Column: Cards still have hope

By on September 22, 2008

By Gavin Lapaille

This week, the 2008 University of Louisville football season truly begins.
Yes, I know the Cards officially started their season almost a month ago against a hated archrival, looking nothing like a team with any chance of crashing the postseason.
I know they came onto the field again a week later against a team that didn’t have any business being on the same field as the Cards.
Then there was last Wednesday, which is the game fans will point to if U of L manages to make any noise on a national level.
None of those games really matter anymore. Friday brings the beginning of Big East conference play, which will determine what kind of season the Cards are going to have.
Not that the University of Connecticut is a juggernaut in the conference. Before the season, the Huskies were picked to finish sixth in the Big East, just one spot ahead of the Cards. Still, U of L cannot afford to look past their opponent Friday night.
The Big East, simply put, is wide open this year. So far into the year, no one team has stood out at all.
This includes U of L. If the Cards play the rest of the season like they played in their season opener, they’ll be lucky to make a bowl game. If they play like they did against Kansas State last week, a Big East title is not out of the question.
And that’s the thing. Gone are the days of Conference USA where nothing but an undefeated season would get you a sniff of a BCS bowl game. Gone are the days where the non-conference schedule was just as important as the conference.
No matter how much criticism the Big East gets (and there will be plenty), the team left standing at the end of the season will grab a bid in the BCS bowl. It doesn’t matter if that team didn’t win a game out of conference. That’s the way the system works.
So as far as I’m concerned, the Cards will enter Friday night with a record of 0-0. Start off with a win against Connecticut and maybe manage to pull an upset over South Florida next month and Cardinal fans can seriously start thinking about this team winning the Big East championship
Head coach Steve Kragthorpe could breathe a little easier and Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium would start filling up  again.  Talk of the 2007 season would officially die.
Not that you should rush out and make your hotel reservations for Miami right now. The team has a long way to go before I can actually imagine them crashing the BCS. The squad is still young and for the most part, very inexperienced and they’re still making the kind of mistakes that will cost them a few games down the line.
But the possibility certainly is still out there and I’m even ready to entertain that there is a chance it might actually happen, which is a big, long step from where I was two weeks ago.
So gear up and get ready: the 2008 U of L football season has only just begun.

About Michael Kennedy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *