We've hit the final record on the nose in each of the past two seasons here (and only five games off in 2007!), but I'm hoping to be a victory or four short this year.
1. Kentucky 24, Louisville 13
Pure effort and emotion will keep this game close through three quarters, I'm almost entirely sure of that. Regardless of how present the desire is though, come the end of the game you're still going to have a very undersized defensive line who's going to have been out there for 70 or 80 snaps against a team with two very capable rushers.
2. Louisville 31, Eastern Kentucky 10
The performance is satisfying for the fans, but Charlie Strong gives an angry postgame spiel about how what he just saw wasn't nearly good enough. It's refreshing.
3. Oregon State 27, Louisville 16
Almost a carbon copy of the UK game. The Cards believe they can pull the upset and exercise their game plan to a tee in the first half, but Quizz Rodgers and company simply wear down the U of L defense in the second 30 minutes.
4. Louisville 24, Arkansas State 7
The defense stars and draws some well-deserved praise from all angles.
5. Louisville 20, Memphis 10
We don't lose to Memphis State at sports.
6. Cincinnati 27, Louisville 24
This is the heartbreaker, the game everyone goes back to at the end of the year during the "what if" period of football mourning.
7. Connecticut 28, Louisville 20
The Cards are right there again, but can't turn the corner. "Lack of depth" and "wait two or three more years" talk dominates the local media and the message boards.
8. Pittsburgh 38, Louisville 13
Everyone but Strong blames this on frustration over the previous close losses. Practice is not fun the next week.
9. Louisville 21, Syracuse 10
The Cards bounce back with perhaps their most complete performance of the season, leading from start to finish inside the Carrier Dome. 'Cuse fans begin to turn on Doug Marrone.
10. Louisville 31, South Florida 21
Louisville has never lost to USF at home. Steve Kragthorpe beat a ranked Bull squad in 2008 at The Oven. Case closed. The Cards are one win away from being bowl eligible and the fan base is as energized as it was in August.
11. West Virginia 33, Louisville 17
Noel Devine runs wild and deprives a fan base trying to will its team above .500 on Senior Day.
12. Rutgers 24, Louisville 20
Heartbreak officially solidifies its status as the them of the 2010 season as a thin and tired Cardinal squad sees its bowl hopes dashed in Piscataway.
Final Record: 5-7, 2-5
All things considered, this would not be a bad season. This team has the same talent and less depth than the one that went 4-8 a year ago. If this coaching staff can single-handedly be the difference between four wins and six or seven wins, well then I'll buy each and every one of them a bag of candy of their choice.
I'm expecting a drastic increase in effort and competence, I'm not expecting a drastic increase in wins. I think the latter is more than enough considering the past three years.