Let’s not get too carried away here, but Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino just gave Alabama a bit of bulletin board material.
Speaking at a Louisville luncheon on Friday, Petrino reportedly said his Cardinals team is going to beat Alabama in the season opener in Orlando.
Alabama is currently anywhere from a 24.5 to a 26-point favorite depending on the sportsbook you prefer. The Crimson Tide opened as a 28-point favorite though, so maybe the line is moving in Louisville’s favor?
Regardless, while this comment from Petrino will be used by some Alabama fans to play the disrespect card, it is important to ask what Petrino is supposed to say in that environment. Would anyone expect Petrino to come out and predict a loss for any game? Of course not. Head coaches are going to say what wins the crowd over whether they genuinely feel strongly about this kind of statement or not.
Louisville opens the 2018 season on September 1 against Alabama in Orlando, Florida. Alabama is coming off a national championship and Louisville is coming off an 8-5 season.
The fallout over racist comments from the founder of Papa John’s are continuing to spill over into college football, with West Virginia becoming the latest program to take a look at their deals with the pizza company.
Per the Daily Athenaeum, Mountaineers officials confirmed that they are exploring their options with regards to Papa John’s and a split between the two parties is on the table before the season starts in Morgantown.
“We’re having conversations internally, externally and then we will come to a decision hopefully here in the very near future about what the involvement looks like for this season and moving forward,” Matt senior associate athletic director Matt Wells told the paper. “Our relationship has been with the local franchisee, not necessarily corporate, so that’s why we’re taking our time and having some very thorough discussions before we make any final decisions on what the relationship looks like this season.”
The university as a whole is also looking into their relationship with Papa John’s and likely will come to some sort of agreement about what to do with the athletic department. The Athenaeum reports Papa John’s is one of 19 corporate partners for the Mountaineers and is the only pizza company on the list.
Should WVU parts ways, they’ll be one of several schools who have put quite a bit of distance between them and Papa John’s over the past month. Louisville famously took the name off their stadium at the beginning of August and others like Oregon State have suspended their deals with the company.
The Mountaineers open the year against Tennessee with a neutral site game but return to Morgantown for their home opener against Youngstown State on September 8.
It’s not even remotely worrisome to the point of full-blown fretting, but there’s at least a pause for concern.
Alabama running back Najee Harris missed Monday’s practice with what is being described as a lower-body injury. Tuesday, Harris missed his second consecutive day of practice because of the same injury.
BamaCentral.com wrote that “Harris was seen before practice with his leg in a small scooter so he can keep his weight off of it.” It’s believed the sophomore suffered the injury during the Crimson Tide’s scrimmage this past Saturday.
It remains unclear how much longer Harris will be sidelined, although al.com reported the injury, which that website is saying involves one of the back’s feet, will probably sideline him for the next couple of weeks of practice. On a positive front, that same site notes that there’s a “good chance” Harris is available for the opener Sept. 1 against Louisville.
Head coach Nick Saban is not scheduled to meet again with the media until Thursday, which will likely be the next official update on Harris’ status moving forward.
Last season as a true freshman, Harris finished fourth on the Tide in rushing yards (370) and rushing touchdowns (three). He averaged more than six yards per on his 61 carries.
The good news is that, outside of Harris, ‘Bama returns two of its leading rushers from a year ago — Damien Harris (team-leading 1,000 yards) and Josh Jacobs (284) — should the other Harris’ injury linger on beyond the next couple of weeks.
Louisville lost Lamar Jackson to the NFL, but the remaining Cardinals have not suffered a lack of confidence without their Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. Or at least not Cardinals wideout Dez Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick (above, left) appeared at Louisville’s media day on Saturday and declared his Cardinals wide receiving corps could match up with Alabama’s secondary man-for-man.
“Every receiver in our receiver corps can honestly beat every one of their DBs one-on-one in coverage,” Fitzpatrick said. “It ties into the other stuff, if the blocks are right, if the quarterback’s drop is right, we ran eight-yard routes instead of a 10-yard route, that’s the kind of stuff I feel like we need to sharpen up.
“But I feel like straight talent-wise, I feel like we have the upper edge against their secondary, 1,000 percent.”
Fitzpatrick was Louisville’s second-leading receiver as a redshirt freshman, hauling in 45 grabs for 699 yards with nine touchdowns. Senior Jaylen Smith led the Cards a year ago with 60 receptions for 980 yards and seven scores, and No. 3 receiver, junior Seth Dawkins, is also back. Alabama underwent a wholesale change in its defensive secondary — cornerbacks Anthony Averett and Levi Wallace and star Tony Brown graduated, while safeties Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison declared early for the NFL. The Tide also lost defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley.
But the most important piece of Alabama’s pass defense is back, and that’s Nick Saban. New coordinator Tosh Lupoi and new defensive backs coach Karl Scott are expected to plug-and-play a new unit that will still rank among the best in college football.
But not good enough to shut down Louisville and its new quarterback, Jawon Pass, at least according to Fitzpatrick.
A game with a 31-point spread just became slightly more interesting.
Today must have been reveal day for a handful of Adidas partners. Miami, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Louisville, and Kansas all showed off some first looks at their brand new uniforms to be worn for the upcoming college football season, all courtesy of uniform and apparel partner Adidas.
The new uniform design from Adidas is the Primeknit A1, which made its grand debut during the Army All-American Bowl in early January. Now, it will serve as the next leading uniform template for Adidas schools this college football season. As you may expect, the new design aims to improve mobility, flexibility and the ability to keep players as cool as possible to give teams an advantage on the field, especially when the temperatures are soaring early in the year. The jerseys feature a ribbed knit pattern on the chest and shoulder pads to allow for a better fit for the player, and a mesh texture is included to allow for better breathability and cooling zones. The inside of the jersey also features silicone grips to keep pads in place.
Judging from the first official looks of the new uniforms, there is good news in that none of the uniforms shown off today stray from the signature looks of each university football program. These uniforms all look the way they should for each school, although we can be sure there will be some alternate uniforms to come later on this season for most of, if not, all of these particular schools. But this reveal is more about the new design template, with the focus on providing the most advanced uniform design by Adidas yet.
When it comes to the school-branded reveal videos, there wasn’t much to differentiate between the programs other than the uniforms themselves. Cue the standard uniform reveal beats!
Other schools that will be wearing this uniform template include Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Mississippi State, NC State, and Rutgers.