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Quick Reaction: The 2023 Louisville Cardinals

NCAA Football: ACC Football Championship-Louisville at Florida State Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight was a missed opportunity, no getting around it. Yes the team on the other side was undefeated. Yes, the team on the other side a is a national championship caliber team. Yes, the team on the other side is drowning in talent and has depth at multiple positions....but you can’t let a third string QB come in and outplay your starter for a conference crown, and that's what happened tonight.

NCAA Football: ACC Football Championship-Louisville at Florida State Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

While the loss to Florida State in the ACC Championship is still fresh (and I’ll have some more thoughts as the weeks leading up to the bowl happen), let me take a minute to help put things in perspective and hopefully bring you down from a ten to about a seven as the days pass, knowing many won’t read this until the sun comes up on Sunday morning...and yes, it will still come up . You’ll get no argument from me that a win tonight would have been incredible and pushed things to the next level, but the loss is not a killer, in the short term or long term, by any means. What Louisville accomplished this year on the football field is not the norm. Look at the record, look at the statistics, look at the accomplishments. While the season is not over lets take a minute to pause at just what we’ve seen in year one of a brand new coaching staff.

The Record

  • Jeff Brohm winning 10 games in his first season has never been done by any other first year coach in the history of the program.
  • Jeff Brohm taking Louisville to the conference championship in his first season has never been done by any other first year coach in the history of the program.
  • Louisville has only won 10 games seven (7!) times in the history of the program. The recency bias of this stat comes into play for those who are around my age and have seen it happen every single time (1991, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2012, 2013, 2023), but it’s not typical.
  • Louisville went undefeated at home (4-0) in the ACC for the first time since 2016, and only the second time ever.
  • Louisville won seven or more conference games for only the fourth time in program history (2004, 2013, 2016, 2023).
NCAA Football: Louisville at Miami Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Statistics

  • Plummer went for over 275 yards passing four times this year, something that has only happened once (2020) since Lamar left.
  • Louisville had six games with a running back going for over 100yds, the first time since 2019 we’ve seen that happen.
  • The Cards averaging 33.0pt/g during the regular season is the highest point total average since 2019.
  • The Cards will likely finish the season in the Top 25 in scoring defense, rushing defense, and total defense.
  • Louisville scored more than 30 points eight times this year, more than any season since Lamar Jackson roamed the sideline.
Louisville v Miami Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

The Accomplishments

  • The program had it’s first ACC Championship game appearance.
  • Louisville had two Top 25 wins in 2023, the most since 2006.
  • The Cards were ranked in the AP Top 25 for 9 weeks, the first time they have been ranked that many weeks since 2016.
  • The Cards were ranked in the College Football Playoff for 5 weeks, the first time since 2016 they have been ranked that many times.
  • The Cards broke the stadium attendance record for L&N Cardinal Stadium this season...twice (ND/UK).
  • The Cards took home the inaugural ‘Schnellenberger Trophy’
  • For what seems like years the Cards have struggled to fight from behind but Louisville had four come from behind wins in 2023, more than any other season in over a decade.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 07 Notre Dame at Louisville Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Cards exceeded expectations, no matter how you want to frame it. Look at preseason expectations from the conference, from the media, from the coaches, and even from the local fanbase. Sure you had some outliers calling for maybe 10 wins, but that subset of the fanbase was as small as the group forecasting a lowly 6 or 7 wins...it wasn’t big, and it wasn’t likely to happen. The reason Louisville brought Brohm into the program was to do just this, go compete for ACC Championships, and occasionally, put together a roster that has the depth and the talent to compete for a national championship, especially now with the expanded playoff field. While the postseason destination is still to be determined I still like the chances of Louisville playing in a New Years Six bowl in year one of the Jeff Brohm era, something they have only done twice before. What Louisville accomplished this year is not the norm....but I think it will be soon enough.

Goodnight, from Charlotte.