Basketball just can’t wait for college football season

The unveiling of a new University of Louisville basketball schedule inevitably brings mixed feelings for this observer. The schedule release always occurs early in September, diverting attention away from the college football season only three weeks into the schedule.

When Rick Pitino was here, the schedule always seemed to be announced just a couple of days before the opening football game. Seemingly intentional timing, like someone wanting to remind local fans of the most worshipped sport in Louisville, football be damned.

 Probably has something to do with the fact that the city and the state have never enjoyed sustained success in football, the sports fanatics having little choice but basketball for any notoriety. And why state schools, including UofL, despite some notable achievements in football, are still considered “basketball schools.”

Not necessarily a bad thing, despite the taint swirling around college basketball these days, FBI investigations and such. But lack of overall success in football can detract from a school’s overall national reputation. UofL football was close to breaking through the perceived barrier a couple of years ago before its offensive line collapsed, knocking the program out of contention for the college football playoffs. 

It has always taken this observer three or four weeks into the schedule to get over football and get excited about basketball.  The transition could take even longer this year with the opening exhibition game against Bellarmine coming three days before Halloween.  The earlier part of the schedule also will include no names like Nicholls State, Southern, Central Arkansas, Kent State and Robert Morris.

For some reason, someone at the NCAA believes the college basketball season should start earlier and earlier every year. The Cardinals will already be playing teams like Tennessee, Michigan State, and Kansas or Marquette by the end of November. The NCAA as an organization does not own college football like it does basketball, and apparently wants to milk the sport for every possible dollar.

Among the good things on the UofL basketball schedule is the fact that the Cardinals aren’t playing Kentucky on New Year’s Eve this year, with that game set for Saturday, Dec. 29th. Also nice that slackers like Pittsburgh and Boston College are each on the schedule twice this year. Louisville will also play two games against North Carolina.

The bad news is UofL also plays Virginia twice again this season, with games at home and on the road. Never good to see the Cavaliers as the final game of the regular season, especially at Charlottesville. By then, however, college basketball will have captured our full attention, having gradually worked it way back to becoming the center of the sports universe. 

2018-19 University of Louisville basketball schedule

Louisville makes it look almost too easy in win over Kentucky

Minimum suspense, almost too easy.

Rivalry games between the universities of Louisville and Kentucky are almost always go down to the wire. Not on Tuesday, not with UofL coasting to an easy 8-2 decision over the visiting Wildcats in front of 3,806 at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Kentucky was ranked sixth in the nation in one poll, having lost eight of their last 11 games against the Cardinals, including all four games last season. Highly motivated, but mostly frustrated in this one.

Oh, there was some drama, with UK right hander Jimmy Ramsey, a 6-foot-7  freshman, throwing a ball at Devin Mann’s head, striking him in the neck, in the bottom of the sixth. Disbelief from everyone, one of those moments when chaos could have erupted. Mann glaring at Ramsey, catching his breath, thinking about it, making the right decision, and taking the base without incident.

Louisville putting up two runs in the fourth inning, four in the fifth, and two more in the sixth for all of its eight runs. The big hit a two-run blast by Jake Snider in the decisive fifth inning. Snider would win up with three hits, two runs and two runs batted in. No bad for the son of Eric Snider, the hitting coach.

Another clutch performance by Danny Oriente, the designated hitter, coming through with two hits, including a double and a single, and two runs batted. First baseman Logan Wyatt kept under wraps by the Wildcats, reaching base four times, all on bases on balls.

UK could manage only three hits off of five Louisville pitchers, with starter Reid Detmers getting his second win. UofL had nine hits off of seven Kentucky hurlers.

The win improved UofL’s won-lost record to 25-11, and UK is now 25-12. Next up for the Cardinals is a three-game series against Virginia, with the first game at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Louisville vs. Kentucky – The great rivalry

Sports rivalries are nothing new and they’re certainly not unique to Kentucky universities. In fact, for some people, sports rivalries are part of the fun of the world of athletics in the first place. However, for the sports fans mired in the Kentucky and Louisville rivalry, things get so ugly that joy gets lost along the way.

rivalryThe rivalry between the Cardinals and the Wildcats isn’t just one of the biggest rivalries in the world of men’s college basketball. It’s one of the biggest rivalries in the entire sporting world. UofL vs. UK inspires lots of heated discussion and conflict even in the best of times.

People who live outside of Kentucky and who don’t really follow the world of sports might find the rivalry baffling. All fandom knowledge is like that to a certain extent. Some people would love to learn how stuff works at the Royal Vegas casino. Other people aren’t even aware of the Royal Vegas casino and would barely even be able to connect to the world of online gambling even if someone told them about the Royal Vegas casino in detail. However, all fandom discussions tend to be interesting from a broader societal perspective, and the Louisville vs. Kentucky rivalry is no exception.

The interest in college sports varies from state to state. However, it’s particular potent in Kentucky, which has no pro-affiliated sports teams. It’s the perfect environment for the Louisville vs. Kentucky rivalry to thrive. If these two colleges were located further apart from one another, given the size of the state of Kentucky, the rivalry might not be as bad.

However, many local individuals are going to run into each other all the time in the wake of conflicts associated with both sports teams. Local individuals feel pressured to swear strong allegiance to their most nearby university, but they’re constantly in contact with their rivals in a way that just wouldn’t happen with a lot of other pairs of competing sports teams.

The fact that both Louisville fans and Kentucky fans are about equally matched in their team loyalty and passion for their respective fandoms tends to make the rivalry even more intense. Even then, the rivalry might not be as bad if one of the teams were vastly less successful than its rival. However, almost any objective observer outside of Kentucky would probably say that the Cardinals and the Wildcats were really both teams that had a great track record.

When there’s a huge power differential between two teams, the rivalry takes on a very different character. However, this really isn’t the case with the Cardinals and the Wildcats. It’s often the proverbial close games in any activity that are the most exciting, and they tend to involve the fiercest competition. The competition between the Cardinals and the Wildcats and their dearest fans never ends.

Crum’s Revenge: Louisville schooling UK

Lots of things to savor in Mike Lindsay’s latest video recapturing the University of Louisville football team’s 38-24 win over Kentucky …

The slow mo’s, the stop action, the repetition, so many big UofL plays.

Total domination after those initial interceptions.

Lamar Jackson toying with the annihilated Kentucky defense, shocked and so inadequate.

Closeups of confused and frustrated UK fans, wanting to be anywhere but at Commonwealth Stadium.

Credit: FIVE from @CrumsRevenge on Vimeo.

Louisville sends Kentucky football back to obscurity

Thanksgiving weekend ending on a downer.

Kentucky fans gloating, preparing to make life miserable for Louisville fans.

The game was going south in a hurry, UK driving 75 yards for a touchdown on its first drive, intercepting two Kyle Bolin passes, jumping out to a 21-0 lead over the University of Louisville.

The Governor's Cup belong to UofL for fifth year in a row.
The Governor’s Cup to UofL for fifth year in a row.

The worst fear of UofL football, badly needing a win over UK to achieve a winning record. Needing the win to ensure a losing record for UK. Having to win to tie the all-time series at 14-14. Wanting to deny UK a legitimate shot at a bowl game

All these objectives at serious risk with Kentucky on its way to burying Louisville on the first three possessions. Threatening to crush this UofL football team, sending the program back to the dark ages. This was a UK team going nowhere over the past seven weeks, not going anywhere in the post season. Not a program to which any self-respecting program wants to lose.

Louisville wasn’t about to quit, however, overcoming a 21-point deficit for 38-24 win over Kentucky. There is life again for UofL football. No groveling for Louisville fans, no harrassing of Uofl fans by Kentucky fans.

Kyle Bolin, probably appearing in his last ever starting role for UofL, throwing interceptions to Kentucky players on Louisville’s first two possessions. Playing in his home town, in Lexington, before friends and family, caught in the headlights, losing focus. Not the same Kyle Bolin who led UofL to a comeback win over UK last season. The total opposite, this Kyle Bolin.

Had Bolin not gotten off to such an abysmal start, Lamar Jackson might still be awaiting his chance on the sideline. Coach Bobby Petrino had no alternative but send in his enigmatic freshman quarterback.

Whether he’s on your team or on the opposing team, Lamar Jackson is totally unpredictable. Not sure whether he even knows the offense, or if he needs to know the plays with his football savvy, those moves of his, and that incredible speed. No way were the Wildcats prepared for what he brought to the game.

Jackson would run for 186 yards and pass for 130 more, accounting for 316 of his team’s 489 yards. He would pass for one touchdown and rush for two touchdowns, making the Kentucky defenders look foolish, according to UK coach Mark Stoops.

Jackson getting some help from Brandon Radcliff, both as a featured running back and decoy. Radcliff would rush for 62 yards and two touchdowns, taking advantage of UK’s preoccupation with Lamar Jackson.

So Thanksgiving weekend ends with still more reasons to give thanks, with the UK threat having been extinguished. the UK fans humbled once more, refused a golden opportunity to end the four-year losing streak, and denied a chance to assert their authority in all things over Louisville. Keep dreaming, Cat fans.