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Thursday Evening Cardinal News and Notes

Like all of us, Vivian is dreaming about a Cardinal victory in two days.

I_medium Spread check: NC State by 4.5.

I_medium Is Saturday's game a "must-win" for the Cardinals? Andrea Adelson believes so.

Not many people had Louisville sitting at 1-3 through the first four games of the season. But rather than dwell on the tough losses, Cards players are looking forward to rallying during ACC play.

There is no better time to start than Saturday against a largely unproven NC State team that has beaten up on inferior competition.

Louisville sits on the opposite end, taking tough defeats against high-quality opponents to open the season. The Cards have played two Power 5 opponents already, including perhaps the best team in the conference in Clemson. They have lost each of their games by a touchdown or less.

So at least Louisville has faced adversity and been tested. Still, with the calendar about to flip to October, this game qualifies as a must-win for the Cards. Slipping to 1-4 -- and 0-2 in conference -- is not the start anybody envisioned.

"We let Clemson get away with a victory," linebacker James Burgess said. "It's still open for us. We just have to win out and watch what everyone else does, but right now just worry about us and North Carolina State. You've got to start one game at a time. We're trying to get our first conference win on the road."

I_medium The Louisville men's soccer team dropped a 1-0 decision at Ohio State on Tuesday. The Cards will return to the pitch tomorrow night with a game at defending national champion and 10th-ranked Virginia.

Here are the current ACC standings:

Wake Forest 2-0-1 .833 7 7-1-1 .833
Boston College 2-1-0 .667 6 6-2-1 .722
Clemson 1-1-1 .500 4 7-1-2 .800
NC State 1-1-1 .500 4 6-2-1 .722
Syracuse 1-1-1 .500 4 6-2-1 .722
Louisville 0-0-3 .500 3 4-3-3 .550
North Carolina 3-0-0 1.00 9 7-0-1 .938
Notre Dame 2-1-0 .667 6 7-2-1 .750
Virginia 1-1-1 .500 4 5-1-2 .750
Virginia Tech 0-2-1 .167 1 4-3-1 .562
Duke 0-2-1 .167 1 4-3-2 .556
Pitt 0-3-0 .000 0 5-3-1 .611

Time to get some W's.

I_medium If you have been looking for an excuse to donate to a local charity, Give Local Louisville day is the perfect one. There are a number of worthwhile local causes that will be matching every donation made on Oct. 1, including Surgery on Sunday and Scarlet Hope.

I_medium Pete Prisco of CBS says Teddy Bridgewater is the fourth-least criticized starting quarterback in the NFL right now.

29. Teddy BridgewaterMinnesota Vikings: Aside from his pro day over-analysis, he's had a smooth time so far in the NFL. He's a great kid with a lot of talent. And it's early.

I_medium Science has confirmed that watching sports is going to kill us all. I'd rather die young than miss out on a Tuesday night DePaul/Creighton clash on FoxSports1.

I_medium The Moose over at Backing the Pack likes the Cards to spring the upset in Raleigh on Saturday.

I_medium Another monster recruiting weekend is on the horizon for Louisville basketball.

I_medium Experience pays off in both sports and L throwing.

I_medium NC State defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable talks U of L.

I_medium If you're lacking for plans this Thursday night, the Louisville women's soccer team will be hosting Morehead State.

I_medium Rick Pitino spent a significant chunk of his Wednesday checking out class of 2017 forward Kasper Christiansen.

"If Louisville ends up offering me, I'd be honored," said Christiansen, who expects to become more adept around the rim while packing muscle onto his spindly 190-pound frame.

"That would be special. Rick Pitino, he's just a basketball legend. The whole history of Louisville is great. The University of Maryland is a great option for me to. They told me to get bigger. They want me stronger and now that's what I have to work on so I can play at that level."

Christiansen visited the University of Florida unofficially at the beginning of the month, impressed with the campus, the Gainesville area and the Gators' new coaching staff. While there is no current timetable, Christiansen indicated he'd like to decide on a school after the 2015-16 campaign or next fall.

I_medium Louisville baseball alumni Tony Zych made his first MLB start Wednesday night for the Seattle Mariners. He struck our four batters in 2.2 innings of shutout work.

I_medium Rick Pitino is still living that road life on Thursday.

I_medium ESPN's David Hale wonders if the ACC narrative is already set in stone just a month into the 2015 season.

That probably refocuses the discussion on Saturday. It's hard to say how much of a boost Clemson or the ACC would get with a win over Notre Dame. It would be easy for the narrative to shift to "Oh, well, all the injuries finally caught up to the Irish," particularly if Brian Kelly's crew falls apart down the stretch as it did a year ago. And if the Tigers lose, well, it'll be one more nail in the ACC's coffin.

But remember, too, that Ohio State won it all last year — after losing to an ACC team in September no less. And when the regular season ended, the Big Ten was just 6-11 vs. other Power 5 leagues, its marquee win coming from cellar-dweller Indiana, which upset SEC East champ Missouri.

So the hope for the ACC probably isn't that the committee will do its homework, parse through all the losses and trust the complicated metrics that rarely reach the common fan. The hope should be that the committee learned a lesson from last year, that an elite team can come from any conference, and matchups and injuries and timing can make a big impact on any individual game.

For a league that has fought against the easy narrative for years, however, that's certainly no sure thing. Because what really stands out to most observers after four weeks of games is that 3-10 record. For most fans, adding context sounds too much like making excuses.

I_medium Champion U of L swimmer Kelsi Worrell has been nominated as Breakout Swimmer of the Year by USA Swimming, which recently announced its 2015 Golden Goggles Awards. Those awards are presented by the USA Swimming Foundation every year to celebrate the top swimmers and coaches' achievements over the past year.

I_medium Sports on Earth ranks Tom Jurich as the No. 1 athletic director on the planet.

1. Tom Jurich, Louisville. The only thing anyone could quibble with is bringing Bobby Petrino back, a move that will probably work in the long run, assuming Petrino has learned from infinite past mistakes. Otherwise, Jurich has had one of the most successful runs as an AD ever. He's been the athletic director since 1998, and since then, Louisville has graduated from Conference USA to the Big East to the ACC. Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, which opened in his first year, is poised for a renovation and expansion that willenclose the stadium. The basketball teams have moved into the brand-new KFC Yum! Center in downtown Louisville. Hires of Petrino, John L. Smith and Charlie Strong have all worked out for the football team (Steve Kragthorpe did not), as they have taken the Cardinals to a bowl game in all of their seasons, and Jurich also hired Rick Pitino to coach men's basketball. He's won a national championship and two Final Fours. In other words, under Jurich, Louisville has gone from FBS mid-major to respected ACC team in football, and the basketball has continued its success in moving to a more powerful conference.

I_medium Here's a great story from ESPN on Deshaun Watson and his work with Habitat for Humanity.

I_medium Backing the Pack breaks down NC State's first real test of 2015.

I_medium This is .... bold? .... from Geno Auriemma.

"Some of our fans are so goddamn stupid it's unbelievable. They complain a lot of times that we have no competition and it's boring. Then if we play a really good team and don't play our A-game, they bitch that something's wrong with UConn: 'This kid's not any good. That kid's not any good. Geno Auriemma got outcoached by this coach.' It's unbelievable."

Interviewer Zach Lowe had noted that profanity was allowed in the podcast.

Auriemma also railed against those who say they don't like UConn.

"I heard this WNBA coach say, 'I don't like Connecticut. They're bad for the game because they dominate so much. They get the best players and they kill everybody.' And I'm like, 'That's the most idiotic statement I ever heard.' That just goes to show you how ignorant some people are.


I_medium And finally, beat NC State ... in playable conditions.