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Dec, 27, 2011; Charlotte, NC, USA; Louisville Cardinals fan reacts in the fourth quarter. The Wolfpack defeated the Cardinals 31-24 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

Breaking Down The Big East: Louisville

This is a series where we will be breaking down every Big East Football team in the order Syracuse sees them on the schedule. Included in these team previews are excerpts from a Syracuse Football E-Zine that is set to be released later this summer.

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The Louisville Cardinals

Louisville is going to be legit this season.

November 25, 2011; Tampa, FL, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) calls a play during the first quarter against the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Cardinals are returning a lot on defense, led by safety Hakeem Smith. Smith led the team in solo tackles with 59 last season. Offensively, the Cardinals have returning quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who threw for 2000+ yards en route to being named BIG EAST Rookie of the Year last fall. Bridgewater has a great arm, and is tremendous and finding open receivers. With a year of experience under his belt, look for him to make a run at being named to the all-conference team.

Sept 17, 2011; Lexington, Kentucky, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals safety Hakeem Smith (29) celebrates during the game against the Kentucky WIldcats at Commonwealth Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

If that weren’t bad enough for Orange fans, the Cardinals also return receiver Eli Rogers, who was one of the team’s leading threats. If play making receiver Eli Rogers is any semblance of the player he was last season, this could be a long day for the Syracuse secondary. This game will be senior day in the Dome and emotions will be high, but the brutal stretch of this schedule I believe will wear on this team with four out of their final five games are on the road.

Louisville will absolutely be a contender in the Big East this season, and could possibly be the team representing the conference in the BCS. Charlie Strong’s Cardinals dominated the Orange by more than the 17 point scoreboard difference indicated, and this game in the Dome could be more of the same this season. An improved Syracuse team will give Louisville a run, but I think that when kickoff comes this will be a very tough game for the Orange to come away from with a victory.

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