Kentucky Wildcats vs. Louisville Cardinal – Preview and Pick

Kentucky Wildcats (0-0) +3.5, O/U 56.5 at Louisville Cardinal (0-0) -3.5, O/U 56.5 Sunday August 31, 2008 Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium (42,000) 3:30 p.m. EST

By Wilson of

Louisville opens their season at home this Sunday against Kentucky with a brand new look. Coach Steve Kragthorpe will be operating with a new offensive coordinator in Jeff Brohm, a new quarterback, new receivers, new tight end, new tailback, and new offensive linesmen. Wow, thats a lot of new to work in during a season but the staff believes in the players, and are optimistic.

The Cardinals lost last year at Kentucky 40-34 and may face a scrappy Wildcats team even though most books have them favored, they will be tested on both sides of the ball.

Louisville, 6-6 (3-4) 4-7 ATS, definitely has talent, but run short on the depth chart which will limit their success as the season progresses.

Cardinal QB Hunter Cantwell can throw the long ball but he does not have a proven deep threat to connect with as of yet. Louisville tossed 30 TDs last season but only four of them return this year.

Defensively, the Cardinals will be faced with trying to fill the void as they lost three linebackers from last years squad. Louisville ranked 72 against the rush allowing some 165.3 yards per game, and 251.2 through the air. The secondary will need an overhaul as well with Bobby Buchanan as the only solid performer.

Kentucky, 8-5 (3-5) 6-5-1 ATS, will be so-so defensively but the real trouble will come at the quarterback position. Both QBs Curtis Pulley and Mike Hartline are untested and may cost the team some serious points if neither guy can utilize offensive coordinator Joker Phillips pass attack style.

The bonus for Kentucky is the experience within the offensive line, which returns three starters. They let 38 sacks punish their QB last season, but should turn it around this year with a stable running game as well as a flight of foot QB.

This game could go either way; with the current spread at -3.5 Louisvilles favor it just might be a good idea to take the Wildcats to cover, as they seem to have that extra push when they play against the Cardinals. Also, Kentucky is still riding their big win in last seasons Music City Bowl over Florida State 35-28.

Most online sportsbooks have the Cardinal at -3.5 to -4. If you prefer on land, then Caesars- Hilton also have -3.5 while The Mirage/MGM and the Stations are running with -4 all in favor of Louisville.

Hey, you GOTTA love college foot on a Sunday heading into a holiday weekend!

This game may be ugly as far as putting points on the board. My cash is on the under (56.5). Luck to ya.