Saturday night was a terrible way to start the 2022 season. Louisville has dominated Syracuse in recent memory and no one wants to get worked in a season opener……. especially to a team that you regularly handle.
But weird things can happen in the dome. And weird things can happen in college football to good teams. This Louisville Football team in 2022 was not a candidate to go to the New Year’s Six. But there was hope to win 8 games. That’s still possible with 11 games remaining, but the Cards have work to do.
In 2012 Louisville Football was 9-0 and went into the Carrier Dome (on Teddy Bridgewater’s birthday) and got trucked by Syracuse 45-26. It didn’t make sense. Syracuse was 4-5 heading into the game, Louisville was #10 in the country UNDEFEATED with everything to play for.
In the end the 2012 team is remembered for beating Florida in the Sugar Bowl. No one really talks about that weirdness in the dome. Or the triple overtime loss in Cardinal Stadium the very next week where Teddy Bridgewater was beaten up with a broken wrist and a twisted ankle. What they do talk about are the heroics of Bridgewater in the Rutgers game coming off the bench after NOT warming up and leading UofL to victory and clinching the Big East BCS berth ultimately in the Sugar Bowl.
The point is, bad games happen. They can derail a season. One really bad loss can turn into two losses pretty quick and the next thing you know a season has unraveled. But good teams and good coaches understand that weird things can happen. Even at the pro level where the Packers lost their Week 1 game 38-3 (the Packers would finish 13-4) to begin the 2021 season.
For Louisville bad games abound in good seasons:
2019 (8-5): Scott Satterfield would win 8 games, named ACC Coach of the Year, won the Music City Bowl vs. Mississippi State and the Cards were crushed at Miami and at Kentucky.
2017 (8-5): A 4-2 Louisville team with Lamar Jackson at Quarterback got beat on its home field by a 2-4 Boston College team. Two weeks later the Cards would lose to Wake Forest who at 4-3 hadn’t beaten anyone of note.
2016 (9-4): Everyone remembers the 36-10 beatdown in Houston.
2015 (8-5): Louisville started 0-3 losing close games to Auburn, Houston and Clemson and then would finish the season on a 8-2 run beating Texas A&M in the Music City Bowl.
2014 (9-4): The Cards went to Charlottesville and sputtered their way into a loss against a bad Virginia team (5-7) and lost 23-21.
2012 (11-2): We discussed the destruction of the Cards in the Carrier Dome against a bad Syracuse team when the Cards were 9-0 and ranked #10. They also lost to in 3OT to a 5-7 UCONN team the next week.
2011 (7-6): Louisville lost to FIU at home against TY Hilton and then two weeks later lost to Marshall at HOME and rallied to make the Belk Bowl. Louisville even had the “Call to Duty” game vs. Pitt at home this year.
2010 (7-6): The Cards traveled to Pitt and got nothing offensively in a 20-3 snoozer in Charlie Strong’s 1st year. They’d go on to win the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl and finish the season with a lot of recruiting juice.
2005 (9-3): The Cardinal Bird fell down coming out of the tunnel vs. USF and the #9 Louisville Football team got throttled 45-14 in Tampa.
2003 (9-4): Memphis came to Cardinal Stadium with RB DeAngelo Williams and carved up the Louisville defense… but the offense got nothing too killing the Cards 37-7.
2001 (11-2): Louisville traveled to Illinois and Kurt Kittner WORKED Louisville in Champaign 34-10. Mike Cassity would become UofL’s Defensive Coordinator later under Bobby Petrino, was with Illinois that day. Illinois would go to the Sugar Bowl and Louisville would win 11 games. The same year Louisville inexplicably fell flat in the season finale to TCU 37-22. The Cards would still finish #17 in the nation.
1998: (7-5): Louisville opened Cardinal Stadium and was throttled by Tim Couch and Craig Yeast 68-34. The Cards even laid an egg at Utah the very next week 45-22. Louisville would rally and make the Motor City Bowl in John L’s 1st year.
The Point is, bad games happen. They happen to good teams throughout college football every year. How a team reacts to that adversity determines whether or not the season is tanked or if history forgets about that and we all move on. It’s going to be hard to forget how poorly Louisville played against Syracuse to start the 2022 season, but hopefully the Cards put that behind them like other Louisville Football teams have in the past.