Nunnsense | Is This The Worst Football Season In Recent Memory?

Bobby Petrino - Media Day-2

On Saturday, I stood on the sidelines surrounded by other photographers, bloggers and local media. The discussion came up wondering if this was one of the worst seasons ever. Several people said it was the worst they had ever seen at Louisville but some of those people haven’t lived in Louisville their whole lives. I was born and raised in Louisville. I remember games that I attended in the early and mid 80’s. My memories were how Louisville rarely won but going to the games was fun because we got to run the stairs inside Cardinal Stadium. Football seemed to be an irrelevant part of my game experience as a middle schooler.

Shortly before the arrival of Howard Schnellenberger, Louisville considered discontinuing the football program. Howard brought hope and optimism – and turned me into a diehard Louisville football fan.

Since then Louisville has had ups and downs but has it been this bad?

Here are the facts :

Louisville has played 3 seasons where they only won 1 game (1953, ’64 and ’97)

Louisville has played 3 seasons where they only won 2 games (1975,’84 and ’91)

Louisville has played 6 seasons where they only won 3 games (1950, ’54, ’63, ’83, ’86, & ’87)

If you took a poll and asked Card fans what was the worst, most recent season they could remember, you would hear them say Cooper or Kragthorpe’s last years. Ron Cooper’s last season (1997) and Steve Kragthorpe’s last season (2009) are the 2 seasons I want to compare to this season statistically.

In 1997, Louisville scored 20.63 points per game and gave up 33.82.

In 2009, Louisville scored 18.08 points per game and gave up 26.25.

In 2018, so far, they have scored 22.25 points per game and given up 36.25.

Louisville vs WKU (18 of 60)

2009 – The last season of head coach Steve Kragthorpe.

Note – The capacity of Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium was 40,000.

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 5 7:30 PM Indiana State* Papa John’s Cardinal StadiumLouisville, KY WHAS W 30–10 39,344[1]
September 19 12:00 PM at Kentucky* Commonwealth StadiumLexington, KY (Battle for the Governor’s Cup) ESPNU L 27–31 70,988[2]
September 26 7:30 PM at Utah* Rice-Eccles StadiumSalt Lake City, UT CBSCS L 14–30 45,588[3]
October 2 8:00 PM Pittsburgh Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium • Louisville, KY ESPN2 L 10–35 39,948[4]
October 10 7:30 PM Southern Miss*dagger Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium • Louisville, KY ESPNU W 25–23 37,268[5]
October 17 12:00 PM at Connecticut Rentschler FieldEast Hartford, CT Big East Network L 25–38 40,000[6]
October 24 3:30 PM at No. 6 Cincinnati Nippert StadiumCincinnati, OH(Battle for the Keg of Nails) ESPNU L 10–41 35,099[7]
October 31 3:30 PM Arkansas State* Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium • Louisville, KY WHAS W 21–13 21,497[8]
November 7 12:00 PM at West Virginia Mountaineer FieldMorgantown, WV Big East Network L 9–17 55,334[9]
November 14 12:00 PM Syracuse Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium • Louisville, KY Big East Network W 10–9 33,223[10]
November 21 12:00 PM at South Florida Raymond James StadiumTampa, FL Big East Network L 22–34 49,388[11]
November 27 11:00 AM Rutgers Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium • Louisville, KY ESPN2 L 14–34 23,422[12]

1997 – The final season of head coach Ron Cooper.

Note – The capacity of Cardinal Stadium was 37,500.

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
August 30 1:30 PM at Kentucky* Commonwealth StadiumLexington, Kentucky L 24–38 59,186
September 6 2:00 PM Utah* Cardinal StadiumLouisville, Kentucky L 21–24 35,437
September 13 3:30 PM Illinois* Cardinal Stadium • Louisville, Kentucky CBS W 26–14 36,824
September 20 12:00 PM No. 2 Penn State* Cardinal Stadium • Louisville, Kentucky CBS L 21–57 39,826
September 27 7:00 PM at Oklahoma* Oklahoma Memorial StadiumNorman, Oklahoma FSN L 14–35 74,993
October 18 7:00 PM at Southern Miss M. M. Roberts StadiumHattiesburg, Mississippi L 24–42 23,028
October 11 2:00 PM Tulane Cardinal Stadium • Louisville, Kentucky L 33–64 29,547
October 25 2:00 PM Houston Cardinal Stadium • Louisville, Kentucky L 22–36 21,432
November 1 3:30 PM East Carolina Cardinal Stadium • Louisville, Kentucky CBS L 10–13 12,850
November 8 3:30 PM at Cincinnati Nippert StadiumCincinnati L 9–28 21,346
November 15 2:00 PM at Memphis Liberty BowlMemphis, Tennessee L 20–21 15,243

** these charts are from Wikipedia. **

You can argue if this is the worst season in recent memory but it’s definitely Bobby Petrino’s worst season as Louisville’s coach. There is no debate there.

Hang in there Card fans. Just remember, after the Ron Cooper era, there was the John L and Bobby 1.0 era (82 – 30). After the Steve Krapthorpe era, there was the Strong era (37 – 15). Brighter times are ahead but we must be patient and endure until they arrive. I haven’t given up on this team and nothing will stop me from cheering for my Cards. I’m in it for better or worse.


As Always, GO CARDS!


One Reply to “Nunnsense | Is This The Worst Football Season In Recent Memory?”

  1. When you are comparing which is the worst season – maybe changes are in order. Comes down to either recruiting, training or coaching. There has been a lot of money into improving the stadium, maybe now it’s time to figure out to win a couple games.

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