Friday’s Snippets: Many Sports Included

Revised 9/07 10:20 am

U of L finally released its men’s (and women’s) basketball schedules.

Last year’s Final Four team warmed up for the conference campaign with the most ambitious home schedule of the Pitino Era. Long Beach State, surprising Ohio, College of Charleston, Vanderbilt and Memphis all visited the Yum!. Cardinal fans actually had some real basketball games to savor for their money in November and December.

While this year’s non-conference home schedule isn’t quite as lackluster as the decade before last season, it isn’t nearly as scintillating as one might hope. Manhattan and Florida International will be in town so The Rick can teach his son and prodigy a lesson. Samford and Mizzou KC should have the bars in the corridors plenty busy by halftime. Those lackluster games more than offset the Western Ky visit, which is always fun, and the possibility that Illinois State might challenge. A tilt against Murray State would be spicy.

And, here comes some heresy:

I never really look forward to the annual tussle with UK. The only moment the cannon ball in my nervous stomach passes is the moment the final buzzer sounds and the game is over. Win or lose, it’s the only relief this fan gets. The joy of winning the rivalry encounter, and the disappointment of losing, simply aren’t worth the angst of the run up to tipoff.

I assume I’m in the minority here. (I’m so very sure I’ll hear from some Cats’ fans, accusing me of turning into a scaredy bird. Truth is it’s less onerous now that Coach Cal has turned UK into the behemoth of college hoops. It’s impossible to deny the force of what he’s doing in Lexington.)

Anyhow, most red and blue fans are counting the days until December 29. I’m looking forward to the normal blood pressure that will return only after that game has come and gone.

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As I write this, I’m still waiting to hear back from either Rick Bozich or Eric Crawford. In their Football Notebook this week, they mention that U of L’s 3d Down Efficiency Rating ranked 104 in the land. Which is perilously close to the bottom of the heap. I went to the NCAA official stats site, but the numbers were only through 9/01, so Louisville isn’t listed. I trust Eric and Rick’s number is valid. After all, unlike yours truly, they’re real reporters. I was just curious how or where they got the figure?

Note: Of course, I heard from both these pros, after I’d posted this. Please, fellows, next time I’d appreciate you being a little more responsive. Bozich, of course, passed the buck to Crawford. Then he went Lou Holtz on me while mentioning the upcoming series between his ChiSox and my Tigers. Crawford referred me to cfbstats.com. Which now ranks the Cards 105 out of 118 in that category.

I was certainly aware during the Kentucky game that the Wildcats were converting on 3d down way more than U of L would like. But had no idea it was that bad.

Given that Charlie Strong is a defensive coach at heart, I’m sure he made his troops aware of their disappointing performance. Hopefully Missouri State will not be a test. So it might not be until Saturday a week when the Tar Heels come to town, when we can observe if the deficiency has been resolved.

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Pittsburgh. Now there’s a really bad football team.

Yoo hoo, Bobby Petrino, you doing anything?

While I remain pissed that Pitt and Syracuse are jumping ship to the ACC, I can’t help but smile at the reality that they will help diminish the already fading image of Atlantic Coast Conference football.

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Speaking of Syracuse, their opening game conqueror Northwestern is playing one of the more intriguing games of Week II. Vandy visits Evanston Saturday night for a match-up between two of them academic schools. But schools that are legitimately on the cusp of, well, legitimacy.

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Despite a stunning -17 run differential on the season, Baltimore has tied the Yankees (+81) atop the AL East.

Beltway Series, anyone? Orioles vs. Nationals, which nine, by the by, sports the best record in baseball.

I still have hope for my Detroit Tigers. But they did it again this week. For the second time this season, they swept a series from division rival Chicago. For the second time this season, they failed to take advantage and immediately fell behind the White Sox again.

The teams hook up next week, but Detroit visits L A, before heading to Chitown on Monday for your classic “important” set of games.

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Murray vs. Berdych. Ferrer vs. Djokovic.

I’m sure the tennis will be scintillating. But not a lot star power left in this year’s U S Open.

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My guy in NASCAR, Jeff Gordon, has to win this week, and then he’s still not assured of a spot in sport’s late season sprint for the title, i.e. The Chase.

– Seedy K

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