—Spread check (TaxSlayer Bowl): Louisville by 6.5.
—The Louisville basketball team knows it has to get better on the glass.
They don't have T-shirts made up just yet, but Louisville's players have responded to their coach's challenge to become more physical and tough by picking up practice intensity and making up themed days for motivation.
So far it's just Toughness Tuesdays and either Fight Someone Fridays or Physical Fridays, depending on which player you ask. But there could be more themed days in the future, if needed.
Either way, the goal is simple: Louisville's players aren't happy with what they've seen on film this season, as opponents regularly beat them to loose balls and offensive rebounds, so they want to continuously remind themselves what's important.
"We started that on our own," Anas Mahmoud said. "We thought we weren't playing as tough as we could. We started saying that to pick everyone up."
—A big thanks to everyone who bought or gifted 100 Things Louisville this holiday season. I’d post some of the tweets, instagrams, etc., but it would take up the entire news & notes. You all are great. Hope you enjoy.
—2017 is the year sports got loud and weird.
—The Forde-Yard Dash bowl edition likes the Cards on Saturday.
TAXSLAYER BOWL (32)
Who: Louisville (8-4) vs. Mississippi State (8-4)
When: Dec. 30, noon
Where: Jacksonville, Florida
Why Watch: This is the last college football Saturday. Do not miss a minute. And it’s likely your last chance to see Lamar Jackson in a college uniform.
Greatest TaxSlayer Bowl Ever: The most famous then-Gator Bowl was 1978, when Woody Hayes punched his way out of his job as Ohio State legend-in-residence. But the best? That was Florida 14, Tennessee 13, in 1969. The Gators stopped the Volunteers at the 1-yard line late to hold on, and linebacker Mike Kelley might have turned in the greatest defensive stat line in bowl history: 17 tackles, one interception, one fumble recovery, one sack and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown.
Absentee Coach Factor: Dan Mullen has left the Starkville premises and taken his defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham, with him. Along with other departures, the State staff is threadbare.
Dash Pick: Louisville 41, Mississippi State 27. Not only are the Bulldogs without Mullen, but do-everything quarterback Nick Fitzgerald obviously won’t be playing after the gruesome ankle injury he suffered in the Egg Bowl. Jackson goes out in a final blaze of quick-twitch glory.
Conference Scorecard: ACC 7-1, SEC 1-3.
—Louisville is unranked and Kentucky is No. 26 in Andy Katz’s latest Power 36 rankings.
—I thought this might be the attitude out in the state this week.
Nah see, that’s not how this works. Contrary to what so many who represent your fan base would have you believe, this is still about games. Actual wins and losses. It’s not a battle of headlines. Never has been and never will be.
—Jeff Greer lays out five Christmas gifts the Louisville basketball program could have used this year.
—Vote for Donovan Mitchell to be an NBA All-Star here.
—Well done, gents.
—The U of L football team’s postseason schedule has been busier than usual.
—Illinois has removed former U of L offensive coordinator Garrick McGee from its staff.
—Shoutout to Trinity junior Stephen Herron on making a difference in the community outside of football.
—Going to a game at Grand Canyon can be a spiritual experience.
—Cool, we’ll just keep all of our revenue from now on.
.@KYHouseGOP member @LynnBechler says his pending bill would strip #Louisville of all its state funding over local rules that forbid the city from assisting @ICEgov: https://t.co/tdQePH2Jjd #kyga18 #WarOnLouisville— Phillip M. Bailey (@phillipmbailey) December 26, 2017
—Mike Brey, the “loosest coach in America,” is great for college basketball.
—Jennifer Lawrence continued her annual tradition of visiting children in the hospital while in town for Christmas.
Target drop passes percentages:— J.R. (@JReidDraftScout) December 22, 2017
Lamar Jackson - 8.5%
Baker Mayfield - 8.0%
Josh Rosen - 7.5%
Mason Rudolph - 6.6%
Josh Allen - 4.8%
Sam Darnold - 4.3%#SupportingCast
—Kentucky needs Quade Green to get back on track if they’re going to take down Louisville on Friday.
—This is still probably my favorite rivalry week internet moment of all-time.
Kentucky website claims fan superiority by claiming "we can spell 'rivalry' and 'Governer's Cup.'" pic.twitter.com/qZ1JTa9nir— Mike Rutherford (@CardChronicle) September 12, 2013
—Saturday Blitz lists three early U of L signees who will have an impact in 2018.
—Bowl week may actually provide a break for the staffs of Louisville and Mississippi State.
—And finally, I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday with their families, but now it’s time to beat Kentucky and win a bowl game. Let’s flip the switch.
I’m also back on the radio from 3-6 this afternoon. Listen here.