Louisville in the Sugar Bowl has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?
CBSSports.com released their Top 30 Poll and the Cards were represented in that as well.
HEAD COACH: Charlie Strong, third year at Louisville, 14-12 record at school and 14-13 overall as a head coach
MOST IMPORTANT PLAYER: QB Teddy Bridgewater — After throwing for 2,129 yards and 14 TDs as a freshman, Bridgewater appears to be on the fast track for stardom. A spring of hard work and devotion to the film room have sped his development to the point that the Cardinals should be able to open every page of the playbook this fall. Bridgewater can make all the throws and keep plays alive with his feet. If he can continue to improve his decision-making — he tossed 12 interceptions last year, three in a bowl loss to N.C. State — Bridgewater will make this offense more potent all by himself.
BREAKOUT STAR: WR Eli Rogers — A high-school teammate of Bridgewater at Miami Northwestern, Rogers led Louisville in receptions last year with 41 despite not starting. Rogers showed his big-play potential with a 58-yard gain at Cincinnati, but also displayed the ability to make tough catches over the middle. With a year under his belt, Rogers should be able to make more plays and produce more than 11.1 yards a catch, his average of a season ago.
NEWCOMER TO WATCH: LB Keith Brown — A four-star recruit out of Norland High School in Miami, Brown could find playing time immediately, even with a unit that returns nine starters. Rivals.com rated Brown, who notched 255 tackles in his final two seasons, as the nation’s seventh-best inside linebacker prospect. Brown spurned offers from Florida, Florida State and Miami (Fla.) to join nine other Floridians in the Cards’ recruiting class.
KEYS TO SUCCESS: The defense will be able to knock heads with anyone on the schedule with nine starters back, including all four on the line. Three veterans return in the secondary, which will be important vs. the pass-happy attacks of North Carolina, Florida International and Southern Miss in September. Bridgewater could be the Big East’s best this year after hitting nearly 65 percent of his passes last season, while the receiving corps offers depth and game-breakers. What’s more, there’s an air of confidence about this team that hasn’t been there since the Bobby Petrino era.