to, as the competing forces of Athletics vs. Academics battle it out with COVID 19 wearing the striped shirts. Or, some nonsensical attempt at a metaphor/ analogy like that.

So, given that the ACC, Big 12 and SEC are trying to figure out a way to play this autumn, and college football is getting nary a smidge of direction from the NCAA — as if that not so august body has much sway over the sport anyway — it all seems a bit rudderless, right?

My mind, longing for an onside kick with less than a minute to play and the battle in the balance, has veered off in several directions.

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I’m into the cinema. Thus here’s the first thing I thought of when the Big Ten cut bait, with The Ohio State University kicking and screaming along. Continue reading Season on the Brink

Seedy K’s Peerless Pigskin Prognostications: Pre-Preseason

Though it would still be July until the clock flipped over, there was a gray October sky.

Though humid and far from crisp, there was the hue of a gray Grantland Rice pigskin sort of day.

The Good Book of college football — Phil Steele’s Yearbook — arrived in the mail.

The ACC had just announced a ten plus Notre Dame conference slate plus one.

Expert Stew Mandel optimistically projected my beloved Cardinals to go 8-2 in the conference.

The SEC announced a league only schedule for the autumn.*

*So much for feathers vs. fur this coming fall of 2020.

Louisville AD Vince Tyra expressed some optimism, cautious and measured as it was, that there might actually be college football within its normal annual space time continuum.

I could almost — almost — smell bratwurst grilling in the air.

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Then I read what might be a more prescient harbinger of our current reality. Continue reading Seedy K’s Peerless Pigskin Prognostications: Pre-Preseason

Cardinal Hoops Queries: The What Ifs?

Just musing about my beloved Louisville Cardinal hoopsters on a hot summer’s day.

What if Peck Hickman decided to stay at Valley High School?

What if UCLA had hired the coach who won that ’48 NAIB title, instead of the one who lost?

What if Hickman hadn’t been savvy enough to invite NIT decision maker Ned Irish to be the speaker at the annual banquet?

What if U of L didn’t conquer Evanston in ’59?

What if the Cards had beaten West Virginia and Cincy or Cal in the ’59 Final Four?

What if John Turner had netted that jumper against Ohio State in ’61?

What if Wes Unseld had gone to UK? Continue reading Cardinal Hoops Queries: The What Ifs?

A Modest Proposal: How to Play the Games

A tip of the cap to Jonathon Swift, whose modest proposal to feed fattened-up Irish street urchins to the rich was meant as satire.

Though, truth be told, the literati of 1729 might not have gotten the joke.

Well, the New Dark Age we live in 2020 is not a joke.

Indications are increasing that one of the pandemic’s casualties might be college sports. Just when our love for such would be a welcomed antidote to our malaise.

So, as admittedly farfetched as it might seem, my suggestion about the upcoming seasons of the two major sports of college athletics is meant to be serious.

Though the chances are improbable that the conference and NCAA muckety muck powers that be will listen to the musings of a scribe who would adopt the nom de plume Seedy K.

I’ll have at it anyhow.

Move collegiate football back.

Move collegiate basketball forward.

My reasons in no logical order: Continue reading A Modest Proposal: How to Play the Games

U of L Hoops ’09 Rewind: Season for a Shrink

Watching an ACC Network replay of  Louisville’s January ’09 come from behind W over then #1 Pitt in Freedom Hall, my mind meandered back to the day that roller coaster season drew its last breath at new Lucas Oil Stadium.

Indy’s been the situs of many Cardinal hoops moments, some to cherish, some not so much.

That day, despite it ending for me with a second delicioso meal at Shaprio’s, not so much.

But, looking back, it was fitting.

It had been the most cockamamie Cardinal campaign of the millennium. Ending with a whimper not a bang, given all we know now, was an appropriate denouement.

The end-of-regular-season AP #1 and top seeded U of L had battered Russ Pennell-coached Arizona two nights before like the Wildcats were Pikeville College in a November exhi. 103-64 was the final tally of the Cardinals’ 13th consecutive win.

As that emasculation unfolded, I recall thinking, “Save some for Sunday.” Continue reading U of L Hoops ’09 Rewind: Season for a Shrink

Cardinal Pigskin What Ifs?: Pandemic Pondering

During normal times, an existence which we could not be further from, a preseason summertime conversation with your fan buddies might go something like this.

Sportsbee: “I heard Puma Pass has been awesome in workouts. Like the guy we always expected him to be, better than Micale. Quarterback controversy?”

X-Man: “That’s a joke, right? Tell me your kidding. Cunningham had the second best stats in the country last year. He’s on some player of the year watch lists. Are you and idiot?”

And so the colloquy would go . . . until the back and forth turned to the linebacking corps.

During these times, all such conversations always — always — begin with, “Do you think there’s going to be college football at all?”

Such it the reality of this daze we are enduring.

Which is why I’ve fallen into historical What Ifs?.

What if C.V. “Red” Money hadn’t led the Cards to an ofer ’32?

What if Johnny U. hadn’t become so good in the pros?

What if U of L had hired Bobby Bowden, who applied for the job, instead of Lee Corso? Continue reading Cardinal Pigskin What Ifs?: Pandemic Pondering

“The Pacific was a Home Run”: My Favorite Sportswriting

I’ve been known to steal ideas before, and here it comes again. Deal with it.

At the other day, writers covering different sports listed their take on the best books about each.

OK, there’s a nifty idea, I says to myself.

At which juncture, I perused the bookcases in my condo, donning one of my Covid masks, so I wouldn’t choke on the dust stirred up, and pulled out a few of my faves.

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I’ll start with my favorite sports book, and my favorite story by my favorite sportswriter. My favorite writer period, the fellow whom I would aspire to emulate, while understanding I really am not worthy of toting his inkwell.

Murray, Ky. — You run up Route 641 to get here from Paris in Tennessee, because that is the closest place to Murray where there are any hotel rooms. You run past the browned fields, hawks, and vultures riding the thermals at different levels, and you run past the ponds, as still as Sunday morning. You go through Camden, where Patsy Cline’s airplane went down, and all the little farm roads off the highway seem to lead to churches, many of them the least common denominations. One of them, two miles up the road, calls itself The Church of the Living God of the Holiness of Holiness, which certainly ought to narrow things down. The way you know you’ve passed from Tennessee into Kentucky is that all the liquor stores and roadhouses seem to have disappeared. Continue reading “The Pacific was a Home Run”: My Favorite Sportswriting

U of L Pigskin Rewind: West Virginia ’06

It was a dark and chilly night.

And, Fiesta Bowl W notwithstanding, it was the biggest football game in U of L Cardinal history.*

Sideline reporter Erin Andrews was shivering on the field. Meanwhile ESPN’s A Team of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit benefited from several space heaters in the TV booth, though they had the window open.

*The game that supplanted this one between #5 Cards against the #3 Mountaineers as Most Important Ever came but a week to the day later in Piscataway, New Jersey. The story of which, I doubt you shall read about here.

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Perhaps it was the gravity of the frigid Fahrenheit in the 20s, November Thursday Prime Time encounter — Winner legitimately in National Title Game discussion, Loser SOL — or maybe just steadfast defense by both home and away, but there weren’t a lot of first half offensive fireworks. At least not as many as expected. Continue reading U of L Pigskin Rewind: West Virginia ’06

Pigskin Rewind: ’04 Liberty Bowl

So overwhelming was the response to my consideration of U of L’s football forays to THE Ohio State University– We apologize for the interminable delays at Customer Service, please stay on the line, a representative will get to you eventually — that I felt compelled to give it another go.

So, while shuffling about the interweb, I came across an enticing title on the youtube, “Best 4th Quarters,” with a link to the final 25% of the Cardinals vs. Broncos back and forth in the highly anticipated 2004 Liberty Bowl. 

And, remembering little about that year’s U of L pigskinners, or that bowl battle in particular, except that the Cards had prevailed, I figured, “Hey, cut to the good part. Why waste 2:59:28 watching the whole game video, when 46:49 gets you right to the filet mignon?” 

Some thoughts after watching. Continue reading Pigskin Rewind: ’04 Liberty Bowl

Pigskin Rewind: Cards/ Buckeyes ’91 & ’92

Looking on the interweb for something else, to be totally transparent, I came across videos of these two Louisville at Ohio State games, a highlight piece for ’91, and the full game for ’92. I immediately set aside my other quest, and scrambled down those rabbit holes of Cardinal history, and thus report.

There was certainly a deja vu all over again feel to that pair of gridiron battles along the banks of the Olentangy in the early 90s.

The least of which may have been that Cardinal coach Howard Schnellenberger wore the same black sportcoat on the sideline both seasons, which is worth a mention for he did so despite the blazing, relentless sun and truly abysmal heat.

An old school guy, ever the in-game delegator, the Schnell never wore a headset, never carried a laminated play sheet, and rarely appeared to inquire in advance of his offensive or defensive coordinator what play was to be called, or the defensive alignment?

But, no matter how cold, or how hot,* he always roamed the sideline with a look of concern, in a sportcoat and tie. Continue reading Pigskin Rewind: Cards/ Buckeyes ’91 & ’92