Louisville Football Predictions

Written by Vegas Top Cappers | July 31, 2013

2013 Louisville Football Predictions

For their Big East (now American Athletic Conference) swansong, the 2013 Louisville Cardinals are expected to dominate the lame-duck conference before joining the considerably tougher and more-respected ACC for 2014. In three seasons, head coach Charlie Strong has almost single-handedly built the ‘Ville’s program into one that’s earned national respect and doesn’t appear to be anything but a powerhouse for the near foreseeable future.

With their 11-2 mark in 2012, capped off by a Sugar Bowl win over Florida, the Cardinals are returning a significant number of key contributors on both sides of the ball, but especially on defense, which has the potential to be among the nation’s best. Up front, the Cards have NFL prospects returning in Marcus Smith, Brandon Dunn and Jamaine Brooks, while LBs George Durant and Keith Brown aren’t far behind in terms of potential, although Brown has been slowed by injury this spring.

The secondary is also loaded with experience and skill, led by safety Calvin Pryor, CB Andrew Johnson and converted WR-turned-CB Charles Gaines. Pryor, in particular, has stardom written all over him with his athleticism and ball-hawking abilities. There are literally no weaknesses on this unit, and barring injury or an unexpected drop-off in performance, expect to hear a lot about the 2013 Louisville defense.

The offense is also ridiculously deep and skilled, and having a QB like junior Teddy Bridgewater alone can mask any weak spots. Strong-armed and possessed of an uncanny maturity and poise, Bridgewater is expected to be a leading Heisman Trophy candidate, and should also approach (or surpass) his 2012 numbers (3,718 yards, 27 TDs) this fall. A multi-threat, the athletic Bridgewater will no doubt cause opposing coaches sleepless nights as they try and prepare for his versatility, leadership and clutch play.

The ground game returns plenty of depth in Senorise Perry, Dominique Brown and Corvin Lamb, even if none of the trio dazzles individually. The receiving corps is easily as deep as any in the country, with Damian Copeland, Eli Rogers, Robert Clark, DaVante Parker, Tennessee transfer Matt Milton and Ryan Hubbell all extremely talented and gives Bridgewater multiple options as targets. Up front, Louisville suffered some losses, but return quality athletes across the board.

Presumptive LT Abraham Garcia will be watched closely to make certain he has Bridgewater’s blind side protected, and how he deals with the added responsibility will be critical. Overall, the O-line is massive in size, with the possibility of starting five 300-lb plus behemoths considerably likely.

Looking at Louisville’s upcoming schedule doesn’t reveal any serious challenges, and they should cruise through their final Big East season unscathed. If there’s a potential roadblock, it’s probably the regular season finale at Cincinnati, but one has to think the Cardinals will be clicking on all cylinders by then. With a star signal-caller, experience galore, and a smash-mouth, shut-down defense, an undefeated season and slot in a BCS Bowl almost seems pre-destined as the Cards say “so long” to the lower-tier of college football’s power leagues in preparation for their debut among the “elite” in 2014.

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