It’s not just locally that fans and pundits alike are taking note of the sordid state of U of L football.
Here’s the designation Stewart Mandel at theathletic.com bestowed on the Cardinal head coach:
This week’s coach on the hot seat
Louisville’s Bobby Petrino. Things are quickly deteriorating for Louisville. After a 27-3 drubbing at Virginia, the 2-2 Cardinals are tied for 123rd nationally in scoring offense (17.0 ppg). Petrino was already facing questions before the season about a staff that includes his son, two sons-in-law and retread Brian VanGorder as his latest defensive coordinator. The inept start isn’t helping.
* * * * *
Wasn’t Petrino once considered “the next offensive savant”?
Correct answer: Yes. But that seems long ago, far away these dark days.
Well his Cards have scored, count ’em, three offensive points — 3 — in the first half this season. Those came in the waning moments against WKU. They went ofer the opening half against Bama and UVa. And scored on Rodjay Burns pick — on blown coverage it turns out — against Indiana State.
Ouch x 2. Continue reading Red & Black Rants & Raves: 9/24
That header got your attention, right?
Truth is I have no copy of a check made out to Brian Bowen’s dad with Pitino’s verified fingerprints on it, nor a tape of the former U of L coach cutting a deal with an Adidas shoe rep over the phone.
Stick with me anyway. Because it really doesn’t matter what Rick Pitino knew or not, it’s what he chose not to do.
As has become the nature of our national dialog these days, there are two oppositional positions about the coach for whom the starmaker machinery is cranked to 11 this week to promote his latest book.
There is a faction who believe that Pitino knew nothing about the strippers in the dorm, knew nothing about the promise of money to Bowen’s father, was the innocent victim of an extortion attempt after an extramarital affair, and was shafted by the university when he was dismissed as coach.
Then there are those who believe it doesn’t really matter what Pitino actually knew, that the Bowen scandal was merely a called third strike, that the coach should have been terminated when he admitted having sex with a woman not his wife, on a banquette in a restaurant no less.
Count me firmly in the second grouping.
As a Louisville Cardinal basketball fan for six and a half decades, I simply need to vent one last time and move on. Actually, I would have kept my mouth shut but for two reasons. Continue reading What Rick Pitino Knew, And When He Knew It
One last look back at the remnants of the devastation that was U of L’s loss to Alabama in the opener.
As I’ve written in blog comments somewhere since the game, I am disappointed but not disconsolate.
Alabama did what Alabama does. The Tide rolled. They are an incredible football team, and getting steamrolled by them seemed about right frankly.
Which is to say most of the flaws present in U of L’s performance — one guy’s opinion — can be blamed on the Tide’s prowess, and the Cards understandable nervousness and lack of comparable ability playing such a perennial power.
So, I’m willing to wait and see if some of the many gaffes on display Saturday don’t dissipate in coming weeks against less formidable opponents.
But there are three things — perhaps more — I truly don’t understand, which have nothing to do with the reality that Bama was faster, more talented and a far better team. Continue reading Red & Black Rants & Raves: 9/03
Chris Mack, bless his heart, is a man of his word.
At his introductory press conference, he immediately endeared himself to the crowd. Though not as much as his toddler who won over everyone while scampering about hither and yon.
Mack reached out to the former Cardinals that fans have loved through the decades, welcoming them back from exile to again become integral parts of the program.
Which sounded great, but was it just lip service?
Thankfully, the answer to that is a resounding NO. He means it.
I had dinner the other night with some pals from our days matriculating at Belknap Campus. Including Mike Grosso.
I asked the former Cardinal big man if Mack had followed up on his promise.
Indeed he has, I’m pleased to report. Continue reading U of L CardFile: Mack keeps Promise, Schedule Conflict +++
There’s something in the air.
And the aroma — despite one last springtime cold front — is as sweet as honeysuckle.
But it came from out of the blue. Xavier blue.
When the in the realm of all matters insignificant memory passed through my mind before Chris Mack’s boffo intro, it should have been obvious then and there how anxious I was, we all were for a reinstitution of hope.
We were, frankly, predisposed to be pumped. Continue reading Cardinal Hoops: A Look Back & Stepping Ahead
U of L basketball has turned the page, is starting a new chapter.
The windows have been thrown open, fresh air is circulating the premises.
And, while I’m tossing about worn clichés, it would be easy to fall into the trap of offering this: There’s a new sheriff in town.
Except that this new fella come down from upriver doesn’t seem like the guy who would fling open the swinging doors and swagger into Louie’s Saloon with an air of high authority, making sure all the boys at the bar saw his badge’s gleam in the gaslight. He’s more the dude who shows up late after a long day toiling at the livery stable, has a shot maybe two of sarsaparilla but rarely if ever too many then heads home to buss his bride on the cheek and tumble about with the kids.
So, then I arrive here: to say that a new era in Cardinal hoops has dawned. That the new guy in town, Chris Mack, looked out at the assembled to the phalanx of former hoopsters who thrilled us in the red & black, and proclaimed, “This is your program. I want each of you to know there are no different eras.
“This is Louisville basketball.” Continue reading Cardinal Hoops is Back to Where It Once Belonged
At the top, before I get to opinionizing, conjecturing, rumor mongering, innuendo disseminating and other stuff my phalanx of attorneys have advised me against, let me add my words of praise for David Padgett.
The fellow was dropped into a situation that was extremely difficult at best, and exasperatingly impossible at worst.
At every twist and turn, he comported himself with poise, class and humility.
David Padgett, dare I say it, is a mensch.
University of Louisville fans owe him a debt of gratitude for the stalwart way he handled an untoward situation.
I hold him in nothing short of the highest regard.
He has all the peripherals for a long and successful coaching career. I don’t know a Cardinal fan who doesn’t wish for his success. Continue reading Padgett, Pitino & the Cardinal Coaching Carousel Coulda Woulda
It was more than poetic that on the first day of spring, snow fell.
And so did the Cardinals for the final time this year.
To lay to rest a dissatisfying season that shall be hard to forget though the oh so many adoring fans who showered their appreciation at the Yum! in the last week will wish they could.
The denouement was appropriate.
The moment was allegorical. Continue reading U of L Men’s Basketball Season Now Rests in Peace
It was the kind of day that Cardinal fans feel inclined to get poetic, a sunny early spring interlude, a pleasant valley Sunday on the banks of the Ohio.
And, out of respect for our burg’s favorite Derbytime Doublemint twins Cyb and Trish, it was a double your pleasure, double your fun kind of L1C4, #BeTheCardinals kind of day.
At High Noon in the NC2A, U of L’s one-seed distaff hoopsters eviscerated Marquette by 18.
Asia Durr hit her first five shots. Sam Fuehring hit her first five shots. Myisha Hines-Allen hit her first five shots. Jeff Walz’s charges were up 18 at the end of the 1st, and +25 at intermission.
You know what the Professor says?
That’s right, class, you look good when you make your shots.
So, when the guys tipped in the N1IT at 6:30 in front of yet another raucous old days feel of a throng — they actually did the friggin’ WAVE for throwback’s sake, upper deck included — it was as if the boys said, the ladies were so nice, let’s do it twice. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Middle Tennessee (And a Nod to Walz’s Women)
At intermission, after two quarters when the Louisville Cardinals did little to hide their disdain for playing this NIT game, I ran into a couple I know, outliers amidst the spate of fresh-faced faithful who had filled the lower bowl of the Yum! to cheer on their beleaguered team.
The twosome were big Card fans, and among the few big donor season ticket holders, who chose to continue their support for their squad playing in “the other tournament.”
Yet, when I chatted them up, they were heading toward the exit. They had seen enough.
“We just can’t take it. If the team doesn’t want to be here, we can’t watch.”
Normally I would have morphed into inner scolding parent mode. But didn’t. I understood.
The Cards had sleepwalked through the opening two periods like they really would have rather been under the watchful eyes of a tutor at the Center for Studies and Excellence or whatever that new place is called, boning up for an exam in Advanced Molecular Computer Biometrology.
Playing as if they could give a shit, they trailed the truly mediocre Norse by seven, 23-30. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Northern Kentucky