During the 2012-13 academic year, the Louisville Cardinals enjoyed unprecedented levels of athletic success across all sports. The football team compiled an 11-2 record, capped with a dominant victory in the Sugar Bowl. The Women’s basketball team beat the #1 seed Baylor (led by Brittney Griner) and made the national championship game. The Men’s Hoops squad, of course, won the national title (it happened, the NCAA website is still selling the t-shirts), and the baseball team made another run to the College World Series. Even the Men’s soccer team made a run to the NCAA quarters, falling just short of the College Cup. It was an amazing year. So amazing, in fact, that many Louisville fans joked that we had sold our collective soul to attain such great heights. Since that fateful day in the fall of 2015, when the first scandal broke…it would be hard to argue we didn’t do something to anger the sports Gods.
In the last year, we’ve had to fire a Hall of Fame basketball coach and the Athletic Director who was the undeniable architect of our recent meteoric rise through college athletics. We have hired a new university president, athletic director, and basketball coach. And all three are crushing it. But we need closure. We need a clean break.
In the Harry Potter novels, Voldemort uses dark magic to split his soul into seven pieces (I won’t get into the details, just focus on the basic idea here). In order to ultimately kill Voldemort, Harry and his crew have to track down all seven items (called horcruxes) that hold a piece of his soul and destroy them. So we starting thinking…what items from Louisville’s recent past do we need to destroy in order to kill the beast? What are the seven Louisville “horcruxes” that we must find?
The Crunch Zone’s own Dave Scull and LJ Nesbitt are here to tell you where to start…
LJ: Katina Powell’s Ledger: Similar to Nagini the Snake, Katina Powell has seemed elusive as well as immortal. Back in 2015, had this ledger been destroyed Louisville fans will have never heard the endless amount of stripper jokes and references that we will have to endure for the rest of our lives (Editor’s Note: She would have just written another one, all with the same pen, at the same time…). Not only will the books need to be destroyed, but also the photographs, the horrible business deals made with Andre McGee, and every single pen she has ever touch. A daunting task but it can be done. The plan is simple, we use a stash of Walmart toothbrushes to lure the ledger out and once that happens it shall be doused with gasoline and set on fire.
Dave: Rick Pitino’s white suit: Ah, the white suit. The most iconic look of the Rick Pitino era…and one that must be destroyed before we move can move on. There have been many iterations of the “suit”, from the very thin material that Rick sweated through while wearing dark boxers, to the cream colored misfire he donned once upon a time. Eventually he settled on an all-white (no doubt $10,000 price tag) number that looked like it was taken straight out of the Scarface wardrobe department. Nobody else should wear the suit. nobody else can wear the suit. Chris Mack is not a white-out suit kind of guy. He’s too busy flying around the world visiting the extended family of every recruit he intends to sign (I just found out Rocket Watts has a cousin in Cambodia. Get on that, Coach). RIck’s suit went from charming, to iconic, to a piece of our program’s history I’d just as soon forget. I say we put this suit through a wood chipper and scatter the thousands of little tiny pieces in the Ohio River, where they’ll flow past Evansville & Paducah, and eventually make their way down to Memphis. He’s their problem now.
LJ: Wakey Leaks Playbook: The dumbest of the seven cruxes. I will go to my grave saying that we didn’t need to steal plays to beat Wake Forest. This will go down as the most unneeded black eye of 2016. Wake Forest’s radio guy went rogue and Lonnie Galloway/Todd Grantham took the bait. What is even more dumb is that it was left on the friggin’ sideline to be discovered. This should not be difficult to destroy. I mean before Greg Dortch was on the team Wake had four plays, run right, run left, run up the middle, punt. The plan to destroy it is simple. Leave a bunch of JC Penney coupons laying around and wait for it to show up. Once it does, put on a recording of Ben Stein until it gets comfortable. Easy Kill shot. Easy work.
Dave: Tom’s mock turtleneck: Look, I am not here to debate Tom Jurich’s legacy. It’s ironclad. He is why we are where we are as an athletic department and to a degree, as a university. He deserves a lot of credit. But circumstances dictated that we had to move on. He’s gone and we’ve got a new AD (and a new president, a new basketball coach, etc). In the two decades that Jurich spent in charge of our athletic department, I am pretty sure he wore a black mock turtleneck 100% of the time. In fact, rumor is he has never been seen without it. It might actually be a part of his body (this is unconfirmed). Like your ex’s hoodie that she left at your place four years ago that you have folded up in the closet just hoping that she’ll come get it someday, you’ve got to let that thing go. We’re happy with our new guy (Vince is less mock turtleneck, and more Donovan Mitchell rookie shirt, Cardinal shorts, mid-calf “Rookie” socks, confident smile). So if we can actually separate the mock turtleneck from the man (not scientifically proven, but we will try), we need to do a ritual sacrifice. Light this thing on fire and move on.
Dave: Football’s Inflatable tunnel: Ah. This f****** thing. For the last several years, our football team has run out of the tunnel at Cardinal Stadium, and instead of pouring out around the iconic Johnny Unitas statue, said statue has been covered by a damn inflatable tunnel that looks like a rented bouncy house. Guarded on each side by gigantic inflatable cardinal birds (that looked equally cheap), the bouncy castle looked like something you would see at your niece’s seventh birthday, not on a college football Saturday. It turned what is supposed to be one of the most anticipated and intimidating moments of the college football experience and turned it into an embarrassing display. I half expected Mrs. Lippy’s kindergarten class to come running out of the tunnel, not the Louisville football team. As excited as I was about closing in the stadium’s north end, the new seats and suites, and the beautiful new football facilities, by far the best aspect of the stadium expansion was the fact that I never have to see those inflatable monstrosities ever again. Before the Florida State game, they should invite fans in to the stadium early, and then one single archer should shoot an arrow from the party deck to the inflated tunnel, killing that childish Colossus once and for all. (I volunteer myself as tribute here. Give me the damn bow and arrow.)
LJ: Andre McGee’s Uber and Hairline: The only time we will need to take a road trip as a fan base to destroy this horcrux. Andre McGee, forever banned from the city of Louisville, was once the point guard of one of Louisville’s most dominating teams (2009). Upon graduation he tried and failed to develop an overseas career and was then thrown a life raft by one Rick Pitino who allowed Andre to break into a potential career in coaching. What Rick didn’t know is that Andre’s persistent need for attention and clout chasing would cost Rick his job years later. The last known image we have of McGee is a OTL segment on ESPN where the crew jumps in the backseat of his Uber and tries to make sense of why McGee introduced Louisville to the succubus of the city, thus stripping records and a title from the University’s grasp. The first step is to destroy his car which should not be hard since Kia’s are not known for gas mileage and performance. Simply have a group of random females invite Andre out to a party and the clout-chaser in him can’t resist. His car will not go over 15 miles per hour on the interstate so once cornered we will add wiper fluid to it and watch it die (seriously Kia’s are allergic to wipe fluid), Then, we will pull him from said car, hold him down, apply shaving cream to his head, and remove one of the worst hairlines this side of the Mississippi (since Stephen A. Smith). I volunteer Joe Kelly to do the shaving honors.
LJ: Papa John’s Camaro: Ah yes, the ozone killer that disrupted our football games in the 2nd quarter, only for its owner to distribute cold personal pan pizza’s to the lower bowl. The car that even Foghat fans hate. The useless promo that the owner needed but none of us asked for. Papa was in the house but he needed to let us know he was there because the hole in his muffler and bald tires weren’t enough of a warning. The only time you could actually hear Sean Moth rolling his eyes in the Cardinal Stadium press box. Some fan bases have frisbee dogs, some have local drum corps, we had John, the guy who drove a Camaro with a Volkswagen engine. This should be easy. We will simply make the claim that Papa John’s ingredients are okay but not as great as JET’s Pizza. That is sure to make his blood boil enough to exit his vehicle like a disgruntled driver on Dixie Highway. Once out, we will have someone jump in his vehicle and head to the only place that can kill cars…….the Ohio River. The juiced up engine coupled with the unneeded nitro Papa had installed is enough to propel the car into the depth’s of the river. Be warned, you must exit the vehicle before it careens off the great lawn of Waterfront Park into the murky water below.
A falsified ledger, a leisure suit, a children’s bouncy castle, a teflon turtleneck, a broke down Uber & a struggling hairline, a “stolen” playbook, and a millionaire’s mid-life crisis mobile. These items represent the best of times, and the absolute worst of times. Grab a hunting party of your closest friends, and a wise old Louisville sage (we recommend Denny Crum or Howard Schnellenberger), and begin your quest.
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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