UCF Knights (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. No. 8 Louisville Cardinals (6-0 SU, 3-3 ATS)
College Football Week 8
Date and Time: Friday October 18th, 2013. 8:00PM Eastern
Where: Papa John’s Cardinals Stadium Louisville, K.Y.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UCF +12/Lou -12
Over/Under Total: OFF
This Friday night quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will take center stage
as the 8th ranked Louisville Cardinals put their undefeated
streak on the line against the UCF Knights inside Papa John’s Stadium. Bridgewater
has been one of the only preseason Heisman Trophy hopefuls who has not disappointed
and he currently has the Cardinals on track to their first undefeated season
as an FBS contender. However, the Cardinals will have to hold off a surprisingly
strong UCF opponent that rolls into town this Friday to keep those undefeated
Central Florida, aka the University of, has posted a strong 4-1 mark to start the season. Coach George O’Leary is currently in his 10th season as the Knights head coach and he has done a tremendous job during his tenure. The Knights did not win a single football game in O’Leary’s debut season a decade ago but since then he has built UCF into a strong mid major football program. Despite playing in their 4th road game already this season, the Knights have already pulled off one impressive road victory with a 34-31 win over Penn State earlier this year. The Knights nearly pulled off a bigger upset the following week but came up short in a 28-25 loss to a top ten ranked South Carolina team. Therefore UCF has been somewhat battle tested and perhaps they have what it takes to make a run at the Cardinals this Friday night.
The Knights are backed by a rock solid defense that has given up just 353 yards per game which currently ranks 31st in the FBS. UCF also sports an even better mark against the scoreboard as they have held opponents to just 16.6 points per game (11th in FBS). On offense UCF has not been overly impressive but they have been effective. QB Blake Bortles has completed 65% of his passes this season which has resulted in 1,334 yards with 9 touchdowns and just 3 picks. Bortles is a solid competitor and he has a solid talent behind center with him in running back Storm Johnson. Johnson has already put together 7 touchdowns on the ground this year and has played his best football in the Knights’ biggest games. Therefore keep an eye on #8 in the backfield because for UCF to contend, he will need to have another big game.
Meanwhile all eyes will be on Bridgewater and a Cardinals offense that has averaged 505 total yards per game (16th in FBS). Bridgewater has been fantastic completing 71% passing for 1,872 yards with 18 touchdowns and incredibly just 2 picks on the season. Bridgewater has turned the Cardinals into one of the most explosive offenses in the country with an NFL caliber arm that can make all the throws on the field. While Bridgewater gets most of the offensive credit, Coach Charlie Strong should be given most of the credit for turning Louisville into a prestigious football program. Strong has instilled an extremely talented defense that has been the backbone to Louisville’s success.
Similar to his days as a defensive coordinator for Florida and South Carolina, Strong has yet again put another national championship caliber defense on the field. The Cardinals currently own the 2nd best defense in college football holding opponents to just 229 yards per game. Only Michigan State has held opponents to fewer yards by giving up 228 yards per game. However Louisville has by far been the best defense in the country by keeping opponents off the scoreboard. Louisville supports the nation’s best scoring defense allowing just 7.3 points per game. Therefore as long as Charlie Strong’s defense continues to play at an exceptional level, the Cardinals are going to be tough to beat no matter what Bridgewater does on the other side of the football.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think UCF is being vastly under rated in this match-up. The Knights have an extremely talented football team and they will be ready to play in primetime this Friday. I think UCF is capable of the upset so I love the fact they are getting 10.5 points to start with. Take UCF +10.5
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