Louisville best-ever No. 9 in pre-season coaches' poll; Kentucky faces five ranked foes

Herald-Leader Staff ReportAugust 1, 2013 

Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, shown in Louisville's 32-14 win over Kentucky in September 2012, will enter his junior year with high expectations. Bridgewater, a Heisman Trophy finalist, leads a Cardinals team that is ranked No. 9 in the USA Today preseason poll, which was released Thursday.

PHOTO BY MARK CORNELISON | STAFF — Herald-Leader Buy Photo

  • USA Today Coaches' Poll

    Teams listed with first-place votes in parentheses, last year's record and points received:

    1. Alabama (58) 13-1 1,545

    2. Ohio State (3) 12-0 1,427

    3. Oregon 12-1 1,397

    4. Stanford 12-2 1,262

    5. Georgia 12-2 1,250

    6. Texas A&M (1) 11-2 1,215

    7. South Carolina 11-2 1,136

    8. Clemson 11-2 1,047

    9. Louisville 11-2 1,010

    10. Florida 11-2 930

    11. Notre Dame 12-1 872

    12. Florida State 12-2 844

    13. LSU 10-3 797

    14. Oklahoma State 8-5 726

    15. Texas 9-4 622

    16. Oklahoma 10-3 620

    17. Michigan 8-5 589

    18. Nebraska 10-4 426

    19. Boise State 11-2 420

    20. TCU 7-6 400

    21. UCLA 9-5 202

    22. Northwestern 10-3 186

    23. Wisconsin 8-6 172

    24. Southern California 7-6 165

    25. Oregon State 9-4 135

USA Today released its college football pre-season coaches' poll for 2013 on Thursday, and two truths are evident — Louisville is gaining respect, and Kentucky faces a brutal schedule.

Louisville, coming off a Sugar Bowl victory over Florida to end last season, is ranked No. 9 in the coaches' pre-season poll. The No. 9 ranking is the Cardinals' highest ever to start the season in the USA Today poll.

Coach Charlie Strong has most of the key components returning from last season's 11-2 squad, including Heisman Trophy candidate junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

The Cardinals, ranked No. 13 in last season's final poll, received 1,010 points to easily get into the nation's top 10.

Kentucky, coming off a 2-10 season but operating with renewed hope under new coach Mark Stoops, is not yet ready enough for prime time to collect votes in the national polls, but the Wildcats will face several opponents in 2013 who fit that description.

The Cats host No. 1-ranked and defending BCS national champion Alabama on Oct. 12.

Kentucky also has dates at No. 5 Georgia (Nov. 23), at No. 7 South Carolina (Oct. 5), vs. No. 9 Louisville (Sept. 14) and vs. No. 10 Florida (Sept. 28).

All told, the Southeastern Conference starts the season with six teams in the coaches' poll, with No. 6 Texas A&M and No. 13 LSU joining Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 each have five ranked teams.

Alabama was the overwhelming choice as the nation's No. 1 team, collecting 58 of a possible 62 first-place votes.

The rest of the top five were Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford and Georgia.

For Louisville, the only team ranked in the top 25 from the American Athletic Conference, this marks the Cardinals' highest ranking since they opened the 2007 season rated No. 11 by the coaches and No. 10 by The Associated Press.

The Cardinals return 19 starters from last year's team, which won the Big East title for the second consecutive year and trampled fourth-ranked Florida 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl.


USA Today Coaches' Poll

Teams listed with first-place votes in parentheses, last year's record and points received:

1. Alabama (58) 13-1 1,545

2. Ohio State (3) 12-0 1,427

3. Oregon 12-1 1,397

4. Stanford 12-2 1,262

5. Georgia 12-2 1,250

6. Texas A&M (1) 11-2 1,215

7. South Carolina 11-2 1,136

8. Clemson 11-2 1,047

9. Louisville 11-2 1,010

10. Florida 11-2 930

11. Notre Dame 12-1 872

12. Florida State 12-2 844

13. LSU 10-3 797

14. Oklahoma State 8-5 726

15. Texas 9-4 622

16. Oklahoma 10-3 620

17. Michigan 8-5 589

18. Nebraska 10-4 426

19. Boise State 11-2 420

20. TCU 7-6 400

21. UCLA 9-5 202

22. Northwestern 10-3 186

23. Wisconsin 8-6 172

24. Southern California 7-6 165

25. Oregon State 9-4 135

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