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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Greg Ebel is spreading the word at the Parthenon in Athens, one of the Summer Tour's favorite stops.

I_medium The new ESPN 100 rankings for the class of 2017 have Malik Williams at No. 41, and Darius Perry at No. 53. Western Kentucky commit Mitchell Robinson is No. 9.

I_medium The bowl projections from Campus Insiders have Louisville taking on preseason top 10 team Tennessee in the TaxSlayer Bowl on New Year's Eve.

I_medium ESPN's David Hale tackles the biggest questions facing U of L football in 2016.

Is Jackson a passer, too?

Jackson is the engine that makes the Louisville offense go, and he has spent the offseason finally getting a handle on the playbook after being tossed into the deep end as a freshman last season. He has kept his feet planted in the pocket to develop his passing skills, and he has a firm handle on a playbook he barely knew a year ago. The reviews from coaches and teammates have been gushing, but the competition is about to ramp up quite a bit. Jackson needs to take fewer sacks, connect on more downfield throws and avoid disastrous turnovers, all concerns at various points last year.

Is the offensive line ready to help Jackson progress?

If Jackson is going to take the next step as a passing QB, he'll need some help from an offensive line that was a disaster for most of the 2015 season, giving up 44 sacks (second-most in the nation) and rarely opening up running lanes. It was a young unit a year ago, with three freshmen earning regular playing time, and Petrino is hopeful the growing pains of 2015 turn into knowledge and experience for 2016. That might be a tall order, but Jackson's mobility means the line doesn't have to be great. A medium-sized step in the right direction might be enough to make Louisville a real threat on offense.

Can the Cardinals finish the job?

The biggest impediment to a playoff berth for Louisville might be a schedule that includes Clemson, Florida State and Houston, all potential top-10 programs. But it's worth noting that in each of the past two seasons, Clemson needed a late stop to fend off Louisville. In each of the past two seasons, Louisville led Florida State at the half. And though Houston steamrollered nearly everyone in 2015, Louisville lost by only three. The good news is that those scores prove the Cardinals aren't far off. The bad news is, they still haven't closed out a victory against a signature opponent. If they hope to reach their loftiest goals in 2016, that has to change.

I_medium The (forced smile) Herbie Awards are here for 2016, and Kirk lists Louisville players as nominees in a handful of categories, and lists the Cards themselves as his No. 2 surprise team .... just behind Texas.

I_medium If you're jonesing for some football talk this weekend, here's an option from our friends with the 35th & KY Sports Show.

I_medium Cal had to bring its own damn goalposts down to Australia.

I_medium ESPN previews NC State, which is looking to finally get over the hump under Dave Doeren.

I_medium Virginia has named its starting quarterback for 2016, and it's not Matt Johns, it's East Carolina transfer Kurt Benkert.

I_medium Bruce Feldman's coaches hot seat rankings for 2016 opens up with Mark Stoops at No. 7 and Charlie Strong at No. 8.

I_medium Pete Fiutak of Campus Insiders explains (video) why he believes Louisville will be the biggest surprise team in the ACC this season.

I_medium The U of L field hockey team will enter the 2016 season ranked No. 12, marking the third straight season that they've earned a top 20 preseason ranking.

I_medium Once again .... keep talking about U of L, though.

I_medium Here's a great read on Pitt RB James Conner, a player every college football fan should be rooting for this season.

I_medium A few more early Louisville-Charlotte numbers to know.

I_medium This has to be the most impressive run from the opening weekend of high school football.

I_medium North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky might be the ACC player who's not getting enough love this preseason.

I_medium Devonte Fields continues to rack up the 2017 NFL Draft hype.

I_medium Bobby Petrino reiterates once again that he likes the high expectations for this year's team.

I_medium The BC Interruption (Boston College) staff tackle the topic of who the Eagles could upset in 2016, and two of them pick Louisville.

Brian: Louisville: I want to say Clemson or Florida State, given how close BC has played these two over the last few years under Addazio, though I'm not sure how realistic that is this year. Maybe Clemson (Friday night ... at home?), though I tend to doubt it. How about Louisville? This is a team that's getting top 25ish love but I'm not exactly sure why. I'm guessing they'll once again be solid, but given the placement on the schedule (early November, at home) and how close this game was last year despite no semblance of an offense out of BC, I think the Eagles have a decent shot of springing the upset.

AJ: Louisville: Flashback to 2015 for a moment. A BC team that struggled mightily on offense went down to Louisville, lost their starting QB in the game, gave up a defensive TD and still only lost by three points. This year BC will have a QB (albeit one who has struggled against the Cardinals in the past), and hopefully an offense that can move the ball. Combine that with playing at BC and I feel this could be a game BC could sneak an upset win.

I'd be more inclined to entertain the possibility if Boston College weren't the current home of Patrick Towles, a player who it's been scientifically proven is incapable of being involved in a win over Louisville.

I_medium USA Today looks at yesterday's commitment of WR Corey Reed.

I_medium When the thought of your first Louisville football game gets so real that it overwhelms you ... and also you're wondering why you're naked with only a football and a beanie.

It's how we all feel right now.

Eight-month-old Frances is taking the euphoria more in stride.


I_medium The AP's top storylines of the 2016 college football season includes Louisville as the sport's potential surprise team.

I_medium The C-J focuses in on Jaire Alexander.

I_medium Another solid preseason hype video from our Red Rage friends:

I_medium An update from WDRB on the feel-good story of the Louisville teen mowers.

I_medium Freshman excitement is at an all-time high at U of L ... just don't let that excitement lead you to belly-flopping into the baby pool this weekend. It's the fastest and easiest way to ruin the whole thing. Trust me. It's not funny.

I_medium Bleacher Report has Louisville vs. Florida State as the seventh most-likely major upset of the 2016 season. We are almost out of things to rank. Thank God, we have football in eight days (or two days ... Cal/Hawaii).

I_medium And finally, R&R is on today from 3-6. How many times will we play the "how's your dad doin', Chris" clip today? As many times as we damn well please.