BOZICH & CRAWFORD: Will Kentucky & Indiana join Louisville & WKU - WDRB 41 Louisville News

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BOZICH & CRAWFORD: Will Kentucky & Indiana join Louisville & WKU in win column?

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Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson will try to stay ahead in the Heisman Trophy race against N.C. State. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson will try to stay ahead in the Heisman Trophy race against N.C. State.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Two easy victories. Two close defeats. 

That is the way the point spreads look on a weekend when three of the four local FBS football programs play at home.

Louisville and Western Kentucky are both expected to win mostly comfortably while Indiana (the only road team) and Kentucky are underdogs by about a field goal.

Eric Crawford and I share our predictions on the four local games as Louisville can become the first in the group to become bowl eligible. Here is the rundown (in order by kickoff times).

North Carolina State (4-2) at Louisville (5-1), noon.

The Story Line: The Cardinals have handled the Wolfpack by 12 and seven the last two seasons. The game is not expected to be as close today because the Cardinals are averaging 21 more points per game than the Wolfpack. But after playing Clemson close last week, N.C. State believes it can win and scramble the ACC Atlantic race.

The Question: Will N.C. State try the four-corners offensive approach and milk the play clock, a strategy that nearly worked for Duke last week? ZZZ. Bobby Petrino will try not to let that happen.

The Crazy Stat: N.C. State has allowed six rushing touchdowns in six games. Louisville has scored 24 rushing touchdowns in six games.

The Coverage: ABC, Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard, Allison Williams.

The Point Spread: Louisville by 19 1/2.

The Picks: Eric Crawford, Louisville 41, N.C. State 24; Rick Bozich, U of L 38-17.

Indiana (3-3) at Northwestern (3-3), noon.

The Story Line: Indiana is coming off back-to-back bruising defeats to Top 10 teams (Ohio State and Nebraska) and needs to upgrade its offensive performance against an improving Northwestern team.

The Question: Can Indiana avoid the interceptions the Hoosiers were not able to overcome in losses to Wake Forest and Nebraska?

The Crazy Stat: Northwestern, a team known for its defense, has scored 92 points the last two games. Indiana, a team known for its offense, has scored 39 its last two games.

The Coverage: Big Ten Network, Scott Graham, J Leman.

The Point Spread: Northwestern by 3.

The Picks: Eric, Indiana 28, Northwestern 27; Rick, Northwestern, 27-17.

Old Dominion (4-2) at Western Kentucky (4-3), 7 p.m.

The Story Line: You might not consider Old Dominion dangerous, but WKU coach Jeff Brohm knows ODU has won its last three by two touchdowns or more.

The Question: Any chance this is a trap game for the Hilltoppers, who won a rivalry game on the road last week?

The Crazy Stat: Once upon a time, the WKU defense was maligned. This season Nick Holt’s group leads Conference USA in rushing defense, allowing only 3.07 yards per carry.

The Coverage: American Sports Network, Dave Armstrong, Richard Baldinger.

The Point Spread: WKU by 13 1/2.

The Picks: Eric, WKU 45, ODU 35; Rick, WKU, 42-28.

Mississippi State (2-4) at Kentucky (3-3), 7:30 p.m.

The Story Line: Kentucky’s push for bowl eligibility will take another solid step if the Wildcats can handle a program that is missing quarterback Dak Prescott. State has four defeats, but three have been by seven points or less.

The Question: Will coach Mark Stoops’ team bounce out of its bye week healthier and ready to win three of its last six to become bowl eligible?

The Crazy Stat: The Bulldogs (24.8) and Wildcats (24.5) rank 11th and 12th in the Southeastern Conference in scoring.

The Coverage: SEC Network, Mark Jones, Rod Gilmore, Quint Kessenich.

The Point Spread: Mississippi State by 3 1/2.

The Picks: Eric, Mississippi State 21, UK 17; Rick, UK 17-14.

The Totals: Rick 4-1 last week, 26-9 for the season. Eric 3-2 last week, 27-8 for the season. Final game this week: Texas at Kansas State: Eric, Texas 42, Kansas State 38; Rick, Texas, 27-21.

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