My apologies to every Louisville Cardinals fan. I’m not afraid to admit I was dead wrong.
Throughout this offseason, I was sure that Louisville would eventually be good in the ACC, but this year would be a bit of a rebuilding year because of a new coaching system and the loss of Teddy Bridgewater.
How wrong I was! A 31-13 win over the Miami Hurricanes wasn’t even as close as it looked. It didn’t look too different from the Russell Athletic Bowl last year when the two teams met, but this time a different guy was under center for Louisville and a different guy was on the sidelines with a headset.
Bobby Petrino looked like he never left Louisville. His defense dominated. After a rocky start in the first half, his new quarterback in Will Gardner settled down and looks more than ready to be the next great Cardinals quarterback.
Miami is no easy team. The Hurricanes have lots of talent, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but this wasn’t the defense’s fault. As good as Gardner played in his first game as a starter, it was the Cardinals defense that suffocated the Hurricanes offense all night as they also broke in a new starter at quarterback in true freshman Brad Kaaya.
The defense had starters back all over the field, as did the offense outside of Bridgewater. Now, with Gardner showing himself already prepared to run the offense and the unit showing no signs of adjustment issue’s to Petrino’s new system, I’m ready to change my expectations for the Cardinals. The sky is the limit for them now.
They could finish second in the ACC Atlantic. Dare I say they could finish first?
Who’s to say that this team can’t upset Florida State on October 30 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium? Petrino has only 1 loss at home as a Louisville head coach, and Florida State has already shown they’re capable of a slip-up.
This is going to be a home game with a rocking crowd, and Thursday night games can always throw you off. It may sound crazy, but that game sets up perfectly for a Florida State slip-up.
Maybe, just maybe, Louisville could win the Atlantic. Petrino has always shown how brilliant of a coach he is, and regardless of how you feel about him personally, he is showing no signs of a fall-off with the Cardinals.
They looked as good as ever in the second half of Monday night’s game.
And they’re not going anywhere. Perhaps an ACC takeover is in the works in the future.