U of L football no longer controls its own destiny
By Sam Draut
It’s the problem with pursuit of perfection in college football.
As good of a team Louisville is, in a twelve-game season, they were bound to run into a
game where the opposing team remained resilient, UCF was down 28-7 midway through
the 3rd quarter.
U of L was bound to run into an opposing offense that had an answer for Teddy
Bridgewater. Blake Bortles was 21/32 for 250 yards and two touchdowns while UCF rushed
for 196 yards.
They were bound to run into a game where the ball didn’t bounce their way. Ryan
Hubbell fumbled into the end zone for a touchback on the Cardinal’s second drive. UCF
wide receiver Rannell Hall fumbled at the eight yard line, but the ball was fallen on by
running back William Stanback. The next play, Stanback scored on a four-yard rush to tie
the game at 7-7.
In a twelve-game schedule, Louisville was bound to run into a loss somewhere.
So now, a team that was previously BCS bound, no longer controls its fate.
But the season wasn’t supposed to end like this, losing to UCF in a nationally televised
game at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
Quite frankly, the season did not end.
“Our goals are still there and we still have a chance to win the conference. Now we’re one
behind them (UCF). We’ve got to continue to play well and get better. We can improve.”
Charlie Strong said.
Bridgewater’s waning Heisman candidacy may have officially been crushed, along with
Louisville’s slender hopes of a National Championship, but the Cardinals still have plenty at
“It doesn’t damage them at all. We are still 6-1 this is college football and anything can
happen, and anything is possible,” Bridgewater said. ”We are going to keep our faith, keep our heads up and continue to finish the season as the way we want to.”
U of L still has a chance to win the conference, granted, UCF currently holds the tie break
and game advantage.
But moving forward, where does Louisville go from here?
A defense which previously led the FBS in fewest points allowed and ranked second in
fewest yards allowed was dominated by the UCF offense for 446 total yards and 38 points.
“That was the first time we played bad on defense,” Strong said.
So, the 31 points the defense gave up in the second half can potentially be brushed away
as an outlier, but that outlier defines the season to this point.
Once again, Louisville must take a week-by-week approach directed by perfection, but
this time, there will be no guarantees of a BCS bowl or conference championship.
The Cardinals faced a similar dilemma last year after Syracuse, but went on to drop
their next game against UConn, and were still able reach a BCS bowl.
More than likely, U of L won’t be granted as much leeway this season. The question
becomes, can Louisville refocus after the disruptive loss?
“It won’t affect the next game because we’ve been down this road before,” Strong said. “We have a veteran group here and they’ve seen this happen before so I don’t think it will affect them for the next game.”
The 2013 season was bound by the idea of 12-0, now it must continue with imperfection.