▪ If Louisville somehow upsets second-ranked Virginia in Charlottesville on Wednesday night, you would think current “acting” coach David Padgett would be the Cardinals’ permanent coach next season, barring a late-season collapse.
Louisville heads into the game 16-5 overall and 6-2 in the ACC. Down the stretch, the Cards play North Carolina once (Feb. 17 at home) and Duke once (Feb. 21 on the road). They play host to Virginia on March 1.
▪ Louisville football made an interesting choice in Brian VanGorder as defensive coordinator to replace Peter Sirmon, who lasted just one year at U of L.
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VanGorder was on Bobby Petrino’s staff during the Louisville coach’s 13-game stay with the Atlanta Falcons. Though considered an excellent defensive mind, VanGorder rarely stays in one place for very long.
Here are VanGorder’s stops since he was Georgia’s defensive coordinator from 2001-2004, Jacksonville Jaguars (2005), Georgia Southern head coach (2006), Atlanta Falcons (2007-11), Auburn (2012), New York Jets (2013), Notre Dame (2014-16), Georgia (2016), Oklahoma State (2017).
▪ The Reds have five prospects on Baseball America’s Top 100 list for 2018. Third baseman Nick Senzel ranked No. 7, followed by pitcher Hunter Greene (29), outfielder Taylor Trammell (48), pitcher Tyler Mahle (90) and outfielder Jesse Winker (98).
▪ Reds’ pitchers and catchers report Feb. 13.
▪ Call me crazy, but I think the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense is strong enough to upset the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Make it Eagles 17, Patriots 13.
And if John Calipari asks if that’s my opinion or my hope, I’ll say both.
▪ Said it before, saying it again: Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo is a future NFL head coach. The 39-year-old DeFilippo is the son of former UK associate athletics director Gene DeFilippo. He has done a tremendous job in Philadelphia with first Carson Wentz and now Nick Foles.
▪ Believe it or not, TV ratings for last Sunday’s Pro Bowl were up 29 percent over last season. That’s right, the Pro Bowl.
▪ The East Tennessee State basketball team that Kentucky beat 78-61 on Nov. 17 is now 19-4 overall and 10-0 in the Southern Conference. Steve Forbes’ club has won 13 straight.
▪ Did you see where U of L admitted it hired a private investigator to investigate now former athletic director Tom Jurich? Things got real nasty real fast.
▪ After the “Outside the Lines” report on possible sexual assault cover-ups at Michigan State, it will be interesting to see how the media treat basketball coach Tom Izzo, who has a reputation for treating the media well.
▪ Something to watch: When will Florida get senior center John Egbunu back. It doesn’t look like any time soon. After undergoing ACL surgery last March, the 6-foot-11 Egbunu has still not been cleared for contact.
▪ It doesn’t look like the Milwaukee Bucks are biting, but the guess here is that some NBA team will hire Rick Pitino. Eventually. And the tenure will last two years, tops.
▪ Kansas heads into February all by itself atop the Big 12 basketball standings. Same as it ever was.
▪ After the MLB Players Association formally rejected proposals for a 20-second pitch clock and a limit on mound visits, here’s hoping Commissioner Rob Manfred institutes the rules anyway. He can do that.
▪ Consider that Nick Saban has won five national titles while employing six different offensive coordinators during his 11 years at Alabama. The list: Major Applewhite (2007), Jim McElwain (2008-11), Doug Nussmeier (2012-13), Lane Kiffin (2014-16), Steve Sarkisian (CFP title game 2017), Brian Daboll (2017).
Saban’s seventh will be Mike Locksley, who was promoted from wide receivers coach after Daboll left for the Buffalo Bills.
▪ A get-well-soon to DeMarcus Cousins, who is out for the NBA season with a torn Achilles. He was a one-and-done at Kentucky, but when it comes to postgame interviews Boogie was/is one of a kind.