PITTSBURGH (3-4, 1-1) AT LOUISVILLE (4-4, 1-2)
It's the first round of the International Bowl Playoffs baby. Let's do this.
Game Time: Noon
Television: WHAS-11/Game Plan
Site: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium: Louisville, KY
Favorite: Louisville by 10
All-Time Series: Louisville leads 6-4
Last Meeting: Louisville won 48-24 in Pittsburgh last year.
Excitement Level: 2.3.
That's right, it finally happened. The "anxiety meter" has officially become the "excitement meter." Not getting much of a workout on its first Saturday on the job.
Game Attire: Red long-sleeved shirt with "Louisville Cardinals" across the chest in white and "Cardinals" down the left sleeve.
Full disclosure: I wore the jersey for more than half the game last Friday. I was with a big group of people in Lexington, I wanted to look cool, it's still indefensible, I know. In the aftermath of the unfair catch, the jersey was thrown to the ground (which drew unappreciated laughs) and the red long-sleeved shirt was donned quickly thereafter (I also had to watch the game in a room by myself because if I've been drinking I really shouldn't be allowed to watch Louisville sports with other human beings around). Apparently the gods had already been pushed far enough.
I can't believe I dropped 50 bones on a cursed jersey. What a season.
Pre-Game Meal: I'm thinking fish right now, but we'll have to see what's goin' on when the time's right.
Bilal Powell Playing (at RB) Alert Level: Fuchsia (Strong/It's his birthday...it's a very special day for the Alert Level Chart, the perfect storm if you will)
Predicted Star of the Game: Bilal Powell
Why the hell not? I'm runnin' on fumes here anyway.
Notable and Quotable:
--Louisville's longest run of the season has been 20 yards, and its longest run for a touchdown is nine.
--Louisville has sold out 17 straight home games, its last non-sell-out came against TCU on Nov. 10, 2004.
--Pitt's pass defense is sixth in the country, allowing only 170 yards per game through the air.
--Louisville is fifth nationally in total offesne (529 ypg), and time of possession (32:30 apg).
--"We know if we fold and lose the next game, then we're not going to be able to do anything with the season." --Scott Kuhn
--"I'm sure this is a game that they had circled on their schedule a long time as a win." --Dave Wannstedt
--"If you don't fight through the mental battles and really separate reality from perception, it's easy as coaches and players to suddenly start believing that you're not very good and you can't win a game and you can't go out and make plays. We were kind of at a crossroads of that juncture and by winning the game and having some of our guys go out there and do some good things, I think that reinforced that more than anything." --Dave Wannstedt
--"We owe our fans a win at home. It's time to start the winning streak over again at home." --Bobby Buchanan
CC Prediction: Pittsburgh 31, Louisville 27
Before the season I wrote that by the time this game rolled around Pat Bostick would be getting used to being the starting quarterback and LeSean McCoy would be emerging as a star. Well Bostick is starting and has shown some improvement in recent weeks, and McCoy has established himself as the runaway favorite for Big East Rookie of the Year honors. I also predicted that it wouldn't matter and U of L would roll 37-17. Things have changed.
We haven't stopped anyone on the ground all season so I don't see any reason why we'll be able to stop one of the best freshmen in the country, especially considering the fact that the presence of LaRod Stephens-Howling (one of the top ten backs in the league himself) ensures that Shady won't get worn down. I'd love to see Brohm have a monster day, and I'd love for us to pick up this win so we can at least have a shot at getting these seniors to a bowl game, but right now my pessimism runneth over.