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Charlie Strong has turned things around in a big way at Louisville. How far has this program come during his time at the school? When Strong first got here, the goals were often to have a winning season and reach a bowl game. Entering the 2013 season, many fans of the Louisville Cardinals are expecting an unbeaten season! Strong has changed the way this program is viewed. It certainly hasn’t hurt to have one of the premier quarterbacks in college football in Teddy Bridgewater either. Louisville finished off the 2012 campaign with a shockingly comfortable win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl. What can they do in 2013?

Louisville Cardinals 2013 College Football Predictions

2012 Record: 11-2

Louisville 2013 College Football Betting Odds from BetOnline:

Louisville Cardinals Odds to win BCS Championship: +2,000

Louisville Cardinals Odds to win American Athletic Conference: -160

Season Win Total: 10.5

The Louisville Cardinals took a huge step forward in 2012. Charlie Strong was a very popular name in the coaching circles over the offseason, but Strong decided to stick around and try to keep the Louisville train moving forward. Teddy Bridgewater returns for his junior season at the school this year, and huge things are expected from him. Bridgewater is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. He completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 3,718 yards and 27 touchdowns last year. The Louisville running game should be good this year as well. Michael Dyer is now here, and if he stays out of trouble he’ll help the team a lot. Seniorise Perry is a strong runner who has proven reliable. DeVante Parker is a game breaker who is set for a great season at wide receiver in 2013. There are several starters to replace on this side of the ball, but with this kind of talent at the skill positions this offense will be excellent.

What about the Louisville Cardinals defense in 2013? Defensively, the Cardinals return 10 of their 11 starters from a year ago. This unit should be one of the most improved in all of college football. They have two stars at the back of their defense at the two safety spots. Calvin Pryor and Hakeem Smith are ball hawks who hit hard and help well in the run game. It’s a huge luxury for this team to have leaders like these two at the back of the defense. The front seven was pretty good at stopping the run in 2012, and they should do well in this aspect again in 2013. The biggest weakness of the Louisville defense in 2012 was their inability to get after the opposing passer. The Cardinals had just 22 sacks last year. Overall, this defense is clearly the best in the American Athletic Conference.

Louisville Cardinals 2013 Football Schedule

To say that the Louisville Cardinals have a very favorable schedule would be putting it very mildly. Quite frankly, Louisville will likely be a double-digit favorite in every game this year until they travel to Cincinnati for their regular season finale on December 5. The American Athletic Conference is extremely weak, and Louisville definitely benefits from that when it comes to piling up wins during the season. Their season opener at home against Ohio could be a bit tricky, and the game at Kentucky is always interesting because it is a rivalry game. Still, the Cardinals have one of the easiest schedules in the nation in 2013.

Louisville 2013 Football Prediction: 12-1 (American Athletic Conference Champions)

Louisville is leaps and bounds better than anyone else in the American Athletic Conference. The Cardinals will be much better on defense this year, and the offense is being led by one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. Louisville is nearly a lock to win 10 games in the regular season, and I don’t see any very realistic scenario (short of Bridgewater getting hurt) where the team doesn’t win 11 games. There are going to be coasting for the majority of the season. I like Louisville Cardinals season win total over 10.5 in 2013.

Free Pick: Louisville Cardinals over 10.5 Wins

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