I just wanted to throw together some random thoughts that have been collecting in my brain regarding the Louisville football team. I hope to do this a little more often and will be debuting a basketball version before too long as well. Let me know your thoughts and whether you agree or disagree with anything in particular!
- After some time to process a Virginia win that was too close for comfort, I am just glad Louisville got out of there with a victory. This is the time of the year that chaos happens and we saw that with multiple ranked teams falling (Nebraska, Baylor, West Virginia, Boise St., etc.). Along with those teams losing, Ohio St. and Washington were also close to falling to Northwestern and Utah, respectively. There is plenty of time left and Louisville just needs to stay out of the chaos that is almost certainly going to happen.
- Speaking of chaos, with the CFP rankings that came out last night, there has been a lot of debate on whether any of the teams deserved to be where they were ranked, namely Louisville, Ohio St., Texas A&M, and Washington. There were some things that upset me (Ohio St.) but I’ll get to that shortly. The big picture is this: It doesn’t matter what these rankings were, Louisville still needs certain teams to lose. They do have the ability to make up some ground with impressive wins but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Michigan HAS to beat Ohio St., Washington HAS to lose, and Texas A&M needs to realistically lose 1 more game in order for Louisville to grab that 4th spot in the playoffs. Be upset that the committee may have “disrespected” Louisville, but at the end of the day the ranking is inevitably correct.
- Speaking of Ohio St., just a quick rant… For those that are hyping their difficult schedule let’s just look at it. Comparing their loss to Louisville’s, Ohio St. lost to the #12 ranked Penn St. team whereas Louisville lost to the #2 ranked Clemson team where the Cardinals finish that drive 7 out of 10 times to win (Ok, I just made that stat up but still). Ohio St.’s best win is a #8 Wisconsin team that took OT to beat them by a TD. Everyone knows Louisville’s best win, and it wasn’t even close. Behind that? They have a good Oklahoma win (who is 1-2 against ranked teams), then what? Indiana? Northwestern? Rutgers? Surely not Tulsa or Bowling Green. That’s not the definition of a “grueling” schedule.
- Enough about others and the overall college football picture and on to Louisville. It sounds as though the team has responded well to the close win and aren’t happy about the result. I would expect Boston College to be in trouble. It’s worth nothing that while Louisville did play a sloppy game at times there were a lot of injuries and guys coming in and out. Neither Chris Williams (who has been getting significant PT in the d-line rotation) nor Devonte Fields played whatsoever which did hurt up front. Besides them, other injuries during the game came from crucial positions such as LB (Kelsey, Thomas, and Stewart) and the secondary (Wiggins, Alexander, Washington etc.). While there are no excuses, these injuries do cause problems and I think they did at least contribute to the problem.
- I have not and will not give up hope of Louisville getting to the College Football Playoff, but the mere fact that they are ranked #7 nationally is nothing but exciting to me. This team has tons of young talent. Chris Taylor-Yamanoha, Dez Fitzpatrick, Jawon Pass, and PJ Blue are just a few names that have loads of potential and are able to redshirt this year. Lamar Jackson, Seth Dawkins, James Hearns, Jaire Alexander, and Stacy Thomas are just a handful of contributors who will be back for another go-round. Add on to those what could be Petrino’s best recruiting class yet and the team has incredible upside for the near future. So if we have to “settle” for an Orange Bowl bid against a top tier opponent, I am OK with that.
- For those of you who have followed me for a while, you will know that I really like Traveon Samuel. I was extremely excited to see Samuel motion into the backfield early on for a carry and would love to see more of that.
- I feel sorry for Jaire Alexander. On a team that features the most exciting player in college football and who gets almost all the attention, Alexander is one of THE best defenders in the country and is every bit as electric of a playmaker as Jackson is. This is only his second year playing defense full time and is already a star. He is tied for 2nd nationally with 5 interceptions, has a punt return TD, forced a fumble, 23 tackles, and a tackle for loss.
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