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Louisville started the year 2-4, but ended up 7-5. Going into the final week of play they had a shot at a BCS Bowl, but things didn’t go their way. The Cardinals enter the Belk Bowl as one of three Big East co-champs along with West Virginia and Cincinnati. They will face a NC State team that had a similar rough start, but also ended up 7-5. The line opened at PK, but NC State has been made the 2 ½ point favorite.
The Wolf Pack has won 3 of its last 4 games with victories over Clemson, Maryland and North Carolina. NC State has had no problem scoring this year, but the defense wasn’t there in the first part of the season. Once they came around this team improved leaps and bounds. They are allowing 18.6 PPG in their last six games compared with 30.2 for the first six games. That’s quite a difference!
NC State will look to senior QB Mike Glennon to get points on the board. He has really flourished in the latter half of the season. He had 3 TD passes against Clemson in the penultimate game of the season.
Louisville is a gritty team with a HC in Charlie Strong that has a couple of national championship rings from his time with Florida. The Cardinals have won 5 of their last 6 with triumphs over Rutgers, Syracuse, West Virginia, Connecticut and South Florida. The defense is rock solid and ranks 14th in the nation at 19.2 PPG. This is a young team and it is encouraging to see them progress as the season gets longer.
If you're looking to build a case for NC State you're going to look at their big win over Clemson and their strong finish down the stretch. If you're going to build a case for Louisville, you'd have to look at their strong defense and the fact that they were in every game this year. You may also take a look at NC States performances against BC, Florida State and Wake Forest.
Louisville was 4-2 on the road this year while NC State struggled at 1-4, being outscored 28-16. No reason this one can't come down to the wire, in which case, we'd prefer the dog. We're a little concerned about the Louisville offense, but that defense should keep them in it. Louisville +2.5
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