Louisville To ACC
So, that was pretty cool.
Today was the most historic day in UofL history – relatively speaking. Let me compare some in my time. I won’t cover them all – but what I feel are some big ones.
1. Basketball winning the 80 & 86 titles: Incredible, but we were a top program already. This was adding extra validation. Program changing: Low.
2. Facilities: Fed the fire. Baseball, basketball, football, soccer, on and on. Jurich spreads the wealth. For people in “other sports” like I was – this is amazing support. Hard not to love him. If you build it, they will come. The athlete’s that came helped set the stage for our national reputation to become an interesting pick for the Big East. Program changing: Medium-Low.
3. Hiring Howard Schnellenburger: They almost cancelled the football team – permanently – he was a last ditch effort to save it. Amazing moment and what ensued culminating to a victory over football power Alabama in the Fiesta Bowl. No football, means no power 5. Great hire. Thanks for not giving up on Football UL. Program changing: Medium.
4. Joining CUSA: When Cards joined a conference to help establish their football program, many didn’t like the move. The reality is, it helped. We advanced the program, under Tom Jurich’s guidance. Grabbed a few titles, and made the nation see we were committed to all sports at UofL. We do not go to the Big East without a few resume adds of “conference champion”, which helped fuel UofL (and Boise) nationally, as a part of the “BCS Buster” crew. We built ESPN’s Thursday night market single handedly with John L’s incredible bowl streak, and unmistakable personality. It made the Big East Possible. Tom had us rolling, and it didn’t take us long to win the Big East title of Rich Rod, one of UL’s opponents when attempting to join. “Suck it Trabek (Rich Rod). Suck it long, and suck it hard.” Joining the CUSA turns out to be a huge deal, we don’t catch the Big East’s eye without this fruitful era. Program changing: med-high.
5. Joinging BigEast: Big news. Louisville’s fire was hot, and the Big East threw gasoline on it. Louisville goes on to win as much (or most) Big East Titles across all sports compared to every school in the league. We are the most profitable basketball program in America. The BigEast helped us blow up on the national scene to unprecedented levels. Program changing: high.
6. Joining ACC: There are no words what this means. I can’t even think to type them, so I will await Mike Rutherford’s truly poetic account of what this means. I can tell you this. Tom Jurich saved UL sports today. People doubted him, criticism was high, he just kept chugging. The turtleneck shield all distractions, and he got the job done. Again, as he has done many times before, before and after winning the national AD of the year. The game changed. Suddenly, being rich and successful didn’t matter (see Maryland), only state population did (see Maryland/Rutgers). We don’t have it like those courting. Sure, might be higher than some already in the power 5 – but nobody is getting kicked out. We had to make some serious partners, and FSU was one of them. Without getting into details, be very good to their fans, and very grateful of the olf Metro partner, because VTech was less than helpful, and why should they? We bailed on them when we went to CUSA. The money has been turned on, and you don’t want to know what would’ve happened to UL if it was turned off. I hope for the “have not’s” that an expanded tourney happens sooner than later. It is the right thing to do, and more teams are capable of taking it all than ever before. Program Changing: Program Saving – nothing higher.
Why it’s cool
Obvious Comment: What. A. League. This will rival BE’s best year ever 2 years ago, and will surpass it on the fact that most of the teams “aren’t just making it, they’ll be top shelf”. Wow.
Subtle Observation: Basketball Recruiting. Pitino’s biggest hold out on the Big12 was losing recruiting relevance in the NE where we have established pipelines. He was right, we don’t have a Midwest pipeline to boast – save our love for Swop/ and Goode. What happened in the ACC this year made this move exciting to Pitino. Pitt & Syracuse joined. What does this mean? Pitino can continue to recruit the areas he is best. Games and conference presence in the north east was solely BC, but now footprint expanded to Pitt & Syracuse means Pitino is happy. That means we should be happy too. I didn’t like the ACC as much for UL until Pitt and Syracuse joined, all in now.
Obvious Comment: Power 5. Let it be known. I hate the Power 5. It is unfair, and I hope people continue to fight it. We need an expanded tournament that gives hard working capable teams a shot at the title – and not selected by “a committee e of men”, because men suck. However, that being said – this is not our headache to fight now. We will be included, we get the money, we continue to grow facilities as Tom Likes to do, we have a better retention rate with Football coaches.
Subtle Observation: Football Recruiting & Coach Strong. Coaches recruiting efforts just got a whole lot easier. We have games every year in states we love to recruit. We are in the Power 5, and are a factor in the NC equation. This was the best conference for us in football regardless of Pitt and Syracuse. We love southern football players, and now they will watch us weekly on TV.
All other sports
Overall Comment: Come one, come all. The BIG12 relationship would’ve ended with a majority of our sports looking for other homes. Geographically spread out, multiple conferences, that is marketing night mare. With the ACC, the fact that it is an all sports conference, and geographically friendly to UL – this is a huge will for ALL sports. I may not watch them as much, but as a former D1 collegiate “Olympic sports” athlete, Tennis, I know how huge this is for the other sports. They never get enough attention, work just as hard, and in many cases are better athletes than the big money sports. They just excel in sports that aren’t as profitable from an exposure standpoint.
Where do we go from here?
Let’s win the Big East conference BCS title bid Thursday against Rutgers in what is now called the “Big 10 – ACC Challenge”. Enjoy the Cardinal BCS game – no, make it ACC/BCS celebration – with our new best friend, FSU. We have so much to be thankful for, and Tom Jurich pulled his best Jack Bauer yet.
RESPECT THE TURTLENECK