LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — While Louisville is getting ready for its conference opener, the Cardinals' biggest obstacle in winning a national championship could be their schedule.
That was reinforced in this week's Top 25 rankings. The idle Cardinals (4-0) remained seventh after their bye, but Georgia leapfrogged them to No. 6 following its Southeastern Conference victory over LSU. Louisville's opponents are a combined 20-28, which isn't likely to help the Cardinals when the first BCS standings are released in October.
Still, the Cardinals say they are focused on beating who's on their schedule and not the strength of it. An undefeated season would land them another BCS bowl berth.
Louisville returned to practice Monday to prepare for Saturday's American Athletic Conference opener at Temple (0-4, 0-1), with hopes of winning the first AAC crown.
"People look at where we are and look at the team we have and they say 'OK, you guys have a good football team, but you're not playing anybody," Louisville coach Charlie Strong said Monday. "I tell our team all the time, it's all about how we play and we can't worry about what anyone else says."
Louisville entered the season prepared for life in a reorganized league without Syracuse and Pittsburgh, who left what was known as the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference with the Cardinals due to follow next year. The league's Catholic, non-football schools then formed a new league with the Big East name, while the six remaining schools added Central Florida, Houston, Memphis and SMU to form the AAC, which retains the automatic BCS bid.
At first glance, Louisville's road to a third straight conference title appears tougher than expected. While Temple, South Florida and Connecticut are all 0-4, Houston is undefeated at 4-0 and UCF, Cincinnati and Rutgers are all 3-1.
The Cardinals host Rutgers and UCF in consecutive prime-time home games after Temple.
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