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Louisville football ranked No. 24 in ESPN's early top 25 for 2016

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville football continues to receive a healthy dose of early love from the premature college football top 25's that are being churned out by every sports network on the planet.

Among those networks is ESPN, which currently has Louisville at No. 24 for the season that won't kickoff for another nine months.

24. Louisville Cardinals

2015 record: 8-5, 5-3 ACC
Returning starters: 9 offense, 8 defense, 0 special teams

Key losses: Tobijah Hughley, OT Aaron Epps, DE Sheldon Rankins, DE Pio Vatuvei, LB James Burgess

Outlook: The Cardinals were a bit of a disappointment after losing four of their first six games, but they might have turned the corner in the second half of the 2015 season. Louisville won six of its last seven, including a 27-21 victory over Texas A&M in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. If quarterback Lamar Jackson continues to improve as a passer, the Cardinals might be more consistent on offense next season. Louisville's defense received a big boost when four juniors -- linebackers Devonte' Fields and Keith Kelsey, and defensive backs Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaq Wiggins -- decided to return for their senior seasons.

The bad news? There are three top 10 teams -- No. 1 Clemson, No. 6 Florida State and No. 10 Houston -- on the Cards' 2016 slate.