“ALL RISE!!! Court is now in session. The honorable Bucket Hat King LJ tha Fiasco presiding. Please be seated and come to order”

What a difference a staff makes. A fully competent, family-oriented, proven staff at that.

From the basement of the ACC to second behind Clemson in the Atlantic. From not being able to run the ball to running through, around, and over teams week after week. From a defense that couldn’t stop traffic to a defense that improved although they still struggled at times. From a coach who called a pass play that led to an interception to a coach who won coach of the year in his first season at the helm.

From salvaging a recruiting class in 2018 to perhaps putting together Louisville’s best recruiting class ever.

From putting no one on the ACC All-Conference teams to placing four Cards on them.

The Cards improved, which is what we wanted. The Cards won, which is what we all needed. The Cards proved a lot of people wrong in 2019, and a majority of them will return in 2020.

Cards are coming back.

To the verdict!!

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Normally I do this at the end but I want to get into the habit of giving people their roses earlier rather than later. Thanks to all of you who read this every week, contributed questions and comments, retweeted, or shared it. I am really humbled knowing that people want to read my thoughts, which are sometimes wrong or out of left field.

I have said and will continue to say this. I am a fan, just like you. I don’t have a suite or belong to the PNC Club. I am not a booster. I don’t have Vince Tyra’s number in my phone. I am in the summer heat with you, the rain with you, the cold with you. I park off of 3rd street and take the walk to the stadium every home game. Sorry, I don’t have a parking pass that will allow me to park right beside the stadium or even in the Green Lot (still not calling it Purple).

I want to say thanks to Mark Blankenbaker for giving me this platform and letting me write what I feel and how I feel. And yes, there have been times that I have gotten a late night text telling me that I have gone too far or to remove certain profanity. It has been an honor to cover Cardinal Athletics for the last few years. I don’t take it for granted.

Thanks to William Caudill, who is one of the best photographers out there. My co-hosts Dave Scull and, most recently, Chrissy Banta for sharing and pubbing this as well as helping to provide DOPE content each week on the pod. The producers at 93.9 for producing our podcast, as well as my main man Brian Hall who made sure we had a home at the Hall About Sports Network.

Thanks to Dr. Colby Helton, my secret editor all season long. I sometimes type this while hopped up on Reese cups and Sprite, and I have a ton of errors. Thanks to Colby for translating this each week for you.

I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t thank Mike Rutherford, founder of Card Chronicle. Every year, he promotes this blog on his site even though he has some talented writers like Keith Wynne, CardinalStrong, Justin Renck, and Recap Rach, to name a few. Technically, we are competitors, but to Mike we are simply CardNation. I can’t say thank you enough to him.  It has been so cool to watch Mike go from singing  “We found love in a Gorgui Place” to husband and new father.  

Rutherford is the true Godfather of Cardinal bloggers and websites. Run my fade if you disagree.

  • Congrats to Mekhi Becton on winning the Jacob’s Blocking award, a top honor for offensive lineman in the ACC. Becton was given the award this past weekend in Charlotte with his parents by his side. Judging by the way he made sure to hug every coach on the staff and make his rounds around the stadium after the win over Syracuse, I would say Becton will be on an NFL roster next season. I am gonna miss knowing that as long as he is on the line, we are going to get some yards. Also going to miss interacting with Mrs. Semone Becton. Ravens, he is from Maryland and has experience blocking for Lamar. Just saying….
  • Congrats to the PlayStation, Javian Hawkins on his first team All-ACC honors. We finally have a dynamic running back duo with Hawkins and Hassan Hall. Both are young, and both are tough to bring down. As long as the offensive line continues to make progress I think both can eclipse the 1,000 yard mark in 2020.
  • Props to Micale “Malik” Cunningham. My stomach dropped when I knew Puma had a foot injury, but Cunningham stepped into his role and led Louisville the entire year with the help of Evan “We Gotta Problem Man” Conley. Micale has not been healthy the entire season but grinded it out. Not sure if he will be the starter next season, but you can’t keep him off the field.
  • Gonna miss Seth Dawkins, and I really hope he gets a look at the next level. He may not have the blazing speed, but he is a big body and has the hands to catch a beach ball one-handed if need be.
  • Folks, barring a surprise we may see a formation next year with both Dez and Christian Fitzpatrick lined up at receiver with Tutu in the slot. If you’re having issues getting pumped about the offense in 2020, you’ve just been blessed.
  • Tutu Atwell is back……….that’s it.
  • Blanton Creque will be sorely missed, but let’s not act like we are not going to miss Mason King. Mason was the king (sorry, it was low hanging fruit) of flipping the field, and that is something that I fear we will wish we had next season. Unless our new punter is Ray Guy, then we should be good.
  • Thanks to the sound team at Cardinal Stadium. Not one piano riff or Van Halen song all season. You’re the real MVP.
  • Special thanks to all of the tailgate crews that allowed Chrissy and me to crash and learn about your traditions and memories. I loved every minute of it, and I am excited to do this again next season. If you are a tailgate crew, or you know of one that you want us to feature, shoot us a message.
  • Gonna miss GG Robinson and Tyler Haycraft on both lines mainly because they have glorious heads of hair and a beard to match. Being bald sucks, and I really miss my hairline being crisp. It could be worse though; at least I am not Daniel Cameron.
  • Not sure what happened with TreSean Smith, but he went from being suspended indefinitely to not being heard from again. If he is in fact still on the team, I hope he can get back on the field. Losing Russ Yeast hurt a lot, and Smith would have helped to shore up that absence. Hopefully Smith comes back next season and steps into Khane Pass’ spot.
  • Shout out to Keion Wakefield, who will graduate this month and transfer. I really hate that we have had coaches waste two Mr. Footballs who both played at Male. Krag killed Doug Beaumont’s career, and Bob didn’t know how to use Wakefield at all. It really sucks how much talent both former coaches killed. L’s down.
  • I am torn on Puma Pass. Does he come back, or does he transfer? Things have been eerily quiet on that front. Demji Dumervil-Jean is another player to keep an eye on. He redshirted this season to get in game shape because the former staff had him out there just because he was a big body. They are out of a job for a reason.
  • For the love of everything Cardinals, please do a blackout in late October when the heat is gone. Or, lets just do a red out or even a whiteout. Let’s change it up.
  • Next home season is going to be nice. FSU and Virginia Tech come in. We also get those bums down the road and those nerds from Wake Forest. Fun times.
  • I am really excited to see Marshon Ford progress over the next few months. All he does is block you to the Tennessee border and catch touchdowns. Local products deserve a ton of love.
  • Dayna Kinnaird is a story you should be following if you aren’t already. It reads like a friggin’ Disney movie. Small town guy out of Southern Indiana, gets a chance to walk on at Power 5 university. His mom makes waves when she flexes on the big screen during a game against Purdue. He changes his last name to honor his stepdad Gary, who looks like he just stepped out of a Men’s Health photo shoot. From there Dayna grinds and busts his ass to earn a scholarship. He gets two QB sacks this season and is in on other big plays. Kid is a fighter, and he is a winner – you read it here first. I am also trying to land a role in his made-for-TV movie. Cast me as the janitor who was a 5-star running back but got hurt and now I just mop floors and secretly train on the side. (It could happen)
  • It’s gonna be weird not seeing Devante Peete on the field next season. Feels like he came in with Teddy and Michaelee doesn’t it?

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The courtroom is shut down for a few weeks as we celebrate a bowl trip. I also wanted to take the time to thank all of you for contributing every week. This is better than recapping that one game that happened that one time in Lexington a few weeks ago. If they can make up national championships, then I can choose to ignore that game ever happened.

I do what I want.

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Person(s) or things that earned a shot of top shelf liquor this week:

  • The Louisville coaching staff. Louisville is 5 games better than last season, and that number may go to six if they can beat Mississippi State in the bowl
  • Chrissy Banta. Thanks for filling in and helping out with the pod on short notice.
  • Collision Course Crew , Red Rage, Gate 4 Tailgaters, Catalina Wine Mixer, and others for making each home game a fun atmosphere.
  • Mekhi Becton. I don’t want to accept that you won’t be here on the offensive line forever. It’s still real to me damn it.
  • Javian Hawkins. We have you for at least two more seasons. BOO-YAH
  • Marshon Fuggin Ford. Making Ballard high proud.
  • Tutu Atwell. We have you for at least two more seasons, as well.
  • Chris and Christy Mack’s toilet papering skills
  • Louisville Marketing. This season was a lot of fun.
  • Smoke
  • “Joker and the Thief” being played at any time of any Louisville event.
  • Lamar Jackson doing this:
https://twitter.com/Ravens/status/1203741885673746432


Person(s) or things that must eat fruit cake while driving up and down Shelbyville road during the holiday shopping season:

  • The defense against those bums down the road. Stack the box, put all 11 guys in there. Just do something to stop them from running the same play.
  • ACC Refs. You flagged Mekhi Becton for playing football.
  • Matt Bevin. Still can’t understand how you lost and still think you’re in control. I picked up some moving boxes for you.
  • Direct deposits to Bobby. Fix the glitch please.
  • Losing streaks to UK in football.
  • 517 rushing yards.
  • L’s Down being a thing.
  • Acknowledging L’s down after the game.
  • L’s Down being used as a taunt the entire game and the refs not flagging it.
  • “Santa Baby” and “All I want for Christmas”. Two of the worst songs ever made.
  • Drew Franklin’s erection for anything that involves Gary the Redbird. It’s just plain weird at this point. Gary is happily married, Drew. If you are into guys who wear wigs, obsess over sex, and are used to “painting” look no further than Matt Jones.

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In closing, this will go down as one of my favorite seasons of Cardinal football. No we didn’t win a championship, and our bowl won’t be on New Year’s Eve in a warm climate.

But this staff has united all of us and made us realize that good times are coming. Thanks to the entire staff.

Thanks to all of you for making this possible. I joke that the only person that reads this is my mom and granny, but I appreciate each of you who take a few minutes to laugh and react along with me. It’s the best part of games second only to live-tweeting with you all each week.

I will return in January with BucketHatology: same format, different name. We are building something special here in the Ville, and laughing at all the professionals who told us it would take years. Wrong.

In Louisville, we are just built different.

Be cool in this hot city

Season adjourned (bangs gavel)

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LJ Nesbitt

The BHK. Writer for thecrunchzone.com , 1/2 of the TCZ Podcast. Surviving in the great city of Louisville, in the not so great state of KY. Loui$ville KY thecrunchzone.com

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