Texas A&M or Alabama vs. Louisville in 2013 nearly happened

USA TODAY Sports

Louisville almost landed a game (or games) it desperately needed.

Louisville and Texas A&M nearly reached an agreement to play a season-opening game at Houston's Reliant Stadium, according to ESPN's Brett McMurphy. Louisville also was in talks with Alabama on a neutral site game and Wisconsin on a home-and-home series, but nothing came to fruition.

Oddly, the Cardinals were likely rooting for Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas to head to the NFL. If that had been the case, the Hokies would've considered pulling from their Chick-fil-A Kickoff game with Alabama. Louisville would have been the replacement team.

The Cardinals could have really used one of those games. They figure to have an excellent team in 2013 who could be a darkhorse national title candidate. Unfortunately, the Big East is in shambles as Louisville plays its final season in the conference before heading to the ACC. The school's toughest nonconference opponent is likely Ohio out of the MAC, who could edge out SEC bottom-dweller Kentucky. Florida International and Eastern Kentucky round out non-league play.

Syracuse and Pitt are off the conference schedule next season. New conference members Houston, Memphis and UCF won't provide any national bona fides for Louisville. The Cards could go undefeated and still lose out to a one-loss major-conference team for a title-game berth.

The premier home game for Louisville in 2013 is Rutgers. That's a tough sell for the athletic department's ticket office. Here is the complete schedule for the Cardinals, in all its unexciting glory:

Aug. 31 vs. Ohio

Sep. 7 vs. Eastern Kentucky

Sep. 14 at Kentucky

Sep. 21 vs. FIU

Oct. 5 at Temple

Oct. 10 vs. Rutgers

Oct. 18 vs. UCF

Oct. 26 at USF

Nov. 8 at UConn

Nov. 16 vs. Houston

Nov. 23 vs. Memphis

Dec. 5 at Cincinnati


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