Louisville Football was able to win 8 games for first year coach Scott Satterfield after winning just 2 games the previous season. The 8th win came against SEC West opponent Mississippi State in the Music City Bowl in impressive fashion, 38-28. Their season has one Sporting News writer believing UofL should be ranked in the top 25 to start next season.
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) January 10, 2020
Bill Bender has ranked Louisville Football at number 19 in his Way Too Early Top 25. His reasoning for this ranking is entirely centered around what the Cards have coming back on offense. He mentions the improvement of QB Micale Cunningham as one huge reason for his ranking. Cunningham was one pass away from qualifying as the 2nd best QB in the country in passing efficiency. He improved immensely from his first start to the bowl game and figures to be the starter come game 1 next year. In the bowl game, he passed for 279 yards and 2 TDs while rushing for 81 yards. He won the Music City Bowl MVP award.
Of course, Bender also mentions 1500 yard RB Javian Hawkins as being a key, if not the key, offensive player for Louisville. Hawkins was just named a FWAA Freshman All-American after rushing for 1525 yards and 9 TDs. He averaged 5.8 yards a carry. He could easily flirt with 2000 yards next year in Coach Satterfield’s offense.
The final reason he likes Cardinal Football at 19 is the offensive line. He believes the Cards, under the tutelage of Offensive Line Coach Dwayne Ledford, will continue to improve and be the strength and driving force of the Louisville offense. They do lose their best offensive lineman in the person of Mekhi Becton, but their is quality depth and young talent behind him; including the talented Adonis Boone.
Of course, some other key returning offensive players he didn’t mention are WR Tutu Atwell who had well over 1000 yards receiving. There is also the return of redshirt senior WR Dez Fitzpatrick and redshirt sophomore TE/HB Marshon Ford. All 3 players figure to help the offense be one of the most explosive in the country next season.
The one flaw Bender mentions is the defense and their depth. We all saw depth was an issue for Louisville’s defense. At the end of the year, the Cards were plugging holes due to injuries and exhaustion all over the defense. The depth arguably cost them games against Miami and Kentucky. However, Bender believes they’ll have just enough defense and that their offense will allow UofL to out score opponents.
It’s nice to see Louisville Football getting some respect again nationally. It will be interesting to see if the AP will rank them coming into the season. With Scott Satterfield at the helm and an offense with some key returning talent, Louisville should be as good if not better than last year. Regardless, it’s nice to see Louisville getting some national respect again.