When the season started, the Louisville Cardinals were a shoe-in to get into a BCS bowl game and possibly challenge for the BCS National Championship. They had a cupcake schedule with arguably the best quarterback in the country, Teddy Bridgewater, to roll through a raggedy AAC conference on their way to a perfect season. But after the Central Florida Knights upset Louisville, ending their perfect season and hopes of a BCS title game appearance, the Cardinals are on the outside of the BCS bowl picture and need some help to get inside.
As it stands, UCF and the Houston Cougars stand ahead of Louisville in the conference standings heading into Week 11. The Knights own the tie-breaker over Lousiville, so the Cardinals have to hope for a couple of losses down the stretch or a tie-breaker scenario with multiple teams tied at the top of the standings with Louisville prevailing to get the conference title. With that conference championship, they would get the automatic bid into the BCS bowl games. If they can’t get that automatic bid, they don’t stand much of a chance as an at-large selection.
Right now, Louisville ranks No. 20 in the BCS standings and has little hope of moving up unless teams ahead of them suffer a loss. They have zero games remaining against ranked opponents, though Houston and the Cincinnati Bearcats have strong winning records. That lack of strength in their schedule, an issue everyone foresaw before the season, makes gaining ground on other teams ahead them a near-impossibility as long as they keep winning. Right now, they are completely unranked by five of the six BCS computers.
And heading into Week 11, there are countless teams in line ahead of Louisville for the at-large berths into the BCS bowl games. For one, the Fresno State Bulldogs (No. 16) are currently fulfilling the requirements for a non-BCS program to get an automatic bid which would steal away an opportunity from a bigger school from a bigger conference, like Louisville. Beyond that, the Cardinals rank lower than eight other one-loss teams currently (and four two-loss programs) who all have better resumes to get into the BCS than Louisville does.
Coming into the season, it was apparent that the Cardinals needed to be perfect to stay in the BCS top-10. With that now out the window, they’ll need to get some help in the AAC race or risk tumbling to a middle tier bowl game. Are the Cardinals doomed to exit the AAC with a whimper in 2013?