It has taken a couple days, but I am finally able to sit down and write about this past weekend. It didn’t feel right moving on to the Houston game without recapping how this trip went. There was the game, the radio show at an awesome tailgate, actually going to Auburn, Alabama right after the game ended, and everything in between. I will try to recap it all, and then turn the page and move on to Houston this Saturday.
Friday night/Saturday morning
The wife and I didn’t start our venture to Atlanta until about 6:00 p.m. on Friday evening. So all day, I was reading about (what seemed like) every person in Louisville on their way down south. It sounded like a Cardinal Caravan was heading down I-65, or I-75, or I-24, whatever road everyone was on at the time. I was seeing these things from back home, and couldn’t wait to get on the road.
We finally did, and even as the clock struck midnight when we were getting closer, I still saw plenty of UofL fans on the road. The crowd was still on its way! It was nice to know that we weren’t the last ones to make the trip. We had friends on the road with us, whether we knew them or not. We got to our hotel in Buckhead around 1:30 a.m. and I remember finally laying down to sleep at 2:00. The alarm went off at 7:00, a mere five hours later. I met up with Mike Rutherford, Card Chronicle himself, and we made our way towards the Georgia Dome. This was after I walked 10 minutes to his hotel, and then we walked 15 minutes to his car. But I digress. We had a radio show to do…
CSZ on 93.9/Red Rage Tailgate
We arrived on the scene of the Red Rage Tailgate in the Marshalling Yard parking lot. This was where we would broadcast our Cardinal Sports Zone show on 93.9 The Ville from 10-12 that morning. The atmosphere of the tailgate was incredible. It got more and more crowded as the show went on, naturally. There were people everywhere. Food, drinks, music, games on TV, CARDS cheers, and much more.
As for the show, Steve and I were joined by Eric Wood, Pete Nochta, Mark Blankenbaker, Mike Rutherford, Howie Lindsey, and our callers that gave their thoughts on the game. Dave from the Red Rage jumped on, and Jeremy from CSZ hopped on for a few minutes to give his game prediction as well. Needless to say, it was a loaded show. Steve was just a wee bit excited and may have tossed any show script to the side. I definitely hope we can do another show from the Red Rage soon!
You saw the game. You have read every story and recap that there is. I don’t need to give a game summary. What I will say is that it was surreal before the game started, knowing that we were about to face Auburn. I lived there from 2008-2012, so yes I was there for their 2010 National Championship season. It is an incredible place to be and their football is on another level. And now we were about to play them. Hearing their band and their cheers brought back many memories. But don’t get it twisted: there was 0% of me that wanted Auburn to win that game.
I was bummed about the loss, but I couldn’t be that mad as we left the Georgia Dome. I was encouraged with the fight and the comeback from the Cards. Down 24-0, they could have rolled over and quit and gotten beat by 40. Instead, they fought back and made it a game. When the lead was cut to 14, my friend Scott (from Auburn) texted me “Game on.” They knew the game was far from over.
We had a lot of young guys make plays, and of course Lamar Jackson was spectacular. The Cards will be just fine this season. Although Jeremy Johnson threw all of his interceptions right to us, that was still a good team. And Louisville hung with them until the very end. Even though it was a loss, that game experience will pay dividends down the road. By the way, on the show I predicted a 34-31 win by Louisville in overtime. Mannnnn, it was getting a little close to coming true. So close that Jeremy looked at me from a section over and said “Didn’t you predict…” before he could even finish, I nodded my head as if to say “Yes, I know. It’s happening!” Steve was down on the field, and his reaction to my prediction possibly happening was “We are going to Auburn if so!” Speaking of which…
Then we went to Auburn
Quick summary of why we went to Auburn after the game: like I said, we lived there 2008-2012. My (now) wife was in Vet School there. I worked in the athletic department the whole time while she was in school. We hadn’t been back to visit yet. This seemed like a good time with it only being an hour and a half from Atlanta.
If you know me, and you probably do if you have made it all the way to this part of the novel, you aren’t surprised that I only packed UofL shirts for this trip. Nothing neutral, no orange. All Louisville. I didn’t do it to be a jerk. I did it because I have pride in the team that I love. I wore my UofL very proudly on Sunday afternoon as we walked the streets of downtown Auburn. I had no shame at all being around all of the Auburn folks. I had lunch with my Auburn friends Scott and Ryan on Sunday, and both said that they were worried about their team and that I should be very excited about our team and Lamar Jackson. I was already, but that was good to hear. They didn’t rub anything in at all. They were very realistic and knew that they were fortunate to be 1-0.
While we were downtown, we visited the new trees that have been planted in place of the old oaks that were poisoned in 2010. These new trees can not be rolled (with toilet paper) until the 2016 season. We also saw the new video board. Our best view of it was from behind where it’s at. I pointed it out, and Kacy (the wife) says “Oh, I thought that was the entire side of the stadium.” That is how big this thing is. Ridiculous!
All in all, it was a solid weekend. Hate the loss, but happy with the team overall and excited to see how the season plays out. The trip to Auburn was great. Got to see old friends and see all of the places we used to hang out. And as I wore my Louisville colors proudly, it felt like people looked at me with a little respect and not so much bitterness as “that guy wearing our opponents’ shirt.”
Go Cards! War Eagle!
And now…beat Houston!