U of L takes a major leap


I suppose the most frequent email I’ve gotten regarding U of L football over the past year is a variant of this one: Why have you been so soft on Steve Kragthorpe.

My answer is always the same:

1). Soft? I didn’t think I had been; and,

2). You don’t make a premature call on something like this, no matter how up in arms people get. And yesterday’s U of L win over South Florida is exactly the reason why.

With one big win, U of L jumped into Big East Conference contention and into the kind of forward momentum they’ve been seeking ever since Kragthorpe replaced Bobby Petrino.

I’ve given his detractors some credit. It took a long time for him to put three straight wins together — and yesterday’s win only underscores the costly nature of a home loss to UConn that should not have been.

But U of L has clawed back to even in a wide-open Big East, and now fans have lots more reason to hope than to be pessimistic. Among the biggest:

— The U of L offense only figures to get better. As Scott Long’s health keeps getting better, and Trent Guy’s, and Vic Anderson matures into one of the top backs in the country, the numbers should only improve.

— The U of L defense should be consistently good. They had a bad outing against Memphis, but that’s about the only blip in a surprisingly solid season.

— The Big East will be consistently bad. West Virginia pounding a pretty mediocre Auburn team notwithstanding, there’s not a game left on U of L’s schedule that it can’t win. I expect that there will be one more surprise result somewhere along the road for this team. But at least it now has gotten itself to the point where fans can begin to ask, with a straight face, what if there weren’t?

In a league of flawed teams, who’s to say that U of L might not be the least flawed? At the very least, it’s a program that should be headed back to a bowl, and as I write this from the Jacksonville, Fla., airport, it wouldn’t surprise me to be back down here in a couple of months.

Though with the Big East the way it is, Card fans can be forgiven if they were to be daydreaming about heading a little further south.

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