LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It may still seem like an eternity away, but college football is closer to kickoff than you think. With Memorial Day just around the corner, we are roughly 100 days from football's triumphant return.
Last season, Louisville had a bit of a disappointing campaign. Thanks primarily to an inability to close out in the fourth quarter and perform in crucial situations, the Cardinals finished just 6-7 in 2021, including 4-4 in Atlantic Coast Conference play and a 31-28 loss to Air Force in the First Responder Bowl.
But how well will Louisville perform in year four of the Scott Satterfield era? Well, we already have some idea thanks to the predictive college football metric SP+, which had their rankings updated on Monday.
SP+, according to its creator Bill Connelly of ESPN, is a "tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency". He has made several tweaks to it over the years since creating it in 2008 while at Football Outsiders, but the current iteration takes into account three primary factors: returning production, recent recruiting and recent history.
While Louisville's SP+ rating did decrease to 12.3 from their February offseason mark of 12.7, their overall ranking amongst the 131 FBS teams only fell one spot from No. 29 to No. 30.
SP+ is still very high on the Cardinals' offense even with the loss of Tyler Harrell, giving it a rating of 37.0 or 14th in FBS. On the other side of the ball, the metric is has loved additions such as Jermayne Lole and the various pieces in the secondary, giving it a rating of 24.8 or 56th in FBS.
Using SP+, we can plug in the rating from each team on Louisville's schedule and take a deep dive into how the 2022 season might transpire. We can figure out the win percentage in each game (accounting for home vs. away), the expected wins mark at the end of the season, as well as the statistical likelihood of every outcome during and concluding the season.
|Opponent||Proj. SP+||Offensive SP+||Defensive SP+|
SP+ is high on Louisville, but the Cardinals still find themselves at the mercy of a tough schedule. They play five teams in the SP+ Top 30, including the last three games of the season.
They have a win probably of over 50.0 percent in eight of their games - including their first six games - and are underdogs at Clemson, vs. NC State and at Kentucky. Their matchup vs. Pitt is at exactly 50.0 percent.
Louisville has an expected wins mark of 7.19, and they have a 24.60 percent chance to finish the season with seven wins, the highest out of any other win mark. For all intents and purposes, as of right now, SP+ is projecting the Cardinals to go 7-5 in 2022, although there is a 42.74 percent chance they have eight wins or more.
A lot can happen between now and Sept. 6 when Louisville travels up to Syracuse to kick off the season. But for the time being, it seems that Louisville will have plenty of tests in 2022.
(Photo of Cardinal Stadium via University of Louisville Athletics)
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