LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Seven home games, including dates with three BIG EAST newcomers, and two nationally televised Thursday night games highlight the 2013 Louisville football schedule, released Wednesday by the BIG EAST Conference.
The Cardinals are slated to host Houston, Central Florida and Memphis this season, all of which are new members of the BIG EAST, and have nationally televised broadcasts slated with Rutgers on Oct. 10 and UCF on Oct. 18, both at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The Cardinals also have network games versus Connecticut on Nov. 8, and to close the season at Cincinnati on Dec. 5.
Louisville opens the fourth season under head coach Charlie Strong with three of its first four games at home. The Cardinals begin the year on Aug. 31 against Ohio, which went 9-4 with a win at Penn State and a victory in the Independence Bowl. It will be the first match-up with the Bobcats since 1959.
The Cardinals host Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 7 and FIU on Sept. 21, with a road game in between at in-state rival Kentucky on Sept. 14. Louisville defeated the Colonels 23-13 in 2010 and went to Miami last season and out-lasted the Panthers 28-21.
The Cardinals will take one of their first three bye weeks on Sept. 28 before traveling to Temple on Oct.
Louisville returns home for those two nationally televised contests with Rutgers and Central Florida. Louisville and Rutgers will meet for the first time since the Cardinals clinched a BIG EAST title 20-17 in Piscataway, N.J., last season in the final regular-season contest. The Cardinals are facing the Knights for the first time since 1985.
A trip to Tampa, Fla., awaits the Cardinals on Oct. 26 for a game against USF followed by a second bye week of the season. Louisville recorded a come-from-behind win over the Bulls last season when Teddy Bridgewater connected with Eli Rogers on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 1:35 to play in a 27-25 win.
The Cardinals return to league action with the Friday night nationally televised contest at Connecticut, followed by consecutive home games versus Houston on Nov. 16 and Memphis on Nov. 23. The Cougars and Tigers were former members of Conference USA when the Cardinals were in that league from 1996-2004.
After the final bye week, the Cardinals close the regular season with a nationally televised Thursday night game at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati. The Cardinals and Bearcats had an epic overtime game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium last season, a 34-31 win for Louisville.
The Cardinals, who return 19 starters from last season's 11-2 squad, begin spring practice on March 20 at 3:45 p.m.
2013 University of Louisville Football Schedule
Day Date Opponent Site
Saturday Aug. 31 Ohio Louisville, Ky.
Saturday Sept. 7 Eastern Kentucky Louisville, Ky.
Saturday Sept. 14 at Kentucky Lexington, Ky.
Saturday Sept. 21 FIU Louisville, Ky.
Saturday Sept. 28 BYE
Saturday Oct. 5 at Temple* Philadelphia, Pa.
Thursday Oct. 10 Rutgers* (ESPN) Louisville, Ky.
Friday Oct. 18 Central Florida* (ESPN/2) Louisville, Ky.
Saturday Oct. 26 at USF* Tampa, Fla.
Saturday Nov. 2 BYE
Friday Nov. 8 Connecticut* (ESPN/2) East Hartford, Conn.
Saturday Nov. 16 Houston* Louisville, Ky.
Saturday Nov. 23 Memphis Louisville, Ky.
Saturday Nov.30 BYE
Thursday Dec. 5 at Cincinnati* (ESPN) Cincinnati, Ohio