The Louisville Cardinals are just starting to get comfortable in their new Atlantic Coast Conference digs. The movers have come and gone, and Rick Pitino and Bobby Petrino are giving instructions to the decorators. Things are nicer here, but it’s going to be a lot more work to make everything nice.
This week, the Cards’ new league unveiled a new branding video featuring stars and images from the 15-team league, including this image of Rick Pitino. The football schedule features familiar names once considered a rank above Louisville in the NCAA pecking order — Miami, Florida State, North Carolina, Duke — along with more familiar foes in Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
Along with the shiny and new logos in the league’s update branding, the ACC means big-time. It’s likely EVERY U of L football and basketball contest will have a betting line.
Before long, the preseason football guides will hit newsstands, and already there’s a “way too early” Top 25 that includes Florida State at #1. North Carolina (17) and Clemson (18) are in it, and Notre Dame, also on the U of L football schedule this year, is at #23.
Early on, the Cards aren’t getting a lot of respect, which is the way Bobby Petrino likes it. MyTopSportsBooks.com puts the Cards at 4th in the Atlantic Division, behind Florida State, Clemson and Syracuse. Simply winning more games than they lose will be considered a success in 2014, as opposed to expectations last year of an undefeated season.
Louisville will have opportunities to prove itself on the field, but most experts think the Cards will do well to nab the ACC’s 3rd or 4th best bowl tie-in, possibly the Sun Bowl. There’s no doubt that U of L’s entrance into the league offers plenty of prestige to its new competition.
“With the recent expansion of our league and the addition of Louisville on July 1, it seemed a natural time to update our brand,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a news release. “We feel that it well represents the high standard and values the ACC has held for more than 61 years.”