What out-of-conference game concerns you the most? I wanted to take a few minutes to briefly analyze the current OOC schedule for the 2012 football season. While there aren’t any games on the schedule that I would call a likely loss, I wondered how many would even be concerning and offer up a close game.
9/2/12 vs YewKay - I’m not the first and I won’t be the last to say it, but any time you get into a rivalry situation you can throw preseason rankings, season expectations and anything else out the window. With this game however, I can’t find a way to imagine it close. Yes, Joker Phillips has done a pretty good job on the recruiting trail, but it’s going to take more than underclassman and Mister Cobble and his Krystal ball to pull this one out. I expect a two touchdown victory for the Cards to start the season at home.
9/8/12 vs Missouri State - I must admit that this one is a little curious because frankly outside of what I see on paper I don’t know much about this team. I tend to be a guy who focuses a lot on Louisville’s conference opponents rather than much of the others. The Bears finished the 2011 season with a 2-9 record with many of those loses within the “Great” Southern Conference. Based on the 2011 season results alone, I don’t believe I need to do any further research. This one won’t be close. It won’t be 70-7 (cough cough Cincinnati), because Charlie Strong and company will have mercy and get plenty of young’ns playing time. Minimum 27 point victory to open the season 2-0 at home.
9/15/12 vs North Carolina - This Tarheel team will likely be the largest area of concern for many fans. I’m not so sure. Any time a program embarks on a season with a brand new Head Coach, there is going to be a learning curve. Heck, there is even a learning curve for coordinators (ala Shawn Watson 2011) so there is no question there will be some shaky snaps under a new head man. Larry Fedora comes to North Carolina after four seasons at Southern Miss with 2011 as his best finishing 12-2. North Carolina did manage to beat Louisville 14-7 in a defensive battle during the 2011 season, but I expect twice the amount of touchdowns scored in this mid-September matchup with Louisville being the victor by double digits.
9/22/12 at FIU - And here we have it. The ultimate redemption game. Without having the opportunity for redemption against Marshall as well, I have the suspicion that the Golden Panthers will be the unfortunate victims to a summer length of memory of the losses that shouldn’t have been. This game last season against FIU truly wasn’t close with the exception of a few plays. No need to re-hash an old injury and talk about those. While FIU will again have a roster filled with phenomenal athletes, many of them will be nothing much more than simply great athletes lacking the football skills to compete on a high level. That dude that caught the passes…well he’s gone. Louisville by 2 1/2 TD’s.
9/29/12 at Southern Miss - This game was my biggest area of concern…before I remembered that Larry Fedora moved on to North Caroline. So, for that very same reason, I think it’s Louisville’s to lose. Granted, the game will be in Hattiesburg, but on the other hand, it’s Hattiesburg. The guys should be quite focused on the task at hand with virtually no local distractions unless dirt roads can be considered interesting. I do believe that it ends up closer than many may think. 10 point game. Cards come out with a W for yours truly’s birthday.
I almost listed the Temple as an out-of-conference opponent but then I remembered that they are now part of the crumbling Big East. I was then reminded how badly I cannot wait for the eventual exit. For the record, the Temple game would’ve been a massacre.
There you have it. In my obvious biased opinion. You have an undefeated out-of-conference 2012 Cardinal Football Season.