—Georgia’s 65-7 win over TCU last night wasn’t just the most lopsided victory in CFP history, it was the largest margin of victory in any bowl game ever.
—Pat Forde writes that the Bulldogs redefined greatness in college football.
—Tim Sullivan has a fairly explosive report for LEO Weekly in which he shares quotes from a 2021 conversation between Rick Pitino and an NCAA investigator. Among other things, Pitino calls former U of L assistant Kenny Johnson a “pathological liar” who “ruined his life,” and says that Tom Jurich was pressured to fire him well before the fall of 2017.
Five months before the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York revealed the irregularities behind Bowen’s recruitment, “Papa” John Schnatter expressed ominous concerns about the direction of the athletic department during a board of trustees meeting. Governor Matt Bevin had replaced a board friendly to Pitino and former athletic director Tom Jurich with another chaired by the stern David Grissom and populated by several members seen as more loyal to the University of Kentucky.
With U of L already serving NCAA probation as a result of the strippers in the dorm scandal, the Bowen revelations emboldened Grissom to act on convictions he had held since Pitino’s restaurant liaison with Karen Sypher led to extortion and public embarrassment eight years earlier.
“Let’s start with Coach Pitino fornicating on the table,” Grissom testified during a 2019 deposition. “In my world, that would have been reason to have him dismissed the next morning. That wasn’t done.”
According to Pitino’s account, his firing was all but preordained before the Bowen news broke.
“So (Jurich) comes in to see me about three weeks (prior)and says, ‘Look, they just came to me and said if I fire you my job’s okay,’ ” Pitino recalled. “I said, ‘Fire me, for what?’ He goes on and on. He says ‘I’m not doing it.’
“Another week goes by and he comes in and says the same thing. I said ‘Tom, look, you have a family. If they’re going to fire me, pay me, let me go to another school if they don’t want me here. But do not under any circumstances jeopardize your job because. . . if they’re going to fire me, they’re going to fire me.’ ”
Pitino said knowing his job was on the line made him more vigilant and “paranoid” about potential violations, to the extent “I basically threatened my assistant coaches” at every meeting. Five years later, the IARP panel rejected the NCAA enforcement staff’s allegation that Pitino had failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the U of L basketball program.
This was, in retrospect, a fairly hollow victory. Whatever good it did for Rick Pitino’s reputation, it could not restore all he had lost at Louisville. The day after the Bowen news broke, he was done.
—A second Sullivan story for LEO Weekly dropped this afternoon which features comments Chris Mack made in the wake of the “Gaudio Audio” scandal, and which speculates that Mack would likely still be Louisville’s head coach today had he not chosen to record the conversation.
—ESPN does not have Louisville in its way too early college football top 25 (or 35) for next season.
—Louisville’s 2023 football schedule will be set in 20 days.
We know the Cards open against Georgia Tech in Atlanta, then face Murray State at home and Indiana in Indianapolis. We also know they’ll end the season at home against Kentucky and will host Notre Dame at some point.
U of L’s ACC home games: Boston College, Duke, Virginia, Virginia Tech
U of L’s ACC road games: Georgia Tech, Miami, Pitt, NC State
—Four-star class of 2024 guard Dontae Russo-Nance says Louisville, Xavier and Cal are the three schools reaching out to him the most.
—That is an absurd amount of money.
Kentucky set to pay $12.9 million salary for its head coach and three coordinators next season https://t.co/9L1trNJJ9s— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) January 10, 2023
—The Jeff Walz Radio Show returns tonight at Parlour Pizza downtown.
—The Athletic’s way too early college football top 25 does not include Louisville.
—Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology features Kentucky and Indiana squaring off in an 8/9 game. It ... does not feature Louisville.
—Yasir Abdullah was an absolute monster last season.
—The schedule for the 2023 U of L men’s tennis season is out.
—Louisville football has officially announced the addition of transfer wide receivers Jamari Thrash and Kevin Coleman.
—Former Indiana hoops star Jared Jeffries recently won a car on The Price is Right.
—If we have to suck at a historic level and suffer through these long two months ahead, at least ...
Other nutty stat: this is the first time Kentucky has received zero votes in a non-COVID year AP Poll since the final poll of the 2012-13 season.— Will Warren (@statsbywill) January 9, 2023
—Louisville is expected to hire East Carolina’s Steve Ellis as its new cornerbacks coach. Ellis has a remarkable backstory that you can read about here (Athletic link).
—ESPN’s Bill Connelly ranks the best two-year runs in college football history, and says the one Georgia just polished off is tops.
—Quentin Snider is out for the rest of his pro season in Cyprus due to a torn achilles, his father says.
—This visual does not suck.
—Louisville received three votes in the final college football AP top 25 poll.
—The NWSL has fined Racing Louisville FC $200,000 and permanently banned former coach Christy Holly.
—The bracket is out for the girls LIT, which will take place later this month. Sacred Heart is the No. 1 seed.
—All-American and ACC Player of the Year Claire Chaussee says goodbye to Louisville.
... Thank you for teaching me how to be patient, persevere and overcome obstacles I thought were never possible to overcome. @clairechaussee9 says goodbye to Louisville. #GoCards pic.twitter.com/zee6gY1YbG— Louisville Volleyball (@LouisvilleVB) January 10, 2023
—Eric Wood has launched a new Buffalo Bills-centric podcast.
—Kenny Payne is trying to find a way to manage El Ellis’ huge workload while also asking him for more.
—Dee Wiggins is following Scott Satterfield and company to Cincinnati for his final season of college football.
—Akoy Agau is bringing a new pro basketball team to Louisville.
Louisville, I am bringing a professional basketball team to the city! We are the Derby City Distillers competing in The Basketball League (TBL). We have our first tryouts Sunday 1/15! Please register with the link in my bio! Hope to see a great turnout of hoopers who will compete pic.twitter.com/nYbHbHPBM4— Akoy Agau (@AkoyAgau) January 10, 2023
—The latest Tar Heel Times podcast spends some time previewing Saturday’s Louisville-North Carolina game.
—Todd Shanesy of the Greenville News is taking Clemson over Louisville by 17 tomorrow night.
—And finally, the Mike Rutherford Show is back this afternoon from 3-6 on 1450AM/96.1FM The Big X. You can stream it here.