From Brian Bennett:
The pressure, then, is on. Strong called it "a one-game playoff." But he's trying not to put a burden on his players.
"What we have to do is prepare our guys," he said. "If we prepare our guys the right way, they'll feel no pressure."
Louisville has been in this situation before. Two years ago, it went to Piscataway with the same record, needing a win for bowl eligibility. It left with a humiliating 63-14 loss. Rutgers led 49-0 at halftime in perhaps the lowest of the many low points in the Steve Kragthorpe era.
"We've got to get back to our bread and butter," Burke said. "We've got to run the football."
Star tailback Bilal Powell came down with the flu bug late last week and had no yards on just four carries against West Virginia. Strong said Powell should be healthy and ready to go Friday.
Getting to a bowl game would be a reward for Louisville's 27-man senior class, which has never experienced the postseason. And with all those players leaving after this season, the 15 extra bowl practices would help Strong get a jump start on preparing younger players to take over in 2011. Mostly, though, a bowl game would be a signal that things really have changed.
"It would put some hope back into this program," Strong said.