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May 20, 2014

Howie: The Good, Bad and Ugly



Howie Lindsey's review of the good, the bad and the ugly in college sports has been a tradition in the Louisville SportsReport for years. This week, Howie takes a look at Louisville's massive haul of conference championships and the future of UofL's team sports vs. the ACC. Plus, Teddy disses Cleveland and Calvin Pryor won't stop talking.

GOOD - Louisville has won more league titles in the Big East than all but three of its current members. The Cardinals, competing in the Big East in only field hockey and lacrosse, won two titles in lacrosse and one in field hockey for a total of three Big East titles this season. Kudos to Louisville's PA man Sean Moth for the stat.

GOOD - The Cardinals have won 15 league titles this season, three in the Big East and 12 in the American Athletic Conference. UofL still has a shot at another title in baseball and two more chances to win an AAC title in outdoor track and field (men's and women's). In their one year in the league, UofL dominated the American Athletic Conference in nearly every sport.

GOOD - It's a GOOD thing that Louisville is collecting so many trophies this season because matching that total in future years will be highly improbable. The ACC is extremely competitive in every single sport with multiple top 10 teams in most sports. Essentially Louisville is joining a league full of Louisvilles, schools that clearly make the financial commitment to be competitive in every sport. Louisville's elite collection of coaches will join a group of amazing coaches at the top of their game. The challenge will be great, but Louisville believes they are ready.

GOOD - Need more evidence of the coaching quality in the ACC? How about this picture from last week's meetings...




Duke's Mike Krzyzewski leads active coaches with 82 career NCAA tournament wins. Next on the list is North Carolina's Roy Williams with 62. Then Syracuse's Jim Boeheim with 52 and Louisville's Rick Pitino with 48. All four coach in the ACC.

GOOD - SportsReport Jack Coffee had a great illustration of just how competitive the ACC will be last week. Louisville women's lacrosse won the Big East title by beating Georgetown 9-8, marking the school's first league title and first trip to the NCAA tournament. For such a young program, it was a monumental accomplishment. The Cardinals finished 16th in the ILWCA Top 20 Poll. The ACC had teams ranked Nos. 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 11 and 14. That's seven teams ranked higher and the ACC laid claim to three of the four spots in the lacrosse final four this season with Syracuse, Maryland and Virginia advancing along with Northwestern, the team that knocked off Louisville. Sure, Maryland will head to the Big Ten, but the ACC has incredible depth. All three of the ACC teams that made the Final Four beat another ACC team to get there.

GOOD - It's not just women's lacrosse either. In field hockey, the ACC finished the season with four of the top five teams, and seven teams ranked in the top 13. Louisville was excellent this season, winning the Big East title and finishing 15th. Louisville is currently No. 10 in the Collegiate Baseball Top 25. The ACC has three of the top six teams in Virginia, Miami and Florida State. Four ACC teams finished in the top 25 in women's basketball, four ACC teams finished in the top 25 in men's basketball, five ACC teams are in the top 25 in women's golf, and four ACC teams are ranked in the Top 25 in men's golf.

GOOD - Teddy Bridgewater apparently shined during the Minnesota Vikings workouts over the weekend. He took some first-team reps at quarterback and was the focus of much of the media spotlight. During an interview with Dan Patrick on radio, he was asked about his interest in the Cleveland Browns, and Bridgewater told Patrick that he informed his agent he was not enthused about the possibility of ending up in Cleveland. The Browns, whose $100,000 study told them Bridgewater was the best QB in the draft, picked Johnny Manziel and Teddy was picked up by Minnesota 10 picks later.




GOOD - Teddy wasn't the only Cardinal in action over the weekend. Calvin Pryor had his first few workouts with the New York Jets and their coach, Rex Ryan, is raving about his ability. "There's going to be a lot of jerseys sold with Pryor's name on the back, because I have a funny feeling he's going to become one of the more popular Jets as this thing gets going," Ryan said. "Smart, instinctive and is on top of it. It's rare that it comes easy, and you can see it in there. The way he communicates, just everything. He has really been everything that we've wanted and then some. Really been impressed with him. I think he'd be probably the No. 1 guy that jumps out at me (from rookie mini camp so far)."

Pryor left Louisville after just three seasons, but Ryan said he is more than ready to play in the NFL, "He's so instinctive. A guy can be a big hitter, but if you don't have instincts or you don't have awareness, a lot of times it's wasted, unless a (receiver) is right there on your track," Ryan said. But this guy, he sees it happening and he's got great pattern recognition and he also has an ability to time things. I think that's what puts him in position to make those hits."

BAD - Calvin Pryor is a bad man (in the best sense of the word), and he wants everyone to know about it. The rookie safety raised some eyebrows with his constant talk on the field during the Jets first few workouts. "I've always been like that," Pryor said. "That's the main reason I don't wear a mouthpiece. When you're out there, able to talk trash and get in guys' heads. It affects their game a little bit. So that's the main reason I do it. But it's nothing personal against them. That's just who I am as a football player. But outside of the field, I'm nothing like that. When you're able to talk trash and you go out there and make plays and hit guys hard, it's just kind of an intimidation factor: 'This guy, he means what he says and he's ready to play. It's just all fun and games for the most part."

UGLY - Sometimes disputes over jersey numbers can get ugly in the locker room, but it as apparently a breeze for Bridgewater and Pryor. Teddy was in mini-camp wearing his customary No. 5 jersey and Pryor, while he initially thought he'd be another number, had his No. 25 hanging in the locker room Monday.


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