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Monday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Louisville's ranked in the top 10 and it's almost Halloween. Collins is excited.

I_medium Spread check: Louisville by 19.5.

I_medium Pat Forde's current 4-team playoff includes Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Washington.

I_medium ESPN hands out some midseason ACC awards, and as you might expect, Louisville is featured prominently.

Best playerLamar Jackson is a layup of an answer to this question. The Louisville quarterback has been everything he was advertised to be, and then some. The sophomore has been the runaway Heisman front-runner for the 5-1 Cardinals, becoming the fastest player to 15 passing touchdowns and 15 rushing touchdowns in the past 20 seasons. The previous three players to accomplish that feat -- Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton and Tim Tebow -- all won the Heisman. And none of them accomplished that feat in fewer than nine games.


Best play: Jackson's leap over Syracuse cornerback Cordell Hudson in a Week 2 Friday night game will be replayed forever, especially in New York should the quarterback make it there for the Heisman ceremony in December. The move came on a nine-yard second-quarter touchdown run to make it 35-7 in a game the Cards went on to win 62-28.

Best game: Clemson's 42-36 win against Louisville on Oct. 1 was an all-time classic, as two star quarterbacks traded blows for 60 minutes in a game that came down to the final play. The Tigers emerged victorious and remain the ACC's best hopes for a College Football Playoff spot, but Jackson and the Cardinals won over plenty of primetime viewers, too, giving them an outside shot at the playoff should they win out and see chaos break in their favor.

I_medium The Superbook Game of the Year spreads now list Louisville as an 8.5-point favorite over Houston.

I_medium John Clay says Kentucky's remaining opponents, including Louisville, don't look quite as formidable as they once did.

I_medium Aaron Torres of Fox Sports says that, even after something of an uneven weekend, the ACC is the best conference in college football.

4. The ACC has surpassed both the SEC and Big Ten as the best conference in college football this year

In a season where everyone is debating whether the SEC or Big Ten is the best conference in college football, I think the ACC is actually the best.

The ACC has depth that neither the SEC of Big Ten has. North Carolina, Miami and Virginia Tech are all legit Top 25 teams and you can add NC State to that list -- even if they aren't ranked there. Pitt has a win over Penn State and even Syracuse is showing signs of life for the first time in a long time after stunning Virginia Tech last weekend.

Considering that the Hokies, Hurricanes and Orange all made major coaching upgrades in the last year (and NC State and UNC before them) the league's rapid improvement shouldn't be a surprise. I doubt anyone thought the ACC would be this good, but it has exceeded expectations and ranks among the top conferences in the sport right now.

I_medium Boston College is taking on Syracuse this weekend, and Steve Addazio is probably coaching for his job.

I_medium The fourth-ranked U of L men's soccer team dropped a second straight decision with a 2-1 loss at No. 7 Wake Forestover the weekend.

The team is back in action Tuesday night at 7 p.m. against Ohio State inside Lynn Stadium. If you bring your ticket stub from the Duke football game, you'll be able to purchase a reserved seat for $3 or a general admission ticket for 2 bucks.

I_medium Dino Babers is cool ... unless Syracuse starts beating Louisville.

I_medium Louisville is still No. 2 in the ACC power rankings from ESPN.

I_medium One of my favorite games from the early Pitino years is now on YouTube in full.

I_medium If you type "Why is Kentucky ... " into Google, the first three responses are "poor," "humid," and "bad at football."

I_medium If you're looking for a complete guide to Halloween movies on TV for the rest of the month, I've got you.

I_medium Tony Hicks is still working to get adjusted to life at Louisville and life on the Louisville basketball team.

"It took me good while - and I still don't think I'm adjusted," Hicks said, emphasizing "good."

"Passes, some of the turnovers - (it's) just getting used to the length. A lot of chest passes that I threw to (Anas Mahmoud in the scrimmage) that were turnovers should be lobs, but I'm not used to throwing lobs like that because I've never really played with people who I can throw lobs to. Playing against these guys, I just feel like I've gotten so much better."

That last part is important, because Hicks appears to have the potential to be one of Louisville's top players this season. Sure, it was one scrimmage, and U of L coach Rick Pitino said Hicks still has to learn how to use his "Peyton Siva speed" to his advantage, but the Chicago native has the quickness, scoring touch, cunning and defensive prowess to make an impact for the Cards.

Sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell said Hicks is "a big addition that a lot of people don't know about." That, in part, is because of Hicks' fellow newcomer, freshman V.J. King, who was impressive in his own right in last week's scrimmage. King was a five-star prospect out of high school and he played in the McDonald's All-American game, which is more than enough to build some buzz around his first year in college and overshadow any of the other newcomers on the team.

I_medium Eric Crawford plays Monday Morning Quarterback.

I_medium This is a very cool video of JCPS teachers thanking students.

I_medium SB Nation caught up with the sad Miami fan who looks like Sansa Stark and somehow always gets shown on TV.

I_medium Nigel Hayes is the right athlete to protest the NCAA, something you're probably going to see him do in some form throughout this season.

I_medium The EDSBS weekly magazine cover is always cool.

I_medium Louisville is No. 5 in the latest S&P rankings from Football Outsiders.

I_medium Mack Brown says we all need to chill the eff out.

I_medium The seventh-ranked field hockey team didn't play its best game of the season on Sunday, but still managed to down Kent State, 3-2.

I_medium The U of L women's soccer team played No. 24 Virginia Tech to a 1-1 draw on Sunday. The Cards are now 7-4-4 overall and 2-2-3 in the ACC.

I_medium This might be the greatest post/thread in Reddit history.

Year after year the University of Kentucky plays a football season and loses most of their games. I watch sometimes and a while back I got super drunk and watched Kentucky get curb stomped by Alabama. With my flair I know I don't have room to talk, but I watch Kentucky lose week after week and still play.

Despite these loses Kentucky saddles back up and plays again each year. They never give up, they never say no. They just play, knowing full well what fate awaits them. Kentucky is so brave. They charge into war knowing they'll perish.

I wish I could be like Kentucky, I wish I could keep fighting. I wish I could be strong and face devastating defeat day after day, but I can't. I can't be brave like Kentucky, I can't handle constant rejection. Be like Kentucky guys, fight even though it doesn't matter, I wish I could but I can't.

Edit: you all know I got pretty drunk last night. I really appreciate all the people who reached out and talked to me. I really was feeling pretty bad, but you all really helped me feel better about all this.

After a fifth of whiskey and and 9 beers I was pretty trashed and usually when that happens I do something really stupid, but other than post this crazy, embarrassing thread I didn't text her or call her or anything. I want to thank this whole community for taking their time to comment, I'm looking really forward to participating in this place and I promise I'll lay off the embarrassing depression posts lol

I_medium Eric Wood is the best.

I_medium Jason Kirk's bowl projections still have Louisville playing Tennessee in the Orange Bowl.

I_medium Tobijah Hughley and Stacy Thomas aren't panicking. Quite the contrary, actually.

Instead, the Cards sounded relieved, happy, proud. Center Tobijah Hughley said he was glad U of L got to play a close game because the team learned it can dig deep, overcome adversity and come out on top.

"I feel like sometimes we need these games," he said. "You go out and score 60, 50 points a game and sometimes you're not used to if you get hit in the mouth. ... This game we had to grind for four quarters. You need these games throughout the season to better prepare you."

All in all, Bobby Petrino and the Cards sounded like how you'd expect a group of guys who won a hard-fought game to sound.

And with still a half-season left to impress and overwhelm, it's perfectly fine for the Cards to be happy winning one narrowly.

"At the end of the day, a win is a win," linebacker Stacy Thomas said. "We have to win regardless. It doesn't matter if we score a lot of points and lose or score a lot of points and win. At the end of the day, as long as we win, that's what we want to do. The pace of the game, the score, it doesn't matter. As long as we win, we're happy."

I_medium Sports Illustrated projects the breakout scorers in college basketball for this season, and has Deng Adel and Donovan Mitchell as a joint entry at No. 6.

I_medium It's a process.

I_medium Rick Pitino and Mike Balado visited five-star class of 2018 power forward Zion Williamson over the weekend and offered him a scholarship.

I_medium U of L freshman walk-on Tyler Sharpe doesn't let Crohn's Disease slow him down.

I_medium Dabo can be annoying (especially if his team just beat your team), but this video is pretty cool in hindsight.

I_medium The Big 12 is holding a press conference tonight at 6:30, and no one sees to have any idea what the hell they're going to do.

I_medium Louisville is No. 6 in CBS' ranking of all 128 FBS teams.

I_medium I enjoy this recruiting flyer that U of L is sending out.

I_medium NC State-Louisville is one of five games that matter this week when it comes to the College Football Playoff.

I_medium Tomahawk Nation has U of L at No. 2 in its ACC power rankings.

I_medium We'll see him Saturday.

I_medium ESPN looks at what previous conference expansion winners (like Louisville) learned from the process.

I_medium Campus Insiders is taking the Cards by a couple scores on Saturday.

Louisville vs. NC State Prediction

The Wolfpack will give another valiant effort against a top ACC contender. But it will be a close but no cigar situation for Doeren's squad, which won't be sneaking up on The ‘Ville after last week's near-upset in Death Valley. Jackson will generate 300 yards of total offense, and the Cardinals won't let Dayes hurt them too much on the ground. NC State's balanced offense will cause some problems for the Louisville defense, but the Cards will tighten things up in the red zone. Bambard will make his field goals this time around, but a team can't settle for field goals against Louisville and expect to win.

Louisville vs. NC State Score Prediction: Louisville 38, NC State 23

I_medium Preseason Trez doing Preseason Trez stuff.

I_medium Our man Bill Everett came closer than anyone else in the country to nailing the Louisville-Duke score last week, and this week is taking the Cards by only 10 over NC State.

I_medium Greatest person on earth.

I_medium Lost in the reaction to Louisville's lackluster win over Duke was the fact that it was the 500th in program history.

I_medium Louisville City FC saw its season end in brutal fashion with an Eastern Conference finals loss in penalty kicks.

I_medium The Indiana team that the Cards will face on New Year's Eve is No. 10 in our preseason top 25 countdown.

I_medium And finally, R&R is back from 3-6 today reacting to the Duke game, Bobby Petrino's Monday press conference, and everything else that's gone on over the last three days. Listen here.