In Charlie Strong's first season, he took Louisville back to a bowl game after a three-year absence. In his second year, he led the Cardinals to a share of their first Big East title since 2006. And now, in his third year, he guided Louisville to another Big East title and last night's monumental Sugar Bowl win. A 15-point underdog, Louisville became the largest underdog to ever win a BCS game.
After the win, Strong reflected on where his program stands and what this win means moving forward.
"In order to change the culture of a program, our fans are going to have to change it," said Strong. "And this evening they took that step, just like we took a step where we go and beat the No. 3 team in the country and go and win it and make a statement for next season."
Louisville appears well on its way in that regard. From all accounts inside the Superdome, there were more fans donning Cardinals red than the Gators' blue and orange. And as ESPN reported Thursday morning, the Sugar Bowl drew a 28.4 rating in Louisville, the highest-rated bowl game in Louisville history.
"And I told our players: Why do you want to win this game? You want to win this game for those 25,000 fans that traveled down here, was behind you the whole time," Strong continued. "You can't get in the hotel. You cannot get in the hotel. I haven't been in that hotel lobby yet because you just get bombarded. But that's what you want."
With a talented, young roster led by all-everything quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville's 2013 season could end with another crowded hotel lobby.