LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — There’s a new opponent on the schedule for Scott Satterfield’s University of Louisville football team this season.
The strange thing is the same opponent showed up in Lexington to challenge Mark Stoops in Kentucky.
And, also in Bloomington for Tom Allen and Indiana.
The opponent is the University of Expectations. They’re everywhere you look.
Starting with the Athlon Sports College Football Yearbook, where the Cardinals (No. 30), Wildcats (No. 32) and Hoosiers (No. 40) are all ranked among the nation’s top 40 teams — ahead of programs like TCU, Virginia, Michigan State and UCLA.
It’s not just an Athlon thing. ESPN’s football power index includes the three programs in its Top 40 but in a different order — Louisville No. 20, Indiana No. 23 and Kentucky No. 33.
All three are projected to win at least seven games, with Louisville’s number 8.4.
I don’t have a research assistant. If you remember a season that kicked off with the Cardinals and the Hoosiers ranked in the Top 25, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I kept looking — and I kept finding more evidence that fans should be energized by the idea that football will be played at Cardinal Stadium, Kroger Field and Memorial Stadium in 2020.
Street & Smith’s is also on board. That publication did not rank all 130 teams like Athlon and ESPN. But it did put Louisville No. 20 — ahead of Tennessee, Iowa and Appalachian State.
There is also love for Kentucky and Indiana.
Kentucky was picked to finish fourth in the East Division of the Southeastern Conference, behind Tennessee but ahead of South Carolina, Missouri and Vanderbilt. The projection includes an invitation to the Music City Bowl.
Street & Smith’s projected that IU will finish fourth in the Big Ten East (ahead of Michigan State, Maryland and Rutgers), earning a spot in the Las Vegas Bowl.
The final projection I found came from Pro Football Focus, a pay site. I’m uncertain if PFF ranked more than the top 25 but Kentucky landed at No. 20, one spot behind Tennessee but ahead of Baylor, Minnesota, Memphis, USC and Mississippi State.
Consider this my annual reminder to proceed with caution. A year ago Satterfield and the Cardinals were consensus picks to finish last in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
This season Athlon and Street & Smith’s both pick Louisville to finish second, chasing the team that everybody in the ACC will chase, Clemson.
If the magazine projections were shaky last season, why would they be considerably more accurate this season?
While you ponder that, I’ll share several more highlights:
*Street & Smith’s named Kentucky punter Max Duffy a first-team all-American while placing UK center Drake Jackson on its second all-American team.
*Street & Smith’s did not pick any Louisville players on its top two all-American teams or even first team all-ACC. But Tutu Atwell was named the league’s fastest receiver.
*Ditto for Indiana. No Hoosiers were recognized on the first two all-American teams. But halfback Stevie Scott was named first-team all-Big Ten while Jerome Johnson was picked as a first-team defensive lineman.
Whop Philyor was recognized as the league’s fastest receiver — ahead of former Trinity star Rondale Moore at Purdue, who is expected to be at full speed after missing most of last season with a hamstring injury.
*In the SEC, Kentucky’s Jackson and Duffy were named first-team all conference.
Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.