After barely missing the cut with the preseason Coaches Poll earlier this month, today the Louisville football team received some symbolic validation with their first appearance in the AP Poll’s top 25 since 2007.
A month from now, a #25 ranking in a preseason poll will have served little purpose beyond message board fodder. Nonetheless, the recognition marks a watershed moment of redemption for Strong’s staff and team after nearly three years of tedious rebuilding. For the players and fans of a Louisville program shunned to the margins of the college football scene after the Kragthorpe fallout and conference realignment debate, reappearing in the national pigskin consciousness is a much-needed ego boost.
And for the sake of perspective, it could always be worse: UK hasn’t been ranked preseason by the AP since 1978. Furthermore, Duke.
51st consecutive year Duke w/no AP poll preseason vote. Next longest droughts: Indiana (2001) ‘Cuse (2002), WashSt (2004)
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) August 18, 2012
Aaron Torres at the Crystal Ball Run lists Louisville among the five teams ranked too low in the AP Poll:
Louisville (No. 25): The talent is there, the coaching is there, and so too is the schedule. Louisville doesn’t play a single team that started the season ranked in the preseason Top 25.
While Louisville’s depth and talent could merit a higher ranking, I think #25 is a great starting point psychologically and practically. The ranking isn’t high enough to encourage complacency; nor is it too low to restrict the team from advancing into the poll’s upper echelon, should they make a run through a favorable––if somewhat underwhelming––schedule.