LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (5-5, 2-3) vs. WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS (6-3, 3-2)
Enjoy today, because it'll be ten months before we get to do it again.
Remember those days in the middle of summer when we would've paid $50.00 for five minutes of Cardinal football? Don't let your June, 2011 self know that you took Nov. 20 for granted.
A senior class that has been through an incredible amount of adversity has the chance to lock up a bowl bid on the day their collective commitment will be honored, and they have a chance to do it against their biggest conference rival.
I'm not going to tell you what to do - if you have a ticket, you own the right to do what you please with it - but I will strongly recommend that if you're a supporter of Louisville football who is capable of obtaining a ticket and arriving at your seat some time before kickoff, that you do so.
This year had no business being as fun as it's been, and the credit for that goes solely to the tremendous effort that these kids and this coaching staff has put in. There's no question that effort will again be on display this afternoon. Let's respect and enjoy it.
Game Time: Noon
Location: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium: Louisville, Ky.
Television: Big East Network/WHAS-11
Announcers: Mike Gleason/John Congemi
Favorite: West Virginia by 4.5
All-Time Series: West Virginia leads 9-2
Last Meeting: West Virginia won 17-9 in 2009
Excitement Level (1-10): 8.7
Saying goodbye to Bilal and Doug on the same day makes the word "excitement" seem a tad inappropriate.
Pre-Game Meal: Bacon, egg and cheese bagels, mimosas, beer, maybe a doughnut.
Game Attire: Gray shirt
Attempting to cap off a perfect home season.
If I had a "Please Bilal me to Introduce Myself" shirt (CentreCard), I would definitely rock it.
Predicted Star of the Game: Bilal Powell
The tears will flow like CardsFan922's tipsy raps.
Bold Prediction: We attempt an on-side kick.
The bold predictions/stars of the game have been pretty solid recently. Some of them haven't worked out too well (Dom Brown pass), but they've happened.
--Louisville is one win away from bowl eligibility.
--The Cards are 3-3 at home this season. Louisville has not had a losing record at home since 1997.
--Louisville has lost its last two Senior Day contests.
--WVU is 1-2 on the road season and 5-8 in Bill Stewart’s two-plus seasons. A loss Saturday makes it three straight seasons with a losing road record.
--West Virginia No. 3 in the country in scoring defense, fourth in sacks and total defense, and the leader in the Big East in virtually every defensive category that matters.
--The Mountaineer defense is the only one in Division-1 that hasn't given up more than 21 points in a game this season.
--Over the last four games, the Louisville defense has been one of the stingiest in the country, allowing 241.2 yards of total offense and 113.0 yards through the air. Louisville has limited its opponents to just two passing touchdowns in the last four games.
-- Louisville has scored 177 points in the first half this year, but just 85 in the second. This, perhaps, is the biggest indication of the lack of depth on this roster.
--The WVU defense has held eight of its nine opponents to under 300 yards of offense.
--West Virginia is 6-10 in games played in the state of Kentucky. The Mountaineers are 4-1 in Louisville, and 2-8 in Lexington.
--Bilal Powell is ranked sixth in the country with 1207 rushing yards on a 184 carries. He is 223 yards short of Louisville's single-season rushing record.
--"Offensively have a lot of speed, quarterback is playing well. Offensive line is big and solid, kicking game is very solid. So it’s going to be a battle for us. It’s going to be a really good true test for us. Cause this is a very, very good football team and we’re going to have to play very well to win this game." --Charlie Strong
--"Last year, it seemed like they took some plays off. They weren't lazy, but kind of quit on some plays. This year, we saw one of their defensive ends get smacked and then go down and make the tackle, so we see that they're putting in the effort." --WVU O-lineman Joe Masden
--"We have come together as a team and Coach Strong let us know on Sunday that we wouldn't have any hangover affect. We've moved on. Our main focus at this point is getting to a bowl game." --Cameron Graham
--"I love that kid. Doug Beaumont to me epitomizes what you want a great program to be about." --Kenny Carter
--"Beaumont, you know how I love Beaumont. I've talked about Beaumont since I've been here." --Bill Stewart
--"The kid (Beaumont) puts the program first no matter what. He embodies what the program should be. He's just a hard-nosed kid who works hard and is a great person off (the field)." --Greg Tomczyk
--"We've won some big games, lost some heartbreakers this year. It's not been as pleasant as we would have liked. Maybe we can make amends to that and try to right the ship and get back on track." --Bill Stewart
--"When a head coach is a defensive guy, you know they're going to have a good defense/ Their personnel is good and their scheme is good. Plus, playing on the road is always uphill." --WVU offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen
--"Every game is a challenge because we have that bull’s-eye on us. We also want to climb for that No. 1 spot as a total defense. Last week was a challenge because Cincinnati was leading the league in total offense. We went into the game thinking, ‘OK, you’re supposedly the best offense, we’re supposedly the best defense. Let’s get out here and prove our side of the story.’" --WVU linebacker Anthony Leonard
--"Bilal is shy and doesn't like to talk to the media. He leads by example. He leads by working hard. He's fun to be around. He'll talk to you whether you're in the locker room or a coaches' meeting. He'll just walk up to you and talk to you. But he's more about the team than himself. He's one of those guys who doesn't like publicity. He's one of those guys who says, 'Coach, let me work. Let people see my work.'" --Charlie Strong