Head Coach: Charlie Strong-3rd Season
2011 Record: 7-6 overall, 5-2 Big East
Previous Meetings: Cincinnati leads the all-time series at 30-20-1, including last year's 25-16 win in Nippert Stadium.
Louisville's Key Games
Sept. 2nd vs. Kentucky
Oct. 13th at Pitt
Oct. 26th vs. Cincinnati
Nov. 10th at Syracuse
Nov. 29th at Rutgers
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Offense: Anytime you return your conference's rookie of the year at quarterback, your offense is going to be in good shape. Louisville does just that with sophomore Teddy Bridgewater, who completed 65 percent of his passes while throwing 14 touchdowns. Bridgewater will have some help in the backfield in the form of junior Dominique Brown, who rushed for 533 yards last year. The top two receivers return as well, with sophomore's Eli Rogers and Michaeless Harris looking to build on strong freshmen years.
Defense: The defensive line looks to lead the Cardinal defense, returning three starters in junior's Marcus Smith and Roy Philon and sophomore B.J. Dubose. The linebacking core will be replacing some experience, but hope the talent that have accumulated the pass few years will help with the process. Senior Daniel Brown is the lone returning starter. The secondary returns the most talent, with junior Hakeem Smith and senior Adrian Bushell being first team All Big-East performers in 2011.
After coming to Louisville from the University of Florida three years, Cardinal fans expected Charlie Strong to be able to do two things, recruit and coach defense. In 2011, his Louisville squad finally looked like that team. Teddy Bridgewater is one of the most exciting young players in college football, and they return two young receivers who both had solid 2011 seasons. The defense returns a lot of experience in the trenches to go along with a couple of all-conference performers in the secondary. Look for the D to help lead this young Louisville team.
This Cardinal team is young, and a lot of time that can lead to some growing pains throughout the season. However, most of this young talent has experience as well, which should help to minimize those issues. The Big East is wide open this year, and you can expect this Cardinal team to be in the thick of things come November. Besides a road game at Pitt, their other conference challenges are all played in the friendly confines of Papa John's Stadium. Look for a nine or ten win season from Charlie Strong's team.