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.

More Bad News

Scott Long Injured Again

No expletives but some real pain here.

The University of Louisville football coaching staff has confirmed reports to WLKY-TV’s Fred Cowgill that wide receiver Scott Long suffered another serious knee injury today in practice, which probably means he is out for the season.

Long returned to action three weeks ago in the Memphis game after missing the first four games because of a pre-season injury. He had five receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the win over South Florida.

The UofL roster lists Long as a junior.

Football factor

Another reminder of the importance of college football in Louisville came when U of L basketball coach Rick Pitino devoted 11 minutes of his pre-season remarks to the football coaching issue.

Pitino said any time you see a coach suspending players, it means he “won’t sacrifice his principles for winning games, he’s building a program, he’s not trying to win a half, and you know he’s doing the right thing.”

Pitino is right. He also recognizes that football fever has gripped Louisville over the last several years and the community expects to win. Be patient, he is saying, we’re thinking long-term here.

No committees, thank you

So we hear that Black Coaches Association has awarded an “F” to U of L for the process through which the university hired the new football coach. The BCA gets the headlines it seeks but you have to wonder whether the group did its homework. Did they not know Ron Cooper was our coach for three years? Or does history not count?

Among the BCA’s criteria was the racial composition of the search committees. The problem with search committees is that they often include well-meaning faculty reps with not a clue about football, as we learned when Schnellenberger departed.

Even though the football season has disappointed, we still prefer to have Tom Jurich make those decisions for us. By the way, he reportedly had Karl Dorrell, the black coach at UCLA, on his short list. Did the BCA even think to ask?