The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Let’s flash back to a much simpler time, 2004 to be exact. The first ‘wardrobe malfunction’, the launch of Facebook, Usher was dominating the charts and the Louisville Cardinals were coming off a 9-4 season, finishing up 5-3 in conference play. A solid year for a brand new coaching staff without question, but you felt like Petrino was laying the foundation in his first season to start building the program to heights we had never seen at that time. Some key players were returning, he was filling his roster with “system” kids and he was bringing back a solid quarterback who, with a year under his belt, many felt could start to push the limits of Petrino’s high powered offensive scheme. Does this all sound familiar?
2015 could be special a year for Louisville football. With any new season I believe two major factors come into play for each fan individually during the days and months leading up until kickoff, anticipation and expectations. While one may think these are typically intertwined, they can in fact be mutually exclusive. I for one was bubbling over with anticipation last season for what Petrino and his staff could do in year one back at Louisville as well our journey through a third consecutive new conference schedule, knowing that this would be our permanent ‘home’ for the foreseeable future. My expectations on the other hand were far more reserved. I knew the limitations and the challenges we would face and felt like an 8-4 record was a fairly realistic projection. It turns out that for me personally, both were achieved. I loved the season as it unfolded each week, the ups and downs, the twelve quarterbacks who saw game action, the amazing play on the defensive side of the ball, the return of ‘Spiderman’ Parker midseason, the wins over Miami, Notre Dame and of course the school down the road. Florida St came back to Papa John’s, we had road trips to Clemson and South Bend. It was all pretty damn amazing. This was our new life in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and now year two has the makings of another huge step in the right direction for…well, you know, the whole ‘collision course’ thing.
If you’re new to Card Chronicle or happened to miss this feature the last three years I’ll be your guide over the next 100 days as we count down until the beginning of the football season, going through the active roster and learning a little more about each one of our beloved Louisville Cardinals football players. While I know that some of us may still be reeling from a tough Elite 8 loss, others have long since forgotten. Some are preparing for a deep run to the College World Series, while others just don’t get that excited about watching the Cardinal Nine. Some of us may even be reading stat sheets from the Spring Game and dissecting depth charts while others haven’t even let the thought of football cross their mind since the Belk Bowl. We’re all different in how we approach the season or deal with certain scenarios as a fan, and that’s okay. As the great philosopher Meek Mill once said… “There’s levels to this sh-t”. You may not be ready to dive head first into football, but let me take you on a journey where you’ll get so engulfed in players stories, statistics and tweets that your body will begin to beg for the pigskins return. You’ll need it so bad you'll start to smell the beer and hear the chatter on the party deck. You’ll start prepping for tailgates in June, you’ll start looking for new football sweatshirts while its 90 degrees outside, you’ll break down the O-line depth at a mid-July wedding, you’ll threaten to leave your husband/wife because they deleted the Sugar Bowl from the DVR, you’ll start to…to…you get the point.
It’s year two in the ACC. Year two with Petrino back at the helm. Our offensive coordinator came back. Our defensive coordinator came back. We pulled a Top 30 recruiting class. The offense is stronger. The defense is reloading, and special teams will still probably scare the living crap out of us.
100 days, Cards fans.
(*Yes, I saw the post from UofL Football yesterday saying '100 days'. It's basically just semantics. On Friday September 4th they would consider that "0 days, X hours, X minutes". I still consider that 1 day. This is Year 4 of the countdown, I promise you I got this figured out CC.)