BOZICH | Is Louisville's opponent the most faux 4-0 in the natio - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Is Louisville's opponent the most faux 4-0 in the nation? Yes

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Linebacker James Burgess said North Carolina State has not been "Louisville tested." Linebacker James Burgess said North Carolina State has not been "Louisville tested."

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Jeff Sagarin’s computer formula says the University of Louisville football team has played a schedule considered eight times more difficult than the four stooges North Carolina State has played.

Don't care for Sagarin? That's fine.

RealTimeRPI ranks Louisville's schedule seven times more challenging. There's more.

The Billingsley Report, another respected computer formula that was part of the BCS system, ranks Louisville's schedule 8 ½ times tougher. Yes, there's more.

Ask James Burgess, Louisville's senior linebacker.

"I wouldn't say they have not been tested," Burgess said. "I don't think they've been Louisville-tested yet."

There was laughter in the room at the Schnellenberger Football Complex when Burgess said that Monday. There should have been laughter in the room. Check the N.C. State schedule. I challenge you not to laugh.

The Cards, 1-3, and Wolfpack, 4-0, play Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in Raleigh. There will be plenty of time to chew on the offensive and defensive matchups.

For me, the most pressing question is this:

Louisville has played Auburn, Houston and Clemson, in addition to Samford; North Carolina State has played Trixie's School of Cosmetology. Sagarin's number say N.C. State has played the easiest schedule of any program in a Power 5 league.

Louisville has played three teams ranked in the top 50 of nearly every computer ranking. North Carolina State has played Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion and South Alabama. Don't look for them in the Top 100. They're not there.

Does the degree of difficulty of the Louisville schedule (ranked as high as 11th nationally by RealTimeRPI.com) give the Cardinals an edge?

"We're about to find out," U of L coach Bobby Petrino said.

Yes, we are.

I've read that N. C. State coach Dave Doeren is tired of hearing about his schedule. Last week, before the Wolfpack played South Alabama, Doeren said this:

"I'm not going to apologize for being 3-0. I think we are in the right place."

I get it. This is the same formula Bill Snyder used to build his formidable program at Kansas State. Jerry Kill copied it at Minnesota. A favorable schedule has helped Indiana race to 4-0.

Scheduling your way to non-conference perfection is the American Way.

I also know this: N. C. State employed the same tactic last season. The Wolfpack handled Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, South Florida and Presbyterian to start 4-0.

They finished the regular season 7-5.

They followed the four victories with four consecutive defeats to Florida State, Clemson, Boston College and Louisville by a combined score of 157-73.

Is this North Carolina State team better?

I can't answer that. I had trouble determining which one of those four teams was the FCS program. I wondered if two or three of them are.

It's Eastern Kentucky, although Old Dominion did not become a full FBS program until 2014, one season ahead of South Alabama. Pretty crafty. I'd like Doeren to help with my taxes.

I can't remember another team with a more faux 4-0.

Back to the question: Will it benefit Louisville Saturday?

"You never know how that all plays out," Petrino said. "Whether you played the early, hard schedule and you feel like you're more prepared, or you played a schedule like they have, you get more guys experience and grow confidence as you go."

It is the first road game for Petrino's team. The coach is officially committed to freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson, who could A) run for 100 yards; B) pass for 150 yards  or C) turn the ball over two or three or four times.

Public opinion, as expressed in the betting line posted in Las Vegas, favors North Carolina State. The Wolfpack opened as a 5-point favorite on Sunday. The number slipped to 4, jumped to 5 ½ and then returned to 4 1/2 Monday afternoon.

If there is an advantage in all this, the Cards will have to prove it at Carter-Finley Stadium Saturday.

"I like that we've played who we've played," Burgess said. "You can't change anything. That's what we wanted this off-season. We wanted the great competition.

"We didn’t finish a couple of those games. That's what hurt us. But we still have a chance in the ACC. That's what we're holding our hat on and striving for."

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