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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Ethan Bond takes the CC Fall Tour -- it wasn't a real thing, but now it's a real thing -- to the zip lines of the Great Smoky Mountains.

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I_medium Spread check: Louisville by 31.5.

I_medium Stewart Mandel's weekly mailbag for Fox Sports tackles the hypothetical of the matchup everyone wants to see: Louisville's offense versus Alabama's defense.

Stewart: If there are two things college football fans can agree on, it's thatAlabama's defense and Lamar Jackson are both unstoppable. If by some miracle we were to be rewarded with this dream matchup, who would come out on top? Could Lamar Jackson crack the code to Bama's D, or would it be business as usual for the Tide?

-- Justin Barrow, New Bern, North Carolina

First, let's pause for a second to appreciate how amazing this matchup would be if it came to fruition. But let's also accept that it's highly unlikely. EitherLouisville is going to have to win the ACC and make the playoff, or Alabama is going to have to slip to the Orange Bowl.

In other words, this is purely a fantasy.

I wouldn't say either is "unstoppable." Clemson stopped Jackson enough times to win a football game, and Ole Miss scored 30 points in the first half against the Tide. Certainly both are aberrations to this point. Also, we know QBs with running ability have been the rare Kryptonite for past Nick Saban teams, most recently Deshaun Watson in last year's national title game. Jackson is the most lethal runner of any quarterback in a number of years.

But ultimately, I'd take Alabama. Clemson was able to get pressure on Jackson, sacking him five times, and the Tide, which have a national-best 32 sacks, would likely generate as much if not more. Jackson eventually got going, but Clemson was also its defense's own worst enemy that night, with its five turnovers allowing the Cardinals to run 99 plays. Alabama has lost 12 turnovers in eight games.

I'd still love to see the matchup, though. Jackson's superb playmaking ability is reminiscent of Johnny Manziel's, and we know the headaches he caused Saban's teams. But this is also Saban's fastest, most athletic defense to date, much better suited to stopping spread QBs. It'd be a lot of fun to watch.

Not sure Louisville has to win the ACC to make the playoff and square off against 'Bama, but whatever, you guys know that. We don't need to get into it right now.

I_medium A former Indiana basketball player has released a new book in which he details how Bob Knight used to grab players by the testicles and punch them in the back of the head.

Is anyone actually surprised by this? We heard stories like this one for years and it took an actual video of him choking a kid during practice for anything to be done about it. And yet my Twitter mentions are still loaded with IU fans denying that Knight has ever done anything even semi-egregious.

I_medium This week's high school game of the week poll for tomorrow's pick 'em contest is up.

Spoiler: this week's prize is a $300 tailgate tent.

I_medium Is this the year a two-loss team makes the College Football Playoff? Here's what the math says.

I_medium Is Lamar Jackson the best running back in the country? Why am I asking so many questions today? The ACC Digital Network explores the answer to the first one.

I_medium Congrats to U of L track star (and former hoops standout) Emmonie Henderson on her recent engagement.

I_medium CBS is out with its annual preseason list of the 101 best players in college basketball, and Donovan Mitchell is the lone Cardinal who makes an appearance.

77. Donovan Mitchell | Louisville | Sophomore | SG

Mitchell is the reason Louisville should still be really good despite the loss of Damion Lee and Trey Lewis. He's a 6-3 guard and former five-star recruit who likely will lead Rick Pitino's Cardinals in scoring. -- GP

Here's a second news & notes spoiler for today: The SB Nation list will feature Deng Adel, and Donovan Mitchell will be higher than No. 77.

I_medium Adel, for what it's worth, is No. 48 in the NBC top 100 countdown.

I_medium This interactive map and subsequent statistics charting where college basketball players come from is highly interesting. Matz is relatively easy to find.

I_medium The annual USA database for college football coaching salaries and buyouts is here. Bobby Petrino is the 21st-highest paid coach in the country for this season, narrowly nudging out No. 26 Mark Stoops.

Heh.

I_medium Pro Football Focus attempts to break down the rise of rushing quarterbacks in college football.

I_medium "Yeah, but take away Lamar Jackson and then what does that offense have?"

"Oh."

I_medium ESPN's Tom Luginbill said yesterday that he's got Louisville at No. 4 in his current CFP rankings.

I_medium Virginia has played Louisville tough in each of the past two seasons, a fact which Bronco Mendenhall believes may give his guys some added confidence heading into this weekend.

Virginia has provided a tough challenge to Louisville in the two years they've played in the ACC, winning in 2014 and losing by a touchdown in 2015. Though coach Bronco Mendenhall wasn't a part of those games, he's heard his players discuss the success they've had against the Cards going into their game Saturday.

"I was not a part of it, but to the players it's real," Mendenhall said. "I will do everything I can to build the momentum off that."

I_medium U of L's 2017 basketball recruiting class is now ranked in the nation's top 10, according to ESPN (insider).

I_medium Campus Pressbox has Louisville at No. 6 in its college football playoff rankings, one spot behind Ohio State, which makes no sense but who cares.

I_medium Keith Kelsey would like you to note that the starting offense isn't the only Cardinal unit whose impressive stats would be even more impressive had they played seven full games.

I_medium The ACC's media day notebook is keeping you updated on all of today's happenings.

I_medium Expect Virginia to slow it down and use the same approach against Louisville that Duke did two weeks ago, which means the pressure will be on the Cardinals to build an early lead and force the Cavaliers to get away from their game plan.

I_medium ESPN gives us what to watch for during week nine of ACC play.

I_medium Eat it .... Baltimore? .... Miami? .... Guys who shouldn't be on television?

I_medium If you think your sibling rivalry is/was rough, imagine being Nate Britt, whose adopted brother (Kris Jenkins) hit the game-winning shot against his UNC team in last year's national title game. It's been a rough few months for Britt.

I_medium This is old news at this point, but Donovan Mitchell is a preseason candidate for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year award.

I_medium Pat Forde takes a deeper look at what has the potential to be a chaotic weekend in college football.

I_medium Streaking the Lawn has Louisville at No. 2 in its ACC power rankings, and I enjoy the first part of their blurb on the Cards. The second part not as much.

2. Louisville Cardinals (6-1, 4-1) Last week: 2
This week: at UVa

Don't know if NC State was worn out after their game against Clemson, but man did Louisville do bad things to them. The Cardinals are not undefeated because Clemson pretty much cheated. Even a win against Houston next month won't help UL enough to get into the CFP.

I_medium Bronco Mendenhall says he knows the focus on this weekend's game from a national perspective will be on Lamar Jackson and the Louisville offense, but that he has to keep his guys focused on themselves.

I_medium ESPN re-ranks the top 50 players in college football. You already know who's No. 1, but care to take a shot at who's No. 32? If you guessed it was a current Cardinal because this is a Louisville-centric website, well, you're wrong. That's called a red herring. The answer is Ohio State offensive lineman Pat Elflein.

I_medium And finally, our guy Gary the Redbird is a finalist in a national contest to be named the best fan in college football. Go vote for him here.