By Andrew Phelps
Halftime, Cardinal fans. Take a deep breath, study that empty beer cup closely and brace yourselves for the Sam Swope Punt, Pass and Kick.
Six teams have come in between the Cardinals and their destiny, and all six have fallen in convincing fashion. Our Birds haven't always played convincingly, but in every matchup we have clearly been the superior team.
The best Louisville football team in its relative limited history finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place. Ranked 6th in the country, many proclaim the Birds have reached their potential and will not climb any higher. When Louisville wins by a lot, everyone pisses and moans about how easy our schedule is. When Teddy Heisman is not torching teams by 40 or more points, everyone pisses and moans about our underperformance and inferiority. You may ask what can be done about this, but the answer is simple: Finish the season 12-0, send Theodore to New York, let the rest of the country stumble over each other and put our best argument forward when the dust settles that first weekend in December.
Objectively, is Louisville the best team in the country? I think they certainly belong in the discussion with two other teams, Oregon and Alabama. Louisville has a championship defense, this cannot be argued, and when the offense doesn't get caught beating itself, the NFL talent at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end is hardly rivaled. Win every game and I am convinced UofL will get its shot.
As a distinguished professor of athletics, I award the football team a midterm grade of B. Every individual who follows college football, the sane folk among us, and even the great citizens of Lexington predicted UofL to be undefeated at this point in the season. The Cardinals have not disappointed and are 6-0. The defense has met and exceeded even my lofty expectations, and Coach Strong, Bedford and Hurtt have been phenomenal. Louisville lost points in my grade book for the inconsistencies on the offensive side of the ball, injuries, and the lack of any reliable special teams.
Some may write a scathing review on ratemyprofessor.com after the grades are posted, but a reasonable fan would understand and agree. Louisville has played some bad football teams and struggled at times to score six points. While the offense has been great at racking up yards, some focus should shift to racking up points. I am convinced Coach Strong understands this and will ensure it.
Friday night offers up a Jeff Ruby's porterhouse opportunity. ESPN will be ours once again, NFL scouts will turn their focus to our hero and Central Florida is an actual credible opponent. We missed a chance against Rutgers; the Birds cannot afford to go down swinging against the Golden Knights.
One half of a special season remains for the University of Louisville. Opportunities available in the year 2013 do not present themselves often. Teddy Bridgewater is a once in a lifetime talent, person and face of a program. Charlie understands the Cardinals are 0-0 again and all of the team's focus must remain on the team. The Cardinal Train is leaving the station again and by the time kickoff strikes Friday evening that train will be unstoppable. Get on or get out of the way because our train doesn't stop until Pasadena, it is our red at the end of the tunnel.
All Hail UofL!!