Analyzing and Predicting Louisville’s 2014 Football Schedule

Today was an exciting day for University of Louisville fans with the universities first ever ACC schedule being officially released. There are many intriguing games and predictions in regards to next years schedule so without further ado lets begin.

1) September 1st vs Miami
-This is an intriguing matchup for multiple reasons. This will be our first ever ACC regular season game as well as a rematch from this past years Russell Athetlic Bowl where Louisville handily blew past “The U”. Another intriguing fact about this game is that it falls on Labor Day and will be our first night game of the season. This game also marks the much anticipated return of former Head Coach Bobby Petrino. The cherry on top of this magnificent game is that it will be a home game to open the season. The one down side to this game is the fact that it is on a Monday.
Prediction: Louisville 38 – Miami 20
Record: 1-0
Predicted Ranking: 25th

2) September 6th vs Murray State
– Another home game, and a return to Saturday football. This time versus the Murray State Racers. This game shouldn’t be much of a challenge and should allow Coach Petrino to fully utilize all of his weapons on offense so that he can really evaluate all of the young guys in game situations. I foresee a glimpse of the old Petrino in this game as I predict their will be a lot of points put on the board by UofL.
Prediction: Louisville 52 – Murray State 17
Record: 2-0
Predicted Ranking: 21st

3) September 13th @ Virginia
– Another Saturday game but this time it will be Louisville’s first ACC road test. Virginia figures to be a tough team and is used to playing competition above their talent level so they may very well give Louisville and Coach Petrino’s offense a bit of trouble. Nonetheless I think we will figure it out in the 2nd half and pull away to secure a 3-0 start and most likely a bump up the Top 25 rankings.
Prediction: Louisville 35 – Virginia 20
Record: 3-0
Predicted Ranking: 18th

4) September 20th @ Florida International
– Much like the Murray State game, Louisville doesn’t figure to have much trouble dispatching Florida International. Since losing to Florida International in Charlie Strongs first year Louisville has made sure they are prepared for the Panthers each subsequent game. I suspect this game will be no different and will end much like the Murray State game. Also of note is that game is @ FIU which is conveniently located near where a ton of our players originate from meaning our guys will be playing extra hard as they will likely have a substantial amount of family at this game.
Prediction: Louisville 48 – Florida International 17
Record: 4-0
Predicted Ranking: 17th

5) September 27th vs.  Wake Forest
– Our third ACC matchup of the year brings us Wake Forest. Wake Forest is far and away from the team Louisville faced and defeated in the Orange Bowl back in 2006. Much like Virginia, I highly doubt Wake Forest be rattled by playing a more talented team. Expect Wake Forest to give us a scare with their solid defense and it will be up to our defense to match their intensity. I think our defense is up for the task and will help secure a hard earned win.
Prediction: Louisville 27 – Wake Forest 24
Record: 5-0
Predicted Ranking: 16th

6) October 3rd @ Syracuse
– Our fourth league game brings us to an old foe and a Dome with which we have a few memories we would like to forget. Syracuse however is in a bit of a transition phase and will be facing quite the uphill battle both in regards to talent and experience. I predict this will be a great win for the Cards on the road and will help to get our swagger back after the close game against Wake Forest and just in time for a huge game @ Death Valley vs. the Clemson Tigers.
Prediction: Louisville 38 – Syracuse 14
Record: 6-0
Predicted Ranking: 13th

7) October 11th @ Clemson
– Here we go!! Finally in early October we get a shot at one of the big boys in the ACC. Fortunately for us this isn’t last years Clemson squad. They will be working in a new QB to replace the heralded Tajh Boyd as well as a new RB. Another huge question mark for Clemson is being tasked to deal with the loss of Sammy Watkins to the NFL. I think this opportunity is there for the taking. I suspect Clemson will put up a great fight because they return a the majority of their starters on a defense that was solid last year in a loaded league. Also consider their defense will be a year more experienced by the time we play them.
Prediction: Louisville 31 – Clemson 27
Record: 7-0
Predicted Ranking: 12th

8th) October 18th vs. NC State
– This matchup pits Louisville versus their former Belk Bowl opponent NC State. The Seniors on this team still remember that loss and will be tasked with attempting to shut down the Wolfpack’s offense while the offense will be focused on putting up huge numbers against a shaky NC State defense. This game is at home and should be a relatively easy win for the Cards.
Prediction: Louisville 44 – NC State 17
Record: 8-0
Predicted Ranking: 12th

9th) October 30th vs Florida St.
– This is easily the game of the year for Louisville as the reigning National Champions come to Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium for this Halloween Eve matchup. Everything is setup perfect for Louisville in this game. First of all its at home and the atmosphere will be like no other that our players have witnessed from our fans. This game will showcase our fans at their best. Also in the Cards favor is the fact that this game comes following a bye week beforehand to prepare. This is the type of game Cardinal fans have dreamed of having in the regular season for as long as I can remember. Now unfortunately I have to admit I am afraid the Seminoles will be too much to handle. Jameis Winston is still at the helm for Florida State and will likely be the best QB in the country next year. I suspect our offense will do our best to hang with the Seminoles but in the end I predict we fall short, resulting in our first loss of the season.
Prediction: Louisville 24 – Florida St 38
Record: 8-1
Predicted Ranking: 15th

10th) November 8th @ Boston College
– This game provides a nice getaway for the Cards with a couple extra days off and a far less talented team than Florida State as the Cards travel to Boston College. This game I predict Louisville gets back on track and takes care of business handily, knocking Boston Colleges crowd out of the game early and keeping our foot on the gas the whole game. If there is anything Coach Petrino knows better than a lot of coaches its that no matter how morally unsettling it is, the more you run up the score on an opponent the more attention your program gets from the major networks.
Prediction: Louisville 52 – Boston College 17
Record: 9-1
Predicted Ranking: 14th

11th) November 22nd @ Notre Dame
– Coming off another bye week which will give the Cards an extra week of preperation, this game will be hyped as an upset over Notre Dame. Louisville travels to South Bend to take on the Fighting Irish for the first time in program history. This very well may be the largest stadium and crowd that our players will have faced all year, especially if we roll into town with the record and ranking I suspect. I think with the extra week of preperation our offense gets the job done and knocks the crowd out of the game early allowing us to maintain the momentum for the majority of the game.
Prediction: Louisville 41 – Notre Dame 24
Record: 10-1
Predicted Ranking: 12th

12th) November 29th vs Kentucky
– For the first time in this heated rivalry the game is being played where it belongs, during rivalry weekend for all of college football to see. Mark Stoops has been reeling in what appears to be talented players. Down the road the stellar recruiting job being done should make UK more competitive. However with the game being at the end of the year and UK likely being far from bowl eligible I forsee an easy win vs. the “Slap Dicks” as Coach Petrino so kindly refers to them. I know UK fans will argue about my predicted outcome of this game until they are literally blue in the face but the fact is that YES Stoops is bringing in some nice players for the first time in UK’s history but the fact also remains that the majority of these prospects will be freshmen and freshmen rarely contribute in their first year for multiple reasons. Most importantly freshmen are generally not physically prepared to play big time college football like sophomores and juniors are after having 2-3 years of physical conditioning in the program. For an example see Jason Hatcher (UKs top 2013 recruit)
Prediction: Louisville 37 – Kentucky 20
Record: 11-1
Predicted Ranking: 11th

Season Recap
Final Record: 11-1
Predicted Final Ranking: 11th

With the loss to division rival Florida State I predict that will keep us out of the ACC Championship game. I doubt Florida St. loses more than 1 game next year. Nonetheless a third straight double digit win season and top 15 ranking to end the regular season is nothing to snub your nose at, especially considering the predicted huge wins @ Clemson and @ Notre Dame. With the new playoff system taking the top 4 teams in the country I suspect UofL will be in contention for one of the other big time bowls that are not hosting a Playoff game such as the Orange Bowl or the Sugar Bowl which would pit us against another stellar opponent. Of course this is all speculation and the season doesn’t start for another 7 1/2 months but hey its never too early to look ahead and see the beauty that is this ACC schedule.


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