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 Loss to Florida State:
Step #1: Beat Samford -> COMPLETED (1-3) Step #2: Split N.C. State & Florida State Road Tests -> COMPLETED (2-4)
Step #3: Find a Way to Beat Boston College (3-4)
The Eagles are 3-4 with all four losses in conference play. With the exception of last week’s 532 yards allowed to Clemson, BC has been OUTSTANDING defensively throughout the year. Perhaps the Clemson game was a sign of Boston College reaching its breaking point, but even Florida State struggled to score & move the ball against BC. Duke managed just 228 yards, and the Eagles did beat Northern Illinois.
Because Louisville will likely have some trouble moving the ball, the UofL defense MUST play better than it did last week against Florida State. It will be difficult for the young Cardinal offense to make up any ground if they fall behind as it will be difficult to sustain drives vs. the Eagles. BC is set to go to Virginia Tech next week but having lost 3 in a row they won’t be looking ahead to anybody.
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 hasn’t been an easy win for anyone in 2015. The Demon Deacons lost to Syracuse by 13, Indiana by 7, and Florida State by 8…….but did just get TROUNCED by North Carolina 50-14 in Chapel Hill. Also for consistency, Wake did beat Boston College 3-0. This will be a BLACKOUT game 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 #5: Protect What’s Left of the Home Schedule…. Syracuse & Virginia (6-4)
For Syracuse (3-3) 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 but is on a 3-game slide. Syracuse was playing good football at the moment and is perfectly capable of giving the Cards a tough game. But this is a HOME game for Louisville and the Cards can’t afford to give any more of those away.
The final game of Louisville’s home schedule will be a revenge match-up against the Virginia Cavaliers (2-4). The Cavs have unraveled 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 by Boise State. This week UVA did get back on the winning side with a win over Syracuse. Virginia is surrounded by fertile recruiting ground Mike London may be fighting for his job at this point in the season…but it could also very well be over for London by then. Louisville needs to win this game.
Step #6: Beat PITT at Heinz Field (7-4)
Pitt (5-1) is on a 3-game winning streak over VT, UVA, and GT and the only loss coming to undefeated Iowa in Overtime. Pitt is ranked in the Top 25 (#25) and has games with Syracuse, UNC, #11 Notre Dame, & #23 Duke and could certainly represent the Coastal Division at the ACC Championship this December. Louisville gets Pitt between divisional games (Duke & Miami), but the Panthers have found ways to win tight games (with the exception being the Iowa game). If Louisville wants to have a successful season they will need to find a way to steal this game….it’s probably time to start keeping an eye on Pitt now, this game could mean a HUGE amount.
Step #7: Beat Kentucky at Commonwealth Stadium (8-4)
Best case scenario Louisville wins every game remaining on its schedule. That’s not likely. So more than likely this game could be for a great deal of relevance and perhaps even a bowl appearance. Kentucky (4-2) lost to Auburn 30-27 at Commonwealth on Thursday Night but does own wins over Eastern Kentucky (OT), Missouri, Lafayette and South Carolina. All of UK’s games have been determined by 8 points or less and combine the rivalry aspect to the equation and it’s a good bet that Louisville vs. Kentucky on Thanksgiving Weekend will be quite entertaining. Louisville will be coming into this game off the PITT game while Kentucky will be coming off games vs. Charlotte & Vanderbilt.