Week 7 - Louisville at Pitt

Posted Oct 11, 2012

Week 7 Fearless Predictions & Game Preview - Louisville at Pitt

Louisville (5-0) at Pittsburgh (2-3) Oct. 13, 11:00 AM, ESPNU Here's The Deal:Louisville exits its bye week unbeaten and ranked, but not without cause for concern. The Cardinals still have plenty to prove in order to maintain their standing in the Big East Conference, especially since they've to even play a Big East game. Furthermore, Charlie Strong's kids were not crisp in the three weeks leading into the break, nearly squandering a huge lead to North Carolina, and laboring to beat Florida International and Southern Miss. A trip to Pittsburgh, the school's last road game for a month, will be an important litmus test for Louisville. Just when you think the Panthers are figured, they go out and confound everyone. Back-to-back wins, including an upset of Virginia Tech, appeared to have stabilized the Panthers, but they flashed some familiar bad habits in Friday's 14-13 loss to Syracuse. The margin for error for reaching the postseason is evaporating with each poor effort. Why Louisville Might Win: The Cardinals must begin generating more pressure on defense. A trip to the Steel City will be the perfect remedy. The Panthers are once again having problems blocking, ranking last in the league in pass protection after getting abused by Syracuse journeyman DE Brandon Sharpe. Save for a late outburst by North Carolina when the prevent was being employed, Louisville has done a nice job of limiting big plays. On offense, it has more weapons than the host, headed by QB Teddy Bridgewater, the one-two ground game of Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright and a deep collection of receivers. Why Pittsburgh Might Win: The Panthers will need to locate the formula that led to the upset of the Hokies, a power running game, competent passing from Tino Sunseri and a ball-hawking D. While the Cardinals have Perry and Wright, Pitt can counter with Ray Graham and Rushel Shell. Sunseri-to-Devin Street will help provide balance through the air. The Panthers D is playing its ball of the year, and is especially strong up the middle with DT Aaron Donald and MLB Shane Gordon. The unit has not allowed any of its last three opponents to score more than 17 points, employing a bend-don't-break philosophy that suits its personnel well. What To Watch Out For: In the tug of war that takes place when Pitt has the ball, what gives out first, the Panthers O-line or the Louisville D-line? The Cardinals have no reliable pass rushers to speak of, but then again Pitt has been akin to a swinging gate when Sunseri drops back to throw. Strong is going to need someone to step up on defense real soon, because his school is not going to win the Big East if it cannot find a way to put a little pressure on the passer. Strongside LB George Durant provided some hope two weeks ago with eight tackles, two stops for loss and a sack. What Will Happen: Pitt has already shown that it can sneak up on a team at Heinz Field, so Louisville better have the sand out of its eyes on Saturday morning. Strong should have his Cards ready to go. They'll prove to be a little better than the Panthers on both sides of the ball, winning the battle of the dueling backfield tandems with Perry and Wright. Since there's not as much separation between the schools as the records indicate, and the game is in Pittsburgh, this one won't be decided until late in the second half. CFN Prediction: Louisville 26 … Pittsburgh 21 ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Louisville -3 O/U: 49 Must Watch Rating (5 – Argo, 1 – Pitch Perfect): 2.5