By Matt Bradshaw —

Football (2-5, 0-4) remains without a conference victory after their 38-20 defeat this past Saturday at the hands of Boston College. Louisville kept themselves in the game with a 20-14 lead in the first half and fumbled their chances by allowing 24 unanswered points.

The 2-5 start for U of L is the program’s worst since 2009, and the loss to Boston College marks the first four-game losing streak since 2008.

To say that the season has been disappointing would be an understatement, but most Cardinal fans know this by now. Expectations were high after the departure of Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, in addition to head coach Bobby Petrino hyping up his current team to more than they would be.

Most disheartening is the prospect of looking to the future: What does this lackluster 2-5 start mean for Louisville football?

The program has equally poor seasons to compare to in the past, like coach Steve Kragthorpe’s 4-8 stint in 2009. However, that season was followed by a year-to-year increase until U of L upset Florida in the 2012 Sugar Bowl.

By the time the Cardinals entered the ACC in 2014, it seemed the program was on the up-and-up once again. As a member of the power-five conference, Louisville football has achieved a bowl win and featured a talented group of future NFL pros.

The 2018 season cannot help but feel like a step back, and this time around it’s hard to see how the program will take a step forward once again.

Few of U of L’s underclassmen have proved they have extremely bright futures on the team, and the 2019 recruiting class has little to zero top-prospects in queue.

It’s not impossible for the Cards to bounce back from their 2018 performance, but it remains highly unlikely to expect more than eight-win (if that) seasons in the coming years.

What’s worse, the expansion of Cardinal Stadium brought Louisville football’s facilities to an elite level. The team’s play so far fails to compare to the improved venue.

Based on this season’s attendance, and if circumstances remain the same, the program might have to get used to a sparsely-filled stadium.

You can follow the Louisville Cardinal on Twitter @thecardsports.

Photo by Nancy Hanner / The Louisville Cardinal