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This Is Supposed To Be Fun: See You Next Year

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Rough way for the season to end. But all seasons end.

Thomas Joseph-USA TODAY Sports

During the Battle 4 Atlantis, I tweeted:

The point I was trying to make was, November Cards usually look really different than March Cards, but you can see what might be, where the growth comes from, where the ceiling might be.  But for some reason after the first few games, I just had no idea what we had.  Being up huge on Baylor then just absolutely giving the game away, unfortunately, told us a lot about our season.  If after that game you would have told me we'd be a #2 seed or that we'd lose in the first weekend, I would have said 60/40 the latter.  If you had said a #2 seed that loses in the first weekend, I would have believed you.

After losing on the road to FSU, without Snider, I responded to my own tweet:

And that was right, and still is right.  This was a really, really good team.  We beat UK!!! Q danced on Bam!

Mitchell cocked that joint back and banged on 'em:

Then did it again!

And in the lead-in to the UNC game, people were throwing around all sorts of comps to previous teams, including the National Championship team of 2013.  I was excited but also somewhat cautious: thought this team had Final Four potential but didn't seem to have IT that the 2013 team did.  I was traveling on the day of the UNC game, but was on a Southwest flight.  The flight got delayed, putting departure at tipoff.  Southwest has Wifi and TV, and just added ESPN.  And that's how I had watched us win at Syracuse.  I was feeling good, fans were more excited for this game than a regular season game since like 2009.  I walk on the plane, and notice.....no WIFI.  Crushing.  The book I was reading was way more depressing and not what I had been lead to believe by the amazon preview.  We land, and I see we are down big, and everyone is besides themselves.  I see not one minute of the game.

Everything has been off since then.  Sure, we were playing against better teams and in worse situations (that Wake game was a hornet's nest, and Duke in the ACC tourney was no cakewalk).  And we ran into a Michigan team that is as hot as anyone in the country, and that made every single play they needed to make.  It took Snider's only non-scoring game of the season, Mitchell not bouncing back in a big way, missed dunks, bad calls (more on that in a minute), and Michigan just playing better....but we lost and the season is over.

This is all supposed to be fun.  Whether it's a distraction from stress in day-to-day life or a respite from the waking nightmare that is Trump's America, college sports are supposed to be fun.  What has happened to the college game as it tries to keep up with the free-flowing NBA high scoring games has made the transition unwatchable.  I complain about the refs a lot, I know, but I have a couple good (?) reasons for this: first, they are the only adults on the floor at all times and the only ones getting paid for being there.  I try never to be upset at guys on our team, or even dislike guys on the opposing team, because they are still college kids.   Second, officiating is awful these days.  Maybe it's always been like this, but the inconsistency not only from game to game but from half to half and end to end.  It's tough on players and tough on the fans, and combine that with the 8th level announcers who seem to always get our games, the weird camera angles during games, the timeouts....it's just not fun.

It's more fun when you win, but even this team seemed to have some wins where fans were upset afterwards. Miami shouldn't have led, VaTech shot too well from 3, Cuse shouldn't have gone to OT, should have blown out ND.

Maybe it's the NCAA investigation hanging over everything and the seemingly constant scandals affecting the program and the University as a whole, maybe it's the way the football season ended, maybe it's the weird winter-like weather that has delayed Springtime in Louisville, maybe it is the general malaise and dread that covers every waking moment of life in 2017 in America like the breath of the Nazgul....but this season was not "fun" in any sense of the word.  So it sucks that it is over, but there's some relief too.

Now, the Cardinal baseball team is on an incredible run (19-0!!!) and looks poised to play deep into June.  Rick said everyone is coming back, and to the extent that's true, we are looking at the deepest and most talented team we've maybe ever had, with some real NCAA tournament seasoning now and some talented freshman who will not have to play major minutes.

Oh, and the football team, which starts Spring Practice soon, is literally trotting out the reigning College Football Heisman Winner and hosting the defending national champions.  For those who sat through Louisville 10 - 9 Syracuse or at games in Old Cardinal Stadium, I mean, that's fun!  Lamar!  We have Lamar!

The basketball offseason is long, we won't see the Cards play again until October.  There will be NCAA investigation news, the threat of new penalties, I'm sure SOMEONE will leave despite what Rick said, there will be lots of non-basketball stuff.  We can make it through May easily: spring football, Derby Festival, Derby, Louisville baseball, and off-season college football excitement.  July is the toughest.  The month of August once football camp starts seems like it lasts about 4 months but at least we have real football.

Once the ball kicks off in Indianapolis (gross) against Jeff Brohm and his Big Ten squad (grossssss!!) time will fly again.  Lamar will do Lamar things, Clemson fans will do Clemson fan things, the football team will have to breakthrough against FSU or another ranked team on the road, and we'll have to deal with anonymous NFL scouts trashing Lamar all year.  A lot of Not. Fun. infecting what should be an otherwise fun fall.  We as a fanbase should not be "championship or bust" because I mean it's crazy hard to win the national championship in football.  But it's okay to have high expectations.

Because it's supposed to be fun.  While the offseason is long, if we make it through, this is what is waiting for you on the other side: