In college football, rankings are the lifeblood of the sport. They shape narratives, fuel debates, and determine the fate of teams as they vie for a coveted spot in the College Football Playoff (CFP). The 2023 season has brought us many surprises and standout performances, and one team that has turned heads is the Louisville Cardinals.
As the CFP selection committee released their first rankings for 2023, the Cardinals found themselves in the No. 13 spot.
Photo Cred: SI
For Louisville (7-1, 4-1 ACC), this marks their highest placement in the CFP Rankings since their impressive No. 13 finish in the final rankings of 2016. What sets the Cardinals apart this season? One key factor contributing to Louisville’s impressive ranking is their notable victories over top-25 opponents. The Cardinals have proven themselves in challenging matchups throughout the year. These victories against top-tier competition have showcased their strength and determination on the field.
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for Louisville. The one blemish on their otherwise stellar record is a 17-point loss to the Pittsburgh Panthers, who currently hold a less than impressive 2-6 record. This defeat to a team struggling to find their footing has raised questions about the Cardinals’ consistency and potential to break into the top-10 rankings. Had Louisville managed to avoid the hiccup against the Panthers, their position in the CFP Rankings could have been even more impressive.
Photo Cred: USA Today
A top-10 ranking might have been within reach, further solidifying their status as a playoff contender. Looking ahead, the Cardinals still have a glimmer of hope. If they can continue winning and secure a victory in the ACC Championship game against Florida State, their CFP aspirations may become a reality. Kentucky and Miami are still on the schedule. Both have ranked in the Top 25.
The road to the playoffs is challenging, but with their current ranking and a strong season under their belts, the Cardinals are well-positioned to make a compelling case for inclusion in the playoff picture. As the 2023 college football season unfolds, Louisville’s journey up the CFP Rankings serves as a testament to their resilience and ability to overcome setbacks. While the loss to Pittsburgh may sting, it has not deterred them from pursuing their playoff dreams. Louisville’s remarkable season has placed them on the national stage, and they are determined to make the most of this opportunity.