The internet was out at my house for the last day and-a-half. It was awesome. Threw a party.
The biggest news on Wednesday was David Padgett stating publicly that he believes he'll be back before the end of January.
The most optimistic projection had Padgett possibly returning in 10 weeks. If he were able to meet that, it would mean he'd be back in late January.
"I think it's very realistic," he said. "I've already seen signs of improvement. It's not hurting, the swelling has gone down a little bit and I've always been a quick healer. Two years ago, I broke my foot and they said it would probably be eight weeks. I was back in five. So I'm going to stay optimistic."
Padgett wore his practice uniform yesterday with a large plastic brace on his right leg that keeps him from moving the knee. He said he would be X-rayed again in two weeks to see how the bone was healing.
"I've never had this injury before," he said. "The only broken bone I had was my foot, and I came back from that pretty well.
"Once it heals, it will probably take me a couple of weeks before to get back in shape and get my feel back for basketball. But I think I could come back and have an impact right away."
Rick Pitino, for his part, said he'll be surprised if Padgett sees the floor again this season, but I have heard that the original prognosis David was given may have been a bit too extreme. I'm certainly no doctor (although I did play one in a grade school performance...I was pretty average), but given this news and David's now infamously high threshold for pain, I'm going to go ahead and say I'd be surprised if the team captain wasn't manning the middle again in February.
Still holding out hope for a pre-Christmas bowl birth if the boys get the job done tonight? Well you shouldn't, because it's not going to happen. But if some miracle were to occur, and Louisville did go to a bowl game, it would likely be either the Armed Forces Bowl, Texas Bowl, or Las Vegas Bowl, which would have openings if the BCS selects two teams from the Pac-10 and Big 12.
But remember that all 7-5 at-large teams must be selected before any 6-6 at-large teams. There are more eligible teams than bowl bids in the MWC, SEC and Big 10, and TCU, Mississippi State and Indiana are all 7-5.
Basically, it ain't happening.
Cincinnati, South Florida and Connecticut have all accepted bowl bids, meaning the Big East's postseason picture now looks like this:
Cincinnati vs. Southern Mississippi
Meineke Car Care Bowl
ACC vs. Connecticut
Pac-10 vs. South Florida
MAC vs. Rutgers (haven't officially accepted)
West Virginia vs. ???
How I yearn for the days when I could watch us being blown out by Marshall on the television right next to the Christmas tree.
If there's one thing Steve Kragthorpe has done consistently this season, it's disappoint me. I was so impressed with the way he spoke and carried himself for the first few months of his tenure, that I honestly can't believe he's the same person who's now saying this:
"There are only so many things that I'm allowed to say because of legalities. I feel like I've been as forthright as I possibly could. But there are certain things that I cannot say whether it's due to injuries or off the field situations. There are certain things that I would lose my job if I were to divulge them. So I can't do that."
"It's certainly been a challenge in terms of things that I inherited. But that's the situation I'm in and I have to play the hand I'm dealt. I work hard every day to try to reflect a positive attitude and I'll continue to do that every day."
I want so much to believe that Kragthorpe can turn things around, but stuff like this just smacks me in the face and tells me that we have the wrong guy, because this is not how a big-time college football head coach responds to adversity. Sure he said "this is on me" after a couple of inexplicable early losses, but how many other times has he blamed "off-the-field issues" that he "didn't anticipate?" Or a "lack of depth on defense" that he "didn't anticipate." Or injuries and "guys who had played offense and are just now starting to learn how to play defense," which of course he "didn't anticipate" (because that's "complete fiction").
Take some goddamned responsibility for yourself man. The truth is you had been with these same kids for eight months, and on Aug. 30 you were confident enough in their character and their abilities to say:
"I don't think there's any question we want to play in the national championship game this year. People may say that's a bold statement. Well, if we don't have that type of thought process, we really don't need to be out there practicing right now."
These kids didn't become uncoachable social deviants over the last three months, so playing it off that way only reflects poorly on yourself.
Of course he has been saying this same thing enough that I've heard a number of people talking about Kragthorpe's struggle with "Louisville's drug problem." Louisville has as big a drug problem as any major (or minor) college football program in this country. And the thing is, I was told by a player this summer that this was going to be a big deal, and I still didn't believe it.
The fact of the matter is that three players who are probably going to have their uniforms retired before all is said and done are going to play their last games as Cardinals tonight, and they're going to walk off the field part of the first senior class to not end their season with a bowl game since Clinton's first-term. The fact of the matter is that this has been the most disappointing, humiliating, disgraceful Louisville football season I've ever had to sit through (yes I was around for '96...tell me how many "Biggest Disappointment" lists we topped that December), and it's happened despite the return of the nucleus of an Orange Bowl champion.
There are many different kinds of character deficiencies. Petrino was the kid who cheated on the test, got caught, apologized half-heartedly, and then smirked the entire time he sat in time out. Kragthorpe strikes me as the kind of kid who cheated, got caught, denied it, cried and apologized profusely, did all the chores around the classroom without being asked, and then cheated again two weeks later.
It's not all the players' fault, it's not all the fans' fault, it's not all the Petrino assistants' fault, and it's not all Kragthorpe's fault. The difference between the first three and the last one is that he's paid a considerable amount of money (although apparently not as much as he made in Tulsa) to put a product on the field, and when that product isn't up to snuff, it's supposed to be his fault, and he's supposed to say that it's his fault.
I'm sure that Steve Kragthorpe hosts a great dinner, and I'm sure that he really does want to win as much as we all want him to win, but throwing kids (and fans, and assistant coaches, and ex-coaches) under the bus when things get tough is a middle school softball coach move, and even then it's completely unacceptable.
You chose to come here, and you've chosen to stay here, so now it's on you and you alone to make this thing right.
Much of the focus tomorrow night will be on how Rutgers ruined Louisville's shot at a national championship in Piscataway last season, but the Scarlet Knights haven't forgotten about the 56-5 beatdown they received the last time they came to PJCS.
U of L's next opponent, Miami of Ohio, fell by way of a last second three-pointer to U of L's opponent after that, Dayton, last night in Oxford. The Redhawks have already knocked off Xavier and Mississippi State, and Dayton is 4-1 with a guard - Brian Roberts - who can play with anybody in the country. Don't be surprised if there are several anxious moments during each of the next two Saturdays.
The most successful season in the history of Louisville men's soccer came to a close last night as the Cards were bounced 1-0 by Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It was the first time Louisville had advanced to the Big Dance.
And finally, game week wouldn't be complete without your generic game preview link.