Already ranking among the top games in program history, No. 10 Louisville welcomes No. 2 Florida State to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium for a game that will impact the ACC Atlantic Division race in such a way that it will have a ripple effect throughout the national positioning for the College Football Playoff.
The sold-out contest also welcomes ESPN's popular program College GameDay, which will broadcast for two days from the lawn in front of the Howard Schnellenberger Complex.
Here's the Cardinal Authority preview of the big matchup.
LOCATION: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Ky (55,000)
DATE: Saturday, September 17
KICKOFF: 12:00 p.m.
RADIO: 840 WHAS AM; 790 WKRD; SIRIUS Ch. 132; XM Ch. 194
Play-by-Play: Chris Fowler
Analyst: Kirk Herbstreit
Reporter: Sam Ponder
Located at the tunnel under the Denny Crum Overpass, the CardMarch allows fans to welcome the team to the stadium on game day.
With kickoff set for noon, the Cardinals will arrive for the CardMarch at 9:45 am. Fans are encourgaged to line the team's path from the tunnel to stadium gates.
Which trend will continue?
One of the many notes provided in U of L's deeply-detailed weekly game release is that the Cardinals have struggled against ranked opponents with Bobby Petrino as head coach, winning just four games in fourteen opportunities during his two tenures. However, also noted is that two of Petrino's victories over nationally-ranked opponents have come at home.
Under his direction, Louisville is 10-0 at home when ranked 16th or higher in the AP Top 25, including a pair (West Virginia, Miami) of wins against ranked opponents. With the No. 2 Seminoles visiting the 10th-ranked Cardinals, which trend will continue?
Here's a few more notes for Saturday's game:
- The Cardinals enter Saturday's contest with an overall record of 68-20 as a ranked team and 8-8 when both teams are in the AP top 25.
- With Bobby Petrino as head coach, Louisville is 2-2 at home against top 25 opponents.
- Louisville is 1-5 against the Seminoles at home. The Cardinals defeated No. 4 Florida State 26-20 in overtime during the 2002 season.
- The Cardinals totaled a school-record 845 yards in the win over Syracuse on Friday night. The prior mark of779 yards versus Houston in 2003 came during Petrino's first season as head coach.
- Saturday's meeting will mark the 33rd time that FSU will make a GameDay appearance. The Seminoles boast a 17-15 all-time record in GameDay contests, including a 7-7 record in regular season road games. The Noles are 7-2 in GameDay contests under Jimbo Fischer.
- Florida State is 14-8 (.636) in games against Top 25 teams under coach Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles have won 11 of its last 14 games against Top 25 competition.
- FSU is 3-3 on the road against Top 25 teams.
- Florida State holds a 33-23-1 all-time record when playing in a game with both teams ranked in the top 25.
- The Seminoles defeated FCS Charleston Southern 52-8 last weekend.
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It's going to take a great effort by multiple players on both teams to pull out a victory, but here's a look at three from each that will could have 'most outstanding player' type impacts on Saturday.
QB Lamar Jackson: Yes, he can run. Yes, he can throw. Yes, Louisville's offense feeds through his ability to create with both his legs and arm. Consider this: Dating back to the win at Kentucky last fall, Jackson has been responsible for 18 of the last 23 touchdowns, including 13 of 18 touchdowns scored this season.
DE James Hearns: The senior has had a great start to 2016, leading U of L with 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
S Josh Harvey-Clemons: A lot has been said about Harvey-Clemons ability to play multiple spots and the Cardinals defense will need that on Saturday afternoon.
QB Deondre Francois: The redshirt freshman jumped right into the Heisman Trophy discussion after throwing for 419 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers, while also rushing for another 59 yards in FSU's 22-point comeback victory over nationally-ranked Ole Miss two weekends ago.
RB Dalvin Cook: Cook, who finished seventh in Heisman voting last season, has already set an FSU record for rushing yards and his 106.41 career rushing yards per game is fourth best in ACC history.
DE DeMarcus Walker: Leads the nation with 4.5 sacks. He's the current ACC active leader for sacks and tackles for a loss.
Louisville RB Brandon Radcliff on the top-10 meeting:
"It's probably one of the biggest games that everyone on this team has played in. It's a great experience. When you come to college you want to play in games like this."
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fischer on Lamar Jackson:
"Well, we faced him last year. The thing now, he's grown up. He's much better in the passing game, much more relaxed, much more poised. Then he's so dynamic as an athlete. Even when you have him hemmed up, getting him on the ground is a different story. He can beat you with his arm, with his legs, he makes great decisions. He's a tough guy. He's one of the really, really dynamic players out there."
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Just two games into the season, both Louisville and Florida State have risen to the top of a number of statistical categories, both nationally and in the ACC. The Averaging 66 points per game, the Louisville offense tops the country in both scoring and total offense.
The Cardinals are among the nation's top 25 in eight different categories, while the Seminoles check in with seven top 25 appearances.
(source: UofL Game Notes)