After the first set of College Football Playoff rankings were unveiled, Louisville, then No. 7, felt disrespected. Fast-forward a couple of weeks, and Louisville, now No. 5, feels the exact same way. That’s because the Cardinals still rank behind No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 Clemson even though those programs lost to unranked teams this past weekend.
Indeed, Tuesday was not a good night for Bobby Petrino’s bunch.
“Several of the players, including Lamar Jackson, sent out some ambiguous – but not really ambiguous – tweets right about the time (that) the rankings came out,” Louisville Courier Journal Cardinals reporter Steve Jones said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “(Some) guys were talking about how the system was rigged. I think they’re going to come into this game (against Houston on Thursday night) with a pretty good chip on their shoulder and feeling like they kind of did get the short end of it. I think it was similar to what happened with them with the Boston College game. I think Houston is a better team than Boston College, but they went in there and really, really dominated Boston College the week after the first rankings came out, and they kind of seem to have the same sort of reaction about feeling that they got ranked a little too low. I agree with you: I think it will be a bigger test, but they stand to come in there as a very highly motivated, highly focused team.”
Hurting Louisville is the fact that it has just one Top 25 win – a 63-20 mauling of Florida State in September. Compare that to a team like, say, Ohio State, which has three wins against teams that were – or are – ranked in the top 10, including road wins over No. 7 Wisconsin and No. 9 Oklahoma. Heck, even the Buckeyes’ one loss – a 24-21 setback at Penn State – suddenly looks good, as the Nittany Lions are currently ranked eighth in America.
Louisville simply doesn’t stack up to Ohio State, Michigan and Clemson from a resume standpoint.
“Good or bad, the selection committee just is valuing Top 25 wins,” Jones said. “That’s what the selection committee chair has said repeatedly. The number of Top 25 wins seems to be what they are putting the most emphasis on – and in the case of Michigan, even top-10 wins because they have three. Louisville has one Top 25 win, and that’s the complete destruction they had of Florida State. But other than that, they don’t have any other ones. Wake Forest was only the second one they had against a team that has a winning record. So even though they have the best loss compared to Clemson and Michigan, which lost to unranked teams, those don’t seem to matter very much. They’re outnumbered in quality wins, so that’s why they seem to be behind those teams.”