By Randy Whetstone Jr.–
In terms of national prominence, Louisville athletics have been fighting with a monkey on their back for quite some time. The program has faced much adversity when performing on the big stage. National critics have often questioned Louisville’s ability to rank in the prestigious sector of college sports. I would adhere to say, actions speak louder than words. Louisville Athletics defeated the odds in such a practical way, it would go without question that 2012 was the year to finally put Louisville over the hump. The program’s performance in various sports credits Louisville to be a part of the debate related to “power houses” in college sports.
Surpassing the limitations of many college analysts around the country, Louisville men’s basketball won the Big East Championship and kept the momentum rolling into a trip to the Final Four in New Orleans last season. In addition, they began this season ranked No. 2 in the nation, playing with confidence and high expectations on their way to closing out 2012 by defeating in-state arch rival Kentucky. So the discussion of becoming national champion is quite favorable and appealing for this team.
The quarter part of 2012 deserved notable recognition for a year that would be unforgettable in Cardinal History. Women’s swimming and diving alongside men’s tennis partnered together earning an exclusive ticket on the Big East Championship. Both teams coast their way to victory overcoming high waves throughout the journey.
In 2012, the month of May subjoined the Cardinals’ athletic dominance. The women’s outdoor track and field team was crowned Big East Champion. Shortly after, the softball team became regular season and Big East Champions as well. The baseball team closed out a hard fought season by being honored co-regular season champion. This trend of success should not be taken lightly as the teams surely look to produce similar results in the future.
Louisville athletics didn’t fall with the leaves in the latter part of the year. Men’s soccer ended the year as divisional regular season champion. Volleyball was worthy of regular season champion and Big East Conference champion. This was a perfect set up for the achievement merited by the football team. Not only did this army defeat Rutgers for Big East crown, it earned the Cardinals their biggest BCS Bowl Game in school history.
In the Sugar Bowl, odds were against Louisville as they faced SEC powerhouse Florida. Once again, the critics’ mouths were duck taped by the convincing performance displayed by the team. Their heart, dedication, commitment, and courage resulted to title of Sugar Bowl Champion. There was no other option acceptable for bringing in 2013 for Louisville Athletics. The program also added a cherry on top of their sweet success by signing and sealing a contractual agreement with the Atlantic Coast Conference, known as the ACC.
While the naysayers are put on mute for the moment, Louisville has earned the right to be in discussion with other profound universities in the nation. They began and ended 2012 with purpose. The program as a whole envisioned a goal, and each area of sport played its part for this program to have an awesome year. It was a year to remember for Cardinal Nation.
caption:Seniors Mario Benvides and WIll Stein celebrating the U of L football Sugar Bowl win.
Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal