Louisville's BCS title hopes marginal despite big win

Louisville was impressive from start to finish in Sunday's 49-7 win over Ohio, but they may have to do that every week, and get help, to have any shot at getting to play for the BCS title.

The Cardinals' strength of schedule didn't appear to be very strong going into the season, and the results from this weekend didn't help any.  Their fellow American conference mates didn't do them any favors.  Only two teams beat FBS opponents this weekend.  Cincinnati was impressive in pummelling Purdue 42-7, while UCF spanked Akron 38-7.  Those two FBS opponents may win five games combined though.

Meanwhile, Connecticut and South Florida got drilled by FCS powers Towson and McNeese State respectively.  I may be using the term "powers" loosely.

Louisville's other FBS non-conference foes also lost.  The most damaging of those was Kentucky's loss to in-state rival Western Kentucky.  The net toll is that the Cardinals' FBS opponents went a combined 3-6.

Even under the best of circumstances, Louisville was probably going to not only have to win every game, but win big to hold on to the respect of voters.  The perception (and reality) of the weakness of their league and non-conference schedule may end up holding them back no matter what.

The way Louisville gets to the BCS title game isn't definite, but it starts with dominating its schedule, and having no major undefeated teams to compete with for a spot in the big game.  I can't imagine any way they finish ahead of a 12-1 SEC champion, but voters might give them an edge over a 1-loss champion from other leagues.  Might.

I know coaches don't like hearing about style points, but this is a poll driven reward system, and voters like them.  The consolation prize for an undefeated season isn't bad -- a big bowl game against a big  opponent, but if Louisville wants more, they'll need to run up the score.  Then pray for help.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Jerry Palm started writing about sports on the Internet right after Al Gore invented it. He was the first to bring RPI out in the open and is one of the pioneers of predicting the March Madness bracket.... Full Bio

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