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?
This is a look at where Louisville could fall based off the rankings going into this week.
|1||Alabama Crimson Tide||6-0|
|4||Ohio State Buckeyes||6-0|
|5||Florida State Seminoles||5-0|
|7||Texas A&M Aggies||5-1|
|10||South Carolina Gamecocks||5-1|
|15||Texas Tech Red Raiders||6-0|
|16||Fresno State Bulldogs||5-0|
|18||Virginia Tech Hokies||6-1|
|20||Oklahoma State Cowboys||4-1|
|23||Northern Illinois Huskies||6-0|
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
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.
Chin up, Louisville. If the top SEC and Pac-12 teams all lose 3-4 games, you could still get in the BCS title game with one loss.— DJ Gallo (@DJGalloESPN) October 19, 2013
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.
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.