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Big East Football Media Day 2012: Louisville Cardinals Preview

The biggest surprise in the Big East Conference last season was the Louisville Cardinals. Picked to finish seventh out of eight teams by the media in the preseason polls, the Cardinals defied the odds and finished with a 5-2 league record. The effort was good enough for Louisville (7-6 overall) to earn a share of the conference crown.

Much of the credit for the Cardinals success was given to third-year head coach Charlie Strong, who convinced his players to play a very physical form of football which wore down league opponents.

That trend of tough-noised football should continue this season, as the Cardinals return nine players on a defense that ranked No. 23 in the country. However, the returner with the biggest expectations will be sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who earned Big East Rookie of the Year honors after throwing for 2,129 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Bridgewater, however, will not be representing the Cardinals at Big East media day. Those honors will go to center Mario Benavides, who has a career 34 starts, cornerback Adrian Bushell and Hakeem Smith -- both players earned Big East First-Team honors in '11-12 -- and offensive tackle Alex Kupper, who started all 13 games last year.

Its expected that when the Big East preseason polls come out, the Cardinals will be a top the list.

For a full preview and updates on the Big East media day, check back to this SB Nation New York StoryStream. For on the Louisville football program visit the SB Nation blog Cards Chronicle, while Big East Coast Bias is all about the Big East Conference.