Hard to blame University of Louisville football fans for being apprehensive about the upcoming game with Virginia. Things seem to have gone backwards for the Cardinals since the opening game.

More dread lately than optimism, testing the loyalty of UofL football fans on the verge of another basketball season.

The best news for UofL football this week is that Stacy Thomas will leading the defense again.

Kickoff for the UofL-UVa game on Saturday has been set for 3:30 p.m., which is good news for UofL fans accustomed to those noon-time starts.  Louisville is 5-4 overall, 2-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season. Virginia is 6-3 overall and 3-2 in ACC play.

My Top Sportsbooks picks Louisville to win, primarily because Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson is running the offense. My Top Sportsbooks is an accumulation of betting services, with Louisville’s margin of victory averaging 11 points overall.

UofL’s offense is averaging 33.7 points per game, but the Cardinals allowed an average of 34.9 points against the seven Power 5 teams on their schedule. The anemic defense has made some bad teams look unstoppable. Louisville Coach Bobby Petrino used the bye week to focus heavily on some obvious shortcomings, especially in the secondary.

The best news is that Stacy Thomas will be back in the lineup.  “He has his legs back under him and he’s ready to go,” said Petrino. “He’s been the guy who’s the leader of the defense. Now he’s back at full strength, ready to go.”

Predictions don’t mean much in this budding rivalry, with UofL leading the all-time series 3-2.. All five games having been decided by a touchdown or less. Expect a high-scoring affair on Saturday, and hope that UofL is the last team with the ball.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.