BOZICH: Cards 13th in Final AP, USA Today Football Polls
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Paul Hornung caused a stir last week when he suggested that Louisville's king-sized victory over Florida in the Allstate Sugar Bowl made the Cardinals a top five team.
Hornung is not a voter in the Associated Press writers' Top 25 nor in the USA Today coaches' poll. He is, however, a former Heisman Trophy winner and avid college football fan who played for Notre Dame but lives in Louisville.
Despite Hornung's enthusiasm for what this Louisville team accomplished in New Orleans, the Cards did not make the top five in either major poll. Coach Charlie Strong's Cardinals were voted 13th in the final AP poll, which was released at 2:15 Tuesday morning. It was Louisville's third-highest final ranking in the AP poll.The Cards also finished 13th in the final USA Today coaches' poll.
In the AP poll, the Cards were four spots behind the Florida team that Louisville dominated, 33-23, in the Allstate Sugar Bowl last week. But Louisville did finish one spot ahead of SEC power Louisiana State. Louisville also finished ahead of Oklahoma (15), Texas (19), Michigan (24) and several other heavyweights.
Louisville's highest final ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 came in 2006 when the Cards were voted sixth after defeating Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl. That team was coached by Bobby Petrino. Petrino also coached the 2004 squad that finished sixth following a win over Boise State in the Liberty Bowl.
The Cards finished 12th in the final AP poll in 1990 after their Fiesta Bowl win over Alabama. That was a Howard Schnellenberger football team.
Louisville was one spot behind LSU in the USA Today poll, but just ahead of Boise State, Oklahoma and Northwestern. Florida was voted 10th by the coaches.
Alabama, an easy winner over Notre Dame, in the BCS title game, was a unanimous Number One pick in both polls. Oregon, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Georgia formed the rest of the AP top five. USA Today went with Oregon, Notre Dame, Georgia, Texas A&M.
One of the more interesting decisions for 2012 poll voters involved Louisville and the Florida team they handled in the Sugar Bowl. Louisville was absolutely better that night in a 10-point victory, but most voters kept the Gators ahead of the Cardinals. They view the polls as snapshots of the entire season – not simply one game.
I saw the ballot from one voter from Philadelphia who had the Cards 14th, the Gators 15th. But another writer from Florida had Louisville 14th – and Florida seventh. (And, for the record, I'm not a voter.)
As for next year, I posed the question to Mitchell Light, the editor of Athlon Sports yearbook in Nashville.
Light said the Cards will definitely be ranked in the Top 15 and are currently ranked between 9 and 13. He said Athlon's 2013 pre-season Top 25 will be available soon.
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