WHO: 9-3 Miami (ACC) vs. 11-1 Louisville (AAC)
WHAT: Russell Athletic Bowl (24th year)
WHERE: Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.
WHEN: Dec. 28 at 6:45 p.m. ET
WHY: It’s a battle of potential first-round NFL quarterbacks as Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater takes on Miami’s Stephen Morris. We could also see a potential rivalry start to brew as the Cardinals will be joining the ACC next season.
UL fell just short of a BCS bowl and an undefeated seasons when it lost by three points to UCF back in mid-October. Bridgewater has been the main weapon for the Cardinals all season, throwing for 3,523 yards with 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He was aided by an excellent defense that finished second nationally total defense and third in points allowed per game. Louisville needs to get its offense kickstarted if it wants to win this one. The Cardinals averaged just 25 points per game in their last three outings.
Miami started out 7-0 but stumbled with three straight losses in November. Still, it had its best record since 2009 by finishing 9-3. Morris led an explosive offense, throwing for 2,868 yards and 21 touchdowns, but the loss of running back Duke Johnson to a season-ending ankle injury affected the Canes down the stretch. Miami’s young, talented, secondary will be challenged by Bridgewater, but they did play about as well as anyone did against Jameis Winston and FSU.
These appear to be two evenly-matched teams. Don’t be surprised if it goes down to the wire.
PREDICTION: Louisville 34, Miami 27