The Louisville football team is in complete disarray. Today, Willie Williams, former Miami Hurricane turned starting linebacker for the Cardinals, was dismissed from the football team for violating his agreement with Tom Jurich. I personally have no idea what happened there, and I am not going to pass along any rumors, of which there are many. I wish the best for Williams, and hope he gets his life straight.
The reversal of fortunes for our arch-foe has been totally astonishing. From the first practice of the season, many fans of the red and black were looking forward to a top-10 ranking and a possible shot at a national championship. But an unexpectedly weak defense along with growing pains from bringing on a new coach and a new system derailed those plans, at least temporarily. I would hope Kentucky fans could learn about the volatile and unpredictable nature of the expectations game from this experience, but I don't have all that much faith that we will.
The expectations game in sports is almost as addictive as a narcotic. One minute, you can be so high you can't see anything but stars, and the next you are in the depths of despair. Placing high hopes on young college-age men and women begs for a disappointing result, and keeping in mind what is really important in life -- especially when you are right in the middle of it -- can be daunting. Bad choices often happen when we allow ourselves to get too high or too low on anything.
While it is really tempting to engage in some sort of schadenfreude at Louisville's expense, I'd rather not. Yes, we have all suffered a bit from the sharp keyboards of certain Cardinal fans when Smith and Brooks were both under duress. Yes, we had to suffer lots of stories from the Courier-Journal and other media about how great Jurich was, how impressive his performance was in light of his smaller budget, and what the heck could be wrong with Barnhart? Yes, we had to endure Louisville's rise to football power, and several brutal beatings at the hands of their football team. Their baseball team got to the college world series this year, a feat Kentucky has never accomplished. Only our basketball success against them in the annual game have provided us any bragging rights at all over the last few years, and even that seemed to have been diluted by the Cardinal's gridiron prowess.
Who knows, perhaps this event will be the watershed moment for the Cards, creating unity from the shards of broken dreams and allowing them to salvage their season. Or, it could be another turn in a long, slow spiral to despair, and despite what some Card fans may be thinking right now, it most definitely can get worse.
All I know is, what a difference a month makes. The reality of the Cats and the Cards have swapped ends 180 degrees from pre-season expectations. Droll, I suppose, but a caution to us all.