Possibility of bowl eligibility noticed early
There wasn’t one specific moment during the season that first-year head coach Scott Satterfield thought making a bowl game was possible for Louisville football. After a 2-10 season a year ago and being picked last in the Atlantic Division in an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) preseason media poll, a bowl game might not have seemed realistic from an outsider’s perspective for a program trying to reshape it culture.
Things didn’t happen overnight as Satterfield and the new coaching staff worked with the roster. They saw progression from the first and last practice in February, but there was still a long way to go.
Louisville’s first half performance against Notre Dame in the season opener, a game the Cardinals trailed 21-14 at halftime, gave Satterfield the inclination that his team could compete.
“They were playing hard, they were fighting, we were right there in that game,” Satterfield said. “You never know what the season was going to lay out, how many games you’re going to win and all that, but I thought we would be able to be competitive from that point, right in the beginning of the season.”
Louisville attained bowl eligibility last week against NC State with a 34-20 win. The Cardinals defeated 19-ranked Wake Forest on the road in October and defeated Virginia, a team atop the Coastal Division of the ACC.
Louisville is seeking its fifth conference win when it hosts Syracuse Nov. 23. With a victory over Syracuse, the Cardinals would finish the season in second place of the Atlantic Division behind Clemson.
The 6-4 start is the best for a coach in his first season since Bobby Petrino began 7-1 in 2003, but Satterfield doesn’t thing the progress is complete.
“We’re fighting every single day as coaches and as players to be the best we can possibly be,” Satterfield said.