Monday, October 30, 2006

EXCITEMENT IN THE 'VILLE


Regular readers of this blog, and my friends from way back, realize that I am a big University of Louisville Cardinals fan. I truly love the Cards, and I have for many years. My fondness for the Cards was, in essence, a product of circumstance and my own discovery.

My parents are both from Laurel County, Kentucky. While they were indoctrinated from an early age in Big Blue lore, there wasn't much love in their hometown for the red and black. And although my mother attended the University of Louisville for a time before I was born, she was not really into 'Ville sports back then. As a result, I never really became familiar with the Cardinals until I was old enough to discover them for myself.

My earliest recollection of grooving on the Cards dates back to when I was about 10 or 11 years old. My beloved grandmother, Mabel Booze, was working at Silverman's Department Store in Louisville at the time. She told me that she had a friend and co-worker whose son played basketball at the University of Louisville. The player's name was Wesley Cox.

I didn't know who Wesley Cox was, so I decided to check out one of his games on the television. I quickly became a big fan of both Cox and the team, and the University of Louisville was "my " team from then on. My friends at the time--Rags, Jeeves, Brad & Skeet--all became big Cardinal enthusiasts with me. I loved their style of play, and I found myself sneaking to stay up late to watch the Denny Crum show, which was aired at 11:30 on Sunday nights. By the time I attended the U of L Law School in the 1980's, I was a certifiable 'Ville man.

In addition to basketball, I have always loved the Cards in football. I attended games back in the "Red Rage" days, and I was a student at the University when Howard Schnellenberger arrived. When he declared that the program was on a collision course with the national championship, I believed.

And so it is that now, some 20 years later, the University of Louisville football team will be playing the most important game in the history of the program this week. The Mountaineers of West Virginia come to town this Thursday night, and national championship possibilities are most definitely implicated. The Cardinals are currently No. 5 in the Bowl Championship Series ratings, and West Virginia is No. 3.

One can't help but wonder how this game would set up if the Cards were totally healthy. Future NFL star running back Michael Bush was lost for the season in the first game against the University of Kentucky, and star quarterback Brian Brohm suffered a significant hand injury earlier this season, requiring surgery. There have been other significant injuries as well. Still, the team has marshalled on, and it remains undefeated at 7-0.

Brohm is back, but he hasn't looked as if he is playing at 100 percent in his games back thus far. I'm hoping that the extra time off--with the Cards having had a bye last week--will help to ensure that he is back to his former status as an elite QB. If the 'Ville is to have a chance to win this game, Brian Brohm must be on top of his game. We must also have a big game from one of the deep stable of remaining running backs. Kolby Smith, George Stripling, Brock Bolen or Anthony Allen--or perhaps all of the above--must step up and show the kind of running ability that we have seen in flashes previously this season.

The Mountaineers have an absolutely explosive ground attack themselves. Steve Slaton is one of the most elusive and best running backs in the nation. Pat White is a fine quarterback, and coach Rich Rodriguez has shown himself to be an offensive mastermind. The Cardinals have a very speedy defense, but it will be necessary for them to find yet another gear if they are to stop the mighty Mountaineers.

We shall see what happens on Thursday evening. I think that the 'Ville can do it. I'm certainly hoping so. And if they do, you just might hear me celebrating all the way from here to West Virginia.

--The Meatbe

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Blackout will prevail. We'll be wearing those favorite black jerseys too.

Another 'Ville fan!

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Meem said...

The grandmother of Wes (whom I never met) was Ida Cox, a lovely
lady much like your grandmother. I wish you could have known her.

You failed to mention that I caught
your fervor for the Cards, and for
the last few decades....and into
my twilight years..I have bled purple: two parts red (don't
forget the Hoosiers) and one part
blue. Odd that in the last couple
of years my political leanings have
become purple as well, doncha think?.......Meem

10:52 AM  

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