A month ago i wrote a piece discussing Louisville’s win projections since we had no idea if there would be a bowl season or what that would even look like with just a handful of conferences playing football. Fast forward a month and now we have plans for all but three FBS teams (UConn (lol), New Mexico State, and Old Dominion) to play football this fall.
We also received a bit of clarity from the NCAA two weeks ago in terms of what a bowl season may look like this year. Currently, 38 bowls are still planning to host games, including the first round of the CFP, which means 76 teams will earn bowl bids. Since virtually every team is playing less than twelve games in the regular season, the NCAA has waived the six-win requirement in order to be bowl eligible this season.
So, after the College Football Playoff committee selects their four participants on December 20th, the bowls will have a pool of the remaining 124 eligible teams to choose from.
How the hell that will work? I have absolutely no idea.
My greatest fear is we will see some solid G5 schools get passed over for inferior P5 programs solely based on the idea that a P5 school will be able to provide more ticket sales (however that will work) and better TV revenue than a smaller G5 school, rather than basing invitations on merit. That would suck.
Luckily for Louisville, it appears the team is rounding into form and will be a bowl-worthy team even if they’re unable to reach the traditional six win mark. It also appears that a few national media are beginning to agree.
But before we get to that, let’s take a look at what the computers are seeing for the second half of Louisville’s season
As always, I like to take a look my favorite computer: Bill Connelly’s SP+. Entering Week 1, SP+ had Louisville ranked at #41 in the country with an SP+ Rating of 7.3, meaning UofL is was projected to be 7.3 points better than average while Clemson was 26 points better than average. SP+ also projected Louisville to win 5.9 games. However, SP+ is extremely conservative with its win projections, and “if you have an 80% chance of winning, it counts as 0.8 wins, and 60% counts as 0.6 wins. Using these average totals, you’ll see no one projected to go unbeaten or winless.”
After experiencing a steady decline due to Louisville’s four-game losing streak, the Cards eventually bottomed out last week with a win projection of 4.464. UofL’s SP+ rating also dipped to a season low of a 4.3, which was good enough (bad enough?) for 45th in the country.
But after a dominant performance over Florida State, the computer appears to be getting keen with Satterfield and Co. once again. Louisville’s win total projection took a solid climb to 5.096, but where the Cards saw their biggest leap was in their rating jumping from a last week’s 4.3 to 7.1 (that’s a lot), good enough for 39th in the country.
Here’s what all that looks like in pretty colors:
SP+ (and everyone else) sees this weekend’s game against Virginia Tech as our toughest remaining game, and the rest of the games the Cards are favored in. However, keep a close eye on that Boston College game getting dicier as they’re looking surprisingly strong this season.
Outside of SP+, ESPN’s FPI has dropped Louisville’s win expectation from its preseason projection of eight wins down to five. That’s to be expected. But what’s interesting is the computer is giving a 33% chance of winning out. That would be cool.
Now for the really cool stuff, let’s take a gander at the bowl projections*:
Gasparilla Bowl (Bonagura) – Louisville vs. Ole Miss
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Military Bowl Presented (Schlabach) – Louisville vs. Navy
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland
CBS (Jerry Palm):
Fenway Bowl – Louisville vs. Houston
Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
Cheez-It Bowl (formerly Camping World Bowl) – Louisville vs. Kansas State
Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida
Pinstripe Bowl – Louisville vs. Nebraska
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
* there are currently no dates/times that have been determined
Not included in projections:
· Stadium (Brett McMurphy)
No current projections:
· Sports Illustrated