Louisville vs. Houston prediction roundtable with the Campus Insiders staff. Breaking down what will happen during Thursday night’s game between the Cardinals and Cougars.
Give me the Cougars in an upset. One, because they tend to play up to opponents – look no further than the Peach Bowl against FSU or this year’s season-opener against Oklahoma. And, as the past two Saturdays have proven, anarchy has taken quite a liking to the CFP. Louisville has played with fire in recent weeks – narrowly escaping Virginia, and then spotting Wake Forest a 12-point lead last weekend – appearing ripe for an upset. Houston won’t make a New Year’s Six bowl, but its presence will be felt in the role of spoiler against the Cards.
The wheels have come off the carriage in Houston, and we’re probably a month away from Tom Herman bolting for a Power Five job. But before we get there, we have to sit through this Louisville win. Lamar Jackson is ticked this his Cardinals aren’t in the top four in the College Football Playoff, and he’s going to take out that frustration on the Cougars. He’ll run for three touchdowns, throw for two more and will not only cement his Heisman Trophy candidacy, but also add a quality win to Louisville’s resume.
Tom Herman’s Cougars have not looked very sharp since their loss to Navy earlier in the year, as they seem to play down to their competition. Don’t expect that this week against the Cardinals. We may not see a performance such as the one UH put on in the season opener against Oklahoma, but it should deliver one of its finest showings of the season behind Greg Ward Jr., who needs to play a clean game if the Cougars want to pull the upset.
Ward likely is not 100 percent healthy after taking a beating throughout the year, and he’ll have his hands full against Todd Grantham’s defense. The Cougars defense, meanwhile, has been stout against the run. However, stopping Lamar Jackson and Brandon Radcliff will be quite the chore. Ultimately, Louisville’s slew of offensive weapons are too much for the solid Houston defense to handle, as the Cards pull away in the fourth quarter.
Call me cynical, but I feel that Heisman voters are looking for any reason not to give Lamar Jackson the trophy. He deserves it, and he will show why against a Cougars team that isn’t all that it was cracked up to be this season. Don’t think Jackson and the Cardinals aren’t a little miffed about the College Football Playoff rankings right now, either. Houston will keep it close, but head coach Tom Herman has already checked out and Louisville will come through with a big win.