Getting to the BCS National Title Game is the goal of the University of Louisville Football program. To do that politics must be played & scoreboards must be tested. The University of Louisville put a ‘beat down’ on Ohio University in its season-opener on Sunday 49-7, amassing 615 yards and sat its 1st Team offense & defense in the 3rd quarter. The score could have been worse if not for a couple of Pick 6 drops, and a punt return that stumbled.
Still, even despite that domination and Louisville respecting the game of football & their opponent, ESPN’s Chris Fowler dropped the Cards from 13th to 14th from Pre-Season to the Week 2 poll. Fowler moved Oklahoma & Florida in front of Louisville after their dominating season-opening performance. Fowler said in response to the poll: “It is a Week 2 ranking, I’m very fluid & will rate them highly if they continue to dominate”.
My response?: They did dominate and you moved them down in your poll. This is one voter in the AP, but Fowler is also host of ESPN’s 3-hour pre-game show “College Game Day” and one of the most influential voices in college football. PLUS, each week matters for the Cards. So while one voter in Week 2, doesn’t believe in the hype of the Cards it IS A BIG DEAL in terms of gaining the national consensus early enough to make a push for the BCS National Title Game in Pasadena.
So what did Fowler see in Florida & Oklahoma to make him believe that they were more dominant than the Cards? Well, the Gators (who the Cards beat 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl) beat their MAC opponent, Toledo, 24-6. Remember that the Cards beat their MAC opponent 49-7 and sat their starters in the 3rd quarter, while tallying 615 yards and allowing just 273? Well late in the 3rd quarter Florida led just 17-6 and finished with just 415 yards (allowed 205) against a similarly regarded MAC team. I DON’T THINK THAT IS REASON TO MOVE THEM IN FRONT OF LOUISVILLE!!!!! Oklahoma was impressive against Louisiana-Monroe posting a 34-0 shutout, the Sooners had 429 yards and allowed just 166. But OU didn’t get over 30 points until just 38 seconds left in the 3Q.
How Does Louisville Get Voters Attention?
The AP Poll doesn’t count in the BCS tabulations. But the AP Poll DOES influence public perception, the Coaches Poll (which does matter), and the Harris Poll (which also accounts for 1/3rd of the BCS Formula). But more than anything Louisville needs to gain collective consensus with voters that they are an elite program worthy of their Top votes. As the season goes on, this will become more and more important.
One of the ways the Cards can achieve this is by posting HUGE margins of victory. On Sunday, Louisville had a shutout going before the 2nd Defense allowed a TD and the Cards went on to win by 42.
42-points in game one. That’s a solid start. A weak schedule. That’s another thing. So I started thinking, what is the BIGGEST Margin of Victory season in the last 10 years? Could Louisville Football make a run at being the largest margin of victory school and use that as a platform to get into the hunt of a BCS National Championship game. Here are the results in terms of Points & Yards Allowed by Louisville Opponents in Week 1:
|Points Allowed||Yards Allowed|
|Eastern KY (Robert Morris)||6||232|
|Temple (Notre Dame)||28||543|
|Memphis||no game yet||no game yet|
Eastern Kentucky is the next target. An FCS school, the Colonels handled Robert Morris allowing just 232 yards. That’s a solid job. And while I typically advocate FBS schools blowing the doors off FCS schools (respect the game), a big margin COULD happen on Saturday at Papa John’s. Kentucky, FIU, Temple, Rutgers, USF, UConn, & Houston all game up a lot on defense in Week 1. Memphis is yet to play, but there is no reason to believe their 4-8 results from a year ago are about to change.
In fact, the only games right now where it appears that Louisville won’t just have their way with opponent’s Defense is UCF & Cincinnati. If Louisville starts scoring on Defense and getting some run on Special Teams they could even be more dangerous.
Season Margin Leaders since 2003
After discovering all of this I went through the last 10 years of college football and targeted teams with 2 or fewer losses & compiled their average margin for their seasons. 3 loss schools may have ridiculous blowouts that could qualify themselves for this chart, but I wanted to identify teams that were potentially in the hunt for the national championship. So 2-losses was the cut-off and I went back through a decade of results.
How I calculated:
Pretty simple (I like to keep things simple) add up the total points of the team vs. their total points of the opponent, divide by the number of games. I didn’t just count wins. I included losses into the equation as well to get a good representation of a team’s average margin for a given season.
What I Found:
Oregon’s 2010 team is the #1 Season Margin besting their opponents by an average of 41.85 points per game. That is a nearly 6 Touchdown advantage per game. Texas in 2005 was slightly behind UO’s 2010 season at 41.54, but is equally impressive. These two teams were far & away the leaders, with a strong pack in the 37+ range behind them.
I did find it interesting that Louisville’s 2004 team was #3 on this list, with the 2006 Orange Bowl team had the 26th best margin in the last decade. Last year’s Sugar Bowl Championship team is near the bottom at 103rd with an average margin of 11.31. In all, 110 teams made up the list with Iowa’s 2004 10-2 team rounding out the bottom with an average margin of just 6.92.
As it stands right now Louisville’s 2013 average margin of 42 would be the best all-time…………………..but it is just one game. If the Cards can continue to win at a high rate we will see where they can compare to the best season margins of the last decade. Maybe UofL can even use this to their advantage when arguing for their spot in the BCS National Title game.
* = National Championship Runner-Up
|7||Boise St 2010||12-1||37.00|
|8||Florida State 2012||12-2||36.93|
|12||Penn St 2008||11-2||34.46|
|22||Boise St 2003||13-1||31.21|
|23||Ohio State 2010||12-1||31.08|
|24||Boise St 2004||11-1||31.00|
|25||Boise St 2009||14-0||30.50|
|27||Boise St 2011||12-1||30.08|
|31||Boise St 2008||12-1||29.62|
|37||Oklahoma St 2011||12-1||27.77|
|40||Ohio State 2006*||12-1||27.23|
|46||Miami (OH) 2003||13-1||25.86|
|47||Boise St 2006||13-0||25.85|
|54||Oklahoma St. 2010||11-2||24.62|
|55||Ohio State 2007*||11-2||23.92|
|60||Penn St 2005||11-1||22.83|
|64||Penn St 2009||11-2||22.00|
|74||Ohio State 2009||11-2||20.77|
|75||Northern Illinois 2012||12-2||20.71|
|76||Ohio State 2012||12-0||20.00|
|77||South Carolina 2012||11-2||19.85|
|79||Southern Miss 2011||12-2||19.07|
|80||Central Michigan 2009||12-2||19.00|
|81||Ball St 2008||12-2||18.93|
|82||Ohio State 2005||10-2||18.92|
|83||Miami (FL) 2003||11-2||18.77|
|89||San Jose St 2012||11-2||17.23|
|90||Boise St 2012||11-2||16.31|
|99||Utah St 2012||11-2||13.69|
|100||South Carolina 2011||11-2||13.62|
|101||Northern Illinois 2003||10-2||13.58|
|107||Michigan St 2010||11-2||10.23|
|108||Ohio State 2003||11-2||9.31|