Charlie Strong may or may not be giving Mark Stoops a ‘bro hug’ here but he can, he’s Charlie Strong.

(Photo Via Matt Stone/@_MattStonePhotoG)

Louisville Football officially has ‘elite’ expectations:

Most teams are happy with a double-digit win over their rival.

Most teams are thrilled with a double-digit win over their rival…on the road.

Louisville doubled up the Wildcats on Saturday afternoon and overall nothing screamed ‘satisfaction’ from the Cardinal fanbase.

That’s a good thing.

The expectations for the Louisville Football team have risen to extreme levels. Nothing less than a dominant performance is expected. No more is a simple win satisfactory. With Louisville facing unlikely BCS title hopes as it is, the Cardinals know that nothing short of absolute blowouts are expected every time they take the field. Especially against teams that won 2 games in 2012.

It’s good that fans expect constant double-digit wins.

It’s good that fans expect the high-powered Louisville offense to score when it hits the field.

Make no mistake, It’s a good thing. Charlie Strong has preformed a complete 180 on the Louisville Football program, similar to how Teddy Bridgewater throws a needle ball through double coverage.

It’s unrealistic at times. In the age of College Football, In the age of such parity. A ‘bad game’ from 19-20 year old players is expected from time-to-time.

But it’s a sign of the way things are now with the University of Louisville Football Program. This is the new age.

“We learned to respect our opponent,” Bridgewater said following the victory.

Maybe after this though, the Cardinals can expect less of these ‘bad’ showings. Maybe not. But the above statement shows that even a Junior & Senior led team still has plenty of maturity for them. Lucky for them, the next two games will give them plenty of time to show that.

Mark Stoops has installed something ‘new’ for Kentucky Football:

The Wildcats shown several things on Saturday but perhaps the most important thing they shown to those in Commonwealth Stadium isn’t even tangible.

It was heart.

You can’t measure it statistically. As silly as it sounds, it’s something that accounts for a huge part of the game of the football. In last two years of the Joker Phillips regime the Wildcats didn’t have it, Saturday they did have it.

Even with a big deficit, late in the fourth quarter when a loss sure seemed evident. The Wildcats didn’t seem to lose an inch of their edge. They went all out from start to finish and drove up the field, getting a late touchdown.

In previous years, you would see this Kentucky team falter after a big deficit. Wildcats down only two touchdowns? It didn’t matter to the players of seasons past; it seemed like in insurmountable mountain. Don’t expect to see that this season. Even though it’s likely that Kentucky will trail by large amounts many times the rest of the season, they won’t give up.

The Kentucky Football team is ‘all-in’ for Mark Stoops. He’s won the first round: The players believe in him. Does that mean that suddenly the Wildcats are going to go from winless in the SEC to competing for a Conference title? No. But Mark Stoops has a great start, and the Wildcats – without a doubt – are headed in a upward trajectory.

Teddy Bridgewater is Human:

Teddy Bridgewater won’t say it, but he was forcing things Saturday against Kentucky. The Junior QB made it appear like he wanted to be up 21-0 before he was up 7-0.

“We feel like Kentucky doesn’t respect us,” Bridgewater noted after the Governor’s Cup victory.

Now, I’m not quite sure why Kentucky wouldn’t respect a team that’s beaten them three consecutive years. Or a QB that is revered as the Nation’s best by nearly all in College Football. A QB that torched the Wildcats two straight meetings before the two met on Saturday.

But, hey, that’s how ‘The Ted’ views the situation. He’s done some pretty good things at the University of Louisville, so I won’t question it.

Nevertheless, Bridgewater shown he was a human this weekend, but he still shown precisely when he is at the top of every single 2014 NFL Mock Draft out there.

Mark Stoops designed a scheme on Saturday that rattled the Cardinals. Most of the Louisville players admitted, the scheme of five down lineman surprised them. But it was as much about Bridgewater forcing plays, as it was about former Florida State Defensive Coordinator Mark Stoops doing what he does best.

On his first three series, Bridgewater overthrew or was on a different page six times with his receivers. Its quite atypical of Bridgewater to show such mortal-like characteristics.

Even so, Bridgewater got it together. He led a drive down the field at the end of the second half and capped it for 13-yard TD pass to DeVante Parker. A touchdown that turned out to be critical to Louisville.

When the second half arrived, Bridgewater look much more the part. Helped by defensive adjustments that would remain ‘top secret’ from Louisville Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson, Bridgewater passed for 85 yards in the 3rd quarter. That 85 yards nearly matched his first half production. Bridgewater finished with a measly 250 yards on 16-28 passing and a touchdown. But it was is second half turnaround that quickly shown why Bridgewater his so highly-touted around the Country.

Central Florida is Good at Football:

You could find it everywhere preseason.

Optimism was abundant from all of the Knight fans. In fact, I recall a rivals message board thread entitled, ‘Can Anybody Challenge us in the AAC?’… most fans chimed in looking for the same answer.

It appears that optimism – at least some of it – was leveled.

The Knights of Central Florida are 3-0 and are coming off one of the biggest wins in School History, a 34-31 victory in Happy Valley over Penn State.

Things have been rough for AAC Commish Mike Aresco in his first year with the new league. But never mind that. A team from Orlando is giving the AAC a lone bright spot in it’s dreadful start.

Are the Knights still referred to as the ‘Golden Knights’ by 60% of the Country (including CBS), even though they dropped that six years ago?

Sure.

But they are turning heads across the Country, and could prove to be a huge benefit to any Pasadena hopes for the Cardinals.

In the latest AP Polls, Central Florida, received 25 votes ranking them respectively the 28th best team in the Country.

Next week, the Knights, have South Carolina come to town. This may turn into the biggest out of conference match-up for the AAC, if the league wants any hopes of receiving any respect across the country. After that, the Knights face the lowly Memphis Tigers then head to Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium for an ESPN televised Friday night game. Conventional wisdom says UCF will be ranked in the Top 25 when they head to Louisville. But, if – yes, it’s  a big if – they pull off the upset of the ‘Fighting Clowneys’, Friday night in Louisville will serve as a Premiere match-up. Two undefeated teams, two Top-20 teams is a match-up that looked unlikely at the beginning of the Season for the Cardinals. Now it has a plausible chance of happening.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                -Chris Hatfield

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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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