Recently I made my game by game predictions and I believe Louisville will win 4, maybe 5 games despite the 3.5 win total set by Las Vegas. Many people still believe that there is a strong possibility that Louisville will in fact win 6 games and get to play in a bowl game. I must tell you that I really hope they are right but there is nothing there to support a belief of that win total other than complete fandom. Yes, there is talent on this team but that talent isn’t deep and it seems to be stacked at skill positions like running back and wide receiver.
The biggest argument people try to make to support their belief that the Cards can make a bowl game this season is that after a 1-10 season in 1997, the Cards went 7-5 in 1998 and earned a Motor City Bowl birth. I understand that viewpoint but there is a huge difference between the two teams and seasons.
The challenge for this team that the 1998 team didn’t have is the schedule. The 1998 team beat
- Illinois (3-8)
- Boston College (4-7)
- Cincinnati (2-9)
- Memphis (2-9)
- WKU (7-4)
- East Carolina (6-5)
- Army (3-8)
As you can see, the Conference USA schedule is not nearly as daunting as an ACC schedule. It’s worth noting that the WKU team that had 7 wins racked up wins over Tenn Martin, Austin Peay, U of New Hampshire, Elon and Indiana State. So those 7 wins can be deceiving. Also ECU was the only other team Louisville beat that was bowl eligible. They beat the likes of Chattanooga, Ohio, UAB, Army, Cincy and Memphis.
If Louisville were to win 6 or 7 games this season they would have to beat some combination of
- EKU (7-4)
- WKU (3-9)
- Boston College (7-5)
- Wake Forest (6-6)
- NC State (9-3)
- Virginia (7-5)
- Syracuse (10-3)
- Florida State (5-7)
- Miami (7-5)
- UK (10-3)
(It’s not worth mentioning the 2 teams in Notre Dame and Clemson who were participants in the 2018-19 college football playoffs)
I promise you the 2018 (5-7) Florida State team could have destroyed any one of those 7 teams that Louisville beat in 1998. Florida State and the WKU team that nearly beat Louisville at Cardinal Stadium, are the only 2 teams that were not bowl eligible last season.
It’s just as simple as the schedule. If Louisville had to play EKU, WKU, ECU, Army, Cincy, Memphis, BC and Illinois, I would say yes, Louisville could easily win 6 games. However, it’s simply not the case.
It’s also Worth noting that the 1998 team had a better roster. They had player like Chris Redman, Ibn Green, Arnold Jackson, Lavell Boyd, Zek Parker, Leroy Collins (1134 yards rushing and 19 TD’s), Xavier Burrell and Rashad Holman – just to name a few.
Yes the 1998 team did make a bowl after a 1-10 season and a coaching change but don’t expect the same type of jump this season. It’s just a much harder climb in a different era. While I don’t expect it, I’m hoping for it.
As Always, Go Cards!