As we countdown to kickoff in August, we’re going to be doing a team-by-team preview each Tuesday over the summer. SU will begin its 2014 ACC conference schedule when they host Louisville on Oct. 3.
PLENTY OF CHANGES: How’s this for upheaval? In just one season, Louisville will have a new starting quarterback, a new(ish) head coach and play in a new conference. Gone is Heisman candidate Teddy Bridgewater, who as a junior in 2013 completed 303 of 427 passes for 3,970 yards with 31 touchdowns and four interceptions. Gone also is Charlie Strong, who went 37–15 in four seasons in Louisville after being hired in the offseason as head coach of the Texas Longhorns. He will be replaced by former Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino, who averaged more than 10 wins a season with the Cardinals from 2003-06. The Cardinals will also be playing their first season in the ACC, bolting the American Athletic Conference after one season.
WHO TO WATCH FOR: Bridgewater may be playing for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, but Louisville seems to be in good hands at the quarterback position. Though replacement Will Gardner threw just eight passes last season, he seems poised for a breakout year. Gardner was near perfect in Louisville’s spring game, completing 32-of-37 passes for 542 yards and four touchdowns. Even if the passing game falters, the Cardinals have plenty of depth at running back. Dominique Brown returns after leading Louisville with 825 yards and eight TDs last season, while Auburn transfer Michael Dyer and stud frosh LJ Scott have also impressed.
PREDICTION: Louisville is one of the winningest programs in the last two seasons, as the Cardinals have piled up 23 wins, including wins in the Sugar and Russell Athletic bowls. It should be a smooth transition back for Petrino, who has a 83–30 record as a college coach. SYRACUSE 17, LOUISVILLE 35.