The Louisville Cardinals are a legitimate threat to make a trip to the final BCS National Championship Game.
This seems ridiculous, as there are so many teams that could compete for a spot in the national title game in 2013: Alabama, Texas A&M, Ohio State, Georgia, Oregon and Stanford.
The Cardinals, led by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and recent free agent transfer running back Michael Dyer, have no one on the schedule in the newly minted American Athletic Conference that will seriously challenge them. Stranger upsets have happened, so there is a possibility, but it is not likely.
The Cardinals play a schedule filled with teams such as Temple and FIU. UCF or Cincinnati appear to be the toughest test on the schedule, which means the Cardinals have a weaker schedule than Boise State in 2013.
And there are some who would tell you to disregard the schedule and its perceived weaknesses:
The last time the Cards played Miami, Florida State, Texas, and Alabama in football Louisville won. Don't listen to the weak schedule people— Mark Blankenbaker (@UofLSheriff50) June 7, 2012
If they do dance through their season undefeated, they could slide into the title game in any number of scenarios.
Say Ohio State, Stanford, Alabama, Texas A&M and Oregon all finish the regular season with one loss, and there is no other team with fewer than that, outside of Louisville. What then? Would the BCS be willing to send two of those teams with a loss into the title game over a one-loss Louisville squad that demonstrated last season the ability to knock off another elite BCS opponent?
And would anybody be surprised to see Louisville be allowed into the game?
Strange things have happened in the BCS for years. Since the beginning of the system, the postseason has been fraught with controversy, and not just in the title game.
In the first BCS season, 1998-99, Kansas State was shut out of the BCS, in spite of its No. 3 ranking in the system. The team was passed over in favor of Ohio State, which was ranked fourth at the time, and Florida, which was ranked eighth. In 2000, the Wildcats were ranked sixth, but Michigan, ranked eighth at the time, received a bid. Tulane went undefeated this season, but did not qualify for the BCS under the current rules, as it played in C-USA.
Then the national championship controversies began. The 2000-01 season saw three teams, Florida State, Miami and Washington, all finish with one loss. FSU got the nod into the title game against Oklahoma, which it lost, while Miami and Washington each won their bowl games.
The 2001-02 season saw Nebraska make the title game, though ranked fourth in both human polls, over one-loss Oregon and two-loss Colorado. The Buffaloes had just destroyed Nebraska, 62-36, in the final game of the season.
Oklahoma, USC and LSU all finished with one loss in 2003-04. Oklahoma lost the conference title game to Kansas State, 35-7. Hilarity ensued. USC was left out of the title game. Oklahoma lost to LSU, while the Trojans won the Rose Bowl. The AP poll proclaimed the Trojans champs; the BCS declared the Tigers were the winners.
It goes on and on. The next season, Boise State, Utah, Auburn, Oklahoma and USC all went undefeated. Oklahoma and USC played in the title game. The rest were left out.
The madness never seemed to end when it came to determining who would participate in the title game—from the 2006-07 controversy over who would face Ohio State, to the 2011 mess that saw LSU and Alabama face off in the title game.
It has been madness almost every season the BCS has been in place.
So why not this year?
Say Louisville does finish the season without a loss, while the rest of the legitimate title contenders finish with one each? The Cardinals would have to get the nod, wouldn't they?
And if Ohio State, Stanford or Oregon finishes undefeated, and Louisville and one of them meets in the championship game, SEC fans might riot.
The SEC has been the dominant force in college football for the past seven years, and in this scenario, the conference would not even have a representative in the title game, in spite of the conference's alleged superiority heading into 2013.
This would be considered a disaster, second only to the stoppage of Twinkie production, by many, including myself.
If Bridgewater and the Cardinals somehow find themselves in the final BCS title game, it will be the perfect ending to the maddening, frustrating, sometimes confusing system that has been in place for the past 15 years.
For those who have cried out in opposition for years, calling the current system unfair or biased, there would be no better poetic justice than a team from a conference that is barely a BCS conference winning the final BCS title game.