5 predictions for Louisvile football

All of the preseason hype ends on Sunday. The University of Louisville kicks off the new football season against Kentucky. The Cardinals are preseason favorites to win the Big East Conference. Here are a few predictions:

1. Who will be the offensive MVP?

Teddy Bridgewater had such a great freshman season and looks bigger and stronger and from everything we have heard he's much improved. If he plays up to his potential, Bridgewater could be the best sophomore quarterback in the country. He's certainly the likely offensive MVP with numbers that should be staggering this season with so many more weapons around him on offense.

2. Who will be the defensive MVP?

One might first think Hakeem Smith or Adrian Bushell out of the secondary, and they're certainly going to be key players for the Cardinals. But I honestly believe nose tackle Brandon Dunn has improved so much and is going to be such a force in the middle that he's going to be the key guy on this defense. The line is improved, bigger, stronger and deeper and Dunn is the leader.

3. One part of the game U of L fans should worry about?

It's pretty easy after listening to Charlie Strong earlier in the week – special teams. But I don't think it's as bad as he made it sound. In fact, I'll predict the kicking aspect of the special teams won't cost the Cardinals a game. Josh Appleby is a true freshman and will get better and better every week and I think in the end that John Wallace has such a strong leg, he'll be fine.

4. One top statistic for sure?

A year ago, the Cardinals only gave up 100.5 yards a game on the ground and 3.0 yards a rush. The defense is better this season and the folks up front have shown major improvement (size, strength and depth), so that statistic should improve. In fact, the Cards were so good on defense last season that they tied for eighth fewest 10-plus yard rushes allowed in Division I with 42. It should be lower this year.

5. A final record and bowl game?

I've spent a lot of time around the program and crunched a lot of numbers. I do believe there's a chance for an undefeated season. But I'm not going out on that limb because so many things can happen during a football season. I'm thinking the Cardinals finish 10-2 on the season and win the Big East Conference. I believe the losses will be at Pittsburgh and home against North Carolina. Can't wait for that BSC bowl bid, which I am saying will be an Orange Bowl game against Florida State.

Should be a fun season, sit back and enjoy the ride.


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