Several U of L players were sure if the Cards were ranked 15th or 16th in the latest BCS poll. (They're No. 16.)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Ask Alex Kupper about the chunk of Hershel's leg that Rick chopped off with a hand axe in the Season Three opener of "The Walking Dead." Kupper can handle questions about that zombie-infested world on television.
Kupper knows "The Walking Dead," nearly as well as he knows the offensive line at the University of Louisville – and Kupper can play every position. On Sunday night Kupper was not obsessed with U of L's latest Bowl Championship Series ranking. The new college football numbers had to wait until he watched "The Walking Dead."
"I'm more tuned into that," Kupper said.
So I bounced the question off Jake Smith, another U of L offensive lineman: Cincinnati is coming to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Friday night for a game on ESPN2. Where are the Cards sitting in the latest BCS standings?
"Maybe 15th or 16th?" Smith asked.
You're not certain?
"I'm not sure," Smith said. "Sixteenth? It's a little too soon to worry about."
Time to move to the other side of the ball and give another one of Charlie Strong's players a crack. Time for George Durant, a Cardinal linebacker, to tackle the question.
"Somewhere around 15th or 16th," Durant said. "I'm not sure."
The correct answer is 16th, for the second consecutive week. The complete answer, of course, is 16th, one place behind Rutgers, another unbeaten Big East team.
The Louisville players are 110 percent correct. It's too soon to obsess over the BCS or Big East standings. There will be plenty of time for that in mid- to late-November. Beat Cincinnati. Beat Temple. Win at Syracuse. Keep winning. The story line will produce its own adrenaline. Win the Big East and the Orange or Sugar bowl will deliver an invitation.
Stop winning and the story line will disappear.
Ask Cincinnati. The Bearcats were 21st in the BCS standings a week ago. Then they were beaten by one-loss Toledo.
Don't bother looking for Cincinnati in the latest data. There are 15 teams with at least one loss ranked in the latest BCS Top 25. Cincinnati isn't one of them.
Louisville won't be either if the Cardinals lose to the Bearcats for the fifth consecutive time Friday night. The Big East highway is not equipped with shoulders to fix a blown tire. Win or America forgets you.
Looking at the six computer formulas that are included in the BCS rankings, Rutgers is the team that has the greatest margin for error. The Scarlet Knights are ranked ahead of U of L in all six computer polls.
"You'd like to think you'd be higher," Durant said. "We're undefeated. And there are like 12 or 11 undefeated teams in the country. At the end of the day, I can't vote. My team can't vote."
"It all starts with us playing a complete game," Kupper said. "We're still yet to do that, playing a full game."
That's certainly part of the issue. Louisville hasn't won many style points with blowout victories this fall.
But the rest of the story is Louisville has defeated one team with a winning record – North Carolina. The Cards are not earning any extra credit points for strength of schedule. U of L's schedule is ranked as low as 105th (Sagarin BCS computer), 115th (Massey BCS computer), 119th (Anderson Hester BCS computer) and 133rd (Colley Matrix BCS computer).
It figured to be higher. Most seasons it would be. But this is the worst Southern Mississippi team in years. Florida International has taken a king-sized step backwards. Kentucky has won once. The list goes on.
Even with the Toledo loss, Cincinnati becomes Louisville's most formidable opponent. Friday matters.
"This game is going to make or break our season, the way we play in it," Jake Smith said. "We have to come out and we have to win big games like this. This is a huge game for us."
Win, and the rest of us can keep obsessing about the BCS standings. Lose, and everybody can turn to "The Walking Dead."