University of Louisville football coach Charlie Strong expected his team to be picked as the preseason favorites in the new American Athletic Conference race.
And he was correct.
The AAC media poll had the Cardinals' picking up 28 of 30 first-place votes from the leagues media representatives. The Cardinals were picked to win the league ahead of Cincinnati, who had two first-place votes, Rutgers and Central Florida.
South Florida was fifth, followed by Houston, Connecticut, SMU, Temple and Memphis in the poll.
"I know now we've been picked to win the conference," Strong said with a smile. "I think about four years ago, just standing here and we were picked last, even the next year, the second year, we were picked last. Last year we were picked to win it and this year we're picked to win it. So two years we're being picked last, and these next two we've been picked to go win this conference.
That's a tribute to how hard our players have worked."
But Strong isn't ready to collect any hardwood just yet, noting his team "has a long way to go," to match the expectations.
Louisville is coming off an 11-2 season and a win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl last season, likely making it into the top 10 of the preseason polls.
"Our players work really hard, but there's been really some real unrealistic expectations placed upon this football team," Strong said. "And the thing we're going to have to do as a team is a lot of questions has to be answered.
"Number one, we'll be a team that can continue to focus week in and week out. Can we be a team that's going to be prepared week in week out? Is this going to be a team that's going to get complacent?"
Cardinal Authority will have more from media day.