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Monday Afternoon Cardinal News And Notes

Nothing, including recent back surgery, is going to keep the CCBM from partying for the next 24 hours.

I_medium We are just a handful of hours away from Louisville being an official member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. I am excited.

I_medium The other side (the ACC) is also pretty pumped about the big day tomorrow, as the addition of Louisville brings the league both one of the nation's most successful programs as well as some much-needed stability.

That ambition will be officially realized Tuesday when Louisville enters the ACC, a forceful counter to charter member Maryland's exit for the Big Ten. Announced in November 2012, the move certainly enhances both parties and likely dawns an era of welcome stability for the league.

ACC commissioner John Swofford is traveling to Louisville for a downtown throwdown to mark the occasion. No word on whether mint juleps are on the menu or if California Chrome will give the keynote speech.

"Louisville is just riding a crest of momentum coming into the league that really is pretty remarkable," Swofford said. "As a former athletic director (at North Carolina), I have a lot of respect for what Tom Jurich has done in his time there and the leadership he has shown and where he's brought that program from to where it is today.

"I don't know that there's an athletic director in the country over that span of time that's done a better job. Their facilities are top-notch. Their teams are top-notch. They have a tremendous fan base that will be great for our league as well."

I_medium ESPN has Rick Pitino at No. 5 in their countdown of the 50 best coaches in college basketball, which means he's behind Coach K, John Calipari, Billy Donovan and Tom Izzo. I respectfully disagree.

I_medium Kids are the best.

I_medium Miami quarterback Ryan Williams will be less than five months removed from ACL surgery when Sept. 1 arrives, but he's still hoping to start for the Canes inside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

I_medium U of L's move to the ACC figures to be a huge boon in the world of football recruiting.

"It's huge because they got out of purgatory, essentially," he said. "You look at the UConns, the Cincinnatis and the USFs of the world (that are still in the AAC), and you wonder. Nobody is talking about the big six or the BCS. It's the big five conferences now. Had (the Cards) not gotten into the ACC, they would have been kind of left out of that, and it would have really hurt recruiting. It's extremely hard to sell that (AAC) schedule to kids. But now you can sell Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Miami. It's a completely different world."

Brown said the ACC's newest member, boasting a 23-3 record the past two seasons, is being well-received on the recruiting trail. Moving leagues only increases the Cards' profile.

"Louisville is a great name and a good brand, and it speaks for itself right now," he said.

I_medium SI's Sam Vecenie explains why Russ Smith was the most underrated prospect in this year's NBA Draft.

I_medium A new mixtape of Louisville recruit Ray Smith.

I_medium The start of the Charlie Strong era at Texas continues to be rocky.

A 20-minute slot for new Texas head coach Charlie Strong stood out on the three-day schedule at the recent coaching clinic at Angelo State -- one of my stops on a recent mid-June trip through Texas. The clinic is a 40-year tradition for the state's high school coaches to learn from their college counterpart and was one of his first outings in front of a large number of the state's high school coaches. I was intrigued to hear what Strong's message would be in one of his first outings in front of a large number of high school coaches. 

Part of the intrigue stemmed from the perception -- held by many of his peers and even those who know him well -- that Strong is something of an introvert, and that the social aspect of the UT job might not be his, ahem, strong suit. 

Those in attendance didn't seem impressed by Strong's time on the stage. Maybe it was coincidence, but someone let out a loud laugh just as Strong wrapped. 

"I think everyone was shocked. It was that bad," one coach told me later. 

"It made me miss Mack," one joked. 

Another: "If I was the coach at Texas, I would act like I had bigger balls than that." 

Strong spoke so rapidly, jamming one sentence on top of another as if he were playing verbal Tetris, that you would have thought he had two minutes, not 20. It was difficult to follow his train of thought or discern the central points being made. 

The bulk of the address sounded like something more suited for parents or boosters than people who also coach for a living.


I_medium Blogger So Dear (Wake Forest) previews the Louisville defense and special teams, and then predicts a 38-13 victory for the Cardinals in the 2007 Orange Bowl rematch.

I_medium New Orleans Pelicans beat writer Jeff Duncan is a U of L graduate who can't quite hide his excitement over the hometown team getting Russ Smith.

I've never met the newest New Orleans Pelican, but I feel like I know him.

As a proud graduate of the University of Louisville, I watched Russ Smith play countless games over the years. I watched him develop from an overlooked two-star recruit to an All-American, from a reckless playground impresario who nearly drove coach Rick Pitino into retirement into a national champion.

Which is a roundabout way of saying I'm as qualified as anyone to give you a scouting report on the Pelicans' newest addition.

Smith doesn't play basketball as much as he performs it. He was the most entertaining player in college basketball for most of his career. The kinetic energy he expends from end to end is unrivaled.

I_medium Jalen Adams, the class of 2015 point guard who said receiving a scholarship offer from Louisville over the weekend "changed everything," has committed to Connecticut.

I_medium Eric Crawford lays out 10 people (or groups) that U of L can thank for its move to the ACC. No. 1 is pretty easy to predict.

I_medium This family rules.

I_medium ESPN's Andrea Adelson looks at U of L assistants Terrell Buckley and Lamar Thomas, who were once rivals during their Florida State and Miami days.

LT: We became friends. We stayed in contact and actually that year, his last year in school, my junior year, we said we're going to outsmart the media. We're going to publicize ourselves; we're going to come up with a game plan because all press is good press. We knew what to say when it came down to that game. The only thing I didn't count on was their defensive coordinator was very smart and he basically took me out the game by putting Mr. Buckley in front of me. The showdown was a no down. I think I caught one pass that game, but we did end up winning.

TB: And I don't even remember him catching one.

LT: Obviously I did because I had a streak of 27 games with a reception.

TB: He might have caught one, but it wasn't on me.

LT: It was on you.

I_medium's Pete Roussel says Clemson is his early favorite to win the 2014 national title, and likes both the Tigers and ACC brethren Florida State to make it to the first four-team playoff.

I_medium Cardinal ace Kyle Funkhouser has been named to the 24-man roster for the USA Collegiate National Team.

I_medium Notre Dame site One Foot Down previews Louisville.

If history is any indicator (TCU, Utah, to a certain extent Boise State) Louisville is going to struggle stepping up into a tougher conference. There's something to be said about Louisville's ability to win some big games under Charlie Strong but people said the same thing about the TCU's of the world too. It's a different ball game having to play tougher opponents across the board for an entire conference slate.

This move to the ACC combined with the loss of 3 first round draft picks is going to make a tough first year for Bobby Petrino. The Cardinals typically had a very good to great offense with Bridgewater but it was their defense last year that really made them super dangerous. Having to replace 7 starters from last year on defense is going to be quite the chore.

That said, Louisville's schedule certainly isn't a murderer's row. They have home games against Miami and Florida State plus road games at Clemson and Notre Dame. The rest of the teams (Murray State, Virginia, FIU, Wake Forest, Syracuse, NC State, Boston College, Kentucky) offer a pretty manageable route to 8 wins. This is a team that can go 9-3 without a big miracle.

Petrino has to be pretty excited with how things are shaping up on offense. A veteran line returns, a bunch of receivers are back, plus a few nice options at running back. He's done really well developing quarterbacks so the passing game might not take a huge step back without Bridgewater. A fairly strong offense and decent defense could lead to a successful first year in the ACC for Louisville.

I_medium With Louisville, Maryland and Rutgers on the move tomorrow, has conference realignment finally reached a lull?

I_medium The Tallahassee Democrat looks at Tallahassee native Kolby Smith, who is back in his second home to coach the running backs at Louisville.

I_medium And finally, a reminder that tomorrow's ACC celebration will not begin until the culmination of the USA/Belgium match, which fans can watch on the main video board at Fourth Street Live downtown.