—Spread check: Louisville by 25.
—It’s real now.
They grow up so fast.
—Indianapolis native Lukayus McNeil has a backstory worth knowing.
“I’m just living day by day,” he said. “I’m just going to keep doing what I can do and fighting. And hopefully, that day comes where a paycheck comes and I can get my mom and brother together and say it’s over with.’’
McNeil’s time at Indianapolis’ Decatur Central High School was marked by upheaval and uncertainty. When his mother decided to move out of the school district and, later, out of the state, McNeil chose to stay behind and fend for himself and his brother, Isriel.
“I was starting to get into football more and starting to like it more and had people looking at me and things like that and I didn’t want to move from the school,” he said. “So I ended up moving into a friend’s house.”
He moved out to make room for his brother – “I had nowhere to go. I had no place to call home.’’ – and drifted from place to place, sleeping on friends’ couches or floors, sometimes wandering the streets after midnight in search of shelter, growing familiar with grown-ups wondering why his parents let him stay out so late.
“I ended up bouncing house-to-house for like half a year,” he said. “It was difficult. I kept my stuff with my brother. ... Every day after school I’d go get my clothes. I knew I couldn’t stay there, (but) I’d go get some clothes and find somewhere to stay and go to school the next day.”
School meant stability and structure and sports brought success. As a Decatur Central senior, McNeil averaged 14 points and 16 rebounds per game in basketball and became a state champion in the shot put. Though McNeil did not immediately recognize a career opportunity when Central football coach Justin Dixson recruited him as an offensive lineman, when that light finally came on, it was beacon-bright.
“At first, I didn’t know if I wanted to do it,” McNeil said of football. “I was just doing it because it was something to keep me off the streets. I knew I didn’t have nowhere to go after school. It would keep me a little longer, to keep me busy before I had to find somewhere to go, somewhere to sleep.”
Sports are good.
—It would appear as though the red chrome helmets will be back for tomorrow night’s game.
—Former Heisman winners weigh in with their thoughts on what Lamar Jackson might be able to do for an encore.
—This was supposed to be an ell-encompassing “welcome to college football 2017” tweet, but it’s obviously very Lamar-centric.
—Spencer Hall’s start of the season write-up is always worth your time.
—Jeff Greer answers questions and shares his ridiculous thoughts on D2: The Mighty Ducks.
—Romeo Langford has made his final seven official.
Donovan Mitchell has some thoughts.
Just saying we beat Indiana and Kentucky https://t.co/CQ6tSFUd1M— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) September 1, 2017
—The Louisville field hockey team fell on the road to Ohio State this afternoon, 2-1 in overtime.
—Illinois is the next team up for U of L volleyball.
—The staff over at The Cardinal Connect makes their predictions for tomorrow night.
—The Wall Street Journal’s annual college football grid of shame has Louisville as a moderately embarrassing powerhouse.
—ArizonaSports.com has Louisville-Purdue as the fifth-best game of college football’s opening weekend.
5. #16 Louisville Cardinals vs. Purdue Boilermakers
Saturday, Sept. 2 • Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis • 4:30 PM • FOX
Once upon a time, Jeff Brohm was the quarterback at Louisville. He was pretty good, too. He helped lead the Cardinals to a nine-win season and a win over Michigan State in the 1993 Liberty Bowl. He’s now the new head coach at Purdue, and the Boilermakers open their season by hosting Louisville. The Cardinals’ current QB, with all due respect to Coach Brohm, is the best ever at UL. Lamar Jackson won the Heisman last season after posting video game numbers. The junior threw for 3,543 yards and 30 touchdowns and added 1,571 yards and 21 more scores on the ground. Co-defensive coordinators Nick Holt and Anthony Poindexter will have their hands full trying to contain Jackson, who opened announced his Heisman candidacy with eight touchdowns (six passing) in last year’s opener against Charlotte.
—Reigning national runner-up Gonzaga is No. 24 in SB Nation’s preseason top 25 countdown.
—U of L baseball has a new commit.
and possibly the most underrated of all the great coaches. https://t.co/t9bu5wA5z5— El Flaco (@bomani_jones) September 1, 2017
—Six reasons why Alabama-Florida State is the biggest season-opener ever.
—None of the guys over at Hammer and Rails were bold enough to predict a Boilermaker upset tomorrow night.
—Josh Harvey-Clemons with a pick six last night for Washington.
Just when you think your days of mistakenly typing “Josh Harvey-Clemson” are over. Wherever you go ...
—Lane Kiffin says Alabama wouldn’t have lost to Clemson if he hadn’t left before the title game.
—Tickets to next Tuesday’s U of L men’s soccer match against Kentucky are now on sale. If you save your ticket stub from that match then you can get $2 admission to the team’s showdown with No. 2 Wake Forest on Sept. 9.
—Good stuff from Marc Murphy.
—Real Ball Insiders says the Chicago Bulls should take a chance and ink Russ Smith.
—The (large) staff over at Tar Heel Blog takes a stab at predicting UNC’s 2017 season. Nobody seems sure what to expect, which is understandable given what they lost from a year ago.
—Booger McFarland is stocking the Louisville clothing stores again.
The “bunch of dudes” are ready.
—Five-star big man Moses Brown is officially on campus for his weekend visit. Hopefully “lack of rain” isn’t on his priority checklist.
—The New York Times has a pretty deep, and ultimately tragic, look at the academic favoritism that football players receive at Florida State.
The work of other players listed sources at the end, but they contained page after page of text lifted verbatim from websites, without quotation marks or citations. Those projects — by Mr. Wilder, Timmy Jernigan, Tre’ Jackson, Nick Waisome and Kelvin Benjamin, the wide receiver who caught the winning pass in the championship game — appear to have been accepted without question.
Another player turned in writing of his own that was barely grade-school level. “Brazilian coffee is one of few places that has a carnival and the coffee place a major role just as much as the dancing and the food,” he wrote.
Several players were allowed to make up missed assignments and quizzes long past the deadlines, even though course policy said it was “unacceptable to wait until the last week of class” to request it; on a couple of occasions, Professor Bonn deducted points for lateness.
Neither Professor Bonn nor any of the players responded to requests for comment for this article.
—Regardless of what happens in his senior season, Reggie Bonnafon has already established a legacy of leadership.
—Today marks 10 years since Appalachian State stunned Michigan in the Big House. People share their stories of where they were when the blocked field goal went down.
—Louisville is No. 9 according to Lindy’s, which has sort of a strange preseason top 10.
Cincinnati and Texas A&M should both be fine, but uh, let’s pump the brakes just a tad top the top 10 hype.
—In the wake of yesterday’s “Go Cards, beat Purdue” history lesson, I’ve had three different people reach out to me with three different stories about who the cheerleader was who made the famous mistake and how it went down.
One of those is Vonda Woodmore, who also shared a very cool story about being longtime friends with Beth Mattingly Denham, who at the time was the mascot. Here they are then and now:
Cards stick together.
—Butch Davis still has Carolina on his mind. That’s a reference to a song, kids.
—The Journal & Courier, which I just assume is The Courier-Journal’s evil twin, looks at who has the edge in every area between Louisville and Purdue.
—100 college hoops coaches were asked to name the most powerful person in the sport, and Coach K was the runaway winner. John Calipari was second, and Rick Pitino also received votes.
—Saturday Blitz has three bold predictions for tomorrow’s game.
—Establishing priorities early on in a marriage is important.
—ACC football kicked off last night with Wake Forest’s #Clawfense hanging 51 on Presbyterian.
—Tonight in ACC play, Syracuse takes on Central Connecticut at 7 (ACC Network), and Boston College is on the road at Northern Illinois at 9:30 (CBS Sports Network).
—Former Cardinal Kyle Bolin will make his first start for Rutgers when the Scarlet Knights face Washington at 8 p.m. on FS1. Your full TV schedule for this evening will be up on the site shortly. Go Kyle.
—When Teddy gets emotional, I get emotional.
Here’s the majority of Teddy’s emotional sideline interview with Greg Coleman. pic.twitter.com/opYlfSAywr— xtina (@cyvonne1229) September 1, 2017
Imagine being a person who didn’t like that guy. You’re pretty much Isis.
—The Ringer makes Lamar Jackson its preseason All-American quarterback and is outraged that anyone else would be considered.
—Athlon likes Louisville over Purdue, 52-24.
—Greer likes the Cards by a similarly lopsided final of 59-21.
—Did you know Jeff Brohm is from Louisville and actually PLAYED for Louisville? Because he did.
—A very necessary Friday Irrelevance:
A great moment in movie history is when Harvey can't recognize The Joker until he takes off his surgery mask. pic.twitter.com/nFbS8qMn4F— David S. (@AE_DavidS) August 31, 2017
Come on, Eckhart.
—And finally, beat Purdue.