The Louisville Cardinal football team finds themselves in unfamiliar territory: ranked.
For the first time since 2007, the Cards can promote a little number next to their name, thanks to the Associated Press writers for sliding them in at No. 25 in their preseason poll.
It means very little in the grand scheme of things. I haven’t paid much attention to all of the magazines and writers picking Louisville to crash the BCS this season, and I don’t care if the Cards are ranked or not right now.
Charlie Strong should take it that his work on the recruiting trail is beginning to earn him some recognition and that Louisville is on the cusp of being considered “big time” again. What it proves is for the first time since 2007, the Cards have real expectations again. One could argue Louisville might find themselves in the National Championship discussion if things go really well (although even the most biased fans will find that hard to believe).
Strong has completely turned the culture around at U of L, and I’m a big fan of his, but I think sometimes we forget his record is just 14-12 since taking over two seasons ago. Now, considering where the program was headed, most would consider that a pretty big accomplishment. But this season will be his first true test as a head coach.
Gone are the days when the fan base will be happy making a bowl game. The early season struggles we’ve seen the past two years under Strong will have to end, especially with the talent on the roster.
Most sport books I’ve seen has the over/under win total at Louisville at 8.5. An 8-4 season would be a disappointment to most, including myself, but I’m curious to know how many are willing to lay that line.
The schedule is tougher than most are giving it credit for right now. Sure, the Big East is weak, but the Cards are young and I don’t think the talent quite matches up with the Bobby Petrino era just yet. Conference road games against Pittsburgh and Rutgers scare me. I’ve been a Cardinal fan long enough to remember how terrifying of a place Hattiesburg is to play, so that game bothers me as well. Sweeping UK, North Carolina, South Florida and Cincinnati at home would be an accomplishment.
If the Cards actually want to be legitimate and position themselves better during the next round of conference realignment, ten wins is the minimum, especially if that comes with a BCS bid.
Hard to believe we are just two weeks away from the start of Cardinal football, but I am excited to see if this team can live up to the goals from the fan base.
Filed Under: Football
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