A Fans Call to Action

Louisville fans, it’s time to man up. As fans, it’s time to stop with all the Crash Davis/Nuke LaLoosh type of cliche’ speak that we have all grown accustomed to from players and coaches, and embrace the reality of what this team is.  You know the type of cliche’ speak I’m talking about:

  • “We gotta play ’em one day at a time.”
  • “I’m just happy to be here. Hope I can help the ball club.”
  • “I just wanna give it my best shot and, the good Lord willing, things will work out.”

This Louisville football team doesn’t deserve this type of equivocating. Lamar Jackson didn’t hurdle a dude on national television so you could play the humble fan boy who is just enjoying the magical ride. This group of Cardinals didn’t lay a 43 point beating on FSU so you could do your best Peyton Manning “Aww shucks” impersonation.  You do realize that this IS the team from Louisville; you know, the home of Muhammad Ali? Quick question, in his prime, do you think Ali would have had a difficult time letting the world know how good this team is?  Answer, hell no. Bobby Petrino,  Lamar Jackson, et al have provided you with keys to a Lamborghini Diablo, a national audience, and a stunning narrative. Yet many of you refuse to get on the expressway, let alone jump in the fast lane and hurl yourself into the reality of what this team is.  What this team happens to be is a well trained, highly capable bunch who are poised to destroy any opponent who steps on the field with them.  It’s time you as fans start acting like it.

Bobby Knows and Has Known

From the start of this campaign Bobby Petrino has guided his squad with a kind of confident swagger that had been lacking in years one and two of the Bobby 2.0 tour. He has known since the end of last season the utter destruction he was going to unleash this year – he just couldn’t act like it.  Still, to the observant fan, we knew this approach was different.  I can’t give you exactly what felt different about Petrino’s approach, I just knew it did. After watching the first four games of the season, I understand his confidence.  Now it’s time for the common fan to say what Petrino has known; “This is a bad ass group of young men, on a mission to win a National Championship.” When Howard Schnellenberger famously said; “Louisville is on a collision course with the National Championship, the only variable is time” no one knew what exactly when that meant.  I am happy to report that it appears Bobby has “solved for x” and X=2016.

Respect All-Fear None

Now, I’m not saying you should run over to Clemson message boards, Houston message boards, (do those exist) or other sites and act like Cousin Eddie. There is a time and place for appropriate bravado that comes off as confident, yet not obnoxious. I’m a big fan of: “Don’t start nothing, won’t be nothing.” Unfortunately, there are fans, and fan bases, who cannot help but open their mouths because they just cannot believe what the reality of this year’s football season is. When presented with these opportunities, it’s not should you strike, it’s when should you let up. My answer; be relentless.

Beginning with Clemson, Louisville fan should take absolutely no more shit from any fan base. If you were slow to jump on the train initially, I understand. If you aren’t on board by now, wait until next year. Speaking of Clemson, let’s talk about the Tigers.  Clemson is historically a fantastic opponent.  I will not attempt to diminish their past accomplishments.  I like Dabo as a coach, and I hear the fans in Clemson are nice too. It’s almost a shame to know what Louisville is going to do in their house on Saturday night.  Afterwards, I hope we can all still be friends.

This Clemson team isn’t what last year’s team was, and even if they are, this Louisville team is miles ahead of where they were at any time last season.  This Clemson team has struggled with the likes of Troy.  Let me repeat that, Clemson has struggled with the likes of Troy.  If this were a trial, I’d just rest my case here.  Look further into the mystique that is Clemson and know that their offensive line has been a sieve.  Good thing Deshaun Watson is mobile; otherwise he’d be dead. As for the Saturday night Death Valley aura? Don’t ask Jameis Winston what he thought of it.  His Noles boat raced Dabo’s boys in Death Valley in 2013.

A lackluster win over Auburn, a nail biter with Troy, and the most uninspired second half of football you can imagine last week vs. Georgia Tech, and you can see why I am not at all afraid of this Clemson team.

Fans Don’t Have to Play

I have heard from a lot of people that I should not overlook this Clemson team or take them so lightly. My response? Why not? I’m not suiting up on Saturday.  I share the same glorious position all of you do.  That position is one of being able to sit back and analyze this game without worrying that my fandom will somehow effect the outcome of this contest.  It won’t make the team play worse if you guys embrace the fact that Louisville is just that good.  What is the worst case scenario? We may look like we picked incorrectly? Who gives a shit? I’d rather enjoy this football season for all it is, and ride it til she bucks me, than live in fear of what some random team may do in a game against my Cardinals.

Embrace this Cardinal fans.  Pound your chest, show your pride, be a little on the obnoxious side. (But just a little please.)  These types of teams don’t come around too often.  There are numerous seniors who spurned opportunities and returned to play on this squad. It may be years before we see such a complete assembly of talent on both sides of the ball.  Do not waste your entire season waiting to lose. This is the only time when it’s okay to act like you haven’t been there before, because guess what, we haven’t been here before. Take full advantage of the SI covers, the College GameDays, the random ESPN tweets etc. etc.etc…  Likewise, take full exception to the haters, and the pundits who would have you believe that if you aren’t SEC, or a traditional football powerhouse, you somehow don’t belong.   Please use discretion, not every good point about an opponent is a shot at Louisville. (Translation,  leave Andrea Adelson alone, she is the first lady of Louisville football coverage over at ESPN.)

Welcome this opportunity. Calm down, and take a breath.  Don’t be afraid to tell anyone who will listen what you think the outcome of this, or any other game is going to be. Remember, aim high, it’s where the Cardinals have been flying all year.  Louisville beats Clemson 56-20.

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Keith Poynter

Keith Poynter graduated from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law in May of 2011. While in law school, Keith studied Sports Law as well as other core curriculum. Prior to becoming an attorney, Keith worked in the insurance industry for 6 years, and was a police officer in both Kentucky and Tennessee for 6 years. As an avid sports fan, former basketball official and current youth sports coach, Keith is heavily involved in sports when not at work or with his family at the lake. Keith's diverse background makes him an excellent source for legal opinion about issues surrounding the sporting world. Whether the matter be criminal or contractual, Keith's unique experience and education allows him to offer insight that may be missed by the casual fan. Keith is available for commentary on any legal issues that may arise in the Kentuckiana area and will routinely post articles concerning local and national sports law topics.

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