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ESPN Says Louisville Football Is No. 4

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Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

Preseason polls are meaningless in every major American sport sans college football. It's the one sport where being ranked No. 3 and being ranked No. 10 before playing your first game can be the difference between playing for the sport's top prize and having zero control over your national championship destiny.

With Louisville's 2013 schedule being the way it is (really bad), the Cardinals need an extremely high preseason ranking to have any real shot at playing in the BCS Championship Game. That being the case, it's exciting to see something like this from ESPN, even if it doesn't really mean anything.

4. Louisville Cardinals

Previous rank: 8
Is there a hotter athletics department in the country than Louisville right now? The Cardinals are coming off a 33-23 upset of Florida in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, a men's basketball national championship and a trip to the women's basketball Final Four. With 19 starters coming back in football, including Heisman Trophy candidate Teddy Bridgewater, the Cardinals are more than capable of duplicating last season's success. Bridgewater picked up where he left off in the spring game, completing 16 of 20 passes for 214 yards. Louisville has added more weapons around him, including Florida transfers Robert Clark and Gerald Christianand tailback Dominique Brown, who sat out last season with a knee injury. The Cardinals might not be the country's fourth-best team based on talent and depth, but which opponent is capable of unseating them in the depleted Big East? Louisville plays a soft nonconference schedule (Ohio, Eastern Kentucky, Kentucky and Florida International) and its Big East road games will be played at Temple, South Florida, Connecticut and Cincinnati.

A top five preseason ranking would be...well it would be pretty cool.