After Sunday's 32-14 University of Louisville Cardinal victory over the University of Kentucky Wildcats, college coaches decided to pay attention to the Big East favorites by ranking the Cards number 24 in the USA Today Sports Coaches Poll after not having them ranked at all at the start of the season. In the Associated Press Poll, the Cardinals pulled down the number 23 ranking this, moving up two spots from the preseason 25th spot.
Does this mean that the publication might show UofL some love? Of course not. The biases from the usual conferences remain. In fact, in the USA Today preseason poll, not one Big East team achieved a ranking. Granted Louisville has risen above the pack under Charlie Strong after he took over a mediocre squad from Steve Kragthorpe, but how do you not have at least one team from a BCS conference ranked in your poll, even if it's at the bottom?
On the other hand just because the Cards could end up being the Big East champion come year end, that doesn't necessarily mean they're ready for a top 10 ranking. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. But let's also not kid ourselves. Every year we witness the further dismantling of the Big East with teams leaving for greener conferences, and yes, that's green in terms of money, but a good program should be seen as a good program. When the Big East still served as one of the chosen conferences, both Louisville and West Virginia moved into the top five at one point.
Okay, it's just one game so far, but it's not too early to ask for fairness. The conventional wisdom says that USA Today wants to anoint another SEC national champion, though they'd be just as happy with a Big 10 or Pac 10 champ, too. Nobody's stupid on that score. But at least give the semblance of impartiality. Make us believe that everyone has a shot. Right now it doesn't come across that way.
Photo: Louisville.com/Max Sharp