Playing Alabama in opener bad move for Louisville

About the best thing one can say about a lopsided loss to Alabama in the opening game is that the college football season is back. Unfortunately too soon for the University of Louisville football team. Nowhere near ready to be taking on a defending national champion.

Former UofL Athletic Director Tom Jurich thought a few years ago that scheduling Alabama was a good idea. Back when Louisville was being discussed as a serious playoff contender, back before that embarrassing loss to Houston on a dark Thursday night. Seems like a long time, at  least three defensive coordinators ago. 

This matchup was not a good idea, definitely not as a season opener, not cool, not fun. Alabama making up in spades for that ancient 34-7 loss to Louisville in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl. 

Probably not a good idea either for UofL Coach Bobby Petrino and company to be providing Alabama Coach Nick Saban with bulletin board material. May have been better off with the typical coach-speak, with Petrino admitting the notion of beating Alabama was a pipe dream, just wishful thinking.  The last thing Alabama needed was added motivation.

Louisville was never going to be competitive this early against Alabama. Not with a redshirt sophomore used only sparingly in six games Not with a defense returning only six starters. Not with a group of untested running backs, no hint of a running game. Expecting anything less than a complete ass whipping was totally unrealistic.

One has to be careful what one wishes for when wanting to beef up the schedule. That dream came true when Louisville entered the Atlantic Coast Conference. UofL’s schedule was already intimidating with Clemson and Florida State in the same division.

The Cardinals  did not belong on the same field Saturday night with the Crimson Tide. Too young, too inexperienced, too soon to expect anything different than what unfolded, another embarrassment on national television for the Louisville football program.

Having said all of the above, the lackluster performance against Alabama provides no clue about how the rest of the season will go for Louisville football. The Cardinals may very well go ahead and be highly competitive in the Coastal Division. Yes, even though they have to play Clemson at Clemson.

UofL was never going to be competitive with Alabama in the first game this season. If any good comes out of this game for the Cardinals, it may be that the experience is behind them. Things can only get better, and they will get much better for Louisville. 

Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

One thought on “Playing Alabama in opener bad move for Louisville

  • September 3, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Cards one of several ACC football teams that got thumped over the weekend. Agreed that Louisville didn’t need this game, this early in the season…but, hopefully, they’ll not be too deflated over the loss and learn from the experience to become a much better team than what was on display Saturday night.


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