Louisville Football could be on the rise and Saturday's game could be a pivotal point in the season, as well as the career of Charlie Strong, or it could be another minor hiccup over the course of Louisville Football history and not be remembered. It all depends what happens on the field tomorrow.
However, I can't help but feel a lot of false hope has been placed in this game, because for many of us fans that read the Card Chronicle on a regular basis, we probably have more at stake emotionally than most fans. I call it pent up anger, rage, resentment, etc... But we do have a few reasons why.
We're bitter over the loss to WVU in the conference realignment
This battle was one that took place at breakneck speed, while everyone but the Big XII, WVU and U of L was snickering under their breath, especially the puppet masters over at ESPN. I will admit, I did get excited with the drama reached it peak and the (completely absurd) threats of investigations combined with political power plays that reached into the highest levels of government. It was an elegantly constructed opera that held attention of the parties interested and managed to reveal a few things about conference realignment that had previously not been understood. With the surfacing conspiracy theories that ESPN is behind everything, I couldn't help but recall the (not so great because he drives a BMW and not a Aston) Bond movie 'Tomorrow Never Dies', where the villain, Mr. Elliot Carver states his ambitions for his news network:
Elliot Carver: What you are about to witness, Ms. Lin, is not so much a missile attack, but the launch of a new world order. In precisely five minutes after your countrymen have attacked the British fleet, I shall retaliate for dear old England by sending this missile into Beijing, where General Chang has just called an emergency meeting of the Chinese High Command. Unfortunately, General Chang will be delayed in traffic, arriving just after the missile has killed your leaders, and too late to stop the air force from sinking the entire British fleet, but he will be just in time to take over the Government, negotiate a truce, and emerge as a world leader, with the Nobel Peace Prize.
Wai Lin: And what do you get?
Elliot Carver: Me? Oh, nothing. Just exclusive broadcasting rights in China for the next hundred years.
In light of the realignment and the allegations of foul play by ESPN, here is my 'slightly altered' version...
George Bodenheimer (CEO of ESPN): What you are about to witness, Sports Fans, is not so much a conference realignment, but the launch of a new world order. In precisely five minutes after The SEC has attacked the Big XII, I shall retaliate for dear old Big XII by sending Syracuse and Pitt into the ACC, where John Marinatto has just called an emergency meeting of the Big East High Command. Unfortunately, John Marinatto will be delayed in traffic, arriving just after Pitt and Syracuse have left the Big East, and too late to stop WVU from sinking the rest of the Big East, but he will be just in time to take over the remains of the Big East, add a few teams, and emerge as a loser, with a lesser, but cheaper conference than before.
Football Fans: And what do you get?
George Bodenheimer: Me? Oh, nothing. Just exclusive broadcasting rights for College Football for the next hundred years at a dirt cheap cost.
Not saying this did or did not take place at ESPN HQ, but... crazier things have happened.
We're still upset over years of football mediocrity
After Bobby Petrino left, many of us felt like the bastard children of an angry father who left mom for a more attractive woman (The NFL). Upset because we knew nothing else, mom went the exact opposite way and made a new boyfriend who was great at first, but then the kids started getting to unruly and doing things like serving jail time and losing games. So mom kicked him out and got a serious man who carted along with him a lot of ideas (Box of Plays) on how to turn these children around. Now for the first time in what seems like ages, we have a little hope and our step-dad has us kids motivated by the desire to return to a suitable bowl game, and step out of the seventh layer of football hell... Last year we got to a bowl game, but now have our sights set on something a little bigger - steady footing in a conference where the cream should rise to the top.
We enjoy decrying the fans of West Virginia for being "Couch Burning Hillbillies" and scary enough to keep our cheerleaders away from (or not, but maybe, eh? Yes... they're going... F#CK IT WHO CARES)
The most recent drama has had to do with the always oh-so-nice West Virginia Fans that have become a sideshow themselves. Now the administration is extra upset that they're not allowed to leave the Big East as soon as possible because they're keenly aware that the longer they stay the more 'Buyer's Remorse' the Big XII will have. Partially because their administration knows that their fan base is almost universally despised by anyone who has ever played them, and partially because the administration knows no one really wants to travel all the way to West Virginia where the tallest building in their state is rivaled by their stadium (but hey, their airport will have a bigger runway soon, so that fixes it... right?)
Several WVU fans have been on the threads here at CC and while I will say that many of them are trying to restore the view of their fan base to one of being respectable, a commendable act, the fact that they call many of the allegations baseless, but then apologize if they did happen shows that they know they're guilty of something as a larger fan base. The Administration of WVU and the fan base need to sort things out and get their house in order - quickly - before something happens that permanently blackens their eye which will not be good for the school who I wish to keep a rivalry with.
Not being able to beat a team who we are fully capable of beating, scares us
WVU has a good football team, and a good basketball team, but because were all fans (albeit fairly even keeled as far as fans go) we always want to see our team win. We see this game as the future, a golden opportunity to grab the attention of the world back and return to 2005. Will this happen Saturday, probably not, regardless of win or loss.
If Louisville beats WVU journalists and fans will say "Oh, well looks like they're not quite as good as we thought, indicated by another loss to a team with less skill. However, Louisville isn't great either."
If WVU wins they will write: "Well of course they won." And that will be it.
We know we can win, we have seen it this year and last weeks win over Syracuse showed that we could play football, even if its only in the first and fourth quarter. Our defense is solid, our offense is coming along and our expectations are now elevated after two wins. We can beat WVU, but the question is will we.
While this game is personal for me, and I have held back everything this week to not kick a car with WVU stuff on it (must not sink to their level... breathe...), I know at the end of the day that this game is only on the radar for the two teams playing. If we win, this means that our fan base can move on from the past few weeks. For the first time in years we can live with ourselves again and not want to punch everything that wears yellow and blue. It may become a the turning point for the team that we have been desperately seeking since the Kragthorpe Era ended, or it could be another sophomore season hiccup.
We can win, we might not, but that is what Saturday is for. Keep the Faith. Go Cards. Beat WVU.