It’s that time of year again. Only about a month away from the start of college football. With that, it’s also time for me to accurately predict Louisville’s schedule outcome.
At first glance it would seem that Louisville could get out to a great start of the season possibly going 5-1 or maybe even 6-0. However, this schedule is very backloaded (with the exception of the JMU game). After the Bye week, Louisville will have battles with Pitt and Wake that could easily go either way. The last 3 would seem to have the Cards as pretty big underdogs, but I believe the NC State game at home is very winnable.
Let’s break it down game by game and see where we stand…
Saturday September 3rd at Syracuse
QB, Garrett Shrader returns for the ‘Cuse and that is good news for the Cards D. Syracuse ranked 121st in the nation with 158 passing yards per game. However, the key to this game will be the ability of the Syracuse D line to slow the Cards rushing game. I don’t think there is enough experience on that D line to slow the 3 to 5 talented running backs that Satterfield will cram down their throats. I’d like this game much better if it were at home. I think the Cards get off to a slow start in the dome, but pull away late. Game will be closer than final score.
Louisville wins 38 – 17 Win Probability 58%
Friday September 9th at UCF
Revenge game…. for them. Yes they lost Dillon Gabriel and Big Kat Bryant, but they still have plenty of talent and haven’t forgot about what happened last year. Not to mention the additions from the transfer portal. This defense ranked 6th in the nation in passing efficiency. I don’t like the way this one looks on paper.
Louisville loses 24 – 28 Win Probability 36.8%
Friday September 16th vs Florida State
Finally – the home opener. Odd to start the home schedule against a conference foe, but here we are. Let’s do this. QB Jordan Travis comes back to Louisville after going 5-2 in his last 7 starts for FSU. Their defense is much improved, but still a little suspect. Even though FSU comes to Louisville after an early season bye week, I still think the Cards get it done.
Louisville wins 41-38 Win Probability 52.4%
Saturday September 24th vs USF
In 2021, the USF defense finished 123rd in the nation. Quite simply, they couldn’t stop the run. However, they hit the portal and beefed up their D line. While I believe their D will improve, it’s simply not enough to stop the Cards strong running game. Big day on the ground for all three running backs. Despite transfer additions and new coordinators for USF, Cards win easy.
Louisville wins 42-17 Win Probability 86%
Saturday October 1st at Boston College
This game scares me to death. BC will have a good rushing attack. And with the return of QB Phil Jurkovec, coupled with talented wide receiver Zay Flowers, BC should be able to put enough points on the board to make this a very close game. This is one of those 50/50 type games that Louisville must win to have a successful season. I believe the Cards will be a slight favorite at kickoff, but this one will likely be a battle to the end.
Louisville wins 31-28 Win Probability 57.5%
Saturday October 8th at Virginia
Another one of those 50/50 type games that the Cards must win. I would definitely pick the Cards to win if it was a home game. However, on the road, I could see a slip up here. Virginia has a great offense and returns most of its key contributors including QB Brennan Armstrong. The Cavs D has a propensity to give up the big play. Can Malik make some big plays? I think so. In my opinion, however, the game is won or lost by the Cards D line. The Cavs are replacing 5 starters on their O line. It’s up to Ashton and Yaya to make the plays to seal this victory. I believe in them.
Louisville wins 35-31 Win Probability 56.2%
*** Bye Week***
Saturday October 22nd vs Pitt
At first glance, you would think that Louisville should win this one. You would think only losing by 3 at Pitt last year, Pitt losing one of the nation’s best QB’s and Heisman candidate Kenny Pickett, as well as losing one of the best receivers in the college football to the portal, that Louisville would have the advantage. Yet, I don’t feel good about this one. Pitt will still have a top level defense and on offense they add USC QB transfer Kedon Slovis. Slovis might be even better than Pickett and Pitt returns their whole O line.
Louisville Loses 28-20 Win Probability 46.6%
Saturday October 29th vs Wake Forest
Another 50/50 game. However, this one is at home so I feel a little better about pulling out a dub. Wakes offense has averaged over 30 points per game every year since 2017 and despite losing a few pieces of lat years team, Wake will keep on rolling up the points. QB Sam Hartman threw for 4,228 yards last season. That yardage was good enough for 6th in ACC history. On defense, Wakes secondary and linebackers are suspect. Cards should be able to put up plenty of points, but will they put up enough to win? Turnovers are the key here… Don’t make them and you win, Simple as that.
Louisville wins 52-50 Win Probability 52.7%
Saturday November 5th vs James Madison
I’m not spending a lot of time studying JMU’s roster. If the Cards lose this one then the season is ruined.
Louisville wins 42-3 Win Probability 93.8%
Saturday November 12th at Clemson
Clemson was down last year, but they are still Clemson. A team loaded with talent and good coaching. Traveling to Death Valley doesn’t help the cause either. I’m not as high on Clemson as most people are after their passing offense ranked 103rd in nation and their hyped QB threw more INT’s than TD’s. Will they improve? Yes. Can the Cards beat them? Yes. Yet, it would be a huge upset. I give the Cards a punchers chance here and think they keep it close most of the game, but ultimately they just don’t have enough in the tank.
Louisville Loses 31-24 Win Probability 9.7%
Saturday November 19th vs NC State
When I first glanced at the schedule I saw a game against a good team sandwiched in between two tough games. I immediately counted it as a loss. However, upon further review, I feel this is another one of those 50/50 games that the Cards can win. Being at home is HUGE. Fans gotta help get this W. Last year, the Cards should have won this game but failed to Finish. They finish here and they win. State has a really good defense and on offense, QB Devin Leary returns, but he lost a few weapons to help support him.
Louisville wins 24-21 Win Probability 51.6%
Saturday November 26th at Kentucky
Quite frankly, Louisville hasn’t been competitive in this rivalry the last few years. However, Louisville has narrowed the gap. In fact, Louisville will have a better O line than UK for the first time in a long time. UK’s defense will be solid and be able to make enough plays to keep Louisville’s offense at bay. I just don’t think the Card have enough just yet to get over the hump. * Check back next year.
Louisville Loses 38- 27 Win Probability 29.1%
*Win Probabilities are from ESPN Power Index
Best case scenario 10-2
With losses to Clemson and UK.
Worst case scenario 5-7
With losses to Clemson, UK, UCF, NC State, Pitt, Virginia, BC and Wake.
My Realistic Prediction 7-5
With losses to UCF, Pitt, Clemson, UK and NC State or Boston College.
The key to Louisville’s season hinges on those 50/50 games. The games vs FSU, BC, Virginia, Pitt, Wake, and NC State are all winnable, but are also all potential L’s. The difference between 5-7 and 10-2 lies in these 50/50 games. The key to these games is finishing. Louisville lost several games last season by not being able to finish. Many chalked that up to being a young team. This season they come back with plenty of experience, healthy and they have added some pieces at positions that needed help and depth. There is no excuses this year. Time to finish.
As Always, GO CARDS!