Dec. 27
8 p.m.
ESPN                    Louisville 24 vs North Carolina State 31   


 Offense: Louisville sports an offense that is ranked poor statistically, but has really improved over the course of the year. I find this bowl game to be one of the more interesting bowl games that is under the radar between two pretty good teams. Freshman QB Teddy Bridgewater is at the helm for the Cardinals and his growth has been well documented over the year. I have personally watched him and say that he is now a very good quarterback. I don't think I would have said that earlier in the season about the Big East rookie of the year. RB Victor Anderson is the main back. He averages 4.8 yards per carry. The power back for the Cards is sophomore Dominique Brown. When Bridgewater looks to pass, he will look to fellow freshmen Devante Parker and  Michaelee Harris. This Louisville offense is young and improving, which could mean trouble for not only the NC State defense, but the future new-look Big East. North Carolina State also boasts an offense that has improved over the course of time. Senior quarterback Mike Glennon is in charge. He is so trusted that the North Carolina State staff pretty much told Russell Wilson to leave so that Glennon could play. Wilson is currently preparing for the Rose Bowl with Wisconsin. Glennon has a trusty tight end George Bryan. He was an All-ACC pick for the Wolfpack. Two other receivers to watch for are TJ Graham and Tobias Palmer. The offensive line will have to slow down a very aggressive Louisville defense for success in this one.

Defense: Louisville has been known for its defense under head coach Charlie Strong and this year's team is no exception. The Cardinals give up just 19 points a game. At linebacker, Louisville is led by the duo of Dexter Heyman and Preston Brown. Perhaps the best player on Louisville is SS Hakeem Smith. He leads the team in solo tackles and has also forced 3 fumbles on the year. Up front, DE William Savoy leads the team in sacks with 5. North Carolina State has a (pardon the pun) middle of the pack defense. They give up 25 points a game. The defense has given up as many as 45 and as little as 0. What defense shows up for NC State will be the deciding factor in this game. It has, however, improved greatly over the course of the season, so expect a pretty good defensive effort. Cornerback David Amerson is an absolute playmaker. The man has 11 interceptions. Yes, 11. That is about 1 per game. Look for him to make some plays. Junior linebacker Terrell Manning is the backbone of the team and is in just about every play.


The pick: This game is a very good one and I have to go with Louisville. I think Teddy Bridgwater is ready to shine on the national level and Louisville picks up a close win in a game that could go either way.  If you agree or disagree let me know why by tweeting me @bowlseason or emailing me at . I'll post them if you send them.


We picked Louisville to win. We are now 5-5.




 Charlie Springer, of U of L Card Game, a website devoted to Louisville sports, answered some questions for us.


BS: The Cards started 2-4, but reeled off 5 of their last 6 games. What made this team better as the year went on?
Charlie Springer: Louisville was playing many first and second-year players so improvement was inevitable as the season progressed.  Senior running back Victor Anderson has recovered from nagging injuries during his sophomore and junior seasons to regain the form that earned him freshman of the year honors during his freshman season. Averaging 4.8 yards per run.
Devante Parker, a freshman from Louisville, is a sure-handed wide receiver, making the spectacular look natural. He scored six touchdowns.
Dominque Brown, a 6-foot-2 sophomore power running back from Cincinnati, will be called on to get the really crucial yards. He's especially dangerous in the Wild Card formation, averaging more than six yards per carry when he is calling signals.  Otherwise, he picking up 3.7 yards per carry.


BS: Charlie Strong has been at Louisville for 2 years and already the Cardinals have won a share of the Big East. How good a job has he done for Louisville?
Charlie Springer: Charlie Strong is a no-nonsense coach who expects players to perform up to their potential whether they're freshmen or seniors. The coaching staff is equally demanding with high expectations. Their defensive playbook is a thick one and they seem to know what works best in all situations.
BS: The offense, led by freshman QB Teddy Bridgewater, has struggled statistically, but has really improved as the year has gone on. Talk about his play and who are his other top weapons?
Charlie Springer: Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, from Miami, is one of those freshmen who has grown by leaps and bounds, being named the Big East Rookie of the Year, among numerous other honors. Tons of natural ability, combined with exceptional poise, makes him a threat at all times. He's good for 66% of his passes, throwing 12 for touchdowns this season.
BS: If you could choose one player to have a breakout performance in the bowl game, who would it be?
Charlie Springer: Breakout player could be Eli Rogers, kick return player and wide receiver, who has exceptional speed. He's another freshmen, one of 13 players on the team from Miami, Fla. All of them are good.
Thanks a lot to Charlie Springer. Check his work out at and follow @UofLCardGame .

 Austin Johnson, of Pack Pride answered some questions for us about NC State.

BS: The Wolfpack started the year 2-3, but finished by winning 5 of their last 7. What changed during the second half of the season and how would you evaluate the season overall?

Austin Johnson: Mostly, they got healthy. The defense line specifically had severe injuries problems early in the year and it really magnified the Pack's depth issues as the 2nd and 3rd string lineman struggled. Once they got a few guys back however, the defense really buckled down and became the strength of the team.

Overall it was a decent year for O'Brien and the program. Given the schedule, I think fans expected a little more going into the year but given the injuries 7-5 isn't a bad finish. This is a team that will return a large portion of its starters next year so 2012 could be a make-or-break season for O'Brien.
BS: The offense got going late in the year. Talk about QB Mike Glennon's play and who are his top weapons on the offense?

Austin Johnson: Glennon has played well for most of the season and you definitely can see the reasons why the staff thought so highly of him coming into the year. He can make every throw and when he gets time in the pocket he can pick a defense apart. He is however not at all mobile, so teams that had success against the Pack were the ones that were able to pressure Glennon - that's when he makes mistakes.
Offensively his biggest weapons are TJ Graham, George Bryan and Tobais Palmer. Graham and Palmer are both small, shifty receivers capable of breaking tackles and beating guys down the field. Bryan is the Pack's All-ACC tight end, who struggled a bit early in the year but has come on late in the season - he's a weapon over the middle and on 3rd down.
BS: The defense was middle of the pack. What does it have to do to have success in the bowl game, and who are the key players?
Austin Johnson: Saying that the Pack has a middle of the road defense isn't quite accurate. Early in the season it had a terrible defense, but during the last seven games the defense was very good. Again this was simply a matter of players getting healthy. The biggest play-maker for the Pack is David Amerson, a ball-hawking cornerback who led the nation in interceptions by a wide margin as a sophomore. Even as teams learned not to throw his way, he did a great job of taking advantage of the few opportunities he was given. Terrell Manning is another player to watch for the Pack - he's one of those linebackers that seems to be in on every play.

BS: If you could choose one player to have a breakout performance in the bowl game, who would it be?

Austin Johnson: I'd have to go with Manning. This is a team that was winning games with its defense late in the season, and Manning's presence in the middle might have been the biggest reason why. He's a vocal leader and I expect he'll come up with a big sack or fumble recovery that will swing this game.
Thanks a lot to Austin Johnson. Check his work out at and follow @austin_johnson


This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola