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.

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By Steve Springer

Steve Springer is a lifelong University of Louisville fan and was Volvo's "Biggest Fan of the Big East" in 2011. He's a sportswriter for the Murray Ledger & Times, in addition to teaching physical education. He graduated from Eastern High School, earned a Master's degree from the University of Louisville and his BS degree at Murray State University. His Twitter handle is @racercard.

6 thoughts on “Fool’s Gold vs. Setback U: Take Your Pick”
  1. Wes Unseld was a big impact on Cardinal hoops, no doubt about it. I always called him Wes, didn’t most of you as well? Griff, was the best player to ever don a Cardinal men’s basketball jersey. Period.
    Johnny U had a ton of preofessional success, but was just a better than average
    QB during his days at the Ville. And Bush was an amazing athelte to watch on the field, maybe would have benefitted from a senior season, but nevertheless…was power, skill and grace combined. Of the 4, only Griff took us to a national title, and my vote goes to #35. Of course, I didn’t see Angel McCoughtry’s name on that list…guaranteed a spot as the best women’s basketball player to ever dress for the Lady Cards. She has, and should continue to, do things never ever seen in Lady Cards hoops, and had done it without nearly the fanfare, media attention or national recognition that Micheal, Wes or Griff received. (End of sermon…back to your regular program. Get out to watch YOUR Lady Cards tonight at 7 PM at Freedom Hall.)

  2. Great post with a lot to think about. What I don’t believe is fool’s gold is the credability of the U of L Football Program. Critics can say we were a flash in the pan but we oldies but goodies know better – our success has come after many years of hard work, dedication and determinatin to take the program to the highest level. I can not and will not believe that TJ (the best AD in the country) will allow this program to crumble. I understand the 2 year rebuilding idea and I’m there but when we lose AGAIN to the worse team in the league after two years of losing to our arch rival, one has to wonder if TJ will step up and make some changes. I’m all for supporting a new coach but this coach? I just don’t see it. I’m sure he is a great guy and I don’t dislike him but after that debacle last Saturday coming off of a great win against USF, I sure can’t see him taking our program in the right direction. With the win over USF we had the buzz back – fans are sick about the loss on Saturday. I honestly don’t think Koach really cares that much what the fans think and that’s too bad. Louisville has some of the best fans in the country and we are all trying to be supportive but how much more do we have to endure?

  3. What you’re saying is that there’s a lot of redundancy in the football program. Time to call in the consultants to make things more efficient.

  4. Linda: He has to care to what fans think but best thing he can do is keep his nose to the grindstone. Tom J. obviously knew what he was talking about when he said two years.

  5. You’re correct – he has to keep going. I sure hope we can pull out a win against Pitt – road games are always tough but we have the talent on the team to get the job done….however, it is scary when the defense doesn’t seem to know where they should line up and on offense the QB has picked up the bad habit of throwing the football from his HIP. Lord help us. I pick the Cards by 3 though. Go CARDS!

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