Bear with me for a moment...
In the spring of 2005 I went to the old Gattiland on Hurstborne Lane, got all jacked up on coke, pizza and cinnamon sticks, and watched the Elite Eight game where Louisville played West Virginia with a bunch of high school friends. I still look back fondly on that game, it was one of my favorite games of that tournament, and still to this day one of my personal favorite games of all time.
There are still no words to describe how ugly he was
I bring it up because of what it led to: a dejected, angry West Virginia fan base and a budding rivalry in-conference rivalry. Their anger towards Louisville was repeated the following year with our win over them in PJCS when they were No. 3 and we we're No. 5, growing the rivalry a bit further, and who can forget about kisses. In hindsight, I say that our in-conference rivalry with West Virginia is one of the things I will miss the most about Big East. Yes, we love to hate them, but that hate is out of respect to their on-the-field product.
With our new reality though that Louisville is headed to the ACC in two years (or less) and likely reality that we're headed to the Orange Bowl, this provides new a new opportunity that could likely create a rivalry with our newest conference mate Florida State.
To many Florida State fans, we don't belong there (this year). We're there because of the arcane BCS Automatic Qualifier, a vestige of the pre-realignment and TV rights-take-all environment we live in. We won't be in the BCS Top 25 (or if we are, very low), we lost to two weak teams, and quite frankly our early season wins and the squeaker versus a perfect (0-12) Southern Miss aren't helping our profile.
What we, as Louisville fans see, is a young football team that I think we all can surprise a former National Title contender. If Louisville goes in and wins, and its close (which given our MO for the season... it will be), it would be heralded as an upset and raise our national profile.
Already people are talking about the quarterback matchup in the game, and who could blame them. After seeing a hobbled Teddy limp his way on and off the field, yet still capable of beating Big 10 bound Rutgers on the road, why couldn't he walk out and make it competitive with Florida State? Couple that with our head coach coming from one of Florida States biggest rivals: Florida, and a little game (read: barn burner) back a few years ago in a rainy Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium where a epic upset took place, you have a stew of anger and resentment building towards us.
I think I'm not alone when I say: I am just happy that we're going to the BCS. While I'm worried about our performance in the upcoming game, I'm content with our season and with our performance. We could have done better, but could have and done are two very different things. I think that the Orange Bowl, despite others thinking we don't deserve it, is the perfect fit for us at this moment.
With all of this build up aside, I'm very much looking forward to the game. If we wind up in the Orange Bowl, play Florida State, keep it close and then win? I think we'll have a new team that we love to hate.
Kisses, Florida State, Kisses.