LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Bulletin board material abounds for Scott Satterfield’s third University of Louisville football team.
With the arrival this week of Phil Steele’s jumbo-sized college football yearbook ($19.99), pre-season predictions are officially on the record from five sources — Steele, Athlon Sports, ProFootballFocus, Lindy’s and ESPN’s Power Football Index.
Outsiders have defined the Cardinals the way you would expect them to define a 4-7 team that lost its top three offensive players — as a program scrambling for recognition in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Steele pegged the Cardinals tied with Florida State for fifth place in the division, making it unanimous that none of the five rankings predicts U of L to finish better than fifth.
Steele’s power rankings slot Louisville No. 65 in the nation. The average of Louisville’s rankings is No. 56, ranging from a high of 42 from ESPN and a low of 74 from Lindy’s.
Leave it to Steele to make a telling observation about the Cardinals:
“Louisville has gone the opposite of expectations in Satterfield’s first two years so that would be a positive this year.”
Steele goes four teams deep while projecting the best players in the ACC. These are the Louisville players who earned recognition:
Kei’Trel Clark, first-team cornerback.
Caleb Chandler, second-team offensive guard.
Cole Bentley, fourth-team offensive guard.
Yasir Abdullah, fourth-team linebacker.
The consensus from the pre-season predictions remains that Kentucky is still not ready to overtake Georgia and Florida atop the East Division in the Southeastern Conference.
Steele and ProFootballFocus forecast a third-place finish for Mark Stoops’ program while Athlon, Lindy’s and ESPN all place Kentucky behind Missouri as well as the Gators and Bulldogs.
Kentucky’s average national ranking is 38 — ranging from a high of No. 17 from ProFootballFocus and a low of No. 50 from Steele’s power formula.
Here is part of what Steele says about the Wildcats:
“Stoops is always good for at least one upset a year. I’m not ready to call them a contender in the East, but since they had a losing season last year they qualify to make my Most Improved List and they do.”
Yes, they do.
Kentucky is No. 11 on Steele’s Most Improved List, which is led by Penn State and LSU (a team the Wildcats play in Lexington Oct. 9).
Here is the impressive list of UK players who earned recognition on Steele’s four-deep all-SEC team:
Darian Kinnard, first-team offensive tackle.
Yusuf Corker, second-team defensive back.
Josh Ali, second-team punt return.
Chris Rodriguez, third-team running back.
Wan’Dale Robinson, third-team receiver.
Joshua Paschal, third-team defensive end.
Marquan McCall, third-team defensive tackle.
DeAndre Square, third-team linebacker.
Jordan Wright, fourth-team linebacker.
Look for Indiana to start the season ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. Tom Allen’s program went 5 for 5 in making the Top 25 from Athlon, Steele, PFF, ESPN and Lindy’s, with a high ranking of No. 19 from Steele’s formula.
Indiana is the pick to finish third in the Big Ten East, behind Ohio State and Penn State.
This is part of what Steele wrote about the Hoosiers:
“This team believes in Tom Allen and all nine sets of my power rankings call for at least a nine-win season for the first time since 1967.”
The Hoosiers put six players on Steele’s all-Big Ten first team, tied with Ohio State for most in the league. Here are the IU players recognized by Steele in the Big Ten:
Michael Penix Jr, first-team quarterback.
Ty Fryfogle, first-team receiver.
Micah McFadden, first-team linebacker.
Tiawan Mullen, first-team cornerback.
Charles Campbell, first-team placekicker.
Sean Wracher, first-team long snapper.
Peyton Hendershot, second-team linebacker.
Matthew Bedford, second-team offensive tackle.
Jaylin Williams, second-team cornerback.
Reese Taylor, third-team punt return.
D.J. Matthews, fourth-team receiver.
Caleb Jones, fourth-team offensive tackle.
Ryder Anderson, fourth-team defensive end.
Devon Matthews, fourth-team safety.
Like UK and IU, Western Kentucky is a consensus pick to finish in the upper half of its division — Conference USA East.
Steele actually likes the Hilltoppers to finish tied for first with Florida Atlantic. Steele’s power formula has WKU No. 107 in the nation, putting the Hilltoppers’ five-outlet average at No. 103.
This is part of Steele’s analysis of Tyson Helton’s team:
“The D will suffer a little from the faster paced offense but WKU avoids UAB from the West and actually finished third last year despite the woeful offense and are a prime contender this year.”
Here are the WKU players expected to excel in CUSA:
Bailey Zappe, first-team quarterback.
DeAngelo Malone, first-team defensive end.
Antwon Kincade, second-team defensive back.
Joshua Simon, third-team tight end.
Cole Spencer, third-team offensive tackle.
Brayden Narveson, third-team kicker.
John Haggerty, third-team punter.
Will Ignont, fourth-team linebacker.
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