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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

11-year-old Will took it upon himself to make sure that the family dog, Daisy, is already set to go for Saturday night.

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—Spread check: Louisville by 2.5.

—State of the U looks at the Louisville-Miami matchups to watch.

—The 2020-21 college basketball season will “officially” begin on Thanksgiving Eve, Nov. 25. Probably. Full practices across the country will begin on Oct. 14.

—Both of the national college football writers at 247 Sports like Louisville over Miami on Saturday.


College football’s first nationally-ranked showdown of the season, we’ll get a better idea of which team will play top challenger to North Carolina, Notre Dame and Clemson in the ACC after this one’s over. It serves as a spotlight game for those unfamiliar with Cardinals quarterback Micale Cunningham, who appeared for the first time on the Heisman tracker this week after a four-touchdown outing in the opener.

The Hurricanes have their own Heisman candidate in quarterback D’Eriq King.

“If you look at our league and the three-headed monster of running back, quarterback, and wide receiver, they have to be in the upper echelon—[Louisville], Clemson, and North Carolina,” Miami coach Manny Diaz said on Monday morning during an appearance on The Joe Rose Show on 560 WQAM.

Hummer: The showcase game of a ho-hum Week 3 slate, Miami and Louisville will match two of the most exciting QBs in the ACC. D’Eriq King looked potentially transformative for Miami’s offense last week, and Micale Cunningham creates chunk plays as well as anyone. This is sort of a pick-em game in my mind. I just think Louisville is a bit better at this point. ... Louisville 27, Miami 24.

Crawford: This isn’t college football’s best weekend in terms of watchability, but at least we’re getting another full slate of games right? For that, I’m thankful. Saturday night’s marquee contest in the ACC should provide plenty of fireworks from at least one of these teams. I’m not quite sold on Miami’s new offense under Rhett Lashlee, however. There were some noticeable issues on third down against UAB and the Hurricanes don’t seem to have their usual group of freaks at wide receiver. Louisville takes this one. ... Louisville 34, Miami 23.

—Wednesday was Louisville’s deadline to respond to the NCAA’s notice of allegations, which it did.

—They’re heeeerreeeee.

—The U of L women’s soccer team kicks off its 2020 season tonight at Miami.

—The Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook does not have Louisville in its preseason top 25.

—The WDRB Sports Pod is talking Louisville, Kentucky and Western Kentucky football.

—Miami will be going with the all white look Saturday night.

—Myles Wolfolk, arguably North Carolina’s top defensive player, has been declared academically ineligible for the 2020 season.

—The Athletic’s Brian Hamilton identifies Carlik Jones as the 11th-most intriguing men’s college basketball player for the 2020-21 season.

11. Carlik Jones, Louisville

Pop quiz, hotshot: Who was the most efficient, high-usage offensive performer in the nation last year? OK, so it was Payton Pritchard at Oregon. But who was No. 2? Why, Carlik Jones, former Radford scorer supreme and current grad-transfer backcourt injection for Louisville. Of players who used at least 28 percent of their team’s possessions in 2019-20, Jones’ offensive rating of 119.8 was surpassed only by Pritchard. Jones averaged 20 points on the nose, shot a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range and dished out 5.5 assists and grabbed 5.1 rebounds per night. However, we can report the Big South is not the ACC. And that’s always the question with grad transfers such as this: Does the production translate? It’s a paradigm that has chewed up and spit out plenty of others who leap to power leagues for one or two seasons.

On the women’s side, Zac Boyer has Dana Evans at No. 18.

18. Dana Evans, Louisville

Evans, the ACC Player of the Year as a junior, decided not to join Jazmine Jones and Kylee Shook in heading for the WNBA in the spring because she was concerned about the impact of the pandemic. Her return will be a significant boost for Louisville. An elite shooter, she shot 43.1 percent from 3-point range last season, and only four major-conference players surpassed Evans’ average of three made 3-pointers a game. Despite the losses of Jones and Shook, Louisville remains remarkably talented. Evans, who led the Cardinals with 18 points and 4.2 assists per game, will be surrounded by a group of players who could form a national title contender.

—State of The U serves up 10 over/under bets for Saturday night’s game.

—Papa John’s is moving a major chunk of its Louisville headquarters to Atlanta in order to create a new global HQ.

—Louisville’s defense took a step forward against WKU, but there were still plenty of “teachable moments” during the victory.

—Shoutout to Clemson football.

—After having to place a handful of offensive linemen into quarantine because of COVID-19 contact tracing, Charlotte was forced to cancel its scheduled game at North Carolina this weekend. That makes five canceled or postponed games this weekend.

—Jeff Goodman’s updated preseason top 50 for the 2020-21 college hoops season has Louisville at No. 23.

—Absolute hero.

—Rivals sets the scene for Louisville vs. Miami.

—Pat Forde writes that the differences between collaborative college basketball and the every-league-for-itself college football have never been more striking than they were on Wednesday.

—Remember when ...

—Bill Connelly’s S&P picks have Miami over Louisville, 30-26.

—Derrik Klassen of Roto World breaks down Micale Cunningham’s performance against Western Kentucky and has some concerns over the amount of designed rollouts we saw in week one.

Cunningham rolled out by design on 11 of his 34 charted drop backs on Saturday. That would be nearly 33% of Cunningham’s drop backs for the evening. To say Cunningham’s use of rollouts is unique would be an understatement. For reference, the most frequent rollout user among the ten 2020 quarterbacks I charted was Utah State’s Jordan Love at just under 9%. As I’m sure my charting by the end of the year will show, this is no one-game occurrence either. 33% could be on the higher side for him, but I would bet anything he finishes the season at least above 15%, if not 20%.

Within the context of Satterfield’s offense, the abundance of rollouts are absolutely killer. Cunningham is exceptionally productive on them and they are a core part of the offense. With respect to what it means for Cunningham as a prospect, however, there is some reason for concern. This is anecdotal evidence more than anything, but in six-plus years of doing NFL draft work, I can not remember any quarterback prospects who rolled out nearly as often as Cunningham and went on to have NFL success.

Oftentimes, I find heavy-rollout offenses to be crutches for players who need the field condensed for them, which very well could be Satterfield’s thinking with Cunningham. The closest approximate off the top of my head is Nathan Peterman (Pitt), who recorded 44 rollouts on the 244 passing attempts I was able to chart. That comes out to just over 18% of the time, which is probably the floor for where I would wager Cunningham’s rollout usage rate will be.

Another somewhat concerning note on this game is that 21 of Cunningham’s 29 pass attempts were on the right side of the field. That is true in part because of the rollouts, which Louisville tends to call towards the right sideline, but that only emphasized the point. Naturally, right-handed quarterbacks tend to be worse when throwing to their left, especially when on the move to the left. Splits as stark as this, however, are rare. We don’t tend to see quarterbacks throw more than two-thirds of their passes in a given game to the right side of the field. And that is not even accounting for Cunningham’s four throwaways, all of which he threw to the right sideline.

If anything can be gleaned from this game, on top of knowing what we already know about Cunningham from last year, it is this: Cunningham is limited in what he can do as a passer, but he is exceptional at those few things. As an NFL prospect, that means Cunningham is likely a Day 3 project who will absolutely need a few years of seasoning before being ready to see the field. That may change as this season rolls on, but it feels like the most reasonable outcome for him right now.

—Miami and Louisville on Saturday is the first showdown of ranked teams that we’ve seen in 2020.

—Four of CBS’ college football writers like Louisville over Miami, the other three are rolling with the Canes.

—Charles Minlend rules and I’m very happy he’s a Cardinal.

—Louisville has the No. 3 and No. 18 male swimmers in the country.

—247 Sports looks at the 10 most important Miami players for this weekend.

—Dez is a highlight machine.

—Outside of Louisville-Miami, this weekend’s college football schedule is ... not great.

—Tom Fornelli of CBS is taking Miami, 27-24.

—One of Athlon’s “outrageous predictions” for week three in college football is that Louisville wins on Saturday by double digits.

Louisville beats Miami by double digits

Both of these teams had to work a little harder than they wanted to last weekend to log wins. This week appears to be an even battle on paper, but Louisville has the advantage on the sidelines in head coach Scott Satterfield. The Cardinals also have the advantage when it comes to skill players. Look for Louisville to jump out early in this one and have the Hurricanes playing catch-up all game, ending in a sound win for the Cardinals.

—Chris Mack’s Louisville basketball newsletter will be back in October.

—Big Red Louie lays out three keys to beating Miami.

—Quinn Slazinski is ready to be back on the court.

—Manny Diaz thinks Louisville’s skill position players are some of the best in the country.

—And finally, the U of L defense is spending this week preparing itself for Miami’s fast-pace offense.