Optimism is high around the Louisville football program. It’s not because they are currently 2-1 but rather how they became 2-1.
Think back to last year at this same time. Louisville lost their opener to a top 10 team and then beat the 2 opponents they were heavily favored over to start the season at 2-1. We all thought that 8 or 9 wins was still a possibility.
Most of the Louisville fan base still believes that Louisville can make a bowl game this season – just like last season.
But the 2108 season took an unfortunate and dreadful turn in the fourth game of the season.
After blowing the lead at home against FSU with less than 2 minutes to go, Louisville would go on and lose every game on the rest of the schedule. They finished the season at 2-10 with exactly 0 conference wins.
Since then, they lost their coach and at least 14 players transferred. Things looked bleak for the upcoming season despite the hiring of Scott Satterfield, who promised Louisville nothing other than a plan to change the culture.
Louisville is currently 2-1…. Now what? Will it end the same as last season or will Louisville win a few more games?
I still stand by my statement that the win total is irrelevant this season as I said in a July article I wrote entitled, Louisville Football Forecast.
The forecast I want to give you for this upcoming season doesn’t really have anything to do with wins and losses. It’s more about evaluating how far along the program is with the culture change.
I’m here to tell you that you will see effort. You will see players congratulating teammates for a good play and consoling them when something unfortunate happens. You will see players helping each other up off the ground. You will see pain and heartache when they lose and joy when they win. You will hear players give credit to teammates for big plays as well as players sharing the blame for a loss. You will see men of character competing for their University and not just for themselves. You will see men who are trying their best to emulate their mentors, role models also know as the coaching staff.
If we all see what I think we will see, then this season will be a success. A success not measured by wins but rather by change. Coach Satterfield said in his opening press conference that it takes about a year to change a culture and once it’s changed, wins will take care of themselves.
But despite my feeling of the irrelevance of wins and losses for this season, the way in which Louisville has secured this 2-1 record coupled with the fact that many of the ACC teams seem to not be quite as good as first believed to be, many fans are raising expectations to 6 or 7 wins. I’ve warned fans that raising expectations usually results in disappointment.
However, the energy and effort that Louisville fans have witnessed on the field has led to raised expectations – and I can’t blame them. They desperately want success. And if any fan base deserves success, it’s the Louisville fan base. It’s okay to be hopeful of 6 or 7 but don’t expect it.
And if Louisville can go into Tallahassee and pull off a victory, expectations will rise again.
IF Louisville beats FSU and goes 3-1 with upcoming games against teams that seem winnable (Boston College and Wake Forest), what will the the expectations be from there?
Even the experts give Louisville an increased chance of winning a few more games than the 3.5 win total set by Las Vegas. Note, I said chance not definite wins.
Here are the win probability comparison from preseason to today.
|Opponent||Preseason Win Probability||Current Win Probability|
** Win probabilities are projections from ESPN.com.
If I’m reading the current win probabilities correctly, Louisville should win a total of 4 games.
I know fans want to see 6 wins but winning 4 games and being competitive in most of the other games would be a successful season. It’s a true sign that the Louisville football program is headed in the right direction. Have faith and trust the process, Card fans.
As Always, GO CARDS!