Louisville’s Conference Conundrum

I know it hurts, Cardinal fans. Hurts scary bad.

I know you’re worried. That you want to be left alone to pop open your 14th Fall City and cry in your beer. That your buddy at work told you he drove by Charlie Strong’s house and there’s already a For Sale sign in the yard.

That your wife asked you to go to the grocery for some more green beans for Thursday’s casserole and all you can think about is, “Are we headed back to the Red Rage Days of Vince Gibson?” That you’re wondering if “feisty East Carolina” is going to be the tough league hoops test in the near future?

But, hey, put down your brewski, for one moment and sing along with me:

“Back in the C/ Back in the C/  Back in the C-USA”

If it didn’t hurt so bad, we could perhaps laugh.

* * * * *

Now, the bottom line.

Louisville’s stature as the kid with his face to the candy store window while Scott Farkas is inside eating every sweet in sight is just the way it is in today’s Money Talks environment.

You can bray that Tom Jurich is getting outflanked.

You can lament U of L’s less than stellar academic tradition.

You can point to Cardinal success in baseball and soccer and swimming and volleyball and softball and track. And football. And, of course, hoops. And you can say, “What da fuck? We’re gettin’ screwed.”

None of that matters. I repeat: None of it.

It’s about TV sets.

* * * * *

If you don’t believe me, if the Big 10 grabbing media market heavies Maryland and Rutgers hasn’t convinced you, let me refer you to the au courant guru du jour, the man who seems to have the correct statistics to explain all in life.

Nate “He’s Everywhere, He’s Everywhere” Silver, come on down.

In September ’11, he broke it all down by fan bases. You can read his analysis here.

Note the name of the cellar dweller in the Big East.

Need I say the school’s name?

It’s the facts, Jack.

U of L is kinda stuck out on this island. Great athletic department. Great teams. Great coaches. Successes on the field. Successes on the court. A loyal — but way too small — fan base. But . . .. the Big But . . . located in a geographic black hole.

With too few TV sets.

By the by, I got to that Silver statistical analysis, thanks to loyal reader Smart Guy, who referred me to this article, in which Nate looks at this week’s Big Ten moves.

* * * * *

Last night I had two long and winding conversations with intelligent, otherwise reasonable fellows, both obsessed with this conference realignment mess.

Why is Jurich getting outfoxed, wondered one?

Why is Louisville not even in the conversations, worried the other?

My answer to both: (All together now, you’ve heard it before.) TV sets.

* * * * *

So I’m on my knees too. Praying to the Greek God of Sport, Athleticus. Praying to U of L’s Greatest Hope in the Halls of Power, yes, Mitch McConnell.

Praying for hope against hope that the ACC or Big 12 or Big 10 comes a callin’.

Otherwise, as I’ve said before, and say again, it’s Goodbye New York City, Howdy Hattiesburg.

– Seedy K

5 Comments

  1. Phil
    Posted November 21, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I reject Silver’s conclusion that Vandy, East Carolina, Southern Miss, Cincinnati and Central Florida have more “fans” than UofL. I also reject the notion that UConn has twice as many fans as U of L. You can’t reconcile Silver’s numbers with the attendance at the various football and basketball games. I would be willing to bet that U of L’s attendance averages exceed the above schools by several thousand.

  2. bob DeSpain
    Posted November 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Yada,yada, yada.

    Before the experts said TV sets were keeping us out of a Conference; it was not enough minority sports.

    Before that someone even suggested it was because our library was up to a Conference standard.

    Hell I have been around long enough that is was suggested “we were too black”

    You take what we have that very few Universities have, very strong basketball, a
    football program on the rise, with a Coach no one but us gave a chance to and all other sports that compete at a national level. This is what you sell.

    You use your strengths to sell the complete package. The University of Louisville will draw more fans in all sports to TV than most
    Universities.It will also draw a hell of a lot more fans in football than many that have entered Conferences before us.

    You have a dentistry school second to none, you have medical research that is a leader in many fields, you have a good engineering school and you have a social mission that few have.

    I made myself a hell of a good living selling equipment, goods and services many times with less than Louisville has to offer.

    There are people at UL making millions of dollars a year who’s job it is to sell the University to others. Just do it!!

  3. Birdie King
    Posted November 21, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Cut the gloom and doom. we are going to eventually come out happy when all is said and done.

  4. Charlie
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    All about TV sets, huh?

  5. Seedy K
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    @ Birdie King. You were right.

    @Charlie. I was wrong. It’s the first of these moves that wasn’t. Hats off to Jurich and Ramsey. They overcame that imperative and closed the deal. 

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