Louisville vs. Georgia Tech ⎢ Courtesy University of Louisville

Requiem for a Cardinal: Your University of Louisville fighting football Cardinals appear to be bad at the game of football. They lost to the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech by a score of 66-31, says Reuters, and managed to give up 542 yards on the ground.

That’s the greatest case of sports abuse incurred by a Louisville Cardinals defense since 1932, when FDR was president, bread and gas cost 7 cents and 10 cents, respectively, and you could get a brand-new car for around $600.

That photo up there may be the only tackle that happened on Friday.

The Cardinals offense is also not faring so well. They’re ranked 115th, prompting ACC Sports to ask, “Should Louisville look to its bench at quarterback?”

Yes. Look on the bench, in the stadium, the concession stand and the Kroger up the street. No stone unturned. There’s bound to be a quarterback out there somewhere.

CBS Sports ranks them at No. 19 of the “bottom 25.” So that’s not a list you want to be on.

At least Louisville has a great sense of timing. Typically, I’d have led The Bottom 25 off writing about the Cardinals entering the rankings, but they were smart enough to do so in a week UConn made Bottom 25 history. Surely that takes some of the sting out of letting Georgia Tech dominate you with a century-old offense.

See? At least we’re not UConn. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

Yahoo! Sports named the Louisville Cardinals one of the five “most disappointing teams in college football so far.” That’s adjusted for already lowered expectations from losing Heisman-winner Lamar Jackson.

An offensive decline without one of the most productive college players ever was inevitable, but an offense that’s ranked No. 115 in the country was unthinkable under Bobby Petrino. The defense has been bad, too, especially in Friday night’s 66-31 home loss to Georgia Tech.

If UL doesn’t win four of six down the stretch, it will miss a bowl game for the first time under Petrino. Whether he survives beyond this season is anybody’s guess.

On Saturday, Yahoo! Sports asked that question more directly, “How long will Bobby Petrino last at Louisville?” The answer: at least a little while. Louisville can’t afford to buy out his $14 million contract even if they wanted to, says NBC Sports and 247 Sports.

According to that report, it would cost the Louisville Cardinals $14 million to buy out coach Petrino’s contract, which the school doesn’t have. They cite a Courier Journal interview with University of Louisville board member Tom Meeker. He says:

The university is not in a position to buy him out. Fans are part of the campus community. They have to be heard. … (But) I’m not on the board to make easy decisions.

I think the football program is in good hands, albeit the fact that we’re not winning (this season) … I don’t think it’s time to stand in the doorway, jump out of the plane and pull the D ring.

Which is fair. These things are cyclical and one losing season doesn’t mean you scrap the whole thing. I mean, teams do that all the time, but still. One could argue this is part of a greater trend and he didn’t get all he could out of his team last year when he had the best player in college football at quarterback. You could make that case. But the fair thing is to look at how the team does next year. And also, the team’s learning and growing, which is supposed to count for something. Not going to sell tickets, necessarily, but supposed to count.

The Cardinals will face the Eagles of Boston College on Saturday, a team struggling this season as well. CBS Sports says the Eagles are 13.5 point favorites, which seems conservative at this point. Athlon Sports predicts the Eagles will win by a score of 38-20.

Rick Pitino on ESPN ⎢YouTube

In the Dark: The NCAA pay-for-play trial continues this week, says USA Today, and Thursday’s testimony supports former coach Rick Pitino’s story.

Appeared in Manhattan federal court, the former Adidas consultant and ex-AAU coach T.J. Gassnola testified Mr. Pitino was not aware of an Adidas arrangement to pay a potential recruit’s family $100,000 in exchange for his commitment to the University of Louisville.

When asked directly if he had talked with Mr. Pitino about the payment, Mr. Gassnola said he didn’t. He named Merl Code, Christian Dawkins, Jim Gatto and himself as the only ones who knew.

A wiretapped call played in court between Mr. Gassnola and Mr. Dawkins also named former Louisville assistant Kenny Johnson as someone with knowledge, but Mr. Gassnola testimony said Mr. Johnson was also unaware.

I know we’ve got a ways to go and one piece of testimony doesn’t exonerate, but I’m surprised there’s not more coverage of this. I only could really find USA Today’s coverage and even that’s only there because the Courier picked up the story. Potential innocence won’t get you as many hits as presumed guilt, I guess.

And not for nothing, even if he didn’t know, that doesn’t mean he should have stayed on, necessarily. One too many infractions committed by his staff and his lack of awareness about said infractions is enough to make a move. But you can give him a chunk of his legacy back and shine up his name a little, maybe.

Anyway, too soon for that but should testimony continue to support his story, hopefully that’ll get covered at least half as voraciously as the initial scandal.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pitino recently joined Twitter and has a podcast arriving on iTunes on Tuesday. Up the road, 247 Sports says a reporter asked University of Kentucky winning Wildcat coach John Calipari if he would be willing to be a guest on the show.

I’m not a scheduled guest. I’ve talked to him once. I may have talked to him twice, but I’ve texted him occasionally. But if he asked me I would probably do it because he did my podcast, so yeah, I would.

Follow-up question: would you invite Pitino to talk to the team?
Probably wouldn’t have him come talk to the team based on it would put North Korea on the back burner. Let me just say that.

Courtesy LMPD

Ignominious: Louisville police arrested the notorious, alleged gnome thief, says NPR’s Morning Edition.

Barton E. Bishop failed to appear in court on September 24 on 67 charges of receipt of stolen property, including garden gnomes and other lawn decorations, taken from the Highlands.

The Highlands garden gnomes are the best in Louisville. Everyone knows.

The Louisville Metro Police Department announced the hunt for Mr. Barton under the hashtag #HideYaGnomes.

LMPD also announced his arrest on Twitter: “Botanical Bandit, Barton Bishop, Busted!” They found Mr. Bishop when he fell out of the attic he’d been hiding out in on Watterson Trail.

Notice the shout out to federal partners, which make me think there was some sort of “Dog Day Afternoon” scene outside of the house, only instead of “Attica! Attica!” he was shouting “Narnia! Narnia!”

Were there gnomes in Narnia? I don’t know. More gnome injustice, if not.

Anyway, this is a greater phenomenon than one might realize. The BBC reported a man in Kettering was caught on CCTV lifting a garden gnome out of someone’s yard. The gnome was a little unwieldy and caused him to take a tumble through a nearby fence.

So here’s what I’ve come away with: gnome theft is real and it’s widespread and gnome thieves, by and large, are uncoordinated.

Also, I’m aware that I’m talking about gnome burglary and there’s a whole bunch of Mitch McConnell or Rand Paul business I could be going over. But the election’s coming in a month and we’ll be getting about all that we can handle over the next six weeks. I’m pacing myself. And I’m pacing myself on your behalf.

Photo by Sara Havens

Fair Play: The Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute released its 2018 Municipal Equality Index, says USA Today, and Louisville received a perfect score for the fourth year in a row.

The full report, available here, examines a city’s level of inclusiveness and advancement of LGBTQ rights and policies. Louisville is one of 78 cities across the country to receive a perfect score.

That’s a big deal. In the 2012, the first year, the report saw just 11 cities receive that ranking; last year we saw that number climb to 68 cities and of course this year another jump to 78 cities out of the 506 measured.

Here’s a graphic for the MEI All-Stars. Look — we’re right at the top.

HRC.com

Said Xavier Persad, legal counsel for the Human Rights Campaign and author of the Municipal Equality Index:

Despite persistent efforts by some states and the federal government to roll back hard-won protections, cities are boldly and courageously pioneering the path forward on LGBTQ equality.

Also, for those keeping score at home, Lexington came in with a score of 89 and Covington earned a score of 74. The rest of the state, not quite so well. But progress, it is coming.

Also, part 2: interesting where those perfect scores sit. For all the talk of the cultural differences between the coasts and flyover states, there sure is a lot going on in the center of the country. Missouri, Michigan, Texas, Pennsylvania, Kentucky. And you could look at Texas and say, “Austin, sure. San Antonio, sure.” But still worth a note, I think.

Life Lessons: Amandla Stenberg talked to Jimmy Fallon on the “Tonight Show” this week to promote her new film, “The Hate U Give,” says The San Francisco Chronicle, The Wrap, People and Teen Vogue. Ms. Stenberg worked on “The Hunger Games” with Jennifer Lawrence at the age of 12 and about halfway through their chat, she revealed the most useful thing she gained from her time with her older, wiser co-star:

She taught me how to pee in the woods. She’s from Kentucky.

Well.

Story comes around the 2:50 mark.

The two haven’t really seen each other much since, but Ms. Stenberg said the two recently caught up at a brunch.

I went up to her and so she looked at me, and she was like — she didn’t recognize me for a second and then she was like, ‘Oh my God, you have boobs!’

“The Hate U Give” opens on October 19.

See you next week.

Kyle Ware is a Louisville-based actor, artist, educator and writer. His column, In Other News, appears at Insider Louisville every Friday.


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