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Wednesday Morning Cardinal News And Notes

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Bryan Bush and Ashley Trommler are ready to hear the crowd noise from Death Valley all the way in Germany.

I_medium Spread Check: After Clemson opened as a 10-point favorite, the line immediately jumped to -12.5 or -13 on Monday. Now, however, it's all the way down to -9.5. Suppose that's the DeVante effect.

I_medium The first of the three fan lunches with Bobby Petrino will be taking place today at Champions Sports Bar & Grill at the Downtown Marriott. Lunch will begin at 11:30 a.m. with the coach arriving at noon to discuss the latest news from the team as well as answer questions from fans in the audience

Lunch is $35 per person or $40 per person for a premium table with closer access to Coach Petrino. Last-minute reservations are required and can be made by calling 502-671-4286. Seating is limited.

The next two lunches will be held on Oct. 15 (NC State week) and Nov. 19 (Notre Dame week).

I_medium Poor Russ.

I_medium Clemson has its own significant issues at offensive line heading into this weekend.

I_medium One of the most overlooked aspects of Saturday's game is that it could have huge implications on who winds up playing in the Orange Bowl. If Florida State ends up in the four-team playoff, then the next highest-ranked team from the ACC will head to Miami. If Louisville were to beat Clemson on Saturday, and then finish the season with only additional losses to the Seminoles and, say, Notre Dame, then there's a very real possibility that the Cards could still be the ACC's non-playoff BCS representative.

Obviously we're getting way ahead of ourselves by playing out that scenario, but I'm just saying that the potential exists for Saturday's game to wind up being even more important than it appears at the moment.

I_medium Disturbing fact of the day: Clemson has won each of its last 21 games against unranked opponents by 10 points or more.

I_medium The losing streak for the U of L men's soccer team was extended to three on Tuesday night when No. 5 Indiana dealt the Cards a 3-0 home loss.

The result was the third straight loss for the Cardinals, who fell to 5-4-1 overall and have managed just one goal in the current stretch. It is the longest losing skid for Louisville since dropping four straight in 2008, a season in which they rebounded to advance to the NCAA Championship. Indiana improved to 7-1-3 overall while extending its unbeaten streak to six straight matches.

"We have to fight our way out of this. We have to maintain a positive attitude, be willing to battle and accept where we are because of what we've done. At the same time, we can't act like victims," said Louisville head coach Ken Lolla. "Not scoring goals is a big issue right now. At times, we move the ball very well and you'd say tonight that we had some pretty good opportunities to score goals. On the other side, I thought Indiana took advantage of their chances."

Lolla and company will look to get back on track when they return to ACC play with a pivotal match Friday at Notre Dame.

I_medium WDRB has announced that it will be carrying Teddy Bridgewater's game against the Detroit Lions this Sunday at 1 p.m. As a lifelong Lions fan, I can't fully explain to you how conflicted I am here. There's a strong chance that I wind up not even watching.

I_medium Clemson wide receiver coach Jeff Scott chimes in on Crowd Noise-Gate 2014.

It's certainly starting to appear that way...

I_medium Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris previews Louisville with the spoken word.

I_medium ESPN's Myron Medcalf names Shaqquan Aaron as the seventh-best reserve in college basketball for the 2014-15 season.

7. Shaqquan AaronLouisville Cardinals

Shaqquan Aaron
Kelly Kline/Adidas

The fight for playing time in Louisville will be intense in 2014-15. Aaron, an explosive wing from Seattle who will likely begin the season on the bench, will push Wayne Blackshear for minutes at small forward throughout the season in one of the most intriguing position battles in the country.

I_medium Russ Smith played 11 minutes and scored four points in his second NBA preseason game. The Pelicans lost to the Hawks, 93-87.

I_medium Louisville is up to No. 5 in this week's ACC power poll from the ACC Digital Network.

I_medium Our good friends over at Beaux Tied are doing a cool thing where each month they will partner with a different charity, philanthropy, or non-profit organization and work in collaboration with the group to design a special bow tie (and/or neck tie) for that month. Beaux Tied will then donate 50 percent of the proceeds from the "Organization of the Month" tie sales directly to their partner organization.

The first organization that Beaux Tied has partnered with is the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and the two have teamed up to offer up this tie for purchase during the month of October.

You can purchase the tie and see more details about this program here.

I_medium Preston Knowles scored 18 points and hit a last-second shot to lift his Nes-Ziona squad into the next round of the Israeli Cup on Tuesday.

I_medium Samesies, Russ. Toats samesies.

I_medium Congratulations to U of L men's tennis standout Sebastian Stiefelmeyer, who became the first Cardinal ever to capture the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championships national title on Monday.

I_medium The FEI game projections system predicts a 15-14 Louisville win over Clemson, which I would gladly take but would also bet my life savings against happening.

I_medium Dabo Swinney is very wary of the Louisville team coming to Death Valley, and expects a "special" environment inside Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

"We think we have a great environment here for sure. They've played in some big environment. I hope we sell those 200 tickets I know that. I know that we'll have a special environment here. "

Louisville comes to Clemson ranked 53rd in scoring offense and sixth in scoring defense, nationally, and Swnney said the Cardinals pose a great challenge for his squad.

"This is a very good team coming in here," he said. "This is going to be a very big challenge. No doubt about that. They play with a lot of confidence. They've had a bunch of big wins and they have a bunch of veteran guys who have been a part of some big games. Good team."

I_medium TNIAAM breaks down Syracuse's offensive play-calling against Louisville last Friday.

I_medium A week after four Kentucky football players put the UK campus on lockdown, another has been charged with rape. Those incidents aren't the only ones that have occurred in Lexington since the hiring of Mark Stoops, who might want to bring the hammer down a little bit harder on his kids if he wants to maintain his reputation as a disciplinarian.

I_medium Clemson's Fansided site is fully behind the "Silent Out."

I_medium In a refreshing turn of events, ESPN's ACC blog has Clemson on Upset Watch this weekend.

Louisville (5-1, 3-1) at Clemson (3-2, 2-1), 3:30 p.m., ESPNU. Line: Clemson by 13. There is no doubt the Louisville defense is facing its biggest challenge to date, a dynamic Clemson pass game featuring true freshman Deshaun WatsonMike WilliamsArtavis Scott and company. But if there is a defense equipped to slow down the Tigers, it is this one. Louisville ranks No. 1 in the nation in total defense and No. 6 in turnovers gained, and has super safety Gerod Holliman, who leads the nation with seven interceptions. Watson has been nearly perfectn, with 12 touchdowns to just 1 interception, leading the nation in total QBR. If Louisville can force him into mistakes, the Cards could have a chance. But they need their offensive line to have the game of their lives against the best front seven in the ACC.

I_medium Gorgui Dieng did what Gorgui Dieng usually does in the Timberwolves' first preseason game Tuesday night, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

I_medium Ray Etheridge, the 12-year-old boy who was murdered in Cherokee Park last week, will wear a shirt autographed by Rick Pitino at his funeral.

I_medium Former Louisville footballer Marlon Hairston was called into the USMNT's U-23 camp ahead of a match vs. Brazil in Brazil.

I_medium When Louisville heads to South Bend on Nov. 22, it could be to spoil Notre Dame's shot at making the four-team playoff.

I_medium Slam Magazine has the U of L men's team at No. 6 in its college hoops preview issue.

Shockingly, the publication doesn't have the U of L women's team anywhere in its top 10.

I_medium Beat a .500 SEC team and these people go insane.

I_medium The annual U of L hoops tip-off luncheon is sold out.

I_medium Jeff Greer looks at the film and concludes that Brandon Radcliff broke 27 tackles (27!) against Syracuse.

I_medium Rick Pitino's squad checks in at No. 7 on Yahoo's preseason top 25 countdown.

Best-case scenario: Finally free to run the show now that All-American Russ Smith has moved on to the professional ranks, Jones and Rozier show why Rick Pitino has been touting them all offseason. Jones, quicker and faster after shedding 10 pounds, excels attacking the rim and making plays off the dribble.Rozier validates the glowing reviews he received on the summer camp circuit and leaves scouts drooling by the end of his breakout season. The emergence of that guard duo ensures Louisville has the perimeter weapons it needs to complement a frontcourt highlighted by one of the best big men in the nation in Harrell. The 6-foot-8 junior returns more well-rounded, having added improved free throw shooting and an array of low post moves to his already-established prowess gobbling up rebounds and finishing at the rim. Fueled by that trio of all-league candidates and a talented supporting cast, Louisville has little trouble adjusting in its debut season in the ACC. The Cards sweep the regular season and tournament titles, a warning shot to Duke and North Carolina that Tobacco Road is no longer the ACC's power center. Louisville's dream season ends in ideal fashion as the Cards topple Kentucky in an all-Bluegrass national title game on a Harrell put-back slam at the buzzer. Pitino tattoos a picture of the play on his chest and vows to name his next Kentucky Derby-caliber horse after Harrell. 

Worst-case scenario:
Turns out Pitino's praise for Jones and Rozier was just empty hype. The guard duo is adequate defensively and getting to the rim but hardly explosive. Since its backcourt can't measure up to the Peyton Siva-Russ Smith heyday and Blackshear remains more comfortable as a role player than a star, Louisville desperately needs an All-American type season from Harrell. Alas, the 6-foot-8 junior remains one dimensional - an elite defender and offensive rebounder who excels on put-backs and dunks but lacks the refinement to knock down mid-range jumpers or score with his back to the basket. Another season in the American Athletic Conference might have masked Louisville's shortcomings but they're quickly exposed in the rugged ACC. Duke and North Carolina take great joy in sweeping the Cardinals and serving notice that the ACC will always be their league. The NCAA tournament provides little solace for Louisville fans as the Cardinals don't survive the opening weekend and Kentucky cuts down the nets in Indianapolis. Pitino doesn't add to his tattoo collection and, nostalgic for his days in Lexington, vows to name his next Kentucky Derby-caliber horse after Tony Delk.

I_medium U of L OC Garrick McGee spoke to the media after practice on Tuesday.

I_medium The Cardinal field hockey team is now ranked No. 5 in the country, and is third in the NCAA's RPI rankings. It's always exciting when a U of L squad is a legitimate national title threat, and that certainly appears to be the case here.

I_medium Football Study Hall breaks down the numbers from Louisville/Syracuse and concludes that it's a lot easier to start a freshman quarterback when you have a bad ass defense.

I_medium If you aren't aware of the legend that is Clemson Tom, it's time to educate yourself. CT is going all out this week.

I_medium Consistency is the name of the game for Reggie Bonnafon as he prepares for the biggest contest of his Cardinal career to date.

"I've been really impressed by how well he manages himself out there," said McGee. "I ask the players how he is in the huddle, because that's something that coaches don't get to see on game day, and they say that he has a lot of intensity, but at the same time he's really pushing them, he's up-tempo, he's up-beat. I'm just really happy with him."

This weekend he'll likely be behind center when Louisville visits Clemson's 'Death Valley' where more than 80,000 will be in attendance.

"That's why you come to programs like this," Bonnafon said. "Growing up as a kid, you would watch games and see those big crowds, and you always hoped to be in those shoes one day. It's a dream come true and a great opportunity for myself and the team to try get a victory."

I_medium Your full transcript of Dabo Swinney's comments on Louisville from Tuesday.

I_medium And finally, the Mrs. and I are driving down to Clemson on Friday and still have no clue what we're doing. If anyone else is headed down and has set plans for Saturday morning, let's share them and try to come up with a joint CC plan. The tickets we bought through U of L appear to be in the second row from the top of the top deck, so I'm probably going to need to be properly imbibed in the hours leading up to kickoff. Just a heads up.