Russell Athletic Bowl – Miami Hurricanes vs Louisville Cardinals
Date and Time: Saturday 12/28/13 at 6:45pm on ESPN
Game Line: Louisville -3.5 (from JustBet)
Saturday’s Russell Athletic Bowl NCAA Football Analysis: Teddy Bridgewater’s last college game will come against the team he originally committed to in Miami. Having missed out on a BCS bowl bid and the Heisman Trophy ceremony, Bridgewater could end his career with a win over Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl before Louisville joins the ACC. The matchup on Saturday night in Orlando takes place just a few hours from Bridgewater’s high school and the University of Miami. He is expected to be a top ten pick, if not first overall. His chances in the Heisman race were eliminated when his team took a hit on October 18th when the Cardinals suffered their only loss, 38-35 to Central Florida. He also did not record one 300 yard passing game in his final four games, totaling just five touchdowns. Their defense was the biggest factor for the team’s success this season allowing just 12.4 points per game, one of the best in the country. They were thought to be one of the best teams in college this football this season but their offense just simply didn’t produce at a high enough level for them to be considered an automatic qualifying BCS team. This is Miami’s first Bowl appearance since 2010 because of self imposed sanctions, so all of the players on the team are going to their first bowl game. Poor defense derailed the Hurricanes’ season. They were 7-0 and in the top ten at one point before losing three straight and allowing over 40 points and 500 yards in each game. The offense took a big blow against the Seminoles when top rusher Duke Johnson suffered a season ending broken ankle. Miami has only been converting on 32 percent of third downs since his injury, while Louisville’s defense holds opponents to 29 percent, second best in the country.
Miami vs Louisville NCAA Football Picks: Louisville -3.5 and under 57.5
Miami vs Louisville Game Prediction: 34-20 Louisville
What to expect in the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl: It is unusual that we pick a favorite in many of these early bowl games, the extra time to prepare always favors the under dog and improves their chances to win but this game is a different story. The Louisville defense is a terrible matchup for the Miami offense without star running back Duke Johnson. They are among the best in the country and will have an easy time shutting down Miami without their primary weapon. Offensively, this is Bridgewater’s last chance to put on a show for the NFL scouts and he will have his way with the weak Miami defense. Louisville will take an early lead in this game and never look back in a game that won’t be as close as the 14 point final margin.