For the first time in twelve weeks, the North Carolina State Wolfpack have fallen out of the AP Top 25. They had been previously ranked between #10 and #24 throughout the season. Losing their starting quarterback Devin Leary in Week 6 of this year threw a rather large curve ball in the Wolfpack plans for this season. The junior quarterback tore his pectoral muscle against Florida State and was ruled out for the remainder of the season.
Heading into their matchup with the Seminoles, NC State had only lost one game up to that point and it was against the undefeated ACC leading Clemson Tigers. The Tigers have hovered in the Top 10 of the AP Top 25 all year long being as high as #4 and as low as #12. Head Coach Dabo Swinney has added this season’s successes to his already lengthy resume.
Clemson has not lost an ACC game all season, while NC State has lost three in-conference games. Due to their losses, NC State no longer carries a number next to their school name. However, the Wolfpack did receive 77 AP Top 25 votes, which was the most out of any currently unranked teams. With this news, Louisville now has two unranked teams left on their schedule.
The matchups between NC State and Kentucky look very different than it did even one month ago. Week 4 of the College Football season, Kentucky was ranked #8 overall and NC State was ranked #12 overall. It took ten weeks to knock the Wildcats out of the AP Top 25 and it took twelve weeks to knock the Wolfpack out of the Top 25.
These statistics are significant because nine out of Louisville‘s twelve scheduled regular season games were against teams who are currently in the AP Top 25 or have been in the AP Top 25 at some point this season. Three of their four losses have come against three of these nine teams.
The only loss that came to a team not included in this list is their head-scratching loss to Boston College by one point. As the season continues to unfold, the questions continue to mount in regards to that game because the Louisville team that takes the field each week has not looked at all like the Louisville team that took the field against the Eagles.
The playcalling and the execution on the field has been vastly different since their bye week in Week 7. With their season turnaround and Kentucky’s losing skid, Louisville and Kentucky now share the same record at 6-4, which is not the place they were expected to be on both sides. But for different reasons.
Louisville has outperformed their expectations by going on a four-game winning streak, blowing out a Top 10 team, and becoming bowl eligible. Kentucky has underperformed their expectations by losing three out of four games after starting the season 4-0 and by losing to an inferior Vanderbilt team.
The Louisville-Kentucky rivalry is a tale as old as time and the game is shaping up to be a battle on the football field for the Governor’s Cup as the season progresses. Kentucky is set to take on the nation’s best Georgia Bulldogs this coming Saturday, while Louisville is set to take on NC State this weekend. Will the two rivals end up with the same record at the end of the regular season?