The Louisville Cardinals return home for the first time in 35 days to face the South Florida Bulls. A win will keep the Cards unbeaten and allow them to move to 7-0 for the first time since 2006.
LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (6-0, 1-0) vs. SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS (2-4, 0-2)
Game Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium: Louisville, Ky.
Announcers: Mark Neeley (play-by-play) and Ray Bentley (analyst)
Favorite: Louisville by 5.5
All-Time Series: South Florida leads 5-4
Last Meeting: Louisville won 34-24 in Tampa last season
Excitement Level: 9.2
I haven't tailgated in 9.3 million hours. I counted. I've been counting.
Game Attire: Red Louisville Football shirt under red U of L pullover, red and white Cardinal bird hat.
First cool weather tailgate of the year and I've spent hours thinking about what to wear over the still unbeaten Louisville Football shirt. 9.3 million hours. I counted. I've been counting.
We also had a missing Cardinal bird hat for a small but frantic period on Friday night. My initial suspicion was an intricate conspiracy spearheaded by Oliver Purnell. My next thought was that it might be buried in my dirty laundry basket. The Purnell thing turned out to be accurate.
Pregame Meal: Could be the last grillable weather of the season so we're going burgers, sides and pumpkin cupcakes. Beer will be present as well.
Bold Prediction: We return a punt for more than 40 yards
This might be the boldest prediction of the year to date given the lack of excitement in the punt return game over the past two seasons.
Playing Alert Level: Razzle Dazzle Rose (Definitely not starting at quarterback).
Predicted Star of the Game: Eli Rogers
A running back is the easy choice given USF's porous run defense, but give me Eli using his big catch from last week as a catalyst to putting on a show in front of his fellow Floridians this afternoon.
--This will be Louisville's first home game in 35 days.
--Louisville is 6-0 for just the fifth time in school history and the first time since 2006.
--The road team has won the last two meetings in this series. This after the home team had won each of the first seven.
--Under head coach Charlie Strong, Louisville is 10-0 when scoring 30 or more points.
--Dating back to 1989, Louisville is 132-14 when scoring 30 or more points in a game.
--Louisville has scored at least 20 points in nine straight games. The Cards are 19-4 under Strong when hitting that mark.
--Louisville will be looking for its four-game winning streak at home since the 2006 season. It would be U of L's longest home winning streak since the Cards saw their 20-game streak snapped by Syracuse in 2007. At the time, that streak was the second longest in the country behind only USC.
--South Florida is the only team in Division-I that hasn't intercepted a pass this season.
--Louisville head coach Charlie Strong coached with USF head coach Skip Holtz at South Carolina from 1999-02.
--USF quarterback B.J. Daniels ranks fifth on the Big East's career list for total offense with 9,773 yards (7,862 passing, 1,911 rushing). He's third in South Florida history in passing yards, fourth in rushing yards and tied for first with 24 rushing TDs.
--Daniels was injured in the Bulls' loss to Louisville last season. USF is 2-0 in games against the Cardinals when he has started at quarterback.
--Louisville has trailed at the half in each of its last two games and has not led at the half since its last home game against North Carolina on Sept. 15.
--Cardinal quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has thrown at least one touchdown pass in five straight games.
--Louisville is 3-4 all-time in overtime games. The Cas have lost three straight, two of those - including the most recent - coming against South Florida.
--South Florida currently owns a dismal -11 turnover ratio. That puts them 115th in the country.
--Louisville has scored 17 rushing touchdowns through six games after totaling just 13 all of last season.
--Louisville is 10-2 under Charlie Strong when winning the turnover battle. The Cards own a +2 turnover ratio so far this season.
--After today's game, Louisville will become the first opponent South Florida has ever faced ten times.
--ABC analyst Ray Bentley also called last year's Louisville/South Florida game on ESPN2.
--In home games this season, Teddy Bridgewater has completes 81.7% of his passes with five touchdowns against zero interceptions.
--In its last eight losses, Louisville is -8 in turnovers. In its last 20 wins the Cards are +12.
--Louisville is one of just 12 remaining unbeaten teams in Division-I (FBS).
--"(USF) hasn't played as well as they're capable of playing. I look at that team and I think about us a year ago. We were 2-4 and had Rutgers coming here. Now they're 2-4 and they're coming on the road against us. We cannot have a letdown." --Charlie Strong
--''It's kind of a restart button. We can't change the first six games, but we can learn from it, evaluate it (and) move on as a football team. We went up there two years ago and found a way to win in OT (24-21),'' Holtz said of his team's 2010 victory here. We're looking for that kind of jump start.'' --USF coach Skip Holtz
--"We just look forward to bouncing back. We've had a bye week, and it feels like it's been the longest week of my life. I'm ready to go play a game." --USF quarterback B.J. Daniels
--"We were in the same situation they're in now. Our mind-set is we don't want to let the University of South Florida be the 2011 Louisville Cardinals." --Teddy Bridgewater
--"They're fighting for their lives right now." --Alex Kupper
--''I guess we've been playing some pretty good quarterbacks, some pretty efficient quarterbacks and Bridgewater is another one. We've got to put ourselves in great position to take the ball away instead of having the ball given to us.'' --USF linebacker Sam Barrington
--"We've got to key everything - have the safeties stay back, have the linemen stay outside - to keep B.J. from getting out of the pocket." --Hakeem Smith
--"(Daniels is) an outstanding athlete with a cannon for an arm. A highly competitive kid who can run around and do some things, and he's gotten better each year he's been there. They have great athletes around him, and they're competitive on the offensive line as well. But he's going to be the catalyst to it all." --Clint Hurtt
--"We go up against (them) quite a bit. You hear their name quite a bit in recruiting, as we're battling for a lot of the same players. A lot of the players that are here were also recruited by Louisville. You get every school in the Big East coming down here but ... probably Louisville is one of the bigger ones, yes." --USF coach Skip Holtz
"They're a great team, (but) they've been losing because of their big turnovers. We see that. If we capitalize on any of those turnovers, we should see victory in this game, but we can't underestimate B. J. Daniels. He's a great quarterback." --Hakeem Smith
--"The reason we don't have interceptions is our safeties do a terrible job of seeing the quarterback throw the football." --USF DB coach Rick Smith
--''They have a lot of talent and they know that all it takes is one game to turn the season around." --Alex Kupper
--"We're not even thinking about Cincinnati. Our only focus right now - the only team we need to worry about right now - is South Florida. If our players take on that attitude then we'll be fine but we can't look down the road." --Charlie Strong