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Monday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

A big shoutout and thank you to Jake Maier, who has now flown this Lamar jersey over Afghanistan in both a Blackhawk and an F-16.

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—Spread check: Louisville by 1.

—Louisville defensive end Tabarius Peterson announced Sunday that he’ll be using his one year of extra eligibility to play another season for the Cards.

—Eric Crawford writes about what Louisville hopes to take away from Saturday’s blowout loss at Wisconsin.

—A college football season with no inter-conference play still resulted in undefeated teams missing the Playoff because their conferences were supposedly way worse. Rodger Sherman writes that 2020 proves the CFP system was specifically designed to produce this outcome.

—Pat Forde also takes dead aim at the College Football Playoff.

Is the 2020 playoff about the 2020 season or is it about the perceptions built in years past? Do you get credit for beating Penn State because it is usually good? If so, then why does a Northwestern team that went 3-9 last season suddenly morph into a juggernaut?

Or why does beating Memphis and UCF, which went a combined 22-5 last season, not matter at all?

The Big 12 played non-conference games this season and it went 0-3 against the Sun Belt, whose 11-0 champion Coastal Carolina could never crack the top 10. One of those victories was Louisiana defeating Iowa State by 17 points, in Ames.

Yet two-loss Oklahoma jumped Cincinnati for beating the Cyclones and winning the Big 12, which showed no empirical evidence that it was any good this season.

Notre Dame and Texas A&M, meanwhile, lost by 24 to Clemson and 28 to Alabama, respectively.

Would Cincinnati do that any worse? Who knows, but you’d think it would be discussed, challenged or considered. It’s not like the Irish or Aggies were particularly strong contenders.

Instead Cincinnati was eliminated due to its conference affiliation. And it always will be as long as the subjective “eye test” determines the field. The committee thinks the AAC plays a lower level of football and isn’t worthy of deliberation for its precious playoff field.

Perhaps the committee is correct about that. We will never know. It’s all conjecture.

But if that’s the belief and this is the system, then end the charade and call the College Football Playoff what it really is — Not A Playoff for All of College Football.

—You can see the full matchups for all 28 bowl games (16 bowl games were canceled) here.

—Bucky’s 5th Quarter goes over the notes from Wisconsin’s annihilation of Louisville.

—Cardinal Authority has a Q&A with highly-touted Louisville RB signee This Trevion Cooley.

—Notre Dame is currently the largest underdog in CFP history.

—Louisville falls all the way out of Andy Katz’s latest Power 36 rankings.

—The Cards are No. 30 in Jon Rothstein’s top 45 rankings.

—Matt Brown writes that while 2021 should be a big year in college athletics reform, from Congress to academic reformers to even college administrators, it isn’t clear that folks agree on what the problem is, let alone how to address it.

—The U of L men’s basketball team enjoyed a productive semester in the classroom.

The University of Louisville men’s basketball team continues to excel academically, as reflected in grade point averages from the 2020 UofL fall semester.

The Cardinals achieved a collective 3.100 grade point average for the recently completed 2020 fall semester, with 13 of the 17 student-athletes on its roster earning a 3.0 or better GPA.

The academic scores maintain a level of academic success that the Cardinals have accomplished for several years. The men’s basketball team has attained a collective 3.0 GPA for 23 of the last 25 semesters. Seven members of the Cardinals’ 2019-20 team earned their degrees.

Louisville has received an NCAA Public Recognition Award seven of the last eight years for ranking among the top 10 percent in men’s basketball in the Academic Progress Rate (APR), which measures academic eligibility, retention and graduation for student-athletes. Louisville and Stanford are the only two schools from Power Five conferences that have earned the APR recognition in at least seven of the last eight years.

A league-high matching five Cardinals were named to the 2020 All-ACC Academic Team and UofL has produced an ACC-best 36 selections over its six years in the league. Prior to entering the ACC, UofL’s men’s basketball team earned four straight league Team Academic Excellence Awards, recognizing the highest collective grade-point averages in each of the conference sports (2014 American Athletic Conference, 2011-13 Big East).

—The U of L women’s basketball team also dominated in the classroom.

—Kei-Trel Clark gets a First Team All-ACC vote from David Hale.

—Memphis has signed Penny Hardaway to a five-year extension worth $12.25 million through 2026

—U of L football signee Ashton Gillotte led his high school to a Florida state championship over the weekend.

—”Players First.”

We’ve got dudes openly crying on national TV over playing time, guys leaving the floor before the end of games, Cal sending players home and then putting them on blast publicly, and the first 1-5 start since 1927.

I don’t care how we looked on Saturday, we’ve gotta beat these dudes this year.

—State of Louisville examines the importance of the week ahead for Louisville basketball.

—Syracuse has paused all team activities and postponed its scheduled game for Tuesday against Notre Dame.

—Your undefeated DePaul Blue Demons (Athletic link).

The Blue Demons are one of just nine Division I teams, and the only one from a major conference, that has yet to play a game. The most recent disruption arrived Saturday, when DePaul’s Dec. 23 game against UConn was postponed on a recommendation from Connecticut’s Department of Public Health. The Blue Demons are now hoping to open their season against Western Illinois at home on Wednesday, but suffice to say there’s no guarantee that will happen.

I caught up with Blue Demons coach Dave Leitao on the phone Saturday night, and he sounded shaken by all that has transpired. When I asked him how he was holding everyone together, he replied sadly, “Not easy, not easy.” That’s understandable given that DePaul has had to pause team activities three times, most recently on Dec. 14 following yet another case of COVID-19 in the program, which sent everyone back into a lengthy quarantine.

“The city says the guys have to be strict about staying in their dorm rooms,” Leitao said. “Imagine being in that room on and off for 40 days. You put somebody in there for 14 days, take them out for a week, put them back in. Do that three of four times, and it has an adverse effect on you mentally while you’re trying to stay safe physically.”

Because of injuries and attrition, the Blue Demons were already down to 10 scholarship players. The team has only been able to hold about a half-dozen full practices. Several players have lost friends and family members as well, compounding the mental health challenge. “They can’t get a hug from anybody,” Leitao said. “Can’t go home, can’t do anything. As a result we’ve got a lot of anger, we’ve got anxiety, we’ve got a lot of things we have to deal with.”

Leitao told me he would not ask the school to suspend the season because his guys still want to play. Hopefully they will get that chance soon. In the meantime, Leitao is doing his best to keep everyone mentally sound. “I tell them all the time, we’re in this space, we’re being challenged, and all we can do is bloom where we’re planted,” he said. “We’ll just have to get through it as best we can.”

—Matt McGavic of Louisville Report is taking Louisville over Pitt by four.

How the Grinch Stole Bowlsmas.

—Wisconsin was firing on all cylinders Saturday afternoon. Louisville was not.

—Louisville baseball is No. 11 in Collegiate Baseball’s initial rankings for the 2021 season.

—We’ve also won every fourth year since John Calipari’s arrival in Lexington. So there’s that.

—Though still paused due to Covid-19 issues, the Louisville women’s basketball team holds at No. 2 in this week’s AP top 25 poll.

—ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel looks at the best undefeated teams in women’s basketball.

—Here’s a recap of how Wisconsin fans celebrated Saturday’s blowout on social media.

—And finally, Bill Connelly writes for ESPN that college football fans deserve much, much better.