Team: Louisville Cardinals
SBNation Site: Card Chronicle
Game Date, Location: October 14th at Papa John’s Stadium. Yes it’s that time to remember that Louisville’s stadium is named after one of, if not the worst pizza in the world.
2016 Record: 9-4
2016 Overall Offense Ranking: 3rd
2016 Overall Defense Ranking: 14th
Bill Connolly’s Projected S&P: 14th
Last 2 Matchups: Louisville 17 Boston College 14 (2015), 52-7.....pain
Key Players: Sorry fellow Boston College fans, Heisman Award winner and Eagles slayer Lamar Jackson is back for another season. If we haven’t already blocked it out, last season he threw for 231 yards and four touchdowns, while running for 185 yards and three more touchdowns. To say the Eagles didn’t have an answer for him would be an understatement. Along with Jackson, the Cards return Jeremy Smith and Malik Williams in the backfield who will replace Brandon Radcliff. Louisville lost a lot of their experienced talent at wide receiver but it appears that they have Traveon Samuel, Jaylen Smith, and Seth Dawkins to fill in those gaps.
On the defensive side of the ball, Louisville will have a major change as defensive coordinator Todd Grantham left in the off season to take the same position with Mississippi State. James Hearns and Trevon Young are two solid defensive linemen who combined for 16.5 sacks last season. The secondary is experienced, but struggled last year, as Bill Connolly said the defense was good against the run but was only 64th against the pass.
Why Boston College Will Win This Game: Hypothetically speaking here, let’s say that Boston College’s offense improves over last year, kind of hard not to. If they can keep Lamar Jackson on the bench, and keep BC’s defense fresh, they could dictate the pace of the game, something that got away from the Eagles last year. Maybe hit a few longer passes against the Cardinals suspect secondary and get UL out of their rhythm? Think of what BC did to Maryland or even USC in 2014, call a few big gadget plays. Remember this is a team that destroyed BC last year, but somehow went on and lost to Kentucky, so it’s not like they are unbeatable.
Why Boston College Will Not Win This Game: Lamar Jackson. Lamar Jackson. Lamar Jackson.
Bobby Petrino’s offenses are a nightmare to defend against, and Jackson is arguably the most explosive quarterback in the country. One play and he is off to the races, and over the past two seasons I have yet to see BC respond well to players like this. A slow plodding offense that stalls out after a first down or two is not going to do it against the Cardinals. All it will take is Louisville to come out and score two quick touchdowns and this game could get out of hand.
AJ’s Odds BC Wins This Game: 15%. If BC has any semblance of a passing game this game won’t get out of hand like it did last year. However, I have no idea how they are going to stop the Heisman Award winning quarterback on the other sideline. Addazio’s style of offense matches up poorly against this style, and BC’s defense only has to miss one tackle before things get out of hand. Add into this that Louisville is the home team, and oof, this could get rough.