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Sporting News tabs Louisville as College Football Playoff darkhorse

Jeff Brohm effect.

Syndication: The Courier-Journal Jeff Faughender/Courier Journal and USA Today Network / USA TODAY NETWORK

Louisville has seen its name attached to some form of “ACC championship darkhorse” a number of times this offseason, but what about College Football Playoff darkhorse?

Bill Bender of The Sporting News is taking the conversation there.

In his latest 2023 season preview piece, Bender identifies five CFP sleeper picks. Jeff Brohm’s first Cardinal team is on the list.

ACC: Louisville

This would be the out-of-nowhere TCU template. That starts with first-year coach Jeff Brohm – who returned to his alma mater after leading Purdue to the Big Ten championship game last season. Brohm worked the transfer portal with as many as seven new offensive starters, including quarterback Jack Plummer. Conference favorites Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina aren’t on the schedule, and Notre Dame visits on Oct. 7. The Cardinals could be in the ACC championship game picture heading into November, where they close with a road trip to Miami and the finale against Kentucky. The Wildcats have won the last four in that series. The CFP is asking for too much, but a quick-fix New Year’s Day Six Bowl run – like Michigan State in 2021 – isn’t out of the question.

Kind of weird to highlight Louisville in a “CFP sleeper” story and then end the blurb implying that a New Year’s Six Bowl is the ceiling for the team, but whatever, I’m still choosing to view this as preseason Playoff love.

Penn State, Oregon State, Tennessee and Texas are the other four names on Bender’s list.