Monday Evening Cardinal News And Notes

Matthew Smith takes on the difficult, albeit enviable, task of creating a Pumpkin Gorgui Dieng.

Spread check: Louisville by 15 (opened at -13).

Weather check: 8 billion percent chance of rain (based solely on personal experience...and Kristin Walls).

USA Today has Louisville at No. 11 in its "NCAA Football Re-Rank," but asks a question that makes all of us feel warma and fuzzy inside...and maybe outside...even I'm not sure if that's intended to be sexual.

And what about Louisville? The Cardinals moved to 8-0 after Cincinnati's offensive line and quarterback fell apart in the fourth quarter of last Friday's loss. What if Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame lose a game in November - could Louisville be ranked No. 2 heading into the postseason?

That the Cardinals are in the national championship picture is a testament to the work done by Charlie Strong, the team's third-year head coach, not to mention a testament to the unpredictable nature of the 2012 season.

Respect:

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Mark Story with a great...uh, story, about Elisha Justice and the reason(s) behind his transfer to Pikeville.

"I met with him in his office," Justice says. "I just told him what the situation was with my Pappa, what I needed to do and why. He understood. He told me if I ever needed his help, if I wanted to get into coaching, he would do whatever he could."

Once word was out that Justice was leaving Louisville, other Division I schools inquired about him. But the 5-foot-10 point guard never considered them.

He was going home.

Pikeville won the 2011 NAIA Division I national crown, but Bears Coach Kelly Wells says that did not juice season-ticket sales like the return of a local high-school legend has.

"They have pretty much doubled," Wells said. "And, no question, I think the biggest reason is Elisha. He's the kind of kid that uplifts everybody."

Hottest Male Athletes In The World tend to have that type of effect on ticket sales.

All the other kids in the NAIA, you better run, better run, faster than my Bullet.

Been sitting on that one for like five months. Really wasn't worth it. Probably should have let it fly in May when less people were reading. Giant miscalculation.

We have a Pumped Pooda on our hands.

UofLSports.com says the football team is focused on Temple and Temple alone right now.

Jeff Walz beat out Tennessee to receive a big-time commit from consensus top 40 recruit Emmonie Henderson earlier today. His class of 2013 has the potential to be a monster.

CBS looks at the updated BCS standings and has some solid advice for both Louisville fans and the Cardinal football team.

Louisville nearly saw its Big East title dreams - and any hopes of an undefeated season - crushed by Munchie Legaux and Cincinnati, but yet another clutch performance from Teddy Bridgewater keeps the Cardinals shooting up the board. The Cardinals are a long shot to break the Top 4, even if they keep winning, but this season has already shown us plenty of crazy results. So why not keep winning and see, right? -- CP

Keep winning and see works for me.

Don King Gorgui:

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Not to be outdone, Sunny Will Ketchup Bottle:

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I'm 100% behind making Halloween twice a year. I think we could all use some dressing up and drinking parties around the first or second week of April.

The Louisville soccer team got a (literally) last second goal from Paolo "Salt" DelPiccolo to top Cincinnati 1-0 on Saturday night. The Bearcats were whistled for a foul with 3.8 seconds remaining in the match, giving Louisville a chance for the game-winning goal. Salt's succeeding free kick found its way past UC sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Halfling and into the back of the net as the clock hit 0:00.

The Cardinal volleyball team completed the weekend sweep of the Bearcats by sweeping UC three sets to none on Sunday. The ladies earned the lesser-known Keg of Cordless Drills.

Basketball Prospectus has serious concerns about Rick Pitino's offense this season, and as a result has the Cards ranked No. 10 in its preseason rankings.

Auburn fans have all but kicked Gene Chizik to the curb and have now turned their attention to Charlie Strong.

It's nearly certain that Auburn head coach Gene Chizik will be fired after this season, and if most Tigers fans have their way, Strong will be one of the top candidates to take over on the Plains. In addition to the revival at Louisville, the 52-year-old has 11 years experience as a defensive coordinator in the SEC -- 1999-2001 at South Carolina and 2002-09 at Florida. Over the course of his career as a coordinator in a conference that prides itself on great defense, Strong's units gave up an average of 18.5 points per game. In his last four years at Florida, the averaged dropped to 15.2. Clearly, Strong's resume should stand out to those in burnt orange and navy blue.

But if Strong turns out to be the man for Auburn, will the Tigers be able to get him? Most Auburn fans would like to believe that the Tigers would be able to win a competition that includes Arkansas and Tennessee. However, if Louisville is willing to pay whatever it takes to keep their head coach, the Cardinals will be a tough competitor to beat. Essentially, Strong would have to decide between taking over a major program or staying loyal to an above average program that gave him the break he had long desired. Right now, no one can know what he would decide-- not even Strong himself.

If you thought the BCS' jump was massive, CBS' Dennis Dodd moves the Cards up nine spots to No. 11 in his latest college football power rankings.

So we've got less than two weeks to go until the first real basketball game, our first basketball exhibition is on Thursday, and then the top ten ranked and undefeated football team - which controls its own BCS fate - plays at home on Saturday; if public boners are against the law...well then I just don't know what to tell you. You're gonna have to lock me up.

The Rick Pitino Radio Show will make its 2012-13 debut tomorrow night at 7 p.m. from the Buffalo Wild Wings in Middletown.

Even the local paper of note struggles with getting the name of U of L's starting quarterback correct.

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....and with getting the final scores of U of L football games correct.

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YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO LAUGH AT THAT, ESPN.

The Big East has announced that Louisville's Nov. 10 game at Syracuse will begin at either noon or 3:30. My guess is a Cardinal win over Temple on Saturday will equal a 3:30 start time inside the Carrier Dome.

Charlie Strong credits a 15-18 player "leadership committee" with helping the chemistry and maturity of this year's team.

His group at Louisville includes quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and linebacker Preston Brown - this week's Big East offensive and defensive players of the week, respectively - and a handful of the team's 10 seniors such as backup QB Will Stein, center Mario Benavides and left tackle Alex Kupper.

"There's a lot of young guys on this team, so the few and far between veterans like myself, we have to pull them along and get them going in the right direction," Kupper said, noting that the players Strong chose that make up the "voice" and "heartbeat" of the Cardinals.

Sophomore defensive end Deiontrez Mount is one of those younger players. The committee members act as examples rather than doling out discipline, he said.

"They're not really the enforcers," Mount said. "I think they rather encourage than just enforce."

The Cardinal volleyball is up to No. 12 in the latest polls. Anne Kordes' team is one of SEVEN U of L teams that currently holds a top 25 national ranking. That is remarkable.

Little known fact, I was actually the original inspiration for Liam Neeson's character in Taken.

Not Taken 2. That was all Art Carmody.

The personnel committee of the U of L athletic association has authorized Tom Jurich to extend Rick Pitino's contract through the 2022 season. It's now on Jurich, Pitino and company to agree to terms.

Andrea Adelson outlines all the ways Louisville has been living on the edge this season.

Way No. 24, Hop on the second-half bus, Gus: Week 7 at Pitt. The Panthers led 21-17 at halftime before Louisville reeled off 21 unanswered points to take control of the game. Strong said afterward, "What was so great about it was our football team didn't play well during the first half. We had too many penalties and made too many mistakes. In the second half, we were able to come out and operate on offense."

Way No. 36, Just drop in the last-minute key, Lee: Week 8 USF. The Bulls scored 15 straight points to take a 25-21 lead with 3:09 remaining. Enter Teddy Bridgewater, who threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Eli Rogers with 1:35 left to give the Cardinals the win. Strong said afterward, "We can't go into a game thinking because a team is 2-4 they aren't going to come into a game and play as hard. It was a good lesson for us. They came in here, South Florida wanting to win this game bad. But we had the answer at the end."

Way No. 50, get yourself free (in overtime): Week 9 Cincinnati. The Cardinals trailed for all but a few minutes of their game against in-state rival Cincinnati. After Munchie Legaux sent the game into overtime with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Damon Julian, Louisville got a key interception and the game-winning field goal from John Wallace to win. Strong said afterward, "We're 8-0, but still we can go play so much better. We have yet to put together a 60-minute game. When is that going to happen? We need that to happen."

Even though Cincinnati and Louisville aren't "in-state rivals," AA is like "The Wire" and HBO in 2007. The only thing keeping me hanging on.

And finally, Mike DeCourcy says Louisville stands above the rest of the conference in his Big East preview.

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