Fool’s Gold vs. Setback U: Take Your Pick

By Steve Springer

“Biggest win of the Kragthorpe era,” “The ship has been righted,” “Congrats Coach K and the Cards,” and so forth. These were some of the proclamations after a win over South Florida. The next game’s results are greeted by “Coach K must go,” and “What will you do to show your disgust at the Cincinnati game?”

The roller coaster ride that is Steve Kragthorpe Cardinal football flew off the tracks again Saturday. The Syracuse loss was obviously the worse loss since, well, the other Syracuse loss. Gulp. I never would have dreamed of typing “the other Syracuse loss.” Sorry. Seriously, though, this had to be the biggest disappointment since the loss to UConn. The other UConn loss, you know. I didn’t think that the season opening loss to Kentucky could be topped. You guessed it, the other UK loss.

Sorry to sound somewhat confusing, but these “other” losses are really starting to pile up and become overwhelming. Kragthorpe’s Cardinals are now a Cooperesque 0-6 against the Orange, Huskies, and Wildcats. I’ll admit it. I had naively started to believe after the upset of the Bulls a couple of weeks ago.

Now I realize that I have the same feeling in my gut that I did as a child on summer vacation. My parents took me out west for our annual family vacation in which we headed out west to Yellowstone and stopped in one of those tourist trap old-timey western towns with faux saloons and general stores. We shopped at one of the local flavor cowboy stores and in one of the bins at eye level with my small eyes, I reached in and pulled out a handful of golden nuggets.

I just knew that I was the family savior and had just found the secret stash to make our family richer than our wildest dreams. My excitement was tempered when I learned the meaning of the words “iron pyrite.” The man behind the counter might have been named Greg Robinson. He exposed my treasure for what it was, just as he exposed our newfound Cardinal booty for what it was.

Same old fundamental mistakes. Same old overly abundant penalty yardage. Same old defensive lapses. Same old come-from-behind to catch the rear-end-of-college-football. These losses have stolen any hope that UofL Football has any hope of ever returning to even, (another gulp) mediocrity.

Athletic Director Tom Jurich is The Man. Some fans also believe he is  the man that is going to let this coach run this huge revenue sport out of The Ville back to Cooperville or beyond. Unacceptable losses are setbacks to a school that rose from the shadows of a minor league baseball stadium to having its toothed beak in the nest of big time college football elite status. They affect success, which affects fan support, which affects attendance, which affects stadium expansion credibility, which affects recruiting, which affects lack of success and any potential for future success.

Setback U, Fool’s Gold. Whatever you wanna call it, the boosters, the fans, the players, the potential future players want to be able to call it their football team, not a time-killer until basketball season.

Sonja Weeps For Cardinal Football Nation

By Sonja Sykes

Still hurting after the Syracuse loss. But I’m seeing this loss through the eyes of a very disillusioned and depressed spouse. If you know me, you know where my main passions lie, with the success and failures of my Lady Cards basketball team. For me, football is a social event.

Tonight, I weep for the Cardinal football nation. Openly, without remorse, and from the heart. It was a loss that just destroyed three weeks of hope, anticipation and the feelings that we could rebound from a dismal campaign last year. I’m seeing it through the eyes of Cardinal football friends and family who haven\’t felt this frustrated and confused about the program since the Cooper reign.

I feel their sense of anger, bewilderment and angst. A stumble against a cellar dweller in Big East football for the second year in a row. A grumbling realization that in four quarters of football this evening, we have managed to destroy the accomplishments of the previous seven games.

Is This What We Have To Look Forward To?

I see it in my husband and his buddies’ eyes, the apathetic shrug of the shoulders and shaking of the head. Is this what we expected? Is this what we have to look forward to the remainder of the season? How does a team collapse so violently and bitterly after”our biggest win in the current coach’s era”?

I can only console and comfort. I can only offer soothing words of encouragement and possible redemption. But, I see the pain..the disbelief and incredulous shock of a stumble against a lesser opponent, and I am reminded of words I heard many years ago from a very wise coach (Howard Schnellenberger):

“To lose in defeat when you’ve given your full effort is no disgrace. If you\’ve left it all out on the field of battle and still come up short..then all you can do is congratulate your opponent on a victory well earned, and prepare yourself for the next contest.”

Tonight, I wonder how well that phrase fits what happened this evening, and whether irreparable damage has already been inflicted for the final time on a program that is already reeling from similar blows over the last two seasons.

Turning points sometimes come in very strange venues. Tonight, we may have seen one within a program that has been under survey, scrutiny and suspect since the glory days of the Orange Bowl. I hope this story ends well, but I’m a lot more skeptical about the ending than I was in the previous chapter.

Keep the faith, but realize that the rainbow isn’t quite as visible as before. Stay strong and behind your guys, but also realize that there is no longer a dynasty, just a very average football team. Give them all the love you can muster, but know that their successes will be limited and less than what we’ve seen before. Remember that they’re college athletes, and that there are higher powers than you or I who will ultimately decide whether their direction and leadership is sufficient or needs to be reviewed. And console your friends that are taking this roughly. Tomorrow brings another day.

Shaking Off Delusions: Syracuse 28, Louisville 21

You just know the intensity level dropped after Louisville’s 93-yard touchdown drive on the first series of downs and Syracuse’s subsequent three-and-out. Some key Louisville participants relaxing a bit, expecting to coast the rest of the way.

Big mistake. From that point forward, the Cards played down to Syracuse’s level, making a team with a 1-6 won-lost record look powerful on offense and defense

— A bummer after the first series of plays, Syracuse the most depressing location for a football game in the conference, even worse if you have to watch the game on ESPNU with its four-minute TV commercial timeouts for cheap products.

— A three-and-a-half-hour infomercial for Rust Belt U football, complete with a former SU quarterback in the broadcast booth for the entire first half, a “little person” SU student playing big time announcer on the sidelines, and a history lesson on No. 44’s.

— You know it’s bad when you have to wake your spouse for the beginning of the second half.

— The game-ending interception should have been ruled pass interference. UofL’s Doug Beaumont was knocked out of the play, no real chance to catch the ball. Flags were strangely absent.

— Never was a ball more perfectly thrown than the one thrown by Hunter Cantwell that should have been a sure touchdown, right in the breastplate of Troy Pascley.

— Just when you think it will be a while before you see Pascley again, there he is in the end zone pulling one in for six.

— Where was Brock Bolen most of the night, the bruiser who has been used early to soften up the defense to allow Victor Anderson to run through them? Anyone see him hurt? Never mind. Just chalk it up to another mysterious disappearance.

What To Make Of South Florida Free Fall

So what should the University of Louisville football team take from South Florida’s humiliating 24-10 loss to Cincinnati Thursday? The Bearcats handled the Bulls like kittens toying around with mice in the process of devouring them.

South Florida should never have been ranked among the top 20 teams?

South Florida is not the same team on the road that often demolishes the same teams on its home field?

South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe’s skills have been exaggerated? Continue reading “What To Make Of South Florida Free Fall”

Losing Long Not Necessarily Fatal

The big question is who replaces injured Scott Long as the University of Louisville football team travels to Syracuse. After scoring two touchdowns in last week’s win, Long suddenly was considered indispensable, the key to a successful season.

Losing Long is regrettable but far from being a season breaker. Continue reading “Losing Long Not Necessarily Fatal”