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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Dani is all fired up to take down the Golden Knights in a little over 24 hours.

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—Spread check: Central Florida by 6.5.

—Cam Teague tells the terrific story of Josh Johnson bouncing back from two ACL tears in 18 months.

—Does this count as a bird stomp?

UPDATE: They deleted it! For those wondering, the picture was of a UCF helmet sitting squarely on the midfield Cardinal logo inside Cardinal Stadium.

—The CJ recaps U of L volleyball’s thrilling triumph over Kentucky.

—Defensive coordinator Bryan Brown talked to the media following practice on Thursday. You can see the video here or read a transcript here.

—Athlon likes UCF over U of L by 10.

Final Analysis

In terms of scheme and depth, the UCF offense is very similar to Ole Miss’, which put up 569 yards and 43 points on Louisville on Labor Day evening. The Cardinals have played six pretty good quarters of football and should have a decent amount of confidence coming in. Being able to keep up with UCF’s high-octane attack, however, will be no small feat. Areas like turnovers and special teams will probably have to go Louisville’s way on Friday night. Even at home, the Cardinals may not have enough firepower or defensive stops to keep up with the Knights.

Prediction: UCF 41, Louisville 31

—Louisville Report’s Matt McGavic is predicting a 35-20 win for Central Florida tomorrow night.

—The Golden Knights might not be a top 25 team right now, but the folks down in Florida are still talking about them having an outside shot to crash the CFP.

—There has never, ever been incorrect information on Wikipedia.

They are the Golden Knights.

I should also mention that UCF fans appear to have signed me up for different gay dating websites. All in all, I’m not sure the 2011-13 nostalgia could be higher this week.

—The Athletic’s Seth Davis highlights the 25 men’s college basketball players with the most to prove this season.

—Class of 2024 recruit Tyler McKinley from Cincinnati is the latest player to confirm they’ll be in attendance at Louisville Live this weekend.

—Maki Johnson will also be at Churchill Downs.

—Speaking of Churchill Downs, they unveiled very cool statues of Matt Winn and John Asher on Thursday.

—The Blue Ribbon Yearbook’s preseason top 25 for the upcoming college hoops season is out.

—The CJ’s high school sports staff make their picks for tomorrow’s area football games.

—Chris Hatfield looks at Friday night’s game from a gambling perspective.

Prediction

The prudent play for this game may be taking UCF and the points. While I do expect Central Florida to cover, I do give it a slight pause for two reasons:

1. I expect Louisville Head Coach Scott Satterfield to pull out all the stops in such a critical game.

2. Sharps and public alike have pounded Louisville as the Cardinals are now receiving 68% of the money. The spread has also moved a full two points in most places since opening.

Instead, I will look at the total.

Louisville’s defense is the most improved aspect of its team from a season ago and I expect that to continue. The lack of explosiveness and a talented run defense for UCF will mean lengthy drives with limited points for Louisville. I will look to play the under 68 (-120) and would play it all the way down to 65.5.

Prediction: Under 68 (-120)

—Louisville CB transfer Anthony Johnson is having a terrific season for Virginia so far.

—On Louisville Sports Live last night, Chris Mack confirmed for the first time publicly that Mike Pegues will be coaching the team during his 6-game suspension in November.

—Please help spread the word if you can.

—The latest Cardinal Authority podcast previews Louisville-UCF.

—The Golden Knights will be wearing all white tomorrow night.

—Happy 15-year anniversary to one of the best days and loudest moments in Cardinal Stadium history.

Still one of the best days ever to be a Cardinal football fan.

—The Louisville men’s soccer team is back in action on Friday with a road match at Syracuse. Here’s a preview.

—The fifth-ranked Louisville field hockey team will open ACC play by hosting No. 11 Virginia on Friday. The Cards will then welcome No. 2 Iowa to Trager Stadium on Sunday.

—Murder bird is taking over Lexington. Have to think this played a role in last night’s volleyball showdown.

—The From the Pink Seats podcast reviews the EKU win and looks ahead to UCF.

—NCAA.com covers Louisville volleyball’s win over Kentucky.

—Chip Patterson of CBS likes the Golden Knights tomorrow.

A win should propel UCF into the top 25: The Knights finished just outside the AP Top 25 and Coaches poll following Week 2. After starting the year outside the top 30 in both sets of rankings, the hard-fought win against Boise State has positioned UCF to join Cincinnati in the national rankings and give the American Athletic Conference two viable candidates for the New Year’s Six. While Louisville’s eventual form is yet to be determined in this early part of the season, this still would qualify as a quality win by going on the road on a short week into a hostile Power Five environment like Cardinal stadium.

How to watch Louisville vs. UCF live

Date: Friday, Sept. 17 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Location: Cardinal Stadium — Louisville, Kentucky

TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)

Louisville vs. UCF prediction, picks

While much time has been spent discussing Gabriel and the ways he can beat teams with his arm and legs, there’s been a real boost from Northwestern transfer Isaiah Bowser. The 6-1, 225-pound running back is averaging 115 yards per game and tied for second nationally in rushing touchdowns with five scores. He brings a physicality that helps this offense win in short-yardage and goal-to-go downs, providing balance and a complement to the spread concepts that still linger even after the coaching transition. Louisville’s defense had some trouble with Ole Miss early on, and that tape will provide some opportunities for Gus and UCF to find enough advantages to get in and out of Cardinal Stadium with a win. Prediction: UCF (-7)

—The CJ outlines three keys to success for Louisville against Central Florida.

—The main task for Bryan Brown and company tomorrow night will be to force UCF’s up-tempo offense to slow down.

—And finally, the Mike Rutherford Show returns this afternoon form 3-6 on 1450 The Big X. As always, you can stream the show here.