The holiday season just became much more festive for local football fans. Reason to be joyous, be merry, celebrate and anticipate.

The University of Louisville is bowl eligible again after a three-year hiatus.

Charlie Strong has all but achieved his first-season coaching goal of rewarding his seniors with a post-season game. Not yet official, only the destination remains to be determined.

  • Strong’s team playing like one that would not be denied, with an offense finally matching the defense in resilience and determination. Especially sweet, a 40-13 romp over a program that had outscored UofL 97-24 in the last two meetings. No wood chopping but plenty of splinters for the would-be Rutgers lumberjacks.
  • Bilal Powell is back. all the way back, picking up where he left off before his premature return last week, breaking free time after time, turning in 123 yards on 23 carries. Three touchdowns for the comeback player of the year.
  • Justin Burke taking charge, finally playing with a fluency matching his oratory skills, hitting his stride, completing nine of 11 passes before a bone-jarring tackle spoils his flirtation with perfection.
  • Will Stein finally getting his chance, filling in quite capably, finishing what Burke started. Nothing fancy or spectacular, just getting the job done. More than the fun guy on the bench, doing what was demanded of him.
  • Cameron Graham and Andrell Smith making the catches, four of them apiece, making Louisville more than just a running team. In fact, UofL would make almost as many yards passing (210) as they would rushing (217). A balanced attack for a change, a most welcomed change.
  • A defensive unit getting nine sacks, including two each from Malcolm Tatum and Greg Scruggs. Two interceptions, a touchdown and a sack from Johnny Patrick with two interceptions, a touchdown and another sack. Six solo tackles and two assists for Shernard Holton.

Still soaking from a Gatorade shower after the game, Strong said he never doubted himself or his team. “They believed in themselves and each other and they just kept getting better as the season went along,” he said. “This program is going places again.

Just in time for bowl season.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

5 thoughts on “Tis bowl season again for Louisville football”
  1. Very proud of this years team. But, I certainly don’t want to put a damper on the possibility of going to a bowl game. I know our fanbase travels well with the team in situations like a bowl game. Here’s my dilemma I pose to the Cardinal faithful here. The Cards finished 6-6, 3-4 in the conference. Cincinnati is the problem here. Not counting today’s game, they are 4-6, 2-3 in the conference. If they win out, they would have the same record as UL at 6-6, but their conference record goes to 4-3, putting them ahead of the Cardinals in the Big East standings and they also have a victory over UL. That would make 7 teams in this conference bowl eligible. I’m getting more confused as I type this. How likely is it that UL may not get a bid if UC wins out?

  2. That’s a good question, Ron, identical to one my wife raised. I think we have go with Tom Jurich’s confidence on this one. That and the fact that our fan base travels well. Plus, of course, the number of bowls needing teams.

  3. Predictions are now (both local TV and Bennett’s ESPN blog) that we will end up with a 12/26 game in Detroit. Why? Because Notre Dame who is too good to be in BE football is going to coopt the BE’s number 2 spot meaning we don’t get a BE spot.

    I hate the Irish. I hate their sense of being too good for the rest of the league. I hate that the rest of the BE doesn’t have the guts to tell them to be in the league for all sports of get the hell out.

    I’ve been to a Christmas bowl game in Detroit. It’s just a touch on the cold side. Perhaps my hate for ND will keep me warm.

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