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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Hudson is all prepared for the first cold tailgate of the season this Saturday. Maybe a little too prepared.

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I_medium Spread check: Louisville by 19.5.

I_medium Lots of people asking about the NOA. I haven't heard anything from anyone at U of L about it, but I have no reason to doubt Jeff Greer and Andy Wolfson, so I'm not going to be surprised at all if we see it released tomorrow.

Quick reminder because I think a lot of people are confused: the notice of allegations is just what it sounds like; a list of allegations that the NCAA is going to say it believes U of L committed based on its own investigation. There will be no insight into any potential additional punishments coming Louisville's way with the release of this thing, and it won't change the fact that all this is unlikely to be wrapped up before next summer.

Also, as far as the recent announcement that Syracuse is being forced to give up 90 wins and a 2006 Big East championship is concerned, I don't think it has any bearing on what you're going to see happen to Louisville. Syracuse knowingly played players who failed drug tests, which means they knowingly played players who were ineligible (and they attempted to hide all this). That's where the vacated victories comes from.

Contrary to what some people are saying, a player receiving an impermissible benefit does not automatically make that player ineligible. For instance, if it was proven that a player had a ticket to a movie bought by someone who turned out to be a U of L booster, he wouldn't be forced to sit out the entire season because he received a $7.50 benefit.

This all being the case, one of the tasks for the NCAA will be -- or has been -- determining what the value (cover your eyes, kids) of the alleged sexual encounters (or "benefits") that took place were. Simply proving that players who suited up for Louisville received benefits from these women paid for by a staff member won't be enough on its own to take away wins or banners or anything like that.

Anyway, we'll probably be talking about this more tomorrow.

I_medium Great news for Sheldon Rankins, who returned to practice for the Saints today, and is eligible to make his NFL debut for New Orleans in week nine.

I_medium Campus Insiders ranks the top 10 current coaches in college football and has Bobby Petrino at No. 4.

4. Bobby Petrino, Louisville (4)

Has Petrino hit his ceiling in the Coach of the Year chase? He's certainly in the picture, piloting the nation's No. 7 team and molding a possible Heisman quarterback. But the Cardinals buckled last Friday against Duke, nearly losing to a 34-point underdog. Additionally, Petrino won't have many more opportunities to turn heads, with a schedule noticeably light on top-flight opponents. Louisville and all its parts were hurt when Week 12 opponent Houston lost to Navy on Oct. 8.

Washington's Chris Peterson is the current No. 1.

I_medium All four of Athlon's college football writers have Lamar Jackson tabbed as their ACC Player of the Year, Bobby Petrino as the leagues Coach of the Year, and predict that the Cards will finish second in the Atlantic Division.

I_medium The U of L men's soccer team bounced back from consecutive losses last week with a 2-1 takedown of Ohio State last night at Lynn Stadium. Mohamed Thiaw netted his 10th goal of the season in the win. That's the most any Cardinal player has scored since Colin Rolfe had 10 back in 2009.

I_medium Kid was super committed to the character: choked out a classmate during recess and didn't get detention for it.

I_medium U of L women's basketball mini-ticket plans are now available.

I_medium Dick Vitale has Louisville ranked No. 7 in his preseason top 40.

I_medium I'm not typically one for conspiracy theories, but I don't think this is a conspiracy theory, I think it's just something that should never happen in college athletics.

An established fan of a program should not be allowed to officiate a game involving said program. I feel like that should go without saying.

I_medium Everyone is trying to figure out why the television ratings for NFL games are so down this year. Maybe, just maybe, it's because the games have been awful.

I_medium CBS ranks all 351 Division-I basketball teams, and has Louisville at No. 16.

16. Louisville

The Cardinals are raw but talented, led by Donovan Mitchell, who will probably be appointment television. Ray Spalding and Deng Adel round out a trio of talents that will be good enough to keep Louisville's defense active and a true pain the you-know-what for opponents. The school is still under investigation by the NCAA, but chances are last year's self-imposed postseason ban will suffice, meaning this is a tourney team come March.

Duke is No. 1, DePaul is No. 131.

I_medium Louisville freshman Dorcas Wasike has been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Cross Country Performer of the Week for the second time this season.

I_medium The ACC Digital Network goes the "What if I told You" route with its latest Lamar Jackson video.

I_medium Campus Insiders breaks down Louisville-NC State in video form and likes the Cards in a fairly close game.

I_medium Jeremy Smith is proving that he's more than just a short-yardage back.

I_medium The Iroquois Park Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular needs more Lamar Jackson pumpkins.

I_medium We mentioned a few weeks ago that former Louisville football coach Ron Cooper had been named the interim head coach at Florida International after the Golden Panthers fired Ron Turner following an 0-4 start. Well, Cooper is making a strong claim to keep the job permanently, leading FIU to three straight wins, including a 27-26 road win over Charlotte (remember them?) last Saturday. Cooper's team is now the only 3-0 squad in Conference USA's East division.

I_medium Louisville's Andrea Cottrell has been named the National Swimmer of the Week.

I_medium We're giving away two more tickets for a bourbon limousine tour in tomorrow's pick 'em contest. Here's the vote for the high school game of the week that will be included.

St. X's upset of Male factored majorly into last week's contest.

I_medium U of L has announced that it will soon begin constructing a state-of-the-art, 161,000-square-foot academic building that will "enhance learning and provide academic and career services to its students."

I_medium Once again, time lapse videos are cool.

I_medium Louisville baseball landed a new commit on Tuesday.

I_medium Experimental rules will allow the Big 10 and the MAC to use replay on certain block/charge calls during conference play this basketball season.

I_medium ESPN tells us what to watch for in the ACC this week.

Does NC State have anything left in the tank? There aren't many more heartbreaking ways to lose than what NC State suffered through last weekend at Clemson. Dave Doeren's crew has desperately been looking for that signature win, and the Wolfpack have flirted with knocking off a powerhouse numerous times. None were closer than Saturday's loss to Clemson, however, when a missed 33-yard field goal proved to be the difference. Still, the Wolfpack showed they have a terrific defense, and with an attacking line and athletic linebackers, they're as well-equipped as anyone to try to contain Lamar Jacksonthis week in Louisville. The question is whether last week's game will linger too long.

I_medium The Big 12 is a mess, but not a conspiracy, says Steven Godfrey.

I_medium Eat it, Tennessee.

I_medium Jackson Wine, the son of former Louisville basketball player Robby Wine, is rated as the No. 1 high school kickoff specialist in the country. So, yeah, we could use a guy like that.

I_medium Sports Illustrated's ACC hoops preview projects Louisville to go 11-7 in conference play and finish fourth.

4. Louisville (11-€”7)

The ascension of combo guard Donovan Mitchell and wing Deng Adel into big roles should make Louisville Breakout Sophomore U in 2016-€”17. The Cardinals don't have a star on their front line, but they have so much size in 6' 9" Jaylen Johnson, 6' 10" Mangok Mathiang and Ray Spalding, and 7-footers Anas Mahmoud and Matz Stockman, that they should have the league's best rim protection.

I_medium Jaylen Johnson reflects on last season and talks about the urgency he feels heading into his junior year.

I_medium The kids are all right.

I_medium Maybe it's Clemson's Christian Wilkins, not Deshaun Watson, who should be challenging Lamar Jackson in the Heisman race.

I_medium Here are seven suggestions to improve college football's postseason, starting with the most obvious.

1. Give us the eight-team playoff.

This is in no way shocking or innovative, but I had to include it. Right now, substituting the AP Poll for the not-yet-released CFP rankings, we'd get five teams—Washington, Texas A&M, Louisville, Michigan and Nebraska—that have yet to appear in a playoff game and two—Texas A&M and Washington—that appeared in just one BCS bowl over the selection system's 15 years in place. That in and of itself is enough to capture more interest, and to make the eventual champion play in three playoff games certainly increases the odds of chaos. It's also fun to see those teams that pop up in the top 10 every few years after a great run get a shot at a legitimate postseason. Teams No. 3-€”15 I often find are the most interesting and fluid, year to year.

I_medium Ten college football teams have already exceeded their preseason over/under win totals.

I_medium Luke Winn projects the top 100 scorers in college basketball this season, and none play for Louisville.

I_medium This is cool. Animals are cool.

I_medium What if the Big 12 went away? Now seems like a good time to imagine what that'd look like.

I_medium Lamar Jackson still holds a wide lead in USA Today's Heisman survey.

I_medium Richard Pitino is one of the eight college basketball coaches who are under the most pressure to win this season.

I_medium Pro Football Focus examines the biggest weakness on each of the top 10 teams in college football.

6. Louisville: Offensive line

The beauty of having an efficient running quarterback is that the offensive line does not have to dominate in order to succeed offensively. The mobile quarterback allows the offense to outnumber the defense in order to gain yards, so the offensive line doesn't even have to win in order for players like Heisman front-runner QB Lamar Jackson to succeed. That's been the case this season where Louisville's offensive line has struggled in the run game and in pass protection. While Jackson will always be there to protect the line, getting better movement at the point of attack and doing a better job of keeping Jackson clean (completion percentage drops from 61.6 percent in clean pocket to 46.2 percent under pressure) will make life easier for Louisville down the stretch.

I_medium Time to realize your lifelong dream of being a Drew Deener intern, kids.

I_medium If you're looking for a good podcast discussing NC State football, well I don't have one. Totally kidding, guys. Would have been a really weird blurb if I didn't. Listen to this.

I_medium Jealous.

I_medium Kanye West announced Tuesday that he'll be coming to the KFC Yum Center on Dec. 20, which is the day before the Louisville-Kentucky game. Should be quite the 30 hour period in downtown Louisville.

I_medium Today's U has Louisville at No. 13 in its preseason hoops countdown.

I_medium An NC State site looks at how the Pack matches up with Louisville defensively.

I_medium Fox Sports ranks Louisville No. 8 in its power poll and wonders if the Cardinals have already peaked.


Is it possible that the Cardinals have peaked? The Duke Blue Devils are better than their record indicates. Lamar Jackson is not putting up six TDs a game anymore. This time around he was a part of two scores. While he was the Heisman winner in September, it remains to be seen if he can continue to hold on to his lead as other unbeatens fight to erase his PlayStation-like highlights against less competition. Louisville faces NC State this week and will give them a run for their money compared to Duke. I think Bobby Petrino will be shopping for a New Year's Day bowl vs. Florida or even a Washington. Even if they win the rest of their games, this is where they should be ranked.

I_medium ESPN says Louisville is still in the playoff picture, but that it's "a long shot."

I_medium And finally, R&R is back from 3-6 today on 93.9 The Ville. I promise I'll have a mic for the first half hour today. Listen here.