Lamar Jackson gets nine of the 10 first-place votes awarded in ESPN's weekly Heisman watch. The other nod for the top spot went to Mason King. No, I'm just kidding, it went to the kid from Stanford.
It's safe to say Ivan Maisel was impressed with Lamar Jackson on Saturday.
You see a game like No. 10 Louisville played Saturday and you search for perspective, try to resist the urge to read too much into one devastating performance. The calendar says it's still summer. The trees in this upper part of the South are still as green as the Field Turf at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The season is one-quarter over. If this were a 1,500-meter race, the rabbit would still be out in front.
But. Oh. My. Goodness.
This wasn't Charlotte that Louisville humiliated, 63-20. This was Florida State, a national champion three years ago, a playoff team two years ago, a No. 2-ranked team when the ball was kicked off before the largest home crowd (55,632) in Louisville history.
Or, as quarterback Lamar Jackson said, "Just another team on our schedule. Now we're looking forward to Marshall. Wasn't nothing special."
Jackson continued his remarkable sophomore season, running for four touchdowns and 146 yards, and throwing for 216 yards and a fifth score. It's too early to say Jackson is the best player in the FBS, but he has been the most exciting. He accelerates through the line of scrimmage like a human Tesla. Takes the corners pretty well, too.
The only flaw in Jackson's game might be his abilities of assessment. Not only because he didn't judge this win as historic, mind-blowing, or even special. No, because Jackson graded his performance as a D.
"I threw an interception," he said. "I think it was seven incomplete passes I threw. Bad balls."
Remind me not to take his class next semester.
The U of L hoops recruiting big board has slimmed down noticeably in recent weeks. Good for it. I think it's going to be much happier now.
If you missed it earlier, here's the Andy Staples story that goes along with that beautiful Lamar Jackson Sports Illustrated cover.
Louisville tops the latest ACC power rankings from ESPN.
1. Louisville: Lamar Jackson is the real deal, as Florida State found out early and often. Fortunately for fans of college football, the nation will get to see Jackson duel with Deshaun Watson and Greg Ward later this season.
2. Clemson: Speaking of Watson, his Tigers finally looked the part in a 59-0 win over South Carolina State. That offensive rhythm will be important as they get ready for consecutive games at Georgia Tech and against Louisville.
3. Miami: If it weren't for Jackson's theatrics, the Hurricanes might have been the talk of the ACC this weekend after making quick work of a hungry Appalachian State team in a hostile environment. The Hurricanes get a bye this week before beginning a brutal six-game stretch that starts with a trip to Georgia Tech and ends with a game against Pitt.
The Numerical includes a few more mentions of Louisville, but also notes that Miami is looking pretty damn good right now.
A diehard Cincinnati fan who despises Louisville came to PJCS on Saturday and wore red. He explains why.
To summarize my belabored point: I am no fan of the Louisville Cardinals. So, why am I wearing red in a parking lot on a rainy Saturday morning, about to cheer myself hoarse watching them play?
I had to see about Lamar.
I'm not going to tell you anything you didn't know about Lamar Jackson. The stats border on meaningless, in the same way that the national debt blurs into an incomprehensible string of digits, or some Rovellian infoturd about chicken wings consumed on Super Bowl Sunday sheds no new light or appreciation on anything.
I had to see him play in person.
I root for a team that came from the same place this team did. I root for a team that's made the Orange and Sugar Bowl this decade, a team that came one-extra-second-in-Texas-Nebraska away from playing for a title in 2009 and's still searching for a life raft to keep from drifting back to irrelevance in 2016. I want to believe that college football is still a place of possibility. I want to believe one player like Lamar Jackson can be that possibility.
It was awfully hard to sit in that crowd Saturday and not feel like anything was possible.
The gigapixel panorama of the crowd from the Florida State game is here. Hope you're looking cool and not staring at your phone like yours truly.
Proving once again that 2016-17 is everything 2015-16 wasn't, the Louisville basketball team is No. 8 in the Blue Ribbon Yearbook preview magazine.
Louisville Sports Live chronicles (TM) the reaction of Cardinal recruits to U of L's domination of Florida State.
Steve Jones of the C-J talks Lamar on CBS Sports radio.
While Lamar Jackson and the gaudy numbers being put up by the Louisville offense are the topics dominating the national headlines, the Cardinal D has quietly been sensational.
"Our guys feel we need to play to a certain standard relative to the things we've done the last couple of years," Grantham said in a phone interview. "I think part of that starts with the leadership we have. We've got guys that played last year that had success that chose to come back, and there's a maturity level with that. I told them, 'If you come back, you have to be all in.'
"They've continued to work hard and do the things we've asked them to do, and it's paid off on the field. We've been able to be pretty productive the first three games. The difference now is we've got a dynamic quarterback and an offense that is scoring a lot of points."
The goal going into Saturday's game was to slow down Dalvin Cook, who had had 273 yards in two previous games against Louisville. That would leave the game in the hands of redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois. Grantham liked his team's chances if it could hit that goal.
"It started with setting the edge and building the wall inside and then letting our linebackers and safeties run," Grantham said. "Once you were able to stop the run, it put the game on the offensive line and the quarterback, and that's when we feel like we had an advantage."
A look at the numbers suggests Louisville is playing at an even higher level on defense this season, though the sample size is obviously smaller. Through three games, Louisville is allowing an average of 302 yards per game and 4.06 yards per play. Both are better than their averages in 2014 and 2015.
The Cards also rank No. 11 in tackles for loss (9.3 per game) and are tied for fifth in sacks with 13 (4.25 per game). Those averages are higher than the numbers they posted each of the last two seasons.
Former Florida State stars are saying that more physical play and simpler schemes are needed to remedy the Seminoles' problems this year.
Lamar Jackson gets 31 of 32 first-place votes in the Heisman survey from USA Today.
Louisville jumps nine spots to No. 3 in the latest college football power rankings from Sports Illustrated.
3. LOUISVILLE CARDINALS
Lamar Jackson, Lamar Jackson, Lamar Jackson. Louisville's transcendent quarterback is the talk of the college football world after racking up 18 total touchdowns through three games, and rightfully so. The Heisman Trophy favorite at this early juncture, Jackson's performance (362 all-purpose yards, five touchdowns) in the Cardinals' 63-20 decimation of Florida State had Michael Vick himself singing the praises of the former three-star recruit from Florida. But Louisville's defense deserves just as much praise: the Cardinals limited the Seminoles to 284 total yards (including only 54 by star running back Dalvin Cook) and 2-of-13 on third downs.
Previous rank: 12
Last week: Beat Florida State 63-20
Next week: Saturday at Marshall
Houston is No. 4 and Clemson is No. 6.
The game might be two months away, but Louisville's Nov. 17 showdown at Houston is already sold out.
One sportsbook has Louisville as a 6.5-point favorite over Houston in the early line for that game.
The team in the Coastal Division with the most traversable path to the ACC title game is Virginia Tech.
Louisville has been named the FWAA National Team of the Week.
His boxing show was not good, but his college football takes are.
The Louisville men's soccer team, which is No. 6 in the latest rankings from Top Drawer Soccer, hits the road to face Saint Louis tonight. Here's your match preview.
Have that thing removed and we can talk about giving you a complete membership.
The latest edition of the Shutdown Fullcast has some extremely enjoyable takes on Louisville/FSU and what the Cards might do to Kentucky in the regular season finale.
Relive the crazy atmosphere that was Louisville taking down Florida State... pic.twitter.com/jvmetnetYQ— cn|2 Sports (@cn2_Sports) September 19, 2016
The Big Lead wonders how long it'll take for the Petrino to the SEC talk to start back up. The reality is that it never stopped and never will, but none of that matters.
Once an overlooked prospect, Lamar Jackson is now the Heisman favorite.
Miami will wear "Legend of the U" jerseys Oct. 8 vs. FSU. If UM wants a win it should dress up like Louisville pic.twitter.com/tpJSjXHuEZ— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) September 19, 2016
The Sports Quotient says Louisville is a legit national title contender.
And finally, Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and .... Louisville make up USA Today's first four-team playoff prognostication.
What a time to be alive.