Last year we endured what will likely (HOPEFULLY) be the weirdest season of our lives. I’m still too scared to jinx anything, but everything this time around feels so normal. We’ve got @CardinalStrong’s “100 Days Until Kickoff” series down into the single digits. We’ve got Keith Wynne’s preview series all but wrapped up. We’ve got Week 0 in the bag (my god, Nebraska). And today we had Coach Satterfield’s first game week presser.
It all feels so real and feels pretty damn normal, which is awesome.
So, to wrap up what’s been a rollercoaster of a summer across college football and on Floyd Street, I figured there wasn’t any better way to end this chapter than having the brain trust of Card Chronicle put their 2021 Louisville Football Game-By-Game predictions in virtual stone.
This year I’ve asked Justin Renck to submit his predictions since he complained to me both publicly and privately last year about not being included. I’ve also invited meme lord Kevin Wright to join us out of fear that he might embarrass me publicly with his photoshop skills. Lastly, I’ve also included our baseball savant, Matt Sefcovic, since he probably knows nothing about football and will make the rest of us look smart. Once again, Mike has decided to sit this group exercise out since he thinks his opinions are deserving of their own post.
Let’s do this.
Ole Miss Rebels – Monday, September 6th
Keith Wynne – My feeling on this game is that it will be lower scoring than the over/under. Louisville will play well and avoid mistakes. Bryan Brown’s defensive plan will keep Ole Miss in check and UofL pulls it out at the end because of better special teams.
Louisville 35 - Ole Miss 31
Conor Shea – I am beyond excited to see this game because I think it should entertaining regardless of the result. Unfortunately, I think Ole Miss still has too much firepower for a much-improved defense and the result doesn’t fall in our favor.
Ole Miss 45 – Louisville 35
Justin Renck – Louisville’s defense may be improved, but Ole Miss is going to get their share of points. I don’t know if this offense can keep up with so many unproven guys at the skill positions. It’s a big stage to open the season with and hopefully they show up and prove me wrong.
Ole Miss 38 - Louisville 24.
Kevin Wright – The Rebels go ahead early but the Cards claw back w/a convincing running game in the 2nd half. UofL wins a nail biter late off the foot of James Turner.
Louisville 36 - Ole Miss 34
Matt Sefcovic – Although I love the fact that Louisville is willing to play season openers against quality opponents, they have not gone well in the past. Giving Kiffin an entire offseason to prepare is not ideal, but I think the Cards stay competitive until late.
Ole Miss 48 - Louisville 34
Cardinal Strong – I stated this in a couple other spots so I’ll stick to my “hopefully extremely wrong” gut. Land Sharks jump out early, Cards claw back and we’ve got a battle going into the last 15 minutes. A couple late scores allow Ole Miss to make it look worse than what we watched.
Ole Miss 41 - Louisville 24
Seedy K – There was a time when U of L would open at a powerhouse, like, oh, Drake, and the first battle at home would be Southern Illinois in front of, say, 3500 fans at Fairgrounds Stadium. So, Labor Day Night. National TV. TOP 25 SEC foe. In
Atlanta in a Dome. Bring it. Not Quite Ready For Prime Time Cards hang tough, but . . . L.
Eastern Kentucky Colonels – Saturday, September 11th
Keith – Lousiville pounds the running game and the defense dominates.
Louisville 42 - Eastern Kentucky 7
Conor – I don’t love that this game is just days after the trip to Atlanta, but I’m not too worried about the starters getting plenty of time to rest up on the sidelines as they look ahead to what should be a difficult Friday Night tilt against the UCF Golden Knights.
Louisville 56 – EKU 6
Justin – Cards get back on track at home against an overmatched EKU team. No problems here.
UofL 49 - EKU 3
Kevin – The Cards prove to be too much on both sides of the ball. Some of the unproven wide receivers show promise as UofL hammers the Colonels. 70% of the Cardinal fan base will have the left the stadium to polish off their tailgating scenes before the end of the 3rd quarter.
Louisville 49 - EKU 10
Matt – This will be our first chance to get a good look at some of the younger guys that we didn't get the opportunity to see against Ole Miss. Cards will score early and often.
Louisville 45 - EKU 13
Cardinal Strong – The defense gets some momentum and the offense starts to click against an overmatched team
Louisville 48 - EKU 10
Seedy K – There have been times, even recently, when victory over an in-state FCS divisional wasn’t a given. Not any more. Cards roll. W
Central Florida Golden Knights – Friday, September 17th
Keith – UCF runs into the same issue that Ole Miss does when Bryan Brown shuts down their running game and Louisville’s secondary eliminates the big plays. Louisville’s offense is humming along with a strong running game and UCF can’t force turnovers.
Louisville 38 - Central Florida 28
Conor – This is about as 50/50 as a game can get in my opinion. UCF and first-year head coach Gus Malzahn are going to give the Cards all they can handle on Friday night. If Louisville drops this game then Satterfield’s likely to feel the heat if the Cards are sitting at 1-2 before heading down to Tallahassee and Winston-Salem.
Central Florida 35 – Louisville 31
Justin – Friday night home game and Cardinal Stadium is alive and well. Cards get payback for the Blake Bortles year. Louisville wins.
Louisville 31 - Central Florida 20
Kevin – Scott Satterfield and the Cards get to 3-0 after a slugfest with a very good Knights team. Malik Cunningham proves to be the difference and a late stop by UofL’s defense seals another win. Gus Malzahn & Scott Satterfield exchange visors in the post game handshake as a sign of sportsmanship.
Louisville 28 - Central Florida 27
Matt – Outside of Cincinnati, this is probably the biggest game for UCF this season. The last time Louisville hosted UCF on a Friday night, well, we all know how that ended. UCF suffered a few key injuries prior to the season and they will still be trying to learn Malzahn’s system.
Louisville 31 - Central Florida 24
Cardinal Strong – UCF comes out juiced up and we got a ballgame through the first half. Cards get rolling on both sides when things settle down and pull away late
Louisville 34 - Central Florida 20
Seedy K – New coach Gus Malzahn won 2/3s of his games at Auburn. Including besting the Crimson Tide thrice. Not enough to hang on on the Plains. He can coach. Dillon Gabriel is a pretty feisty QB. Visitors spoil the day at Cardinal Stadium. L
@ Florida State Seminoles – Saturday, September 25th
Keith – Florida State is still rebuilding and they still don’t have the athletes on defense to play the scheme the way it’s designed. Louisvlle has another big day on offense after they did the same last year. FSU is better on offense but still isn’t all the way there but they keep it close.
Louisville 35 - FSU 31
Conor – If Louisville enters this game at 1-2 fans will be awfully impatient and demanding a positive result. A trip down to Florida State won’t help things get much easier, but thankfully the ‘Noles aren’t up to par with UCF and Ole Miss just yet.
Louisville 35 – FSU 28
Justin – Just something about Tallahassee that makes this game difficult even if it should not be. Turnovers from 2020 rear their ugly head for the first time in 2021.
FSU 27 - Louisville 24
Kevin – For the first time all season penalties and special teams mishaps haunt the Cards. FSU makes enough big plays to get out ahead and the Cards run out of time to mount enough comeback points. Chubba Purdy is still overrated and some UofL fans contemplate jumping off the Sherman Minton Bridge.
FSU 30 - Louisville 23
Matt – No one actually wants to see Mike Norvell win, right? He has done us a few favors in recruiting recently though, so that was nice of him, but it’s going to take a few years to get the Seminoles back on track.
Louisville 31 - FSU 21
Cardinal Strong – Florida State still looking for reliable QB play a few weeks in struggles against a Louisville defense that is playing well. Offense has struggles in first true road contest but finds a way to win behind the leg of James Turner
Louisville 19 - FSU 13
Seedy K – Bobby Bowden ain’t roamin’ that Seminole sideline anymore. RIP. Nor are former future Cards Jordan Travis and Chubba Purdy going to be starting at QB. Louisville commences to jell. Let the winning streak begin in Tallahassee. W
@ Wake Forest Demon Deacons – Saturday, October 2nd
Keith – This game ends up being the shootout that everyone expected Ole Miss to be. Wake scores at will because UofL can’t stop their running game. Louisville struggles on offense because they can’t run their normal offense. Wake pulls away late at home.
Wake Forest 56 - Louisville 45
Conor – I don’t like Dave Clawson and I don’t like their weird walk-up-to-the-line-handoffs, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t impressed with the consistent pain in the ass he’s built at Wake Forest. Road trips to Wake are always tough for us, and if it’s anything like the last time we visited them there’s no telling how this game might turn out.
Wake Forest 42 – Louisville 38
Justin – The Demon Deacons still can’t shake the thought of Evan Conley torching them in 2019 and his long TD run late in the game. They are totally blindsided when Conley never even enters the game.
Louisville 45 - Wake Forest 28
Kevin – The Cards get their first ACC win of the season by cutting back on penalties, running the ball effectively and shutting down the Demon Deacons’ offense. They’ll prove to not even need a copy of Wake’s playbook. Malik Cunningham & Marshon Ford have big days on offense for UofL. Monty Montgomery shines on defense.
Louisville 37 - Wake Forest 17
Matt – It’s really no secret that Wake and Louisville don’t particularly like each other and I’m perfectly fine with that. The Cards better be prepared to score a lot of points in this one because Clawson will have Wake ready to light up the scoreboard. If all else fails, just put in Evan Conley.
Louisville 48 - Wake Forest 35
Cardinal Strong – Louisville has taken two straight from Wake and coming in on a three game win streak the focus just isn't there on defense and Wake carves them up. Offense tries to keep up, but falls short
Wake Forest 42 - Louisville 31
Seedy K – Cardinals don’t need no stinkin’ Demon Deacon playbook in advance to capture their second conference win in a row. On the road no less. W.
Virginia Cavaliers – Saturday, October 9th
Keith – Virginia doesn’t have the playmakers they’ve had to rely on over the last handful of years. The defense reloads pretty well but not with enough team speed to keep up with Louisville. Scott Satterfield relies on a strong Offensive Line to open up the passing game and Louisville runs away with the game.
Louisville 31 - UVA 21
Conor – Bronco Mendenhall is never someone to sleep on and I never feel comfortable about playing UVA in any sport, but Louisville is also undefeated at home against the Cavs since joining the ACC. The streak stays alive and the Cards improve to .500 on the season
Louisville 28 – UVA 17
Justin – Not even Tony Bennett can stop this Cards offense today. Everything clicks and the Cards take care of the ball and the Hoos.
Louisville 42 - UVA 24
Kevin – The home crowd at Cardinal Stadium puts the team on its back and helps will the Cards to a second straight ACC win. UofL plays well defensively, James Turner proves to be automatic inside the 50 yard line & Lachlan McLean doesn’t show up to work for a week following the Cavaliers’ loss.
Louisville 30 - UVA 28
Matt – I just don’t have a good feeling about this game. Bronco always has his teams prepared to play physical and Louisville will have to find a way to match the Cavaliers style of play.
UVA 31 - Louisville 24
Cardinal Strong – Louisville looks to bounce back but gets into another ugly game with Virginia. Cards keep it close but there is no Mangok Mathiang to save them this time.
UVA 28 - Louisville 24
Seedy K – Cards break out of their recent passing yardage slump against Wahoos. Cunningham to Smith. Cunningham to Ford. Cunningham to Harrell. First Downs. Touchdowns. 3-0 in the league. W.
Boston College Eagles – Saturday, October 23rd
Keith – BC’s offense keeps improving in year two but their lack of running game allows Bryan Brown to rely on his secondary and improved pass rush to keep them in check. Louisville wins a low-scoring game.
Louisville 21 - Boston College 10
Conor – There is a lot of hype around Jeff Hafley and former Notre Dame QB Phil Jurkovec, but I have serious concerns about BC having any run game at all. I think this defense is more than capable of handling a one dimensional offense and the Louisville run game keeps BC’s passing attack off the field.
Louisville 34 – Boston College 27
Justin – BC comes in and is a surprisingly big game for this Louisville team and season. It’s a slugfest in bad weather, but Louisville hangs on to win.
Louisville 21 - Boston College 17
Kevin – Despite UofL’s defense giving up its most yardage of the season on the ground, the Cards take advantage o f pturnovers and timely big plays on offense to hold off BC. Cards build momentum with 3 straight conference wins heading to Raleigh.
Louisville 35 - Boston College 31
Matt – We always lose one game that we shouldn’t. Here it is.
Boston College 34 - Louisville 28
Cardinal Strong – Cards take the bye week to get healthy and refocus on getting bowl eligible. Malik comes out and plays his best game of the season and the defense continues to perform at a Top 25 level.
Louisville 40 - Boston College 17
Seedy K – Week off gives Louisville troops time to heal nicks and bruises. Stadium is fuller. Of fans. Of excitement. Visitors have long, quiet flight. back to Beantown after falling. W.
@ N.C. State Wolfpack – Saturday, October 30th
Keith – State has a great crowd and atmosphere for this game and their improved defense does a good job to eliminate big plays and slow down Louisville’s offense. Nothing goes right for Louisville and they lose one they should win.
N.C. State 28 - Louisville 17
Conor – Look, I wasn’t impressed with N.C. State’s eight wins in 2020, and I was particularly unimpressed with their performance over a subpar Kentucky team in the Gator Bowl. That being said, I think N.C. State will be decent this year, and a road trip down to Raleigh won’t be easy.
N.C. State 28 – Louisville 24
Justin – The 5-2 Cards head to Raleigh with tons of momentum but run into a buzzsaw. NC State is in control from start to finish. UofL fans blame it on Satterfield being in the state of North Carolina and losing focus.
N.C. State 38 - Louisville 17
Kevin – The Wolfpack control the line of scrimmage due in large part to Payton Wilson and Devin Leary has a big game on offense as the Cards lose their second game of the season. UofL does show life late but NC State is just too much on this night. Cards prepare for Clemson and Dave Doeren remains insufferable
N.C. State 37 - Louisville 27
Matt – Playing this game in North Carolina should give Coach Satterfield a little extra pep in his step. This game has the potential to be a must win heading into Clemson, but I still give the edge to the home team.
N.C. State 24 - Louisville 17
Cardinal Strong – Playing at NC State on weekend of Halloween, crowd is juiced, team is ready to play. Wolfpack are playing well at this point in the season and Louisville just gets beat by a better team that night.
N.C. State 27 - Louisville 20
Seedy K – U of L’s unblemished record in league play ends. Bubble bursts on Tobacco Road. Cardinals succumb in OT to underrated Wolfpack. L.
Clemson – Saturday, November 6th
Keith – It’s a bad day for Louisville but it’s somewhat respectable.
Clemson 38 - Louisville 10
Conor – I love you guys, but no.
Clemson 56 – Louisville 17
Justin – Not quite on this level yet. Some glimpses of positive plays on both sides of the ball, but Clemson is just too good.
Clemson 41 - Louisville 20
Kevin – Despite having a few chances to upset the Tigers in recent years, this Clemson team with its stout defense lives up to its billing and exploits the Cards in a multitude of ways. Cards continue to find success however on the ground and Dabo Sweeney states in the post game presser that Scott Satterfield’s teams will continue to be “pretty darn hard to handle” in years to come.
Clemson 44 - Louisville 20
Matt – One team will score a lot of points and one will not.
Clemson 48 - Louisville 10
Cardinal Strong – Louisville keeps it close.....through a quarter. The dudes on the other sideline are just better right now, and I can handle that.
Clemson 42 - Louisville 20
Seedy K – How different might things have been for Cards and Tigers had that Shamrock WR, who shall remain nameless, veered inside instead of out of bounds in ‘16? Sigh. These two programs have moved in opposite directions. U of L not back at Tigers’ level. Yet. L.
Syracuse Orange – Saturday, November 13th
Keith – Louisville gets back to routinely beating the hell out of Syracuse.
Louisville 45 - Syracuse 14
Conor – As much as I love Dino, I’m afraid time is running out on him in Upstate New York. Syracuse visits Louisville for a third consecutive year in a row and leaves with the same result. If it gets ugly enough this could be Dino’s last game.
Louisville 45 – Syracuse 10
Justin – Evan Conley plays most of the second half with the game out of reach. Syracuse is just trying to get the season over with and we help them get closer to that.
Louisville 55 - Syracuse 20
Kevin – The Cards bounce back in big fashion with a convincing home win over an overmatched Orange squad. Malik Cunningham has a big game as do the UofL special teams. Lack of turnovers continues to be the biggest feather in Louisville’s cap.
Louisville 41 - Syracuse 13
Matt – I’m with Conor on this one - I really like Dino (Babers, not the other one) but it is time to move in a different direction.
Louisville 38 - Syracuse 7
Cardinal Strong – Death, taxes, beating Syracuse by 30. Cards do their best 2016 impression and make Dino contemplate some of his life decisions up to this point.
Louisville 56 - Syracuse 13
Seedy K – Cardinals have been feasting on Orange as of late. They’re not alone, frankly. Just a season or two ago, Dino Babers was Flavor of the Month. Now he’s hangin’ with the hot seat crowd. Louisville W.
@ Duke Blue Devils – Thursday, November 18th
Keith – I honestly think this could be the game that gets Cutty fired. Duke will be bad and Louisville will come down and embarrass them on a weeknight. As much as I love Cutty, Duke has to feel like they’re at risk of backsliding all the way back to before Cutty got there.
Louisville 48 - Duke 20
Conor – Still not really sure what Cutcliffe is still doing at Duke, unless they’re just keeping him to try and get a commitment from Arch Manning. Duke’s going to be especially bad this year, and even a Thursday night game can’t help the Blue Devils.
Louisville 42 – Duke 20
Justin – I tried to find a random game where the Cards slip up and you can’t explain it. Can’t do it here. Duke football has returned to where it belongs. Malik looks like Lamar in this one.
Louisville 49 - Duke 10
Kevin – In ugly fashion, the Cards make enough plays on both sides of the ball in a potential “let down” game leading up following week’s Governor‘s Cup to defeat the Blue Devils.
Louisville 33 - Duke 21
Matt – Fortunately for Louisville, they play their two weakest ACC games heading into the Kentucky game. Neither Daniel Jones or any of the Mannings are walking through the door as Duke has returned to the Duke we all know and expect.
Louisville 35 - Duke 10
Cardinal Strong – In what normally may be considered a trap game, coming off a blowout win and then playing on the road just five days later, the Cards smell a sixth win and playing in a postseason contest. The Cards treat this as a “business trip” and do exactly that...give Duke the business.
Louisville 38 - Duke 10
Seedy K – The Red & Black haven’t fared so well in recent road finales. This one is especially tricky on short rest, with You Know Whom coming to the Ville the following week. The last time Cardinals ventured to Durham in 2002, they won by 37. The victory won’t be quite that decisive this time around, but it shall be one nonetheless. W.
Kentucky Wildcats – Saturday, November 27th
Keith – Barring an injury, Kentucky’s offense should be miles ahead of where it’s been outside of the ridiculous Lyn Bowden year. Mark Stoops has built his defense into a unit that can reload and he brings back a lot of talent. I think that UK’s depth and transfer additions on offense give them an edge here.
Kentucky 28 - Louisville 14
Conor – I know Kentucky has a new OC and a new QB that eats moldy bananas, but Stoops has never let any of his past OCs do their own thing and it’s plagued their offenses for years. I’ll have to see it to believe it, but even if they can throw a forward pass this time around I think the Cards have enough depth to handle the Cats in the trenches this time around.
Louisville 38 – Kentucky 31
Justin – After getting their confidence back on two weaker opponents, the Louisville defense comes to play. Kentucky comes in with a 5-6 record and is denied a bowl trip at the hands of the Cards, who force 5 turnovers. L’s all the way up.
Louisville 31 - Kentucky 14
Kevin – Kentucky capitalizes on some early UofL turnovers to jump ahead but Malik Cunningham plays his best game of the year and leads the Cards to a late score to tie the game at the final horn. In OT, KY goes conservative and opts for a field goal while UofL scores on its first play from scrimmage to promote mass hysteria in Cardinal Stadium. L’s up.
Louisville 29 - Kentucky 26 (OT)
Matt – With Kentucky introducing a new offensive scheme, this would be a good year to play the Battle of the Bluegrass at the beginning of the season. It is going to be tough to score on this Kentucky team and their offensive line is stout.
Kentucky 35 - Louisville 21
Cardinal Strong – The Kentucky offense is looking impressive at this point in the year and they put up a big number in the first half. Cardinal Stadium crowd assits in the comeback but too little, too late.
Kentucky 30 - Louisville 24
Seedy K – What are the chances the Wildcat 6 are exonerated and back in uniform by rivalry week? Who cares? It’s not going to matter. Surprisingly successful season ends with a bang. Louisville tallies late for the win over Big Blew. W.
Final Predictions –
Cardinal Strong: 6-6
Seedy K: 8-4
*fun fact: Keith predicted Louisville to win 9 games in 2020.