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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Happy Halloween, kids.

—Spread check: Louisville by 9.5.

—The first CFP Rankings of the season will be released between 7-8 p.m. on ESPN. Louisville is expected to fall somewhere in the 13-18 range.

—The ACC has released its new scheduling model for the next seven years of football. The Cards will host newcomer SMU and travel to newcomer Stanford in 2024.

—The response by national writers to last night’s exhibition loss was painful but understandable.

—The Louisville volleyball team is up to No. 3 in this week’s top 25 poll.

—A pair of volleyball Cards earned ACC Player of the Week honors.

—Eamonn Brennan says that Louisville is staring directly into abyss and compares the program unfavorably to the Kevin Stallings era at Pitt.

That’s right, folks: We need to talk about Louisville again. On Monday night, Louisville lost at home, 71-68, to Division II Kentucky Wesleyan. Here’s the box score. It ain’t pretty.

This was very bad, obviously, because a program like Louisville should basically never lose to a program like Kentucky Wesleyan, no matter what kind of game. It was also very bad because it pointed toward a notion Louisville fans had spent all summer cautiously hoping wasn’t going to be the case: That their proud program, which suffered an exhibition loss last fall and then went 4-28 and finished 290th in KenPom, hadn’t improved at all in the interim.

But it was, still, just an exhibition. It happens. High-major teams lose exhibition games every fall. It really shouldn’t matter.

It was what came after the loss — what Payne said about his team and talent, and what it suggests about where he is in the job right now — that made the whole thing so much worse. If an exhibition loss matters, it matters because of vibes, and the vibes at Louisville are already atrocious.

—Three U of L field hockey players have earned All-ACC accolades.

—Geron Christian has signed a deal with the Cleveland Browns.

—Single game tickets for the upcoming Louisville women’s basketball season are now on sale.

—Fun times.

—The full transcript from Kenny Payne’s postgame presser last night is here.

—Louisville field hockey players swept the final ACC weekly honors of the year.

—Rick Bozich shares his thoughts on Kenny Payne’s second exhibition loss in as many years.

—Lamar is an alien.

—U of L women’s soccer senior forward Emma Hiscock has been named the ACC Offensive Player of the Week.

—The CJ takes an early look at Louisville vs. Virginia Tech.

—Jeff Brohm’s Cards are one of college football’s biggest overachievers.

—I don’t even hate Dabo’s response here, but the fact that he’s so defensive is just more evidence that the Clemson thing is over.

—Theme games for the upcoming Louisville women’s basketball season have been announced.

—Maintaining focus is of paramount importance for Jeff Brohm’s Louisville football team right now.

—The CJ gives us five key storylines for the 2023-24 U of L women’s basketball team

—It’s all happening right now.

—While Jeff Brohm came to Louisville with the reputation of an offensive coach, it’s been his defense that had led the way to a 7-1 start.

—Gobbler Country is excited to finally have some momentum back for the Virginia Tech football program.

While the Hokies are by no means a finished product, there is clear momentum in head coach Brent Pry’s second season. Sophomore quarterback Kyron Drones has created some of that momentum. A true dual-threat quarterback, Drones continues to get better every week. He’s made the offense more dangerous. The offensive line has continued to improve, and Drones is finding all of his weapons in the passing game.

And Virginia Tech’s defense has looked like a vintage Bud Foster unit in back-to-back wins over Wake Forest and Syracuse.

The Hokies and Cardinals last played in 2020, with Virginia Tech winning 35-21. A lot has changed for both schools since that time. Virginia Tech leads the all-time series, 6-2, and Saturday’s game will be the only the third meeting between the two since 1992.

But back to how improbable this situation felt only weeks ago. Whether the Hokies win or lose on Saturday, the fact that they’re playing a meaningful game on the first weekend of November is an accomplishment. Anyone who watched VT in losses to Purdue and Rutgers could’ve never predicted this.

Virginia Tech fans are cautiously optimistic heading into Saturday. Regardless of the outcome, there’s finally some positive momentum around the football program.

—David Cobb of CBS writes about Louisville’s loss to KWC.

—The Louisville men’s soccer team begins postseason play in the ACC tournament on Wednesday against 20th-ranked (and 8th-seeded) Pittsburgh. Here’s a preview.

—Seems good.

—Lack of effort should not have been an issue in year one. It really shouldn’t be an issue in year two.

—Louisville commit Shaun Boykins, the highest-ranked recruit in the state, enjoyed his latest visit to U of L.

—The Monster Thrash.

—Jeff Walz said Tuesday that the school is still waiting for the final clearance from the NCAA on the eligibility of freshman forward Elif Istanbulluoglu from Turkey.

—The official Virginia Tech site serves up a snapshot preview of the Hokies versus Louisville.

—The Louisville Bats have announced their schedule for the 2024 regular season.

—Emmanuel Okorafor didn’t play last night and still caught a stray in the postgame press conference.

—We are in hell.

—Trilly Donovan dives into the Louisville-Kentucky Wesleyan box score.

—Eric Crawford writes about last night’s “eye test gone wrong.”

—And finally, Happy Halloween, kids. Don’t let last night’s spookiness dampen tonight’s fun.