Notre Dame doesn’t play this weekend, but there are some intriguing matchups in the ACC tomorrow, and matchups that could impact the opportunity for the Fighting Irish to earn a berth to the ACC title game.
One contest is the Florida State vs. Miami rivalry. Florida State, of course, is Notre Dame’s next opponent, and through two games the Hurricanes look like a legit ACC title game contender.
As intriguing as that matchup is to us, the game we are going with is the contest between #24 Louisville at #21 Pittsburgh. The Panthers are 2-0 and look to be a legit ACC championship game threat, and the Cardinals are looking to bounce back after losing at home to Miami last weekend.
Notre Dame will play both Louisville (Oct. 17) and Pittsburgh (Oct. 24) in the upcoming month.
BRYAN DRISKELL, PUBLISHER
Prediction: Pittsburgh 27, Louisville 24
A week ago I would have picked Louisville, but the Cardinals defense doesn’t look to be improved and the offensive line struggled against the Hurricane front four. While Miami’s defensive line looks good thus far, it isn’t as good as the Pittsburgh defensive line. That should help negate the athleticism advantage that Louisville holds in this game.
Pittsburgh’s offense looked average at best against Syracuse, and that’s the only thing that gives me pause. I am not sure the Panthers can get to 27 against Louisville, even as bad as the Cardinal defense looked last week. Quarterback Kenny Pickett needs to get the ball down the field and the offensive line needs to get the ground game going.
The most exciting matchup in this game is the Pittsburgh defense against the Louisville offense. Louisville is averaging 34.5 points and 501.5 yards per game through two contests, while the Panthers have held their first two opponents to a combined 308 yards of offense. This should be a fun matchup.
VINCE DEDARIO, FOOTBALL ANALYST
Prediction: Louisville 30, Pittsburgh 27
This is an intriguing game for many reasons. Obviously, both teams are on Notre Dame's schedule but it also marks one of only two matchups between top 25 teams this weekend. Pitt has the #5 defense in the land going in but they have played Austin Pea and Syracuse. Last year they were #15 so we know their defense is stout.
The Louisville offense can score the football against any defense in the country. So what gives? Kenny Pickett is a very good quarterback but he lacks weapons around him. I was disappointed in the debut effort of the Louisville defense. They will have a chance at a bounce back effort against the Panthers.
JP SCOTT, IB CONTRIBUTOR
Prediction: Pittsburgh 28, Louisville 20
I like what I’ve seen from Pitt so far. They are playing with a blue-collar swagger and are starting to look like the program I though Pat Narduzzi would eventually turn them into. On top of that, it feels like Panther quarterback Kenny Pickett is going to will his team to win most close games.
The Louisville Cardinals are still licking their wounds after the loss to Miami, and I’m not sure they’ll be ready for the physicality Pitt brings to the table.
NATHAN ERBACH, IB CONTRIBUTOR
Prediction: Louisville 31, Pittsburgh 18
I’m going to go with Louisville in a bounce back week versus Pittsburgh. Both programs are well coached, but Louisville has more on offense and I don’t see Pittsburgh scoring on Louisville at the rate Miami did. The playmakers at wide receiver for the Cardinals are the difference and Louisville is able to pull away at the end, and win comfortably.
BRIAN SMITH, IB CONTRIBUTOR
Prediction: Pittsburgh 24, Louisville 20
Pittsburgh’s front seven will slow down Louisville’s rushing game enough to come out victorious.
Pittsburgh will struggle with Tutu Atwell, but the speedy receiver will not be enough.
Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett will also make an impact with one touchdown passing and no turnovers.
RYAN PALMERI, IB CONTRIBUTOR
Prediction: Pittsburgh 31, Louisville 28
I lost a ton of confidence in Louisville after seeing how bad the defense was last week. This team is on the right track but they still have a long way to go. Pitt will win a close game the same way they always do. A strong run game while they win the T.O.P. battle and leaning on an elite defense. The Panthers racked up seven sacks last week against Syracuse and should cause all kinds of headaches for Louisville. However, the Louisville offense is too good to get totally shut down. They will find some success but the defensive struggles will be too much to overcome.
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