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Louisville Cardinals 2011 Football Preview with Predictions and Schedule
The Louisville Cardinals had a heck of a run in the early to mid 2000's with 12-1 season on 2006 as well as a couple of 11 win years thrown in with some 8 and 9 win seasons. In that 2006 season they were one win away from playing in the National Title game. But coach Bobby Petrino left followed by a 6-6 season in 2007. The team had two more losing years in 2008 and 2009 before brining in current coach Charlie Strong.
Strong exceeded expectations in his first season, guiding the Cardinals to a 7-6 year which included their first bowl game since 2006, a win over Southern Miss. That puts the pressure on Strong and the Cardinals from here forward as once you produce a winning year, there's no looking back. No room for excuses. He'll have his work cut out for him as well, as the offense returns just 3 starters and will have to find a QB along with having to replace most of the offensive line.
The defense returns 7 starters and actually was very good last season. Louisville, under Petrino was known as an offensive powerhouse with very little emphasis on defense. They simply outscored opponents. However last year this team averaged 26 points per game offensively and gave up just 19 points per game defensively. For the defense, that was good enough for 14th in the country in total defense.
20011 should be a decent year for Louisville providing they can overcome the offensive losses. The schedule is not overwhelming by any means. They have one tough non conference game, against North Carolina as well as their annual game against Kentucky. Otherwise, it's Murray State, Florida International and their regular Big East dance card. Last year Pitt was the only Big East team to shut down Louisville, beating them 20-3. Their other conference losses were close and they beat UCONN 26-0 as well as Rutgers 40-13.
We'd look for Louisville to at least equal last seasons 7 win mark. The defense should be a good one and the offense does have some fantastic receivers to get the ball to. It all comes down to that rebuilt offensive line, but this was an offense that was ranked 71st overall last year. If they can play close to that level this year, the defense should put them in a position to win.
Additional Resources: Louisville Football Preview from Betfirms
2011 Louisville Cardinals Football Schedule
9-1-11 MURRAY STATE (Thur.)
9-9-11 FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (Fri.)
9-17-11 at Kentucky
10-8-11 at North Carolina
10-15-11 at Cincinnati @Paul Brown Stadium
10-21-11 RUTGERS (Fri.)
11-5-11 at West Virginia
11-19-11 at Connecticut
11-25-11 at South Florida (Fri.)
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