LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville coach Charlie Strong is too busy trying to get a full game from his No. 11 Cardinals to think about politics.

At the helm of one of the country's six unbeaten teams, Strong says this week he won't "start politicking" for an improved spot in the Bowl Championship Series standings.

Though Strong could ask "What about us" when there's talk about the top unbeaten teams — top-ranked Alabama, No. 2 Kansas State, No. 3 Oregon and No. 4 Notre Dame. Instead, he's focusing on things he can control, including preparing for Saturday's game at Syracuse (4-5, 3-2 Big East).

Louisville (9-0, 4-0) ranks ninth in the BCS behind LSU and South Carolina, both of which have two losses.

Strong said he doesn't resent or even look at the others in front of him, knowing his team must win out to maintain hopes of playing for a national title.

"What I would hate to see is all of a sudden we're No. 5 in the BCS," Strong said. "Then our guys are going to feel like, 'Hey, we have arrived. We're there.' No, let's just keep working and then, at the end, let's see where we are."

Louisville's failure to play a complete game and its lack of a victory against a big-name opponent accounts for its relatively low standing despite its unblemished record. The Cardinals have had to come from behind in their last six games, including an overtime win over Cincinnati two weeks ago.

Another reason Strong isn't pushing for a higher ranking: it provides fuel to keep his team focused on improving.

"I just want us to continue to play with a chip on our shoulder and I want our players to feel like they are being disrespected and then they will. They'll continue to get better."

Strong himself admits he's "shocked" by the program's progress in his third year and never expected to be 9-0. Senior center Mario Benavides remembers his 4-8 freshman season with Louisville before Strong arrived.

"Being a part of a program that's had its ups and downs, I think you learn to not be satisfied but definitely appreciate where you are," Benavides said. "I can definitely see why some people would be skeptical."

Putting together the elusive complete game would quiet critics, Benavides added. Temple got the jump on Louisville last week by returning the opening kick for a 93-yard touchdown and later tying the game at 17 before the Cardinals scored 28 unanswered points to win 45-17.

While Benavides respects those who question Louisville, he can't stomach a double standard when evaluating other top teams. The Cardinals and No. 4 Notre Dame share a common opponent in Pittsburgh.

Louisville trailed 21-17 at the half before rallying for three touchdowns in the third quarter and a 45-35 win. But Notre Dame needed three overtimes in its 29-26 victory over Pittsburgh last week.

"Whenever teams that are ranked ahead of us are getting the whole 'great teams find a way to win' kind of quote and we're getting the 'that wasn't very impressive' kind of quote, it does bother me a bit," Benavides said.

Louisville has attempted to schedule tougher non-conference opponents in recent years but hasn't found any interested parties.

A two-year series with Georgia would have concluded in Louisville this year but the Bulldogs backed out in 2010 in favor of a 2011 game in Atlanta versus Boise State and an added home game in Athens this season.

"If they don't want to play you, then you can never show just how good you are and who you are," Strong said. "That's why it's important for us to just continue to play good each week so then, at the end, if we're very fortunate to get in one of those bowl games against a really good SEC or ACC (team) or whomever. Then we'll be able to show who we are."