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

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