(photo courtesy USAToday Sports)
Scheduling in the world of the current BCS system is a bit of a catch 22, if you aren't in one of the big four conferences, and perhaps no other team heading into 2013 better represents that catch 22 than the Louisville Cardinals. On Monday night ESPN's Brett McMurphy reported that Louisville, coming off of an Allstate Sugar Bowl victory, was looking to bolster a terrible non-conference schedule in order to help their case to be in the BCS mix this season, but struck out big time in finding a willing dance partner.
The biggest swing and miss came as Louisville and Texas A&M couldn't agree to terms and not because either coach was afraid of the matchup, it was all business that stopped it from happening. With that dance partner off the list Louisville began turning to a number of backup options.
McMurphy mentions two other missed opportunities for the Cardinals as Wisconsin couldn't work out a home-and-home with them or the biggest fish - a matchup with defending national champion Alabama at the Chick-fil-A season opener in Atlanta stayed the original matchup between the Tide and the Hokies of Virginia Tech.
The Cardinals knew that matchup was a bit of a long shot, as Va Tech was the scheduled opponent and weren't going to back out of a big time game with one Logan Thomas still on board. However, those swings and misses aren't as big as what could've been between the Cardinals and Aggies.
As fans the fact that Texas A&M and Louisville couldn't make the money or date work we are big time losers, that's one game that would've been amazing to see and a rare treat in a world of soft non-conference schedules all over the country. Imagine getting to see exactly where these two teams truly are early in the season. Can you imagine Johnny Football vs. Teddy Ballgame? Good lord - could the college football hype machine handle all that in the same stadium?
Louisville is a likely top 10 team opening the season, but with a weak schedule - who's best non-conference game is against in-state foe Kentucky - it may be nearly impossible for Teddy Bridgewater and the other 17 returning starters to break into the real national championship discussion without a lot of help from others and a perfect season of their own.
Moving to the ACC next year will help their cause moving forward as will the new four team playoff system that takes strength of schedule into consideration, but that does them no good in the here and now to say the least. Once again this situation highlights the exact issues college football under the current system has. There's every incentive in the world for the teams on the uptick to make these matchups work and there is zero incentive for teams that can be on the inside easily to make this matchup happen.
For them, it's win and so what but lose and your season is over. At least you can give Louisville credit for trying to make something happen to help perhaps their best chance ever at a national title get even better with a signature win. Chalk this situation up as perhaps the final casualty of the current system in place.