Mark Konezny-US PRESSWIRE
Wednesday morning, we learned that Louisville will move to the ACC in 2014. This will be an abject disaster for the Cardinals.
As a Louisville fan, Louisville's announced move to the ACC is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. In fact, it may be the only thing that has ever happened to me, but that is outside the scope of this particular discussion.
At Card Chronicle, Mike Rutherford neatly lays out an argument for why this is such good news for Cardinal sports. He fails, though, to account for my complexes, fear of change, and abject dread, which of course are the considerations around which I expect the world to be arranged. Though it exhausts and frightens me to do so, I will lay out, in a number of reasons, why I am so miserable this morning.
1. The teams are going to be tougher to beat, and losing is bad.
It's as though none of these chuckleheads know or remember what it's like to have to play strong competition. It's difficult, and you lose a lot. The ACC is populated by Florida State and Clemson and all these teams that are quite capable, short-term and long-term, of beating Louisville. If I watch my team play, I want to see them win, because I am well-adjusted and honest with myself.
The popular argument, of course, is that winning against such teams would shoot Louisville up the national rankings. I'm not really interested in what the rest of the country thinks about my football team, because I am not insecure and I don't harbor a perpetual need to receive judgment, especially not from a computer or a faceless collective from another land.
In celebrating the move to the ACC, Louisville fans are demonstrating rather clearly that they absolutely cannot wait to be judged and sentenced by a half-robotic pseudo-god and defeated by strangers. The neediness is bewildering. The weakness is extraordinary.
2. Louisville is abandoning a position of absolute power.
Over the past decade, several exceptional football programs -- West Virginia, Miami, Virginia Tech -- have left the Big East. Rutgers will soon be gone. To fill the gap, the conference has installed a handful of jimmyjohn football schools. This is a conference that invited Tulane on purpose. It must be emphasized that Tulane football has finished with a losing record, in Conference USA, for 10 consecutive years.
If Louisville had waited just a few more years, Boise State and Cincinnati may have leapt to another conference, because that's what schools do (again: insecurity, neediness). This would have left U of L as the all-powerful lord of Big East football. They came rather close to running the table this year, and if they took a few more shots at it, I reckon the Cards could finish undefeated.
Perhaps the BCS would come calling: "sirs, you are eligible for one of our bowls, should you be interested." I would hope that we would respectfully decline. "We are just fine with playing with Connecticut and USF and the rest of the trinkets in our little toy box, sorting them and polishing them and crushing them 39 to 3. Leave us alone."
You might contend that remaining in the Big East would decrease revenue and stunt Louisville's growth. The solution to that would be to do corruption stuff to make more money. I frankly don't see what's so difficult about this.
3. I consider myself unfit for admission to a higher tier of society.
I will admit this much: in some regard, I do understand the giddiness exhibited by Louisville fans today. In becoming fans of an ACC program, they have suddenly been promoted to a higher plane. Louisville is a city with no subway system, no major professional sports, and a flagship recreational development, Fourth Street Live!, that is thoroughly indistinguishable from Terminal C. It sits in a nameless swath of America that is neither Midwest nor South, but in a river valley that gladly collects the air pollution of both. It belongs to no one; clearly, it longs to.
As a longtime resident of Louisville, I accept my role as a forgotten citizen of lands unconsidered. I am unworthy of ascendence to greater relevance, even to the negligible degree that admission to a more prominent sports conference would allow.
In 2013, Louisville will enjoy one final season as a lord of a petty kingdom. I exhort Louisville fans to cherish one last season of excellence before their hearts are filled with anguish. This is the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone, and indeed, it may be the only thing that has ever happened to anyone.