Chuck Cook -USA TODAY Sports
Opponent: vs. Ohio
Statement: "We can crush inferior opponents."
Louisville thinks it's a championship contender this season—not just in the AAC, but on a national scale. Here's one of Football Outsiders' basic tenants about championship teams:
Championship teams are generally defined by their ability to dominate inferior opponents, not their ability to win close games.
Football games are often decided by just one or two plays—a missed field goal, a bouncing fumble, the subjective spot of an official on fourth-and-1. One missed assignment by a cornerback, or one slightly askew pass that bounces off a receiver's hands and into those of a defensive back five yards away and the game could be over. In a blowout, however, one lucky bounce isn't going to change things.
Championship teams beat their good opponents convincingly and destroy the cupcakes on the schedule.
Last season, however, Louisville lost to 5-7 Connecticut, beat 3-9 Florida International by seven and defeated 0-12 Southern Miss by four. That is not how a championship team handles inferior opponents.
Ohio, which went 9-4 last year, is better than FIU and Southern Miss, but still far worse than Louisville. If the Cardinals really fancy themselves contenders, they won't even let the Bobcats hang around.