ESPN. Thursday night spotlight. Defending national champions. Defending Heisman trophy winner and
crab leg connoisseur likely top 10 draft pick Jameis Winston leads the undefeated Florida State Seminoles into Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium. This game was circled the day schedules were released.
Louisville donned in new showtime uniforms. The 2nd largest crowd in Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium, the record came in week one hosting the Miami Hurricanes. Bettors were favoring the Cards. The entire SEC, Lexington exempt, were in the Louisville corner. Hell, even Kirk Herbstreit picked Louisville to upset FSU, I guess he thought the Noles would be disinterested. Ali was in the building, and Louisville threw a haymaker on the first play to its version of The Greatest, 71 yards to DeVante Parker.
The game was a two half tale which Louisville came out swinging for the fences, but Florida State had enough dumb luck to keep it close until they ultimately pulled away late in the fourth quarter on Dalvin Cook’s 38 yard flash to the end zone. It ended up as another “what if” game from the Cards and like Florida State’s previous 22 opponents, Louisville lost the game.
The game was however the highest rated on ESPN this season, drawing an overnight rating of 3.5, whatever that means, we just know it’s good. It was also the second largest rating ever for those using the WatchESPN live-streaming mobile app.
Louisville has proven to be the right addition to the ACC. No disrespect to Connecticut, Cincinnati or whoever else was being considered, but Louisville was the best selection and is likely the best addition to the conference since Miami and Virginia Tech in 2004. They have competed at a high level against the leagues more prominent teams. While victorious over Miami, they have given Clemson and Florida State all that they could handle, essentially finding ways to lose while still trying to figure out who they are offensively.
While Louisville may have lost the game, the ultimate payoff came the following day.
The fireworks started early with a 2016 four-star receiver from Farmington, Michigan, Desmond Fitzpatrick committing to the Cards. The third commit for the class of 2016, his commitment vaulted the Cards to a very early top 20 class.
Florence, Alabama’s LB/DB Dee Smith was the next Friday pledge giving Louisville five recruits from Alabama, including three of the state’s Top 15. Smith, a 247Sports three-star, chose Louisville over Kentucky, Miami, NC State and Missouri.
A pair of highly touted JUCO teammates were the grand finale on Friday afternoon. Tim Cook the No. 4 JC RB in the 247Sports Composite, and Khalil Hunter, the No. 12 JUCO OT verbally committed to Louisville.
With 21 commits, Louisville currently has the 30th best recruiting class nationally, and 6th in the ACC according to 247Sports.com. Coach Petrino is stockpiling talent in an effort to make a run at the college football playoff. A pitch that he has made publicly and a goal that appears much closer to reality than many might have been ready to admit his team was capable of achieving.
In a losing effort, the atmosphere in Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium was the kind of excitement we all started talking about right around a year ago. Losing aside, it was probably better than we could imagine. Landing four verbal commitments would’ve never happened after losing to USF on a Thursday night. It’s big time now. The opposing fans have noticed, too, as you can see this gem of a tweet below.
This is what we all hoped for when this ACC courtship became reality. As The Carpenter’s sang, “And we’ve only just begun“.