The marquee college football game of the week comes to us from Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday night. Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler will be in the booth for the Saturday night affair between the Miami Hurricanes and Louisville Cardinals.
The SEC is nearing a return next weekend, so then things will begin to resemble some form of normalcy. As you already know by now, the Big Ten backtracked and now intends to kick their season off in October. The Pac-12 is currently in discussions on a return.
With the Big Ten returning in October, their schools will be eligible for the College Football Playoff. A start date any later would have made that impossible. The Ohio State Buckeyes are likely going to be the team that benefits the most. They have a very talented team led by Justin Fields.
Meanwhile, in the ACC, it’s Clemson and then everyone else, at least that’s how it looks at the moment. Florida State isn’t going to be a threat for quite some time. One team who might be able to sneak up contend is the Louisville Cardinals. They’re not yet ready to beat Clemson, but heading towards being a top-tier school in the ACC.
There’s a lot not to like in the conference despite Clemson being there. This provides an opportunity for Louisville to come up and be involved in the ACC discussion. If that’s going to come to fruition, they must beat the Hurricanes on Saturday night at home. Lose here and no one will take the Cardinals seriously.
This is a revenge spot for Louisville after they got smashed in Miami last year. Miami poured it on and laid off in the fourth quarter or it could have been uglier. They sent Louisville back to Kentucky with a 52-27 loss. Jarren Williams threw for 6 touchdowns against a suspect Louisville secondary.
Williams transferred to a community college, the Cards have to deal with former Houston Cougar D’Eriq King. King is a tough quarterback to keep tabs on and is arguably better than Williams. That said, a more experienced Malik Cunningham is going to be on the opposite side for the Cardinals. Cunningham isn’t a household name, but could be by end of the season. Head below for our free Miami Hurricanes vs. Louisville Cardinals pick for September 19, 2020.
Miami Hurricanes vs. Louisville Cardinals NCAAF Week 3 Betting Odds:
Miami Hurricanes vs. Louisville Cardinals Prediction:
The Louisville Cardinals got started this season with a 35-21 win over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Malik Cunningham wasn’t asked to do much in that game, but moved the ball effectively. Louisville did not open up their full playbook in that contest. They kept the playbook closed in an attempt to not give anything away for Miami to examine in the film room.
Cunningham still managed to pass for 343 yards and 3 touchdowns with 1 interception. He also carried the ball for 24 yards and a score on the ground. The big play potential was there, as Louisville registered four plays for 40+ yards. It might be Western Kentucky, but it’s not like they have a bad defensive unit. They are actually pretty solid.
If you want to compare Cunningham to two recent greats at Louisville, he’s closer to Teddy Bridgewater than Lamar Jackson. Cunningham doesn’t have wheels like Jackson, but can still move around like Bridgewater was capable of doing in college as well. What Cunningham lacks in speed, he makes up for with his arm.
He passed for 22 touchdowns and 5 interceptions a season ago, but didn’t get much respect. In 2020, though, expect Cunningham to get some recognition. That’s likely going to happen on Saturday night against the Hurricanes. Miami are coming off a 31-14 victory over UAB. Tyler Johnston III threw for a touchdown and 150 yards on 15 for 23 passing.
There were open receivers there for Johntson, and a more athletic team like the Cardinals should be able to take better advantage of the situation. The Hurricanes don’t have much experience on their defense. Four of their top six starters on the defensive side of the ball have moved on from the program. This is a team that was fourth in the nation in tackles for a loss, but an inexperienced linebackers’ core and secondary should hurt in Louisville.
Miami has a notable size advantage over Louisville on offense. The Hurricane offensive line should be able to push the Cardinals around up front. D’Eriq King is a slippery quarterback that likes to move around with the football, so that could be an issue. A fierce pass rush and run stoppers are important to limiting King.
King ran for 83 yards and a touchdown in the season opener. He also threw for 144 yards and a score through the air. If no one is open in the secondary, King will gladly take off and pick up easy yards against a small Louisville front. In his breakout season in 2018, he rushed for 674 yards with 14 rushing touchdowns. King also threw for 36 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.
This should be an entertaining game. With a smaller sample size of games to choose from this year in Week 3, they got the schedule right with putting Miami and Louisville in primetime. I’m looking at a 38-31 or 38-34 game, which puts the OVER in good standing.