The Weather Moose
I have no idea what to think heading into State's first ACC matchup this weekend. Everyone is talking about strength of schedule, but all I can look at is the fact that State did exactly what they've struggled with years past; beat the snot out of the opponent in front of them. That's a huge step up from last year.
But you can't really use their numbers too much. The Pack were expected to put up big points and they did. Enough said.
So what can we glean from Louisville, who's 1-3, having lost to Auburn, Houston, and Clemson, finally getting off the hump last weekend against Samford.
Statistically, the Cardinals are giving up 172.2 yards on the ground. More than 200 if you take out lowly Samford. That's not too far removed from being a sieve. With a team that's run-oriented like State and can attack you using multiple weapons and misdirection, I'd say that poses a problem for the Cardinals. Especially if you're looking at a game that'll likely be played in some kind of terrible weather.
And then there's the bulletin board material. Carter-Finley has been called "docile" and that it's the "most faux 4-0"team. I can't agree with the first point and the second point...maybe. But that doesn't mean that Louisville's football team is exactly setting the world on fire.
What do you think?
Here are my thoughts on the schedule talk:
And here are my thoughts on those columns you linked to:
Point being, I'd prefer being 4-0 against a bad OOC schedule than have 'good' losses to Auburn & Houston. And look, yeah, the schedule is bad and we aren't really sure what this team is capable of at this point. That's not really a negative - scheduling only matters if your aspiration is winning a national title. We should probably start with the first ACC title since either of us were born.
I'm not going to claim to know a lot about Louisville. A few plays away from being 4-0, but in the nebulous middle tier of college football its usually just a few plays that separate the 6-6 season from the 9-3 season and Louisville is on track for that 6-6 area.
As for State I think we can say two things definitely - the offense is good and the defense will determine how many games they win. The Pack put up 24 points a game in ACC play last year (some wild swing there obviously) and I think they are probably good for maybe half a touchdown more this year. So averaging in the area of 27 points a game, that means the defense just has to hold opponents under 30 most days to come out on top.
I think my mode is cautiously optimistic, and we'll know a lot more after Saturday about how legit this team is. Louisville, despite their 1-3 record, is still an upper half of the Atlantic team in my opinion.
And NOW we have to deal with the humdinger that Shad was arrested Tuesday night and dismissed Wednesday afternoon. WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?!
Cautiously optimistic, eh? Despite the statistic I provided in the previous email about State possibly being able to run all over Louisville, I have concerns that that will actually come to fruition. I don't think the team will take this game lightly and I think it'll be a very good game, even if it is played in a monsoon.
But I think Louisville's quarterback will provide some serious issues for State's defense, which we've seen be prone to big plays from much less skilled teams. It's a problem and will continue to be a problem. Like you said, they'll go as far as the defense.
Since this is the first real test (sorta), let's not beat around the bush.
I'll take the Cardinals, 28-20.
I agree that their quarterback is going to be problematic, he's by far the most talented offensive player the defense will have dealt with to date. I think the Cardinal offense which has struggled at times, comes out and puts up some points.
All that said, I like State in a shoot-out, 31-27.
Oh and everyone stay safe this weekend. Remember water always wins.