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Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Cards tree season is here.

—Spread check (football): Florida State by 2.5.

—The Louisville volleyball team will be the No. 2 seed in the Pittsburgh regional for this year’s NCAA tournament, setting up a potential rubber match between the two ACC powers for a second straight year. The Cards will open their tournament run at home against Wright State on Thursday at 7 p.m. Tickets are available here.

—C.L. Brown writes that Louisville football can erase the doubts surrounding their team with a win over Florida State on Saturday.

—The best news of the day is that Virginia’s Perris Jones is well enough to leave the Frazier Rehab Institute and head back to Charlottesville.

—Congrats to Louisville volleyball’s Anna DeBeer on being named the ACC’s Co-Player of the Year, and to Elena Scott for repeating as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. DeBeer and Scott were also joined by Charitie Luper on the ACC’s First Team.

—Louisville has offered Harvard DT transfer Thor Griffith. Griffith has previously stated that he wants to spend his final year of college football playing for either Michigan or Ohio State.

—The week ahead in Cardinal athletics:

Wednesday, November 29

Swim & Dive at Toyota US Open LC
Men’s Basketball vs Bellarmine - 8 p.m. ET (KFC Yum! Center)
#20/15 Women’s Basketball at #24/23 Ole Miss - 9:15 p.m. ET

Thursday, November 30

Swim & Dive at Toyota US Open LC
#5 Volleyball vs Wright State (NCAA 1st Round) - 7 p.m. ET (KFC Yum! Center)

Friday, December 1

Swim & Dive at Toyota US Open LC

Saturday, December 2

Swim & Dive at Toyota US Open LC
Track & Field at Commonwealth College Opener (Norton Healthcare Sport & Learning Center)
Track & Field at Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener
#14/15 Football vs #4 Florida State (ACC Championship) - 8 p.m. ET

Sunday, December 3

#20/15 Women’s Basketball at North Carolina A&T - 12 p.m. ET (KFC Yum! Center)
Men’s Basketball at Virginia Tech - 4 p.m. ET

—Louisville Report’s Matt McGavic shares some final thoughts on the loss to Kentucky.

—Should have won on Saturday. I think we all knew this was the case, but it still hurts to see.

—“Florida State, LSU, Louisville, Texas A&M, Michigan and Alabama” are the schools being most heavily considered by 2025 QB Antwann Hill Jr., who recently decommitted from Colorado.

—Early college football coaching carousel update:

Fired: Houston’s Dana Holgorsen, Indiana’s Tom Allen (who has a $15.5 million buyout), ULM’s Terry Bowden, UTEP’s Dana Dimel and New Mexico’s Danny Gonzales.

Hired: Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby at Mississippi State and Duke head coach Mike Elko (tentatively) at Texas A&M.

Elko to Duke comes after it sure seems like the brass at Texas A&M got bullied into not hiring Mark Stoops.

—Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke and Kansas State’s Will Howard are two high-profile quarterbacks who have officially entered the transfer portal. I’d expect Louisville to at least have contact (or have already had contact) with both. Tulane QB Michael Pratt and Washington State QB Cam Ward (assuming both enter the portal) are two more named U of L (and plenty of others ... especially in Ward’s case) will certainly have interest in.

—Expect Duke QB Riley Leonard to hit the portal in the very near future. When he does, South Bend sounds like the most likely landing spot. The Cards face Notre Dame on the road next season.

—Another one to definitely brush up on:

—Kentucky Derby winner Mage has retired.

—As expected, Purdue is the new No. 1 in the AP college men’s basketball rankings.

—The Pop-Tarts Bowl will feature an edible mascot, which I now can’t stop thinking about.

—The newest College Football Playoff rankings come out tonight. We have potential chaos ahead.

—The CJ ranks the 20 best girls basketball players in the Louisville area for the upcoming season.

—At least we’re still getting some national attention.

In fairness, Louisville played 5-on-4 for like 30 seconds in overtime and was up six when that period started, so it’s not like the Cards only won because NMSU finished the game with four guys.

Still, we didn’t exactly cover ourselves in glory.

—On3 has Louisville facing Ohio State in the Orange Bowl in its latest bowl projections.

—Eric Crawford says that despite the pain of the Kentucky loss, Louisville fans should remember that they won (at least) 10 games this season, and that Jeff Brohm is just getting started.

What happened in this 10-2 season isn’t some kind of chance-of-a-lifetime. It’s a starting point.

Louisville fans, yes, are tired of being looked down upon by Kentucky. And losing five straight in that rivalry is a byproduct of mismanagement. But under new management, it should not continue, at least not on a regular basis.

Nor should Louisville fans worry much about what Kentucky thinks of them, or of the ubiquitous “L’s Down” gesture.

Kentucky’s best bowl win in the past 50 years was in the 1976 Peach Bowl. In that same span, Louisville has won the Fiesta, Sugar and Gator Bowls, had a Heisman Trophy winner and produced an NFL MVP and a Super Bowl MVP. Its coaches have been hired away by Oklahoma, Michigan State, the Atlanta Falcons and Texas Longhorns. It’s gone from playing in a dilapidated 48,000-seat stadium at the Kentucky Fairgrounds to filling a 60,000-seat stadium on campus.

Saturday checks another milestone off the bucket list – a Power 5 conference championship game.

If all that equals “L’s Down,” well, maybe down is something Kentucky should aspire to. Mark Stoops won his third game against a Top 10 team on Saturday. During the span of his Kentucky tenure, Louisville has beaten more Top 10 teams than he has – and that’s been in the midst of Louisville’s worst football stretch in 30 years. None of that lessens the loss to Kentucky, mind you, nor is it meant to. This loss did some damage.

But when Louisville has it going, no program in the state has accomplished more – even the one with far more resources and a more prestigious conference and a five-game winning streak in the current series.

And Brohm, in his first season, has shown every indication in Year No. 1 that he is fully capable of getting the good times rolling again.

—Congrats to Louisville center Bryan Hudson on being voted the winner of the 2023 Jacobs Blocking Trophy.

—ESPN’s Bill Connelly ranks Louisville-Kentucky as the 10th-best game of rivalry weekend. I would have had it dead last, but that’s me.

—Great shot.

—The Tomahawk Nation podcast talks a little Louisville here.

—It’s the first night of the first ACC-SEC Challenge, which — have you guys seen this? have you heard about this? — Louisville will not be participating in this season.

Here’s the schedule for night one:

No. 21 Mississippi State at Georgia Tech (7 p.m./ACC Network)
Notre Dame at South Carolina (7 p.m./SEC Network)
LSU at Syracuse (7 p.m./ESPN2)
No. 8 Miami at No. 12 Kentucky (7:30 p.m./ESPN)
Missouri at Pitt (7:30 p.m./ESPNU)
NC State at Ole Miss (9 p.m./ESPN2)
Clemson at No. 23 Alabama (9:30 p.m./ESPN)

—If we can consistently shoot 35 more free-throws per game than our opponents, I like our chances of having a decent season.

—Depth charts for Louisville and Florida State are out.

—Yesterday was a depressing Mike Rutherford Show. The podcast is here.

—The Tampa Bay Times has four early thoughts on Louisville vs. Florida State.

This FSU team has some 2014 vibes

The Seminoles fell behind early in three of their last four games (7-0 at Pitt, 13-0 at home against North Alabama, 12-0 at Florida). Norvell attributed some of the slow starts to emotions from road games, senior day and a rivalry. The emotions showed up in missed details or players trying to force something that isn’t there, like Benson running around into an 11-yard loss on his first carry Saturday.

Worse, FSU has faced first-half deficits in five of its six games away from Tallahassee; the rout at Wake Forest was the lone exception. The ’Noles have overcome them because they improve as the game progresses. Their scoring differential has increased every quarter (from plus-37 in the first to plus-51, plus-75 and plus-94).

But that’s not always sustainable. The 2014 team had to overcome deficits of at least two scores in four games (including at Louisville) but couldn’t do it a fifth time against Oregon in the Rose Bowl. That doesn’t mean another early hole will be fatal for FSU, but the margin for error decreases as the competition level increases.

—Assuming they take care of their own business, Texas Longhorn fans will be Louisville Cardinal fans Saturday night.

—Chop Chat takes an early glance at the Cards.

—Cardinal Authority updates Louisville’s standing in the national stats.

—No McDonough, which means the guaranteed win is off the table.

—Could Saturday night be another “Jeff Brohm Special?”

—Presley Meyer over at State of Louisville says he’s never needed a Louisville football win more than he needs one Saturday night.

—And finally, the Mike Rutherford Show returns from 3-6 this afternoon, when we’ll try to turn the page from the Kentucky loss. You can listen live on 1450AM or 96.1 FM, or stream the show live here.