9-3 overall, 5-2 conference, 2nd Big East
Against the spread
6-6 (5-1 home, 1-5 away, 5-5 grass)
6-6 (3-3 home, 3-3 away, 4-6 grass)
+.50 per game
2005 Season Summary
The Louisville Cardinals had reached a new level of respect under head coach Bobby Petrino, who inherited an improved program from John L. Smith, (who departed for “greener” pastures at Michigan State), and took it to the next level.
Petrino was a hot commodity
Petrino's first season was a successful 9-3 campaign that ended with turmoil as it was discovered that Auburn administrators came calling to flirt with him on the down low while still having Tommy Tuberville in their employ. Caught in this embarrassing affair, Petrino stayed at Louisville and the distracted Cardinals suffered an embarrassing 28-49 GMAC Bowl loss to Miami of Ohio. The 2004 season was even better as Louisville went 11-1 and took the Conference USA title in their final year of membership before departing for the Big East. Petrino was a hot commodity again as many BCS schools approached him on bended knee, but he decided to stay as he would now be in a weak BCS conference that he was expected to dominate.
Expectations were off the charts
Louisville entered the Big East as the immediate favorite. In fact, expectations were off the charts as they were expected to go undefeated and be a dark horse national title contender. Few if any “experts” could see anything else but a Louisville Big East championship.
Conventional “wisdom” was taking on a life of its own
The experts were so caught up in this simple minded thinking that they tended to forget that Louisville would not have the benefit of playing a weaker Conference USA schedule and would be trying to replace a record-setting starting quarterback along with their top back and wideout. This was a classic case of conventional “wisdom” taking on a life of its own.
An early warning followed by a rare bargain
Louisville opened the season at SEC patsy Kentucky as a whopping 23.5-point chalk and barely escaped with a 31-24 win that should have served as an early warning to gamblers. The weak effort made Louisville a rare bargain in their home opener against Oregon State as then Cardinals blew out the Beavers 63-27 as relatively modest 13.5-point chalks.
Exposed as a fraudulent powerhouse
Louisville was an expensive commodity again as they traveled to lightly regarded South Florida and was installed as a whopping 20.5-point chalk. The Bulls shocked the nation with an attention grabbing 45-14 blowout win that left Louisville exposed as a fraudulent powerhouse.
Roaring Back to reclaim respect
To their credit, Louisville came roaring back to reclaim respect with massive, back-to-back blowout wins. Florida Atlantic was the first sacrificial lamb in a 61-10 loss as 38-point dogs. That was followed up with a more credible 69-14 annihilation of the ACC's North Carolina as 14-point chalks.
Not so fast my friend
Louisville was the near unanimous chalk to walk away with the Big East title. But as Lee Corso loves to say, “Not so fast my friend.” They traveled to West Virginia to meet up with Rich Rodriguez's young and rebuilding Mountaineers, where the Cardinals were installed as 7-point chalks. The Mounties showed Louisville who was boss in the Big East with a stirring 46-44 win that was to catapult them to a most unexpected league title.
Once again, Louisville roared back from adversity
Louisville traveled to Cincinnati to take on the struggling Bearcats and got the cash in a 46-22 win as 21-point chalks. They returned home to bomb out Pittsburgh 42-20 as a 20.5-point favorite and blew out bowl-bound Rutgers 56-5 as a 33.5-point chalk for their third straight cover. Once again, Louisville roared back from adversity to regain respect.
Overvalued at the end
Now that they had their respect back, Louisville became overvalued on the betting boards. The won their final two regular season games against Syracuse and UConn but failed to get the cash and then lost to Virginia Tech in their bowl game 24-35 as 10-point dogs.