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Monday Afternoon Cardinal News and Notes

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Baby Baker is calmer than you are.

I_medium Spread check: Clemson by 5.5.

I_medium Due to the short week, Bobby Petrino's pre-Clemson press conference will be taking place at 8:15 tonight and not 1:30 in the afternoon as usual. Yes, I expect him to name Spencer Kietzman as starting quarterback for Thursday.

I_medium Your first of at least three daily reminders that Thursday night's game is a blackout. You should wear black.

Brandon Radcliff will be.

I_medium Clemson's depth chart remains virtually unchanged from last week (also pay no mind to the U of L depth chart).

I_medium Is this bad?

Bobby Petrino has built a career on molding quarterbacks, but the first two weeks of 2015 have been a disaster in that department.

Louisville is one of just three FBS teams to have three different QBs with at least 10 pass attempts after Reggie Bonnafon was benched for Lamar Jackson in the opener, and Jackson was benched for Kyle Bolin in Saturday's loss to Houston.

The Cardinals have coughed up six offensive turnovers and allowed 17 points off them -- both numbers tied for the most by a Power 5 program. Overall, their quarterbacks rank last in the ACC in passer rating, touchdowns, completion percentage and yards per attempt. It's ugly.

It sounds bad.

I_medium The latest ESPN football power index is saying Louisville will likely finish this season with a 5-7 record. I disagree.

I_medium While much of the attention through two weeks has centered on the offense and Louisville's quarterback play, Rick Bozich wonders what has been going on with the defense, going all the way back to the end of last season.

Somebody has put out an APB for the University of Louisville football team - and not simply for the name of the Cards' starting quarterback when Clemson visits Thursday night.

I have a more pressing question: What has happened to the defense?

The one that gave up 34 against Houston, including 17 stinging fourth-quarter points? You score 31 you should beat Houston, right?

The one that head coach Bobby Petrino said failed to play with enough energy against the Cougars?

The one that ranks 76th nationally in total defense and passing efficiency defense as well as 104th in rushing defense?

I know it's two games. Some schools have been playing Jacksonville State, Western Illinois and Howard while Louisville has played Auburn (shaky against Jacksonville State) and Houston.

Here is the troubling thing for the Cards: The Houston game wasn't the first sub-par defensive effort for Louisville. It was the fourth straight.

Here are the defensive numbers for Louisville's last four games, three of them defeats.


rushing  passing  total yds    pts

Houston 226        236          462         34

Auburn 238        167          405         31

Georgia 292        200          492         37

Kentucky 151        176          327         40

Totals 907        779        1686       142

Per Game 226.8  194.8       421.5      35.5

Petrino, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, tackle Sheldon Rankins, linebacker James Burgess and the rest of the unit have work to do.

I_medium Terry Rozier has officially inked a professional deal with adidas.

I_medium Louisville's design team gets a top five nod for its work in week two.

I_medium This weekend really sucked.

I_medium The Cards fall seven spots all the way down to No. 11 in the latest ACC power poll from ESPN.

11. Louisville (0-2)

A loss to Auburn is excusable on its own. But Auburn looked a heck of a lot worse Saturday by needing overtime to escape FCS Jacksonville State. And the Cardinals then went out and lost to Houston, which is among the better Group of 5 programs, but is still a ways away from some of the other opponents on the Cards' schedule. They better get things together for Thursday against Clemson or else they will be staring at an 0-3 start.

I_medium Sheldon Rankins told the Clemson faithful over the summer that if they come to Louisville for this game they should be prepared for some drunk, crazy fans. The Tiger fan base is running with that quote.

I_medium Yahoo's Jeff Eisenberg does not like the way Louisville basketball set up its non-con schedule for the upcoming season.

Team that mismanaged its schedule: Louisville

Having lost four players who accounted for more than 79 percent of its points last season, Louisville appears to have assembled a schedule designed to give a young team time to build confidence and jell before the start of ACC play. That strategy could massively backfire, however, if the Cardinals enter league play without a single victory of consequence.

The two toughest games Louisville plays are both extremely difficult — at Michigan State and at Kentucky. Beyond that, there's not a single opponent who finished last season in the RPI top 100 and only four who even cracked the top 200. Whether the best of that group is rebuilding Saint Louis, in-state foe Western Kentucky or mid-major Eastern Michigan, wins in any of those games aren't going to do much to help the Cardinals.

Let's say Louisville falls in East Lansing and Lexington as expected and avoids any bad losses the rest of November and December. Even in that scenario, the Cardinals would likely enter ACC play with zero RPI top 100 wins and lots of pressure to perform well against league competition in order to earn a high seed in next year's NCAA tournament.

I_medium No Cardinals are featured in the ACC's weekly football honors.

I_medium Jeff Greer has an update on U of L's efforts with four-star guard Brandon Robinson.

I_medium Only two programs have spent more consecutive days in the AP Top 25 than Louisville.

I_medium Just in case you weren't aware, Louisville is 0-2 for the first time since 1998. The Cards have not started a season 0-3 since 1984.

I_medium Clemson is preparing for a "wounded animal" in Louisville.

Tony Elliott knows that Louisville has extra motivation for Thursday night's home game against Clemson, and that Clemson has to be prepared for a "wounded animal" in the Cardinals.

Bobby Petrino's squad had high expectations heading into the season, but a loss to Auburn in the season opener in Atlanta and a home loss to Houston last Saturday has the Cardinals facing a 0-2 hole. That could be 0-3 if the Cardinals don't beat Clemson in Thursday's primetime matchup at Papa John's Stadium, and Elliott says that makes a talented Louisville squad even more dangerous.

That is something he will make sure his players understand.

"You don't have to tell them. You just say, 'Look at the tape boys.' They know last year that the team we played walked out of here and left some doubt, that we kind of stole the game from them," Elliott told the media Monday in the WestZone. "They're going to be ready to play, and they're very talented. Also, you talk about a wounded animal is a dangerous animal because their back is in the corner. They will be playing at home. They believe they should be 2-0, and they're going to be ready to prove it."

I_medium The latest bowl projections from SB Nation have Louisville facing Northwestern in the Pinstripe Bowl.

I_medium The U of L men's soccer team is up to No. 10 in the country in the latest Top Drawer Soccer Top 25.

I_medium Senior outside hitter Erin Fairs had 22 kills, leading five Louisville players in double figures as the Cardinals came out on top of a five set slugfest with Ohio 25-19, 25-27, 23-25, 25-22, 15-9 in the final match of the Active Ankle Volleyball Challenge at Cardinal Arena in Louisville, Ky. The Cards were crowned champion s of the weekend tournament.

I_medium Lorenzo Mauldin is out of the hospital after putting a major scare into everyone yesterday.

Best news of the day.

I_medium ESPN says Saturday's loss has officially eliminated Louisville from playoff contention.

I_medium U of L wide receiver commit Dez Fitzpatrick had a monster night last Friday.

I_medium Louisville baseball will be holding a camp for high school players on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

I_medium Focus is key as Louisville turns its attention to Clemson.

I_medium And finally, it's a "get everything off your chest" Monday (alliteration is overrated) on Ramsey & Rutherford, where I am fully prepared to crank the AC down to 55 because of all the takes. We are taking any and all thoughts on the lingering Houston misery before moving onto what suddenly feels like an even bigger game against Clemson on Thursday. Listen here and call in at (502) 815-0939.