By Andrew Phelps
The fair is back in town, not just here in Louisville, but throughout the pigskin paradise known as these United States. College football is four weeks old and it is time once again to put down the funnel cake, fried twinkie, laughable opponents, preseason rankings and enter the college football funhouse.
At this point in the year we must look at the landscape surrounding our Louisville Cardinals and decide who we want to ride with down the tunnel of love, and what teams need to fall victim to those trap doors and hidden slides funneling schools to the back of the line. Before proceeding, please acknowledge and adhere to the following disclaimer:
Do not waste your time cheering for or against the SECESPN. One spot in Pasadena, California has been cordially reserved for the conference champion. Signed, the BCS, ESPN and 7 straight national championships.
The SEC is the best conference in football, there is no argument. Next year might be a different story with Louisville joining the ACC, but for now they are the Cyclops, the Alligator Man, the Four Legged Girl, in other words, the freak show requiring the most tickets for entry. The boys of the southeast will beat up on one another, two will make it to Atlanta and the winner will punch their ticket to the Rose Bowl. The Cardinals will worry about them January 6th.
With the SEC out of the picture for Louisville fans, allow me to draw your focus away from the kissing booth and air brushed t-shirts and onto the water gun race for that extra-large Bob Marley banana prize. As it stands, there are 13 teams in the top 20 of the Coaches Poll from power conferences other than the SEC that remain undefeated. The good news: they all play each other. The bad news: Louisville's schedule is easier than the duck pond game where everyone wins a prize. Our one and only mission: go undefeated and allow the dominoes to fall in a favorable pattern.
After four weeks of doughnut burgers and chocolate covered corn dogs (college football), Oregon and Louisville are the most complete teams in college football. They are Louisville's biggest obstacle in reaching the National Championship. Oregon does have hurdles to overcome, most notably Stanford, Washington and UCLA. Sadly, Stanford is ranked in front of the Cards as well. Go to church Louisvillians, pray for all four of them to lose, maybe throw an extra five in the plate.
Next in line is the highly overrated and consistent faux of the Midwest, Ohio State. Ranked third behind Oregon, the fakeyes host Wisconsin this weekend. Eat some cheese Cardinal fans and discount double check yourselves for the Badgers. Wisconsin needs to win for the Ville, and later this season, someone will have to take down Michigan and Northwestern. I ain't too concerned about that since they them academic schools.
Continuing down the midway, we arrive at the ACC booth and take notice of Florida State and Clempson. Luckily they play each other, unluckily the rest of their schedules are set up for an undefeated run. The fortune teller says Clempson needs to beat FSU, and then lose to South Carolina, while the Seminoles should bounce back taking care of Miami. If this occurs, the ACC leaves the scene faster than cotton candy exits a toddler on the Tilt-A-Whirl.
Last and most certainly least, the Big Texas/12 conference. Everyone laugh at West Virginia first. Surprisingly, and rightfully so, every Big 12 team is ranked behind the Red and Black. Nonetheless, an undefeated Big 12 team would surpass an undefeated Louisville. However, Oklahoma, T. Boone Pickens University, Baylor and Texas Tech all play each other. None of these teams, other than Baylor, have shown true championship potential. Regardless, cheer for them all to lose, the less teams with zeros in the loss column, the better chance the Cardinals have of reaching their destiny.
After surviving the onslaught of darts being hurdled at balloons, Louisville will reach the final and most challenging room in the pigskin funhouse, the dreaded house of mirrors. When push comes to shove ladies and gentlemen, the Cardinals' biggest opposition and obstacle stares straight back at them every morning when they look in the mirror. The coaches and players must focus on themselves, take care of business every week, beat their opponents into the turf, finish the season undefeated and stand tall with pride saying we are the best team in the country, disagree? Let us prove it in Pasadena.
All Hail UofL!