Louisville Cardinals Black(shear) Friday

If you’re wondering why it’s taken me so long to tackle these subjects, understand that this Wednesday morning is the fourth time I’ve sat down at the keyboard with intentions to weigh in, each previous occasion having been interrupted by more important matters. (Yes, even more important than U of L’s conference affiliation.)

Note I make a joke a few paragraphs down about future injuries after Wayne Blackshear’s, and, sure enough, Peyton Siva came up with a concussion. Homecoming King curse? Is there no end?

Hopefully I’ll get this finished and posted before I have to revise again.

* * * * *

There have been some sordid and disconsolate days for U of L sports since since I started paying attention in 1952. None that I can recall however (off the field) quite as bleak and depressing as Friday last.

The Big 12 said we like Almost Heaven West Virginia more than DerbyPlace USA.

Prized hoops recruit Wayne Blackshear tore his shoulder, thereby becoming this season’s Rick Pitino Injuries ‘r’ Us poster boy.

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how’d you like the play?

* * * * *

Let’s consider the developments in reverse order.

I gotta ask: What is it with injury after injury after injury after injury during the Pitino era? And, other than David Padgett’s quick recovery several seasons back, Cardinal hoopsters keep going down in numbers and suffering interminable, inordinate periods of healing. Months. Whole seasons.

I don’t understand. This is NOT the NFL.

Is it dumb luck? Bad karma? The Curse of Karen?

Is it overwork without allowing for proper recovery time?

Is it poor treatment, or poor preparation? Fred Hina’s fault? Ray Ganong’s fault? The medical staff’s fault? The Rick’s regimen?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. Cardinal fans know something’s happeni’ but they don’t know what it is? (To throw two Dylan references at the issue.)

You obviously feel bad for the kids, in this, latest case, Wayne Blackshear, who joined Russ Smith, Stephan Van Treese and multiple others on Injured Reserve. (Of course, they may not be the latest cases. Another player(s) surely might have been hurt between Friday and this Tuesday morning rant.) (Note: It happened again. Peyton Siva has a concussion.)

Lucy, somebody’s got some ‘splainin’ to do.

* * * * *

Are fans pissed about U of L’s conference woes?

Well, I guess. Here’s one reader’s take on the situation.

I stand by my “analysis” . . . Jurich was asleep at the wheel or blind to the real problem..the destruction of the football program by his soul brother Kragthorpe.  Everyone in the whole damn city knew almost instantly that the guy was a disaster (Mr. XXXXXX wrote a letter of condemnation after Kragthorpe’s first three weeks) except Tom the Bomb, who sat in his  goddamn tower trying to figure how to shake the last nickel from his loyal fan base or concocting some stupid caper to sell more Hondas at halftime.  For all of his success in other areas, he completely, totally blew it with football and now in reaction to that blunder, the conference decision went to the couch burners instead of the Cardinals.. sickening..it really is

I’m advised that Jurich and Rick Pitino (despite his public proclamations) worked the phones overtime trying to get the Big 12 to pick U of L. Not to mention Mitch McConnell, Mother Theresa, Kim Kardashian and several other die hard Cardinal fans.

I don’t think there was any chicanery afoot. Texas, Oklahoma and their little brothers simply thought West Virginia was a better choice. More national stature as a football program. State school. Bigger crowds. Etc, etc. Would that league’s thinking been any different if U of L had the same Orange Bowl pizzazz it did when Bobby Petrino jumped ship? Maybe. Probably. ????

Louisville remains a kind of southern, kind of midwestern urban school without a major gridiron TV presence. That Louisville used to be the King of Tuesday Night Football doesn’t count. (By the by, did you see that 63-60 back and forth battle between Northern Illinois and Toledo game last night, in a 9 lead change nailbiter that actually wasn’t as exciting as the we score you score score might indicate?)

I do know who ought to be escorted to the guillotine, and that’s Big East commissioner John Marinatto. Big 12′s Don Beebe went down when he was asleep at the wheel. Marinatto, incompetence personified, deserves a similar fate. The league needs to show these “saviors” it’s courting that it intends to be a serious player. Marinatto is to the Big East as Steve Kragthorpe was to Louisville football, i.e. a mistake of the highest order.

And, all that rumbling and grumbling aside, Louisville and its similarly situated conference brethren, will be none the worse off, if the all mighty and powerful BCS lets them stay in the loop. Which, given possible legal ramifications, it might. (With West Virginia’s preemptive lawsuit against the Big East starting things off, I predict the nation’s courts will soon become — forget the Big House or the Horsehoe or your fave stadia of choice — college pigskin’s next great playing field.)

In the you’ve heard it all before department, let me repeat that everybody — schools, fans, leagues, everybody except the “student athletes” of course — would be better off with a 16 team playoff. The champions of all 11 leagues and 5 wild cards. If the NCAA won’t do it, why won’t the two most powerful entities in college football do it?

ESPN, BCS, show us your ol’ block and tackle, come on down and play.

* * * * *

I do not have the answers, nor, frankly, any further insight into these two burning questions.

With the two best teams in America battling this Saturday in Tuscaloosa, one must lose so there’s sure to be a muck up, come BCS championship selection Sunday.

But hoops is drawing nigh, and eyes around here shall be diverted, at least for the season.

Unless, of course, so many Cardinals are injured that The Rick starts trolling the intramural league for warm bodies. Josh Chichester’s hoops career may not be over after all.

– Seedy K

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