I have been doing theses predictions for several years and this if by far the hardest one that I have done. There are so many questions that I need answered before I can be give you a true and accurate prediction.
Here is what I know… Louisville is going to lose to both Alabama and Clemson and they are going to beat Indiana State and WKU.
(Nunns opinion, not CSZ’s)
Other than that, all 8 remaining games are winnable. Those remaining 8 games are all possible losses too. Do I really think Louisville will lose all 8 of those games? Of course not, but I do believe all of those games could be decided by 10 points or less.
I also know that the wise-guys in Las Vegas do not believe that Louisville is going to have a great year. They set the projected win total at 6.5 games. Most major publications predict Louisville to win 7 games. A few predict 8 games. Personally, I could see as many as 10 wins and as few as 6.
Traditionally the Vegas guys are very accurate. However, this year I believe they are factoring in the loss of Lamar Jackson a bit to heavy into their formula. I believe Louisville will have a top 5-10 offense. The question I have is on defense. Mainly the defensive line. I worry about teams with strong running games. My fear is that a team can control the clock with a slow methodical running game and keep the high powered Louisville offense off the field. I also believe the defense will be better than last year.
So, by my calculations, Louisville won’t lose much, if anything, on offense and should be better on defense. If I am correct, then Louisville should win 9 games. Yes, my prediction is 9 wins. But 8 would not shock me in the least.
Here are my game by game predictions,
Saturday, September 1st vs Alabama
Facing the defending national champions is not the ideal way to open a season. Especially with a team full of newcomers and freshman that will be counted on to contribute. I don’t think it matter which quarterback Alabama decides to start. The big mismatch is in the trenches. Alabama is loaded with talent and depth on both sides of the line. They are the preseason #1 team in the country. I believe they will be in the college football playoffs but I also believe they are not the best team on Louisville’s schedule. Regardless, Louisville plays well and opens a few eyes but ultimately they are just outmatched. Louisville loses 21-38. Win probability 13%
Saturday, September 8th vs Indiana State
Louisville’s home opener will be an electric environment. Not because of the opponent, but rather due to the stadium renovations. Indiana State could quite possibly be the worst team ever. Maybe not, but they are not even close to good. It won’t be a competitive game but it should be a fun game to cheer on your Cards. The train horn and the fireworks guy should have a busy night. Louisville wins 63-0. Win probability 99.9%
Saturday, September 15th vs Western Kentucky
This isn’t the Jeff Brohm led Toppers. Head coach Mike Sanford went 6-7, with a 1-5 finish, in his first season and now has to replace his signal caller. WKU will struggle to run the ball and the Cards defense should eat well as WKU surrendered 48 sacks last season. Louisville wins 48-7. Win probability 96%
Saturday, September 22nd at Virginia
Louisville hasn’t exactly played their best football in Charlottesville but I believe it won’t come down to a 4th quarter Jaylen Smith highlight reel catch to beat the Cavaliers. Virginia seems to be a team that is improving but they lost a lot on defense. Jawon should have a good passing day as Virginia will have a lot of youth at linebacker and in the secondary. Look for a tight end touchdown and a long highlight touchdown by Jaylen Smith. Louisville wins 42-20. Win probability 74%
Saturday, September 28th vs Florida State
The experts will tell you that FSU first year head coach, Willie Taggart, will have a wealth of talent on his roster. And they would be correct. They boast the ACC’s best Heisman candidate, running back Cam Akers - who broke FSU’s freshman rushing record with 1,024 yards in 2017. They also have plenty of talent on defense too. Taggert’s up-tempo, spread attack should be a real test for the Cards and FSU will likely be favored. But until FSU beats Louisville in Cardinal Stadium, I won’t pick them to win. Louisville wins 35-31. Win probability 44%
Friday, October 5th vs Georgia Tech
This is one of those tricky games. Georgia Tech isn’t great but their triple option running attack can give defenses trouble. Louisville will probably have the linebackers help the D line and let the secondary go one on one with the Yellow Jackets receivers who return a combined five catches from last year. If the Louisville defense can stay in their lanes and maintain discipline, they should prevail after a hard fought game. Louisville wins 24-17. Win probability 57%
Saturday, October 13th at Boston College
Coming off of a very tough victory 8 days prior, Louisville will come limping into Boston Mass. I’m still having AJ Dillon nightmares. Well, now he is a sophomore with a veteran offensive line. BC will also have a very strong front 7 on defense. Could be a rough day for Louisville running backs. Louisville can’t get it done against this up and coming ACC contender. Louisville loses 38-24. Win probability 44%
Saturday, October 20th – Bye Week
Saturday, October 27th vs Wake Forest
This should be a very interesting game. Wake has one of the best young receivers in the ACC in Greg Dortch. Former Card commit, Matt Colburn, emerged at running back to top 120 yards in four of the final six games. He will be running behind a veteran offensive line who returns all five starters, including three who earned All-ACC honors. This is one of those testing of the fortitude games. Louisville wins 27-24. Win probability 69%
Saturday, November 3rd at Clemson
In my opinion, Clemson is the best team in the country and will win the national championship. Their defensive line boasts 4 guys who will be NFL draft picks next season. Good luck running on those guys. It’s almost unfair. However, this budding rivalry has seen many close games that came down to a final possession (Well, not last year). I want to say that this game will be another final possession type of game and I hope it is but it doesn’t look likely. Louisville loses 31-10. Win probability 8%
Friday, November 9th at Syracuse
Going to Syracuse always scares me. I feel this game will closer than it should be. Quarterback Eric Dungey returns with three years of starting experience (seems like 8 years) to lead what could be a high powered offense. While Syracuse should be strong up from defensively, their linebackers and secondary may not be so tough. This game could be a shootout. Big games for Dez and Jaylen. Louisville wins 44-40. Win probability 59.5%
Saturday, November 17th vs NC State
The dreaded look ahead game. But is it really? Louisville will have it’s hands full with NC State regardless of the next weeks opponent. Quarterback Ryan Finley, his top three receivers and three starters on the offensive line return from a team that beat Louisville last season. The good news is that State lost eight starters on defense, including the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Bradley Chubb. I would give the nod to NC State if this were an away game – but it’s not. I think the fans at Cardinal Stadium give the Cards the boost they need to pull off a victory. Louisville wins 27-21. Win probability 63%
Saturday, November 24th vs Kentucky
It’s UK. (15 TD’s, a safety and a 2pt conv. when Stoops asks Bobby to take a knee in the 4th quarter) Another year where Mason King fails to register a stat. Louisville wins 108-0 Win probability 76.5%
** Win probabilities are projections from ESPN.com, not from me.
As Always, GO CARDS!