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Thursday Evening Cardinal News And Notes

Lucy Plappert has learned how to do two things this week: walk and loathe Notre Dame.

I_medium Spread Check: Notre Dame by 3 (no Marshall line yet).

I_medium For those heading to South Bend, Notre Dame's gameday site has all the information you need as far as the Fighting Irish's pep rally, parking, what is and isn't allowed inside the stadium, and ND's policy on weather-related game changes.

I_medium picks three "pillars of the program" for Louisville basketball.

I_medium Yes...yes you may.

I_medium I'm linking this pre-ND interview that NBC Sports did with our man Mark Ennis, but just know that I didn't want to because the guy referred to Louisville as the "Cardinal" in the headline.

I_medium SB Nation's One Foot Down (Notre Dame) previews this weekend's game and ultimately picks the Cards to knock off the Fighting Irish. Although the Irish do have some things going for them.

I have no idea how this game opened with Notre Dame nearly a double digit favorite. Although the line tumbled within hours to Louisville (+3.5) that still feels like easy money to me.

However, when I see a line like that in the weekly Big E Picks you know my first reaction is, "Vegas knows something!"

But what do they know? What can they point to this weekend? This isn't easy but let's see if I can figure it out.

The forecast for this weekend is 39 degrees, 10 to 15 mph winds, and 60% chance of freezing rain. Out of the 22 players projected to start this weekend for Louisville, 11 are from Florida, 4 from Georgia, 4 from Kentucky, and 1 each from Arkansas, California, and Alabama. That's a lot of Southern boys about to feel the effects of Lake Michigan all up in their business. The Cardinals last game was in 50 degree nighttime elements in Chestnut Hill but 10 degrees colder with the sun down in the second quarter and freezing rain is an entirely different animal.

I've already talked about Senior Day so there could be some extra motivation involved there. The Irish also haven't lost 3 in a row since the beginning of Brian Kelly's tenure, so there's that. Additionally, I'm certain Vegas doesn't feel great about a true freshman going up against Everett Golson.

I_medium Brian Kelly puts his millionaire coach hat on and states that DeVante Parker is a "matchup problem."

I_medium The Accuscore simulation for Louisville/Notre Dame has the Cards winning 51 percent of the time and predicts a 27-26 final score in favor of U of L.

I_medium Is that Cardinal Pig?

I didn't see a bandana so I don't think it was him.

I_medium CBS previews Louisville/Marshall.

I_medium Three former players will headlines this year's U of L baseball Leadoff Dinner.

I_medium Rich Ciriminiello of Campus Insiders has Bobby Petrino slotted at No. 5 in the race for ACC Coach of the Year.

I_medium ESPN's four ACC writers are split on their pick to click in South Bend this weekend.

Adelson: There is one stat that illustrates why Louisville will win: Everett Golson has 19 total turnovers in his past seven games. The Louisville defense has forced 25 turnovers this season, one of the best marks in the country. And Golson will be playing with a bum shoulder. So the focus has to be on whether Golson can finally start taking care of the football the way he did earlier in the season, something coach Brian Kelly has stated publicly for weeks now. Notre Dame is coming off an emotional overtime loss; Louisville had a bye to prepare. The Cards are not going to be intimidated, either, having played in big-time atmospheres over the past several years. Louisville 27, Notre Dame 24

Fortuna: Notre Dame was not as good as its 6-0 start indicated. But it's not as bad as this current slump indicates, either. Saturday against Northwestern was the perfect storm of miscues that left the Irish vulnerable to defeat. And while the defense remains banged up, there are some talented newcomers who have slowly grown into their roles. Golson, for all of his giveaways, remains a dynamic quarterback, one who was on the fringe of the Heisman Trophy discussion as recently as two weeks ago. If he can protect the ball -- and if the Irish can go through field goals without any pre-kick issues -- Notre Dame has enough talent to resemble the offense of a month ago and withstand the Cardinals' pressure up front. Notre Dame 31, Louisville 25

I_medium The four writers over at Athlon are also split on their game predictions.

I_medium My 13-year-old AAU baseball team once took a team trip to Notre Dame. We were kicked out of the campus bookstore, the indoor track facility and told we couldn't see inside Bob Davie's office during a private tour. So, yeah, this weekend is pretty personal for me.

I_medium College Football News likes Notre Dame to drop 38 on the U of L defense and pick up the W.

Why Notre Dame Might Win: QB Reggie Bonnafon has a bright future at Louisville. But South Bend is a tough venue for a true freshman with limited experience. Now that Will Gardner is out for the year, it's Bonnafon's job for the next three games. He's been predictably spotty, which could neutralize the effectiveness of Louisville's best weapons, namely deep-threat WR DeVante Parker. As erratic as Golson has been lately, he and his receivers, especially William Fuller, give Notre Dame a better shot of extending drives and converting on third downs. 

Who To Watch Out For: Irish defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder will want to rattle Bonnafon as often as possible, but who'll consistently get in the young quarterback's face? The pass rush in South Bend has been a disappointment, with just one-third of the team's 18 sacks coming from a depleted line that's now without star end Sheldon Day. However, Louisville has been sketchy in pass protection this fall, and inexperienced quarterbacks have a habit of holding the ball too long in the pocket, so there's hope for Notre Dame. 

What's Going To Happen: Of all the matchups on Saturday, Brian Kelly vs. Bobby Petrino, two of the game's brighter offensive minds, is the most intriguing one. Kelly will have one significant edge, access to a proven veteran quarterback, while Petrino resumes molding his rookie. The Irish are being held together by masking tape and motivational quips at this point, which ought to be barely enough to land the team an emotional and razor-close win on senior day..

Prediction: Notre Dame 38 ... Louisville 34

I_medium Kentucky would not beat the 76ers. They wouldn't. Shut up about it.

I_medium I hope you're all prepared for the winter hat I'm going to be wearing Saturday. If you're in South Bend and you see'll know.

I_medium Bonnafon time is back for U of L.

I_medium Safe to say folks have been excited about this one for a while...

I_medium Notre Dame may have lost its should at the four-team playoff and a top-tier bowl, but the Fighting Irish are still focused on sending their seniors out the right way.

I_medium And finally, beat Marshall...and then beat Notre Dame...and travel safely in between or before the first one....but only if that applies to you.

Crushed it.