Editor’s Note: Paul Sykes, guest columnist, moderator of Cardinal Couple and an old friend, weighs in on UofL’s upcoming first football season in the ACC.
Remember that gift Tom Jurich delivered just before Christmas a couple of years ago? Almost time to open it.
A ticket to a UofL home football game this season is the equivalent of a trip to Disney World, a winning lottery entry, the exacta on the Kentucky Derby and the keys to a brand new car.
A new conference, new travel venues and the most challenging schedule in the history of Louisville football creating a fever pitch for those who don the red and black and hang on every rushing attempt, third and two defensive stop and lofty pass to the corner of the end zone.
If one treasures the excitement of packing up the SUV and hitting the road to follow the gridiron action, how about scenic Virginia, the crazy game day atmosphere of Clemson, historic South Bend, Indiana, the hustle and bustle of Boston, the echo-chambered Carrier Dome in Syracuse and sunny Miami for away games?
Coming to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium is a group of traditional powerhouses, old rivals and dangerous ACC foes. Florida State, the defending national champion, and Miaim, with multiple national titles, new conference foes NC State and Wake Forest, good old Murray State, and our Kentucky friends from Lexington.
Plus, a first-ever chance for Petrino and the Cards to play in a conference championship game, with the winner securing one of the major post-season bowl berths.
Cardinal fans are no strangers to big games at PJCS. Who could forget the win over West Virginia on a blackout night in November 2006? Taking Miami to the woodshed in September of that same year. A soggy, spectacular win over Florida State in 2002? This season presenting similar challenges and more.
A three month journey that will rival any three month stretch in the history of University of Louisville athletics.
Yes, Louisville has hit the jackpot. The Cards are at the adult dining table and have seats in the front row of a sold out performance. Super Saturdays of tailgating, exciting gridiron action, feeling the shivers when the crowd roars during a Dom Brown scamper for the end zone, a chilling Ray Burgess, Jr. stop, a Will Gardner toss to a wide open Devante Parker or Lorenzo Mauldin catching and sacking a terrified opposing quarterback.
Black uniforms, blackout crowds, blocks, backs, breakaways and booms.
Hurry, September, hurry.