There is the Now.
Given what a truly great team Clemson is, along with Florida State’s home loss to North Carolina, it appears inevitable that the Tigers will win the division, play in the ACC’s title game and thus hold the inside track to be the conference’s best bet for the Final Four.
So, for the Now, this season’s Cardinal aspirations though still lofty have become more difficult to attain. But, it is important to note, not impossible.
Then there is the Hereafter.
The surest sign that University of Louisville has arrived as one of the nation’s elite was apparent on the field, but confirmed after the final gun. The fans, jubilant over the monumental victory, turned the turf into a swarm of orange. Dabo Swinney’s squad was national runner up last year, but he and his supporters couldn’t have more excited or relieved over their team’s survival. They realized they had done combat with their equal, that beating U of L was BIG.
They had outlasted the ascendant never give up Cardinals. Their relief was palpable. For the last decade Clemson has slowly but inexorably climbed its way up the college football ladder. For a long time, in battles like this one, the Tigers would have lost, “clemsoned” in the pissy vernacular of social media. No more.
In the Hereafter, perhaps even as soon as an upcoming November Thursday in Houston, Louisville, similarly rising, shall prevail in similar circumstances.
If last night’s scintillating slugfest was evidence of anything at all, it was that Louisville Football has arrived, that the Cards are a playah.
* * * * *
We could spend this entire bye week parsing and arguing about which moment or factor that, had it come out differently, would have changed the result in the Cards’ favor.
The Cards special team giving up a 77 yard kickoff return to a sub, after taking an eight point lead with eight minutes to play.
Giving up four sacks and seven TFLs, and suffering 94 yards in penalties, and turning the ball over three times, and losing composure in a first half that found Louisville down 18 at the break.
The 48 second three and out drive in the 4th after Clemson had closed the gap to a deuce, which ended with Lamar Jackson, due to inexperience, failing to loft the ball over the charging defenders to get it to wide open Cole Hikutini for a new set of downs.
James Quick failing to fight for that last yard at the end.
So I guess I have referenced a few of the many possibilities out there, but I’ll call myself out. It’s really not fair.
Though they didn’t close, as it will in the Hereafter, this University of Louisville football team proved its mettle.
The first 22:08 of the second half, during which the Cards’ defense obliterated, during which the Cards’ offense dominated, during which the Cards held Clemson scoreless and scored 26 straight, was the best Louisville football has ever been. Ever. Period.
In the Hereafter, mark my words, such performance shall be the norm.
* * * * *
Of course, there are no moral victories. But U of L has much about which to be justifiably proud.
568 yards of total offense against perhaps the best D in the land.
A still young Heisman candidate who matured after the break.
A defense which did what defenses are supposed to do, giving the offense a chance to carpe diem.
But . . . but . . . but . . . on this autumn night in the heart of football country, in Death Valley, University of Louisville Football was a wafer thin yard short.
Now the Hereafter.
— Seedy K