LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- This is a clip-and-save column. Like a few of my Derby predictions. I'll stash it in a safe place and drop it under a hot light Dec. 1.
That's when we'll have answers to all the questions about new coaches, new coordinators, new attitudes and new conditioning programs.
Until then, be honest: We're all guessing.
Or, I believe the polite word is predicting. Eric Crawford and I shared some of our Best and Worst Case scenarios for Louisville, Kentucky, Indiana and Western Kentucky football. They'll air Friday night on the WDRB News at 10.
Here is my expanded version, which should be a joy to read Dec. 1. I won't forget -- and neither will you.
Best Case (6-6) -- As I said in my TV chat with Eric, a year ago somebody would have buried me in a dunking booth for predicting the Cardinals would win six games. Win six this season and Scott Satterfield will topple Bobby Petrino's final win total.
Win six this season and Satterfield deserves a parade.
How does he get to six?
Beat Eastern Kentucky and Western Kentucky. That's the obvious part. Notice that I said obvious, not simple.
Louisville gets Boston College at home after an off week. Winnable. Wake Forest is likely the most winnable road game. Nothing intimidating about a trip to Winston-Salem. For Satterfield, it will be like going home.
If they get to four, they can steal two more. Confidence will rise. So will crowd enthusiasm. Like any coach, Satterfield will preach defending home turf. The final two wins would have to come at home against Virginia and Syracuse, programs Louisville defeated at home by double figures in 2017.
Was that so difficult?
Worst Case (1-11) -- Lose to Western Kentucky in Nashville. Could happen. Lose to Boston College and its powerful running game at home. Could happen.
If that happens, the Cards will not be favored in another game the rest of the way.
Prediction (4-8) -- The Cards must win the two early games against the two in-state programs. Boston College is certainly winnable. By emphasizing the running game and limiting turnovers, Satterfield will find another win down the stretch, likely at Wake.
Best Case (10-2) -- Kentucky maintains the confident vibe the Wildcats developed last season. Terry Wilson makes stronger, smarter throws. The offensive line exerts its will. The defensive line shines. New faces play up to their recruiting credentials in the secondary.
Gotta beat Florida at home and either Mississippi State or South Carolina on the road for this scenario. Kentucky handled all three last season. If UK can get to 4-1, the Wildcats enjoy a bye week and then five of their last seven are in Kroger Field.
Worst Case (5-7) -- The loss to Florida returns. ESPN's power index gives Kentucky less than a 26 percent chance to win at Mississippi State and South Carolina.
They're not going to win at Georgia. Tennessee is often an issue. Vanderbilt can be tricky. The first three league games could start a slide.
Prediction (7-5) -- The Wildcats have eight home games. They'll be double-figure favorites in all four home non-SEC games. The other three wins will come against Arkansas, Missouri and Vanderbilt.
Best Case (8-4) -- For once, Indiana plays winning offense AND defense. Michael Penix Jr. emerges at quarterback, improving the Hoosiers' passing and running games. Stevie Scott runs for 1,000 yards but so does freshman Sampson James. The veteran secondary and linebackers form the foundation until the defensive line matures.
After beating everybody but Ohio State in its first four, the Hoosiers shock Michigan State in East Lansing and back that by beating Rutgers and Maryland. The pressure to become bowl eligible ends. Indiana takes down Northwestern at home and brings the Old Oaken Bucket back from Purdue.
Worst Case (3-9) -- Ball State has stained Indiana's seasons in previous seasons. It happens again. After week one, the Hoosiers are scrambling. Losing to Ball State is a Worst Case scenario packed in one 60-minute bite.
Prediction (6-6) -- Ball State, Eastern Illinois, UConn and Rutgers cannot slip away. Outplay and out-scheme one in the group of Maryland, Nebraska, Northwestern and Purdue. Steal one from the group of Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State and Michigan because a moment like that is long overdue.
Best Case (8-4) -- Put the mojo back in WKU football. Score points. Be creative. Attack. Take chances. Win. ESPN's computer formula projects the Hilltoppers will be favored in six games. Expecting two upsets in a Best Cast scenario is not outrageous, including a win over Louisville in Nashville.
Worst Case (4-8) -- The offense sputters. The fun does not return. The Hilltoppers do not defeat Louisville, Army or Middle Tennessee. But they should still win at least four.
Prediction (6-6) -- Tyson Helton's familiarity with the program, the league and many of his players should accelerate the learning curve that most first-year coaches confront. But six wins is a reasonable projection, considering WKU's struggles the last two seasons.
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