BOZICH/CRAWFORD: Previewing (and picking) the U of L, UK, IU, WK - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH/CRAWFORD: Previewing (and picking) the U of L, UK, IU, WKU and ND football games

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ON THE SOGGY ROAD TO RALEIGH (WDRB) -- Two home games. Two road games. And an intriguing Saturday night game for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

That is the weekend college football schedule, which has Louisville and Western Kentucky on the road with Kentucky and Indiana playing at home.

The Cards and Hilltoppers figure to play the most competitive games. Let's get to the predictions by Rick Bozich and Eric Crawford.

Louisville at North Carolina State

JUST THE FACTS: Game kicks off at 12:30 p.m. at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh. Weather forecast shows rain Friday night and nearly all morning with the chances decreasing to 35 percent at kickoff. Cards are 1-3 after dispatching Samford. N. C. State is 4-0. Game will be televised on WAVE in Louisville area and on ESPN3 across the nation.

I started the week by saying this about North Carolina State. The Wolfpack are 4-0 but it's a faux 4-0. They've played the softest schedule of any Power 5 college football team. One FCS opponent and two other teams that have transitioned from FCS in the last two seasons.

I'll finish the week by saying this: The Wolfpack has taken care of their business every weekend. They've won four games -- and covered the point spread every week.

The numbers have not been tiny, at least 17 ½ every week.

This is the most interesting game in the Atlantic Coast Conference this week. Weather should be a factor. It's the first ACC game for N.C. State. The Wolfpack are determined to supplant Louisville as the third-best team in the Atlantic Division. They have a senior quarterback, Jacoby Brissett, who has been borderline perfect this season.

For Louisville, this game should be a major influence on the remainder of the season. Win and Bobby Petrino's team carries a two-game winning streak into Tallahassee Oct. 17. Lose and they're 1-4 and likely to be 1-5 after playing the Seminoles.

Eric likes the Louisville defense and the form the Louisville offense took last week against Samford.

Rick likes N. C. State because it's asking a lot of a freshman quarterback (Lamar Jackson) to win on the road against a veteran team.

VEGAS SPREAD: N.C. State by 4 ½.

SAGARIN RATINGS: N.C. State by 5.07.

RICK: NC State 27, Louisville 21

ERIC: Louisville 28, N.C. State 21.

Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky

JUST THE FACTS: The Colonels make the short drive from Richmond to Commonwealth Stadium for the 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The SEC Network will televise. Wildcats are 3-1, the Colonels 2-1.

Perfect time for the Wildcats to play the Colonels. A chance to exhale after three straight Southeastern Conference games. A chance to play more guys, like back-up quarterback Drew Barker, before cruising into that Oct. 15 Thursday night game against Auburn, which doesn't seem as daunting as it did in August.

All eyes will be on halfback Boom Williams. Will he start? I doubt it. Will he play? I think he will.

Mark Stoops has done a solid job handling the situation. He has disciplined Williams for his post-game pouting without embarrassing his player. Stoops knows UK will need the running back for Auburn, Mississippi State and beyond.

RICK: Kentucky 31, EKU 7

ERIC: Kentucky 49, EKU 10

VEGAS SPREAD: No line at VegasInsiders.com

SAGARIN RATINGS:  UK by 25.85.

Ohio State at Indiana

JUST THE FACTS: Both teams are unbeaten, which might explain why ABC is televising this game, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Memorial Stadium is sold out. Indiana last beat Ohio State in 1988 when Bill Mallory was the coach.

This should be interesting. Dan Dakich has made certain of that.

Dakich is the former IU basketball player and coach who works for ESPN and hosts a radio show in Indianapolis. Dakich pushed for ESPN to bring College GameDay to Bloomington for the game with top-ranked Buckeyes this week.

Didn't happen

Dakich didn't stop.

He has teamed with IU to stage an Indiana College GameDay, which will be live-streamed on the Internet and shown on an Indianapolis TV station. Dakich will entertain the crowd in the parking lot between Assembly Hall and Memorial Stadium for several hours before the game.

Indiana is without its best defensive lineman, the suspended Darius Latham. That is not the guy Kevin Wilson wants out of his lineup.

Expect Ohio State to pound the ball between the tackles with halfback Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Cardale Jones. That's been the Buckeyes' formula for success against the Hoosiers for decades.

RICK: Ohio State 42, Indiana 17

ERIC: Ohio State 35, Indiana 24

VEGAS SPREAD: Ohio State by 22.

SAGARIN RATINGS: Ohio State by 17.58

Western Kentucky at Rice

JUST THE FACTS: The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on FoxSportsNetwork. The Hilltoppers moved to 3-1 by blasting Miami (Ohio) last week while Rice slipped to 2-2 by losing to Baylor, 70-17. Texas also scored 42 on the Owls, who are vulnerable on defense.

Looks like a winnable road game for the Hilltoppers. The Owls pass defense is not great. They have allowed 13 TD passes in four games so WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty should be able to pad his statistics.

The Owls have only played one home game, drawing less than 20,000 for their opener against Wagner. Being on the road should not be a disadvantage for Jeff Brohm and Company.

RICK: WKU 38, Rice 33

ERIC: WKU 49, Rice 35

VEGAS SPREAD: WKU by 7.

SAGARIN RATINGS: WKU by 7.91.

Notre Dame at Clemson

JUST THE FACTS: College GameDay will turn this into Saturday's spectacle. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. on ESPN. Clemson is 3-0 with a victory over Louisville. Notre Dame is 4-0 with victories over Texas, Virginia and Georgia Tech.

Skeptics keep waiting for Notre Dame to stumble considering the Irish are down five starters to injuries and playing a freshman quarterback. Hasn't happened.

Skeptics also wonder how good the Tigers really are, considering we're into October and coach Dabo Swinney's team has not played a Top 25 opponent.

ESPN's computer formula puts Clemson's win probability at 54.1 percent, not great for a home favorite. The Irish are limiting opponents to 4 yards per carry, and they have been great on third down, stopping opponents nearly 74 percent of the time.

RICK: Clemson 21, Notre Dame 17

ERIC: Clemson 21, Notre Dame 17

VEGAS SPREAD: Clemson by 1 ½.

SAGARIN RATINGS: Clemson by 5.26.

LAST WEEK: Rick 4-1; Eric 4-1.

SEASON TOTALS: Rick 12-8; Eric 11-9.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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