So it seems that, for all intents and purposes, Maryland is going to leave the ACC for the Big10 and Rutgers will follow suit and make their escape from the Big East to the Big10.
Okay. So then what?
Well,.. that means that the ACC will be in need of another athletic department to stay at an even 14 teams for football. One would think that that best available option to fill that slot would be the University of Louisville; and, if you're taking on field performance, and overall commitment to athletics into account then yes,.... the University of Louisville would be the front runner by a country mile.
Alas, those criterion are not what matters in this situation. Any reaction from Louisville fans over this realization is warranted. Every reaction from Louisville fans this week in response to being left out of the realignment "cool kids club", again, is probably a lucid pre-apocalyptic stream of consciousness brought on by the impending shit storm barreling towards us. All except a reaction that lays blame at the feet of Tom Jurich.
I do not think we are leaving the Big East when these dominoes fall. I do however believe that Tom Jurich has done everything in his power to secure a safe harbor for this program; and, if there had been one willing to welcome us (at any point in the last 2 years) that is where we would be.
This, the Big East, is our home. The only thing left is to make it as nice as possible. The only thing left for Tom to do is to get some quality teams on the schedule. Period, end of story.
Forget the home and home policy. Forget the “two for ones hurt our image” policy. Forget the “we’re better than that” philosophy, Tom.
I’m sorry to say this,... but we’re not. We are not better than two for ones or neutral site games. I love Louisville football as much as anyone but we are not considered a “Big Time” program. Period.
We had exactly seven days, during one season, when some of the national media considered us to be legit. We won the Orange Bowl in 2006 against a team that no one thought was very good in the first place, then promptly went 6-6, 5-7, and 4-8 over the next three years. For lack of a better term,... that sucks, it sucks big time but it happened.
Time for Tom Jurich and Louisville fans to let go of 2006 and face reality.
We are not above playing two for ones and neutral site games; and, we are certainly not above taking on an “anyone, anywhere” mentality. There is nothing to fix on Floyd Street because the athletic department is tremendous. Aside from what is already being done, there is no way to make it any more attractive than it already is. The facilities are second to none and the commitment to sports are evident, but those things aren't what matter.
The University of Louisville's Athletic Department is a glittery-shining example of how wonderful college athletics can be when harmonized perfectly with a community that craves them. Floyd Street is a living embodiment of Collegiate Athletic excellence drenched in some magical mixture of Ambrosia and Axe Body spray.
Apparently that’s just not good enough for the powers that be who are out there picking programs to be in the cool club. Apparently leagues would rather have schools like Maryland, that don’t know how to run an athletic dept with out cutting non-revenue sports. Apparently leagues would rather have schools like UConn that can't keep its basketball team "academically eligible" for the NCAA tournament or sell its allotment of BCS bowl game tickets.
Apparently leagues would rather have programs that bring far less to the table, both athletically and academically, as long as they might bring the TV sets that bring the dollars.
No Tom, there is no Santa Clause. There is no realignment fairy. There is no magic dust to sprinkle on Floyd Street that will make us “good enough” to join another league. You have done your part and then some.
Basketball will be fine. Louisville will always be able to put enough quality on its schedule to earn a high seed in the NCAA Tournament. Louisville will always be a destination job for basketball coaches. Football needs help, and it needs it now more than ever.
Football needs to earn people’s respect again by playing games with respected teams. If it means two for ones or neutral site games then that’s what it means. Stubbornly sticking to your guns on this one will not end well. Swallow your pride, take stock of what our perception (&de facto reality) is,…. and do something about it.
Don’t complain that no one will give us a home and home. Don’t tell us that we had a good schedule but so & so backed out. There were plenty of big names out there looking for games this year and we got none of them on our schedule.
It doesn’t matter how we got here because here is where we are. All that matters now is how we fix it. Pretending we’re better, more highly respected, and above bold scheduling is nothing more than foolish pride at this point.
Please Tom,…. no reasonable person can blame you for not landing a seat at some other table. You tried, lord knows you tried, but the fans can and will blame you for not making our table the best it can be.