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HTS 2018: Louisville

Remember remembering South Florida last weekend against Bowling Green? This is about to look real familiar.

NCAA Football: Florida State at Louisville
Hug me, brother!
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to From the Rumble Seat’s weekly historical matchup lecture. Throughout the season, each unit in this class will examine the head-to-head matchups of our opponents in the 2018 season. It’s time for a rare treat - a a team from the Atlantic not named Clemson. True to form for the year, we’ve never played Louisville, either. So go, grab a baseball bat and bourbon, I guess, and settle in for Friday Night Lights.

Louisville Cardinals

Opponent Background:

  • Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (2014 - present)
  • Location: Louisville, Kentucky
  • All-time Record: 512 - 459 - 17 (.527)
  • Home Stadium: Cardinal Stadium (Capacity: 61,000)
  • National Championships: N/A
  • College Football Playoff Appearances: N/A
  • New Year’s Six Bowl Games: 3 (Fiesta: 1, 1990 Orange: 1, 2006 Sugar: 1, 2012)
  • Conference Championships: 8 — (MVC: 1970, 1972* C-USA: 200, 2001, 2004 Big East: 2006, 2011*, 2012*)
  • Division Championships: N/A
  • 2017 Season Record: 8 - 5 (4 - 4 AAC)

Past Results:

  • Team Head-to-Head Record: 0-0-0 (N/A)
  • Recent Meetings: N/A
  • Coach Head-to-Head Record: 0-0-0 (N/A)
  • Tech record in this week’s venue: 0-0-0 (N/A)

2018 Football Schedule

Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Notes
Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Notes
September 1 12:30 p.m. Alcorn State Southwestern Athletic 2-0-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 41 - 0 W FCS
September 8 12:00 p.m. @ South Florida American Athletic 0-1-0 Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, FL 38 - 49 L First Meeting, Group of Five
September 15 12:30 p.m. @ Pittsburgh Atlantic Coast 5-8-0 Heinz Field - Pittsburgh, PA 19 - 24 L
September 22 3:30 p.m. Clemson Atlantic Coast 50-31-2 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 21 - 49 L Rivalry, Hall of Fame Day
September 29 12:00 p.m. Bowling Green Mid-American 1-0-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 63 - 17 W First Meeting, Family Weekend, Group of Five
October 5 7:00 p.m. @ Louisville Atlantic Coast 1-0-0 Cardinal Stadium - Louisville, KY 66 - 31 W First Meeting
October 13 12:20 p.m. Duke Atlantic Coast 51-34-1 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 14 - 28 L Homecoming
October 25 7:30 p.m. @ VPISU Atlantic Coast 7-9-0 Lane Stadium - Blacksburg, VA 49 - 28 W Rivalry
November 3 12:15 p.m. @ North Carolina Atlantic Coast 30-21-3 Kenan Memorial Stadium - Chapel Hill, NC 38 - 28 W
November 10 7:00 p.m. Miami Atlantic Coast 12-12-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 27 - 21 W Whiteout
November 17 3:30 p.m. Virginia Atlantic Coast 21-19-1 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 30 - 27 W (OT) Senior Day
November 24 12:00 p.m. @ u[sic]ga Southeastern 44-67-5 Sanford Stadium - Athens, GA 45 - 21 L Rivalry
December 26 5:15 p.m. vs. Minnesota Big Ten 0-0-0 Ford Field - Detroit, MI - First Meeting

Still no Actual History...

I was considering making fun of Louisville for having no history, but their football team surprisingly dates all the way back to 1912, when they were in the gigantic, disorganized mess called the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Of course, the bigger southern schools from Kentucky to Florida broke off from the amorphous blob that was the SIAA, for all intents and purposes a slew of autonomous independents, to form the Southern Conference and, later, the Southeastern Conference, which just means more. Meanwhile, schools a step down, which included the likes of South Carolina, Louisville, Clemson, North Carolina, and Duke, were left to eventually pick up the pieces with the SoCon and independent status. Louisville chose the latter, nominally a member of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Both World Wars, along with financial troubles, halted Louisville’s athletic department. However, between the wars they posted just one winning season to go with their paltry .378 winning percentage, which wasn’t much better than having no program at all.

Louisville’ fortunes turned upwards after the war when they found a fine coach. In 1952, they became one of the pioneering teams with respect to integration, most notable of those early players being Lenny Lyles. Eventually, they would break out of independence to join the Missouri Valley Conference, a few years after one of their greatest-ever products, Johnny Unitas, took the field for the Cardinals. Interestingly, he was allowed to play as a freshman despite the NCAA having rules against that very practice, because, at the time Louisville was not a part of the NCAA, a status one imagines they would like to have retained today. Simpler times. Camp remains their winningest coach, at 118-95-2, with one win in the Sun Bowl.

In 1969, Lee Corso, famous today for his antics on ESPN’s College Gameday, became head coach. When he left for greener pastures at Indiana, of all places, he would be the last to leave with a winning record until John L. Smith. Somewhere in there, the team returned to independent status. Even the legendary Howard Schnellenberger himself, a noted physicist and steward of the early Miami dynasty, couldn’t guide Louisville to a winning record in his tenure. In his introductory press conference in 1985, he was quoted as saying the Louisville Cardinals are, “on a collision course with a national championship. The only variable is time.” He proved to be prescient, in and of the fact that time is, in fact, a variable, and a very prominent one at that. The long arc of time bends towards justice, and for it to have not rewarded the classy and above-the-belt university on the Ohio River with a football championship is justice indeed. Someone get some real scientists from the Howey Physics Building to tell us more about this impending collision.

In the meantime, Schnellenberger’s collision came closest to happening in 1990, when the team went 10-1-1, beating Alabama in the Fiesta Bowl and finishing ranked for the first time ever, at 11th. He led the team to two bowls in his ten seasons and departed in 1994, furious about the university president pigeonholing them into Conference USA, because that impeded his ability to “compete for national championships.” The next few years were mostly uneventful, though they featured a few bowl appearances and Conference USA championships. In 2003, the First Bobby Petrino Era began, and their offense was an absolute juggernaut. They won another C-USA title and finished ranked several times. In 2006, they signed Petrino to a ten year contract extension, implying he would be there for a long time. Ten years later, he still was, though it was after departing for the Atlanta Falcons, leaving them in shady circumstances, getting hired at Arkansas, leaving them under shady circumstances, and a couple years of still-pretty-good football from Louisville. Once he returned, beginning the Second Bobby Petrino Era, Louisville came into the ACC, replacing Maryland in 2014. Since then, Louisville has been fortunate to have Lamar Jackson, their first Heisman winner, a transcendent talent, though he departed for the NFL this past offseason and their team has decidedly looked different since his departure.

As far as Tech football history goes, From the Rumble Seat has been taking a biweekly look at football history since the beginning of the summer over at Rearview Mirror. And it hasn’t changed much since last week. The short version is that Tech football began ignominiously with a middling season in 1892. A game up in Athens in 1893, which Tech won, set the stage for one of the fiercest rivalries in the sport and also is one of the mythic origins of the Ramblin’ Wreck nickname, as well as how Tech got its colors. Tech was pitiful, to put it nicely, for quite some time until one man, Frank Turner, started an initiative to hire a bonafide legend as a football coach. That resulted in John Heisman. Heisman, innovator and champion, saw much success on the Flats until he dramatically left town as part of his divorce. The old man was replaced by William Alexander, who was known for his team’s strong academics and his own 1928 national championship. Coach Alex was, in turn, replaced by his own protege Bobby Dodd. By the end of Dodd’s tenure, Tech had amassed three national championships, twelve conference championships, including five in the Southeastern Conference, which just mean more, and had decided to go independent to make a stand not only for its football prominence, but its foundational academic principles as well. Dodd and Tech would not sacrifice student-athlete education and well-being. The independent years were lean for Tech and did not result in the dream of a “Notre Dame of the South” status. Eventually, Tech joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in the beginning of the 1980s. By the end of the decade, coach Bobby Ross brought the Jackets seemingly from nowhere to win a national championship, Tech’s fourth. Since then, the Jackets have seen average-to-great years, the most recent excellent year being 2014, when Tech was a few plays from the inaugural College Football Playoff. The Jackets have an all-time record of 724-491-43.

For the third time this year, there is no history between these two teams. The Jackets, of course, feature nowhere in Louisville history as we’ve never played the Cardinals. That changes tonight as Georgia Tech plays in Louisville under the lights for the only time in the next decade.

The Jackets face off against the Cardinals (0-0-0 all time) in week five at Cardinal Stadium at 7:00 pm. The game will be aired on ESPN and can be heard over the radio in the usual suspects, 680 AM / 93.7 FM.

With the appearance of the historical matchup preview, that means it’s after Friday at 10:00 AM and that concludes From the Rumble Seat’s regularly scheduled pregame content. Tune in tomorrow starting at 6:00 AM for How to Watch continuing through the gameday thread and the postgame recap. Less than 36 hours until toe meets leather! As always, go Jackets!