Monday, February 11, 2013
Too early Top 25 redo: Louisville still No. 8
By Andrea Adelson
With signing day gone, ESPN.com national college football writer Mark Schlabach decided to take another crack at his way too early Top 25.
He made a few changes, but one ranking remained the same: Louisville is at No. 8, the only Big East team ranked in his Top 25.
"The Cardinals' move to the ACC in 2014 can't get here soon enough. After finishing 11-2 and upsetting Florida 33-23 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Louisville really didn't seem to seize its momentum. The Cardinals' class was ranked No. 43 in the country, and wide receiver James Quick of Louisville was the only signee ranked in the ESPN 150. But it's not like the Cardinals needed a lot of immediate help. Louisville will bring back seven starters on offense, including quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who threw for 3,718 yards with 27 touchdowns and 8 interceptions in 2012. The offensive line will need some work in the spring after losing center Mario Benavides (a Rimington Trophy finalist) and left tackle Alex Kupper. Coach Charlie Strong also welcomes back 10 starters from a rapidly improving defense. If Louisville can dominate the Big East in its final season in the league, it figures to be a major player in the BCS title race in 2013."
Interesting enough, Schlabach has moved Florida up from No. 10 to No. 7 -- one spot ahead of the Cardinals -- even though Louisville beat the Gators in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Not sure signing another Top 3 class means Florida should move ahead of Louisville in the preseason rankings, but I think most everybody believes the Gators will have a good team once again.
What remains to be seen is whether Louisville can be a major player in the BCS title race -- even if it dominates Big East play. What should help is starting the season ranked, which it did not do last season. But even then, Louisville's strength of schedule will be worse than every other team projected to start the season in the Top 10, so it will be worth watching how voters, and the computers, view Louisville should the Cardinals make an undefeated run.