Louisville Cardinals Football

Projected BCS Standings 2013: How Louisville's Loss Will Shake Up Rankings

Oct 18, 2013; Louisville, KY, USA; UCF Knights defensive lineman E.J. Dunston (95) tackles Louisville Cardinals running back Senorise Perry (32) during the first quarter of play at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2013

The Bowl Championship Series can take a breath. It no longer has to worry about a future where it must figure out what to do with an undefeated Louisville Cardinals team at the end of the season.

Unranked University of Central Florida pulled off a huge 38-35 upset of the previously unbeaten Cardinals on Friday night in Louisville. It was a particularly bad defeat because the home team was up 28-7 in the third quarter. The Knights defense was able to frustrate Teddy Bridgewater and stifle the Cardinals offense.

It was a huge result that could have a major effect on the BCS standings when they're unveiled going into Week 8.

Here's a quick breakdown of what this Louisville loss means.

 

How Far Do the Cardinals Fall?

Oct 18, 2013; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals wide receiver James Quick (17) battles UCF Knights wide receiver Rannell Hall (6) to recover a fumble during the second half of play at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Central Florida defeated Louisvil
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

This is a look at where Louisville could fall based off the rankings going into this week.

AP Top 25—Week 7 (with Louisville loss)
Pos.TeamRecord
1Alabama Crimson Tide6-0
2Oregon Ducks6-0
3Clemson Tigers6-0
4Ohio State Buckeyes6-0
5Florida State Seminoles5-0
6LSU Tigers6-1
7Texas A&M Aggies5-1
8UCLA Bruins5-0
9Miami Hurricanes6-0
10South Carolina Gamecocks5-1
11Baylor Bears5-0
12Stanford Cardinal5-1
13Missouri Tigers6-0
14Georgia Bulldogs4-2
15Texas Tech Red Raiders6-0
16Fresno State Bulldogs5-0
17Oklahoma Sooners5-1
18Virginia Tech Hokies6-1
19Washington Huskies4-2
20Oklahoma State Cowboys4-1
21Louisville Cardinals6-1
22Florida Gators4-2
23Northern Illinois Huskies6-0
24Auburn Tigers5-1
25Wisconsin Badgers4-2
ESPN.com

There was always this risk for Louisville when it failed to schedule any difficult games for the 2013 season. While it eased the path to an undefeated season, one loss would result in a precipitous drop. Falling out of the Top 25 altogether is too extreme. You can't judge a team that harshly off just one loss.

But there's almost no way a one-loss Cardinals team would be able to stay ahead of any undefeated teams from an automatic qualifying conference. That means falling behind Texas Tech should the Red Raiders win on Saturday.

The voters have likely been waiting for this day, too. They've kept Louisville near the top of the standings if only to maintain the status quo and not upset Cardinals fans. After this first loss, the voters' revenge will be swift and exacting.

Don't be surprised to see Louisville drop to 20th, or even lower. A lot depends on whether or not Florida will be able to upset Missouri. Should the Gators prevail, Louisville will fall around 22 or 23. If Florida loses, the Cards will be around 20 or 21.

 

National Title Picture

CLEMSON, SC - AUGUST 31:  A view of the BCS National Championship Trophy during their game at Memorial Stadium on August 31, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Had Louisville run the table, it would've been hard seeing them get into one of the top two spots without a lot of help. There's no way the Cardinals would have jumped an undefeated Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State, Florida State or Clemson. An undefeated UCLA or Miami probably would have overtaken Louisville as well. Then you've got one-loss LSU and Texas A&M already ranked ahead of Louisville in the most recent polls.

In this regard, it's hard to see how Louisville's loss affected much, other than it completely eliminated the Cardinals from having any shot at the national title. Although, ESPN.com's DJ Gallo is already hard at trying to get Louisville back in the title fight.

We've seen this story before with Boise State. The Broncos lose one game and drop from title contention and usually all the way down to a non-BCS bowl.

BOISE, ID - NOVEMBER 12:  Kellen Moore #11 and Tyrone Crawford #40 of the Boise State Broncos leave after the loss to the TCU Horned Frogs  at Bronco Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

Because the American Athletic Conference is guaranteed a place in a BCS bowl, Louisville shouldn't have to worry about that.

Should the Cardinals fail to win the AAC, you're also not going to see a scenario where they take an at-large bid from another team. The voters won't put two AAC teams in a position to qualify for a BCS bowl.

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