After spending what felt like an eternity either unsure about their future or staring life outside the "Big 5" squarely in the face, the Louisville Cardinals are officially members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
It is with extreme confidence that I say no program or group of fans have ever been more excited for a moving day than U of L and its supporters are for this one.
The reason, or at least a large chunk of it, is that everyone associated with Cardinal sports knows what it feels like to be passed over, to think you're going to get left behind completely, and to experience a short-term taste of what that long-term exclusion would have been like. That combination has left all of us humble, grateful and more excited than I think any outsider could possibly understand.
Eliciting goosebumps isn't an activity that requires full sentences at this point.
The best basketball league in the country. Thursday night against Florida State. Monday night against Miami. Cardinal red running onto the field inside Notre Dame Stadium in late November. Some of the best soccer and baseball programs in America. Coach K, Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim, Rick Pitino. Death Valley. Fall road trips to gorgeous campuses. Seven of the last 14 national champions in men's basketball. Cameron Indoor, the Dean Dome, the Carrier Dome. Old rivals, new rivals. The nation's attention every time the red and black steps on the court, field or gridiron.
Less than two decades ago, U of L was on the brink of being kicked out of Conference USA. Today, the Cardinals enter into what I truly believe is the absolute ideal resting place for this athletic program. The politicking, the back-channeling and the worries about national perception are all a thing of the past. From this day forward, we can all focus solely on what we've been wanting to focus on for as long as we can remember: winning games and championships by beating the premier programs in the country.
This is an earned moment for everyone associated with Louisville athletics. Soak it up.