—Early heads up: I’m doing the coin toss for the Louisville City FC match next Wednesday (Aug. 23) against the Harrisburg City Islanders. I’m shooting for a tails, but I can’t make any promises. What I’m saying is don’t bet anything you can’t afford to lose on that toss. At least not yet.
You can buy tickets for the match here, and because they want as many people as possible to boo me, you can use the promo code “CC2017” in order to get approximately 20 percent off your game tickets. That deal is good for Wednesday’s match as well as any other home match for the rest of the season.
—Speaking of the beautiful game, the Louisville men’s soccer team has been picked to finish third in the ACC’s Atlantic Division. I bet they finish higher.
Here’s how the league’s coaches see the state of the conference heading into the year:
North Carolina (5)
Wake Forest (3)
Notre Dame (1)
1. Wake Forest (8) - 62
2. Clemson (3) - 60
3. Louisville (1) - 52
4. Syracuse - 41
5. Boston College - 20
6. NC State - 17
1. North Carolina (9) - 69
2. Virginia (2) - 58
3. Notre Dame (1) - 51
4. Virginia Tech - 31
5. Duke - 28
6. Pitt - 15
Remember, Louisville was picked dead last in this same poll a year ago and wound up being the No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
—The Sporting News plays best and worst case scenario for every team in its preseason top 25.
Best case: Lamar Jackson is bigger, better and badder as the returning Heisman Trophy winner, and a stat-stuffing victory against Purdue at Lucas Oil Stadium is a reminder. Louisville beats Clemson two weeks later and takes early control of the ACC Atlantic Division race. Bobby Petrino’s best season as a coach continues, and new defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon is a difference-maker. The Cardinals beat Florida State and Kentucky, too, and despite one slip-up, go to the ACC championship game with a chance to make the playoff. Dez Fitzpatrick wins the Biletnikoff Award. Jackson has a chance to win that second Heisman trophy. Worst case: The opener turns into a shootout, and Purdue, led by former Louisville quarterback and first-year coach Jeff Brohm, shocks the Cards in triple overtime. The defense never finds its groove, and the offense struggles to run the football. Clemson wins another thriller at Papa John’s Stadium two weeks later. The Cardinals fall in road games at N.C. State and Florida State and risk losing a fifth game at Kentucky.
—Shoutout to Mark Kull for submitting this old school Louisville media guide back cover featuring Roman Oben.
Imagine being the person who had to pitch that idea to Roman. Also, shoutout to Marty Lowe.
—SEC Country reacts to the news of the 2021 Louisville-Ole Miss game.
Inching closer ... only 15 more days! pic.twitter.com/tMK1mWMhV8— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) August 16, 2017
—High school football in the state of Kentucky kicks off again Friday night. Floyd Central at Male is WDRB’s Game of the Week.
—Indiana’s full 2017-18 hoops schedule is out. Louisville is featured.
—Lead Regulators Blanton Creque and Mason King talk special teams and personal areas of improvement.
—The U of L women’s basketball team has added a game against Ohio State to its 2017-18 schedule. The Buckeyes had originally been slated to play Connecticut.
—Sports Illustrated is the latest to peg NC State as the biggest potential sleeper in the ACC.
The Wolfpack wouldn’t be flying this far under the national radar had they won one of two close games last season. The first was a 24–17 overtime loss at eventual national champion Clemson in October in which NC State kicker Kyle Bambard missed a 33-yard field goal at the end of regulation. The second was a four-point home defeat to Florida State in November wherein the Wolfpack led deep into the fourth quarter, only for Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois to hit NFL-bound wideout Travis Rudolph for a 19-yard touchdown with just over three minutes remaining one play after nearly throwing a potentially game-sealing interception.
NC State takes just one of those close decisions, and it heads into this season as the clearest threat to shake up the ACC’s duopoly. Instead, the Wolfpack have been reduced to scrapping for “Others receiving votes” love, and Dave Doeren is showing up on coaching hot seat lists. Doeren needs to offer evidence of progress in 2017; the Wolfpack have posted a 25–26 record during his four years in Raleigh, and they haven’t notched anything that remotely qualifies as a signature win. That drought ought to end this year, as NC State hosts both Clemson and Louisville, our No. 7 and No. 14 teams, respectively.
—Fox Sports has Louisville football at No. 13 in its preseason rankings.
—Jaire Alexander is the best.
—GoCards.com looks at the Louisville special teams.
—Earlier this week, the Louisville Jaguars retired the jersey of former Cardinal linebacker Abe Brown, who was murdered in April.
—The U of L women’s soccer team has released its schedule of home game promotions for the upcoming season.
—The Big 10 has released its full basketball schedule for the 2017-18 season, which begins and ends way earlier than in year’s past because of the league’s tournament (at MSG) being played a week earlier than usual. Said tournament actually begins on Feb. 28, which is the perfect time
—The #CardYards continue.
—The latest ACC football championship odds from Odds Shark have Louisville tied with Miami as the third choice to win the conference. Florida State is the betting favorite, followed by Duke. I’m just kidding it’s Clemson.
—Tony Patelis of College Hoops News has Louisville at No. 7 in his updated preseason top 25.
—The Press Herald looks at Reggie Bonnafon, who’s ready to embrace a new role for U of L.
—Instant entry into the First Pitch Hall of Fame ... which should exist.
The first pitch at the Red Sox game didn't go well.— Sporting News (@sportingnews) August 16, 2017
—Via Pick 6 Previews, these are the longest active streaks of AP top 25 appearances in college football:
147- Alabama (since 2008)
82- Ohio St
16- L'ville, Washington
*Daps Nate Robinson
*Shows Nate Robinson the Otis George pick video
—Here’s a short recap of the sights and sounds from Tuesday’s U of L Football Luncheon:
ICYMI: Yesterday's Kickoff Luncheon means a step closer to the start of the season. Replay the sights from the event. pic.twitter.com/9ByLCVNPD1— LouisvilleFootball (@UofLFootball) August 16, 2017
—Dabo Swinney indicated on Wednesday that junior Kelly Bryant will likely be the team’s starting quarterback to begin the 2017 season. Bryant can definitely run it. We’ll find out soon enough how well he can toss it. Because of that, the Tigers are likely to play multiple quarterbacks early on in the year, a stretch which could extend to Sept. 16 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
—There is now a pre-sale for single game Louisville football tickets for the 2017 season.
—Buck up, Sean.
—I think Louisville’s second game of the season, at North Carolina, is one of the most intriguing matchups on the schedule. The Associated Press previews the Tar Heels.
—It’s Freshman Movie Night Thursday at Lynn Stadium.
If there’s one thing to know about Freshman Movie Night, it’s this: Don’t jump in the baby pool. Don’t do it. You’re going to think it’s a funny way to meet new people and set an early campus reputation for being “wacky,” but it’s not going to be funny. It’s going to be lame. Don’t jump in the baby pool. Don’t. Just stay dry and enjoy Beauty and the Beast.
—Literally any question can be asked. Even really, really stupid ones like this, Paul.
Man’s lost six games in five years.
—Teddy Bridgewater is the inspiration for a new children’s book named Little Bear Teddy.
—The official PGA championship Facebook page has a very cool video about Justin Thomas’ triumph.
—It’s still weird for me to think of Matt Leinart as being an old guy. At least when it comes to football.
Hopefully they’re just talking about winning the Heisman and not how to repeat as the Heisman winner ... or go from Heisman winner to NFL star ... or how to date Kristin Cavallari.
—Tomahawk Nation has an in-depth look at Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the ‘Noles will play Alabama on Sept. 2 and where Louisville will face Ole Miss in four years.
—And finally, I’m off to Boston this morning for an anniversary weekend/final getaway before the madness of college sports once again consumes my entire life and doesn’t let go until early April. If I catch a foul ball at the Red Sox/Yankees game Friday night I’ll cut it up and give every one of you a piece.