It doesn't make up for the Piscataway nightmares of 2006 and 2008, but Louisville wrote a happy ending for its seniors in New Jersey on Saturday.
The Cardinals crushed Rutgers 40-13 to finish their regular season at 6-6. They're going to go bowling for the first time since the 2007 Orange Bowl. Yes, Cincinnati can still get eligible to give the Big East seven teams for six spots, and there's still the potential Notre Dame problem. But Louisville is an attractive bowl team because of its excited fan base, and the Cardinals absolutely will be in the postseason somewhere.
And that's a huge credit to first-year coach Charlie Strong and his staff, who made this team believe it could win. It's also a well-deserved reward for a 27-man senior class that suffered through some tough times but stuck around for the turnaround.
Speaking of turnarounds, Rutgers is going through one as well, just in the wrong direction. The Scarlet Knights won't be going bowling for the first time since 2004. They've lost five straight. In their last two games, they've allowed 109 points. And they've still got one more game at -- gulp -- West Virginia.
Rutgers is probably heading for a disastrous 4-8 season that has to qualify as a vast disappointment. It's a young team, but Greg Schiano has to do a lot of re-evaluating in the offseason, and I'd be stunned if there aren't some staff changes.
One sour note for Louisville was that tight end Cameron Graham suffered a knee injury late. There was no immediate word on the severity, but it looked bad for Graham, who has been the Big East's best tight end this season.