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Thankful thoughts on Thanksgiving Eve

I have no idea where that headline came from. I like it.

Here are some thoughts to ponder as you count down the hours until you get to see all the people you've been happy to avoid since high school.

1. Are you ready for some a.m. football?

It's Krag's last stand against a squad that just got handled by Syracuse. If ever there were a BCS conference game that deserved to be played at 6:30 a.m., it's this one.

"Black Friday" joke goes here.

But whatever, friends and family members are in town so get up early, head to the stadium or couch and watch Louisville play football for the last time in 2009. I think the things that will happen over the course of the next few months are going to return a great deal of excitement to Cardinal football, but don't forget that this is the final time we'll get to see some pretty good players. Scott Long, Trent Guy, L.T. Walker, L.D. Scott, Joe Tronzo, Chris Campa, Jon Dempsey; these guys have certainly earned their stripes here and deserve to be celebrated.

Steve Kragthorpe will not be the head football coach here next year regardless of what happens, so there shouldn't be a single part of you that isn't fully behind the home team Friday, uh, morning.

2. How good is Cincinnati?

Louisville was supposed to be a participant in this year's Maui Classic, but when the Cards backed out a couple of years ago Cincinnati was selected to take their place. It's working out pretty well for the Bearcats, who have dispatched a pair of ranked opponents on consecutive days and will play Gonzaga for the tournament championship this evening.

I picked Cincinnati to finish fourth in the Big East before the season so you'd think I'd be gloating (true story: I picked Syracuse 10th), but after watching the Bearcats the last two days, I'm not so sure they can be a double-bye team.

Mick Cronin has the most complete starting five in the league, but no Big East team has a bigger dropoff from starters to reserves than UC. Strong depth directly correlates to success in the nation's best conference (see: Louisville, 2008-2009), and the Bearcats simply don't have any.

Still, this is a tournament team. Deonta Vaughn is one of the three or four best scoring guards in the league, Lance Stephenson is a head case with obscene talent, Cashmere Wright is the steady floor general Cronin's been lacking and Yancy Gates really might be the best big man in the league.

3. I went to all three games at Freedom Hall over the weekend...

And I ate a lot.

Thinking twice about it.

4. The UNLV game is big.

Not that it matters, but the Runnin' Rebels currently sit as the No. 1 team in the country in terms of RPI. No idea how their game tonight against Holy Cross will affect that.

A win in Vegas on Saturday will give the Cards just their second undefeated November of the Rick Pitino era. Pitino scheduled this game for the experience more than anything else, but a road victory over a squad that appears to have a shot at being a tournament team could be equally beneficial down the road.

Plus, we owe these guys for what happened last year and, more importantly, for landing the first blow of what would ultimately be the worst New Year's Eve of my life.

Do it for Card Chronicle, Preston.

5. What if Kragthorpe stayed?

Seriously. The vision in my head is a cross between the worlds in Mad Max and A Boy and His Dog.

6. Pilgrims or Indians?

When you were little, which one did you want to be in your grade school Thanksgiving program?

I was always a pilgrim guy. The Indian kids were just too wild.

Plus I had smallpox.

7. I will be wearing a white compression t-shirt at Thanksgiving dinner.

Deal with it, mom.

8. Go Lions.