By Ed Peak
Yes. I got way too excited last year thinking about the 2018 college football season. I predicted 10-2 for Louisville, which heralded “Speed City” on the cover of the media guide.
The only speed I saw was how fast Athletic Director Vince Tyra got Bobby Petrino and run his mess out out of town. You know the stories too well. Whether the team quit on Bobby or Bobby quit on the team. Debatable.
I got 10 but in the wrong column. Barely got victories over Division I-A Indiana State and Western Kentucky. It was a long frustrating season for Card Nation. The Cardinals were hard pressed to stop anyone. Heck, the defense, which returns eight starters, gave up 50 points, seven times.
Offensively, Louisville never settled on its starting quarterback. Junior Jawon Pass and sophomore Malik Cunngham exchanged good and bad games as they flipped in and out of the starting lineup.
Enough about the worst season in Cardinal football. Let’s take a brief look at the upcoming season. First year coach Scott Satterfield started changing the culture around the program the day he arrived. Had to, it was so bad.
A proven winner at Appalachian State of the Sun Belt Conference, the Mountaineers, won three straight conference titles and three bowl games.
The over under for wins this season is four. I think optimistically five is the number. Why? Louisville has talent and some grad players and transfers. Except for Notre Dame and Clemson, I don’t see any dominent teams on the schedule.
As bad as the Cardinals were, I think with a few breaks and some confidence building by the coaches in a new atmosphere, the Louisville can be competitive.
We will find out in the opener, Sunday, September 2nd, against the Irish. Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky in Nashville should be wins. Florida State in Tallahassee doesn’t scare teams like it used to do. Coach Willie Taggert is still finding his way in Seminole Country.
Boston College and at Wake Forest are winnable games. Clemson is not. The defending national champions come to The Ville looking for another title down the road. Virginia won’t be easy and Miami will have a first year head coach in Manny Diez.
North Carolina State is always tough in Raleigh. Syracuse had a breakout season last year. As usual rival Kentucky at Krogrer Field finishes the season. The Wildcats are better now, but who knows by the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
A 6-6 finish and a bowl game is asking a little much. But keep your fingers crossed. My prediction 5-7, with wins over Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, Boston College, Syracuse, and Wake Forest. Losses to Notre Dame, Clemson, Miami, North Carolina State, and (gag) Kentucky. Florida State is a toss-up.
The long grind back to respectability for UofL football begins this season.