Miami Hurricanes vs. Louisville Cardinals Picks-Odds-Prediction 9/1/14
Miami Hurricanes (9-4) at Louisville Cardinals (12-1)
College Football: Monday, September 1, 2014 at 8:00 pm (Papa John's Cardinal Stadium)
The Line: Louisville Cardinals -2.5 -- Over/Under: 53 See the Latest Odds
The Miami Hurricanes travel to Louisville to play the Cardinals on Monday.
The Miami Hurricanes finished 9-4 and reached a bowl game for the first time after being relieved of any more NCAA sanctions. Head Al Golden watched his Hurricanes average over 33 points per game, however, the defense was awful. Heading into this season, Miami should have one of the most explosive offenses in the ACC. RB Duke Johnson, Dallas Crawford, and Stacy Coley will return for another year. Johnson has rushed for 16 touchdowns in his first two seasons, despite missing the last five games of the year in 2013. QB Stephen Morris is gone, but Ryan Williams is expected to take over behind center. Williams has only thrown 50 passed for the Hurricanes, but he will have the luxury of handing the ball off to some great running backs. The Defense will have to improve tremendously from last year if they want to compete with the top teams in the ACC. Denzel Perryman, the leading tackler from last year, will return along with CB Tracy Howard. The Hurricanes hope to create some pressure up front as 7 of their top 8 sack leaders from 2013 return to Miami. Miami should be a fun team to watch on offense, and Johnson may be one of the best players in the country by year end. However, the Hurricanes will only win 9 or more games if their defense steps up.
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The Louisville Cardinals are coming off one of their best seasons in school history. The Cardinals won 12 games and they were victorious in their second straight bowl game. Louisville will now enter the ACC and they have several changes to make up for since last season. QB Teddy Bridgewater departed to the NFL and it will take a miracle to replace him this season. RB Dominque Brown and WR DeVante Parker are back for the Cardinals and they will be the star players on the offensive side of the ball. Brown led Louisville in rushing yards and Parker is a great receiver, who has the chance to be one of the best in the ACC this season. Defensively, Louisville only returns 5 starters from the 2013 defense. Specifically, the defensive line has only 1 returning starter, Lorenzo Mauldin, who finished with 9.5 sacks last year. Charles Gaines and Terell Floyd are back in the secondary, the duo combined for 9 interceptions in 2013. The defensive newcomers will need to step up early and often if this Cardinals defense has any chance of repeating their success from last season.
This should be one of the most entertaining games of the opening weekend in my opinion. The Miami offense should be able to pound the ball on the ground and score some points against a young Cardinals defense. Louisville, even without Bridgewater, will produce some points against a Miami defense that is nowhere near what the old Miami squads brought to the table defensively. I think Miami has a chance to get an early win on the road, but I feel that the over is the best play here. Both teams should score 4 touchdowns in their opening game.