"Well, we're excited to be joining a conference that has the reigning national champion and a conference where just about every single individual award last year was won by somebody in the ACC,” Petrino said at ACC media days. "Our expectations are going to be high. I've always believed that you set expectations high. We have a group of young men that we're coaching that have been playing for a number of years that know how to prepare, that have played in big games, and know how to win. We expect to compete for a championship.”
The Russell Athletic Bowl last year against Miami may have given a glimpse at how Louisville will fair in conference play. The Cardinals dominated the Hurricanes in a 36-9 thrashing and out-gained Miami 554 to 174 in total yards. Granted, do not expect the Cards to blow out every ACC opponent and the loss of famed quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will have an effect on team play, but UL should have a chance in every conference game.
"Well, I think another very incredible great football team. They're 12-1 the last two years. They won the Sugar Bowl, beat Florida. They won the bowl game last year, beat Miami. Had one loss each of the last two years,” said Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher. "You've got to remember they had three first round draft picks last year. That's as many as any team in this country. They've got a quality program, quality coaches, quality history, and I think it's only going to enhance the ACC, and I think they're going to be a tremendous new member of our conference, and it's only going to add to our conference and our conference strength and our strength of schedule.”
Louisville luckily plays a couple of their most challenging conference games at home versus Miami and Florida State, but the Cardinals do have challenging road conference games such as at Clemson.
"You know, I have great respect for their program. I think Charlie Strong did an excellent job there and Coach Petrino prior to that and now obviously Coach Petrino is back.” said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. "They've been in two BCS bowls. They've won some huge games over the last many years.”
The Atlantic Division of the ACC is now one of the most stacked divisions in college football including the reigning national champions and last season, the schools had a combined record of 58-32 (64.4 percent). Expect stellar competition from Louisville and the conference as a whole this season.