No that's not a mis-print for those who follow me on a regular basis. There's plenty of reasons why the 20th ranked Louisville Cardinals are a 4 TD favorite, and after a Thursday night upset loss to Central Florida at home, a couple of weeks back Terry Bridgewater and company have since righted the ship. So far this season I am 1-1 when on Louisville this season. If you remember way back in week 4 Bridgewater (179/243 2557 23 TD 2 INT) threw for 212 yards and 4 scores and the Cardinal defense allowed just 30 total yards in a 72-0 lambasting of FIU. However in week 6 I wasn't so fortunate as The Cardinals looked extremely uninspired in the second half despite tumbling Temple 30-7 in Philly.
Coming off a bye week certainly helps when it comes to rest, and the hope is that it doesn't halt the momentum nor focus for this bunch that ranks second in the country in total defense. Louisville enters allowing 244.5 yards per game, second to only the Michigan State Spartans (210). The Cardinals are also second in scoring defense, giving up an average of 10.6 points per contest second only to Alabama (9.8). Call the loss to USF a wake-up call perhaps if you will, because it certainly will likely prepare the Cardinals for a much tougher test over the final 4 games against stiffer competition.
Bridgewater's numbers puts him in a competitive class for the Heisman race at season's end. What makes him especially dangerous is that his receiving core is so versatile and his ability to spread out his throws gives Louisville plenty of balance in the passing game. Damian Copeland (33-486 4 TD) and Eli Rogers (31-422 4 TD) will look to have big games against winless UConn (0-7) that gives up better than 35 points per contest. DeVante Parker (27-457 7 TD) completes the three-headed monster and has the ability to make big plays. While Louisville's methodical offense looks to pound the opposition into the ground early and wear offenses out late in the game, they may have even more success against the uninspired Huskies. That's where Dominique Brown (75-484 6.5 4 TD) adds to the equation by doing damage in the ground game.
Connecticut is advertised as among the most futile in the league as evident by their lack of offensive production managing just 16 points per contest against mid-level competition at best. The bulk of the time at QB has been mostly split unsuccessfully by Chandler Whitmer (71/129 896 5 TD 6 INT) and Tim Boyle (44/103 506 0 TD 5 INT). It's truly difficult to find a bright spot on this horrible Huskies squad, but Lyle McCombs (100-466 4.7 4 TD) has accounted for nearly 40% of the offense on the ground for UConn. Leading receiver Jeremy Davis (35-544) has still not found the end zone, and Shakim Phillips (22-314 3 TD) has seen limited time bothered by a hamstring injury. To say the Huskies offense, or lack there-of is an embarrassment is quite the understatement last in the AAC in rushing offense (76.3) and second-to-last in total offense (293.3). I fully expect Louisville's dominating defense to take advantage, especially in the sack department which is a rare area the Cardinals have abandoned over the last few games. DE Lorenzo Mauldin and CB Jermaine Reve will be able to make plays off the line and in the secondary no matter who is under center for Uconn in week 11.
Connecticut has been downright horrible this season as they have tried to replace a ton of lost production on both sides of the ball. Louisville is superior at all positions on paper and on the field. You can turn your sets off in this one by halftime and don't expect a backdoor repeat like Temple several weeks back. I look to notch my 6th straight and continue well above 80% for the season. Bridgewater should have a field day with a reeling UConn secondary and the Cardinals will not look ahead humbling the Huskies as they roll on improving their national ranking en route to a BCS appearance. Best of luck however you play!
There's a really good chance that I'll also have a Saturday selection if we are true to form Friday night.
YTD 10-2 .833