—Spread check: Louisville by 3.
—Congrats to Jared Goldwire, who was named Second Team All-ACC by the Associated Press on Monday.
—Lamar Jackson spent the first part of his week personally delivering toys to 150 kids in the Baltimore area.
—The deflecting shots from Lexington are now coming at a fast and furious pace.
Calipari tells fans not to feed “the trolls” amid 1-5 start: “Anyone who we’ve been beating their brains in for 11 years, don’t listen to it.”— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) December 21, 2020
**cough, Louisville, cough**
That burn would be a lot more sick if Louisville fans weren’t the ones infinitely more confident than Kentucky fans right now that the Wildcats are about to get things turned around.
—Carlik Jones is set to return to a “humbled” Louisville team tonight.
—Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale will be the ESPN announcers for Saturday’s Louisville-Kentucky game.
—This UK fan is so fed up that he’s willing to take a loss on his Battle of the Bluegrass tickets.
“Cannot support coach cal any longer. someone please buy these.”— Chris Hatfield (@ChrisDHatfield) December 22, 2020
Whoa buddy, I’m dead. pic.twitter.com/I7VgWfDHSy
—Great news out Florida, where Gators star Keyontae Johnson is being released from the hospital 10 days after he collapsed on the court against Florida State.
—Auburn is now “hoping to hire” Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables to be its new head coach. I, for one, support the move.
—The Hard Rock Cafe at Fourth Street Live is shutting its doors for good after 15 years.
—What a strange, sweaty man.
—Florida football coach Dan Mullen has received a 1-year show cause penalty for recruiting violations. Not sure how that’s going to have any effect on a guy who is already currently employed and successful, but cool.
—U of L rowing just wrapped up a stellar recruiting year.
—Pro Football Focus’ All-ACC squad showed more love to Louisville players than the AP or the league’s media did.
—In his annual media call, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that for the first time during his tenure, the league is considering expansion. Naturally, Louisville’s name has been tossed around a lot today.
In his annual preseason media call, commissioner Adam Silver said for the first time in his tenure that the NBA is considering expansion. It doesn’t appear that anything is imminent, but given Silver’s signal I bet it comes up in the next round of collective bargaining talks in a couple years, which means the league would need to do its due diligence now.
The rationale for expanding: it’s a cash infusion to the existing 30 NBA franchise owners due to massive expected expansion fees. You charge the new franchisees the average value of an existing NBA team — is $1.5 billion out of the realm of possibility? — and split the proceeds among the 30 incumbents. Two teams, maybe $3 billion — that’s $100 million for each current team owner. And all you have to do is face marginally more competition for players, playoff spots and titles, and give up your seventh and eighth men in the expansion drafts.
Seattle would certainly be one of the two expansion teams, especially since no current teams are in play for relocation in the immediate future. The second team could be Mexico City (the home run swing), Louisville (which would be a very NBA move — going to a market with basketball history/love but no NFL, MLB or NHL team) or Vancouver (righting another wrong, boosting the West Coast T.V. schedule, doubling down on Canadian successes).
—A reform bill establishing a national anti-doping and racetrack safety authority passed the Senate and is now expected to be signed into law.
—U of L cornerback Anthony Johnson is transferring to Virginia, where he’ll get at least two cracks at his former squad before his college career is over.
I would like to thank God for continuing to bless me and open new doors! I am greatly honored to say I am committed to The University of Virginia !!!— Agent 27 (@aj_ballout) December 22, 2020
#gohoos ⚔️ #Wahoo pic.twitter.com/dcWUhX3JvS
—Cardinal safety Isaiah Hayes announced Monday night that he won’t be using his extra year of eligibility to return to Louisville for one more season, and that he’ll instead be focusing his attention on the 2021 NFL draft.
—Jaire Alexander is officially a Pro Bowl cornerback.
—The CJ’s Cameron Teague looks at the strides forward the Louisville defense has made since its disastrous 2018 season.
—The KFC Yum Center naming deal announced earlier this month lets Yum! Brands lower its annual payments – by as much as 30 percent — if the U of L men’s basketball team is sanctioned by the NCAA.
The naming rights agreement reflects that possibility. It calls for:
-a 5% reduction in naming rights if U of L loses two or more scholarships, for two or more seasons
-a 10% reduction if a post-season ban occurs
-a decrease of 30% if the program is banned from television for a season
Those adjustments would occur regardless of whether the sanctions are self-imposed or handed down by the NCAA.
However, Yum! has agreed to add 10% in additional fees during years in which U of L makes a men’s basketball Final Four.
The U of L men’s and women’s teams are the main tenants of the arena, which also hosts concerts, family shows and other events.
—Kelly Dickey notes that this is the first time since Dec. 18, 1961 that no ACC teams have been ranked in the top 15 of the AP top 25 poll ... and back then the AP only ranked 10 teams.
—Mekhi Becton received the most fan votes of any AFC tackle, but still wound up being a Pro Bowl snub.
—Four Louisville baseball players have earned Preseason All-American honors.
—Quinn Slazinski is your gold jersey recipient for this week.
Quinn Slazinski has earned the gold jersey at @LouisvilleMBB practice this week. First time this season.— Shannon Russell (@slrussell) December 21, 2020
—Quinn Slazinski says that he’s still learning from the example he saw Dwayne Sutton set a year ago.
—USA Today’s Sportsbook Wire likes the Cards by five tonight.
—The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel has long been a proponent of the bowls and a defender of the four team College Football Playoff. He says he can’t do that anymore after this year.
The four-team CFP was always going to be a bridge between the old bowl system and the inevitable creep toward a full-fledged Playoff. It wasn’t supposed to happen until the end of the current contract in 2026. But folks, I’m telling you, you need to accelerate those plans.
Don’t subject the entire sport to another five years of increasing malaise and apathy. Don’t keep telling the Armys of the world they’re less important than the 13th-best SEC team.
Blow up the postseason as we know it and start a new one where more teams feel invested, more games matter, and December feels more like an acceptance celebration and less like a rejection letter.
—Cardinal Authority has a Q&A with new Louisville QB signee TJ Lewis.
—Matt McGavic of Louisville Report previews Louisville-Pitt.
—Allan Houston shares his story for The Players Tribune.
—And finally, beat Pitt.