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Great article Sheriff. I love how you summed it all up.
I remember so many games as a kid in Old Cardinal Stadium. Freezing in those Red, Yellow and Green seats. Wondering if the program will ever grow into a power. At the time, I could not imagine what I was able to take part of in NOLA this past week. You could just tell momentum was on our side from the pep rally, bourbon street, Cards March and crowd at that stadium. What a great time and to more great times to come. "It is great, to be, a Louisville Cardinal"!!!
jttdmd: I really liked the match-up with Florida. From the beginning. In September I thought Alabama was the best team in college football and I thought UofL would be in either the Sugar or Orange. In the Sugar the match-up was LSU, Florida, or Georgia. Or FSU/Clemson in the Orange. I WANTED Florida because that was the most likely to win for UofL of those 5 if the Cards were able to win the BIg East.
I didn't want LSU in New Orleans, even though I really think the Cards would be better than LSU also. Georgia/FSU/Clemson are tailor made teams to give UofL trouble. Not saying that the Cards couldn't beat them, but FLORIDA is the wrong style of play and lacks the tools to beat UofL. Then in the actual game Florida did things outside of their comfort zone and that played into UofL's hands even further.
To improve next year.....we'll talk about this a lot in the next 7-8 months. Louisville needs to improve their run defense and must find a way to run the ball more consistently, and improve all areas of special teams.
Thanks for the great article.
Funny as I watched the end of that game and coach Strong and Jurich hug my mind did the exact same thing. My mind took me back to the day I watched Howard say those words that most people laughed at.."The only variable is time". I remember watching his teams struggle against Murry St. I remember Ron Steiner telling me that Howard was so distraught after just a few practices. Telling him that we had 3 division one players on the entire team. I remember going to entrance 4, where there is a hotel now, and watching UL practice. No reason to close practice because it was me and may 30 to 40 other people on a good day. I remember Howard not taking recruits to the football field (baseball stadium) and selling the city and his dream. I remember when Howard said he wanted to build a stadium for UL football and again many people laughed. "You can't sell out Cardinal Stadium, how can you sell out a larger stadium"? Then the fans give 15mil as a down payment and the construction began. I remember driving by that construction at least once a week to see the progress and thinking that it will never be done.
So many memories of the building of Louisville football program since 1985. The big wins, the bad losses, the coaches coming and going. I don't think most fans understand how huge it was for Coach Strong to finally say "NO, I am good here at Louisville". That in itself is another huge step towards the "pipes" dreams for UL.
While Howard started this run to the national title game, Tom Jurich grabbed that torch and has built onto that dream to make it even more of a reality. This is going to be a fun ride people, get on this train and enjoy.
pretty sure 30000 fans showing up in NOLA for the sugar bowl is a testament that more than a few understand the impact of Strong turning down the UT job. Big time.
I vividly remember the Penn State early lead during the 1-10 season. I was a student at the time and was happy to have season tickets. The only team we beat that year was winless Illinois. The year after, I transferred to Urbana-Champaign.
My wife became a fan after we met a few years ago, and I told her when she wondered why I was so excited after this game, that she has NO idea where the program was 15 years ago. Seeing how far we've come in that time, from a bottom-feeding C-USA team, to the team who built ESPN weeknight games into a profitable venture, to the team who could compete with the Miami's and FSU's of the world (props to both schools for playing us when few big name teams would after 1997), to the team who was a FG away from playing for a National Championship, to the team who shocked everyone by beating the #3 ranked blue-blooded SEC school - a school who our rivals to the east haven't beaten in 20+ years. We only needed one game.
Also, how about that OOC schedule in 1997? Who wouldn't love to have that type of schedule these days? UK, Utah, Illinois, Penn State and Oklahoma?
Great memories relived but I never heard the Paul Rogers-Ron Cooper story before. He read the question before he realized what it said?
Man that was awesome!
Sheriff - I met you at Pat O's in NOLA (longtime friend of CrumsRevenge) before the game. Good to meet you and very happy to read this piece. Great work!
Absolutely amazing article. You could feel the passion. Thanks for sharing. I will keep this article with me.
Cardland: You go back a little further than I am able to. I wish I knew more about that time. But as a kid my stream of consciousness (for football at least) starts in 1988-89. Perfect timing. It's been a long road. Taken a lot of perseverance, but here we are.
Rugersp101: Definitely. The turnout in NOLA was beyond expectations. UofL kept its coach from going to the SEC, took more fans to the Sugar Bowl than the SEC. Whipped an SEC team in the Sugar Bowl. I'd say it was a good month.
Deep3Card: Oh yeah that brief lead against Penn State was incredible. The stadium was going nuts! And then it was over.......I'd love to have an OOC schedule like that one, but the ACC in 2014 will be great too!
SmokyBar: Paul was actually reading Qs off-the air and he looked up and said: "do you really want me to read this?" And Cooper encouraged him to read it. Then it came out.
baseballcard1: It was great meeting you at Patty O's! I'm glad you liked it.
flyercard: Thank you. We've come a long way.
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