A lot of things can change in 100 games.
On September 5th, 1998, the Louisville Cardinals opened Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium with a 68-34 loss to instate rival Kentucky, the 9th loss in a row for UofL. On October 18th, 2013 – 100 games later – Louisville will be seeking their second consecutive 7-0 mark after defeating the Knights of Central Florida.
I told you, a lot of things can change.
100 games has boiled down to 15 years, 5,475 days, and 131,400 hours. It may sound like a lot time, but in the business of building College Football Programs, a decade of change is not nearly enough. Don’t believe me? Ask the school down the road who hasn’t defeated one School from the South in 34 years, 12,410 days and 297,840.
It’s hard out there.
That’s why this milestone presents the most opportune time to look at what the Louisville Cardinal Football program has accomplished in 15 years.
It’s important to remember 1-10 in 1997.
It’s important to remember the near abolition of the entire Louisville Football team before Howard Schnellenberger.
But it’s absolutely critical to remember the strife that occurred, whilst the Cardinals occupied the spot they now call home of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
John L. Smith, bringing the Cardinals to new heights as a football program and suddenly leaving Louisville with a Head Coaching vacancy at halftime of a bowl game.
The Kragthorpe years. The coach who was handed a Lexus, only to drive it off Mount Everest.
The good times.
The black-out game against West Virginia; where all folks looked at Louisville – Louisville Football!- with awe and said ‘Hey, these guys can compete with the best’.
Last season, when David slayed Goliath as Louisville reigned superiority of SEC Power Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
It’s also to remember the phrase that has became synonymous with Louisville Football, when Howard Schnellenberger said that Louisville was on a ‘Collision Course’ with the National Championship.
Speaking of phrases, this one has a particularly poignant meaning this week: ‘Remember where you come from.’
In the history of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium…. in fact in the history of Louisville Football, we’ve never seen a Cardinal team go undefeated. If Louisville wins Friday night, they stand a good chance to accomplishment: a pristine unblemished record.
With this coming milestone, I’m reminded of the teams they played in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium ten, five or even three years ago. Four years ago the Cards poured Gatorade on a Charlie Strong to simply celebrate a bowl bid. Now, a vast majority of the Louisville fans seems obsessed with complaining about polls, rankings and useless info, all while forgetting to enjoy a special team in front of their eyes.
That group should take heed by remembering the Cardinal teams of yesteryear and enjoying what is in front of them in the present. If they can’t, Louisville Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson certainly doesn’t have a problem doing so.
“When you step back and look at what the kids are going through, it can become a grind. That’s just not the way that we’re made around here. We want these kids to enjoy the experience of football,” Watson noted. “It’s too hard not too. They came here because they love it, and the play the game because they love it. We want them to keep that love…With the hype that’s been placed on this season and people saying Teddy [Bridgewater] has to do this to stay in the Heisman; that’s not why we’re out here. We’re out here to win and we enjoy our work and we enjoy winning.”
When Louisville takes the field on Friday, they’ll be playing the 100th game at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, the talent, however, will appear to be 100 years removed from their 1st game. It’s important to remember that.
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