Is the 2016 football season as special as fans made it to be?

By on November 21, 2016

By Dalton Ray–

Entering the year, many tabbed Louisville as a team ready to make the next step. Starting the year at No. 19, the Cardinals swiftly jumped to No. 10 after putting up 132 points in two games. A showdown with then-second-ranked Florida State was the first step to achieving national respect. After a 43-point win in front of the home crowd, the Cards were the talk of the nation.

Fast forward two weeks to when U of L traveled to Clemson. In the second step of gaining national respect, the Tigers pulled off an eight-point victory. The Cardinals played a tight game in one of the nation’s toughest venues and against a top team. In one of the most viewed games of the season, Louisville came up just short.

With such a front-heavy schedule, the Cardinals had a five-game stretch against lesser competition before another marquee match-up. During the stretch, Louisville had two blowouts against NC State and Boston College. The other three games were a little different.

Starting against Duke, the Cards struggled in a boring and slow-paced game. Barely escaping with a 10-point victory, the Cardinal’s kryptonite was found. Two weeks later, Virginia gave Louisville all they could handle. The Cardinals needed a game-winning drive on the road to beat the Cavaliers 32-25.

The final game against Wake Forest had mixed takeaways. On one side, Louisville finished with a 44-12 win. On the other, U of L trailed for three quarters and needed a 34-point fourth quarter to win. Louisville struggled but finished strong.

Louisville’s third marque game was against Houston. After some ups and downs over the past five weeks, this was the game that was going to prove to the nation and playoff committee that U of L deserved to be respected.

On the national stage once again, Louisville got embarrassed. Not only did they lose, but the Cardinals looked bad while they were doing it. The nation’s top-rated scoring offense produced 10 points and the offensive line let up 11 sacks.

After falling on their face, how special is the 2016 season?

Louisville had three big games on the schedule and lost two. U of L’s overall opponent record is 60-61. Of Louisville’s nine wins, only two are against teams over .500. The records of the teams Louisville has defeated are 41-58, a 41 percent winning percentage.

Should beating teams you’re supposed to beat be considered a special season? On the national stage three times, Louisville only came through once. That’s not what the top teams in the nation do.

Lamar Jackson has had a special season. But for the team as a whole, nothing too spectacular has transpired. While the season isn’t over, fans shouldn’t over-glorify this season.

If Louisville wins a major bowl game, this season should be considered special. But if not, there’s no reason to overblow this season. Fans can hang on to the “one yard away” stuff with Clemson all they want, but the bottom line is Louisville didn’t get the job done when called upon.

Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal

About Dalton Ray

Sports editor (2016-18) that is technically award winning.

Email: dray@louisvillecardinal.com

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