From May 20-31, Insider's college football experts will be examining the national championship chances of the 10 teams with the best odds to win the BCS title this season, according to Brian Fremeau's post-spring projections.
Today, Ryan McGee takes a look at the path the Louisville Cardinals could take to the national championship game, and the factors that could trip them up along the way.
These are good times to be a Louisville Cardinal. When we last saw the boys in red and black, they were beating the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl, earning the program's second BCS victory. The 33-23 win over an SEC opponent was sweet vindication. Labeled as overrated, Louisville was led by a quarterback whose Heisman push had been shrugged off, helmed by a coach who supposedly had already left, and stuck in a conference that was falling apart like the Starship Enterprise at the end of the latest "Star Trek" flick. Funny what one big night on national television can do.
Not only did Louisville vault its way to the edge of the final 2012-13 top 10, but quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is now a legit stiff-arm candidate, coach Charlie Strong got a $1.4 million raise to stay put, and just after Thanksgiving the school was welcomed into the ACC. All of that explains why we are about to say this: The Cardinals aren't merely a near lock to land in this year's AP preseason top 10 (Phil Steele has them projected 10th), they are also a bona fide BCS championship candidate. Even Howard Schnellenberger, who revived the football program in the late 1980s with the promise of one day delivering a national title, recently admitted that the time is now to finally make that happen. How do we -- and he -- figure? Read ahead.