A few weeks ago the (The Ninja) John Swofford and the ACC unexpectedly dropped their revised list of opponents for all conference members, which included a ten-game conference schedule and one out-of-conference opponent for each team, the temporary abolishment of divisions, as well as the addition of Notre Dame as a full member for the 2020 football season. A week later, on Thursday, we received the schedule in its entirety; dates, byes, weeknight games and all.
It has been interesting to watch both fans of UofL and throughout the ACC react to the initial list of game and then readjust their week-old expectations after seeing how their schedule would be laid out. Some teams had a tough list of opponents only to receive a favorable format (*cough* Notre Dame *cough), while others had a manageable slate only to get absolutely screwed (I am so sorry, Pitt).
And with the news yesterday that Louisville plans to have fans in the stands, we feel like it’s somewhat safe to hash out the craziness and breakdown whatever the hell kind of season we may or may not get. So the fine staff at Card Chronicle, with exception of Rutherford (his excuse was something about blog “traditions” or some malarkey), have agreed to show their brilliance and put their flawless opinions into stone.
Keith Wynne – WKU had a really strong season last year and they were able to bring back an underrated coaching staff to build on that success. Tyrrell Pigrome will be an upgrade at Quarterback if he’s healthy while DeAngelo Malone returns as one of the best Defensive Ends in the country. They still don’t have enough speed in the secondary to handle Louisville’s receivers but if they can build off of what they did last year, they’ll put up a good fight.
Louisville 45 - WKU 21
Conor Shea – Western had a very similar season to UofL last year where they saw tremendous improvement under first year head coach Tyson Helton. And while I’m sure the ‘Tops will continue their rapid rebuild, I have a hard time seeing them take down a P5 caliber (like UK in 2012 and 2013) just yet.
Louisville 38 – Western Kentucky 17
Cardinal Strong – I was actually impressed last year with WKU, and I think Helton will have them back to Brohm levels in a couple seasons once he gets a few more athletes. They have a big question mark at QB with the departure of Ty Storey and with no Spring ball that will really hurt their chances early in the year to spring an upset. Last I checked, Game 1 was pretty early in the year. A Top 25 defense in 2019 should still be solid for the Toppers in 2020, though.
Louisville 35 - WKU 14
Seedy K – Shouldn’t the Cards be playing UK in this opening slot, as The Schnell wished it to be? Of course. Sigh. The last time the Toppers visited, despite U of L’s hanging on by the hair on their chinny chin chins “victory,” it was a harbinger of dastardly Ls to come. Fortunately those days are gone. Along with them, any chance WKU can sneak past the county line with a win.
Louisville 31 - Western Kentucky 14
Miami (FL) (9.19)
Keith – Miami embarrassed Louisville last year and I’m not sure there’s anything that makes me feel that things will flip over in UofL’s favor this season. D’Eriq King should do really well in Miami’s new offense and they should utilize their athletes on the outside with the new scheme. The defense has to replace some guys at the second level but they’re really talented up front and in the back end.
Miami 38 - Louisville 28
Conor – This has to be the game UofL’s players are looking ahead to as they can’t wait to avenge the drubbing they took last year in Hard Rock Stadium. Miami is a team that completely fell apart after the UofL game, and I can totally see it happening again, but I have to think veteran transfer QB D’Eriq King and Miami’s massive defensive line can hold the team together through at least Week 2.
Miami 42 – Louisville 31
Cardinal Strong – This one getting added to the schedule and then landing at Week 2 scares the absolute Cane sauce out of me. I’ve watched that 2019 Miami game a few times and while the Cards hurt themselves on occasion, Miami just picked them apart and made Jarren Williams look like a Heisman front-runner. I’m not 100% sold on QB D’Eriq King sliding right in and lighting the world on fire, but I still think he is plenty talented enough to put up points. The Miami defense takes a hit losing Rousseau via opt out but I think this turns into a bit of a shoot out anyway.
Miami 49 - Louisville 45
Seedy K – Despite last year’s less than stellar campaign, the Canes still swamped the Cardinals in Coral Gables. So heady was the euphoria, Miami didn’t win again. Son of Mayor Diaz’s team is on all the wags’ Most Improved lists. So too should be U of L, which is up to the Get Back task.
Louisville 24 - Miami 21
Keith – Pitt is the most unpredictable team in the ACC so it’s nearly impossible to know how this game will go. They have an outstanding pass rush but they did lose Jaylen Twyman to the draft recently. Pitt has guys on offense but I don’t think they have enough to keep up with UofL if both offenses are able to get things going.
Louisville 35 - Pitt 21
Conor – While it may not appear as such now, I think when we look back at the season we’ll see this game as one of the most pivotal. Before everything got blown up Pitt was a dark horse to win the Coastal due to the awesome defense they bring back this year. I’m scared to think of how UofL’s Becton-less offensive line will hold up against Pitt’s defensive front while their still nursing their wounds from a brutal Miami front the week before.
Pitt 24 – Louisville 21
Cardinal Strong – The Pittsburgh defense racked up 51 sacks, 103 tackles for loss, and held opponents to a 33.3% 3rd down conversion rate in 2019. Led once again by Patrick Jones II (and Rashad Weaver is back) I’m afraid they may give Cunningham fits most of the afternoon. You mix that in with the first road contest of the COVID season (who knows what travel and accommodations will look like) for the Cards and back to back losses is a real possibility. The big surprise in this one is Louisville’s defense starting to click and holding a mediocre Pitt offense in check most of the day. A complete 180 from the previous weeks results sees the Cards and Panthers in a defensive battle to the end.
Louisville 17 - Pitt 14
Seedy K – I’ve been to Cardinal game at Pitt before. Grateful to have made it there and back, since our plane taxied to the hangar for engine repairs before we could take off. Cards won. Narduzzi’s known for his D, which is heralded again as this season approaches. But the Cardinals hunker down themselves. Micale to Tutu late on some trickeration.
Louisville 17 - Pittsburgh 10
@Georgia Tech (Friday, 10.9)
Keith – Georgia Tech is still a year away from being where they need to be. They could have some success on offense because they have athletes, but QB and OL are still concerns. On defense, they have a ways to go but they bring just about everyone back from last year. Still not in a good spot to be able to keep up with UofL.
Louisville 49 - Georgia Tech 14
Conor – WHERE IS CPJ TO PROTECT YOU NOW?! Louisville runs all over the Yellow Jackets to erase the most
beautiful disgusting display of triple option football I had ever seen in 2018.
Louisville 41 – Georgia Tech 23
Cardinal Strong – Georgia Tech is probably where Louisville should be if they didn’t knock their Satterfield hire out of the park. A complete rebrand from what Paul Johnson was doing at that program is good news for Louisville as the Cards should be able to do what they want on both sides of the ball. As long as they stay out of ‘Magic City’ the Cards can just ‘wing’ it down in the A-T-L.
Louisville 52 - Georgia Teach 17
Seedy K – Year I of the Geoff Collins Extreme Makeover Ramblin’ Wreck Edition didn’t go so well. Three up, nine down. My guess is there are Cardinals still around that remember how truly horrid the team played when GT came calling season before last. It was U.G.L.Y. Another Get Back victory for the Red & Black.
Louisville 42 - Georgia Tech 10
@Notre Dame (10.17)
Keith – I’ve been calling this upset all off season and i haven’t changed my mind. The Irish have no proven stars at the skill spots on offense outside of Ian Book. Their defense is just above average outside of two guys. That’s enough for me to believe that Louisville will pull out a win on the road.
Louisville 42 - Notre Dame 38
Conor – Scott Satterfield’s tenure at Louisville got off to a promising start when he made Notre Dame sweat it out for one half with an overmatched Cardinals team. I think UofL hangs in the game a bit longer this time around, but ultimately falls to a veteran-laden Irish squad in South Bend.
Notre Dame 35 – Louisville 31
Cardinal Strong – Meh. I hate picking this game because I really just do not like Notre Dame. I despise their independent status, their dumb coach, and their dumb fans who act like they invented the game of football. Go slap a sign ya bums. With that said, unfortunately they’ll still be a pretty good team this year and I think Ian Book is a legit QB who will put up some big crooked numbers every week. Thanks for the $15mil in shared revenue, but I may need to go back and watch Reggie slice them up in 2014 after the Cards lose a close one.
Notre Dame 31 - Louisville 27
Seedy K – Notre Dame as an actual league member, at least for this seasson, playing a full slate. Oh what the COVID has wrought. In one of the greater moments in Louisville pigskin history, the Cardinals actually won under the ever present gaze of TD Jesus. It’s not going to happen again this visit.
Notre Dame 42 - Louisville 20
Keith – Mike Norvell has already had two mini-scandals since the spring and I can’t help but think that he will need time to get his own guys into the program. The offense still has a problem with the Offensive Line and James Blackmon still makes questionable decisions. I’m not a big believer in their defensive scheme but having guys like Marvin Wilson and Corey Durden up front will make it easy on the new staff.
Louisville 31 - FSU 21
Conor – I have no doubt that this game will be as stupid as every other game in the series has been. How Mike Norvell’s first FSU squad shows up in Louisville entirely depends on how they fare against Notre Dame and rival Miami in the preceding weeks. Either way, though, Louisville outlasts the beaten-up Seminoles.
Louisville 35 – Florida State 34
Cardinal Strong – Since joining the ACC I can only really point to two seasons where I felt FSU had the better team the day they stepped on the field against UofL, so in my brain they should be 4-2 in that stretch. Instead, Louisville is 2-4 and even though many fans count that 2016 game as the equivalent of two wins (hand up) the Cards have been spotty in their performances against the ‘Noles. Getting a first year coach in your stadium coming off three big games (Miami, ND, UNC) will factor in to where FSU is mentally at this point in the season. Do we get a Jordan Travis sighting seven weeks in? Cards pull out another close one late.
Louisville 31 - FSU 24
Seedy K – We can only pray that by the time the Seminoles come a callin’, former Memphi State mentor Mike Norvell will have installed former future Cardinal Chubba Purdy as signal caller. The Cardinals experienced linebacking corps shall make young Mr. Not So Purdy rue his last minute change of mind.
Louisville 28 - Florida State 7
Virginia Tech (10.31)
Keith – This game was a toss up for me when the original schedule came out but VT has lost their best player and they didn’t get to add Raheem Blackshear as his waiver was denied. With a new defensive coordinator for the first time in forever, it’s fair to wonder how the defense responds to the change.
Virginia Tech 28 - Louisville 27
Conor – Playing a team that calls themselves the “Hokies” and have a turkey for a mascot on Halloween is scary no matter how you spin it. But the Hokies are a little less scary now without All-American Caleb Farley, and the ghost of Elvis Dumervil still hasn’t forgotten.
Louisville 34 – Virginia Tech 28
Cardinal Strong – When they announced that the schedule was going to be reconfigured I was silently hoping they would pull Virginia Tech off just to see if we could go a full decade plus of playing in the same conference but never actually playing each other. But, here we are, on Halloween none the less, facing a scary defense and an offense that has some tricks of it’s own in QB Hooker and WR Tre Turner. Getting the Hokies at Cardinal Stadium will help, but I feel like VT is being slightly underrated in 2020, and at this point in their schedule they could very well be undefeated and have a lot left to play for. I’ll drown my sorrows in left over Kit-Kats and Snickers when this one is done. Turn off the porch light, Halloween is cancelled.
Virginia Tech 38 - Louisville 17
Seedy K – Speaking of former Memphis State coaches currently in the ACC, how’s Justin Fuente faring? Fair to middlin’ one supposes. And now Bud Foster has taken his services to retirement, so there’s new blood on the defensive side. The Hokies figure to improve, but they still have one foot in and one foot out. Louisville takes advantage of the latter..
Louisville 35 - Virginia Tech 16
Keith – Virginia will be down a bit this year even though they fixed their Quarterback question with Keyton Thompson. They’re losing all but one of their top receivers and their running game will not be good again, in my opinion. If they can’t score, I don’t see how they beat Louisville. No matter how good the defense will be.
Louisville 31 - UVA 14
Conor – This game is always super dumb, especially in Charlottesville, and I’m afraid too many people are sleeping on what Bronco has built at Virginia. Even without Bryce Perkins, the Hoos catch an exhausted and thin Cardinals squad at the end of a gauntlet.
Virginia 24 – Louisville 17
Cardinal Strong – I really like Bronco, mostly because I think it would be cool for people to call me ‘Bronco’ but also because he’s a solid coach and he has UVA moving in the right direction. When we play UVA it’s always stressful and it always seems to find it’s level year over year. In the six games we’ve played since joining the ACC UofL is 4-2 but has only outscored UVA by 12 points in the series. Losing Bryce Perkins is huge and I have big concerns about their rushing attack with what they have coming back, meaning their new QB better be quite the gunslinger to keep them in games. Louisville can’t lose back to back football games to Virginia based teams or else I think we would have to rename the school after a former President or at least Ralph Sampson. It’s in the Constitution.
Louisville 33 - Virginia 28
Seedy K – Louisville’s victory last year over a credible Cavaliers squad was a sign of the good work Coach Satt and his staff had done. Kind of like the steady improvement Bronco Mendenhall’s charges have shown in Charlottesville. Louisville still lacks depth,, and it starts to show.
UVa 34 - Louisville 14
Syracuse (Friday, 11.20)
Keith – Louisville will run away with this one. Cuse has an outstanding secondary and their new scheme will be interesting to see. They just don’t have the speed on defense to keep up with Louisville. Their offense hasn’t been able to build with young guys so they end up having to find new play makers each year. I think it’ll be similar to the game last year.
Louisville 56 - Syracuse 28
Conor – I love you, Dino Babers, and 2018 so much fun, but I’m afraid at this point in the season your future at ‘Cuse may be looking pretty bleak. Cards pour it on after a much needed bye week.
Louisville 49 – Syracuse 20
Cardinal Strong – At this point in the season Syracuse football will be like that Jay-Z gif where he peeks into the room and then gives that “yikes” face before closing the door. With Dungey gone their offensive band-aid was ripped off in 2019 to reveal a gnarly flesh wound that may take a few seasons to heel. A new OC will help them out, but sketchy defense will not. After another tough year the Cards may play a part in giving Dino his walking Babers. (I don't think they’ll fire him, but I really like that joke so I left it in).
Louisville 56 - Syracuse 23
Seedy K – Dino Babers was Flavor of the Month after that Clemson win as 23 point dog in ‘17, and a 10-3 slate in ‘18. But, after last year’s losing campaign, the Orange fans are now back to contemplating whether Boeheim has lost his mojo, more than a return to the glory days of Jim Brown and Ernie Davis. Louisville bounces back.
Louisville 48 - Syracuse 20
@Boston College (Friday, 11.27)
Keith – Louisville will get to take advantage of a rebuild year for BC. The Eagles’ offense should be solid, though.
Louisville 49 - BC 21
Conor – Chestnut Hill in late November? FUN! Good thing UofL can run the ball well, too. Cards win under the falling sleet.
Louisville 20 – Boston College 14
Cardinal Strong – At this point in the year I think Notre Dame transfer Phil Jurkovec is the starting QB for the Eagles (‘he slapped the sign, he must me good’), and new Coach Jeff Hafley will have the defense in a good spot, but they’re probably another year away from putting out a solid team overall. Eagles show flashes on both sides and keep it close but Cards tack on one at the end to add separation.
Louisville 23 - Boston College 14
Seedy K – The Eagles have been the paradigm of mediocre, but Steve Addazio has moved to the mountains, where he’s fighting off plaints of his ways already. The new mentor is Jeff Halley, about whom I know nothing. Or, really about BC. Which has never prevented me from predictioneering.
Louisville 16 - Boston College 7
Wake Forest (12.5)
Keith – People are down on Wake like they are every year but I think their offense will still be solid. It’s more about the scheme than the talent and they still have some talent outside and at Running Back. The defense is the issue because they don’t recruit well enough to reload and they lost NFL guys at Linebacker and in the secondary.
Louisville 56 - Wake 35
Conor – Wake just lost WR Sage Surrat, who torched Louisville to the tune of 12 receptions, 196 yards, and 3 touchdowns last season, so I’m feeling a lot better about this game than I was prior. And without Jamie Newman (transferred to Georgia), I’m not sure what answers the Deacs will have this time around.
Louisville 49 – Wake Forest 31
Cardinal Strong – I’m sure Dave Clawson is a nice enough guy, but I really don't like his face, and the history with Wake made that victory last year in the ‘Conley game’ so much sweeter. Sage Surratt is an animal and the secondary may need to blanket him with a couple guys to lock him up on the outside (UPDATE: he opted out) , but with QB Newman off to the SEC the offense will step back a notch and the defense will still be looking for answers 11 games in. Cards score like it’s 2019, Wake can’t keep up.
Louisville 52 - Wake Forest 35
Seedy K – One supposes the Cardinals will be working on their onside kick play, heading into this one. They prevailed last year in a game that seemed interminable. There’s a history here, those pilfered play sheets and all still remain in the Demon Deacons’ craw. Enough that they sneak past the Cards on the last day of the regular season.
Wake Forest 55 - Louisville 42
Keith Wynne: 9-2
Conor Shea: 7-4
Cardinal Strong: 8-3
Seedy K: 8-3