Card Crunching: Some optimism, some pessimism for Louisville football

The University of Louisville will continue its winning ways in the Atlantic Coast Conference, according to an analysis by Patrick Stevens of  the Syracuse Post-Standard, and he ranks UofL 23rd nationally in his pre-season picks.

“There’s the who-will-replace-Teddy-Bridgewater subplot, and that answer is sophomore Will Gardner. He has enough toys to toss or hand off to and a sharp offensive coach in Petrino to be in good shape to succeed.

“So what narrative isn’t being looked at enough? The defense, which was brilliantly constructed under former coach Charlie Strong but loses a bunch of talent and shifts to a 3-4. It can regress and the Cardinals will still be fine. But if it somehow stays in the top 20 nationally, Louisville’s ceiling will go up as well.”

Bobby-Petrino-1-8-14

Meanwhile, Caleb Calhoun over at Saturday Blitz believes media types are giving Bobby Petrino too much credit because he’s been successful at every college stop.

“That doesn’t mean Petrino will automatically make you a winner. Faced with the task of winning at Arkansas, he stumbled to a 5-7 season his first year there.

“There are still some questions about the Cardinals going into the season, including the fact that their schedule is 10 times tougher than it was last year. While we know Petrino will succeed long term, all of these questions have to be addressed before we immediately assume Louisville will be good this year.”

Calhoun may have some valid issues, but one has to wonder how much an ingrained bias against the old Big East and the American Athletic conferences affects his opinions.

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— The Big 10 Conference is reportedly moving to a nine conference games during the 2016 season, making a series with UofL unlikely. according to Rick Bozich,  A series with IU would have made so much sense. The Hoosiers keep blowing opportunities to sell out Memorial Stadium.

— Numerous reports over the summer had Akoy Agau making strides to become a contributor for the UofL basketball team. But there’s always at least one significant injury during the off season and Agau’s number was called. He was scheduled to have surgery Tuesday for a sports hernia injury in Philadelphia.

— Jeff Walz is an assistant on the U.S. team in the FIBA Under-18 Basketball Championships to be held Aug. 6-10 at Colorado Springs. South Carolina’s Dawn Staley is head coach. Training camp began Friday and the process of trimming down the roster from 28 players to 12.

— Starr Breedlove, a freshman on the women’s basketball team last season, has transferred to Troy University. Starr suffered a concussion early in the season and saw limited action in nine games.

— Ribbon cutting ceremonies for the new Dr. Mark & Cindy Lynn Soccer Stadium will be August 27, two days before the men’s and women’s teams make their 2014 debut. The celebration will begin at 3:30 p.m.

UofL rewards Jim Ramsey for phenomenal leadership

Those of us enthralled with the unparalleled growth at the University of Louisville campus over the past decade never want James Ramsey to retire. The accomplishments during his UofL presidency have been extraordinary, and they just keep coming.

James Ramsey
James Ramsey

In the past academic year alone, the University has entered the Atlantic Coast Conference, completed the construction of a $37 million student recreation center, and successfully completed a $1 billion fundraising campaign, among other breakthroughs.

Since he took the post in 2002, UofL has boosted its graduation rate by more than 60 percent, admitted freshmen classes that are more academically gifted each year, recognized more Fulbright scholars than any other state school, and doubled the number of students living on campus.

On Friday, the UofL Foundation voted unanimously to increase Ramsey’s salary by four percent of his Foundation salary and two percent of his University salary. His annual salary as of June 30, 2014, was $624,000 and included $342,930 in university funds plus $281,070 from the privately-funded Foundation.

Hopefully he keeps some of that money for himself this time around. In the past, Ramsey has given nearly $1 million back to the university in the form of outright donations and by giving up bonuses and pay raises. If he were in the private sector heading a similar-sized corporation with such accomplishments, Ramsey would be making five or six times his annual salary at UofL.

Here’s an update from Dr. Ramsey on some recent milestones:

ACC academics equally important for UofL

Shirley Willihnganz, executive vice president and provost at the University of Louisville, reminds us that UofL’s entry into the Atlantic Coast Conference is about much more than sports, providing vast potential for academic growth. The faculty and staff got together Tuesday at the Brown & Williamson Club to toast the occasion.