Bad games don’t always end in a bad outcome: The Crunch Zone

Saturday night was a terrible way to start the 2022 season. Louisville has dominated Syracuse in recent memory and no one wants to work the season opener…. especially to a team you manage regularly.

But weird things can happen in the dome. And weird things can happen in college football to good teams. This Louisville soccer team in 2022 was not a candidate to go to the New Year’s Six. But there was hope to win 8 games. That’s still possible with 11 games remaining, but the Cardinals have work to do.

In 2012, Louisville Football was 9-0 and entered the Carrier Dome (on Teddy Bridgewater’s birthday) and was outscored 45-26 by Syracuse. It did not make sense. Syracuse was 4-5 going into the game, Louisville was No. 10 in the country UNDEFEATED with everything to play for.

In the end the 2012 team is remembered for beating Florida in the Sugar Bowl. No one really talks about that weirdness in the dome. Or the triple-overtime loss at Cardinal Stadium the following week, where Teddy Bridgewater was hit with a broken wrist and sprained ankle. What they do talk about is Bridgewater’s heroics in the Rutgers game coming off the bench after NOT warming up and leading UofL to victory and ultimately securing Big East BCS’ spot in the Sugar Bowl.

The point is that bad games happen. They can derail a season. One really bad loss can turn into two losses pretty quickly and the next thing you know, a season has fallen apart. But good teams and good coaches understand that weird things can happen. Even at the pro level where the Packers lost their Week 1 game 38-3 (the Packers would go on to finish 13-4) to start the 2021 season.

For Louisville, bad games abound in good seasons:

2019 (8-5): Scott Satterfield would win 8 games, named ACC Coach of the Year, won the Music City Bowl against Mississippi State, and the Cardinals were crushed in Miami and Kentucky.

2017 (8-5): A 4-2 Louisville team with Lamar Jackson at quarterback was beaten at home by a 2-4 Boston College team. Two weeks later, the Cardinals would lose to Wake Forest, who at 4-3 hadn’t beaten anyone of note.

2016 (9-4): Everyone remembers the 36-10 blowout in Houston.

2015 (8-5): Louisville started 0-3 losing close games to Auburn, Houston and Clemson and would go on to finish the season on an 8-2 streak beating Texas A&M in the Music City Bowl.

2014 (9-4): The Cardinals went to Charlottesville and worked their way to a loss against a poor Virginia team (5-7) and lost 23-21.

2012 (11-2): We discussed destroying the Cards in the Carrier Dome against a bad team from Syracuse when the Cards were 9-0 and ranked No. 10. They also lost in 3OT to a UCONN team 5-7 the next week.

2011 (7-6): Louisville lost to FIU at home against TY Hilton and then two weeks later lost to Marshall at HOME and bounced back to make it to the Belk Bowl. Louisville even had the “Call to Duty” game against Pitt at home this year.

2010 (7-6): The Cardinals traveled to Pitt and got nothing offensively in a 20-3 snoozer in Charlie Strong’s first year. They would go on to win the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl and end the season with plenty of recruiting juice.

2005 (9-3): Cardinal fell out of tunnel in front of USF and Louisville’s No. 9 football team was defeated 45-14 in Tampa.

2003 (9-4): Memphis came to Cardinal Stadium with RB DeAngelo Williams and split Louisville’s defense … but the offense got nowhere in killing the Cardinals 37-7.

2001 (11-2): Louisville traveled to Illinois and Kurt Kittner WORKED Louisville at Champaign 34-10. Mike Cassity would become the UofL Defensive Coordinator later under Bobby Petrino, he was with Illinois that day. Illinois would go to the Sugar Bowl and Louisville would win 11 games. The same year, Louisville inexplicably fell flat in the season finale to TCU 37-22. The Cardinals would still finish 17th in the nation.

1998: (7-5): Louisville opened Cardinal Stadium and was defeated by Tim Couch and Craig Yeast 68-34. The Cardinals even laid an egg on Utah the following week 45-22. Louisville would meet and make it to the Motor City Bowl in the first year of John L.

The point is that bad games happen. They pass to good teams in all of college football every year. How a team reacts to that adversity determines whether or not the season falls apart or history forgets about it and we all move on. It’s going to be hard to forget how poorly Louisville played against Syracuse to start the 2022 season, but hopefully the Cardinals will put it behind them like other Louisville Football teams have in the past.

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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, Graduated from the University of Louisville School of Business in 2004. Co-founder of

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