After an 0-3 start, we mapped out a “Road Map to Success” for Louisville Football and identified several key areas of why the Cards are where they were after the first 3 games of 2015. We also updated that Road Map after Louisville’s win over Samford. So let’s do it again after a WIN over NC State:
Step #1: Beat Samford -> COMPLETED (1-3) Step #2: At Least Split N.C. State & Florida State Road Tests -> COMPLETED (2-3)
Step #2: BONUS – Beat Florida State
Winning in Raleigh was a huge deal. It set into motion some good vibes heading into this week’s BYE. The entire team needed to be able to see some of the fruits of their labor and the close losses clearly were eating at the team. The celebration that followed the NC State game was some much needed catharsis.
NOW. BEAT FSU. A win in Tallahassee would put the Cards in a fantastic position in the ACC Atlantic Division, but more than that a win over the Seminoles would be a tremendous step for the overall program development. The Noles are #12 in the nation and expected to be huge underdogs. A win here was not on the original road map, so it’s a bonus feature and would allow Louisville to right its ship and get to .500 after a tough 0-3 start.
Florida State is super talented and winning in Tallahassee is going to be a CHORE. FSU’s defense is playing outstanding and will give the Cards fits. Louisville showed some growth in all three phases but there is still work to do heading to Doak Campbell Stadium. Florida State had to sweat out a close one this past weekend at Wake Forest as the Noles needed an INT in their own endzone with Wake near the redzone to preserve the 24-16 victory.
UofL may be able to catch FSU napping Louisville is sandwiched between Miami and Georgia Tech on the schedule.
Step #3: Find a Way to Beat Boston College (3-4)
The Eagles have forced me to create an entire new step in the process for them. BC plays outstanding defense. I mean OUTSTANDING. Somehow Boston College lost this past weekend to Duke 9-6 and held the Blue Devils to just 228 yards. Currently BC is 3-2 on the year with its other loss coming 14-0 vs. FSU. Also on the resume is a 17-14 win over Northern Illinois who took Ohio State down to the wire a few weeks ago.
Louisville vs. BC is going to be a rock fight and the Cards are going to be coming out of its match-up vs. Florida State. The Eagles are limited offensively and will be on its 2nd road game in a row coming from Clemson and looking ahead to Virginia Tech. Louisville’s defense took a step forward vs. NC State and that will need to continue vs. BC….Louisville will find it difficult to sustain drives vs the Eagles.
I’m not sure fans realize yet what kind of problem BC presents for the Cards. Perhaps its the month between home games.
Step #4: Beat Wake Forest (4-4)
Road Game in Winstom-Salem and Wake Forest has been no easy win for anyone in 2015. The Demon Deacons lost to Syracuse by 13, Indiana by 7, and Florida State by 8. This will be a BLACKOUT game in on Halloween Eve. The Cards SHOULD be able to win this game, but with a young team that has yet to find consistency it’s hard to say definitively…..and it’s on the road.
Step #3: Protect What’s Left of the Home Schedule…. Syracuse & Virginia (6-4)
For Syracuse (3-1) the Louisville game is sandwiched between Florida State and Clemson and will once again be the second road game in a row for the Orange. Syracuse currently owns wins over Rhode Island, Wake Forest, and Central Michigan, and played LSU tough 34-24 in the Carrier Dome. Syracuse is playing good football at the moment…this one will not be easy. But it is a long way away to attempt to analyze what Louisville or the Orange will be like in November.
Lastly, the final game of Louisville’s home schedule will be a revenge match-up against the Virginia Cavaliers (1-3). The Cavs seem to be unraveling after two tough games to start the season when UVA took Notre Dame down to the wire and lost to UCLA in their opener. Virginia barely made it past William & Mary and were destroyed at home a week ago by Boise State. Virginia is surrounded by fertile recruiting ground Mike London may be fighting for his job at this point in the season. Louisville needs to win this game.
Step #4: Beat PITT at Heinz Field (7-4)
Pitt (3-1) is fresh off a 17-13 win over Virginia Tech on the road this week. The Panthers lost in overtime to undefeated Iowa in Iowa City and the Panthers have suffered a series of key personnel losses. The Panthers will be coming off a pair of tough games vs. Notre Dame and at Duke prior to its game vs. Louisville and will also have a divisional game vs. Miami on a short week 6 days after the Louisville game. This is going to be a tough one for the Cards, but if Louisville wants to have a successful season they will need to find a way to steal this game….but to evaluate this one in October would be unfair. It’s a LOOONNNGGG way from now.
Step #5: Beat Kentucky at Commonwealth Stadium (8-4)
Best case scenario Louisville wins every game remaining on its schedule. That’s not likely. Even coming into the Governor’s Cup at 7-4 would be a TERRIFIC turnaround. So more than likely this game could be for a great deal of relevance and perhaps even a bowl appearance. Kentucky (4-1) beat Eastern Kentucky in overtime this week to add to wins over Missouri, Lafayette and South Carolina. The Cats’ one loss (as you know) is to Florida. Louisville will be coming into this game off the PITT game while Kentucky will be coming off games vs. Charlotte & Vanderbilt.
Also as we saw from last year, Kentucky puts a great deal of emphasis on this game and it may mean as much to UK as it does Louisville.
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