LOUISVILLE NEEDS TO CONTINUE BEATING TEAMS INTO SUBMISSION
I don't really talk much about about the playoff because we're barely through the midway point of the season and it's a waste of time at this point. However, it is the perfect time for Louisville's football program to take a step forward in recruiting as well as overall perception. Earlier this season I wrote about how this year is the perfect storm and Louisville needs to take advantage of the storm. Louisville can do that by beating teams down like they beat NC State. Louisville has already been able to upgrade their recruiting class a bit with Russ Yeast taking the spot of T. J. Jallow. They have a few more recruits that they have eyes on that could really provide some depth at positions of need. Louisville can also put themselves in a spot where they take the program's "prestige" to the next level. That will lead to better preseason rankings and favoritism from voters, which makes it easier to absorb a loss to a team like Clemson, FSU, or Alabama in the future. It doesn't seem like things work that way, but we all know that the name on the front of the jersey plays a role in these things. If Louisville is beating the brakes off of everyone, that name just shines brighter.
LAMAR JACKSON SHOULD HAVE HIS MOST IMPRESSIVE GAME YET
Virginia should be struggling a bit to win games this year. Virginia should not be losing games to Richmond and Uconn. Unfortunately for the Cavs, that's where they are after spending the first part of the season trying to figure things out with their new coaching staff. The second half of their season to date has been better but they're still giving up a ton of points and yards. Enter Lamar Jackson and his offense that is leading the country in yards per play and one can imagine that things could get ugly very quickly.
The reason that I think that Lamar will have his best game of the season is because of the fact that he passed the ball so well last week and Bobby Petrino seems to be focusing on pocket passes over the last two games. Jackson had his best passing game last week, in my opinion and I think that the continued focus on the passing game has helped him improve his accuracy and decision making. All just in time to take on a defense that isn't getting a good pass rush and an offense that can't move the ball very well. I don't think Jackson will have a huge running game but I would be surprised if he doesn't put up better numbers than he did last week.
CAN LOUISVILLE'S OFFENSIVE FINISH THE GAME WITH NO NEGATIVE PLAYS?
Louisville has a running quarterback and a pair of sophomore offensive tackles. Mistakes are going to happen and some weird plays are going to be a part of a normal game. Going into the second half of the season I would love to see Louisville's offense finish a game with no negative plays. Last week Louisville went up against a really good defensive line and they did a good job of keeping them at bay. This week they're facing off against a defense that relies on blitzes to get pressure. Louisville should be prepared for the pressure and they should be able to exploit it as opposed to being rushed by it.
WILL LOUISVILLE HAVE A SLUGGISH START WITH A "MEH" GAME?
A noon road game against a team that is likely to finish the season with two wins is about as "meh" as it gets. So it wouldn't surprise me if Louisville comes out a little sluggish on Saturday. It's really hard to get teams focused for these types of games but I've always felt that it's easier on the road because things are less familiar. Even with the lack of distractions and fans, I think that we could see Louisville start the game off with a miscommunication or two and a rough first drive on offense. We'll probably get the requisite "Petrino yelling at everyone" sideline shot and things will get back on track. Word is that Virginia might look to slow things down like Duke did a few weeks ago, but Duke has a very good defense that has been killed by turnovers by the offense. Playing a clean game allowed their defense to bend but not completely break. Virginia doesn't have that luxury. The Cavs defense hasn't been able to stop anyone and Louisville would likely put up points on the vast majority of their possessions. So, even with a sluggish start, I think that Louisville will come around and take over.