Basketball break good for Sugar Bowl celebrants

A good thing for University of Louisville basketball, the break in the schedule between the football team’s Sugar Bowl win over Florida, giving the community extra time to celebrate the immensity of the Sugar Bowl win for the football program.

The commitment of James Quick, a top-rated wide receiver from Trinity, to UofL on Saturday for next season, followed by a verbal from Trinity quarterback Reggie Bonnafon on Sunday to the 2014 class, adding to the euphoria. Recruiting Coordinator Clint Hurtt tweeting that UofL is ready to kick in the recruiting door.

Seems like the only people associated with the University who didn't go were Kenny Klein and his immediate staff.

What’s next? Possibly an ESPN-arranged showdown with another top 10 football team next season. Teddy Bridgewater is too good a quarterback and Charlie Strong a success story for the network to ignore, making UofL a prime candidate for a made-for-TV gridiron showdown.

Or how about Tom Jurich going ahead and expanding Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium by 10,000 seats to a capacity of 65,000, with construction to begin immediately after the conclusion of the 2013 and completed in time for entry into the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014.

Difficult to imagine basketball taking a back seat to any sport in Louisville but that’s exactly what happened last week, with 25,000-plus fans making the trip to New Orleans. A sea of red dominating one side of the Superdome from end zone to end zone, from the field level all the way up to the 600 section.

Kenny Klein
Kenny Klein

Seems like the only people associated with the University who didn’t go were UofL Sports Information Director Kenny Klein and his immediate staff. They were conspicuous on the scorer’s table during the basketball game against Providence, entrusting Rocco Gasparro, the football info director, with the biggest challenge of his career.

Rick Pitino’s troops get back into action Wednesday at Seton Hall. While basketball has been good to UofL, paying most of the bills until now, the observer has always believed that having a strong football program is the key to achieving national respect for the athletic program. Jurich’s continued emphasis on football, punctuated by the success of Charlie Strong, was a decisive factor in getting to the ACC.

Maintaining the perception of the program will be a challenge in a sport largely dominated by the traditional powers, with their pervasive influence on the kow-towing sports media and its selective memory. One or two big wins over major competition are sometimes dismissed. Just ask Boise State.

Somehow strengthening the 2013 schedule is a prerequisite with all the changes and uncertainty of the Big East. A showcase game, perhaps against Strong’s old boss, Urban Meyer at Ohio State, would certainly help bridge the gap to the ACC and the end of the scheduling struggles.

Not one to rest on any laurels, Tom Jurich is fully aware of football’s continuing challenges and opportunities, maintaining his focus. Savor the Sugar Bowl memories, keep the celebration going, stock up on mementoes, enjoy the re-convening of the basketball season, and anticipate more significant announcements about the football program.

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Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

4 thoughts on “Basketball break good for Sugar Bowl celebrants”

  1. Good question, Porkins. You know me too well. The Louisville Metro area got a great taste how all-consuming football success can be. The amazing thing is that 21,000 people showed up for that basketball game.

  2. I’ll have to admit, as big a basketball fan as I am, I’ve been watching all these various highlight videos over and over and over.

    They get better each time.

  3. Being a force in Football generates twice as much revenue than what basketball can provide. But being great in both could generate Ohio St or Texas type of figures for revenue.

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