Posted January 03, 2013 on AP on Fox
Louisville's success this season shocked everybody except the No. 22 Cardinals. That won't be the case next year, not after Louisville upset No. 4 Florida in the Sugar Bowl Wednesday night. Expectations will be high heading into next season. That's fine with the Cardinals, whose 33-23 victory over the heavily favored Gators brought a huge measure of vindication in a season in which they struggled for respect. After starting 9-0 but remaining outside the Bowl Championship Series title discussion, Louisville earned its second BCS bowl berth. The landmark win against the Gators raises the bar higher for the Cardinals (11-2). Louisville returns 10 starters on offense and defense. The Cardinals could begin next fall as a top-10 team with coach Charlie Strong returning along with star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who figures to be a Heisman Trophy candidate. Strong and the Cardinals are savoring the moment but they're also thinking about how to build on it. ''We know we still have a long ways to go,'' said Strong, who last month spurned an offer to be Tennessee's head coach to remain at Louisville. ''You look at the teams that we beat this season. We played well, but we had to play well like that all season. ''We were not a consistent team this season. We struggled, had to come from behind seven games. ... I don't want to say where we would be, but we could continue to get better.'' Fans greeted the Cardinals at their team complex on their return home Thursday from New Orleans. Athletic department spokesman Kenny Klein said no formal celebration was planned for the team. Still, the outlook is good reason Louisville to party. The Cardinals improved to 2-0 in BCS games with the Sugar Bowl win. They led Florida from start to finish, something Louisville hadn't done since Sept. 15 when they beat North Carolina 39-34 in the Cardinals' third game of the season. Louisville's strength of schedule was a constant issue for the Cardinals, who managed to put answer the questions about whether they were legitimate or not with their bowl performance. The next step is seeing how their 41 freshmen, 31 sophomores and 28 juniors mature next season. ''This is a team that can handle adversity,'' Strong said. ''We've been through a lot. We've been able to grow, and once you grow from adversity, it just makes you stronger. That's what this football team has done. It's grown so much.'' Defensively, Louisville must replace cornerback Adrian Bushell and linebacker Daniel Brown. The offense loses left tackle Alex Kupper, center Mario Benavides and wide receiver Andrell Smith. Louisville's ground game could be deep again with second-leading rusher Senorise Perry (705 yards, 11 touchdowns) expected back after tearing his right ACL on Nov. 10. The junior will rejoin a backfield including redshirt freshman Corvin Lamb and juniors Dominique Brown and Jeremy Wright, who rushed for 84 yards and a TD in the bowl win. However, Sugar Bowl MVP Bridgewater will command most of the attention, especially after his performance on center stage in the nationally televised game against a Southeastern Conference opponent. Bridgewater is the main reason the Cardinals will likely enter next season with the respect they craved this year. ''I've been saying it all year: He's one of the best quarterbacks and best player in the nation,'' Cardinals safety Calvin Pryor said of Bridgewater. ''They look at Louisville, don't give us any credit, but he's one of the best quarterbacks in the nation.''
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES
TAKE THIS JOB AND SHOVE IT

Officer with Muschamp high-fives Strong

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that this Police Officer and Charlie Strong know each other from Strong’s time in Florida, because that was an emphatic hand slap.  If you watch closely at the end of the video, you can tell that between the handslap and the smile, this state police officer wanted Louisville to pull off the upset.Video via: Sports Pickle

Louisville 33 – Florida 23: Strong & The Cards Shock The College Football World

I’m honestly at a loss for words. I thought the Cards had a chance, but what we saw tonight isn’t at all what I expected to see. Louisville was clearly the best team on the field and it really wasn’t close. Charlie Strong’s team was prepared and executed the game plan flawlessly. It should go without saying, but this was easily the biggest win in Louisville football history...

Louisville’s Victorious Sugar Bowl Effect

What Louisville fans saw on January 2, 2013 was almost unbelievable.No one doubted the resolve of Charlie Strong and his young team, but no one can honestly say that what we saw was an expected outcome. However, one thing is for certain – the city of Louisville and Cardinal fans nationwide are on the train and are beaming with pride. That train is chugging along while awaiting...

Jon Bostic punched a Louisville player in the face

The Florida Gators may have lost the game to the Louisville Cardinals last night but Jon Bostic laid out this Louisville player. He swung a closed fisted punch at the Louisville player. This violent act wasn’t enough to overcome the Cards and Charlie Strong. Sportsmanship was lacking is that game. HT @ClutchLikeMJ

ICYMI: Louisville Takes Care of Sleepwalking Florida

No, this is NOT the biggest upset in BCS history as ESPN billed it. But it sure the heck surprised an awful lot of people. The University of Louisville and coach Charlie Strong surprised the sleepwalking Florida Gators 33-23 in Wednesday nights Sugar Bowl. We also should note, Strong was a former Florida assistant. When the Cardinals Terell Floyd returned an interception on...

Louisville coach Charlie Strong calls out ESPN's David Pollack

The almighty SEC was dealt a humbling blow in the Sugar Bowl as unfancied Big East champ Louisville dominated Florida from start to finish, winning 33-23.  Louisville wasn't given much of a chance before the game and were placed as 14 point underdogs, making it the biggest upset in BCS history. (Yes, even bigger than Boise State!) The Cardinals certainly played the disrespect...

Gallery: Cards Stun the Gators 33-23

The Florida Gators got more than they could handle Tuesday night when the Louisville Cardinals brought it to them on both sides of the ball. Former Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong saw his Louisville team win decisively against a team that kept hurting themselves as well. Here is a pictorial of the game.

Teddy Bridgewater to Will Muschamp: Should Have Picked Me over Jeff Driskel

So far in the first half of the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Florida coach Will Muschamp must be kicking himself.   Back in the early Spring of 2011, the newly crowned emperor of Gator football decided to pass on lifetime Gator fan, Teddy Bridgewater, a rising quarterback prospect out of Miami; instead, Muschamp went with top … Continue reading »

Charlie Strong Discusses Sugar Bowl Win On Jim Rome Show

Less than 24 hours after pulling off the biggest upset in BCS bowl game history, Charlie Strong was a guest on the Jim Rome Show. Strong discussed how much Louisville’s win means to the program and how he used the negativity from ESPN as motivation for his team. This is the second time Coach Strong has been a guest on this show. I’m not sure what type of relationship Charlie...

Tim Tebow and Tom Rinaldi Are Huggers On The Florida Gators Sideline At Allstate Sugar Bowl

Tim Tebow is spotted on a different sideline and this time it doesn’t belong to the New York Jets. With his NFL season over, it appears Tebow has enough time to travel to the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Tebow is on the sidelines to watch his former Gators take on former Gator coach and current head coach Charlie … Continue reading »

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Louisville vs Florida

Allstate Sugar Bowl Louisville Cardinals 10-2 vs Florida Gators 11-1 Louisville Cardinals Overall record: 10 – 2 Conference record: 5 – 2 Finished 1st in the Big East thanks to an 34-31 overtime win over Cincinnati. Florida Gators Overall record: 11 – 1 Conference record: 7 – 1 Finished 2nd in the SEC East after losing to Georgia in the Cocktail Party. The Louisville Cardinals...

Podcast: Mark Ennis Previews the 2013 Sugar Bowl

(Be sure to follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres) After being on hiatus for a couple weeks, the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast is back, and ready to jump into some heavy Sugar Bowl discussion with one of my favorite guests. That man is Louisville radio host, editor of the website BigEastCoastBias.com and good personal friend, Mark Ennis. Mark and I chatted about a number...

Louisville 33, Florida 23: Cardinals dominate in the first of many big nights for their program

It’s a funny thing about bowl season: Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you realize you’ve actually seen nothing at all. College football fans were given a refresher in exactly that on Wednesday night, in Louisville’s shocking 33-24 Sugar Bowl win over Florida. The sad thing for Florida fans is that this game wasn’t nearly as close as the final score might indicate...

College Football Betting Picks: No.22 Louisville (10-2) vs. No.4 Florida (11-1)

Hello everyone, welcome back to another edition of my college football betting picks. In this edition I will give you my pick for the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl between the Big East's Louisville Cardinals and the SEC powerhouse Florida Gators. But before we get to the pick let's review my previous picks. Standing at 27-15 ATS, I picked Georgia Tech to cover the +7.5 spread...

Thousands Of Louisville Fans Greet The Team As They Returned From New Orleans

Thousands of Louisville fans gathered outside of the Howard Schnellenberger complex as the majority of the team returned from New Orleans. Senior linebacker George Durant posted this picture on Twitter as the bus arrived. Quite a few of the players decided to head home before returning back to school before the start of the second semester. A few staff members, Charlie Strong included...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.