LOUISVILLE, Ky. Three years ago only seems longer than it was for Louisville football. The Charlie Strong era began with a thud; a 23-16 loss to rival Kentucky at home in the first game at renovated Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium was not how the Cardinals faithful envisioned things going.
Single games can be defining moments, however. For Strong and his fledgling program, it was just a first game. The last game Louisville played, now thats the one that has people talking.
The Cardinals finished in a four-way tie for the Big East championship with Cincinnati, Rutgers and Syracuse but earned the conferences automatic BCS bowl game bid and went on to surprise everyone but themselves by beating Florida 33-23 in a game that wasnt that close. Led by junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville is a consensus top-10 pick in preseason polls.
As big of a job as Strong had in raising the program from those first steps, reining in the expectations of this season could be a bigger task.