Louisville football has played three games and they have yet to look impressive. The Cards have yet to score an offensive TD in the 1st half of a ballgame in 2018 and scoring is a staple of Bobby Petrino coached teams.
Because the Cards are relying heavily on freshman and sophomores thus far in 2018, there is the possibility of major improvement throughout the course of the season. The coaches have to do their jobs and players HAVE to trust the process. Otherwise how Louisville looks in mid-September is how the program will finish the season….. but the good news is that there is a lot of room for improvement.
The 2018 schedule is much LIGHTER than expected. This week the Cards travel to Charlottesville to face a team that is statistically better than Louisville, BUT(!) if the Cards can make major improvement on the practice field this week they can beat UVA. If switching to Malik Cunningham steadies things and Bobby and the Louisville Offense can go into a game with a week of prep knowing Cunningham is the starter, who knows? But let’s take a look at what’s left and how each team stands remaining on the schedule.
It’s past time to go to work:
Let’s take a look at what lies ahead for the Cards and how the future opponents have fared thus far in 2018:
Virginia (2-1) Beat Richmond & Ohio, Lost to Indiana
The Cavaliers beat Ohio in Nashville (game moved for Florence) and racked up 552 yards of offense and 45 points. Now who is the real UVA? This team lost to Indiana in Bloomington. We all have our opinions about Indiana Football around here and it is universally not good. Not sure what kind of shape Charlottesville, VA is in following the storm as Virginia’s field is natural grass. In two ACC trips to Charlottesville the Cards have split with the Cavaliers…. one James Quick dropped punt gave the game to UVA while Louisville needed a 4th quarter drive from Lamar Jackson culminating in a bomb to the endzone to Jaylen Smith to steal the win 2 years ago. Winning in Charlottesville hasn’t come easy for UofL.
Florida State (1-2) Lost to Virginia Tech & Syracuse, Beat Samford
It’s gross in Tallahassee. FSU Lost to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome this week. They scored 7 points vs. the Orange & gained just 240 yards. The Noles had 11 first downs. Syracuse isn’t not known as a defensive team.
Add losing to Syracuse with no offense to getting beat 24-3 by the Hokies and then having to come from behind to beat the Samford Bulldogs has people in Tallahassee breathing out of a bag. It’s not good right now for the Seminoles with their new head coach.
This week FSU hosts Northern Illinois in an attempt to re-group. But this FSU team can’t take anyone lightly and FSU has a lot of work to do (and so does Louisville before next week’s match-up between the Cards and Noles).
As bad as Louisville has played the Cards could have a shot at beating Florida State 3 years in a row because of how poorly FSU has played. But let’s try to not be the team that helps jump start Florida State.
Georgia Tech (1-2) Beat Alcorn State, Lost to South Florida & Pitt
Georgia Tech lost its best running back vs. USF and then fell to a Pittsburgh squad that was trounced by Penn State a week prior. Turnovers are a problem for the Yellow Jackets. Previous to this week’s loss to Pitt the Yellow Jackets smoked Alcorn State and then managed to lose to South Florida despite 602 yards of offense. USF had two different kickoff returns for a TD which skewed the final result, but, GT turned the ball over 3 times as well. Right now the problem for Tech isn’t offense…. it’s special teams and turnovers.
This week GT gets sacrificed to Clemson. GT also hosts Bowling Green before they travel to Louisville for the Friday Night match-up.
Boston College (3-0) Beat UMASS, Holy Cross and Wake Forest
Boston College had everyone talking this pre-season because they returned Quarterback Anthony Brown & Running Back AJ Dillon…… and so far there’s been good reason to be excited. The Eagles are 3-0 to start the season and 1-0 in conference play after beating Wake Forest on Thursday night. So far they’ve lived up to the hype and Louisville will have to travel TO Boston in the middle of October. The middle of October has been a very vulnerable spot for the Cardinals historically (we’ll have a piece on that as we approach the date). This week Boston College travels to West Lafayette, IN to face-off vs. Purdue, and then will host Temple and travel to NC State. We’ll have a really good indicator by this point in the season of what BC is and hopefully the Cards are playing much better.
Wake Forest (2-1) Beat Tulane & Towson, Lost to Boston College
Wake has been the source of two surprises thus far in college football. First was opening Week 1 with a much closer than expected win over the Tulane Green Wave and the second was playing Boston College to just a TD on Thursday night. Who is the real Wake Forest? Much of that answer will be determined by the development of Freshman QB Sam Hartman. Hartman has perhaps the biggest receiving weapon in the ACC with Greg Dortch.
There is a lot of work left on the schedule before Louisville host the revenge game vs. the Demon Deacons: vs. Notre Dame, vs. Rice, vs. Clemson, and @ Florida State.
Clemson (3-0) Beat Furman, Georgia Southern & Texas A&M
Clemson did Clemson things again. It wasn’t flashy this Saturday vs. Georgia Southern but the Tigers got the W.
Clemson’s best win so far was on the road versus A&M. We’ll see just how good A&M is in the coming weeks, but for now we’ll go ahead and say Clemson is Clemson no matter who they play at Quarterback. Also looking at this game almost two months from now who in the world is going to try to match-up with WR Tee Higgins?
This week Clemson will be eating the sacrament that is the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Syracuse (3-0) Beat Florida State, Western Michigan & Wagner
Well what do you know, Dino Babers and the Syracuse Orange are 3-0. No one thought Florida State would be this bad offensively, but SU took advantage this week as the Noles scored fewer points vs. Syracuse than Wagner did a week prior.
Syracuse likes their points and I’m guessing they will still be allergic to defense. But whenever a team like the Orange takes the field there is pressure to score and score and score. The Orange are a different team at home (where the Cards will face SU) and they are much different with Quarterback Eric Dungey who was injured the last time the Cards and Orange met at Cardinal Stadium (last home game in rain of 2017).
This week Syracuse will host UCONN and should be able to climb to 4-0. It’s the opinion of most around the country that Louisville should be the better program here… so Louisville is going to have to improve a great deal in order to not fall to Syracuse later this year.
What Syracuse has until Louisville visits on Friday 11/9: vs. UCONN, @ Clemson, @ PITT, vs. UNC, vs. NC State, @ Wake
NC State (2-0) Beat James Madison, Beat Georgia State
The truth is we don’t really know who NC State is just yet. The Wolfpack struggled against James Madison but then they blew the doors off Georgia State. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see NC State play West Virginia this week (thanks Florence) so we’ll have to wait until the subsequent weeks to really know. The general idea is that without Bradley Chubb (who was awesome) the Wolfpack may be re-tooling a bit. But they still have Ryan Finley so we’ll have to wait and see on this future match-up.
What NC State has until Louisville visits on Saturday 11/17: @ Marshall, vs. Virginia, vs. BC, @ Clemson, @ Syracuse, vs. Florida State, vs. Wake Forest
Kentucky (3-0) Beat Murray State, Florida & Central Michigan
Kentucky is 3-0 and Louisville can’t score offensive touchdowns in the 1st half. 2018 has been weird. The Cats dispatched Murray State easily this weekend 48-10 and will host the #14 Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday. We’ll see just how ‘real’ Kentucky is this year.
Still 3-0 and breaking the streak vs. Florida is already a step in the right direction we will see if it continues. Kentucky didn’t start well versus Central Michigan, but it’s been good since then.
After Miss State the Cats face South Carolina, Texas A&M, Vandy, Mizzou, Georgia and Tennessee. Long way to go for this one….. and we still haven’t punted.
ESPN: No BOWL
Quick Lane Bowl
Ford Field, Detroit
Dec. 26, 5:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Sporting News: Louisville vs. Northwestern
Hyundai Sun Bowl
Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas
Dec. 31, 2 p.m. (CBS)
CBS Jerry Palm: Louisville vs. Colorado
SBNation: Louisville vs. Utah