BOZICH | Three Takeaways from Louisville football's Monday press - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Three Takeaways from Louisville football's Monday press conference

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Three takeaways from the Louisville football press conference Monday. Three takeaways from the Louisville football press conference Monday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bobby Petrino said his players are still unhappy about their No. 7 ranking in the first College Football Playoff poll. The Cardinals host unranked Wake Forest Saturday at 7 p.m. at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

The unhappiness is partially balanced by happiness over two other factors: Considerable pride that quarterback Lamar Jackson remains the frontrunner in the Heisman Trophy race and that (for the first time since 1979) Louisville played a complete 60 minutes without a penalty.

That translates into Three Takeaways from Louisville’s Monday afternoon media session, which featured Petrino, linebacker Stacy Thomas and offensive center Tobijah Hughley.

1. Playoff Poll Snub: There's good reason for Louisville to be perturbed at being ranked seventh by the playoff committee last Tuesday.

The Cards are 8-1. They beat Florida State as badly as the Seminoles have ever been beaten and have won six games by 30 or more.

Every team craves more affirmation from the polls, even Alabama, which is ranked first. At seven, Louisville must climb three teams to crash the four-team playoff. They should vault Texas A&M, which lost to Mississippi State last week. But the last two?

"We just feel we should be (ranked) higher," Thomas said. "We don't have any say over that."

"Our players were upset," Petrino said. "I do think it motivated us (against Boston College)."

Is margin of victory crucial for Louisville over the remainder of this season?

"I don't really know," Petrino said. 

I'll answer that: YES.

Winning with relentless domination cannot hurt and it might help.

Louisville's biggest opponents are the schedule and time. Louisville's odds of winning the national title moved from 9-to-1 to 14-1 this week at bovada.com.

Louisville's frustration is fueled by several things: Helplessness because the Cardinals' schedule won't provide any opportunities to increase their standing in the computer numbers and regrets over losing that game at Clemson that the Cardinals led in the second half.

The win over Florida State has been devalued by the Seminoles' three losses and slide to No. 22 in the first poll by the committee. 

Houston, the team Louisville visits Nov. 17, started the season ranked No. 15 in the Associated Press pre-season poll. The Cougars climbed to No. 6 by Week 2 and stayed there while winning their first five games.

Then came the losses to Navy and SMU. Houston was missing from the first Playoff Top 25 and struggled back to 30th in the latest AP poll.

Winning big is one of Louisville's few options.

2. Lamar Jackson Keeps Going and Going: Petrino, Thomas and Hughley all expressed their appreciation and admiration for Jackson.

With three games remaining, Jackson ranks second nationally in scoring, second in total offense, sixth in rushing yards (first among quarterbacks, ninth in passing touchdowns and 10th in passing yards.)

That is Heisman material.

"We all feel that he deserves it," Petrino said.

Jackson is a lock to earn an invitation to the Heisman Trophy ceremony  in New York City Dec. 10 as well as the clear favorite to win the trophy.

Is Jackson the guy to beat?

"He's playing like it," Thomas said.

3. Penalties Pause: Penalties have been an issue for the Cardinals at times this season. They lost 104 yards on penalties in the loss at Clemson, including one on the play prior to Jackson’s fourth-quarter pass to James Quick that failed to deliver a crucial first down.

After nine games, Louisville ranks 122nd among 128 FBS teams in penalty yards per game.

That is an upgrade from last week. After averaging nearly 81 yards per game, Louisville was not flagged once in the victory at Boston College Saturday.

"I did notice I didn’t have the headache I normally have from yelling at the officials," Petrino said.

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