CBR's 'Way Too Early' Top 10
No. 6 Louisville Cardinals
For a second straight year a team made a big time statement in the Sugar Bowl as Louisville took down the mighty Florida Gators, who were ranked 3rd in the nation, by a score of 33-23, a score that wasn't totally indicative of how that game went. The MVP of that game? Cardinals QB Teddy Bridgewater, who threw for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The question is can this team avoid the trap that Michigan fell into and be an actual contender the next season? Teddy Bridgewater is back and this is a team poised to run through the Big East once again, so perhaps the trap can be avoided after all.
The Good: We've already hit on it and it's the fact that Sugar Bowl MVP Teddy Bridgewater will be back, not that he had a choice, but he'll be a junior and coming off of a season where he threw for 3,718 yards with 27 touchdowns to just 8 interceptions. Also, the Big East shouldn't be that big of a challenge with the likes of Syracuse and Pitt gone. It'll also be their last season in the conference before heading to the ACC for the 2014 season.
Add in the fact that this team will need to replace just five starters and bring back all but one other player on the two deep and you've got the makings of a loaded football team. One that probably hasn't even hit their peak of possibilities as of yet.
Oh and they avoided an SEC team raiding their head coach as Charlie Strong came back after flirting with a few jobs and got a massive raise to stay with the Cardinals. That should be very helpful to this team.
The Bad: With Pitt and Syracuse off to the ACC this season the Cardinals are left with a weak as hell schedule and their only real "challenge" will be Rutgers. Outside of that it's Kentucky that could help them out, or not. If this team wants to be a true contender they need to win out and get a lot of help.
The Uncertain: For Louisville it's all about the schedule and it's uncertainty at the moment. They were supposed to have good games against Boise State and San Diego State on the Big East schedule, but with both of them moving back to the Mountain West they are off the schedule for the Cardinals and that means they don't know what their schedule is going to look like outside of their non-conference games yet.
The Verdict: Louisville last twice last season in back to back weekends and that can't happen this season with all of the talent back and an even weaker schedule ahead of them than they had in 2011. This team has all the pieces in place to be a true contender should they run the table and do so in impressive fashion. With this being a down season for the rest of the Big East anything other than a conference championship will be a complete failure. Also, anything less than an undefeated season will be a failure on the national scale, but don't look for anything less than that to occur. It's just a matter of how big they win each week to keep them in the national discussion.
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