The voters in the AP Poll can’t seem to agree on the Louisville Cardinals at any place in the Top 25. Geography is an interesting dynamic to view when looking at the ranking of the Cardinals. Voters along the West Coast love Louisville, none have the Cardinals lower than 5. The East Coast is a bit harder to find a trend, but most have a more unfavorable opinion of the Cardinals.

I spoke with three AP voters who have the Cardinals in various spots in the Top 25. Here is what they had to say:

The first voter I spoke to was Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Times. He is one of the voters from the West Coast who has a very favorable opinion of Louisville. In fact, he is the biggest believer of the Cardinals of all the AP voters. Wolf has ranked the Cardinals #2 in every AP poll that has came out this season.

“I think they have the best chance to go undefeated of any team in the Nation,” Wolf explained. “If they do win their games, they deserve to go to the BCS Title Game, regardless of their conference. I don’t think it’s fair to only have an SEC,  Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 team make the title game, if there is a deserving team from another conference.”

It’s hard to make a case for Louisville to be ranked ahead of Oregon, Clemson, or even Stanford. Wolf’s line of thinking is fair, but I also don’t agree with the notion of ranking teams high because they simply have a ‘good chance’ to go undefeated.

It’s certainly fun to see though.

Quotes like that bring music to the ears of Cardinals fans. Quotes like that make folks believe the Louisville Cardinals actually have a chance to shock the Country. Similar views are shared by five other AP Voters, Louisville needs to do their best to increase that number with each passing week.

The next voter we will discuss wished to remain unnamed. He has a very different opinion of the Cardinals. He’s actually ranked Louisville outside of the Top Ten each week of the AP Poll.

“I’ve got them there because they haven’t played anybody of significance yet and I didn’t think they were a top-10 team last year,” the Voter said.  “So to me, they have to play their way in, which they can do once they start playing against some better teams.”

This doesn’t really fall into my line of thinking about where the Cardinals should be ranked. I believe it’s a flawed way of thinking. Teams shouldn’t be ranked low because of the quality of opponent they’ve faced, but ranked according to their performance. Louisville’s performance in four games merits that of a Top Ten team. Perhaps my line of thinking is the one flawed though, because this voter’s opinion is certainly a narrative you’ll hear from plenty others across the Country.

The last voter I spoke to is the University of Tennessee Beat Writer Patrick Brown from the Chattanooga Times Free Press. In his most recent poll, he has the Cardinals ranked 11th, with teams like Texas A&M and Georgia ahead of them. Brown went into deep detail about his logic.

“I have had Louisville in the top 10 until about the third poll of the season, and that’s more because of other teams than the Cardinals,” Brown explained.  “I think they’re a great team and I’d like to see Teddy Bridgewater on a big stage, particularly after how he performed against Florida in the Sugar Bowl. That schedule, though, is hard to ignore.”

Only 4 of the 60 AP voters ranked the Cardinals 11th or worse. Although, Brown’s actual ranking doesn’t fall in line with most of the voters, his basis behind that decision does.

“For example: when, say, Georgia beats South Carolina at home and Louisville beats the likes of Eastern Kentucky, FIU, etc., it’s difficult to justify keeping them behind Louisville,” Brown said. “Most of the teams ahead of them have better wins than Louisville does, too. Some — like Oregon (best win is Tennessee) or A&M (best win is a 7-point loss to the No. 1 team in the country) — are iffy in that sense, but I think those teams are better than Louisville (though I’d love to watch Bridgewater and Manziel face off).”
The point about a potential Manziel, Bridgewater match-up makes fans, NFL scouts, and Television Executives drool. What a fun thing that would be. Although, Louisville has dropped lately in Brown’s poll, he assures Cardinals fans that they shouldn’t expect to fall much farther.
“I can’t justify dropping the Cards much out of that 10-12 range, unless they pull a Michigan and need an escape against some of the really bad teams they play. I do think they are at worst one of the 15 best teams in the country because of Bridgewater and because I think Charlie Strong is a good coach,” He noted. “If they stay undefeated, which they should given the schedule, I will move them up, but I think it will be hard to justify putting them over some one-loss teams whose loss came to a really good team. Louisville is a good team with a bad schedule, and to me that makes them difficult to gauge, and I can’t imagine I’m alone among pollsters in that sense.”
This is just a sample of the public opinion shared by voters on the Louisville. They’ve been one of the most discussed and disagreed on teams of all of College Football. They are ranked anywhere from 2nd to 13th in the Country depending on which voter’s ballot. The 12 spot differential from the AP voters is easily the highest of the Top 10 with Miami’s 18 spot differential being the highest of the Top 25. You can essentially make a case for Louisville at any spot in the Top 15, and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong (although, that doesn’t mean I agree).
While the AP Poll isn’t factored into the BCS Standings, it’s certainly something that influences those that make up BCS Standings in the Harris Poll, Coaches Poll, etc. Just like Louisville’s BCS Ranking, Louisville’s AP ranking should be highly-monitored by Cardinal fans.
The current rating for Louisville in the AP Poll is 7, but don’t expect the Cards to be a main-stay there. As you can see, the indifference on Louisville is massive across the Country. Which is a good thing for Louisville. With so many quick to knock on the Cardinals schedule, their surely are many fighting for them. Don’t believe me? Ask Scott Wolf.
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Chris Hatfield

Residing in Louisville, KY (via Bardstown, KY). I write things about Louisville Sports. Sometimes you'll like them. Follow me @_ChrisHatfield Email me at chatfield60@gmail.com

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