PS_0143_HATE_GAME
Why Hate the Big East?

So the 2011 season is wrapping up and like every year the rest of the College Football world is setting its sights on the Big East conference as a league undeserving of its BCS bid.  As a HUGE Louisville fan, I’m obviously vested in the survival in the league as an Automatic Qualifier.  But even if the Big XII comes calling for the Cardinals this Spring (like I’m hearing they will), the Big East still DESERVES your respect and here’s why:

1) THEY WANT OUR TEAMS.  Don’t believe me?  Ask the ACC.  Since 2004, the ACC wasn’t happy with itself so they went to the Big East well not once, but TWICE.  In 2004, the Atlantic Coast Conference decided that they wanted to rival the SEC in football and poached Virginia Tech, Miami, and Boston College to create a 12-team league and an ACC Championship Game.  The Championship has been a raging success by the way, attracting 27,360 (about 3,000 shy of what Louisville took to the Orange Bowl, in 2007) to the 2008 contest.  That was after the game was moved from Jacksonville, FL after poor attendance in Jacksonville caused conference officials to seek a new site and found worse results in Tampa.  Now the game is played in Charlotte.

The Big East countered the losses before the 2005 season by adding Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida. Not to mention this fall the Big 12 has also gone to the Big East and took TCU and WVU this fall to fill the void of Texas A&M, Missouri, Nebraska, and Colorado leaving the past two seasons.  There are rumors that the Big 12 is not yet done with the realignment of their own. If you are counting, that is 5 teams in 7 years that have attracted other “superior conferences”.

2)  THEY WANT OUR COACHES.  Since the New Big East was formed, there has been annual coaching turnover in the Big East Football programs. In fact, only Rutgers has had the same coach (Greg Schiano now rumored to Penn State), during that time.

2006: Bobby Petrino hired away from Louisville by the Atlanta Falcons, now Arkansas Razorback head coach. Steve Kragthorpe comes from the HC job at Tulsa for the Cardinals.  Mark Dantonio was successful at Cincinnati, and parlayed that into his current job at Michigan State, the Bearcats hired Brian Kelly.

2007:  Rich Rodriguez lured away by Michigan, assistant Bill Stewart promoted.

2008:  Greg Robinson fired by Syracuse, the Orange Hired Doug Marrone (New Orleans Saints OC).

2009: Notre Dame came in and plucked Brian Kelly from Cincinnati, Butch Jones comes in from Central Michigan. Steve Kragthorpe fired by Louisville, Louisville hires Charlie Strong (DC at Florida).  Jim Leavitt was removed from duty over allegedly striking a player in the locker room, USF turned to Skip Holtz.

2010:  Randy Edsall hired away from UCONN by Maryland, UConn hires former Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni.  Bill Stewart fired, WVU hires Dana Holgorsen (OC at Oklahoma State). Dave Wannstedt fired by Pitt, Panthers hired Todd Graham from Tulsa.

2011:  Butch Jones is the hot name for every opening in the country.  Skip Holtz rumored to be a leading candidate at UNC.  Charlie Strong has been mentioned at Penn State.

3) BOWL RECORD

Since the realignment (starting with the 2005 season) here are the bowl records of the 6 BCS conferences:

Big East 21-11 (.656), SEC 34-18 (.654), PAC 19-14 (.576), Big XII 23-21 (.523), ACC 22-28 (.440), Big Ten 17-28 (.377).

Post season records can be skewed in an individual season.  Some conferences can have banner years followed by dismal bowl seasons, but over the course of a 6 year window, like the sample taken here it becomes hard to hide.  I’m going to discuss how this relates to ‘scheduling around the myth’ later, but bowl games are the one time of the year when games are set up for two teams who have achieved at least some measure of success.

4) BCS RECORD.  The Big East is 6-7 (.462) in BCS Bowl games for the past 13 years (no at large bids), and since the 2005 realignment the league is 3-3 in BCS Bowls.   ACC by comparison to the Big East has been AWFUL.  IN 13 appearance in BCS games the ACC is 2-11 (.154), and just 1-5 since the realignment.  SEC (.714), PAC (.625), Big East (.462), Big Ten (.478), Big 12 (.444), ACC (.154).

5)  HYPOCRISY IN THE MEDIA .  Last season the national media wound up it’s collective negative energy and focused on UConn winning the league and getting blasted in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl to Oklahoma 48-20 (28 point defeat).  But no one mentioned the blasting that Viriginia Tech took to Stanford by the same margin 40-12 (28 point defeat).  It was UConn is awful the Big East doesn’t deserve to be a part of this!  But for Virginia Tech it was: Andrew Luck is awesome, Stanford is incredible.  If you look at performance it’s the exact same result, with two entirely different national reactions.

In November 2006 Louisville and West Virginia played a #3 vs. #5 matchup with 1008 collective yards, and a 10 point Louisville win.  After the game, the national media BLASTED the league and the two schools for not playing defense and that the two schools couldn’t win against schools from the SEC, Big Ten, etc. because of this lack of defense.  10 MONTHS EARLIER in January 2006 Texas and USC played in the BCS National Championship Game, where Texas would defeat USC by 3, and the two teams racked up a collective 1130 yards! That contest was hailed as the GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED by the national media.  2 Weeks AFTER the UofL vs. WVU game, Michigan and Ohio State played as #1 vs. #2 and racked up 900 yards of total offense, and it was termed the “Game of the Century” and heralded for its offensive prowess.

So what I take out of that is that when two traditional powers play a high octane game with 1000+ yards it is awesome, amazing, great for TV, and the sport.  But when two teams who aren’t a part of the establishment do, it is BLASPHEMY and awful, the two teams MUST be discredited.  To me that was the height of the hypocrisy.

6)SCHEDULING AROUND THE MYTH

The myth is the traditional power.  The myth is the program who no matter what personnel issue, coaching change, scandal, or otherwise is ALWAYS going to be a pre-season Top 25 team by the Media, Coaches, and Computers.  The myth is that way, well, because that’s the way it has always been.  No one really takes a lot of time dissecting the myth’s roster, scheme, or depth chart because well they are Mythical U.  The myth persists because of donor dollars.  Donors don’t care how or why their team wins 10 games in a season, they just want to see their school with ranking and 9-10 wins each season no matter what.  As a result, the myth is protected and the entire sport suffers as a result.

Who are these programs?  Think Florida.  Think Michigan.  Did you know that Florida hasn’t played a regular season out of conference (OOC) game outside of the state of Florida since 1991 when the Gators went to Syracuse and suffered a 38-21 loss on 9/21/91?  That’s 20 years!!!  Think it is a coincidence that they routinely AVOID competition away from their home territory?  Think it is a coincidence the last time they did travel OOC was after a loss?  Sure, Florida is happy to host sub-par teams, collect the paycheck of a game in The Swamp.  I understand the money aspect.  I also understand that Florida plays Florida State home and away each season as well as playing an SEC schedule.  But is that what college football is about?  Is that why the players work their collective tails off throughout the off-season?  To play Florida Atlantic, UAB, and Furman?

Michigan on the other hand actually does have some plans to play Alabama next season in Cowboys Stadium along with Air Force.  However, here is the OOC schedule for the Big Blue for the past few seasons (they play ND every season):  2011 (Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, San Diego State), 2010 (UConn, UMass, Bowling Green State), 2009 (Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Delaware State).

I pick on Michigan and Florida, not because I dislike their programs.  I do it because it is easy.  If Michigan is playing Ohio State, I’m always rooting for the Wolverines.  Charlie Strong built his reputation at the University of Florida while they won 2 of their national titles.  So it’s not as if I HATE either school.  Really these were just two EXAMPLES of a systemic approach of “scheduling to protect the myth”.  I just don’t think that is what competition should be about.  I think it should be, anyone, anytime, any place.  I especially have that mentality while being a fan of the Big East where a team only has 7 conference games, and 5 OOC games necessary to fill the schedule.  Also while everyone around the country lambastes the league, it leaves fans from each program eager to prove them wrong. Which is why the bowl season is so important to Big East programs.

Without top schools to schedule, teams like Louisville, Cincinnati, etc. have to fill their dates with whoever is willing and that leaves them open to even further criticism.  It isn’t the school that is avoiding the ‘up and comer’ that gets the criticism.  It’s the ‘up and comer’ program who can’t find anyone to play who takes the brunt of it all.  During the 2004-2006 run Louisville had, the main argument was that Louisville didn’t play anyone.  Despite the fact that several BCS level schools had dropped them from their schedule leading up to their games, leaving Louisville to scramble to find an opponent.  Boise State has had  this same issue the past few years with people discounting their schedule (like Craig James voting them #24 this week despite being 10-1 with a 1-pt loss to #18 TCU).

In the past decade Louisville has tried to schedule REPEATEDLY schools from the Big Ten, SEC, and ACC.  Here is a list of schools that have backed out of HOME AND HOME series’ with Louisville that I personally have knowledge of:  Georgia Tech, Duke, Wisconsin, Indiana, Vanderbilt, Georgia. Note:  Indiana, Ohio State, and Vandy are the closest BCS programs NOT regularly on Louisville’s schedule.

Also see if you notice a trend in the last time Louisville played the following teams from BCS conferences:

Alabama:  1991 Fiesta Bowl Louisville wins 34-7

Auburn: 1974 Louisville loses 16-3 (only meeting)

Arizona State:  1994 Louisville wins 25-22

Baylor: 1996 Louisville loses 14-13 (only meeting)

Boston College: 1998 Louisville wins 52-28

BYU: 2001 Liberty Bowl  Louisville wins 28-10 (not a BCS team obviously, only meeting)

DUKE: 2002 Louisville wins 40-3 (only meeting)

Florida: 1992 Louisville loses 31-17

Florida State:  2002 Louisville wins 26-20 (much respect for FSU making the PJCS trip)

Illinois:  2001 Louisville loses 34-10 (Champaign is a 4 hour bus ride)

Indiana: 1986 Louisville loses 0-21 (Bloomington is a 2 hour bus ride, local media covers them)

Kansas: 1990 Louisville wins 28-16

Kansas State: 2008 Louisville wins 38-29 (great fans, great trip in 2006!)

Maryland:  1995 Louisville wins 31-0

Miami (FL):  2006 Louisville wins 31-7 (had a lot of fun with their fans from 2004-2006)

Michigan State: 1996 Louisville wins 30-20

Mississippi State: 1976 Louisville loses 30-21

Missouri:  1981 Louisville loses 34-3 (only meeting)

North Carolina:  2011 Louisville loses 14-7 (return in 2012)

North Carolina State: 2007 Louisville wins 27-10

Ohio State:  1992 Louisville loses 20-19 (UofL Failed 2-pt conversion at end of game & Columbus is 3.5 hours away).

Oklahoma: 1999 Louisville loses 42-21 (Josh Heupel was on fire).

Oklahoma State: 1982 Louisville wins 28-22

Oregon State: 2010 Louisville loses 35-28

Penn State: 1997 Louisville loses 57-21

Purdue:  1987 Tie 22-22 (3 hour bus ride, Courier-Journal covers Purdue on occasion).

Tennessee: 1993 Louisville loses 45-10 (4 hour bus ride)

Texas: 1994 Louisville loses 30-16 (beat Longhorns in 1993)

Texas A&M: 1994 Louisville loses 26-10

Utah: 2009 Louisville loses 30-14

Vanderbilt:  1974 Louisville loses 44-0 (3 hour bus ride)

Virginia:  1989 Louisville loses 16-15 (Louisville won match up in 1988).

Virginia Tech:  2006 Gator Bowl Louisville loses 34-25 (last regular season matchup in 1992 Louisville won 21-17).

Wake Forest:  2007 Orange Bowl Louisville wins 24-13 (only meeting)

The Cards have never faced:  Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Iowa State, LSU, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Oregon, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas Tech, UCLA, USC, Washington, Washington State, Wisconsin (25 teams out of 67 current BCS teams, 37%).

The biggest problem I have is that these “Myths” don’t want to give any “up and comer” credit, but they also don’t want to line up and play them.  You can’t have it both ways.  You can’t avoid them because you are scared of a loss and then act high and mighty while criticizing the schedule.  The system as it is created right now is simply totally opposite from the “American Way” where if you come in and work hard and put something nice together you get rewarded.  It’s opposite.  If you come from no where in college football you are ridiculed for your past, and your present isn’t appreciated.  These MYTHS can keep their own myth going by simply avoiding the hot team, further invalidating the ‘up and comer’ and not allowing them to challenge the establishment.  Tom Jurich (Louisville’s AD) has stated that he would love to schedule ANY BCS school who is willing to do a HOME and HOME series, or even a HOME/HOME/Neutral.

The Sun Belt conference actually created a bylaw for their members that requires them to play home and home series with out of conference opponents so that their members didn’t continually have to take beatings on the road from traditional powers who were happy to write a large check to pad their schedule.

In the end College Football Needs A Playoff.  Don’t hate a conference that benefits from the system.  Don’t hate a conference who performs better than others in the same system.  It’s the same system that is about to allow an Alabama team to play for a National Championship when they aren’t playing for their CONFERENCE Championship.  It doesn’t make sense that ONE game decides everything when a team can only play 12-13 games tops and there are 120 teams.  Play an 8-team playoff, play a 12-team playoff!  Settle it on the field.

But for now we play in a system where the conference champion regardless of record plays in a BCS bowl.  In a system where a national champion doesn’t necessarily have to win its own league, and in a system that can artificially be manipulated through Coaches Polls and National Perception.  So if Louisville takes an Orange Bowl Bid at 7-5 after UConn takes care of business on Saturday, will all Louisville fans hear the bellyaching of the entire nation?  Sure.  But don’t hate the player, hate the game.  Maybe I’ll see you in South Beach in about 5 weeks.

Coaching Carousel
Coaching Carousel Gets Going

With the final week of College Football approaching a handful of jobs have come open the last few weeks.  It happens each season, and it is kind of a part of the landscape when schools find themselves below .500 for a few seasons, or there is just a complete mismatch in culture (see Maryland/Randy Edsall).  How will that affect UofL and UK this off-season?

My guess is not very much.  First of all, Joker Phillips is not in demand and UK is not going to pull the plug on him in Year 2.   Charlie Strong has had two overachieving seasons but he waited 30+ years for a head job and is unlikely to leave Louisville at 7-5 with the youngest team in college football returning in 2012 for a mediocre job. Too much potential, and too much hard work to not see the payoff.  Plus, Tom Jurich just showed a tremendous amount of faith by granting an extension and raise earlier this season when Coach Strong was 2-4.  Sometimes security and being where you are wanted wins out.  But we’ll see.

Still there could be some changes in store for UofL and UK in terms of their assistant coaches. Kentucky is likely to make some major changes on offense, and Louisville may be in the market for an offensive coordinator OR a position coach of some kind.  One thing I’m watching closely is who makes up Urban Meyer’s defensive staff, in particular what I’m watching for is:  Does Urban Meyer try and poach Vance Bedford from Charlie Strong?  Personally I think Bedford is one of the best Defensive coaches out there. He coaches the CBs and that unit was great this season despite being a mod-page of players, no one knew what to expect but they played great.  Coach Bedford, also is the Defensive Coordinator and the defense has been amazing the last two seasons.  I think the Strong/Bedford combination is really potent, and I would hate to see it broken up.  Coach Strong said on Monday that he doesn’t think Urban Meyer will be calling anyone on his staff, but I’ll still have my eye out.  I do expect for Joker Phillips to do something with Steve Brown and try and find some answers on offense.

Right now the current Head Jobs that are open are:

Ole Miss, Penn St., UCLA, Arizona State, North Carolina, Tulane, FAU, Akron.

Ohio State, New Mexico, and Arizona have filled their positions.

Also, expect for Maryland to fire Randy Edsall abd Fresno State to fire Pat Hill among other firings that are sure to mark the end of the season.

 

 

bowlgames
Louisville Bowl Projections-Updated 11/28/11

CBS Sports:  BELK vs. NC State (December 27th, Charlotte)

ESPN: Liberty Bowl vs. Vandy (Dec 31st) OR  BBVA Compass Bowl vs. FIU (January 7th)

NBCSports: BELK vs. NC State

Orlando Sentinel:  Orange Bowl vs. Virginia Tech (January 4th).

CollegeBowlProjections.com:  BBVA Compass Bowl vs. FIU

SBNation:  Orange Bowl vs. Virginia Tech

St. Pete Times:  BBVA Compass vs. FIU

Sports Illustrated: BELK vs. NC State

Football-Bowl.com:  BBVA Compass vs. Ball State

Note:  BCS Selection Order for Berths is Fiesta, Sugar, Orange in 2012.

Much of which bowl the University of Louisville gets slotted in depends on what happens this weekend with the remaining Big East games.  At this point Louisville is in a 3-way tie for 1st place with Cincinnati & West Virginia.  West Virginia plays at South Florida Thursday night, and Cincinnati hosts Connecticut at noon on Saturday.

The West Virginia game doesn’t really matter much for Louisville’s BCS aspirations but if the Mountaineers fall to the Bulls it could affect the outcome of what bowl opportunities there are for the Cards if Cincinnati does beat UConn.  Of course if the Huskies can pull off a victory on Saturday Louisville is BCS Bowling once again.  Go Huskies.

Cards Win Share (At Least) of Big East Title

There is still a lot of football left in the 2011 College Football season, but for the University of Louisville the regular season is over and the Cards are assured at least a share of the Big East Title.  As of right now there is a 5-way tie for 1st place (counting only losses) with Louisville, WVU, Rutgers, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh.  Louisville is done playing football so it is impossible for them to lose another league game.  Meanwhile, the rest of the league still has two games remaining.  Pitt and WVU will square off tonight at 7:00, and Cincinnati travels to Syracuse for a game tomorrow at noon.  With a WVU win and a Cincy loss tomorrow or next week to UConn, Louisville will stand at the top of the conference as they own tie-breakers over WVU and Rutgers.

More than likely Louisville will end up in the Orange Bowl if it works out that they get the BCS berth from the conference.  The selection order this season is Fiesta, Sugar, and Orange.  The last two picks are likely to be between Houston and the Big East Champion.  With the Sugar Bowl picking before the Orange, a 13-0 Houston squad with a home crowd about 5 hours away would be more attractive than a 7-5 Louisville team 11 hours away.  The Orange Bowl would have last pick, but would be forced to select the Big East school.  It wouldn’t be a bad option for the Orange Bowl as Louisville fans would likely flood the city much like they did in January 2007.

All of this was possible because of today’s performance in Tampa vs. the South Florida Bulls.  The Cards fell behind 17-3 but rallied back thanks in part to a long Senorise Perry Kickoff Return that set up a Louisville TD just before halftime to make the score 17-10.  The Cardinal defense stepped up in a big way in the second half and effectively shut the South Florida offense down.  The defense in the second half was more of what Cardinal fans are accustomed to seeing in contrast to the defense that showed up in the first half when they couldn’t get lined up on several occasions and made several mental lapses.

The game was blown open with the play of Teddy Bridgewater.  Teddy would find DeVante Parker for two scores on the day (Parker dropped a 3rd) and Bridgewater always seemed to make the right decision and throw to keep drives alive and control the ball game.  The Louisville offensive line controlled the game, and as a result the offense looked the best it has all season as they gained 372 yards and had 132 yards rushing against a really good rush defense.

I couldn’t be more proud of this Cardinal team who is the youngest team in the country, started 2-4 and finished 5-1.  Last year Charlie Strong was 7-6 with a senior squad.  This year Charlie Strong is 7-5 with a team chock full of freshman and sophomores on the two deep, and has shown the ability to win games on the road with their backs against the wall.  It would be nice to go back and replay the 5 losses (FIU, Marshall, UNC, Cincy, and Pitt) but you can’t go back in time and Louisville was a different team then than it is now to close the season.  Particularly in the early losses of FIU, Marshall, and UNC.  This Cardinal team got better throughout the season, I can’t imagine what they will look like in 5 weeks.

USF
Sheriff’s Preview: USF, BCS Implications

I didn’t think I’d be writing a pre-game look at the South Florida Bulls with a BCS game on the line.  Sure the Cards will need help from Pitt and Cincinnati to get there, but personally I like our chances.  It all comes down to finally getting a win in Raymond James Stadium.  I’ve seen a lot of really good UofL football teams go into Tampa against South Florida teams that really don’t measure up and still Louisville goes home with a loss. Louisville has never beaten USF in Tampa despite 4 previous tries. I’ve seen a lot of strange happenings in person at Raymond James, one year the Cardinal Bird stumbled out of the tunnel and that seemed to set the tone for the entire evening.

This year the game is the day AFTER Thanksgiving and several players will be returning to their home state for the first time since Fall Camp opened.  Louisville has 28 players on its roster from the state of Florida.  I honestly don’t know how to look at that.  During a season, particularly a FRESHMAN season a lot of players get homesick.  For a lot of them this is the first time they’ve been away from their families for an extended period.  Mix in Thanksgiving and a BCS bowl bid on the line, and I can honestly not even begin to tell you the results.  We already know that this team can be distracted (like a lot of young people who have never been in a position before).  A lot of these guys have been looking forward to this game and seeing their families and the end of the season for awhile.  Do they prepare and impress everyone?  Or do they coast to the finish line?  We will see.

Also, South Florida is coming off a VERY emotional loss to Miami this week.  The 6-3 loss to the Hurricanes also saw BJ Daniels go down with a sprained shoulder and his status is likely to be up in the air until kickoff.  The Bulls can become bowl eligible with a win in its final two games, so there is a lot on the line for USF.  I’m sure the Bulls would have rather had Miami make the announcement of them not accepting a bowl bid in the face of their NCAA investigation BEFORE their game rather than after.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the outcome would have been different for them against the Hurricanes. USF has to win its final two regular season games and potential bowl game to have their 6th consecutive 8+ win season.

Last Meeting

Last season the Cards had a chance to defeat the South Florida Bulls and came up short on a 4th and inches call in the first overtime period from the 4-yard line rather than kicking a FG.  After the game Coach Strong felt so strongly about his decision to go for it that he sent a text out to his entire team telling him that he would do it again because he believed in them.  The Cards lost 24-21 in Overtime, and leaving PJCS everyone pretty much had a sick feeling in their stomachs.  Was it the right call?  Would UofL get the yardage necessary to keep the drive alive 90% of the time?  Probably.  The Louisville locker room reportedly was pretty shaken up over the loss as well, but Coach Strong won over his guys sending a message that he is going to be aggressive and that he is going to believe in them.  That could have set the tone for the bowl game and subsequent preparation sessions.  Personally, I would have probably kicked the FG but it’s hard to question a 4th and inches call.  Every team should be able to get one yard. Also last season UofL limited the Bulls to just 259 Total yards despite a rush of 67 yards and a reception of 48 yards.  I say that to illustrate the point that for the most part USF was held in check throughout the game and managed only 144 on all other plays.  Still those big gainers happened and the Bulls won the game.

Statistical Comparison

Louisville USF
Strength of Schedule (Congrove)  54th 57th
Total Offense 324.1 ypg (106th) 447.2 ypg (28th)
Scoring Offense 20.6 ppg (108th) 30.0 ppg (45th)
Rushing Offense 121.0 ypg (93rd) 195.0 ypg (30th)
Passing Offense 203.1 ypg (80th) 252.2 ypg (41st)
Total Defense 329.4 ypg (23rd) 348.5 ypg (33rd)
Scoring Defense 18.7 ppg (12th) 20.8 ppg (27th)
Rushing Defense 107.09 ypg (14th) 102.9 ypg (12th)
Passing Defense 222.3 ypg (56th) 245.6 ypg (87th)
Punt Returns 5.50 ypr (97th) 6.58 ypr (84th)
Opponent Punt Returns 0.45 ypr (3rd) -0.33 ypr (1st)
Kickoff Returns 22.26 ypr (53rd) 18.95 ypr (109th)
Opponent Kickoff Returns 24.52 (110th) 23.71 ypr (96th)
Turnover Margin -3 (80th) +3 (35th)
Sacks 2.73 pg (18th) 3.6 pg (2nd)
Sacks Allowed 3.18 pg (114th) 1.20 pg (27th)
Tackles for Loss 7.36 pg (13th) 8.60 pg (1st)
Tackles for Loss Allowed 7.27 pg (110th) 5.10 pg (38th)

Louisville Offense vs. South Florida Defense

Upfront the USF Bulls are pretty big. Ryne Giddins DE (SO, 6-3, 261) has 41 tackles, 11 TFLs and 5.5 sacks and 3 FFs on the season, almost all of these came in USF last 7 games as he was almost non-existent in the first 3.  Giddins was South Florida’s first ever prep Parade All-American to step on campus.  Patrick Hampton (SR 6-2, 248) is on the other side of Giddiins and has played in 41 games in his career hasn’t really produced in the way of making tackles with just 18 but does have 2 Forced Fumbles and 3 TFLs on the year.   Cory Grissom DT (JR, 6-2, 321) has 26 starts in the middle for the Bulls.  This season Grissom has been solid up in his role collecting 33 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, and 1 FF.   Ketih McCaskill DT (SR. 6-0, 284), does his share to plug up the middle as well with 24 tackles, 8 TFLs and 4 sacks.

Elkino Watson DT (FR, 6-2, 288) and Julius Forte (SO, 6-2, 264) also figure into the rotation on the D-line.  Forte has 17 tackles with 5 TFLs and 3 sacks, while Watson (formerly recruited by UofL) has 30 tackles, 8 TFLs and a 1 sack.  Claude Davis (SR, 6-2, 234) is a pass rushing specialist and typically only appears in passing situations has been effective in that role with 6 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.

DeDe Lattimore (SO, 6-1, 234) WLB is the leader of the USF defense along with Mike Lanaris (JR, 6-0, 235) MLB and Sam Barrington (JR, 6-1, 234) SLB.  Barrington has started 23 games for USF and has 167 career tackles.  Lattimore was a 2010 Freshman All-American and has started 22 games in just two seasons.  This season Lattimore has 12.5 TFLs to go along with his team leading 76 tackles and 7 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. Also, DeDe is playing really good football at the moment it should be noted that his last 4 games he has racked up 55 tackles.  Lanaris is second on the team in tackles with 72, and Barrington has 61 tackles with 6.5 TFLs.  Each linebacker has an INT to his credit and all 3 account for the top 3 tacklers on the South Florida defense. (Which is a sign of a good defense by the way).

Jon Lejiste (JR, 6-0, 201) SS is another veteran for the South Florida Bulls defense.  Lejiste has 24 starts and 114 tackles in his career.   Jerrell Young (SR. 6-1, 209) FS has 28 career starts with 129 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 5 INTs, and 8 PBUs.  Young certainly has the most experience but Lejiste is just as much of a difference maker.  They each have 42 tackles on the season tied for 5th on the team.

CBs Kayvon Webster (JR, 5-11, 195) & Quenton Washington (SR, 5-10, 195).  Washington is the most seasoned Bull on the South Florida roster with 33 starts 141 career tackles and 12 PBUs to go along with 4 career blocks.  Oppossing QBs tend to favor Webster’s side of the field, but these two both carry on a really underrated tradition of great secondary play at South Florida.  Webster has 44 tackles with 2 INTs, 5 PBUs, a FF, and a FR of 96 yards.  Washington is more proficient, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at a stat sheet.  Washington has 38 tackles and 7 PBUs, and 0 INTs this season.

If it isn’t obvious already, it is clear that USF’s strength on defense is their depth on the defensive line.  They can shuffle multiple guys in up front, keep them fresh, and they all could probably play 50 snaps per game, but they don’t so they are effective throughout the game.  South Florida brings PRESSURE probably more so than any team in the country and it is all about their guys up front getting that pressure while staying in their lanes, so that the linebackers can pick up the pieces when the D-line can get the job done. And it’s been working.

South Florida’s Defense has been pretty stingy in terms of giving up yardage at 348.5 ypg but they are more proficient with getting turnovers and giving their offense short fields.  On the season USF has created 22 turnovers (12 INTs) scoring on 14 of those chances with 3 TDs scored by the defense.  Also the Bulls limited Rutgers to negative 7 rushing yards in their game earlier this season.  I don’t care what team you are playing not giving up a yard on the ground in a game is super impressive.  South Florida leads the country in TFLs with 88 and is also 2nd in the nation in sacks with 37 for the season through just 10 games.  This isn’t good news for a Louisville offense who has had trouble with allowing defenses into the backfield, although the Cards have improved in this area.

The Louisville offense is averaging 28.5 points per game over the past 4 games, compared to just 16.3 points for the first seven.  This marks a significant improvement and it is related to a variety of factors:  1) Health and continuity on the offensive line 2) development of youthful players as they gain experience 3) improved play calling to suit the offense 4) better overall execution.   On the season the Cardinals are 5-0 when scoring 20 or more points.

I actually find it incredible that Victor Anderson leads the team in rushing. VA has 442 yards on just 89 carries for the season, while Dominique Brown has 110 carries for 413, and Jeremy Wright has 71 touches for 335.  While UofL doesn’t have a primary #1 back running the ball is the key to their success.  In Louisville’s 5 losses the Cardinals could only manage an average of 85.6 yards on the ground.  The past 5 games UofL has managed to average 135.6 yards and that 50 ypg average difference is a HUGE difference in the outcomes of their games during this time.  Lots of love for Victor Anderson staying healthy and playing a major role.  The only game Louisville has lost in the last 5 was when Jeremy Wright had to miss the Pitt game.  Keeping these 3 guys going is HUGE for Louisville.

Michaelee Harris leading team in receiving, doesn’t really seem like it. But even though Harris is quietly leading the team in receiving he has actually vaulted himself to 4th all-time with catches in season for a Freshman with 35, and is 5th for receiving yardage by a freshman with 438 in school history.   Andrell Smith only has 10 catches on the SEASON!!  His 10 catches for 199 yards are all memorable.  It boggles the mind why he isn’t called upon more often.  But no Cardinal receiver is truly “FEATURED” as 15 guys have gone on to catch 200 passes.

To be effective vs. this South Florida defense and win the game the Cards must keep South Florida off-balance and find some success running the football.  If they don’t then Teddy Bridgewater will be the TURKEY that these Bulls feed on for the entire game.  Bridgewater has been sacked a lot, and much of that is due to him not effectively seeing the field at the top of his drop.  I don’t expect that to change immediately from last week to this week, but it has certainly improved over the course of the season.  Still, that slight hesitation causes a lot of plays to be interrupted and go into Teddy scrambling and finding an open receiver or getting sacked.  I’d like to see Teddy take less hits, but that is unlikely to change on Friday.

I am encouraged by the new wrinkles that have been developing in the offense.  Particularly the addition of the zone read with Bridgewater.  Basically by having this in your playbook you can keep some pressure off of your backfield and keep a defense honest.  Too often UofL while running the football ran into the teeth of the defense when the cutback lanes were open.  This neutralizes that and it was a big reason why Louisville was able to run the ball vs. UConn.

I would like to see more deep balls down the sideline, I think this is an area where Bridgewater excels especially in man coverage.  Trouble is that most defenses don’t play man on UofL because Bridgewater doesn’t yet see the zone like he probably should.  The short and intermediate passing game is Bridgewater’s weakness and if I were a defense I would zone Bridgewater and see if you can get to him with your front 4, while disguising your coverages.  If UofL can catch South Florida in man I’d go to Andrell Smith or DeVante Parker immediately.  But I’d expect any opposing to team to play zone until Bridgewater proves that he can be effective against it.

South Florida Offense vs. Louisville Defense

BJ Daniels (JR, 6-0, 217) leads the way for the South Florida Bulls.  When he is in the game you have a dual threat that runs the zone read really well.  Without him, the Bulls turn the ball over to Bobby Eveld (JR, 6-5, 206) who really isn’t a runner and probably wouldn’t run a single zone read play the entire game.  So not knowing who is going to play prevents a real problem for UofL as they literally have to prepare for two offenses. I know Charlie Strong said that he is going to prepare as if Daniels is going to play, but I think the more likely scenario is that Eveld starts.

Losing Daniels hurts.  He makes up a big chunk of their media guide.  BJ Daniels is a Manning Award Finalist and has started 32 career games for the Bulls with 6113 career passing yards & 37 TDs. This season Daniels has thrown for 2359 yards with 12 TDs and 6 INTs.  But he also has rushed for 578 yards on 122 carries with 5 TDs good enough for second on the team in rushing.

Eveld on the other hand is more of a stand in the pocket and distribute the football type QB.  It isn’t a knock on him at all, it’s just that Eveld is an entirely different QB and changes the USF dramatically.  Last season Eveld came off the bench for an injured BJ Daniels and was able to lead a come from behind victory for the Bulls.  In that game Eveld showed an awful lot of poise in the USF OT victory.  Unfortunately for USF Eveld was not as effective in relief this season for South Florida. Also last season Eveld had to start in place of Daniels for the UConn game and the Bulls passed with Eveld 41 times for 195 yards, 1 TD, and 3 INTs.  For the season Bobby Eveld has thrown for 133 yards and has 3 INTs in just 32 attempts.  In this year’s Miami game he played really conservatively and it’s really hard to judge what type of QB Eveld is in 2011.

Sterling Griffin is still the USF leader in receptions with 40 and 493 yards and 2 TDs despite suffering a fractured ankle vs. Cincinnati and missing the last 3 games.  Griffin was easily the go-to receiver before going down.  Filling in his absence is a host of receivers starting with Victor Marc (JR, 5-11, 220) who has 27 catches for 311 yards and 2 TDs.  Deonte Welch (RS-FR, 6-0, 204), has also played a role with 22 catches for 304 yards, and true freshman Andre Davis (6-1, 200) with 16 receptions for 225 and 2 TDs.   Lindsey Lamar (JR, 5-9, 172), was the Big East’s 2010 Big East Special Teams Player of the Year. USF does a lot with Lamar in the return game and even run with him occasionally.  Lindsey Lamar is NOT a huge part of the passing game, but is one of those guys that they do try to get the ball to break a big play.  Lamar will figure more prominiently in the return game on Friday, but he does have 10 catches for 122 yards and 2 TDs.  Lastly TE Evan Landi (JR, 6-3, 227) is 4th on the team in receptions with 22 for 203 and 1 TD.  Landi plays kind of like a WR at times has 21 starts and 55 career receptions is a bigger target out there for whoever lines up under center.  The South Florida receiving corps is by no means established to just 1 or 2 guys, in this way it makes it difficult to prepare, but it is also encouraging that there really isn’t a dominant guy.

The South Florida Offensive line is led by two really experienced players in Chaz Hine C (SR, 6-4, 295) has 35 career starts in his career and Jeremiah Warren LG (SR, 6-4, 329) has started the last 36 games for the Bulls.  Hine is a former walk-on but has been invaluable these last few seasons for USF.  Mark Popek LT (JR. 6-7, 290) has 19 career starts and moved to LT to start the 2011 season. Danous Esenor RG (JR, 6-3, 297) shores up the right inside of the line, and Quinterrius Eatmon RT (RS-FR, 6-6, 304) reportedly had an outstanding Spring camp to earn the starting position at RT and has started each game for USF.  The USF Offensive line has the distinction of being able to start the same 5 games in ALL 5 games of their games this season.  This speaks to their ability and durability.  The Bulls should be pretty well established up front, but with Eveld potentially under center I have to wonder how his cadence and rhythm will affect this line and also how they block since the offense will change so much.  If anything they have enough experience (even the newcomers at this point) to make the proper adjustments.

Darrell Scott (JR, 6-1, 240) & Demetris Murray (JR, 6-0, 210) form a formidable two-headed rushing attack.  Without Daniels however, a lot of what these guys will do will change. Because USF runs so much zone read with Daniels the running attack is likely to take a change without him.  Eveld will not really be a threat to run so anytime they attempt to run zone vs. Louisville there will not be much mystery for the Cards to unveil.  Instead I think USF does a lot of straight ahead, counters, draws, screens (more traditional offense) while mixing in play-action to get pressure of Eveld.  Darrell Scott is a transfer from Colorado and leads the Bulls with 668 yards on 123 attempts, while Demetrius Murray has 462 on 103 attempts, so they both get the ball a healthy amount and are big backs to bring down for an entire game.

Kicker Mikon Bonani is a Lou Groza Finalist and is 16-23 on the season in FGs with a long of 49.  He has had one attempt blocked.  Because Bonani is nearly 70% on his FGs it’s important to keep USF outside the 30 on Friday.

On the whole the South Florida offense has been pretty proficient throughout the 2011 season averaging 447.2 ypg with 500+ yards in 3 separate games this season.  It will be interesting to see if they can keep that up without Daniels and following a brutal game with the Miami Hurricanes where the Bulls could only manage 249 yards.  I would imagine that USF would be pretty frustrated moving the ball after Miami basically shut them down throughout.  Without Daniels that frustration is likely to continue against this Louisville defense.  However, one thing USF has done all season is the big play with 8 plays over 40 yards on the year this is an area that the Cardinal defense has been susceptible to.  South Florida has 16 TD drives of 2 minutes or less.

One discouraging thing about the Louisville defense is that they really didn’t pressure the QB in the UConn game.  UConn is the same team who allowed 7 sacks to these South Florida Bulls where the Cardinals could only manage one vs. the Huskies.  This tells me that the lack of depth on the D-Line is starting to take its toll.  Louisville will again be without Greg Scruggs and Randy Salmon for the USF game. They may be able to make it back for a bowl (depending on whether or not the Cards get an early or late bowl).  Marcus Smith should be able to go on Friday.  No word yet on BJ Butler.  Louisville’s defensive line when healthy is out of this world good, the past few games they have been better than most but not to the level I’ve been accustomed to seeing them play.  Brandon Dunn and Roy Philon will have to carry the load with an emerging Jamaine Brooks quickly catching on and elevating his game.  Salmon being out until a bowl game hurts in this game, just like it did the last, as it really does affect the rotation of 4 guys in the middle.  Philon is playing with a bad back at the moment and the end of the season is coming at a good time for him to rehab.

But If I’m going to discuss the Louisville Defense you have to make sure Dexter Heyman is the focus.  Dexter is leading the Cardinals in tackles with 77 and has 14.5 TFLs, and 3 INTs.  His 14.5 TFLs are 3rd in the league and 23rd in the nation. Heyman’s linebacking unit has become the glue to the Louisville defense while the Defensive line is nursing some injuries.  Preston Brown, Daniel Brown, and now Deiontrez Mount all play really good football in a testament to Brian Jean-Mary’s coaching ability.  They always seem to be in the right position, chasing the football and making things happen.  Heyman leads this unit, but there really hasn’t been anywhere to go vs. this group all season.  I’m really happy to see Mount step his game up throughout the season as it provides depth in case of injury.

Louisville’s secondary has been mixed and matched all season long.  The only mainstay has been Hakeem Smith and he even struggled a bit early in the year.  However, I’ve really been liking Hakeem’s game since the start of this 4 out of 5 game winning run.  I guess it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Smith’s play came at the same time of the arrival of true Freshman Calvin Pryor into the starting unit.  Pryor stepped in when Shenard Holton was dismissed from the team, and has been playing fantastic football despite what class he is. Holton is back, but is unlikely to regain his starting role anytime soon.  I felt like Holton tried to do too much earlier in the season and that left a lot of plays open.  Still Holton is a good player, I think his biggest weakness is his mental lapses, he certainly has the physcial ability to play.  Pryor seems to be more of a natural.  Lastly, Mike Evans will come in and play a lot of nickel, it really just depends on what kind of offense USF lines up in throughout the day as to how much time Evans will see.  Usually just in passing downs.

At CB Louisville was going to start the year with Anthony Conner on one side and a rag-tag crew of freshman and little used guys on the other.  Antony Conner suffered a broken neck vs. Rutgers and will never play football again, and Adrian Bushell showed up on campus a week before the season started.  I have been extremely happy with true freshman Andrew Johnson who figures to play on the opposite side of Bushell for most of the game.  If Bushell can find time in his day to make the team meeting he should factor pretty prominently in the game and also in special teams.  Terrell Floyd and Stephan Robinson (both true freshman) are capable back-ups and just have some rough edges to sort out before really being able to lean on them .

Louisville’s offense is designed to beat pro-style offenses.  Say what you want, but the Cardinal defense struggles against spread teams (WVU, Pitt, Cincy).  Louisville is a great defense vs. a traditional pro-style offense.  But if you look at the stats just in these 3 games it is obvious how to move the ball on UofL.  Still it is easier said than done.  Bobby Eveld is obviously not a running QB so if Daniels can’t go, do the Bulls run what will suit Eveld the best or do they run what works against the Cardinals the best?

My Prediction

There is no argument that the Louisville Cardinals are a better road team under Charlie Strong than when they play at home.  But playing a game at Raymond James Stadium for Cards fans is just a flat out scary proposition as it has been the most unfriendly place to UofL that I can even think of.  Literally great Louisville teams have fallen to average South Florida squads in years past.  With as much as is on the line this week this game has to feel a bit ill-timed. Still, I feel like the Pittsburgh loss got the attention of this Louisville team. Lots of questions about USF’s offense with regards to whether or not QB BJ Daniels will be able to play or not.  I’m betting that Daniels can’t go, AC joint sprains are rather painful no matter what degree they are.  There is no sense in rushing him back.  This isn’t USF’s last home game as they play WVU in Raymond James next week.  They only need one win to become bowl eligible and they are out of the conference race.  I don’t see them risking Daniels’ future to beat the Cards.

Because Bobby Eveld is the likely starter on Friday, I personally think ball security becomes topic #1 for the Louisville offense and special teams.  With Eveld’s performances so far this season I would think that Charlie Strong wants Eveld to beat him on long fields and he’ll take his chances with his defense.  This could backfire, I think Eveld could actually be a good QB eventually, he showed flashes last year vs. Miami but hasn’t really been there since that time.  Points will be hard to come by for the Louisville offense, especially if they can’t find room to run.  Bridgewater will be asked to lead this team once again, and the most room will be through the air due to the pressure USF is likely to bring.  It’s going to be important that Bridgewater see the play and get the ball out safely without turning it over.  My biggest fear is that the Louisville offense gets impatient and forces the ball into the hands of the Bulls.

South Florida is going to have the same game plan, except I think they realize the importance of short fields for this team.  Even getting FGs in this game could be the difference (just like the game they just played vs. Miami).  Louisville’s defense has been better than Miami’s all season, but Louisville is thin along the D-line and that could give USF a little more room than they had last week.

In the end, with all the marbles on the line, on the road, against a back-up QB I think these young Cardinals are going to be laser focused as they are ready to exact revenge from last year and put themselves in position to win the conference and retain a BCS bid.

Louisville 20- USF 10  (with Eveld)

Notes

-USF leads the overall series 5-3

-Charlie Strong coached for Skip Holtz’s father (legendary Lou Holtz) at Notre Dame.  And also with Skip Holtz at South Carolina.  Coach Bedford and Coach Jean-Mary also were on staffs with Coach Holtz.

-South Florida has won the last two meetings between the schools. -South Florida’s average margin of victory against the Cards in Raymond James is 21.0 ppg.

-The Cardinals have lost both games that have gone to overtime in the series.

-Until last season’s 24-21 decision the Home team had won every game in the series.

-Coach Strong became just the 3rd coach in Cardinal History to go to a Bowl in his first two seasons (bowl is currently undetermined).

-Under Coach Strong Louisville is 1-6 when trailing at halftime and 0-8 when trailing after 3 quarters.  They are 9-4 when leading at half and 12-4 when leading after 3 quarters.

-In almost two full seasons the Cardinals under Coach Strong have only been defeated twice by more than one score (Pitt 20-3 in 2010 & Cincinnati 25-16 this season).

-Teddy Bridgewater needs just 160 yards to break the school’s All-Time Freshman Passing Mark currently held by Atlanta Falcon Chris Redman.  Redman threw for 1773 and 8 TDs his freshman season, and Bridgewater currently has 1614 yards and 9 TDs.  Bridgewater is 4-4 as a starter.

Watching, Listening, Attending

The game will be broadcast at 11:00 a.m. on Friday November 25, 2011 on ESPN2.  Dave Lamon and Ray Bentley will do the broadcast on the Deuce.

In Louisville the game will be on 790 a.m. WKRD, 101.7 FM brought to you with Paul Rogers on the pxp, Tony Stallings and Doug Ormay giving analysis. Sirius Channel 85, XM Channel 85. In Tampa the game will be broadcast on 970 AM with Jim Louk on pxp and Mike Pepper and Justin Pawlowski doing analysis. Sirius channel 136.  1300 AM (En Espanol).

There are still a lot of tickets left available for this game on Ticketmaster.  Nothing lower sideline, but there are lowers available in the corners and opposite endzone of the student section.

Sheriff’s Review: UConn

With a quick turnaround next week I’m anxious to get Thanksgiving going and also a headstart on the South Florida preview so this will be an abbreviated version.  Also, my brain seems a bit fried from watching the 2nd half with the basketball game simultaneously.

The Louisville Cardinals opened the game with Adrian Bushell exhibiting his desire to get back onto the football field in a big way.  100-yard TD.  Bushell missed the Pitt game, and there is ZERO debate that he would have been a difference maker vs. the Panthers as the Cardinal CBs were so thin that Josh Bellamy had to play for 2.5 quarters.  Without thinking about what might have been if Bushell hadn’t missed a team meeting and been suspended for the Pitt game, I sure was happy to see Bushell back.  And Bushell came with bells on stumbling several times and being patient with his blockers he was able to find the endzone!  Bushell seems like he has a real knack for Kick Returning as he also had another that almost broke open later in the game.

UConn outgained the Cardinals by 30 yards on the day, despite the Cardinals dominating Time of Possession and it was clear that Louisville’s defensive line was not its usual self without the help of Greg Scruggs, BJ Butler, or Randy Salmon.  Forced into action was Lorenzo Mauldin who was playing TE until this week.  Mauldin was obviously not ready to contain but you can’t really fault him for not being where he needs to be.  The biggest problem, however, we getting pressure on UConn QB Johnny McEntee.  McEntee had all day to throw on several occasions and McEntee would have had a MUCH bigger game if the Husky Receivers hadn’t had a severe case of the drops all game. I don’t want to count them up, but how many balls can a team drop in one game.  It seemed like UConn dropped a pass per possession that ultimately killed their chances at keeping several drives alive.  The Louisville defense really dodged several bullets throughout, much like the Rutgers game.  Would definitely have liked to see better coverage from our DBs on Saturday.

Dexter Heyman, Preston Brown, Daniel Brown, Deiontrez Mount, Calvin Pryor, and Hakeem Smith.  These are the guys holding this defense together right now with the CBs and D-line going through so many injuries.  Obviously the D-Line has some guys really playing well and are healthy like Will Savoy, BJ Dubose, and Brandon Dunn.  But for the most part the guys previously mentioned are holding it down while everyone else is nursing their injuries.  You have to give props to Roy Philon for playing through his injured back, and playing well and Jamaine Brooks for stepping in for his first start and doing a fantastic job up the middle.

I was really happy with the way Louisville was able to run the ball.  Though the Cards managed only 126 yards on the ground, UConn was only giving up about 80 per game and UofL was able to break off several long gainers on the ground.  There really wasn’t a lot up the middle, but it seemed like the best way to attack the Huskies on the ground was with counters and misdirection because the cutback lanes were wide open.  Bilal Powell took advantage of this same thing last season as well.

Teddy Bridgewater had a nice game.  He throws a beautiful deep ball and showcased that twice to Andrell Smith and Josh Bellamy.  Teddy really needs to work on his short to intermediate passing game and hitting receivers at the top of his drop.  This is something that will only come with repetition and seasoning.  Bridgewater is thinking less and playing more than he was in the beginning, but we won’t see the total package until Teddy literally can play QB like it is second nature.  He takes a lot of sacks due to this, and scrambles when it is not necessary if he had just gotten the ball off timely.  Some of this is due to his WRs though.  Right now Bridgewater is extremely talented, and extremely rough as well.  I can’t wait to see him develop each week and see what fine tuning he’s been able to make.  This week, he threw an INT that was almost identical to the one that he threw vs. Pitt.  Obviously needs to work on throwing vs. zone coverage.

Also, I’m really like the development of UofL using some zone read.  Bridgewater is not Pat White when it comes to running the football, but he isn’t Chris Redman either.  Teddy can make people pay with his legs and defenses haven’t really been staying home on the zone reads allowing Teddy to keep and get outside for some positive gains.

One thing I didn’t like from the game was Teddy Bridgewater apparently getting choked on the pile during a Louisville TD.  Josh Chichester witnessed Bridgewater being choked and took up for his QB and drew a Personal Foul penalty.   Choking someone?  That’s uncalled for.  It’s important to note that Bridgewater didn’t play after that.

One thing I did like was closing the game with a TD from Malcolm Mitchell on a Fumble Recovery (because it was an illegal forward pass it becomes a fumble)!  It’s great when you start and finish a game with a TD.  I don’t know of a game where that has ever happened for UofL.

I think it is pretty amazing that all 8 schools in the Big East can still be bowl eligible this late in the season.  The Big East doesn’t have a top 10 team, but that doesn’t mean that this conference isn’t competitive.  You are looking at 8 schools that have had a lot of turnover in terms of coaching and that’s something that the national media continues to ignore:

WVU first year head coach, Pitt first year head coach, UConn, first year head coach, UofL 2nd year head coach, Cincy 2nd year head coach, South Florida 2nd year head coach.  Syracuse 3rd year head coach.  Rutgers is the only school that has had continuity in their head coaching position, everyone else has been stolen away by other schools or fired.

It’s also crazy that with a win on Saturday that Louisville could have a shot at the Orange Bowl.  At 7-5 this Cardinal team would be a major underdog to whoever it faced in a BCS game.  I also think that it is crazy that most bowl projections that have Louisville in the Orange bowl have Houston in the Sugar Bowl.  The Sugar Bowl will be able to choose who they would want before the Orange, so the people making these projections see Houston as a more desirable choice than Louisville.  Obviously the on-field product would be Houston, but in terms of selling tickets?  I’d have to think that Louisville would bring a HUGE number of people to New Orleans as they brought 30,000+ to Miami 5 years ago and about 16,000 to St. Petersburg last year to the Beef O’Brady’s bowl 4 days before Christmas.  New Orleans is about a 10 hour drive from Louisville and has easy Southwest service.  Plus mix in a potential SEC opponent (depending on the national championship picture) and Louisville fans would likely flood Bourbon Street.  If we go to the Orange Bowl you will not likely hear many Louisville fans complaining about South Beach.  But first things first.  Beat the Bulls.