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FSU at Louisville: Staff predictions

There are three Ls in Louisville— will the ’Noles give the Cards their third loss of the season?

NCAA Football: Louisville at Florida State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State at Louisville: what could go wrong? If those words sent you into a closet, where you’re reading the rest of this covered by a blanket with the lights off, stop quivering. These aren’t the Cardinals of Lamar Jackson. UL enters this game at 2-2, just like the Seminoles, and each team is looking for its first win over a power-five opponent. Which squad will emerge on top? Our staff authors a split decision in the picks made below.

Trey Rowland:

“To be the man, you gotta beat the man.”

Immortal words from the great Ric Flair, and a quote that applies nicely to the recent stretch of Florida State-Louisville games. For the past 2 years, UL (Lamar Jackson) has been the man. Willie Taggart’s Seminoles showed some signs of life as they styled and profiled all over Northen Illinois....but are they ready to beat the man?


Louisville’s still got Bobby Petrino who, in addition to be a scooter-riding, perma-lying, kiss-stealing, wheeling-dealing son of a gun, is also a pretty decent offensive coach. But, it hasn’t been enough so far in 2018 and won’t be in this game.

Taggart and his Nature Boys bring their alligator turnover bag into the artist formerly known as Papa John’s Stadium and put the Cardinals in a Figure-4 leglock.

FSU 27 Louisville 20


Austin DeWitt:

The last time Florida State traveled to Louisville they were destined for failure. The Cardinal’s had College Gameday on campus for the only top-10 matchup to kick off at noon outside of rivalry week that I can remember. They were honoring the late Muhammad Ali throughout the morning and had his daughter, Laila, on as a guest picker. The entire nation wanted an FSU loss (to be fair they do most weeks). Florida State legend Lee Corso, also a former head coach at Louisville, even picked the Cardinals that day, a day FSU fans won’t soon forget (despite our best alcohol-fueled efforts).

There’s nothing like a good revenge game to get a team and fan base going, and luckily, the Louisville Lamar Jacksons are a thing of the past. Their legendary quarterback was able to win in spite of issues they had, but with the current crop of QBs, the offense is sputtering.

I think FSU gets its revenge, but not in the throttling fashion ’Noles fans hope for.

Florida State 30, Louisville 21

Kyle Griffis:

I’m going to go out on a limb and take a chance on Florida State. I see this as a low-scoring affair, but I have hope coming off the NIU win that FSU can beat a team that scored a grand total of 3 points against UVA last week. Can the offense continue to show improvement? Will the defense be motivated for revenge against the Cardinals? I’m cautiously optimistic. Don’t break my heart, ’Noles.

Florida State 17, Louisville 13


Evan Johnson:

This is a tough one. I think FSU should win based on the level of defense, but the turnover issues the ’Noles have consistently run into are very worrisome. I’ll bet the offense can do just enough to help out the defense and will have some of the blocking cleaned up a little bit more than last week. Basically, I’m betting that FSU will win because it’ll have another week of practice in the new defensive and offensive schemes, and Louisville seems primed to quit at any moment. FSU 26 - UL 17


I hate this game. I hate it every year. Living in Louisville is no fun when Florida State loses to them. For the past two years, Louisville fans have mocked me in elevators, taunted me on Facebook, and kicked my dog (one of those is a lie). I just want FSU to come in, get up big early, and coast to an easy victory. I want to wear my Florida State jacket without fear of a hypocritical UL fan lecturing me about how I support a team of bad apples. I want to be able to happily survey my Facebook feed without notifications of Louisville fans posting the score and even Kentucky Wildcat fans joining in: “Stoooooops!” Is that too much to ask? I think so. I fear another year of torture lies ahead of me.

Louisville 24, FSU 17


The conductor of the Tre’shaun Harrison Hype Train is here to tell you that FSU ’bout to make Petrino long for the days of road rash and neck braces.

FSU 27 (with a defensive score)

Louisville 16

Matt Minnick:

Louisville has, somehow, been worse than FSU on offense this year, scoring just 3 points in the first half of all their games against FBS opponents combined. But ACC teams have a tendency to raise their level of play when FSU comes to town, and I think the Cardinals will do exactly that.

The Seminoles get torched for a long TD pass and another big gainer that sets up a field goal in the first half, both on busts in the secondary. A second touchdown is set up by a Francois turnover deep in FSU’s own territory.

Florida State mounts a second-half comeback, jump-started by two different appearances of the turnover backpack. But the bid falls short on a missed field goal with less than 30 seconds remaining.

Louisville 23

FSU 21


This will be the first game in which the ’Noles purr like a finely tuned motorcycle, with all 3 cylinders clicking, which will have Bobby Petrino’s face looking road-rash red as the ’Noles pull away in the 2nd half.

FSU 34 -UL 17

Dakota Moyer:

Much like FSU, Louisville has struggled mightily on offense. The loss of Lamar Jackson is weighing heavily on the Cardinals right now. This will be an ugly defensive game.

FSU 17, Louisville 13

Jon Marchant:

FSU has been horrible on offense this year...until last week. They had a good performance vs. NIU, but they need to clean up the mistakes and prove they can do it again. Louisville can't replace Lamar Jackson and their defense is bad.

FSU 24 - 19 Louisville

David Visser:

I feel Tim’s pain. Not because I live in Louisville — because I don’t — but because this game is really difficult to predict. Why? Because I’m just not very certain that we have a great idea of who either off these teams really is. UL has been a mess, but I agree with the sentiment that teams tend to get up for FSU, especially when there’s blood in the water and they see the possibility of stealing a win from the Seminoles in a down year (see: 2017). And as much fun as we can have with Petrino, he’s an accomplished offensive mind. The real question here involves if he’s talented enough without Jackson as the ’Noles are inexperienced under a new defensive system.

On the other side of the ball, the Florida State offensive line salvaged a little respectability last week against a solid NIU defense, especially in getting off to a quick start and taking some pressure of the entire roster. I think that this one provides FSU with a great chance to get its first road and conference win of the season. After all, that turnover luck has to level out sooner or later, right? Right? Regardless, this one won’t come easily.

Florida State 24, Louisville 23

Check in with the Nolecast for score predictions from our Bud Elliott and Ingram Smith.