The Louisville Cardinals were already heavy favorites to roll through their 2013 schedule and the AAC conference title in a dominant show of force. Their roster is head and shoulders better than their conference foes and without a major challenge in their non-conference schedule, the Cardinals were picked by many to run the table. With the addition of Michael Dyer to their backfield, however, that prediction has become an expectation and the pressure is on for Louisville to be perfect in 2013.
There was already plenty of pressure on Louisville to dominate this season. The team built up all kinds of momentum with their dominant performance over the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl and has carried that over to a No. 9 ranking in the preseason coaches’ poll. Without a single opponent in the top 39 teams in that poll, their path is by far the easiest of anyone in contention for a BCS berth to go undefeated.
With Teddy Bridgewater hitting his stride and breaking out as a Heisman Trophy frontrunner, the Cardinals’ chances were already rock solid. The one area that was a question offensively, however, was the running game. Louisville lost its top rusher from 2012 and the projected starter for 2013 was coming off an ACL tear. It seemed like Louisville would make it work, but the running game was not going to be carrying the offense through games next season. At least, not before Dyer enrolled at the school.
Dyer is a two-time 1,000-yard rusher from his days with the Auburn Tigers and was named the MVP of the BCS National Championship game in 2010. He is an incredible talent and adds another level to the Cardinals offense that makes it a balanced behemoth that should steamroll its competition next season. With Dyer in the mix, the offense is more complete and ready to shred defenses in every way.
But that puts even more pressure on Louisville to be perfect in 2013. With such a soft schedule laid out in front of them and a seemingly dominant offensive roster on paper, any loss would be a major upset and make the Cardinals’ season an instant disappointment. Will the pressure be too much for Charlie Strong and his team and trip them up somewhere along the way or will the Cardinals play up to their ability and roll through 2013 to a perfect season?