Cover the sport of college football long enough, and one constant always seems to be coaches worrying about distractions. They worry about the media being a distraction. They worry about girlfriends becoming a distraction. They worry about fellow students becoming one too.
But a video game? We’d never heard that one before… at least until Monday, when Louisville head coach Charlie Strong wondered aloud if the new “Call of Duty,” video game may have been behind his team’s struggles in 21-14 home loss to Pittsburgh.
Yes, that actually happened, with Strong making a little light of the situation in his regular Monday conference call with the media.
“What’s the new video game out, ‘Call of Duty?’” Strong told reporters Monday afternoon. “It was a call to duty, and they got called to duty. But that’s young people.”
When a reporter then followed up to clarify and make sure he’d heard correct, Strong had no problem responding to the inquiry. “I head them talking about it, yes.”
Needless to say, this was not how we expected to start the week here at Crystal Ball Run. But seriously, isn’t it always nice to get a good laugh on a Monday? This certainly provided that.
Of course for Strong and Louisville fans, there wasn’t nearly as much to laugh about after Saturday’s loss.
The Cardinals entered the game at just 5-4 overall, but at 3-1 in Big East play they trailed Cincinnati by just one loss in the conference standings. And with the Bearcats losing to West Virginia early Saturday, it provided Louisville a golden opportunity to gain ground, and jump into a tie with Cincinnati, provided they beat Pitt. The Panthers entered the game at just 4-5 overall and 2-2 in league play.
But instead of getting a conference climbing win, Louisville submitted one of their worst efforts of the season. The Cardinals finished the game with just 280 yards of total offense and converted just 3 of 11 third down attempts, with two turnovers and 56 yards in penalties. It was a game where Louisville just couldn't seize opportunities (the Panthers turned the ball over twice too), and repeatedly shot themselves in the foot (see what I did there?).
With the loss, Louisville is now stuck in an almost unheard of five-way tie in the Big East loss column with Rutgers, West Virginia, Pitt and UConn all of whom have two conference losses. Cincinnati is still sitting strong atop the Big East standings with a 3-1 record in league play, but without quarterback Zach Collaros (who was lost for the season with a knee injury), it’s hard to see the Bearcats holding onto to win the conference. As is usually the case in the Big East, we could be in for one, goofy finish.
Still, time moves on, and Louisville has a chance to amend for the surprising Pitt loss when they travel to UConn Saturday. The Huskies are a half game back of Louisville in the league standings at 2-2, and at 4-5 overall, UConn is in desperate need of a victory to keep their slim bowl chances alive.
For Louisville fans, they can only hope that EA doesn’t decide to release a new version of “Madden” this week.
Follow Aaron Torres on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.