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Thursday evening Cardinal news and notes

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Ricky Depass and Kelly Schladand take the Summer Tour to Santorini, Greece.

So I stroll out to midfield last night, fully focused and ready to produce a tails toss. The head referee (whose name was Aaron Hernandez, but that’s neither here nor there) hands me the coin and explains that one side of the coin is yellow and the other is blue. There is no heads or tails call. I am completely rattled.

Despite that major setback, I managed to produce a toss that had both considerable height and tremendous rotation. The Harrisburg City Islanders won, but whatever, that toss set the tone for a 5-0 win that may have been the best overall performance of the season for Lou City.

Is the toss the only thing that deserves credit for that performance? Absolutely. Every loss the club suffers from this point forward is because I wasn’t asked to do the coin toss.

In all seriousness, I had a great time at the match last night. A big thanks to the brass at Lou City for having me. Regardless of how you feel about soccer, you owe it to yourself to make it out to Slugger before the season ends in a few months, especially now that the weather has settled down a little bit.

—Five-star big man Moses Brown confirmed today that he will be visiting Louisville on Sept. 1-2, and Maryland on Sept. 28. If U of L can somehow add both Brown and Romeo Langford to this class, you’re talking about arguably the most highly-touted collective crop of freshmen in Cardinal hoops history.

—247 Sports says Auburn, Stanford and Louisville are three teams from outside the top 10 that could crash the College Football Playoff the same way Washington did a year ago.

No. 16 Louisville

The Cardinal surprised many a year ago with Lamar Jackson’s emergence and the team’s ascendance up the rankings. While Louisville fell short – it ranked in the Top 5 with two weeks to go in the regular season – it will have another opportunity for a climb in 2017.

It helps when you have the best player in college football, Jackson. He was outstanding a year ago (51 total touchdowns), but he can still improve as a passer after completing 56.2 percent of his throws in 2016. Louisville’s defense, a Top 15 unit a year ago, should also prove fierce with seven returning starters. Additionally, the schedule sets up well. The ACC is deep, but if the Cardinal can get through a difficult early-season stretch – Purdue, at North Carolina and Clemson – it’s easy to envision them finishing strong. At that point, only one preseason Top 25 team (Florida State) would stand in the way.

There are some problems with Louisville, of course. The offensive line is a major question mark. A unit that allowed the most sack yardage in the FBS a year ago must replace three starters. There’s also the idea of a slip after the Cardinals lost their final three games a year ago.

Then again, that three-game slide is the reason a team this talented can be on this list.

—I have heard through the grapevine that details about a new deal between Adidas and the University of Louisville should be making their way to the public very soon. So keep an ear and a pair of eyes out for that.

—Grand Canyon has been cleared for full membership in Division-I, which means KEONTA VERNON could be coming to an NCAA Tournament near you this March.

—Yahoo lists the hottest assistant coaches in college football. Based on, like, coaching ability. Not attractiveness. But you probably guessed that.

—Shoutout to the child of Ryan and Brit Dukes for already throwing Ls in the womb.

—Last Chance U is going to a new school for season three, but for the third straight season it will feature a former blue-chip Florida State quarterback.

—Anonymous college basketball coaches say Louisville is more likely to have its banner taken away than North Carolina. They also say a bunch of not so nice stuff about Rick Pitino.

—UConn basketball is slowly losing its grip on the status of being a national powerhouse. I wrote about that here.

—Too accurate.

—The ninth-ranked U of L men’s soccer team opens its season tomorrow night at 7:30 against UC Irvine inside the friendly confines of Lynn Stadium. Here’s your match preview.

—The 1-0 U of L women are in action tonight on the road against Indiana. Kickoff is at 7:30.

—Mrs. CC is currently starring in a Sullivan commercial that you may have already seen, and it’s pretty much my favorite thing ever.

Best parts here, in order:

1. The graduated cylinder examination

My wife works either in an office or from home, which she explains in the commercial. What is she pouring into that cylinder and then examining? Is this Dr. Pepper? You don’t do this at work.

2. Who works like this?

I know you don’t because I’m working like 15 feet away from you on most days and I have yet to see this expression.

Also, let’s take a closer look at that screen.

ENHANCE

I knew it.

3. The fake phone call

You’re really not pulling me in here. I’m very aware that I’m watching a commercial.

(My wife rules and I’m very proud of her)

—Football Study Hall listed six teams last preseason that its numbers said were overrated, and all six ended up being overrated. Here’s their list of overrated teams for this season.

—College basketball coaches say Michigan’s John Belein is the cleanest major head coach in the sport. Mike Brey is second.

—U of L volleyball gets underway this weekend with the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. Here’s a preview.

—Herbie spits some truth.

"I don't know if I've ever seen a guy have a year like he enjoyed," Herbstreit said, "and almost be forgotten by the masses the following year."

The biggest key to Jackson having another big season, Herbstreit said, will be Louisville improving in the areas that led to a late-season swoon.

The Cards struggled with penalties, sacks and turnovers, particularly in the final three games of the year, all losses. And Jackson completed just 56.2 percent of his passes and took responsibility for some of the sacks and turnovers that hurt the Cards.

But Herbstreit said he couldn't shake the images from Jackson's national breakthrough, a dynamic performance in U of L's 63-20 win over Florida State with ESPN's "College GameDay" crew in attendance. Herbstreit, who is on the network's pregame show, also worked as an in-game analyst for ESPN's national broadcast of that game.

Jackson produced 362 total yards of offense and five touchdowns against the second-ranked Seminoles.

"Nobody does that to a Florida State defense," Herbstreit said. "... The notion that the guy can't throw — I don't know where it comes from. I have very, very high expectations for him to pick up where he left off."

—The Washington Post says it’ll be difficult for the ACC to match its 2016 season because of the league’s quarterback attrition.

—No team in college football fails to live up to its preseason hype more consistently than Notre Dame.

—After a year as Donovan Mitchell’s sidekick, Deng Adel should slide into a starring role in 2017-18.

—-I approve of the highlighted selection.

—The U of L women’s basketball team has released its full non-conference schedule.

—Louisville launched its “We, the Future” campaign while I was in Boston last week.

—Purdue’s projected starting quarterback may not be able to play against the Cards in nine days.

—Love it.

—Jeff Greer answers a sixer of Louisville hoops questions.

—The ninth-ranked U of L field hockey team gets its season underway this weekend.

—James Lindsey is one of my favorite local artists. Here’s a cool feature on him from WFPK.

—This picture is tremendous.

A story in five parts ...

—Jo Adell talks about life as an 18-year-old millionaire and the difficult decision to bypass playing at U of L and go straight to the pros.

—A former walk-on, lifelong Louisville fan Mason King is fulfilling a dream as a Cardinal starter and captain.

—And finally, Louisville gets nods from the college football staff at CBS as both the most overrated and underrated team in the ACC.

Louisville: I love Lamar Jackson, but I just don't see how he's going to have success this year in this particular division. What is Louisville's weakness? An offensive line that looked more like a turnstile than a functional unit. And that group is going to hold off Clemson, NC State, Florida State, Boston College led by Harold Landry, and not suffer any random upsets when the line doesn't come to play? I don't see it. Louisville is, at best, a three-loss team this year. After all, Jackson can't do it all. -- Barrett Sallee

...

Louisville: The Cardinals' biggest problem is that they are in the same division as Florida State and Clemson. This is no worse than the third-best team in the ACC, and with Jackson back to defend his Heisman Trophy, you can count on more video game numbers on offense. Last season, Jackson was sacked too much and often had to make plays on the run. If the offensive line improves, the offense could be even more frightening to opponents. Louisville's defense will return most of the unit that finished in the top 20 in the nation. The biggest question mark is new coordinator Peter Sirmon. Don't be surprised of the Cards take a step forward this year despite sharing a division with the Noles and Tigers. -- Jerry Palm

Palm also predicts that Jackson will become just the second player ever to win multiple Heismans, despite Louisville again finishing third in the Atlantic Division. None of CBS’ writers pick the Cards to win the Atlantic, and only one picks them to finish second.