Friday Evening Cardinal News And Notes

It's officially wedding season at Card Chronicle, and kudos to Mark and Ashley Best for kicking things off in style.

I_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium So not only did Louisville produce more first round picks than the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and Texas on Thursday night, but they produced more first round picks than the entire Big 12 combined.

Some of college football's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

I_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Lorenzo Mauldin's eye has been on the same prize for the past several months.

Louisville defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin has the University of Miami orange and green "U" logo on the wall of his room with a big X through it. 

Mauldin put it up to give him extra motivation for the Russell Athletic Bowl matchup against the Hurricanes last season, a game the Cardinals won going away, 36-9

Because the teams play each other again -- this time to open the season on Labor Day night -- Mauldin decided to keep the "U" up. Because now, many more eyes will be tuning in to see what Louisville has now that it is an ACC member.

As ESPN's Andrea Adelson notes, the Labor Day showdown with Miami is more than just Louisville's introduction to ACC football, it's probably the most significant season-opener the Cardinals have ever played.

So while the schedule will be tougher this year, Louisville players believe it gives them an opportunity to prove they are legit, especially since they are playing a marquee opponent to open the season. Going back to 2005, its first year as a Big East member, Louisville has opened the season against either in-state rival Kentucky or the likes of Ohio, Murray State or Indiana State. 

While Louisville-Kentucky is a great rivalry, it is a regional rivalry in football. None of those openers moves the needle like Louisville-Miami. 

Mauldin said of opening against the Hurricanes: "Finally, we get some type of recognition around here. I am pretty much ready to play them again, show them what we can do again."

I_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium The Sporting News ranks Bobby Petrino as the 21st-best coach in college football. ESPN, meanwhile, has Petrino listed as the No. 5 coach in the ACC.

I_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium This makes me so happy.

It also reminds me of the time Gorgui and Teddy rode together on the way to the doctor to have their matching wrist injuries looked at.

Reality. Show.

I_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium U of L baseball commit Brendan McKay is currently riding one of the longest scoreless innings streaks in amateur baseball history.

In fact, McKay has held opponents scoreless for 58 consecutive innings dating back to his junior season, a streak that ranks as the nation's longest in 23 years, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

As a senior, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Louisville commit owns a 5-0 record with a 0.00 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 34 innings of work. According to the Post-Gazette, he owns a career record of 27-1 with a 0.43 ERA over 209 innings. Needless to say, major league scouts are showing up every time he takes the hill.

"The scouts don't faze him a bit," Blackhawk coach Bob Amalia told the paper. "I think the kids get more excited than him. We had four scouts at our intrasquad game the other day. But the bigger the stage for him, the better he is. If there would be 100 scouts, he would probably be better because it doesn't faze him."

I_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium SB Nation gives the Vikings an A+ for their selection of Teddy Bridgewater. Calvin Pryor's selection received a B, and Marcus Smith's a C.

I_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium This kid is the best.

I_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium CBS looks at how Marcus Smith made the transition from quarterback to defensive end to a linebacker selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.

I_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium ESPN's David Hale says James Quick could be one of the biggest second-year stars in the ACC.

2014 potential: There's no question Quick has talent, but last season, he was both underutilized and underprepared. He couldn't win over his coaches in Year 1, but there's a new staff at Louisville for 2014. Quick has had a year on the sidelines to both refine his game and get a taste of just how big the jump from high school to college can be for a receiver -- even a hometown kid with star potential. New coach Bobby Petrino may be the perfect antidote to Quick's freshman-year struggles. Petrino has made a career out of designing big-play offenses, and the first hints of what could be in store came this spring, when Quick excelled in the new system. He ran with the first-team offense in Louisville's spring game, caught a 62-yard TD pass from Will Gardner early and finished the day with five receptions for a game-high 152 yards. With an established veteran in DeVante Parker around to hog the attention of defenses, there figures to be ample room for Quick to emerge in 2014 and meet the lofty expectations he arrived with a year earlier. 

Also watch for: Louisville lost both starting safeties, but Chucky Williams appears ready to step in and fill some of the void. He had a strong spring, culminating with an interception in the spring game. Stacy Thomas will be in the mix for one of the starting outside linebacker positions as the Cardinals adapt to new coordinator Todd Grantham's 3-4 scheme. Grantham made stars of Justin Houston and Jarvis Jones in similar roles at Georgia.

I_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium The U of L men's tennis team saw its season end Friday afternoon with a 4-1 loss to Wake Forest in the NCAA Tournament.

I_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium The Louisville softball team held off Temple Thursday in the quarterfinals of the AAC Tournament to advance to today's semifinal against second-seeded South Florida. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m.

The Cards are in the field of 64 in the latest softball bracketology, but would like to claim the AAC's auto-bid this weekend just to be sure.

I_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Athlon says Louisville/Ohio State is the second-best matchup in the 2014 ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

2. Ohio State at Louisville (Dec. 2)
Two traditional powers must replace invaluable seniors - Aaron Craft for Ohio State and Russ Smith for Louisville. The Buckeyes' Shannon Scott and the Cardinals' Chris Jones step into the spotlight, but at least Jones can feed the ball to center Montrezl Harrell.

Duke/Wisconsin checks in at No. 1.

I_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium Eric Crawford looks at Teddy Bridgewater's roller coaster of a night.

I_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium The Louisville women's lacrosse team will look to keep their historic 2014 season going by taking out No. 10 Ohio State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday night. The game, which is the first tournament tilt in program history for U of L, is set to begin at 8 p.m. The winner will face No. 5 overall seed and site host Northwestern on Sunday at 2 p.m.

I_medium_medium_medium_medium_medium And finally, ESPN's coverage of day two of the NFL Draft kicks off at 7 p.m. Preston Brown figures to have a great shot at hearing his name called, and who knows, maybe Honey Mustard will find out where he's headed as well.

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