—Spread check (TaxSlayer Bowl): Louisville by 6.5.
—Spread check (basketball): Kentucky by 5.5.
—Shoutout to the U of L managers for kicking off the rivalry festivities the right way last night.
Big win tonight 65-57. Thanks to @UK_Managers for having us pic.twitter.com/m5WA3D4eKl— UofL MBB Managers (@UofLMBBManagers) December 29, 2017
—The “Beat the Buzzer” feature rolls on with a closer look at Ray Spalding.
—The Associated Press focuses in on David Padgett and the ever-evolving role that he’s still trying to adapt to.
Padgett has only occupied Pitino's old office since mid-October and he has been too busy trying to maintain continuity in Louisville's program to completely settle in. In an interview with The Associated Press, he acknowledged it has been an adjustment.
"It was awkward because I worked for (Pitino) but obviously because I played for him," said Padgett, a three-year starter under Pitino from 2005-2008 who was an assistant on the Louisville staff last season.
Padgett was promoted Sept. 29 in the wake of Louisville's acknowledgement that it is being investigated in a federal bribery probe of college basketball . Pitino was placed on unpaid administrative leave two days earlier before being fired Oct. 16after 16 seasons, the final step in the school's personnel process that allowed Padgett to eventually move into the formerly locked office.
"Going in there as a player and as someone working there, it's a big office," the 32-year-old Padgett added. "It's your boss' and then all of a sudden I'm sitting in that seat, it took some time to get used to. I still think about it once in a while but the more time that goes on, it seems to get more comfortable."
—David Padgett says Louisville-Kentucky isn’t about him or John Calipari, “it’s all about the kids on the floor.”
—Terry likes the Cards.
Terry Rozier's prediction for tomorrow's Louisville-Kentucky game. Louisville 67, UK 63. pic.twitter.com/FRZg3L81vp— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) December 29, 2017
—Sign ups are open for U of L soccer camps.
—So the John Higgins thing worked yesterday. Way better than I thought it was going to.
—The New York Times has a good feature piece on Howard Schnellenberger.
Instead, he was lured home to coach Louisville, at the time essentially a commuter school known for its basketball team, with minimal football tradition. He positioned the floundering program to build an on-campus stadium and land in a major conference. The Florida Atlantic job — conjuring a program from nothing and taking it to a bowl game in his fourth season — was his swan song; he stepped down in 2011, at 77.
“I had to be the sage,” he said. “I’ve got to be the — what was his name? — Saint Paul, was it, the guy who was selling Jesus Christ?”
Schnellenberger’s résumé includes two unequivocal failures. He was the Baltimore Colts’ head coach in 1973 and for the first three games of 1974. Robert Irsay, the owner then, fired him after a sideline disagreement over who should play quarterback. Schnellenberger wanted to stick with the more established Marty Domres; Irsay wanted him to put in the rookie (and future Pro Bowler) Bert Jones. And he was coach of Oklahoma for one season, 1995, before a 5-5-1 record and what he characterized as the rumor-mongering of entrenched interests forced his resignation.
These also happened to be the two times Schnellenberger was put in charge of pedigreed powers. They weren’t the underdogs, hungry for even a modicum of success, where his P. T. Barnum-esque salesmanship sold well.
“I will kiss every baby in the cradle, I will speak at every Kiwanis Club — I’d do 500 of those a year — and I make myself available to everybody,” he said.
He also had the courage to set the goals high. “I said at Miami, ‘We’re gonna win the national championship in five years,’ and we did,” he said. “At Louisville, I said, ‘We’re going to win the national championship,’ but I knew it wasn’t going to be five years, so I said the only variable was time. And it’s hung up there and hung up there. Good — that’s the way it should be.”
Now he says the same is true of Florida Atlantic. It does not matter that the Owls play in a midtier league, Conference USA. Never mind that there are 129 other teams, a few with athletic budgets five times larger than Florida Atlantic’s. It is national championship or bust.
“Who gives a damn?” Schnellenberger said. “That’s your goal.”
—I recorded a college hoops podcast with Bobby Reagan of Barstool last night. We talked Louisville-Kentucky for most of the first half hour.
—This is one of the worst beats I’ve ever seen. So bad that it seems sketchy.
—Safe travels to the Cardinal fans heading to Jacksonville. Shoutout to this crew for arriving in one piece and in time for the basketball game.
@CardChronicle @GoCards Up (well some up) early to make it to Jax in time for b-ball game. Go @UofLFootball! #TaxSlayerBowl pic.twitter.com/HlnUxcJdj4— Maria Murphy (@murphyschleug) December 29, 2017
—If you’re reading this from Jacksonville, there is an official watch party for the basketball game.
—Andrea Adelson writes about the legacy of Lamar.
When Louisville opened 5-4, it became harder for Jackson to make another case to win the Heisman. But he did improve in big ways this season, and he put up more mind-boggling numbers, earning him another trip to New York.
Among his accomplishments, Jackson is proudest of his improvement as a passer: He stayed in the pocket more, recognized defenses better, went to his checks more reliably. As a result, Jackson posted a career-best completion percentage of 60.4 percent. He threw a career-low six interceptions.
"It just made other plays on the field easier," Jackson said. "I knew where my receivers would be all the time and stuff like that, I got the ball out in time to my receivers and we made big plays. That was the biggest thing for me this year."
In all, Jackson led the nation in total offense with 4,932 yards (3,489 passing, 1,443 rushing) and is on pace to set ACC season and career records for total yards per game. He won consecutive ACC Player of the Year honors and finished third in the Heisman race.
"If you take out his running stats, he had a great year throwing the football, the number of yards and completions and touchdowns and interception ratio. It's unbelievable," Petrino said. "Great, great year. If you take out his throwing, and just running the football, it's a great year running the ball. But the fact that he can do both of them together at the same time, nobody else has ever been able to do that, so you're seeing one of the best players ever to play college football."
—John Calipari thinks David Padgett is doing a great job.
—Eat it, Jacksonville.
#JUPhinsUp @CardChronicle @JUBasketball pic.twitter.com/tkxXzGK7Gm— Choppa (@JGL729) December 29, 2017
—While most of the basketball world is going small, Louisville has stayed big.
—A Cleveland Browns website profiles Lamar Jackson.
—Good stuff from the Cards.
Click ▶️ and join the Cards on their tour through USS Farragut earlier today at Naval Station Mayport. #L1C4 pic.twitter.com/CK0Zd9RW3I— LouisvilleFootball (@UofLFootball) December 28, 2017
—Gary Parrish of CBS says that both Louisville and Kentucky need a rivalry win to calm their rabid fan bases. Only one is going to get it.
—NCAA.com previews the game and likes the Wildcats by three.
—And finally, beat Kentucky.