Everybody starts the year undefeated. But the cruel reality of college football is that only a handful of those teams have a legitimate chance of winning the 2017 College Football Playoff.
Louisville vaulted to fifth in the CFP rankings after Week 11 last season and looked to be on the verge of qualifying for the playoff. Those hopes came crashing down after a Week 12 loss to Houston, but Lamar Jackson's Heisman Trophy victory has led to a top-20 spot for the Cardinals in the Way-Too-Early Top 25 and could be seen as a starting spot for a more successful CFP run in 2017.
Those hopes are far-flung, because there are many reasons to think that Louisville will once again fall well short of a CFP berth.
(Note: Unless otherwise specified, all of the metrics detailed below are from Power 5 contests and the associated team and player rankings are from the 65 Power 5 teams.)