Another slow burn for U of L fans

Couldn’t resist tuning into the West Virginia-Texas football game Saturday, thinking that that could have been the University of Louisville on the big stage in Austin. Texas. UofL fans are still hurting from the lack of an invitation to the Big 12 Conference.

The emotion attached to watching the game reminded one of a kid during his teenage years one night in a movie theater. The girl he worshipped was there on a date with the neighborhood tough guy, an individual the kid tolerated only because he was so much bigger.

The kid made every effort to stay interested in the movie. Try as he would, however, it was impossible not to be distracted by the scene a seven rows to the front and six seats to the right against the wall, this character and the kid’s dream girl wrapped together from the opening scene. No ride home, no escape, forced to endure. Long, slow, agonizing, burning humiliation.

Their relationship wouldn’t last long, the principles not having much in common. The bully would pursue other conquests, the girl could continue to be nice to the kid. Friendly and teasing but never encouraging. Forced to accept who he was in her eyes, the kid would move along, too, fortunately discovering that life would provide many other opportunities. Thankful today for a decades-long commitment from another young lady.

Yes, it hurts that West Virginia is in the Big 12 Conference and that Louisville remains in the Big East. But if there’s anything that the conference reshuffling and turbulence over the years has taught us, it is that the landscape will continue to change and there will be other opportunities. That’s what we kept telling ourselves anyway as we endured the Texas-West Virginia broadcast.

No. 1 Louisville fan Mitch McConnell introduces Final Four Resolution

U.S. News art

Mitch McConnell, perhaps the most powerful University of Louisville basketball fan, introduced a resolution in the United States Senate Wednesday, extolling the NCAA basketball matchup with U of L and Kentucky in the Final Four.

It had to be painful for the minority leader to feign neutrality. Everybody knows he’s a Louisville fan. He was president of student government at UofL. But he has another degree from the UK law school.

McConnell is a big Louisville football fan, too, never missing a home game, often attending games on the road. He also has gotten involved in conference realignment and expansion, advocating UofL’s inclusion in the Big 12 Conference.

The Senator turned down an opportunity to have the UK School of Agriculture named after him a few years ago. But one of the most prestigious facets of UofL, the McConnell Center for Leadership Studies, bears his name, attracting influential world leaders on a regular basis.

Here’s his public statement:

“Never have these two teams faced each other in the Final Four with the stakes so high. If the excitement and frenzy and turbulence that’s been stirred up in Kentucky this week could be harnessed we could solve our energy crisis. Basketball fans from Kentucky have been waiting their whole lives for this game.

“So my friends in North Carolina can hear it, U of L and UK have the best rivalry in all of college basketball and the commonwealth of Kentucky is the best college basketball state in the nation.”

But when they turned off the microphone, we know that Senator McConnell was probably pleading:

“Go Cards.”

Pitino not so anonymous

No one says a word.

Everyone at the University of Louisville is mum, tight-lipped, non-verbal, incommunicado on the issue of UofL’s chances of getting into the Big 12 Conference expansion/realignment.

Everyone has been sworn to silence. Even if they don’t know anything, which they don’t.

Everyone that is except Rick Pitino who has become everyone’s nightmare, the proverbial loose cannon. Out there by himself, crusading for the preservation of the Big East.

On a day when the Big 12 appeared to be near reaching consensus, we get word that T. Boone Pickens is still not through tinkering with the process.

And Rick Pitino is still out there, turning out still another blog in defense of the Big East.

We suspect Pitino is using his good friend, Andy Katz at ESPN, to broadcast his message nationally, creating doubt, planting seeds of disunity, seeking to derail the process. In his latest blog Katz reports:

BYU, TCU and Louisville have all been mentioned as possibilities to join the Big 12. But Louisville, a source told, is interested in keeping Big East together with service academies to fill void left by Pitt and Syracuse, who are heading to the ACC. 

We also suspect that Katz wrote his piece primarily to provide a platform in support of Pitino’s position because it certainly didn’t contain any news.

You may win the battle, Rick, but you’ll lose the war. You’re on the wrong side of this issue.