Casual Trip To Nashville, Cards Bow 68-54

That should get somebody’s attention.

A mere formality this trip to Nashville to play Western Kentucky. Handling the Hilltoppers not much to get worked up about on a wet and lazy Sunday afternoon. No reason to be too concerned as the Cards miss their first eight field goal attempts. It’s only Western Kentucky.

With the quote of the South Alabama coach about “may be looking at the next national champions” ringing in their ears all week long, the Cards were looking down the road but they were looking way past WKU.

Always a danger with young players is looking back at what has been accomplished in the past, combining it with lofty expectations, and expecting to win by simply going through the motions. Conveniently forgetting what it took to get to the Elite Eight last season, all the work it took to get there.

Complacency was reflected in the court demeanor of the players — the lack of emotion, the missing sense of urgency, the look-at-me-I’m-too-cool-to-get-excited feel about playing Western Kentucky attitudes were dominant until the final two minutes when the misplaced arrogance was finally replaced by desperation.

All the inflated confidence about depth, how really deep this team is, was exposed as a myth for the time being. Six of the players being counted on this season have three or less college games behind them. Remains to be seen whether any of them are ready for the big time, based on today’s result.

Unfortunate that it takes a loss to get the attention of not only the newcomers but the veterans as well. Rick Pitino will undoubtedly have their undivided attention this week.

One More Test Of Louisville Football Loyalty

Before anyone else gets the urge to call, the observer doesn’t want or need any more tickets to the Louisville-West Virginia football game. Season ticket holder here for 40 years. Two tickets are all we need, but thanks.

People giving up tickets is not good. Twice today, individuals have offered them. Gonna be too cold, they say, adding something to the effect that the Cards will get creamed. The encouraging part is they said they want the tickets to be used and will offer them to someone else. That would be a positive thing.

The Louisville football team could very well “get creamed” on Saturday. But even more embarrassing would be an excess of empty seats belonging to people claiming to be ardent UofL fans. The ultimate test of loyalty is a game in which the Cards are sure underdogs, with a coach under fire, with a losing season looming for the first time in over a decade, and with temperatures in the low forties.

People who will show up for game under these conditions are the diehards. Their affinity for the university extends beyond personalities, temporary setbacks, and controversy. A game actually provides relief from the arguments about who did what, for whom, why, who’s right, who’s wrong, who’s smart, who’s dumb and what will happen during the off season. They are more than diehards, they are the foundation, the people you know you can count on whatever the future holds for Louisville football.

They are well aware that this team has nothing to lose. Nothing to lose, unless you count the 22 seniors who will be playing in their final Louisville football game at home. The Cards have compiled a 32-15 record during their time here, including an Orange Bowl win and a Gator Bowl appearance. And, yes, they know the young men will be playing their hearts out for them.

Plus, it’s the last college football game in Louisville for another 10 months. Basketball can help fill the sports vacuum but it’s not football. Plenty of reasons to put those football tickets to good use.