BOZICH | Five Louisville football predictions by Phil Steele (wh - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Five Louisville football predictions by Phil Steele (who loves Cards' linebackers)

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Phil Steele includes Louisville on his list of surprise college football teams in 2016. Phil Steele includes Louisville on his list of surprise college football teams in 2016.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- What does Phil Steele say?

Those have become five of the most spoken words in college football in the last decade. Phil Steele doesn’t just deliver a college football pre-season yearbook. He writes an encyclopedia.

His publication checks in at 352 pages, at a cost of $12.99. I found my copy, after checking multiple locations, Wednesday night.

There are 101 things that Steele says about Louisville, Kentucky, Indiana, Western Kentucky and every other program in the America.

I’ll share the five most interesting items he predicted for Bobby Petrino’s third Louisville team.

1. The Cards' linebackers are the second best group of linebackers in America.

Only Nick Saban and Alabama have a better group of linebackers than Louisville, according to Steele. He ranks the unit led by Keith Kelsey and Devonte Fields ahead of Michigan State, Mississippi and Stanford, the other members of the top five.

Louisville was ranked 17th nationally at quarterback, unranked at running back, ninth at receiver, unranked on the offensive line, unranked on the defensive line, 23rd in the secondary and unranked on special teams.

2. Louisville ranks as his No. 11 Surprise team.

Steele notes that the Cards were his top surprise-team pick in 2006. That squad nearly went undefeated while storming into the Orange Bowl. He likes quarterback Lamar Jackson and says that Louisville has advanced from the nation's 117th most experienced team to No. 14 in that category.

Finally, Steele notes that Louisville must win games at Marshall, Clemson and Houston to stay on the surprise meter. Road wins separate the better teams.

He predicted that the nation's top surprise team will be the Washington Huskies.

3. Louisville's schedule ranks the 50th Most Difficult

Not Cream Puff City. Not exhausting. That's his take on the Louisville schedule.

Yes, Louisville must visit Clemson, consensus favorite to make the post-season playoff as well as Houston, a likely pre-season Top 20 team.

But Steele ranks the Cards' schedule 50th nationally, which is the same ranking he gave the Louisville schedule a year ago.

How does that compare to Clemson and Florida State, the two top contenders in the ACC Atlantic Division?

Clemson's schedule is ranked 61st while Florida State is 14th.

How about the other local programs?

Kentucky is 43rd, Indiana 53rd and Western Kentucky No. 111.

4. Two Cards Make All-American Team

Steele picked offensive and defensive all-American teams, going four teams deep. Two Louisville players, both defenders, were recognized:

Fields, who was nearly unblockable in the final four games of 2015, made the second team and strong safety Josh-Harvey Clemons was placed on the fourth team.

This is how the ranks the Louisville guys as NFL prospects:

James Quick ranks 31st at receiver; DeAngelo Brown is No. 37 at defensive tackle; Fields is the third-ranked outside linebacker; Keith Kelsey is ranked fifth at inside linebacker; Shaq Wiggins ranks 40th at cornerback and Harvey-Clemons is fourth at strong safety.

5.. Back to the Music City Bowl

As for a bowl pick, this won't excite the Louisville faithful. Steele has the Cards returning to Nashville on Dec. 30 to play Auburn in the Music City Bowl because of the ACC-SEC bowl tie.

Louisville defeated Texas A&M in that game last season.

His four playoff teams are Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida State and LSU, with Florida State defeating Alabama for the title.

Copyright 2016 WDRB Media All Rights Reserved.

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