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Staff Predictions: Florida State Seminoles vs. Louisville Cardinals

The Florida State Seminoles are 18-12 (.600) in their first ACC game of the season.

Charles Mays

The Florida State Seminoles (2-0) travel to Louisville to start their 2022 ACC football season against the one loss Cardinals (1-1) on Friday night, under the lights, as the nation watches on ESPN.

The Seminoles lead the all-time head-to-head series against Louisville, 16-6, but the Noles have lost the last two times they’ve played against the Cardinals, losing 31-23 in 2001 at home, and 48-16 in 2020 in Louisville.

Your Tomahawk Nation staff, as they do every game week have broken down the Louisville and FSU films, charted each All-22 formations and snaps, performed A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) virtual simulations of the individual man-to-man matchups, compiled and analyzed all of the data, and have come to the conclusion that the Noles could win.

According to DraftKings, Florida State is a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 56.5 total points.

  • Read what your TOMAHAWK NATION PROGNOSTICATORS think about this Saturday’s showdown.
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  • We would love to hear your thoughts about how you feel about this game and your final score prediction in the comments.

NoleThruandThru (season record: 1-1)

I’m so glad I was wrong about the LSU score! That said, I’ve long had the Louisville game circled as the most important game of the season because win or lose in New Orleans, it would be an insight into the psyche of this team. After another nationally-televised tilt on Friday night, we’ll know how the Seminoles respond to success. Louisville has been an Achilles heel for Mike Norvell during his time in Tallahassee. Though the Cardinals have certainly looked beatable in their first two games, the environment for their home-opener won’t be easy to overcome.

Louisville’s defense gave up exactly 208 yards rushing to Syracuse and UCF, respectively, so I’ll be looking for FSU to establish its run game early and often. Sprinkle in some medium and deep shots to keep the Cardinals honest, and I think FSU’s offense should have another strong outing. The defense will have its hands full against Malik Cunningham, who is due for a better performance after two clunkers. In the end, I think we see a 3-0 record for Florida State, halfway to bowl eligibility!

FSU 38, Louisville 20

Tommy Mire (season record: 2-0)

This is one of those matchups that has me a little uneasy with Malik Cunningham at the helm. However, they are giving up 200+ yards per game on the ground and FSU has three talented backs that could all break 100 yards again (see Duquesne.)

The Cardinals don’t quite have the receivers that LSU did so the Seminole defense shouldn’t (hopefully) have to constantly double-team an all-American and will be able to spy the quarterback more often. Vegas has this game as roughy 3-points for the Seminoles but I think the margin will be more regardless of who wins.

FSU 38, Louisville 24


FSU is looking for its first 3-0 start since 2015 and they’re going to get it. FSU should control both sides of the LOS in this game and Louisville should have very little answers for its three-pronged attack at running back.

On defense Malik Cunningham is streaky and can be scary good when he gets hot but if FSU rushes four and sets the edge they should come back to Tallahassee with a comfortable victory which is what I expect.

FSU 42, Louisville 21

Evan Johnson (season record: 1-1)

It feels like everything is heading in the right direct so far this year and in this match up. Louisville has looked very vulnerable through two games, especially on the ground where FSU excels on offense. Then again this is a Friday night road game to top that off it’s a color game. On the other hand it’s a red out and the team will be wearing black so this whole program is obviously in shambles.

FSU 35, Louisville 10

Michael Rogner (season record: 2-0)

A few years ago Cardinal fans got mad on the internet because I wrote in my prediction “I can’t name a single Louisville player, but I’m sure they’re great.” Based on the thoughtful suggestions I received from #LouisvilleTwitter I’ve really come around and learned a lot about their program. ‘Noles by 30.

FrankDNole (season record: 2-0)

This will be a fun game for the Noles at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium.

FSU is out for revenge against Louisville, and I expect most of the Card fans will be heading for the exits at the end of the 3rd quarter.

I feel bad for this Malik fella, he seems like a decent person, unfortunately he is going to take a beating on Friday night at the hands of the FSU defense.

FSU Seminoles 41, Louisville (the one in Kentucky) 24

Matt Minnick (season record: 2-0)

42%. That’s the chances I gave FSU of winning against the Cardinals back when we did our win share predictions one month ago. Which was actually lower than my pre-season thoughts about our chances of beating LSU. My thinking was that 1) we had an advantage over LSU of having already played a game; 2) UL has beat us pretty good the last couple years; 3) Friday night games are weird.

But then I saw Louisville look putrid against Syracuse and only mediocre against UCF. Granted both those games were on the road, but they seemed to have a legitimate issue generating any kind of pressure with their front four, while also giving up plenty of rushing lanes. Meanwhile, FSU has found a style and is sticking with it. Pound opponents with body blows on the ground and then go for a haymaker over the top about once a quarter.

Look, Malik Cunningham is going to make plays because that’s what he does. And some of those plays are going to leave you shaking your fist in frustration. But winning a football game takes more than a couple of long scrambles by your “quarterback.” This one might be back and forth for 2.5 quarters, but eventually the body blows lead to fatigue and fatigue leads to mistakes. FSU owns the 4th and wins by more than one score, with two missed field goals preventing this from being an even larger margin.

‘Noles 31, ‘Ville 20

Max Escarpio (season record 2-0)

FSU’s matchup in Louisville will depend on their current mental state. If they’re proud of a 2-0 start and begin this matchup in a sluggish manner, they’ll have trouble heading back to Tallahassee with a win. The Noles should feel accomplished, but they have to keep the hunger and desire for the bright lights. I believe they still have their heads down and want to prove they’re climbing back into college football relevance, so I have FSU winning this matchup 31-20. Cardinals quarterback Malik Cunningham will be the biggest strain in this contest; they need to keep Cunningham inside the pocket and make him throw it into the vicinity of a top-notch secondary. Florida State will head back home with their first 3-0 start since 2015.

FSU 31, Louisville 20

Perry Kostidakis (season record: 2-0)

I feel confident in this game — which concerns me, but alas.

The key difference in this game compared to years past is that the Seminoles have (through two games) fielded a competent, multi-faceted offense. Call it the “bye week goggles,” but seeing how Louisville struggled to handle UCF last week before figuring out that John Rhys Plumlee doesn’t know how to throw a football offered some peace of mind. I still don’t think that FSU will have a complete answer for Malik Cunningham — while his pocket passing leaves a bit to be desired, he’s still an explosive play threat at all times and FSU struggled to shut down LSU’s Jayden Daniels once he started to get going. Louisville will keep fighting enough to make things stressful, but after starting 3-0 and 1-0 in the ACC for the first time since 2015, Saturday should be another day of easy watching.

FSU 35, Louisville 26

Gwyn Rhodes (season record: 0-0 I’m new here!)

If this game is anything like FSU softball vs. Louisville in the series past, it will be a close game. Jordan Travis and the RB room will take charge of the offense (similar to the offensive firepower the softball team showed in game 1 of their series against Louisville in 2021). Much like the softball teams last trip to Louisville, matching up against the Cardinal, the football fellas will also come out with a hard fought W.

FSU 36, Louisville 28

Jon Marchant (season record: 2-0 [check the pod!])

Malik Cunningham will get his. He’s done pretty much whatever he wants against FSU’s defense the last two seasons. But this time FSU’s offense matches up really well against Louisville’s weak rush defense and in the end I think the ’Noles do enough on offense and with an improved (read: more talented) defense to win a back-and-forth one.

FSU 33, Louisville 31

Ben Meyerson

The Seminoles struggled to contain the QB vs LSU in the Superdome they need to do their best to limit Malik Cunnigham. He will get some huge chunk plays and drive the ball downfield - you just cannot have him turn too many of those explosive plays into scores. On offense they need to slow down the game and take control early - I expect they will. Mix that in with some deep shots from Travis and they should put up some points.

FSU 30, Louisville 22

Brian Pellerin

I am surprisingly confident in this game being a win for the Seminoles despite my contention that this will be a close game. I don’t think Florida State played their A game in the Superdome a few weeks ago and they should have won by a bunch. Obviously, it’s a 60-minute game and the collapse at the end is part of the performance, but that would be a two-touchdown win if they don’t drop the toss at the 1. I’m incredibly confident in FSU finding success in the run game. I expect them to pull ahead like the LSU game and I expect Louisville to make a run at it late, but Florida State controlling the clock early will be enough to move to 3-0.

FSU 29, Louisville 24

Florida State Seminoles vs. Louisville Cardinals

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