Can Louisville Make A Bowl Game?

Louisville vs Notre Dame-28

I’m going to assume that Louisville does not pull off the upset of Clemson as a three touchdown underdog. I do think they cover the spread but that’s a story for another audience. If my assumption is correct, Louisville would be sitting at 4-3 with five games remaining. They would only need to win just two of those games to be bowl eligible. And now that there are approximately 1,647,289 bowl games, some teams can get a bowl invite with just five wins. I think that is absurd but it’s just the way it is with big television money for bowl games.

My biggest concern about getting those last two wins is that, while the offense has been really good, they haven’t faced the meat of the schedule – defensively speaking. Clemson is always good on defense (ranked 3rd) but the rest of the schedule is pretty good as well.

Let’s take a look at what Louisville has to face to get those last two wins for bowl eligibility.

Opponent Defensive Rank (per NCAA.com)
Virginia   11
Miami  18
NC State  29
Syracuse   97
Kentucky  60

For comparison, Louisville is ranked 102. Wake Forest is ranked 88, while Boston College is 122 and Florida State is 119.

But the good news is the offense of these remaining teams should help the Louisville defensive ranking and give them a chance to win.

Opponent Offensive Rank (per NCAA.com)
Virginia   101
Miami  61
NC State  60
Syracuse   93
Kentucky  89

Again, for Comparison, Louisville is ranked 16th. Wake Forest is ranked 4th, while Boston College is 17th and Florida State is 76. Clemson is ranked 12th while Notre Dame is 36th.

It appears as though Syracuse is the most winnable game on the remaining schedule and it looks like it might also be the only game that Louisville is favored to win.

NC State and Virginia are the next most winnable games. ESPN Football Power index gives Louisville a 47.6% chance to beat Virginia and 54.5% chance against NC State.

Kentucky seems to be trending in the wrong direction but it’s still a road game and a rivalry game. I wouldn’t want to that game to the one that determines bowl eligibility. ESPN has Louisville at a 36.2% chance to win.

My opinion is that Miami is the toughest remaining game after the Clemson game. I really don’t think Louisville will win at Miami.

The easiest and most likely route to a bowl game is to take care of business against Syracuse and then they can either beat Virginia or NC State. Or just for fun, beat all 3.

No mater what happens from here on out, it’s been fun. This season is just the start of something special. Before the season started I thought Louisville had three definite wins but figured they would win one, possibly two more. Five wins seemed like a really great season but was expecting four wins. Now six seems like a very real possibility. So, YES, Louisville can make a bowl game!

Louisville vs Notre Dame-8

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