—Spread check: Florida State by 1.5.
—Florida State’s Mike Norvell was named ACC Coach of the Year over Jeff Brohm, and the vote actually wasn’t particularly close. Norvell — who had the highest-ranked team in the ACC heading into the season — received 36 votes, while Brohm — whose team was picked to finish 8th in the ACC and wound up second — received 16 votes. NC State’s Dave Doeren also received 10 votes, which is ridiculous.
—FSU’s 247 Sports site, unsurprisingly, thinks the voters got it right.
—The Louisville volleyball team bounced back after dropping the first set to Wright State to prevail in four in the first round of the NCAA tournament Thursday night. The Cards will face 10th-seeded Western Michigan, which upset No. 7 seed Auburn, inside the KFC Yum Center Friday night at 7 with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line.
Highlights of the Wright State win are here.
—DBK wants you in the house tonight.
Card Nation, you were great tonight! We need you tomorrow to pack the Yum! We play a very impressive Western Michigan tomorrow at 7 for a chance at the Sweet 16! https://t.co/IwYBmDZ7sd— Dani Busboom Kelly (@danib18) December 1, 2023
—The ACC Digital Network previews Louisville-Florida State in video form.
—Here’s the CJ’s primer for the ACC Championship Game.
—Every single member of the Nole GameDay staff is predicting a Florida State win in a one score game.
—Bobby Petrino said Thursday that he didn’t know anything Michigan stealing signs, but he knows that Clemson somehow had always Louisville’s signs when the two would play.
“I don’t know anything about, you know, Michigan and what they did or any of that. I honestly didn’t pay any attention to it,” Petrino said. “But I do know when you went and played Clemson, that they were going to have your signals.”
Bobby Petrino was the head coach at Louisville from 2014-18. His team faced Clemson every one of those years and was winless against the Tigers, although three of the five games were decided by six points or less.
Louisville scored more than 21 points only once against Clemson — with Heisman winner Lamar Jackson in 2016. Petrino hinted that part of the struggles on offense were due to Clemson having the Cardinals’ signals.
“They had guys on the sidelines standing there with a sheet of paper with your signals on it. And that was tough,” Petrino said.
A shocking development. Truly stunning.
—Florida State will be shooting for its 16th ACC championship on Saturday night. Louisville will be going for its first.
—Four-star UCLA CB commit Khristian Dunbar-Hawkins was at Louisville over the weekend and “had a great time.”
—Also at the Louisville game and spending some time with Jack Harlow? Former Louisville and current Ole Miss WR Jordan Watkins.
—Cards are back.
For the first time in program history, Louisville has scored at least 50 points after halftime in three November games. This includes the overtime period vs. New Mexico State.— Kelly Dickey (@RealCardGame) November 30, 2023
—Regardless of who wins on Saturday, the ACC champion will be a portal wars success story. Eleven of Florida State’s starters are transfers, and of Louisville’s seven All-ACC performers, five are transfers.
—Rain is expected throughout the day in Charlotte tomorrow.
—ESPN has a lengthy read on Rick Pitino’s road to St. John’s. It includes some quotes from Jeff Walz.
Longtime Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz also vouches for him.
Pitino was a big supporter of women’s athletics when he was at Louisville, Walz says, and would sometimes sit behind their bench during games and come to the locker room afterward to congratulate them.
When Louisville opened a downtown arena in 2010, Walz says, Pitino insisted that the women be the first team to play in the arena. The women opened it by playing Pat Summitt’s Tennessee Volunteers. He says that season ticket sales for his team significantly jumped after that game.
“It meant a ton to our program,” he says. “Not every men’s coach would do that.”
Walz says Pitino “served his time” and deserved this chance.
“It’s not like somebody just called him from a Power Five league and said, ‘Hey, I’ve got a job for you,’” Walz says. “He worked his way right back up into it.”
—Racing Louisville FC has named Beverly Goebel Yanez, a former assistant for the club, as its new head coach.
—This has the potential to be the most chaotic conference championship weekend of the Playoff era.
—Tom Fornelli of CBS says the over is his best bet for Louisville-Florida State.
Over of the Week
No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 14 Louisville: It seems a little insane to take the over after watching the slop-fest that was Florida State’s win over Florida last week, but it’s the right kind of crazy. First of all, that was Tate Rodemaker’s first start after the injury to Jordan Travis. Now he has the one game under his belt, and I suspect both Rodemaker and Florida State’s offensive coaching staff have a much better idea of what works and what doesn’t heading into this game.
I also think this is a matchup of two coaches — Mike Norvell and Jeff Brohm — who know how to scheme up big plays on offense. Florida State’s defense has been solid against the pass all year, but it plays a lot of man coverage without having faced a lot of great quarterbacks since the season opener. I don’t consider Jack Plummer an outstanding QB, but he has a coach who knows how to tear up man coverage and make it easy on him. Given all the unknowns, it’s hard to know who wins this game, but I’m confident this total is an overreaction to last week. Pick: Over 47.5 (-108)
—Louisville baseball alumni Bryan Hoeing and Bobby Miller will be the featured guests at the 2024 Leadoff Dinner. The annual event is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, at The Galt House Hotel. Tickets can be purchased here.
—BetKentucky.com has Kenny Payne as the favorite to be the next men’s college basketball coach who is fired.
—Louisville Report looks at the points of emphasis for the Cardinals vs. the Seminoles.
—Drew Phelps of the Tuscaloosa News is calling for a 21-17 U of L upset.
—Big Red Louie has some bold predictions for Louisville-FSU.
—Ambiguous portal tweeting season could not be in more full effect.
An old friend coming to the ville stay tuned…— Jawhar Jordan (@JaJo_25) November 30, 2023
— Jordan Watkins (@jordantwatkins) November 30, 2023
I can’t tell you for certain who Jawhar Jordan’s tweet is about, but I can tell you to brush up on Texas Tech QB Tyler Shough’s game JUST TO BE SAFE. The two were high school teammates.
—Expecting the Cardinals to be very active in the portal is a safe bet.
—Former Louisville RB Jalen Mitchell is back in the portal. Mitchell rushed for just 72 yards for UConn this past season.
—The NCAA has banned photo shoots on unofficial visits. Recruiting staffers are overjoyed.
—While there are rumors about Florida State QB Tate Rodemaker’s availability for tomorrow’s ACC Championship Game, Seminole insiders are insisting that the backup QB has been practicing this week. Rodemaker suffered a possible concussion during the team’s win over Florida last Saturday.
—Each member of the Tomahawk Nation staff is picking Florida State to top Louisville.
Jordan Silversmith (Season Record: 11-1)
The final game of the season presents the stiffest challenge.
Even with Louisville’s loss last week, this is a complete football team. They can play on any terms, be able to run the ball if they need to with their exceptional running back duo, or throw it down the field with a sixth-year veteran QB. As Adam Fuller mentioned during his weekly press conference, they do a great job of making their runs look like passes and vice versa. The Cardinals reached 30 points in their last four games and can produce explosive plays at any moment. The defense for the majority of the year has been stout, but in the last few weeks, a leak in the pipes presented itself. Their front seven will be as good as any FSU faced all season, led by Ashton Gillotte. The defensive end already produced 11 sacks on the year and is one of the most underrated players in the country.
I try not to be a homer and look to be as objective as possible. This week, however, I am going against my journalistic behaviors. I think FSU will win on Saturday. That is my gut feeling. As I mentioned, the Cardinals are deep in almost every position and can play any game the Seminoles want. Florida State looked poor in practice all week and will be trotting out Tate in a nasty enviroment for the second week in a row. Truly, it just feels like the ‘Noles came too far only to come this far. They found ways to win all sorts of situations throughout the year, and it feels like they are on a ride of destiny. Johnny Wilson makes enough catches, Tate makes enough throws, and the defense does what the defense does the last few weeks. Win, and a slight cover.
Florida State 24 Louisville 21
Evenflow58 (Season record: 12-0)
I think FSU went into the UF game last week not completely sure how to run their offense. They drew up some nice plays early but like most of the year they just couldn’t execute as an entire offense. There was always just one player off here or there. That’s kind of been the MO for the offense but they end up doing enough to hover around 30 points every game. I’m hoping that the UF game was a case of growing pains in a rivalry game for the Tate Rodemaker offense (I don’t think he played poorly but the team wasn’t great and I think they were trying to figure out what worked best with his skill set). I expect the offense to not be great but to look a bit better against a tougher UL defense.
On the other side of the ball I think FSU gives up some points early but plays enough smothering defense to allow for another come back. That’s kind of been the defense’s MO all year and the heavy substituting early in the year is starting to pay dividends. Not only does Fuller and Co know who they can trust they have a good bit of depth to lean on.
Ultimately special teams and the talent advantage (something they haven’t had in games where they’ve struggled) wins the day for FSU and the ‘Noles are playoff bound.
Florida State 28 Louisville 21
Perry Kostidakis (12-0)
What’s most concerning for me in this matchup is, for one of the few times this season, FSU is going up against a coaching staff that knows what it’s doing. You’re not getting the benefit of Mario Cristobal’s blank dumb face staring at you from the opposite sideline, and that could make a difference if Florida State finds itself down early once again.
The Cardinals’ run defense, as you might have heard, has been extremely successful in shutting down other team’s rushing attacks — but that has come coupled with a chance to be slightly exposed in the passing game. With Florida State’s own defense playing at an elite level, the offense is going to have to take a major step forward and find a more consistent level of success than what we saw against Florida. I’ve got faith in that happening partially because it’s a neutral site (the crowd noise in Gainesville quite clearly affected the offense’s comfort level) and also because even when this team put up such a disgusting first half, it still managed to find the necessary points in a win.
If Florida State plays its game, takes what the defense gives it, forces the Cardinals to rely more heavily on the pass and doesn’t turn the ball over, it’ll be booking flights to Pasadena or New Orleans.
Florida State 31, Louisville 27
—Michael McCammon of Cardinal Authority previews the ACC title game here.
—The Louisville men’s basketball team is 200/1 to win the national championship, while the women’s team is 100/1 according to the latest odds from BetOnline.
—State of Louisville has a betting guide for championship weekend.
—Good video here from Florida State’s 247 site on how Jeff Brohm “revolutionized” Louisville football:
There’s also a good video here on how FSU will game plan around Tate Rodemaker.
—Duke DL R.J. Oben, Roman’s son, is in the portal.
—Bryan Hudson has motivated himself long before he inspired Louisville with his leadership. He has done it and still does it with handwritten notes that are scattered everywhere.
—Clutch Points serves up some bold predictions for the ACC Championship Game. I like the last one best.
Louisville wins the first-ever ACC Championship, beating Florida State
Saturday night will be Louisville football’s first appearance in the ACC Championship Game. You can’t say enough about what Brohm has done for this team, and if he somehow pulls off the upset, it would also be the first win over a top-5 opponent since beating No. 3 West Virginia in 2006.
Louisville is obviously coming off a close loss to Kentucky last week, but this game is huge for this program. The Cardinals are good, and certainly good enough to beat a Florida State team without Jordan Travis. Their defense will more than likely be the story of this game with them forcing Rodemaker into throwing the ball frequently should they take a lead into the fourth quarter.
—Matt Weissman disagrees and likes the ‘Noles to both win and cover.
—All four members of The Athletic’s college football staff are also taking Florida State to win and cover the spread.
—The Tallahassee Democrat has a bunch of various media picks for the game. Most of them like FSU.
—The Mike Rutherford Show will be on the air from 3-6 to get you ready for tomorrow night’s big game. Keith Wynne will hop on with us at 4:30. You can stream the show here.
—And finally, beat Florida State.