The 2010 college football magazines are hitting the news stands. Most are almost outdated already with the conferences and schools playing musical chairs with the future of the sport.

Don’t expect any of them to give props to the University of Louisville under new coach Charlie Strong. They can’t get past the disaster that was Steve Kragthorpe.

Editors of these publication rarely go out on a limb, arriving at their conclusions largely on stereotypes and last season’s results.

Right on cue, Athlon picks Louisville to finish last in the Big East, finishing with 3-9 record overall, and 0-7 in conference play. Here’s Athlon’s U of L summation:

2010 Projection:  New Coach Charlie Strong is taking on a large rebuilding project. The Cardinals’ win total decreased in every season under Steve Kragthorpe, and Louisville is a team lacking proven talent heading into 2010. The quarterback position is a huge question mark, and the Cardinals were outgained per game in conference play last season. Strong’s expertise on defense will help, but he lacks a proven difference maker on that side of the ball. Strong will get it turned around, but finishing with two wins in Big East play would be considered a huge success.

The situation is strikingly familiar to the one John L Smith inherited from Ron Cooper in 1997. Louisville went from 1-10 in Cooper’s last year to 7-5 in Smith’s first season. The Athlon writer doesn’t give much weight to the coaching change in his equation. That could be shortsighted.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

8 thoughts on “Restrained Expectations For Louisville Football”
  1. At least UL didn’t ride the Kragthorpe horse as long as Syracuse rode Greg Robinson. Grob did to the Orangemen what Obama is doing to the country!

  2. Right on, TXCARD. All these comments, and the post, are right on. Kragthorpe devoured the program in almost every measurable way. Even the “character” players that he brought in weren’t performing as well in the classroom (collectively) as they are now under Strong’s hands-on tutelage. It awaits to be seen how they perform on the field, but the spring practices were chock-full of good signs.

  3. During the Kragthorpe reign of incompetency, we all heard it is not where you are picked at the start of the season but how you finished. As one of the worst head coaches in football history, he proved his cliche correct by finishing lower than predicted. Kragthorpe did not have the coaching skills to challenage a player’s potential nor did he seem to want to. I believe that Strong does have that ability. Strong will be able to use the low expectations to his advantage and challenge his players to be better. And they will be better. Kragthorpe accepted losing as some type of character molding experience. I do not see Strong accepting losing on any level. He will not accept finishing last in the conference, guaranteed. Not sure where they will finish, but it won’t be last.

  4. And here’s another gift from Steve KantKoach:

    UofL football’s APR was below the national average. He told us for three years he was recruiting great kids who really were interested in learning. He told us for three years he was making sure they were getting an education. Chalk up another catagory in which he failed. The list keeps growing and growing.

    1. Kragthorpe’s destruction of the football program may hurt us for many years. With the wave of conference changes about to hit, it is not a good time for the football program not to be in a position of strength. Imagine where Louisville would be right now if a competent coach would have been hired after the Orange Bowl victory. Incredible opportunity completely wasted.

  5. I think a last place finish in the Big East (if it still stands next week) is the right call. Sadly, nothing my mighty Cards showed last year leads us to any other conclusion. However my heart tells me Charlie Strong will lead us to a bowl game. From there … look out. The sky is the limit. Confidence is such a hugh intangible in athletics. Confidence is with the red team again.

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