What this Senior Day means to me

So along with the football seniors that will be playing their last game at PJCS, I will also being "playing" my last game at Papa John's. I have been a band member for 4 years and will march my final home game. It's so crazy thinking that these 4 years are up, but I guess that's life. Rather than sit here and be sad about this final march, let's recap the last four years of Cardinal football through the eyes of a band member who really didn't follow the team until he got here.

2010 Season: Charlie Strong comes in to save our program. At this point, I just knew that Charlie Strong was our coach and had replaced someone.

Sept. 4 vs. UK: I honestly don't remember much about this game. I'm sure I was caught up in the excitement that was college football. I knew UK was our hated rival, but I wasn't torn that we lost. I didn't have cardinal blood running through my veins at that point. L 16-23

Sept. 11 vs. EKU: I remember being pretty hungover for this game, not gonna lie. I knew we were supposed to win, but I had hoped we were better than 2 TDs and 3 FGs. W 23-0

Sept 18 vs. Oregon State: Couldn't watch this game but the feel was it was a game we could have won, but couldn't pull through. L 28-35

Oct. 2 at Arkansas State: W 34-24

Oct. 9 vs. Memphis: This was homecoming and my family came to this game. We came in and destroyed a terrible Memphis team. W 56-0

Oct. 15 vs. Cincy: My first Friday night college game experience. I remember this game being another game we could have won, but just couldn't. L 28-35

Halfway point we're 3-3.

Oct. 23 vs. UConn: We played the team that would end up going on to represent our conference in a BCS bowl game. W 26-0

Oct. 30 at Pitt: Watched this game from my dorm and our team just didn't show up. Many more of these games will end up happening in future Cardinal years. L 3-20

Nov. 6 at Syracuse: W 28-20

Nov 13 vs. USF: It was a cloudy day and we should have won this game. Couldn't get our offense started in OT. L 21-24

Nov. 20 vs. WVU (Senior Day): These seniors played most of their games for a not so great coach with a subpar team. Many had just missed the Orange Bowl and only had the opportunity to play one bowl game. We played a team that probably should have crushed us. A team that averaged many more points than what they scored this day. Our senior day woes continued. L 10-17

Nov. 26 at Rutgers: We needed this win to become bowl eligible. Bilal Powell played an awesome game in Piscataway and helped us become bowl eligible. W 40-13

Beef O' Brady's Bowl vs. Southern Miss: St. Pete was pretty cool. Our hotel was on the beach and was really fun. During the battle of the bands, our cheer and ladybirds won tug-of-wars. Me and two other band members won a wing eating contest (Go Cards). We played a Southern Miss team that went on to go something like 11-2 the following year. We had that awesome kick return to bring us back into that game and went on to win our first bowl game since the Orange Bowl. I remember playing the fight song 4 straight times at the end of the game. The team was acting like they had just won the National title, and that's okay. As miserable as it must of been during the Kragthorpe years, they deserved it. W 31-28. Season 7-6

Offseason: Bilal, Johnny Patrick, and Byron Stingly were taken in the draft.

Year #2: 2011 Season:

Sept. 1 vs. Murray State: The hottest game I've ever experienced. This was on a Thursday night but I would swear it was 120 degrees during Card March. Will Stein was taking over the reins from Froman and Burke. We got the win, but it was really unimpressive. W 21-9

Sept. 8 vs. FIU: T.Y. HILTON!!!!!! It was like our Defense wanted him to catch for 200 yards and 2/3 TDs. This is my opinion was the end of Will Stein's career/reason Teddy would start his. L 17-24

Sept. 17 at Kentucky: The band made the road trip for a great game. Stein went down and Teddy's career began. I remember the whistle from the stands (FBBN) and the pass from Teddy that Scott Radcliff missed in the endzone. That ball was in his hands and he couldn't catch it. I was never a huge Radcliff fan. I always referred to him as our punt catcher, not punt returner. But anyway, we finally got a win over UK 24-17.

Oct. 1 vs. Marshall: Our team came off the win against Kentucky and didn't come to play. This was really the theme of this season. We were up and let them march down the field towards the end of the game and score a TD with a minute left or so. L 13-17

Oct. 8 at UNC: Didn't see this one. Watched the gamecast on my phone. L 7-14

Oct. 15 at Cincy: Band made the trip for this one also. From what I remember, we had this game in our hands and then Cincy came out in the second half and took it away from us. L 16-25

Oct. 21 vs. Rutgers: I remember us having a good grip on this game despite the final score. This was the Anthony Conner neck game. Of all the songs our drum major could have called up following his injury, we of course played Quiet Riot's "Bang your Head (Mental Health)." Not the best choice if I do say so myself. W 16-14

Oct. 29 vs. Syracuse: Homecoming. All Hail King Kyle. I seriously don't remember this game. W 29-21

Nov. 5 at WVU: I assumed that Geno and the almighty Mountaineers would smash us. I watched this on gamecast from the Yum! W 38-35

Nov. 12 vs. Pitt: More Senior Day woes. More not showing up woes. L 14-21

Nov. 19 at UConn: UConn is not very good at football. W 34-20

Nov. 25 at USF: Got the revenge we needed from the year before. W 34-24

Belk Bowl vs. NC State: Let me tell you. It should be illegal to have a bowl game this soon after Xmas. It was miserable. Most of the band missed their Xmas day with their families (lucky for me, I'm from Richmond, Va and drove myself down to Charlotte late the 25th). It rained the 26th and 27th in the mornings when we were supposed to rehearse. We played a battle of the bands and "Tebow"ed after one of our tunes. It was pretty funny. Our O-Line couldn't stop the NC State pressure and Teddy was pretty banged up. Not the greatest end to his freshman campaign, but the best was yet to come. L 24-31

Offseason: Greg Scruggs drafted in the 7th round to the Seahawks. Funny enough, he played bass drum in pep band just a few days before he was arrested.

2012 Season: Teddy returns

Sept. 2 vs. Kentucky: We came out and took care of business on a Sunday afternoon. This game was highlighted by Jeremy Wright's 3 TD runs and 100+ yard game. W 32-14

Sept. 8 vs. Missouri State: Teddy threw for close to 350 yards in a blowout. W 35-7

Sept 15 vs. UNC: We needed revenge and eventually got it. We went up big in the first half before letting up 27 points in the second half. Andrew Johnson came up huge, knocking away that TD pass to secure the win. 39-34

Sept 22 at FIU: The swamp game. We won this due to a late TD in a game dominated by running games. W 28-21

Sept 29 at Southern Miss: We almost lost to a team that would go winless this season. Wait, was the the rain game? I guess it was. We finally won the game 21-17.

Edit: Sept 22 at. FIU: Not the rain game. Teddy went "home" and took care of business. 3 TD (1 rush) W 28-21

Oct. 13 at Pitt: This game was shown on the big screen outside of the Yum! before the first exhibition game. I remember we had a 5 person band that played songs during the game. That was a lot of fun. We played a lot. W 45-35

Oct. 20 vs USF: Homecoming. Some speed school kid won king and a soccer play won queen. I don't remember this game but I guess we pulled it out to continue our unbeaten season. Upon further review, Teddy to Eli with 1:35 left to win the game. Cardiac Cards pull through. W 27-25

Oct. 27 vs. Cincy: Another Friday night under the lights for the Cards. I just wanted to beat the snot out of Cincy. Big shout out the Butch Jones for "icing" John Wallace and giving him one more chance on that field goal in OT. He drilled it the second time. W 34-31 OT

Nov. 3 vs. Temple: Temple returned their first kickoff for a touchdown. I was pretty mad and it really pointed out the fact that our special teams was lacking in ability compared to our offense. Ryan Hubbell ran in the world's slowest 72 yard reception TD. We took care of business on a sunny, November afternoon. W 45-17

Nov. 10 at Syracuse: Tough game for us. We let up a huge 2nd quarter for the Orange. Corvin Lamb had the play of his career with a 40-50 yard TD catch out of the backfield. During this game, questions were raised as to why he didn't receive much playing time. I think Senorise tore his ACL in this game. L 36-45

Nov. 24 vs. UConn: I've said it before, but UConn is a bad team. We were easily gonna win this we thought. UConn showed up, they hurt Teddy, and they made our road to the BCS so much tougher. L 20-23 3OT

Nov. 29 at Rutgers: Teddy had a broken wrist and a sprained ankle. And he played the game of his life. We scored late (a DeVante TD I think) and a late game INT to win and propel us into the BCS picture. W 20-17. I ran up and down the streets screaming after this game btw.

We then spent the next few weeks listening to media members hate on us and say Florida was gonna beat us up and down the field. Chronicle LCP contestant Kirk Herbstreit comes to mind.

Sugar Bowl vs. Florida: Bourbon street for New Year's Eve? Enough said. We had tons of fans there and it was a blast. We picked the ball off on the first play from scrimmage and ran it back for a TD. I'm still convinced that BJ Butler scored on that run to the left side. Didn't matter, the Year of the Cardinal began. Biggest upset in BCS history. W 33-23 Season 11-2

Offseason: No one drafted. Strong turns down Tennessee and remains at Louisville.

2013 Season. Thanks for the memories, Big East. Hello...American?!

Sept. 1 vs. Ohio: No contest. Teddy's Heisman campaign began. Their band was much better than us. Also, this game gave birth to the Tuba CCBM. W 49-7

Sept. 7 vs. EKU: No contest. 3 quarters of Teddy was enough. W 44-7

Sept. 15 at Kentucky: They thought they stood a chance. We thought it was gonna be another easy blowout. We struggled against our in state rivals from the Lexington Basketball Academy. W 27-13

Sept. 22 vs. FIU: I thought the 2010 Memphis game was good. This was so much better. W 72-0

Oct. 5 vs. Temple: Even though we won this game, I felt this really showed the flaws of our defense. Our offense, in my opinion, plays the short pass, which opens up the long pass, which opens up the run. Our D doesn't work well against the short passing game, and Temple exploited that for a short amount of time. However, W 30-7.

Oct. 10 vs. Rutgers: We shut down any thoughts of Rutgers competing in the AAC. W 24-10

Oct. 16 vs. UCF: They truly exploited the weaknesses in our Defense. Why Kenny Carter didn't want John Wallace to kick out the back of the end zone, I will probably never know. After that last minute TD, I don't think PJCS has ever been so quiet. Tough game, will most likely cost us a BCS berth. L 35-38

Oct. 26 at USF: We came out after a loss and...actually played a good game. Teddy had a good game, D. Brown had his (then) career high in yards. W 34-3

Nov. 8 at UConn: Not a great offensive game. The defense had a few scores on a cold Friday night in Storrs. W 31-10

Nov. 16 vs. Houston: Chicken Knowles!!! Oh wait, we haven't gotten there yet, and wrong sport. But still, can't wait to #BringChickentotheBucket. Back to football, this game will be overshadowed with cries for a change in our OC. The defense stepped up big in the second half and we got the win, 20-13.

Nov. 23 vs. Memphis: It was pretty freakin' cold. I will remember this game as the poorest crowd showing of the season. Preston Brown had a nice fumble return for a TD the same day his grandfather passed away. I think I'm most sad about Hakeem Smith graduating. My freshman year, during the first offensive and defensive drives, each starter announced themselves on the jumbotron for the player intros. Along with "Johnny Patrick...Flowda (Florida)" so many times that season I heard "Hakeen Smif..." And that's fine, he's been a all-conference Safety since he's been here, and I'm gonna miss him. Ugly win, more people will be calling for a change in the OC but a win is a win, breaking our senior day struggles 24-17.

Dec. 5 at Cincy: ?

____ Bowl vs. ?: ?

We (the seniors) have 3 more football games of our Cardinal careers. I know that I will be cheering/crying/celebrating my a$$ off come Saturday. Our BCS hopes may be gone, but that's okay. 10 teams out of 120ish go to a BCS bowl. We can still finish this season strong, play a good ACC team in the Russell Athletic Bowl (getting a little ahead of myself), and hopefully get a good win for our program. And after that, cya AAC, hello ACC.

If no one reads this, that's fine. I really did this to keep me sane during the week before this final home game. But if you do make it to the end of this article. Get to the game on Saturday. These seniors deserve it. They've worked hard for you, their coaches, and most importantly, the University of Louisville. They play for the name on the front of the jersey and deserve to be cheered on. Card March starts at 9:30ish. I'll be the tuba player in the CCBM. See you there Cardnation.

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