Clemson – Louisville Football Pick

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College Football Pick


ACC play gets underway Thursday with Clemson travelling to Louisville, two teams with opposite records. The Tigers are 2-0, but haven’t really had a challenge yet, while the Cardinals have had a couple tougher Games, although losing at home to Houston isn’t a good loss at all. Clemson is a -5 point road favorite (at 5 Dimes) under the lights.

Clemson will get its first real challenge of the year, as well as its first road Game, but with how Louisville has looked, it might not end up being a challenge after all. The Cardinals’ loss to Auburn may not have been that respectable, with Auburn almost falling to Jacksonville State on Saturday.

Louisville’s defense has not been able to stop either of its first two opponents, and the Cardinals still have a question at quarterback. LAmar Jackson got the start against Houston, but he ended up getting replaced by Kyle Bolin in the Fourth quarter. against a mediocre Houston team, they couldn’t run the ball or stop the run. The Cougars ran for 226 yards, while the Cardinals could only muster 70 yards on 26 carries. Simply put, that won’t be good enough against Clemson.

So, can they turn things around on Thursday night? If Louisville can’t fix some things, the Tigers could easily run away with this Game. Quarterback Deshaun Watson has looked as good as advertised so far, tossing five touchdowns and completing 77.1% of his passes. Louisville will present a different challenge, but the Clemson offense has enough talent to drop another 30 or 40 points on the Cardinals. Watson has talent at wide out with Artavis SCott (148 yards, 2 TDs) among others and running back Wayne Gallman (171 yards, 3 TDs) carving through defenses. It’s hard to see this Louisville defense being able to stop Watson and company.

That’s where the Cardinals’ offense comes in, but what can they do? So far, not that much. LAmar Jackson will probably get the start at quarterback again even after struggling in his first career start. He’s still not that great of a passer, but his legs are the reason he got the start in the first place. Jackson rushed 106 yards against Auburn and sparked the offense to a mini comeback, but only managed 16 rushing yards on 12 carries against Houston. If Jackson and running back Brandon Radcliff can’t find room running the ball, Louisville doesn’t really have a passer that’s accurate enough to beat opposing defenses. Louisville’s three quarterbacks have a combined two passing touchdowns and three interceptions, while only completing 56.3% of their passes. In two Games, Jackson is at just 5.7 yards per attempt.

Clemson is still one of the favorites to win the ACC and a big road win against Louisville would confirm those projections. However, it can’t be ignored that this is their first road Game of the year. All three of their losses in 2014 came on the road. Granted, those were also against their toughest opponents of the year. Another positive for the Tigers is that they get a week off after this Game before having to host Notre Dame and Georgia Tech, so they won’t have a future matchup on mind.

Louisville would love to not start with three straight losses, but that may not be in the cards for them if they don’t improve on both sides of the ball.

Our Pick – Both of these teams lost a significant number starters from last season. A year ago, this was a 24-17 decision for Clemson and it took a big stop on the 2 yard line with 21 seconds to go to secure the win.

But that defense Louisville fielded a year ago looks to be a thing of the past, having given up 65 points in two Games thus far.

With both teams losing key players from a year ago, you have to ask yourself which team is more likely to be able to fill those vacant sports with talent? The answer is Clemson, who will always be ahead of a program llike Louisville in terms of recruiting. Clemson -5

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