CRAWFORD | Cards begin at No. 9, with eyes on higher prize - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Cards begin at No. 9, with eyes on higher prize

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Charlie Strong keeps calling the expectations heaped upon his University of Louisville football team "unrealistic." He can add another one to the growing list.

Voters in the USA Today coaches' poll today selected the Cardinals as the No. 9 team in the nation heading into the 2013 season.

U of L is one of five teams in the top ten that will begin the season with its highest preseason ranking ever, or matching it. Unfortunately for the Cards, the other four schools (No. 3 Oregon, No. 4 Stanford, No. 7 South Carolina and No. 8 Clemson) are ranked ahead of them.

Alabama is ranked No. 1 nationally, being voted No. 1 on 58 of the 62 ballots. Ohio State, coming off an unbeaten season, is No. 2.

U of L's hope would be to go undefeated and claim a top-two ranking to get into the final BCS championship game, but it would seem a longshot, given the Cardinals' schedule and where they begin the season.

Cardinals coach Charlie Strong isn't worried about those expectations.

"Anytime people start talking about you being in a national championship game and you're in your fourth season, I think that's unrealistic," Strong said. "What I'm worried about is coming into camp, working on getting better, and getting a full day's work in every day. We don't need to worry about expectations."

Strong said he'll combat preseason praise with a rude awakening for players once camp starts.

"We've warned our guys not to listen to the noise in the system," Strong said. Come next week, he said U of L coaches will put their own kind of noise into the system.

"It's not like we blew everybody out last season," Strong said. "This program and this team have a long way to go. We're nowhere near where we need to be. We'll get that point across."

USA TODAY TOP 25:

1.     Alabama     1545 (58)
2.     Ohio State      1427 (3)
3.     Oregon      1397
4.     Stanford      1262
5.     Georgia      1250
6.     Texas A&M      1215 (1)
7.     South Carolina      1136
8.     Clemson      1047
9.     Louisville      1010
10.     Florida      930
11.     Notre Dame      872
12.     Florida State      844
13.     LSU      797
14.     Oklahoma State      726
15.     Texas      622
16.     Oklahoma      620
17.     Michigan      589
18.     Nebraska      426
19.     Boise State      420
20.     TCU      400
21.     UCLA      202
22.     Northwestern      186
23.     Wisconsin      172
24.     USC      165
25.     Oregon State      135

Others receiving votes: Kansas State 113; Miami (Fla.) 101; Michigan State 89; Baylor 80; Virginia Tech 65; Fresno State 62; Arizona State 51; Mississippi 32; Vanderbilt 29; Utah State 23; Brigham Young 20; North Carolina 19; Northern Illinois 19; Tulsa 9; Ohio 8; San Jose State 8; Arizona 5; Cincinnati 3; East Carolina 3; Kent State 3; Mississippi State 3; Washington 3; Central Florida 2; Arkansas 1; Arkansas State 1; Rutgers 1; Tennessee 1; Toledo 1.

Copyright 2013 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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