Offensive showcase on tap in Texas
As three of the heavyweights in the College Football Playoff rankings fell by the wayside last weekend, Louisville could only smile. Now, more than ever, Bobby Petrino’s squad has a path to the final four.
Of course, all those hopes, dreams and aspirations are rendered moot if the third-ranked Cardinals (9-1) fail to rise above a major adversary tonight. They visit high-flying Houston at 8 p.m. ET in one of the biggest non-Saturday contests of the year. Online sports book BetDSI opened the Cards as 14-point favorites over the Cougars. The over/under is set at 69.
With Clemson, Michigan and Washington succumbing to suspect opponents in Week 11, fortune looked favorably upon Louisville. Signal-caller Lamar Jackson and his compatriots, however, didn’t exactly seem ready for a spot in the national semifinals based on their performance vs. Wake Forest. The Cardinals needed a 34-point fourth quarter to suppress the pesky Demon Deacons. Jackson, who remains the Heisman Trophy front-runner, managed just one touchdown.
Tom Herman’s main man under center, Greg Ward Jr., possesses a similarly lethal skill set. On Oct. 8, the senior abused Navy for 359 passing yards, another 94 on the ground and four scores. Houston suffered a 46-40 defeat at the hands of the Midshipmen, though, putting its American Athletic Conference title ambitions in severe jeopardy.
Essentially, this evening gives the Cougs (8-2) a chance to make amends for a series of missteps over the past month-plus. On the flip side, the Cards have conquered most every obstacle. But will the short week of preparation spell doom against Herman’s robust offense? We’re counting on the hosts to spring the upset at TDECU Stadium.
THURSDAY NCAA FREE PICK: HOUSTON +14.5