Louisville's 41-38 last minute loss in the Orange Bowl against 3rd-ranked Miami proved the programs near BCS possibilities.
"They played really hard and they looked really good," McKinney told Inside the Ville on Friday.
However, having watched the Cardinals practice and play numerous times, McKinney says that the Cardinals performance wasn't something unexpected.
"It didn't really surprise me all that much," McKinney said the Cardinals near win in the Orange Bowl. "I knew what they were capable of and they almost did it."
McKinney was also complimentary of the Cardinals defense. "They looked pretty good...I could see myself playing in that defense."
Despite the impressive performance by the Cardinals, it still a three team race.
"It's still the same," McKinney said of his favorites. "They are all about the same."