Louisville advanced to its second straight Bowl game under second year head coach Charlie Strong. It is the first time the Cardinals have advanced to back-to-back bowl games since 2005–06, their first two years as members of the Big East. Louisville enters the game with a record of 7–5, and having gone 5–2 in Big East play. The Cardinals experienced an up-and-down season. They started out 1–1 before going on the road and beating their hated in-state rival Kentucky 24–17 for the first time in 4 tries, in a game where highly touted freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater made his debut, filling in midway through for the injured Will Stein. Louisville lost three straight to drop to 2–4, before winning three straight to go to 5–4. One notable event occurred midway through the Cards' 16–14 win over Rutgers, in which senior cornerback Anthony Conner broke his neck and was carted off the field. Louisville became Bowl-eligible on November 19, in a 34–20 win at Connecticut.