Charlie Strong's dream always was to be a successful head coach. He wants to prove wrong all the doubters who passed him over because he didn't "interview well." Over a 26 year coaching career, he's worked for Lou Holtz, Steve Spurrier, and Urban Meyer. He's spent the last seven years coaching at Florida, where any team that doesn't end up in the national title picture is considered a collosal failure. In short, Strong's DNA is geared toward competing for the national title.
(I have no doubt that Strong values equally his ability to mold young minds, help players earn their degree and help them mature into responsible grown men, but I think it's clear he would keep that end of the deal no matter where he goes).
Whether Cards fans (and foes) realize it or not, he brings this mindset with him to Louisville. He's
This might be the most important aspiration for keeping Strong long-term. It will also lead to the greatest number of eye-rolls among those unable to countenance the thought of Louisville competing for a national championship (perhaps not completely undeserved, given the damage done by the Kragthorpe era if for no other reason).
In the overall context however, skepticism as a snap-reaction is misplaced. The fact remains that if you dominate the Big East, then you're at least in the hunt for the national championship, like Cincinnati last year, like West Virginia in 2007, like Louisville the year before that.