Finally something other than MAC football to quench our thirst for football during the week. And actually, this is a pretty good one for a Thursday night. The Louisville Cardinals look to bolster their college football playoff resume with a win in Houston. The Cardinals are back in the picture thanks to chaos in the FBS this past weekend. Michigan, Washington, and Clemson all lost, setting the stage for other teams to come back into the picture. The Ohio State Buckeyes who were previous out are now 2nd in the country. But whatever, it doesn’t really matter too much, because it’s all going to come down to the Michigan-Ohio State game for those two schools. The loser will get bumped out of the equation, presumably, with a trip to the BIG 10 Championship on the line. There is going to lots at stake in Columbus in the final week of the regular season.
Louisville gets a mulligan themselves after they lost to Clemson. They certainly deserve a spot in the top 4 given what’s unfolded for other teams. The Cardinals played Clemson hard in a 42-36 night game on the road. Conversely, though, there are other intangibles on their resume that are pretty attractive for their cause. A 63-20 beat down of Florida State is at the top of their credentials. It was a rather improbable result, but Lamar Jackson and Louisville put their foot and told the rest of the country that they are for real. Bobby Petrino has done a superb job of turning this program around, after he had to leave Arkansas due to yet another scandal which have seemed to follow him throughout his career. There is no denying that he can coach football, though.
Is there going to be some scandal on the horizon for Petrino at Louisville? He better hope not, because he is going to be in line for a pay-raise either at Louisville or a bigger school. Charlie Strong took a big increase going to Texas from Louisville, so it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that he is ends up coaching at one of the marquee programs in the country in the future. Louisville may get into a bidding war to keep him around on campus. However, they aren’t winning that game against a school like Notre Dame, who may have had enough of Brian Kelly.
Nevertheless, I am not so sure Notre Dame would go through hiring a documented spousal cheater. There is already enough bad things said about Kelly because of his language, so don’t count on Notre Dame taking a look at him, but from a football perspective, yeah it wouldn’t be a bad move. It’s the Lamar Jackson show at Louisville at the moment, though, with Jackson shattering records along the way. The Cougars of Houston will try and throw a wrench at them, just like they were able to do against Oklahoma in Week 1.
Louisville Cardinals vs. Houston Cougars NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Houston +14(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Louisville vs. Houston Pick:
Houston from the get-go in Week 1 were looking like the team who were going to be in the spot where Louisville is right now. How can you deny it? Houston matched one of the best offenses in college football, essentially making Baker Mayfield and the Sooners’ offense useless. That was the Cougars we thought we’d see every game this season, a ferocious defence coupled with the talent of Greg Ward Jr. at quarterback. We’ve seen it, but there have been two falls along the way in 2016.
Houston were upset by Navy, and then SMU. SMU have been much improved this season, but yuck, the Mustangs are not a team they should be losing to. Navy wasn’t the best loss either, so Houston only have themselves to blame for not coming in prepared. Then you go down the line and see that they nearly lost to Virginia, even more puke worthy play from the Cougars.
With all of the talk of Houston head coach Tom Herman departing for the job at Texas, assuming Charlie Strong is fired, there have been some distractions here. I don’t think it’s any surprise that Houston have progressively looked like worse from earlier in the season. Note that Tulane and UCF put up solid fights against them the last weeks. In fact, despite beating Tulane, they were out thrown by 20 yards and 34 rushing yards.
Louisville can flip it on at any moment. In what looked like a close call against Wake Forest last week turned into a blowout. The Cardinals scored 34 4th quarterback points to win 44-12. It was 12-3 Wake Forest at halftime! Lamar Jackson has thrown for 27 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. It gets even more impressive on the ground for Jackson, rushing for 1336 yards and 19 touchdowns. Running backs can only dream of those numbers. Louisville have averaged 45.5 points the last four weeks, with the defense doing its job as well, allowing 14.25 points through those games. I can usually spot a trap when I see one, and this is looking awfully trappy. I think the sportsbooks are expecting a shellacking in favor of Louisville. However, I also see lots of people seeing 14 points thinking it’s too many to ignore on the Cougars. This team started quitting when Herman rumors started circling. Louisville have grand plans and should play the part tonight.
PICK: LOUSIVILLE -14 (-115)