Sunday, September 23, 2007

Does Louisville suck?

The short answer is yes, but there's more to it than that.

The big news Saturday night was that Syracuse managed to play Louisville's kind of game and edge them out for a victory, putting a serious damper on the Cardinals' chances to go to a BCS game. But this loss shouldn't have been as surprising as people thought.

First, Syracuse may have been 0-3 coming in, but they played...just kidding, Syracuse got crushed by three currently unranked teams: Washington, Iowa, and Illinois. And Kentucky appears to really have something going this year, a pleasant surprise for the people of the bluegrass state who've been disappointed with Louisville so far.

But let's look farther back, at a game that screamed to us that this Louisville team wasn't the superior team of last year. I give you exhibit A, Louisville vs. Middle Tennessee State, a team that lost to Florida Atlantic by 13 the week before they played Louisville. The Blue Raiders put up 42 on Louisville, scoring on plays of the following distances: 78, 23, 24, 39, 1, 79. It was clear after looking at this game's stats that, barring some complete transformation, Louisville was going to have trouble beating any teams with reasonable talent. And go figure, Kentucky and Syracuse edged the Cardinals.

What I found amazing was that at the half against Syracuse, Louisville was down 21-7, and on ESPN News, Robert Smith declared that Syracuse would get blown out of the game. It wasn't even like he was meaning to be bold or anything, he just completely discounted the Orange's ability to play football. Somehow, Smith seemed to be oblivious to the fact that Louisville couldn't stop anyone, despite back-to-back games giving up at least 40 points.

Is the entire country retarded like this? Are wins and losses and rankings the only things that people look at when trying to evaluate teams? Louisville should've gone down in the rankings after their suspect game against Middle Tennessee, and they should've dropped out of the top 25 after they lost to Kentucky. They're obviously unranked now, but the rankings have made a lot of people more surprised than they needed to be. Louisville is the new Kansas State. They have a potent offense, but can't really stop anyone, so get used to some .500 seasons down south.

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