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TOPIC: Louisville football's future
OUR VIEW: Best is yet to come
Another college football season came to an end Monday night with Alabama’s dismantling of Notre Dame in the national championship game.
While Tide fans rejoice in a second straight title, another program left the season with high hopes for the 2013 campaign: The University of Louisville Cardinals.
U of L capped off an 11-2 season with a 33-23 win over No. 3-ranked Florida in the Sugar Bowl — a game the Cardinals led for 59 minutes and 45 seconds. The Cardinals may have been underdogs entering the game but clearly outplayed the Gators on a big stage.
And the best for U of L football likely is in the future and not the past for head coach Charlie Strong.
Only five seniors started in the Sugar Bowl and U of L listed only seven seniors on its two-deep depth chart. The Cardinals are young and only going to improve on the foundation set this season as long as Strong keeps his players focused and maintains a work ethic that brought the fruits of the 2012 season.
Strong has been in high demand for job openings. It’s easy to see why given his immediate success. He has led U of L to three straight bowl games. He listened closely about the University of Tennessee head coach vacancy before opting to remain at U of L.
Athletic Director Tom Jurich made a brilliant call in tapping the longtime assistant to become U of L’s head coach and Strong has rewarded Jurich and the school with plenty of wins and sending the program soaring in the national rankings, finishing the 2012 season ranked 13th in the country.
There also has been a local flavor to the 2012 run by the Cardinals with redshirt freshman place-kicker John Wallace, a Central Hardin High School graduate, booting the Cardinals into the BCS game. His 29-yard field goal with 1:41 left at Rutgers gave U of L a 20-17 win, a share of a Big East title and an automatic bid to a BCS game.
So while U of L and its fan base celebrates an 11-2 season and a Sugar Bowl win over a perennial power from the Southeastern Conference, this is only the start of good things to come at the school.
Strong and his staff have found the right formula to compete on a national stage and the Cardinals don’t look like they will have a problem staying around for a long, long time.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise's editorial board.