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Friday Afternoon Cardinal News and Notes

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It's been a long wait, but Hunter Frey is ready to experience his first Cardinal victory in less than 24 hours.

I_medium Spread check: Louisville by 13.5.

I_medium Just in case you were wondering how much tomorrow's game means for Houston, their head coach says it's for "national relevance."

Tom Herman is a straight shooter, sometimes maybe too brutally honest, and he did not hold back before the start of practice this week.

"In nine months have I ever lied to you?" the first-year University of Houston coach said.

The players shook their heads no. Then Herman continued his message, part pep talk, part full-dose reality check, about the importance of Saturday's game against Louisville at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

"This game is for national relevance," Herman said.

Not exactly commonplace for a UH football program that has two conference titles over the last 30 years and flirted with a BCS spot four years ago.

"The nation is watching," Herman said.

To prove his point, Herman - who knows a thing or two about national relevance after going 38-3 in three seasons as offensive coordinator at Ohio State and winning the College Football Playoff's first national championship last season - Herman brought up the once darlings of BCS busters, Boise State. The Broncos are coming off a season-opening win over Washington (Pac-12) and are the only non-Power 5 school ranked in this week's national polls.

"I'm not trying to add any pressure to the game," Herman said. "I just wanted to get that out in the open at the beginning of the week. If we want to be mentioned in that same conversation, we have to go do our job on the road against a really good ACC football team."

I_medium The Clarion Ledger breaks down Lamarques Thomas, Louisville's most recent commitment.

I_medium For those who wondered why Jaquay Savage changed his last name from Williams, Steve Jones has your answer.

However, as Williams, a wide receiver, built up that name, he never really wanted it. So last fall, Williams decided to change it. He legally changed his name to Ja'Quay Savage, taking the last name of his mother. While Felecia Savage was visiting her son last year in Louisville, she was honored and "speechless" when out of nowhere he presented her with a document showing that they now share the same name.

"I just showed her the paperwork from the courthouse, and she started crying," he said.

Ja'Quay Savage, a U of L starter, had previously had the last name of his father, whom Ja'Quay doesn't consider an important part of his life. As Felecia's only child, he'd always wanted to have his mom's last name and planned to change his at some point once he was legally old enough. He'd been one of the few members of his family without the last name Savage.

"I didn't ask for him to do it," Felecia Savage said. "It was his own decision. He said, 'Why wouldn't I change my last name? You're the one who raised me - by yourself, a single parent. Why wouldn't I want your name?'"

I_medium It kind of got lost in the shuffle earlier this week, but if you're interested in buying tickets to the Louisville-Saint Louis game in Brooklyn, make sure to use the discount you get just for being a Card Chronicle fan.

I_medium A very hardy congratulations to our man Mark Ennis on the birth of his second child earlier this week.

Can't wait until Anas Mahmoud Ennis appears on the site next week.

I_medium There have been a lot of questions about the future of Jawon Pass given the emergence of Lamar Jackson. While Pass remains committed to Louisville, he will be visiting Mississippi State this weekend.

I_medium Bobby Petrino Jr. officially came out earlier this week in a post on SB Nation's own Outsports. Today, the elder Petrino delivered some impressive and applause-worthy comments to the C-J about his son.

The elder Petrino's first conversation with his son after that was simple.

"It was just, I gave him a hug and told him I'm proud of him and I love him," said Bobby Petrino, who's in the second season of his second tenure as the football coach at the University of Louisville.

In an interview with The Courier-Journal, Petrino described the recent decision by Bobby Jr. to publicly reveal that he is gay as a courageous decision and one he fully supported. And Bobby Petrino Jr., a former standout athlete, said he's grown closer than ever to his father because of the unconditional love and acceptance he feels from him.

"The thing I really want is for Bobby to be happy, and that's what I'm happy about right now," the elder Petrino said. "He seems to be very happy. He knows the direction that his life is going, and what more could you ask for? I'm proud of how courageous he has been to come out and say it. And I love him."

...

"My reaction was I just want to support him," the elder Bobby Petrino said, reflecting upon the first time he learned his son was gay. "I've always been proud of Bobby, always been proud of how much courage that he's shown in everything that he did. I just wanted to support him and let him find a way to be happy."

I_medium Your U of L men's soccer team opens ACC play this evening at Syracuse.

I_medium Via our man Kelly Dickey, if the temperature is below 68 degrees tomorrow at kickoff, it'll be the coolest home opener in Louisville football history.

I_medium I don't know exactly why, but this made me really happy.

I_medium Gerald Christian's quest remains to be the most relevant "Mr. Irrelevant" in NFL history.

I_medium The Daily Cougar focuses in on Louisville.

After a successful start to the season, the 1-0 Houston Cougars turn their attention to the first road test of the 2015 season. The team will travel to Louisville Saturday to take on the 0-1 University of Louisville Cardinals for an 11 a.m. kick off at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

"It's a huge test," head coach Tom Herman said. "Not just (because of) the personnel and the quality of talent that they have on all sides of the football — their coaching staff is fantastic as well — but to go on the road in an (Atlantic Coast Conference) environment. We have to go out there and execute how we were trained to execute."

I_medium Eric Crawford and Rick Bozich both like Louisville relatively easily tomorrow.

I_medium I don't understand Google fiber because I have friends, but apparently it's coming to Louisville and is cool.

I_medium Chris Coughlin likes Louisville by a couple of touchdowns tomorrow.

If you have read any of my columns previously, you know that I am a huge fan of Cougars head coach Tom Herman. Earlier this summer, I was thinking about Houston possibly running the table and going undefeated this year. With some time to check on things, I'm now off that prediction but still see the program winning plenty of games in 2015.

Louisville lost to Auburn last week in Atlanta, though it possibly learned who is its quarterback of the future. The biggest problem for Herman and Houston in this matchup will be whether they have the personnel to hold up in what might be the biggest road game of their season. We know about my partner Chris Fallica's affinity for the Cardinals this year, and this is an absolute must-win as they open the home season in front on their fan base inside Papa John's Stadium. Expect a lot of fireworks, fight songs and a great effort from the visiting team. Take the over.

ATS pick: Louisville 42, Houston 28 (over the total of 53.5 points)

I_medium The U of L volleyball team continues their homestand this weekend with the Active Ankle Challenge at Cardinal Arena. The Cardinals will face Utah on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. before concluding the tournament on Saturday with matches against Seton Hall at 10:00 a.m. and Ohio at 7:30 p.m.

I_medium It's almost that time, people.

I_medium And finally, beat Houston.