--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
Next Monday, the Louisville Cardinals will kick off their 2019 college football campaign; and will hope to wipe away the terrible 2018 campaign that saw a coaching change and lackluster performance.
With Scott Satterfield at the helm, 2019 already has a different field than last year. Louisville will *probably* win more than two games this season, but how many will they win?
Here’s a game by game breakdown of the season:
Week One: Louisville vs. Notre Dame, September 2nd, 8:00 pm.
Notre Dame lost two of their top four receivers, multiple defensive starters, and it took a while for their offense to get going last year. This game will still be very tough for Louisville to win.
The Irish were in the College Football Playoff last year, losing to Clemson 30-3 in the Cotton Bowl. QB Ian Book stepped in for Brandon Wimbush last year, and the season took off. Book is very accurate, and completed 68% of passes.
Louisville will need to hold Notre Dame on third down, and many times to have a chance at winning. The Cardinals will also need to take advantage of the fresh interior defense for Notre Dame, after Jerry Tillery and Jonathan Bonner both departed.
Prediction: Notre Dame 45, Louisville 14
Week Two: Louisville vs. Eastern Kentucky, September 7th, 7:00 pm.
Eastern Kentucky finished 7-4 last year, but their defense was not good against Marshall and Bowling Green. EKU is an FCS school, which are typically shoe-in victories. It should help Louisville get one win under their belt entering week three.
Prediction: Louisville 38, EKU 10
Week Three: Louisville vs. Western Kentucky, September 14th, 4:00 pm *NASHVILLE*
WKU’s offense disappointed last year, but they have 10 starters returning. Their line did well with pass protection, but not rushing. Their defense returns six starters, but the Hilltoppers allowed 422 yards and 28 points per game.
Louisville will need to prepare for a strong passing game, and keep pressure on their offense. The Cardinals are about to go 2-1 to start 2019.
Prediction: Louisville 35, WKU 17
Week Four: Louisville at Florida State, September 21st, TBA, Tallahassee
Last year was a late-game disappointment against the Seminoles. Louisville had the lead late in the fourth, but surrendered a score in the final minutes of the game.
The Seminoles are coming off an equally disappointing 5-7 campaign, which ended the ‘Noles 36-year bowl streak. Wille Taggart has a new-look offense, and returns multiple defensive stars. James Blackman will most likely take over at quarterback, after only appearing in four games last year. They also bring in former Baylor head coach Art Briles’ son, Kendal; as offensive coordinator. Briles spent stints at Baylor, FAU, and Houston.
It will be tough for Louisville to win this game, especially on the road.
Prediction: Florida State 38, Louisville 21
Week Six: Louisville vs. Boston College, October 5th, TBA
The Eagles had a lacking offense last year, that sputtered down the stretch. QB Anthony Brown only completed 55% of passes, the offensive line lost three key players, and AJ Dillon is most of BC’s rushing game. They also lost a lot on defense.
Boston College is expected to have won their previous four games before this matchup. With the game at Louisville, the Cardinals could take advantage of all the losses to BC’s defense, hope the offensive inefficiencies continue, and that Jawon Pass can hit Dez Fitzpatrick and Seth Dawkins for decent yardage and score.
Prediction: Louisville 27, Boston College 24
Week Seven: Louisvills at Wake Forest, October 12th, TBA
Wake Forest started a freshman at quarterback, and a sophomore after Sam Hartman broke his leg. The Demon Deacons won two of their last three games, became bowl eligible, and won the Birmingham Bowl.
They lost wide receiver Greg Dortch to the NFL, and the core of their offensive line. Wake also picked up three of their top five highest-rated prospects in school history. Because of injuries on the defense, they will not be the deepest team.
If the game was in Louisville, the Cardinals may have an easier time of winning. Since it’s in Winston-Salem, the game may be complicated a little. The big key to this game is going to be the injury report, and how each team adapts.
Prediction: Wake Forest 33, Louisville 27
Week Eight: Louisville vs. Clemson, October 19th, TBA
Clemson is No. 1 in the preseason rankings, and is coming off a national championship where they destroyed Alabama. They obliterated Louisville 77-16 in 2018, and finished the season undefeated.
Not much is expected to change this year. Louisville is just going to fight to not make it a total blowout.
Prediction: Clemson 60, Louisville 21
Week Nine: Louisville vs. Virginia, October 26th, TBA
Virginia scored the most points since 2002, played a similar speed to their basketball team, and featured a spectacular QB in Bryce Perkins. They also have a ton of talent coming back on defense.
The key to the game will be to shell the defense, if possible, and keep Virginia from scoring in the red zone. Before losing 27-3 against the Cavaliers last year, the Cardinals defeated Virginia three years in a row. It will be tough, but Louisville could take advantage of the slow offensive play.
Prediction: Louisville 31, Virginia 27
Week Eleven: Louisville at Miami, November 9th, TBA, Miami Gardens
Miami brings a new offensive coordinator, Dan Enos, from Alabama; into Miami. Enos was the quarterbacks coach for the Tide, and he can help teach Mark Richt’s young QB corps, including Tate Martell, N’Kosi Perry, and Jarren Williams. They’ll be forced to deal with a newer offensive line, as five linemen left last year.
Miami ranked first in havoc rate last year, and kept offenses honest on run and pass plays. They also had a few transfers in on the defensive side of the ball.
This may be a defensive game. The key will be to keep the ball moving, and to not turn the ball over. Louisville may struggle more, since this is a road game.
Prediction: Miami 24, Louisville 13
Week Twelve: Louisville at NC State, November 16th, TBA, Raleigh
NC State will look like a brand new team. They have changes at quarterback, running back, receivers, and three new starting offensive linemen. All of this will lead to a rebuild year, albeit a different type than Louisville’s.
Ryan Finley is gone. So is Kelvin Harmon and Jakobi Meyers. For a team that relied on their offense last year, these are huge blows.
There are a few defensive prospects coming up, and the defense may be decent.
Prediction: NC State 28, Louisville 24
Week Thirteen: Louisville vs. Syracuse, November 23rd, TBA
Dino Babers runs a quick offense, and they have a manageable schedule. They switch from Eric Dungey to a pocket-passing quarterback. It will lead to a few questions on offense. They’re loaded on the defensive line, experienced in the secondary, but aren’t as concrete from linebacker.
After a 10-win season, the Orange are definitely expected to do more than years ago. It finished 2018 with its highest AP ranking since 1998.
Their high-tempo offense will test Louisville’s defense, who are missing more than a few pieces. Some of the long-term players are also going through with their fourth coordinator in as many years.
Prediction: Syracuse 35, Louisville 21
Week Fourteen: Louisville vs. Kenutcky, November 30th, TBA
Kentucky is coming off one of their best campaigns in football history-especially recently. Benny Snell and Josh Allen are both gone, which will make an impact on both sides of the ball.
The Wildcats are projected to have five wins at this point in the season, according to ESPN’s FPI. Louisville fans (myself included) would love nothing more than to win the Governor’s Cup in Lexington, and keep the rival school from going to a bowl game.
Unfortunately, Kentucky has a decent amount of talent, and may make a bowl game this year. Louisville may lose this game, but we will get them next year, and in both basketball seasons.
Prediction: Kentucky 24, Louisville 21
Final Record: 4-8