Louisville football will be back if college football returns in 2020

By Ed Peak

There have been more important games in University of Louisville history than the Music City Bowl come from behind win over Mississippi State last December. But this one was a very convincing win at just the right time, confirming my feeling about the direction of the program.

Louisville football is back. Just one year after enduring a 2-10 season which included a 70-21 loss at Clemson. To come back so quickly and finish 8-5, 5-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, earning Coach Scott Satterfield the honor of ACC Coach of the Year.

This makes one anxious for the upcoming season. Per USA Today all ACC schools plan on having students on campus in the fall. Only Duke, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame, Independent in football, haven’t said if they are going to allow students on campus.

No students, no football. Duke and Pitt will decide early to mid-June, the Irish in July. Presuming there are no negative spikes in the Coronavirus.

UofL returns a load of offensive talent, led by sophomore halfback Javian Hawkins who ran for 1,623 yards. Sophomore receiver Tutu Atwell caught 12 touchdown passes and had 1,276 receiving yards. Dez Fitzpatrick is a big physical receiver. Quarterback Malik Cunningham passed for 2,065 yards and 22 touchdowns.

The biggest loss was tackle Mekhi Becton, now with the New York Jets. He could block the sun with his 6-foot-7, 364-pound body. He can move fast. He ran a 4.6 40 at the combine.

The defense needs repair, but has parts to work with. The Cardinals need a break from the 41-39 i’ll just outscore. Wins over Boston College, 62-59 can’t stop anything win at Wake Forest and the 34-20 victory at North Carolina State. The worst losses were to national runner up Clemson 45-10 and at Kentucky 38-28. The Cardinals were in those games until midway through the third quarter.

I’m really looking forward to the season. Satterfield has had a year to implement his system and should be even better prepared in 2020.

Losses at Clemson and Notre Dame are probable. Virginia, the Coastal Champion, will be tough at Charlottesville. Coach Bronco Mendenhall has rebuilt the Cavaliers. Florida State at home with a new coach is a complete unknown.

“Our guys have been very resilient,” said Satterfield. “Our guys are hungry. They can’t wait to get back to campus. What ever they tell us, we’re going to have a plan.”

No one knows for sure when or if there will be a football season. The closer we get to that date, the more promising it looks. Can’t help but be giddy.

NCAA loosening grip on players to fatten their wallets

By Ed Peak

What is the NCAA doing? Deciding to allow players to make financial deals. Advertising spokespersons. Pitchmen and women. You name it. Not what college athletics needs. But if something doesn’t change, the cheating and coverups by schools will only continue to get worse.

How do the NCAA schools monitor this? Do they know what they’re getting into? What if Bill Collins auto dealership wants to have University of Louisville receiver Tutu Atwell  to peddle automobiles as its spokesman. No problem.

What if AllSouth Applicance Showrooms in Birmingham wants Malik Cunningham to be its spokesperson in Alabama and outbids Chenoweth Appliances in Jeffersontown for his services. Don’t be surprised if the athlete leaves UofL for the Crimson Tide.

When my nephew was in eighth grade, a friend had a birthday party at his home. His father was friends with Louisville wide receiver Josh Tinch and quarterback Stefan LeFlors. Tinch and LeFlors showed up at the party for a few minutes. Signed autographs. Took pictures and left. They might have had ice cream and cake. Or just did it as a favor.

The players dedicate a lot of time, energy and hard work to be Division I athletes. Is the price of an education, free books and tutoring, three square meals, the best medical treatment and nicest living quarters not enough? Add on attendance stipends and all kinds of gear.

The agents, advisors and greedy relatives are the ones will rob these players of what they should be getting in full. What you do with your money is your business. Only a small number advance to the professional level.

There is not an athlete at the University of Louisville or any other school  that hasn’t had a favor granted in the form of a job after using up his or her eligibility. People have contacts in other cities and help former players.

School presidents, athletic directors, head and assistant coaches. All make salaries way out of line. The players do most all the work. The coaches have a heavy influence on these athletes in training for the next level. Pro sports uses the college game as their minor league feeder system. No problems there.

There are two things that have helped cause this. The federal investigation into college basketballs scandal a couple years ago. And the G League where players now can jump directly to the NBA out of high school. The NCAA is admitting, in essence, that it has lost control.

The NCAA is, in essence, opening the floodgates to allow players to barter for money. Not what the schools, teams and fans need. Fans are already taxed with absorbent ticket prices, seat licenses and donations.

The rich will only get richer at a time when many programs are struggling to get over the negative economic impact of the corona virus. Competition between schools is only going to become even more fierce. No longer any pretense of amateurism. 

Johnny U, Lamar Jackson top UofL football favorites

By Ed Peak

Johnny Unitas and Lamar Jackson arguably impacted University of Louisville football more than any former players. It’s ironic that Unitas was with the Baltimore Colts and a Super Bowl champion. Jackson the 2019 NFL MVP plays in Baltimore, for the Ravens.

Unitas was recruited out of Pennsylvania by the late Frank Gitschier for Coach Frank Camp’s Cardinals in the early 1950s. Gitschier saw something in Unitas and he was right. Unitas would go on to become an outstanding quarterback and one of the NFL’s all time greats.

Jackson, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2018, is off to a great start professional journey, He led  the Ravens to a division championship and the No. 1 seed last season, only to be upset by the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs.

He was a raw freshman when coach Bobby Petrino slipped him into his first game at halfback. Taking a pitchout from ReggIe Bonnafon, his first pass was intercepted by an Auburn defender in the Chic-fil-A Kickoff Classic.

Continue reading “Johnny U, Lamar Jackson top UofL football favorites”

Mekhi Becton punches big ticket

@BigTicket73 getting ready for the Big Apple.

Mekhi Becton is headed for the bright lights of New York, as a Jet. The 6-foot-7, 364 pound offensive tackle was taken 11th in the first round in the National Football League draft. That guarantees him a huge pay day.

The announcement came an hour and a half into the virtual draft held in  the basement of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodall’s home.

Becton recruited by former coach Bobby Petrino, flourished under head coach Scott Satterfield at left tackle winning the Jacobs Blocking trophy as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s most outstanding blocker.

Offensive assistant coach Dewayne Bedford played a huge on Becton getting in shape and working with him to become a force for the Cardinals. He showed up at UofL badly out of shape at 390 pounds during his freshman year.

Becton didn’t play in UofL’s Music City Bowl win over Mississippi State. He had returned from injury for the Cards final regular season games against Syracuse and Kentucky and didn’t want to compromise his future.

“I still play like I have a lot to prove,” said Becton. “I just want to go out there and prove it.”

The Jets seem to like former Cardinals players as Kerry Rhodes, Calvin Pryor, Bilal Powell, Lorenzo Mauldin have been drafted by the Jets. The UofL media guide list 11 former Cardinals. He’s the second highest Cardinal drafted, behind Amobi Okoye who went 10th in 2007 to Houston.