All week long we've been saying all the right things (To ourselves. In public. It freaks people out) , but game time is rapidly approaching and there's no use fighting it anymore: we're scared. And not just scared that the team isn't playing up to par heading into a big stretch, or scared that all these injuries are finally catching up with the Cards, but genuinely frightened that Louisville might lose to Syracuse.
We know it sounds crazy, but we can't shake it. Which is why we need the team to win, and win convincingly today...for us. We want restored faith so that we can get properly excited over the next week and a half. We want Brian to look like he did in the first half of the Miami game again. We want the fun to keep going as long as possible damnit, because this has been fantastic.
We said three weeks ago that no one should get worried by the ugly way in which we win because Petrino is gambling that he can hold back a bit until West Virginia. It was easy to write, not so easy to follow. There have been talks about BP possibly utilizing a no huddle offense for this game, which now we kind of like the idea of.
It's seemed in recent weeks that Petrino has made more of a concerted effort to try and establish a #3 receiver. Still no one has really stepped up so it will be interesting to see if that theme continues or if Brohm will throw solely to 85, 7 and whoever is in the backfield.
This is likely the make or break game for Kolby Smith. As you might expect, Petrino would rather have an experienced senior starting and getting the majority of the touches against West Virginia, but if he does nothing for the fourth straight game then what choice does Bobby have but to turn somewhere else?
Rod Council is officially out for this game after coming back and playing a bit last week against Cincinnati. This would be a bigger blow if Gavin Smart hadn't been doing such a nice filling in. The secondary is likely going to get its biggest test since Miami (wow that's sad) from Perry Patterson. The coverage boys, in particular Smart and Will Gay, have looked unusually solid in recent weeks. Of course this was against guys who couldn't start for Trinity, so the back four could be feeling our wrath early and often this afternoon.
Get ready to be extremely happy/pumped, content/really worried, or seriously depressed for the next week and a half.
Site: Carrier Dome: Syracuse, NY
Time/TV: Noon/ESPN Regional (WBKI locally)
Favorite: Louisville by 18
Series: Syracuse leads 3-2.
Game will be a success if: We win, and confidence is restored throughout the Derby City. Brohm looks like he has in fact "shaken the rust off." It appears we're making more of a concerted effort to get the ball to Mario Urrutia. Special teams aren't ridiculously, ridiculously horrendous. Pat Carter isn't returning punts. The defense doesn't allow a pass of more than 35 yards. Whoever gets the bulk of the carries looks like he deserves them. Art Carmody do what he do.
Game will be a horrible, horrible failure if: The dream dies. We look like we learned nothing from Cincinnati and come out just as bewildered and sloppy. Brohm doesn't look any better. No one player rushes for more than 75 yards. Defense looks considerably less tough than it did three weeks ago. Whoever gets the nod to punt doesn't get the job done. We embarrass the program.
Game Attire: Entertained thoughts of making a change, but we'd never forgive ourselves if something disastrous happened. Red "Got Pitino" underneath white "Cardinals Rule." We know what you're thinking, and yes we've thought about West Virginia, and yes we have a plan of attack.
Anxiety Level (1-10): 6. Yeah we're scared, but it's Syracuse, perhaps Louisville losing to Syracuse just doesn't register with the anxiety meter.
Pregame Meal: Not Taco Bell. That mistake will not be made twice.
Poll Results: We asked: "Should Brian Brohm have started and played the entire game against Cincinnati?"
- Yes, now he's on track to be back in the flow for West Virginia. (54%)
- Cantwell should have started, and Brohm should have played sparingly. (32%)
- No, he obviously wasn't ready. (9%)
- It's hard for me to read the poll because I can't stop crying. (4%)
Coolest Person of the Week Besides Art Carmody: Eric Crawford, for writing about Art Carmody.
Coolest Quote of the Week: "I just want to do my job, put every kick through, no matter where it is or how long. I just go by the old kicker's adage: The next kick is the only important one."---Art Carmody
Star of the Game: Brian Brohm. Because we want it to be so badly.
Pregame Quote to Make You Hope We Spurrier it Up: Yeah, we got nothin. Thanks a lot for being so classy Syracuse. Assholes.
Official CC Prediction: Louisville 27, Syracuse 14.
As always all insightful and unsightful (word) game-related comments are welcome below.