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Expectations have never been quite like this for the University of Louisville Football program.

Sure, Louisville’s had the Schnellenberger & Petrino moments. A time when they reached the ‘top of the mountain’, only to be left behind like dust in the wind. The Cooper & Kragthorpe years followed and then…you know.

Talks of ‘Undefeated or Bust’ are common talk when speaking on the 2013 Louisville football team, something absolutely unprecedented. Also,the Cards are headed to the second strongest football conference in America next season (arguably) – also something that has been unseen.
The burden of living up to new-found expectations for the Louisville Football team not only falls on the players, but now the fans. Don’t believe me? Ask your Head Coach Charlie Strong about his lots of the 2012 Senior Day.

“I was walking in with one of the seniors on that day,” Strong stated. “And he looked at me and he said ‘Coach, I would like to think that they would come out because it’s our last home game and to give us support’,”

Athletic Director Tom Jurich called the Papa Johns experience a great ‘social setting’. That’s been the regular narrative. The Louisville Football fan arrives early to tailgate, but late to watch the game. They socialize at the game and leave early to beat traffic. The ‘common’ Louisville Football fan goes to the game for the party but rarely for the action. That must change.

“Somebody told me we’re a young program with a young fan base. But I just don’t buy that,” Charlie Strong said in a statement last year.

“If you are passionate about something you go support it. It doesn’t matter who we play, you come to watch your team play, come to watch Teddy [Bridgewater], [Will] Stein and Preston Brown play. It doesn’t matter who is on the other side. I think we should pack it [the stadium] in whoever we play.”

Do Louisville fans lack of a passion for supporting their teams? Certainly not. Keep in mind, as the most recent example, this is the fan base who sold out 2,500 returned tickets to the Kentucky-Louisville tilt, in under two minutes last season.

Just like the LSU fan base didn’t occur by happenstance, neither does one at Louisville. They have to be built. One could argue that a fan base plays as much as a role at making a program ELITE as the players do.

“I think it’s a different thing for Louisville football over Louisville basketball,” one fan said.”Basketball has an elite fan base, Football doesn’t. The fans are a big thing that’s holding Louisville Football back from being elite.”

To be fair to the fan base, the success of Louisville Football is relatively new. The success of the program hasn’t exactly been sustained. It’s hit unbelievable highs, but inevitably those highs were followed by drastic lows. Now everything seems to be pointing up. That’s why this year for Louisville Football is perhaps the most critical year in it’s history. Showing sustained success, living up to huge expectations; these can do wonders beyond comprehension for Louisville Football.

You, presuming you are a fan of Louisville Athletics, are a huge part of sustaining that success. It’s done by showing up on time to games (and being in your seats). It’s done by giving every ounce of your ‘fandom’ to cheering on the product on the field. Perhaps (maybe I’m crazy) more fans in the seats equals more fans cheering harder, which equals a possible greater home-field advantage. Again, you, are a huge part of changing the narrative of Louisville Football.

Louisville needs the support of the fan base more than ever this year. The fan base owes it to the players, and certainly their Head Coach. Charlie Strong is the same guy who said ‘No thanks’ to traditional SEC power Tennessee – a place where he could have constant fan support- in a poetic statement; simply stating ‘My enthusiasm and heart are with the University of Louisville’.

Is the enthusiasm and heart of the fans with the University of Louisville Football team?

I suspect it is, will I be proven correct?

Follow TheCrunchZone.Com Writer @_ChrisHatfield

Email him at chatfield60@Gmail.com

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Chris Hatfield

Residing in Louisville, KY (via Bardstown, KY). I write things about Louisville Sports. Sometimes you'll like them. Follow me @_ChrisHatfield Email me at chatfield60@gmail.com

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