The Louisville football team will play five road games this season. Here are my rankings for the toughest games on the schedule. I put these rankings together based on the strength of the opponent and strength of home field advantage.
1: @ Rutgers 11/29/12 – H.P. Solutions Stadium – Capacity: 52,454
Rutgers will be one of the tougher opponents on Louisville’s schedule this season. The Scarlet Knights are considered to be a contender for the Big East championship. Given that Louisville and Rutgers are predicted to be two of the better teams in the league this season, this meeting in late November will likely have high stakes. The winner of this one may be heading to Miami for the Orange Bowl.
2: @ Southern Miss 09/29/12 – Roberts Stadium – Capacity 36,000
It may surprise some people to see Southern Miss at number two, but I think this game will be tougher than most expect. Louisville is the more talented team and the Golden Eagles are slightly rebuilding after making a coaching change; however this will be a huge game for Southern Miss. Louisville is the first BCS School to travel and play at Roberts Stadium since 2010. The Golden Eagles will host Boise State the following week. A win over Louisville and Boise would be huge for first year head coach Ellis Johnson. You can be sure he is letting his team know that.
3: @ Pittsburgh 10/13/12 – Heinz Field – Capacity 65,050
Pittsburgh isn’t usually a team that wins many games because they have a great home field advantage; however regardless of where the game is played, the Panthers always seem to give Louisville a lot of trouble. The Cardinals haven’t beaten Pittsburgh since the 2007 season. The Panthers aren’t the favorite to win the Big East, but will be one of the more competitive teams in the conference.
4: @ Florida International 09/22/12 – FIU Stadium – Capacity 19,000
When looking at the road games on paper, I think some fans would say that Florida International on the road would be one of the easier games on the schedule. Those fans must not have learned their lesson from last season’s 24-17 loss to FIU. This one should be a win for the Cardinals, but as we learned the hard way, FIU isn’t a team to take lightly. There are quite a few Louisville players who will be excited to go home and play in front of their families in Miami. A lot of guys on both teams will be familiar with each other having played against each other in high school. This should be a competitive game.
5: @ Syracuse 11/10/12 – Carrier Dome – Capacity: 50,000
Charlie Strong hasn’t had any problems with Syracuse since becoming the coach here at Louisville and I don’t expect that to change this season. Cuse was picked to finish 7th in the Big East preseason media poll. The Orange have enough talent to make it a competitive game, but Louisville is the much better team.