College Football Hot Reads: Syracuse Must Win For U of L? Katy P - WDRB 41 Louisville News

College Football Hot Reads: Syracuse Must Win For U of L? Katy Perry Rolling The Tide?

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Katy Perry (1) has accepted the biggest honor in sports -- picking games on ESPN's College GameDay. Katy Perry (1) has accepted the biggest honor in sports -- picking games on ESPN's College GameDay.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Typing within myself and following every other college football cliché while delivering Week Six of my College Football Hot Reads:

Beating Miami was a splendid way for the University of Louisville football team to introduce itself to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Beating Wake Forest last Saturday was a struggle, but it bumped the Cards into second place (behind Florida State) in the ACC Atlantic Division.

On Thursday, Jason Anderson of ESPN680 asked me if Louisville's game at Syracuse Friday falls into the Must Win category.

I said, "Yes." You might say, "No." We would disagree.

Five Reasons Why Syracuse is Must Win for U of L:

1. College football fans across the country crinkle their noses at teams that lose to Syracuse. Is it fair? No. Is it true? Yes.

You lost to Syracuse? In football?

Ouch. What's wrong?

In the last dozen years the Orange have delivered three winning seasons, never winning more than eight games. That explains the nose-crinkling. This is Jim Boeheim University. The Orange are filler in college football.

2. This game marks the end of the first half of Louisville's schedule. This is the combined record of Louisville's first six opponents: 14-15. This is the combined record of Louisville's final six opponents: 20-6.

3. This game marks the end of the first half of Louisville's schedule. This is the average Jeff Sagarin computer ranking of Louisville's first six opponents: 97. This is the average Sagarin ranking of Louisville's final six opponents: 38.

4. Syracuse has stained Louisville's football season several other times. There was the 45-26 loss that knocked the Cards from the unbeatens two years ago. There was the 38-35 home loss when the Cards were a 37-point favorite in 2007. Fans have not forgotten.

5. Bobby Petrino has never lost to the Orange, winning three games by an average of 15 points, including twice in the Carrier Dome.

HOT READS (five stories to stir your interest in this weekend's fabulous collection of games)

1. The list of unbeaten teams in college football continues to shrink. Bill Bender of The Sporting News wonders how many more programs will follow Oregon to the sidelines this weekend

2. My weekly look at former U of L coach Charlie Strong has the coach discussing the strange role of Texas playing Baylor as a two-touchdown underdog, as written by The Associated Press.

3. Does Oregon's home loss to Arizona Thursday night signal that the Ducks are losing their mojo without former head coach Chip Kelly? John Canzano of the Oregonian wonders.

4. How did the state of Mississippi become the center of the college football universe this weekend? Gary Laney explains.

5. Is Katy Perry really going to be the guest game picker on College GameDay Saturday? Kirk Herbstreit asked – and Perry answered. Hotty toddy, writes Hugh Kellenberger of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

THE NUMBERS (a quick look at this weekend's games of interest)

Louisville at Syracuse, 7 p.m. Friday, ESPN: Must win for the Cards?

I've already asked and answered that question. Louisville needs to reestablish its running game – and take advantage of a Syracuse pass defense that ranks last in the ACC in completion percentage.

The Line: The number slipped from 6 ½ to 1 ½ but on Friday morning the Cards were favored by 3. Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings favor Louisville by 1.63 points.

The Pick: Syracuse 21, Louisville 20

South Carolina at Kentucky, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network: Shock the world moment for the Wildcats?

Could be. I know Steve Spurrier is 20-1 against Kentucky, but you have to wonder about the wounded psyche of his team. Their goal of winning the SEC East is likely gone considering the Gamecocks have already lost two home games – and Spurrier has been critical of his players for several weeks.

The Line: Somebody obviously likes UK or dislikes South Carolina because the line has moved from 10 to 4 this week. Sagarin has it Gamecocks by 8.87.

The Pick: South Carolina 27, Kentucky 21 (corrected version.)

North Texas at Indiana, 2:30 p.m. Big Ten Network: Must win for the Hoosiers?

Absolutely. Indiana can't lose another home game. Can't lose to North Texas. And can't expect to make a bowl game if the Hoosiers don't go to 3-2 Saturday.

The Line: The Hoosiers remain the pick by 13 ½. Sagarin likes Indiana by 5.36.

The Pick: Indiana 31, North Texas 24

UAB at Western Kentucky, 7 p.m. C-USA Digital Network: Must win for Hilltoppers?

Sure, as long as that seems to be the question of the day. It's a league game against a team WKU is supposed to beat. It's also their first home game since the end of August. Time to please the fans.

The Line: The Hilltoppers remain the pick, but the number has dropped to 9. Sagarin says WKU by 11.22

The Pick: WKU 44, UAB 21

Alabama at Mississippi, 3:30 p.m. CBS: One of three Game of the Week moments in the SEC on Saturday. The others are Texas A&M at Mississippi State and LSU at Auburn.

The Line: Bama by 5 ½. Sagarin favors Alabama by 4.81.

The Pick: Alabama 23, Ole Miss 17

Eric Crawford takes U of L over Syracuse, but agrees with me on the four other games.

LAST WEEK: Called Maryland over IU. Fumbled WKU over Navy and Mizzou over South Carolina. Also got U of L and UK.

SEASON RECORD: We're still tied at 14-11. Time to pick up the pace.

FAB FOUR (the four national playoff frontrunners)

1. Texas A&M: The Aggies were on the ropes against Arkansas last weekend, but escaped in overtime.

2. Florida State: The Seminoles' next moment of interest is a Oct. 18 game against Notre Dame.

3. Alabama – They're calling the Tide's visit to Oxford as the biggest game at Mississippi in nearly 50 years, but isn't that what the Crimson Tide face on the road every week?

4. Oklahoma – Exit Oregon. Enter Bob Stoops and the Sooners. You might get your chance to take on the best of the SEC.

HEISMAN THREE (the three leading contenders to strike the pose in December)

1. Todd Gurley, Georgia halfback: He's the most prolific back in the country – and it isn't close.

2. Kenny Hill, Texas A&M quarterback: He's completed better than 65 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and only two interceptions. But playing at Mississippi State will be a test.

3. Amari Cooper, Alabama receiver: You're not supposed to put any Bama receiver in the same sentence with Julio Jones, but I'll make an exception for Cooper.

FAMILIAR FACE (a look at a college football figure with ties to Kentuckiana)

David Elson – the man who helped WKU transition from an FCS program to an FBS program is still coaching at the FCS level. This is Year Two for Elson as the defensive backs coach at Southern Illinois. The Salukis are 4-1, losing only to Purdue. You can follow Elson on Twitter at @coachdavidelson.

LOOKING AHEAD (who next week's local opponents are playing this week)

Clemson (plays host to U of L next Saturday): The Tigers (2-2) play host to a dangerous North Carolina State game at 3:30 p.m.

Louisiana-Monroe (visits UK next Saturday): ULM has beaten Wake Forest, Idaho and Troy – and looks to move to 4-1 by beating Arkansas State.

Iowa (hosts Indiana next Saturday): After winning at Pitt and Purdue, the Hawkeyes have the weekend off.

Florida Atlantic (plays host to WKU Oct. 18): The program that Howard Schnellenberger built slipped to 2-4 with an ugly 38-10 loss to FIU Thursday night.

LOOKING BACK (who last week's local opponents are playing this week)

Wake Forest (lost to U of L last week): Don't ask. The Demon Deacons (2-3) have been taken to Tallahassee and required to play top-ranked Florida State.

Vanderbilt (lost to UK): The Commodores figure to be 1-5 after visiting Georgia Saturday afternoon.

Maryland (beat Indiana last week): The surging Terps (4-1) get Ohio State in College Park. Upset of the weekend?

Navy (lost to WKU last week): The Midshipmen (2-3) visit Air Force – and I hope they flew.

SAY WHAT?

Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon, complaining about the crowd noise (in a good way) at Autzen Stadium in Eugene Thursday night after the Wildcats upset the Ducks:

“Honestly, it wasn't as loud as I expected. I was kind of disappointed.”

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