I know we are all disappointed. Everyone is. Coaches, players, alumni, board members, fans, boosters, ticket takers, beer vendors and many many more. We are not disappointed because our expectations were set too high but rather because what we saw on Friday night was not Louisville football.
Louisville football isn’t one of the “Blue Bloods” that you see in the playoffs often but it’s important that we realize where we are and where we came from.
(Yes, I said WE because if you care about the school or program then we are all in this together. WE all go through the high’s and low’s. Through our support, WE partake in the glory and the pain of the team on a yearly basis. So yes, it’s WE.)
Where we are, is not where we want to be. That’s a simple fact that can’t be disputed.
Where we were, is a far cry from where we are now. It’s all about perspective and depending on how old you are, your perspective is different.
If you are in your 20’s or 30’s, you expect the football team to win 8 games per season because that is their average win total since the year 2000. That includes a 3 year stretch with a total of 15 wins under Krapthorpe and another 3 year 15 game win total under Bobby 2.0’s last season and Satt’s first 2 seasons. Remove those 6 seasons and Louisville averages 9.66 wins per season.
That’s where we should be.
If you are in your 40’s or 50’s, you remember the days of old Cardinal Stadium and you remember the roughest of times. From 1982-1984 Louisville recorded a record of 10-23 and the program was to be shut down. Howard Schnellenberger convinced Louisville to give him a shot to resuscitate a dying program. By 1990 he had the Cards ranked 14th in the country with a 10-1-1 record.
Between 1990 and 2000, the Cards have had some really good seasons and some really bad seasons.
My point is that your age may dictate how tolerant you are of this staff and team. The younger crowd expects at least eight win seasons every year. The older crowd is used to good and bad and more willing to ride out the bad times.
Personally, I fall in the older crowd and I’ve been through a lot. But I know that if our program is to get to where we want it to be, we cant be tolerant of anything less than eight win seasons. We need to hold the staff accountable. I’ve given coach Satt the benefit of the doubt through all he and his team have endured during Covid but this is year four and by my standards, eight wins is the expectation.
I also know that the mentality of my older crowd has to change if we want the expectations of the program to change. We can’t be happy or tolerant with a six win season and a low level bowl. If we start to accept that as success then that becomes our ceiling.
And that’s simply not good enough. That’s not Louisville football.
While I want the standard to increase to at least eight win seasons, I also understand we will not be Alabama or Ohio State anytime soon. Those programs have years and years of tradition and high expectations. I would love for my grandkids and great grandkids to see Louisville in the same light as we see Alabama right now.
But that can’t happen with accepting mediocrity.
Last year, I traveled down to Atlanta to photograph the opening game of the 2021 season against Ole Miss. I didn’t expect to win but I anticipated a valiant effort that game up just short. During the pregame warm ups the team was super hyped and I started to believe they could pull it off because I believed that they believed they not only could, but would win. It felt like something special was in the air.
Then they game started. I saw them get physically dominated. Almost like they weren’t ready. I left Atlanta wondering if the Cards could win more than two games.
But in game two, they made adjustments and they played better throughout the season. Not the greatest season but much better than what I expected after watching game one of 2021.
While my expectations for game one of 2022 were different, I left game one feeling the same as last year.. wondering if we could win more than two games.
I’m not ready to just assume the season is on the same path as last year but I’ve seen nothing to lead me to believe anything different after game one.
I know there is enough talent on this team to win at least eight games but it appears as though the talent isn’t being put in position to make plays.
I guess my age makes me tolerant enough to let the season play out a little more to see if adjustments are made before I’m on the “fire the coach” train.
But if we get to game four and I am still saying THIS ISN’T LOUISVILLE FOOTBALL, then I’ll not only hop on the train, I’ll be the conductor.
WE deserve better!
As Always, GO CARDS!