We take a look at which team from the ACC conference deserves to play in the Orange Bowl and it that in includes the Louisville football team.
It has been an extremely disappointing month of November for Louisville football fans across the country. We have gone from having dreams about the National Championship, to just seeing which bowl game the Cardinals might end up in.
With that being said, the Louisville Cardinals are not a shoe-in for the Orange Bowl anymore after their loss to unranked Kentucky.
If both teams win this week, regardless of the score, Louisville will remain ahead of Florida State. Even a Cardinals loss might make for a tough decision. If both teams have the same record, it would be hard to ignore the head-to-head result in which Louisville demolished FSU 63-20. The best case for the Seminoles is for a solid win against Florida, a Louisville loss and a decision by the committee that the Noles are playing far better football today than that early season result indicates (in other words, the USC argument). Of course, all Orange Bowl hopes are also predicated on the idea that Clemson will win out. If that doesn’t happen, everyone’s bowl fortunes take a tumble.
Like Hale said, if Clemson doesn’t win the ACC Championship, then all of this goes completely out of the window. However, I don’t believe that the Tigers will fall in the conference title game. They will easily move on to playing in the College Football Playoff for the second straight season.
Let’s take a look at the cases for Florida State and Louisville to make the Orange Bowl:
Nov 26, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12), defensive end Demarcus Walker (44), and running back Dalvin Cook (4) celebrate after the Seminoles beat the Florida Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
The case for the Florida State Seminoles:
The Seminoles have been playing great football, as they have now won six out of their last seven games. Louisville beat the garbage out of FSU back in September, but that seems like a distant memory now that both teams have the same record at the end of the regular season.
If we were going strictly off of record, the Cards would get the nod because they have the same record and won the head-to-head match-up by 43 points. However, David Hale from ESPN has been firm to his opinion that the Orange Bowl could just choose the highest rated ACC team at the end of the season.
#14 FSU will surely be the highest rated team after #11 Louisville just lost to an unranked Kentucky team. Not to mention, Florida State has three wins over previously ranked top 15 opponents.
With that being said, it those wins came over #15 Florida, currently unranked Ole Miss, and currently unranked Miami (FL). Therefore, that would leave leave the Cards and Seminoles with having one solid win in the 2016 season.
The difference is that Louisville’s was over Florida State.
Nov 26, 2016; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals wide receiver Seth Dawkins (5) celebrates with wide receiver Reggie Bonnafon (7) after scoring a touchdown against the Kentucky Wildcats during the second quarter at Papa John
The case for the Louisville Cardinals:
I’ll be the first to say that I was not surprised that Louisville got beat by Kentucky on Saturday. They have been playing bad football for a while and it had finally caught up with them. Not only did they get beat, they may have lost everything they worked for this season.
Their case for the Orange Bowl looks a little more bleak because they will be ranked lower than Florida State. However, what they did have going in their favor is that they killed the Florida State Seminoles back in September.
To be honest, that is Louisville’s only solid win of the season. It’s amazing how we were upset with settling for an Orange Bowl a few weeks ago, but now we are arguing why the Cards should belong in that game.
Again, the only thing Louisville has going for them is that they beat Florida State.
As of right now, I would be pretty surprised if the Cards were picked to go to the Orange Bowl after losing to #3 Clemson, #20 Houston, and unranked Kentucky. Not to mention, the Cougars will be unranked since they just lost to Memphis.
Who knows, maybe they will get a gift and have a shot at playing in the “big” game next month.