Top three ACC football games I want to attend in UofL's first season

07/16/2014 10:31 AM

1. Miami – 9/1/14 – Home

If I wasn’t just excited about the fact that college football is back, UofL gives me and all other fans the gift of a heavy-weight, ESPN-televised match-up to kick off the season and the Cards start in the ACC. This will be the first time we get to see what crazy offense Bobby Petrino has cooked up to take on a tough Miami squad. And let’s not forget, the Cards got the best of Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl last season, so this game could easily be a revenge match.

One of the biggest questions for the Hurricanes will be at the quarterback position. Senior Ryan Williams was slated to be the starter replacing Stephen Morris. Even though Williams tore his ACL in spring practice, it’s been rumored he’s having an “Adrian Peterson-like recovery,” which could put the Cards on the run fast. The Canes had an undefeated record and No. 7 national ranking last season until star running back Duke Johnson went down with an ankle injury. Johnson still earned first team all-ACC honors and with a fully healed ankle, he’ll return strong this fall.

All eyes will be on red shirt sophomore quarterback Will Gardner. He’s got huge shoes to fill with Teddy Bridgewater leaving for the NFL, and to keep up the recent success, he will need to be on point. Speaking of Bridgewater, he has not returned to the UofL offense, but senior running back Michael Dyer will be wearing Teddy’s old number 5. While injuries slowed down his transition to UofL, the Auburn transfer could prove as big of a star as Bridgewater next year, and the Miami game is a perfect time to shine.

2. Florida State – 10/30/14 – Home

Be careful what you wish for. Louisville wanted to beef up the schedule from last year’s filled with cupcake AAC opponents, and this year, the Cards host the defending national champions and Heisman winner Jameis Winston. Florida State may have the most high powered offense in the country with Winston at the helm. Add in running back Karlos Williams who is looking for a break out year, an offensive line filled with returning seniors and future NFL receiver and tight end Rashad Greene and Nick O’Leary, the UofL defense will be winded by the first quarter if the Cards offense cannot stay on the field.

But if Bobby Petrino has anything to say about it, his offense will be up to the task by this point in the season. If Gardner progresses well and all the offensive stars stay healthy, we could easily have a shout-out on our hands with both teams scoring more than 50 points. This will be the Cards third prime time ESPN game, and one that Cards fans should want to attend if they are in town. If Bobby Petrino can keep his team close to Florida State, the atmosphere is sure to be electric.

3. Notre Dame – 11/22/14 – South Bend

Technically, this isn’t an ACC game, but I am bending the rules because this is Notre Dame. While Notre Dame has been a bit up-and-down the last decade, they are still the legendary Fighting Irish and had the magical 2012 season that ended unceremoniously in a loss to Alabama in the National Championship game. Still I cannot pass up a chance to watch the Cards play at Notre Dame Stadium.

Notre Dame will have to deal with the loss of both coordinators this season as offensive coordinator Chuck Martin is now the head coach at Miami (Ohio), and defensive coordinator Bob Diaco got the head coaching position at UConn. The Irish will also have plenty of holes to fill on the field after losing QB Tommy Rees, tight end Troy Niklas, linebackers Dan Fox and Carlo Calabrese, defensive tackles Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix III and offensive linemen Zack Martin and Christ Watt all to graduation.

Warning: it will be cold. The average high for South Bend in November is 48 degrees. Be sure to bring hand warmers and drink a lot of hot chocolate.

cn|2’s Kaci Kust also contributed to this story.


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