Game-By-Game Predicitons for Louisville's 2014 Season
But this Cardinal roster still has some serious talent on it. Sophomore quarterback Will Gardner is raw, but will benefit from his star receiver DeVante Parker and Petrino’s play-calling. The running back position may be the best in the country in terms of depth, with Dominique Brown, Brandon Radcliff, and Michael Dyer delivering a 1-2-3 punch.
This defense will also be just fine, even without Charlie Strong. The defensive line is shaping up to be a force and Charles Gaines will be leading the secondary. This unit will be good, but it will also get plenty of help from its offense in 2014.
So let’s dive into the Cards’ first season in the ACC and predict where the chips will fall.
9/1 vs. Miami (Fla.): L
Louisville destroyed the Hurricanes in the Russell Athletic Bowl last season, so Al Golden and his team will be looking to avenge that ugly loss. Miami is returning a lot of starters from last season and should be vastly improved since the last time these teams played. I have a feeling running back Duke Johnson will be the difference-maker for the Hurricanes, which will give Miami a very close win on the road.
9/6 vs. Murray State: W
Okay the first game is out of the way, so watch out Racers. Louisville will be angry and playing at home, and this will get ugly. The Cards should win easy and put up 50-plus points.
9/13 at Virginia: W
A great way to start off on the road, as Virginia is in a serious rebuilding mode. The Cavaliers had a terrible time in the ACC last season and I don’t anticipate 2014 being much kinder to Mike London and his team. If Louisville takes care of the football, they’ll cruise.
9/20 at Florida International: W
Another tune-up game for the Cards, Petrino will still be tweaking a few things to help this team down the stretch. Louisville should be adjusting to Petrino’s ways at this point and bracing themselves for the meat of the ACC schedule.
9/27 vs. Wake Forest: W
The Deacons have a very athletic secondary, which may pose problems for Gardner. This game could be a lot closer than Louisville wants, because Wake Forest just matches up fairly well against Petrino’s passing offense. However, let’s not forget those running backs. The Cards will have great success on the ground and run Wake Forest into the ground.
10/3 at Syracuse: L
This could be the perfect storm for Louisville to walk into. Syracuse is a good team and quarterback Terrel Hunt can make plays with his arm and his legs. The Cards have more talent but there’s always that X-factor called the “turnover.” Unfortunately for Louisville, I see the Orange winning the turnover battle and protecting their home turf.
10/11 at Clemson: L
The Tiger defense may be one of the best in the country in 2014, so this will be no easy task for Petrino’s team. This game will be the most hostile environment the Cards will see up to date and I’m not confident they’ll handle it well. Clemson’s defense will get the best of Gardner in this game.
10/18 vs. North Carolina State: W
No problems here; the Cards should win handedly in this matchup. NC State's program is still transitioning and the offense certainly can’t hang with Louisville. Expect for the Cards’ offense to get huge chunks of yards on the ground and in the air.
10/30 vs. Florida State: L
This will for sure be a sellout at Papa John’s Stadium in Louisville, but Jameis Winston and company won’t be rattled at all. This Seminole team has too many weapons to lose to anyone in the ACC, which now includes Louisville. This one will be a learning experience for Petrino’s team.
11/8 at Boston College: W
The Cards will certainly be favored to win this game and as long as there are no crazy setbacks, I certainly expect Louisville to walk away from this one with a win. Quarterback Tyler Murphy doesn’t have a great supporting cast around him which will lead to some serious offensive struggles. Fortunately for Louisville, it doesn't have that problem.
11/22 at Notre Dame: W
What the heck, I’m going with the Cards. Give Petrino an extra week to prepare for Brian Kelly and the Irish, I like Petrino’s chances. This will definitely be an offensive shootout; it may come down to whoever has the ball last. But I really like Louisville in this game because of the ground game, a heavy dose of Brown and Dyer should do the trick.
11/29 vs. Kentucky: W
This isn’t basketball, so I wouldn’t call this much of a rivalry anymore and Louisville has owned this series as of late. The Wildcats should be torn to pieces by the SEC coming into this game and the Cards aren’t a team you want to play shorthanded. Cards win the bluegrass state again, big.
2014 Louisville Projected Record: 8-4 (4-4)