clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tuesday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

It's safe to say baby Barber enjoyed his first road game experience.

I_medium Spread check: Louisville by 35.

I_medium It was a rough Monday night for one of our favorite people, as Eric Wood went down with a broken leg and will miss the rest of what has been a monster season for the Pro Bowler.

You won't ever meet a better dude than Eric, so obviously we're thinking about him today and hoping that he's 100 percent by the time next season rolls around.

On a positive note, maybe this will give him more time to study up on the upcoming college hoops season and pen a couple of posts for us.

I_medium There was some good news from the NFL world this weekend, where Eli Rogers topped the 100-yard mark for the first time in his brief career as a receiver for the Steelers.

I_medium Pat Forde breaks down the only eight candidates he believes can make the College Football Playoff.

Washington (3). Don't sleep on the Saturday game against resurgent USC, but nobody has come close to the Huskies (9-0) in Seattle in their current six-game home winning streak. Average victory margin: 35.8. After that comes a visit from an Arizona State team that has lost six straight Pac-12 road games, and then it gets interesting with the road trip to play Washington State the day after Thanksgiving. A Pac-12 title game against someone (Colorado?) would theoretically be competitive, but Washington still would likely be a touchdown favorite. Chances of making the playoff: Strong. But not a lock.

Michigan (4). The Wolverines (9-0) have been dominant, and that shouldn't change this weekend at Iowa against a team that has scored 14 or fewer points in four of six Big Ten games. Against the No. 1 scoring defense in the country, the Hawkeyes may struggle to put three on the board. After that is a home game against Indiana and then the Armageddon game against Ohio State. The Dash would slightly favor Michigan on a neutral field, but the Horseshoe will be anything but neutral Nov. 26. A close loss there would keep the Wolverines in the playoff picture. Chances of making the playoff: Slightly better than 50-50, since they could conceivably survive a loss and stay in the mix.

Ohio State (5). The Buckeyes (8-1) are facing two consecutive road games, but they should be low-stress: at Maryland on Saturday and Michigan State on Nov. 19 -€” the Terrapins have lost four of their last five and the Spartans have dropped a staggering seven straight. Then comes Michigan. Given home-field advantage, The Dash would make Ohio State about a one-point favorite at present. A win there catapult the Buckeyes into the Big Ten title game, perhaps against a Wisconsin team it already has beaten in Madison. Chances of making the playoff: Fifty-fifty, since Ohio State doesn't have Michigan's wiggle room to afford another loss and that game looks like a tossup.

Louisville (6). The Cardinals (8-1) need to win out -€” which is quite conceivable against a lineup of Wake Forest, at Houston and Kentucky -€” but also get some help. Having Michigan take out Ohio State would be a big assist. So would a Washington loss, or some combination of events that would produce a Pac-12 champion with one or more losses. But even then, Louisville would have to argue for inclusion over a couple of conference champions, and a schedule that included neither of the top teams in the ACC Coastal (no Virginia Tech, no North Carolina) doesn't help. Chances of making the playoff: If this were a horse race being run down the street from Louisville's stadium at Churchill Downs, the Cardinals would be 15-1.

I think if you're saying that Ohio State and Michigan are basically a coin flip shot, then you have to give Louisville better odds than 15-1.

I_medium Alabama-LSU overtook Louisville-Clemson as the second most-watched game of the 2016 college football season.

1. ABC Notre Dame-Texas: 10.945M
2. CBS Alabama-LSU: 10.385M
3. ABC Louisville-Clemson: 9.286M

I_medium The Cards are on the outside looking in at the moment, but Louisville-Alabama is the matchup everyone wants to see.

OK, let's stop here for the Clemson fans to argue how QB Deshaun Watson nearly ended Alabama's dominance last year and for the SEC fans to note that Jackson wouldn't survive 60 minutes of punishment against the defenses at LSU or Auburn, let alone the mighty Tide.

These are reasonable talking points, but Watson's success last year only underscores the notion that Jackson -- a more avid runner at the position -- has the weapons to finish the job. And Jackson doesn't need to survive a season in the SEC, only 60 minutes in a playoff game against the nation's best defense.

As it stands, we're a long ways away from that matchup. Louisville will need help, maybe a lot of it. And certainly Alabama has big obstacles remaining -- in the Iron Bowl and then perhaps a rematch vs. Watson or another showdown against Ohio State or a heavyweight coaching bout between Saban and Jim Harbaugh that promises to offer the most Twitter-friendly press conferences in the playoff's brief history.

Those matchups would all be fun, too. But it wouldn't be quite the same. Lamar Jackson vs. the mighty Crimson Tide. Best player vs. best team. Speed vs. strength. The No. 1 player in our CFB rank vs. a defense that features five of the next 17.

The superhero movie is only good if the hero has a worthy adversary, a villain with a secret weakness. Jackson vs. Alabama is a true popcorn flick, the matchup college football deserves, even if it's not the one it gets.

I_medium Is Lamar Jackson having the greatest individual season in the history of college football? Bleacher Report's Christopher Walsh investigates.

I_medium Campus Insiders has Bobby Petrino at No. 4 in its weekly countdown of the best coaches in college football.

I_medium He shot a solid percentage from deep last year, but his stroke has looked exceptionally better in the early stages of this season.

I_medium CBS' Tom Fornelli has Louisville at No. 4 in his countdown of the 50 best teams in college football.

I_medium Bud Elliott says the smart money Saturday is on Wake Forest covering the 35-point spread against Louisville.

I_medium Dabo going full Pitino here.

I_medium Jeff Greer is writing insider columns about the Louisville basketball team this season, which should be very cool. His first centers around the notion that the Cards are going to have to rebound by committe this season.

I_medium Rick Pitino's 2017 recruiting class is currently the 7th-best in the country according to Scout.

I_medium I enjoyed this more than I should have.

I_medium Here's the complete schedule for The Jeff Walz Show this year on 93.9 The Ville.

I_medium Richard Deitsch writes about the end of Verne Lundquist's broadcasting career. Palashus.

I_medium The page has been turned.

I_medium Crimson Quarry gives us the definitive rankings of Tom Crean.

I_medium Joe Mathis, Washington's leader in sacks and tackles for loss, will miss the rest of the season with a foot injury. The Huskies have been playing without Mathis for the last three games.

I_medium Casse Racing has had a massive year so far, so I feel pretty good about this.

I_medium Campus Insiders likes the Cards, 45-20 Saturday night.

I_medium Sports Illustrated's Heisman Watch says Lamar Jackson just about has the award locked up.

I_medium A look at the helmets that the Cards will be wearing with their specialty uniforms on Saturday against Wake.

I_medium There's no other way to slice it: The SEC is not a great football league this year.

I_medium When Election Day and the start of college basketball collide in the same week, you get this:

I_medium I'm really hoping that the College Football Selection Committee does the right thing and puts Louisville at No. 1 in its rankings tonight. Not because the Cards deserve to be there, but because it's the distraction that we're all going to desperately need.

I_medium ESPN's David Pollack says the only two teams who can take out Alabama this year are Clemson and Louisville.

I_medium Bobby Petrino has successfully made the margin of victory debate the hottest one in college football right now.

I_medium That's not a mirage in the background. It's really Lamar Jackson.

I_medium All four current members of Louisville basketball's 2017 recruiting class are expected to sign this week.

I_medium And finally, I want to send some virtual hugs to the friends and family of Derek Woods, who passed away this weekend. Derek was born with autism, but found a voice and something he was passionate about in the form of Cardinal athletics. Cheering for U of L also allowed him to be closer with people he would have ordinarily struggled to interact with.

An avid fan of both Lamar Jackson and Cole Hikutini, Derek had more fun rooting on the Cardinals this season than any other. He even got to take two "dream trips" to see Louisville play on the road against Marshall and Clemson.

It feels unfair that Derek won't have the opportunity to see how this season plays out with his family and loved ones here on earth, but perhaps it can serve as a welcome reminder to all of us how fortunate we are to have such an opportunity.

You'll be missed, Derek. Go Cards.