Here at Fifth Quarter we are going to present to you a three-part article on sleeping giants. A sleeping giant is a football program that is not fully aware or has not tapped in fully to their resources to execute on them. Today the first sleeping giant we present to you is Louisville. The Cardinals who have only been playing division 1A football since 1978 and have been beating giants not knowing they are a giant themselves, just asleep.
In this part I’m not just talking about the recent win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl but other things more profound as well. Not many outside of the Louisville faithful know what the cardinals have accomplished. Since 2000 the cardinals have brought six conference championships back to Louisville, KY, three from the Big East conference and three from conference USA. Also what other program can say they have beaten the big three from Florida (UF, FSU, and Miami) the last time they have played each school? Not to mention Louisville also has three BCS Bowl game wins (1991 Fiesta, 2007 Orange and 2013 Sugar). All this brings evidence that Louisville has potential for very big things.
FROM BIG EAST TO THE ACC
Louisville fans have to be pumped they jumped off the sinking ship known as the Big East conference. At least the ACC brings the program stability with a lot more money to feed their resources. Home games against FSU, NCST, Clemson, etc sound a lot better with more profit than UCONN, USF, Temple, etc.
According to rivals.com Louisville has finished in the top 50 in recruiting ranks since 2010 and as high as #29 in 2011. This means the cardinals have brought in solid talent and it might not be the best but Charlie Strong has done a great job evaluating talent. This past season the cardinals had 31 players from the state of Florida which is considered the most talent rich state in America for recruiting. If solid recruiting and the pipeline from Florida can stay consistent the program can be fully awaken.
Since the series renewed recently every year starting in 1994 the Cardinals have posted a 11-7 record and won the past two against instate SEC rival Kentucky Wildcats. Dominating your instate rival may allow more boosters too and sponsors in the state of Kentucky to fully swing to the Cardinals side. This will be a big help for exposure, facilities, and recruiting.
If the Cardinals can hit on these certain spots and fully execute on the opportunities the ACC will give them this program will be a force to reckon with soon enough.