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Wednesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Abby keeps the summer/fall tour rolling, this time taking it to Ushguli, Georgia.

—Spread check: Virginia by 4.5.

—Streaking the Lawn’s “THE COLUMN” feature takes aim at Louisville.

—Keelan Cole’s rise from backup at Central High, to FCS walk-on, to bourgeoning NFL star is just unreal.

—Nice to see DP still showing love to his staff.

—Both of ESPN’s current bowl prognosticators are predicting that Louisville won’t play in a bowl game this season.

—Bobby Petrino said during the offseason that he expected Louisville’s offense to be better without Lamar Jackson. Richard Johnson writes that this hasn’t been the case through three weeks.

It was going to be nearly impossible for Louisville to actually be better on offense.

First of all, let’s put to one side the fact that the most transcendent player in school history just left. His individual talent was one (big) thing. Jackson wasn’t doing it entirely alone, and his supporting cast helped him to one of college football’s best offenses over the last two seasons — even though he was contributing far more than his share throughout, with frequently subpar blocking and some issues with drops.

2016

No. 4 in yards per play (7.21)

No. 3 in yards per game (532.7)

No. 6 in scoring offense (42.5)

No. 10 in offensive S&P

2017

No. 3 in yards per play (7.39)

No. 3 in yards per game (544.9)

No. 11 in scoring offense (38.1)

No. 5 in offensive S&P

That’s really good!

But whether you lost the best player your school has ever had or not, this would be hard to replicate for a third year in a row. It also showed that there was almost nowhere to go but down for U of L’s offense.

—Ricky O’Donnell makes predictions for where the top uncommitted hopps prospects from the 2019 class are going to end up.

—One of those predictions has already been proven wrong, as five-star guard Josiah James surprised everyone by committing to Tennessee Wednesday morning.

—The U of L men’s soccer team rallied from a 2-0 deficit to produce a 2-2 draw with Charlotte Tuesday night at Lynn Stadium. Ken Lolla’s Cardinals are now the No. 6 team in the country according to the latest coaches poll.

—Next weekend is a monster one for U of L athletics on a number of levels.

—Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook has released its preseason top 25. Louisville has scheduled games against eight of the teams ranked in the top 15. That number would go up to nine if the Cards face Kansas at the NIT Season Tip-Off.

—Lamar Jackson is gone (have you guys seen this? have you heard about this?), but Virginia sees a lot of the same challenges in stopping new Louisville QB Malik Cunningham.

“It’s just like defending Lamar Jackson,” Virginia co-defensive coordinator Kelly Poppinga said Tuesday morning after practice. “I think the offense will be designed just like it was for Lamar Jackson, because the guy’s very similar.”

Cunningham’s Jackson-esque mobility figures to challenge all three levels of the Cavaliers’ defense. The defensive line can’t afford to lose containment, the linebackers likely will be asked to shadow him, and the defensive backs will have to stay in coverage longer because of his ability to extend plays and be aware he could take off running.

“We watched a good amount of film on him so far,” sophomore inside linebacker Zane Zandier said. “He’s really quick, quick side to side. Almost like Lamar Jackson. You can tell he’s trying to step into that role.”

— For the second time this season, Louisville cross country standout Dorcas Wasike has been named the ACC Cross Country Women’s Performer of the Week. U of L freshman Emmanuel Cheboson was named the ACC Men’s Freshman Performer of the Week.

—Football Scoop has a good look at the wild trend of multi-million dollar high school football stadiums in the state of Texas.

—It’s going to be a loaded (extended) weekend at Lynn Stadium starting Thursday night.

—After nine decades on the farm, the Huber family is calling it quits. It’s a sad day, but on the bright side, men all across Kentuckiana will no longer have to live in fear of having their football Saturday/Sunday wrecked by autumn apple picking.

—A Louisville rapper is firing back at Drake after Drake’s recent shot at Cardinal basketball.

—Rick Bozich says it’s a show-me weekend for Louisville, Kentucky and Indiana football.

—Former U of L baseball standout Adam Engel continues to establish himself as one of the best defensive outfielders in the Major League.

—Hoops Hype asks aloud if Donovan Mitchell is ready to make the superstar leap in his second NBA season.

—Former Trinity standout (and Ralph’s son) Dalyn Dawkins has been activated by the Tennessee Titans.

—Stephon Marbury says Zion Williamson is better than LeBron James at basketball ... “and it’s not close.” It’s a good thing Coney Island’s Finest has a history of expressing well thought out, reasonable opinions, or that would sound outrageous.

—Jeff Goodman breaks down all 54 of college basketball’s coaching changes, and predicts that Louisville will make the NCAA tournament in its first season under Chris Mack.

The guy who took over the best program is Chris Mack at Louisville; he’ll likely be one of the few coaches in new spots with a legitimate chance to get to the NCAA Tournament in his first year on the job.

LOUISVILLE

The New: Chris Mack

The Old: David Padgett (Interim: 22-14)The Older: Rick Pitino (293-140, 16 seasons, 13 NCAA tournament appearances, one national title)

Pitino was fired just prior to last season and Padgett was unable to get the Cardinals to the NCAA Tournament. Mack was the easy choice by new Athletic Director Vince Tyra, as he has taken Xavier to eight NCAA tournaments in his nine seasons at the helm. He has strong recruiting ties in the midwest, his wife hails from Louisville and he takes over a program that has gone through no shortage of issues the last few years. Mack has enough talent to get back to the NCAAs, but probably not much more than that. Prediction: NCAA tournament

His wife’s from Louisville? Oh. Weird that never came up during the coaching search.

—Mekhi Becton continues to be a bright spot for this Louisville team.

—The Cavalier Daily previews Virginia-Louisville.

—247 Sports has Louisville at No. 10 in its ACC power rankings.

—And finally, Louisville has scheduled a home football game against Eastern Kentucky for 2025. Let’s get one of those giant countdown clocks for downtown.