Although the Louisville Cardinals won’t win the American Athletic Conference in its first year as an existing conference, it looks like they still have an outside shot to make a BCS bowl game. A year ago, they proved why they should be given a shot, beating up on the Florida Gators.
As the Cardinals’ last remaining threat to jeopardize a BCS bowl berth, the Cincinnati Bearcats look to take down the one-loss Cardinals and achieve their sixth 10-plus win season in the last seven years. Nobody talks about this team, but Cincinnati is quietly becoming one of the most consistent teams in college football.
Teddy Bridgewater might very well be the No. 1 pick in this year’s NFL draft, but there is still plenty of time before that happens. The Louisville quarterback has had a solid season that would usually be good enough for Heisman consideration if it weren’t for the success of quarterbacks across the nation. He has passed for 3,268 yards and 25 touchdowns on the year, connecting with Damian Copeland a team-high 49 times for 655 yards and four touchdowns. DeVante Parker leads the team in touchdowns with nine while also catching 37 passes for 639 yards. Dominique Brown leads the 84th-ranked rushing attack with 704 yards and seven touchdowns.
Cincinnati is looking to accumulate 10 wins on the year and finish second in the conference — just ahead of Louisville. After quarterback Munchie Legaux went down early in the season with a leg injury that churned stomachs across the nation, senior quarterback Brendon Kay stepped in and has done a great job for the 15th-ranked passing offense in the country. Kay has passed for 2,817 yards and 22 touchdowns to go along with just nine interceptions as well as four rushing scores. Anthony McClung leads the receiving corps with 811 yards and five touchdowns on 61 catches. Hosey Williams leads the run game with 575 yards and four touchdowns on 5.9 yards per carry.
Defensively, the Cardinals have one of the best units in the nation, suffocating opponents. Louisville ranks second in the nation in total yards allowed per game to go along with ranking third in points allowed per contest. Cincinnati ranks 10th in the nation in points against as well as 10th in the country in total yards allowed per game.
Louisville will travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats at 7:30 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 5. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.
PREDICTION: Louisville 30, Cincinnati 33
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.