Time to respect Louisville
By ANNIE MOORE
College Contributor Network
A couple of weeks ago, during the ACC-SEC matchups of Thanksgiving weekend, ESPN's Andrea Adelson released a column talking about the "spin" which she believes is keeping the ACC from getting the proper acknowledgement it deserves for defeating more Power 5 teams in 2014 than any other conference, among other accomplishments. The over-arching theme of the piece was that the ACC is a conference that is held to ridiculous standards when compared to other Power 5 conferences, including the SEC, never getting the respect it deserves. It would stand to reason then, that the ACC's newest member fits right in.
Louisville is a program that has been called Kentucky's "little brother" despite years of contending with, and yes defeating, the team in blue. So Cardinal fans are used to not getting their respect. But the times they are a'changing.
Louisville is part of a Power 5 conference now. The basketball team was the national champion just two years ago, and the football team was the Sugar Bowl champion over Florida just a few months prior to that. It has a former quarterback who's a rookie starting in the NFL, and top prospects in the draft once again. Oh yeah, and a 9-3 record in its first season in the tough ACC, including almost knocking off 2014 National Champion Florida State. It's time to start showing the Louisville Cardinals some respect.
The most recent example of this lack of recognition, can be found in Louisville's secondary. Gerod Holliman, the red-shirt sophomore from Miami was the most dominating defensive back in the country this season. Holliman racked up 14 interceptions, tying a record set by Al Worley in 1968. (A record which he Googled before the season with the goal of tying/beating.)
Holliman was given the Jim Thorpe Award -- given to the best DB in the country. And was named first-team Walter Camp All-American, the first Cardinal to do so since Elvis Dumervil in 2005. Seems like a shoe-in for the Nagurski Award, no? Holliman did not receive that award, but he received many other accolades, and has the Dec. 30 Belk Bowl to break that NCAA record.
While Holliman has been acknowledged for his extraordinary efforts, it seems a little understated for someone who had four games with more than one interception. Unfortunately that feeling is not unfamiliar in Louisville.
This is just one example, this is not limited to football, far from it. Louisville baseball has made it to back-to-back appearances in the College World Series in Omaha the past two seasons, after making its first appearance in 2007. The women's basketball team has made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament in seven of the past nine years, including two Sweet 16's and two national runners-up.
The men's soccer team was conference champion four years in a row between 2009-2013 and had three-consecutive elite eight appearances before losing in the third round of the 2014 NCAA Championship. The football team has been to five consecutive bowl games in the past five seasons, and Teddy Bridgewater was the winningest rookie in the NFL this year, after three years as a Cardinal.
Let's not forget about the men's basketball team. Perhaps the best-known element of Cardinal Athletics, the basketball team is seeing an era unlike any in team history, which is saying something when names like Darrell Griffith and Wes Unseld hang in the rafters. Since Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino came to Louisville in 2011, he has amassed a record of 341-117. Louisville basketball has made eight consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 appearance last year, two Elite Eight appearances, a final four and one national championship. This year looks to make it nine straight appearances, with the Cardinals currently ranked No. 4 in the country.
Yet Louisville is still seen by many as the little brother. Overlooked on the national landscape, and often when it comes time for handing out awards. In discussions across the country, a team or player from Louisville is not viewed on the level of prestigious programs with rich history. But Louisville has history, and is building a legacy in athletics across the board. Soon it will be impossible to ignore the perennial powerhouse that is Louisville, in basketball, football, and many other sports.
The time for respect for Louisville is now. The legacy is being built and can be ignored no more, little brother is all grown up and ready to make records and get his own recognition. If all of this isn't enough to convince you, remember where the original 'Johnny Football,' Johnny Unitas, spent his college years. If it's good enough for the Golden Armed Johnny U, it should be good enough for you.
Annie Moore is a junior at the University of Louisville majoring in Communications with a Sport Administration minor. She believes Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. Follow her on Twitter: @AnyMoreSports