The American Athletic Association kicked off its first football season in unceremonious fashion Thursday night, dropping two of three games (thanks, Central Florida).
First, there was Connecticut being dominated - I was going to say "stunned," but it was too much of a beatdown for that word to feel appropriate - by FCS Towson, 33-18 on their home field. Then there was Rutgers missing a last-second field goal and then failing on a two-point conversion try in overtime to fall at Fresno State by a point.
What happened next was fairly predictable.
Poor Louisville. UConn's shocking loss to Towson St. certainly won't help the Cardinals strength of schedule down the road.— Alex Loeb (@SpanningTheLoeb) August 30, 2013
And with Fresno States' 52-51 win over Rutgers, Louisville's strength of schedule takes another hit.— Phillip Crain (@PhillipCWDE) August 30, 2013
Louisville's football schedule and BCS formula make it tempting to run up the score http://t.co/h5qv0oyx4y— bill bodge (@cardinalville) August 30, 2013
Only way Louisville should make the national championship is if every team in the country has THREE losses! Extremely undeserving schedule!!— Ben Booth" ®™ (@TheBenBoothShow) August 30, 2013
So, Louisville's strength of schedule got weaker last night, if that's possible. Rutgers lost to Fresno St, UConn to... Towson?— Paul Edward (@paul_edward) August 30, 2013
Forget the national title talk or repercussions, these days I cheer for opponents on Louisville's schedule just because this whole "perception trumps reality" problem that college football has is so wildly (and annoyingly) out of control.
For instance, say every other team on U of L's schedule winds up losing this weekend, and then the Cards go out and pound Ohio by 35 on Sunday. That win will somehow be perceived as less impressive than it would be if they won by 35 and the other teams on their schedule all took care of their business.
It sounds crazy, but we've lived this multiple times now. It doesn't even matter if you're playing someone good on a particular weekend, if you're going to play some good teams in the future, you seem to get a national nod of approval for that week and every other one.
I remember last season when my friends and I went out for dinner and drinks after Louisville beat South Florida. We watched as previously undefeated Cincinnati fell to Toledo the week before the Bearcats came to PJCS, and it almost felt like we were watching a U of L loss. That's ridiculous.
I cannot tell you how ready I am to not be in a position where I feel like I have to be emotionally invested in games like Rutgers/Fresno State or Cincinnati/Toledo because they have some legitimate affect on my favorite team.
Sadly, that day won't come for another 11 months. For now, all we can do is throw on the blinders and root for the red and black.